[Libs-Or] This is a submission for the Libs-Or mailing list

Brandon Wilkinson brushandbook at gmail.com
Tue Feb 23 12:02:56 PST 2016

Hello, the following is a submission for the Libs-Or mailing list. It is
the Tuesday Topic from the Intellectual Freedom Committee. I've included
the text as a docx attachment as well. Thanks. -Brandon Wilkinson OLA IFC.

The Current State of Government Surveillance

Welcome to Tuesday Topics for 2015-2016.  Tuesday Topics is a monthly
series (September- November and January- June) covering topics with
intellectual freedom implications for libraries of all types.  Each message
is prepared by a member of OLA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee.
  Questions can be directed to the IF Committee member who sent the message
or to one of the co-chairs of the IFC

As librarians, many of us have concerns about domestic spying by the
government. We’ve read about Edward Snowden and the NSA. We are concerned
about the erosion of the 4th Amendment and the possible abuses of power
enabled by new technological spying tools and the expansion of the national
security apparatus. While many of us are too young to remember McCarthyism
directly, we have read about the chilling intellectual witch-hunts of the
Cold War era, and see in current news headlines echoes of that period of
anxiety and governmental overreach. There is a long history of domestic
government surveillance in the United States and, post-Snowden, there are
over a dozen known programs, databases, and tools used by the NSA and
associated agencies (look towards the bottom of this article for a list of
links to those programs). In addition, there is continuing action in the
courts, pending legislation in congress, and news reports of data
collection by police departments.

Surveillance in the United States is a highly dynamic topic and it’s a
little tricky to know exactly where we are at as of right now. This article
aims to answer that by compiling Wikipedia entries, news stories, and
articles pertaining to the topic chronologically, starting with the 4th
Amendment. It also includes a list of resources for librarians. While it by
no means a complete picture, the information here provides context to the
topic in general, and attempts to describe the direction that the wrestling
match between security and liberty in this country is currently heading.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,
and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized.”


Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act>. The
first thing to know is that one of the foundational elements of our
national security state began as an attempt at reform. In the wake of the
Watergate scandal, the Church commission’s airing of our domestic
surveillance dirty laundry prompted the creation of the FISA court, which
was designed to provide a judicial check on previous abuses. The court’s
function is to issue secret warrants to law enforcement agencies. The major
flaw in FISA that was pointed out early on was that the court didn’t have
much investigative authority, and had to rely almost completely on whatever
information the government provided for them in order to decide whether or
not to issue a warrant. Decades later, this structure has led to arguments
over whether or not the court serves as a  “rubber stamp” for the
intelligence community.


October 26, 2001. The USAPATRIOT Act was passed in October of 2001
following the September 11th terrorist attacks. It significantly expanded
the US security apparatus by making changes to numerous federal statutes,
including FISA, and sought to increase the sharing of information between
government intelligence agencies. It authorized the indefinite detention of
immigrants without granting them their habeas corpus rights, and it allowed
agents to search through business records, electronic, phone, and library
records without a court order. The law was passed in the Senate with only
one no vote, that of Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Immediately and throughout
it’s life, civil liberties groups, notably the American Library
Association, fought and lobbied against the law. It was reauthorized with
some changes by congress in 2005, 2006, and 2011, and supported by
President Bush and Obama.

2005. Early news story
on President Bush and domestic spying… during reauthorization of the
Patriot Act.

2006. USA Today article
<http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-05-10-nsa_x.htm> about
US phone companies working with NSA.


Protect America Act of 2007
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protect_America_Act_of_2007>. Removed the
warrant requirement for government surveillance of foreign targets.


FISA Amendments Act of 2008
Relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.


The Guardian Article
June 6th, 2013. Glen Greenwald’s article in the Guardian that brought the
issue of government surveillance to the forefront of the nation’s


USAFREEDOM Act <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_Freedom_Act>. June 2,
2015. From the Wikipedia entry: “Following a lack of Congressional
approval, parts of the Patriot Act expired on June 1, 2015. With the
passage of the USA Freedom Act
June 2, 2015 the expired parts were restored and renewed through 2019.
However, Section 215 of the law was amended to stop the National Security
Agency from continuing its mass phone data collection program. Instead,
phone companies will retain the data and the NSA can obtain information
about targeted individuals with permission from a federal court.”

