Jun 292013
 June 29, 2013  Posted by  Business, Court, Online, Youth & Schools

Dan Levine reports:

Child rights advocates tried to convince a U.S. judge on Friday that a Facebook (FB.O) legal settlement did not go far enough to keep content created by minors out of the hands of advertisers.


At a hearing on Friday, Children’s Advocacy Institute attorney Robert Fellmeth told Seeborg that no minors should have their content shared with advertisers. Seeborg did not say how he would rule, but said his role is only to say if the settlement is fair.

“My function here is not to craft the perfect policy for minors,” Seeborg said.

Read more on Reuters.

Jun 282013
 June 28, 2013  Posted by  Announcements

From the Federal Register:

Notice of Meeting


The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will conduct a public workshop with invited experts, academics and advocacy organizations regarding surveillance programs operated pursuant to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
DATES: July 9, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time).

Comments: You may submit comments, identified by the docket number in the heading of this document by the following method:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • Written comments may be submitted at any time prior to the closing of the docket at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time on August 1, 2013.

All comments will be made publicly available and posted without change. Do not include personal or confidential information.

ADDRESSES: The location in Washington DC is still being determined. A notice will be published in the Federal Register with the location.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Reingold, Chief Administrative Officer, 202-331-1986.


The workshop will be open to the public. The Board is contemplating moderated panel discussions with invited experts, academics, and advocacy organizations. Individuals who plan to attend and require special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should contact Susan Reingold, Chief Administrative Officer, 202-331-1986, at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

Jun 282013
 June 28, 2013  Posted by  Govt

Josh Meyer reports:

The first week on the job for Nicole Wong, dubbed by many as the US’s first chief privacy officer, has been fairly, well, private. The White House has named Wong, 44, a former top lawyer for Google and Twitter, as the new deputy US chief technology officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. But the appointment came with little fanfare or official communication about her role, even though Wong could have influence far and wide—not only on internet issues, but on foreign policy, trade and human rights. Here’s why.

Wong is serving as a top deputy to the White House’s chief technology officer, Todd Park, according to OSTP spokesman Rick Weiss. Beyond that, Weiss wouldn’t elaborate on what Wong will be doing. He did say, however, that characterizing her simply as a “chief privacy officer” doesn’t fully describe her role.

Read more on Quartz.

Thanks to Joe Cadillic for the link.

Jun 282013
 June 28, 2013  Posted by  Featured News, Govt, Surveillance, U.S.

The recent public disclosures of secret government surveillance programs have exposed how secret interpretations of the USA PATRIOT Act have allowed for the bulk collection of massive amounts of data on the communications of ordinary Americans with no connection to wrong-doing. Reliance on secret law to conduct domestic surveillance activities raises serious civil liberty concerns and all but removes the public from an informed national security and civil liberty debate.

In order to foster that debate, 26 senators sent a letter organized by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asking Director of National Intelligence Clapper to publicly provide information about the duration and scope of the program and provide examples of its effectiveness in providing unique intelligence, if such examples exist.

“We are concerned that by depending on secret interpretations of the PATRIOT Act that differed from an intuitive reading of the statute, this program essentially relied for years on a secret body of law,” the senators wrote in the letter. This and misleading statements by Intelligence officials haveprevented our constituents from evaluating the decisions that their government was making, and will unfortunately undermine trust in government more broadly. The debate that the President has now welcomed is an important first step toward restoring that trust.”

The senators expressed their concern that the program itself has a significant impact on the privacy of law-abiding Americans and that the PATRIOT Act could be used for the bulk collection of records beyond phone metadata. The PATRIOT Act’s “business records” authority can be used to give the government access to private financial, medical, consumer and firearm sales records, among others.  In addition to raising concerns about the law’s scope, the senators noted that keeping the official interpretation of the law secret and the instances of misleading public statements from executive branch officials prevented the American people from having an informed public debate about national security and domestic surveillance.

The senators are seeking public answers to the following questions in order to give the American people the information they need to conduct an informed public debate.

  • How long has the NSA used PATRIOT Act authorities to engage in bulk collection of Americans’ records? Was this collection underway when the law was reauthorized in 2006?
  • Has the NSA used USA PATRIOT Act authorities to conduct bulk collection of any other types of records pertaining to Americans, beyond phone records?
  • Has the NSA collected or made any plans to collect Americans’ cell-site location data in bulk?
  • Have there been any violations of the court orders permitting this bulk collection, or of the rules governing access to these records? If so, please describe these violations.
  • Please identify any specific examples of instances in which intelligence gained by reviewing phone records obtained through Section 215 bulk collection proved useful in thwarting a particular terrorist plot.
  • Please provide specific examples of instances in which useful intelligence was gained by reviewing phone records that could not have been obtained without the bulk collection authority, if such examples exist.
  • Please describe the employment status of all persons with conceivable access to this data, including IT professionals, and detail whether they are federal employees, civilian or military, or contractors.

The Senators signing the letter are: Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Dean Heller (R- Nev.),Mark Begich (D-Alaska),  Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

To read the letter click here.

SOURCE: Senator Ron Wyden