The Secrets of Surveillance: Elaine Cassel

Elaine Cassel writes a piece pointed to by Slashdot, telling the story of how internet usage in the US is monitored. Heavy stuff going on with one ‘John Doe’, the ACLU and the PATRIOT Act.

In a memorandum to the court, the ACLU wrote that the statute allowing the broad use of National Security Letters gives the FBI “unchecked authority” to require businesses to reveal “a broad array of sensitive information, including information about the First Amendment activities of ordinary Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.”

The memorandum continues: “The statute does not require the FBI to seek judicial authorization before demanding the disclosure of sensitive information, and it does not specify any means by which a person served with an NSL can challenge the NSLs validity before complying with it. In other words, the FBI issues NSLs without judicial oversight of any kind.