July 14th, 2015. ACLU lawsuit on bulk data collection

CISA. October 27th, 2015. CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act,
designed to help stop corporate data breaches) passes Senate
>From the article: “...privacy advocates and civil liberties groups see CISA
as a free pass that allows companies to monitor users and share their
information with the government without a warrant, while offering a
backdoor that circumvents any laws that might protect users’ privacy.”

CISA article from the American Library Association.

November 30th, 2015. After the passage of the USAFREEDOM Act and some US
District Court battles
the NSA bulk telephone metadata collection is ending
The PRISM program, which generally doesn’t target US citizens, will

December 3rd, 2015. Emails and Warrantless wiretaps

January 28th 2016. Closed Congressional hearings
on PRISM, Upstream, and FISA section 702. The ACLU responds

February 11th, 2016. Police and Cell phones
New York Times article on covert cell phone tracking by New York Police

February 17, 2016. Apple fights the Justice Department over whether or not
they have to rewrite their iPhone encryption
to unlock the information on the phone of one of the mass shooters in the
terrorist attack in San Bernardino. Apparently, this would effectively give
the government a backdoor into all iPhones. Legislation giving the Feds the
power to order companies to do this kind of thing was in the works in 2013,
but was abandoned in light of the Snowden revelations. The fight is over a
reading of a federal statute, and could potentially wind up in front of the
Supreme Court.

Resources for Librarians:


Wikipedia article on mass surveillance in the United States


Virtual Privacy Lab from San Jose Public Library <https://sjpl.org/privacy>

Free webinar from Library 2.0, March 16:  Privacy in the Digital Age

OLA Library pre-conference training, April 20:  Digital Privacy Toolkit


Electronic Frontier Foundation
<https://www.eff.org/who-has-your-back-government-data-requests-2015>. This
is the current “who has your back” article, which lists information on
major internet companies privacy protections.


American Civil Liberties Union
Articles, documents, and news releases relating to surveillance in the
United States.

Off the shelf government surveillance article from Wired
about a security expert creating an XKEYSCORE program in miniature. The
dangers of public WiFi.

List of known surveillance programs



   ECHELON <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON>

   MINARET <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MINARET>

   SHAMROCK <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_SHAMROCK>


Since 1978


   Upstream collection <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upstream_collection>

   BLARNEY <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blarney_%28code_name%29>


   Main Core <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Core>

   ThinThread <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ThinThread>

Since 2001


   OAKSTAR <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OAKSTAR>

   STORMBREW <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STORMBREW>

   Trailblazer Project <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trailblazer_Project>

   Turbulence <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbulence_%28NSA%29>

   President's Surveillance Program

      Terrorist Surveillance Program

Since 2007


   PRISM <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29>

   Dropmire <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dropmire>


   Bullrun <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullrun_%28code_name%29>

   MYSTIC <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MYSTIC_%28surveillance_program%29>

   MonsterMind <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MonsterMind> (alleged)

Databases, tools etc.


   PINWALE <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PINWALE>

   MARINA <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MARINA>

   MAINWAY <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAINWAY>

   TRAFFICTHIEF <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRAFFICTHIEF>

   DISHFIRE <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dishfire>

   XKeyscore <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XKeyscore>

   ICREACH <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICREACH>

   BOUNDLESSINFORMANT <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boundless_Informant>

GCHQ collaboration



   Tempora <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempora>

   Mastering the Internet

   Global Telecoms Exploitation

I’d like to leave you with this remarkable quote from the man who headed
the Church commission. On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on
NBC's "Meet the Press" without mentioning the name of the NSA about this

“ In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are
doing, the United States government has perfected a technological
capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air.
Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad
at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that
capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and
no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor
everything — telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There
would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in
this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community
has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there
would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine
together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was
done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability
of this technology. I don’t want to see this country ever go across the
bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America,
and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this
technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we
never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no


Watch the interview on YouTube <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAG1N4a84Dk>

-Brandon Wilkinson

Reference Librarian, WSU Vancouver Library

Librarian, Estacada Public Library

brushandbook at gmail.com
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