Tag Archives: AT&T

Mass surveillance in America: A timeline of loosening laws and practices

Mass surveillance in America: A timeline of loosening laws and practices

“After a post-Watergate Senate investigation documented abuses of government surveillance, Congress passes theForeign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to regulate how the government can monitor suspected spies or terrorists in the U.S. The law establishes a secret court that issues warrants for electronic surveillance or physical searches of a ‘foreign power’ or ‘agents of a foreign power’ (broadly defined in the law). The government doesn’t have to demonstrate probable cause of a crime, just that the “purpose of the surveillance is to obtain foreign intelligence information.”

The court’s sessions and opinions are classified. The only information we have is a yearly report to the Senate documenting the number of “applications” made by the government. Since 1978, the court has approved thousands of applications – and rejected just 11.”

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