The USA Freedom Act set the first legal limits on spying in a generation, and were immediately followed by 3 more surveillance-blocking amendments from the House, and now, a week later, there's 2 more bipartisan curbs on surveillance.
On Wednesday, Zoe Lofgren's [D-CA] amendment barred the use of Congressionally allocated funds to put backdoors into crypto, while Thomas Massie's [R-KY] amendment closed a loophole that the NSA abuses to conduct mass surveillance.
House Votes To Block Backdoor Searches And To Block Backdooring Encryption
While this is great news, I'm somewhat surprised and disappointed that the margin of victory here was lower than a nearly identical amendment last year (which was approved 293 to 123. It's possible that some of last year's votes were in protest to the falling apart of the USA Freedom Act a year ago -- whereas since it passed this year, some felt it was okay to shift their vote here. Still, in many ways, this has the potential to be a much bigger deal and much more important than the USA Freedom Act, because those backdoor searches are a huge problem.
(Image: Zoe Lofgren 109th pictorial, PD)
Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX, @JohnCornyn, +1 202-224-2934] introduced the Building America’s Trust Act as a “long-term border security and interior enforcement strategy” but refused to release the bill’s text, which has now leaked.
A group of researchers from Oxford and TU Berlin will present their paper, White-Stingray: Evaluating IMSI Catchers Detection Applications at the Usenix Workshop on Offensive Technologies, demonstrating countermeasures that Stingray vendors could use to beat Stingrays and other “cell-site simulators” (AKA IMSI catchers).
This summer, two of the west coast’s largest metropolitan areas—Seattle and California—took major steps to curtail secret, unilateral surveillance by local police. These victories for transparency and community control lend momentum toward sweeping reforms pending across California, as well as congressional efforts to curtail unchecked surveillance by federal authorities.
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