PCLOB report on US FISA Section 702 divides opinion

28/09/2023 | Politico

The debate over Section 702 of the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has caused a split within the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). Democrats and Republicans are at odds over how to mitigate privacy risks associated with the programme, and a new 300-page report from the PCLOB urges Congress to impose new constraints before the programme expires later this year. The report included a 55-page annexe criticising many of the report's findings about the severity of the risks presented to Americans. The report's recommendations are unlikely to resolve the ongoing debate between the White House and different factions on Capitol Hill. The most controversial recommendation would require US intelligence agencies to seek a FISA court order for each query made to the telecommunications data repository collected under Section 702. The Biden administration is advocating for a full reauthorisation of Section 702 as it currently stands before it expires in December. 

In a related article, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) agreed with the findings contained within the PCLOB report that reforms are necessary for the program's renewal before it expires on 31 December 2023. However, the EFF is advocating for Congress to take stronger measures, including allowing the programme to expire, in order to ensure that privacy rights are protected for individuals whose communications cross international boundaries.

UPDATE: The IAPP explored the most contentious issues surrounding Section 702's renewal and how it could impact the EU-US Data Privacy Framework (DPF), which is already subject to legal challenges in Europe.

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