“Surveillance court too secretive”

Until recently, few Americans had ever heard of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or the FISC as it’s known by national security insiders. And that was just fine with the government.

Today, thanks to fugitive leaker Edward Snowden, the FISC is not exactly a household word, but more Americans at least have an inkling of the vast power possessed by the secretive 11-member tribunal. One example: Telecom companies were required by the court to turn over virtually all private phone records to the government, which compiled them in a huge database.

Love him or loathe him, Snowden has triggered an important debate on this and other government surveillance programs. Last week, the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking to stop the phone-record collection. And on Thursday, a coalition of about 50 civil liberties groups and tech firms called on the president and congressional leaders to force greater transparency.

The effort ought to include a re-examination of how the FISC operates.

via USA Today.

Related headlines:

Former FISC Judge Quit Over Warrantless Wiretapping, Now Argues FISC Is Out Of Control

Secret court allows Yahoo to disclose NSA data requests

Secret Surveillance Court May Pull Back Curtain (see also Scrutiny of the FISA Court)

Embattled secret court may not spill some secrets after all

Snowden’s Weird Behavior & Greenwald’s Divisiveness Obscure the Real Issue: Reforming the FISA Court

Court finds NSA surveillance unconstitutional. Administration’s response: keep the ruling secret and carry on

US Secret Court Renews Phone Surveillance Program

Yahoo Wins Prism Court-Papers Battle

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