Econintersect: Propublica has published a timeline that shows activities of the U.S. government to both control and to expand widespread surveillance of the activities of U.S. citizens and others around the world. The timeline covers 1978 to date. The starting point is the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was enacted to prevent abuses uncovered by a post-Watergate senate investigation. It created a judicial panel from which review was required (by issue of warrants) for any electronic or physical surveillance or searches for the “purpose of the surveillance is to obtain foreign intelligence information.” The FISA court was referrred to in many discussions this past week, including the press conference held by the president.
Propublica reports (regarding FISA):
The court’s sessions and opinions are classified. The only information we have is a yearly report to the Senate documenting the number of “applications” made by the government. Since 1978, the court has approved thousands of applications – and rejected just 11.
There is not anything on the timeline for the next 23 years after 1978 until the US Patriot Act of 2001 expanded the scope of FISA to include purely domestic records. After that there is documented a flood of events as the Big Brother state took off – and many activities were initiated that apparently did not go through the FISA warrant process.
One of the timeline points is the 2007 authorization of Prism, discussed in a GEI News article yesterday.
Read the complete timeline at Propublica.
- Mass Surveillance in America: A Timeline of Loosening Laws and Practices (Cora Currier, Justin Elliott and Theodoric Meyer, ProPublica, 07 June 2013)
- Google: “What the — ?” (GEI News, 07 June 2013)
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