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Showing posts from August, 2013

General Alexander at Black Hat 2013: Privacy vs. Security vs. Transparency

Executive Summary

General Keith Alexander, the US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) commander and the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), gave a keynote speech at the annual Black Hat hacker conference in July 2013. His main point was to set the record straight on exactly what authority the NSA has in terms of government surveillance of US citizens and to present the controls currently in place to prevent abuse. He discussed the mechanics of two specific programs authorized in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, bolstered by the Patriot Act of 2001, and updated by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. The first program is called the Business Record FISA (Section 215 of the Patriot Act) and authorizes the collection of metadata on communications with international suspects. The second program is called Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and authorizes the full collection of information from non-US citizens located outside the country.