#211: Warrantless Spying & Parallel Construction

January 5, 2018

Four years after the Snowden disclosures, Congress continues to wrestle with surveillance issues.  These include an ongoing reform battle over Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—a major intelligence surveillance law that targets foreigners but can result in warrantless spying on people in the US.  Despite the size of the programs the government conducts under Section 702, and the fact that the FBI currently can query Section 702 data without a warrant, the government has provided notice of its use of 702 surveillance data in only about eight criminal cases.  One reason notification may be so rare in Section 702 cases is a practice called “parallel construction,” which the government may also be using to conceal the use of even bigger or more problematic surveillance programs carried out under a separate authority called Executive Order 12333. We are joined by Sarah St. Vincent, Researcher at Human Rights Watch, their report on parallel construction comes out January 2018.

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