The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) is a secret court that hears warrant requests from America's spy agencies when they want to wiretap people in the USA.
The court -- which is non-adversarial, hearing only from the spies, and not from anyone representing those they wish to spy upon -- is supposed to serve as a check upon uncontrolled secret powers.
A document released by the DoJ this week shows that the FBI and NSA made 1,457 warrant requests to the court.
Coincidentally, the court approved 1,457 warrant requests in 2015.
Civil liberties advocates have long derided the court for acting as a "rubber stamp" for government surveillance operations. Government officials have said the Justice Department is careful about its applications and that sometimes orders are modified substantially by the court.
The court modified 80 applications in 2015, a more than fourfold increase from the 19 modifications made in 2014.
U.S. spy court rejected zero surveillance orders in 2015: memo
(via Ars Technica)
(Image: Pacific Stamp and Sign)
After a still-withheld complaint from a whistleblower and mounting pressure from congress to see it, president Donald Trump admitted Sunday that he asked Ukraine’s new premier to “look into” Joe Biden, a likely challenger in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. Trump did not admit to tying the release of aid money to the demand, another […]
I have an op-ed in today's Globe and Mail, "Why do people believe the Earth is flat?" wherein I connect the rise of conspiratorial thinking to the rise in actual conspiracies, in which increasingly concentrated industries are able to come up with collective lobbying positions that result in everything from crashing 737s to toxic baby-bottle […]
Anna Merlan has made a distinguished journalistic career out of covering conspiracy theories, particularly far-right ones, for Gizmodo Media; her book-length account of conspiratorial thinking, Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power, is a superb tour not just through the conspiracies that have taken hold in American public discourse, but […]
If you’ve worked in any high-performing engineering lab, you already know about MATLAB. This computing environment and the language that powers it is perfectly suited to science and math, with an interface that makes it easy to express and visualize complex algorithms – not to mention an infrastructure that lets it easily work with other […]
Studies have shown cannabidiol (more popularly known as CBD) to be effective in two main areas: Pain relief and stress relief. Both of those make the non-psychoactive, cannabis-derived compound a natural for topical creams. There’s no shortage of CBD products out there, but here’s eight of our favorites, all specifically designed for dermatological use – […]
If you’re part of the maker community, you know Make:. Though Make: magazine is off the shelves as of this year, the eBooks and resources put out by Maker Media are still a fantastic resource for the new generation of tinkerers, hackers, and robotics geeks. If you’re in that tribe, listen up: they’ve released a […]