Nov 282013
 November 28, 2013  Posted by  Surveillance, U.S.

Randy Barnett writes:

The Federalist Society’s journal Engage has an interesting Symposium on the National Security Agency’s Bulk Data Seizures and FISA Surveillance Programs.  The symposium includes my very brief essay with Cato’s Jim Harper, Why NSA’s Bulk Data Seizures Are Illegal and Unconstitutional.  In it we contend that:

Rather than airy and untethered speculations about “reasonable expectations,” the courts should return to the traditional—and more readily administrable—property and contract rights focus of Fourth Amendment protection reflected in the majority opinion in Katz. Courts should examine how parallels to the walls of the home and the phone booth in Katz conceal digital information are employed by the people to preserve their privacy.

Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.

Nov 282013
 November 28, 2013  Posted by  Non-U.S.

Anna Fielder writes:

We, and other privacy advocates, have criticised the poor provisions of the so-called Safe Harbour agreement, which allows free transfers of personal information from European countries to companies in the United States that have signed up and promise to abide by its Principles. Now the European Commission, prompted by the recent mass surveillance scandals, has published an investigation into this agreement which provides overwhelming evidence that it is not fit for purpose. It urges the US authorities, with a number of concrete recommendations, to get their act together by next summer.

We welcome the recommendations but believe they just stick a plaster on an open wound. The only longterm solution is for US companies to respect EU privacy laws when handling EU citizen data or, better still, for the US to implement strong data protection laws for the benefit of all.

Read more on Privacy International.

Related:  US tech giants should look beyond ‘Safe Harbour’ certification to win EU businesses’ trust on privacy, says expert (

Nov 282013
 November 28, 2013  Posted by  Announcements

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American site visitors!

News updates will resume tonight. For now, I’ve got to get cooking. I wish you all a great day filled with family and friends and laughter.