Part 1 – Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act & National Security Letters

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is a United States law that prescribes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers”.(94) Under “agents of foreign powers” this may include U.S. citizens and permanent residents suspected of espionage or terrorism.(95) This law does not apply outside the U.S. and has been amended many times since the events of 9/11.(96) FISA administration includes its own judicial system and meaningful congressional oversight.(97)

National Security Letters (NSL)

A National Security Letter (NSL) is a demand letter, which differs from a subpoena.(98) It is used by U.S. Government agencies, mainly the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), when investigating matters of national security.(99) It is issued to a particular entity or organization to turn over records and data pertaining to individuals.(100) By law, these letters can request only non-content information, such as transactional records, phone numbers dialed or sender or recipient email addresses.(101) They also include a gag order, preventing the recipient of the letter from disclosing that the letter was ever issued.(102)

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One Response to Part 1 – Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act & National Security Letters

  1. Pingback: Thougths – What does Obama & His NSA Review Panel really think about security & Surveillance? | @The Heart of Big Brother

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