US spy court appoints lawyers to panel of advisers

Under the USA Freedom Act, the panel is to advise the judge on privacy and technical matters

A secret U.S. spy court has appointed a five-member panel of advisers as part of the reform of the surveillance of the National Security Agency.

The presiding judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review have jointly designated five persons to be eligible to serve as an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, according to a notice on the FISC website.

The appointments have been made under the USA Freedom Act, the reform legislation that was signed into law on June 2 by President Barack Obama.

The panel consist of four lawyers and a professor of law, and does not include technology experts, although the USA Freedom Act provides for a panel of experts at the FISA court to provide guidance on matters of privacy and civil liberties, communications technology, and other technical or legal matters.

The persons appointed to the panel are Jonathan G. Cedarbaum, a partner in the law firm of WilmerHale, criminal defense lawyer John D. Cline, Laura Donohue, a professor of law at Georgetown Law, Amy Jeffress, a partner in the the law firm of Arnold & Porter, and Marc Zwillinger, a privacy and data security lawyer.

The reform of the NSA was taken up after revelations in 2013 by its former contractor, Edward Snowden, about widespread surveillance by the agency in the country and abroad, including its collection of bulk phone records of Americans.

Obama promised in January 2014 significant reform of NSA surveillance, and called on Congress to authorize the "establishment of  a panel of advocates from outside government to provide an independent voice in significant cases" before the FISA court, to ensure that the court hears a broader range of privacy perspectives.

Under the USA Freedom Act, the amicus curiae is expected to provide to the court, as appropriate, legal arguments to promote the protection of individual privacy and civil liberties, information related to intelligence collection or communications technology, and legal arguments or information regarding any other area relevant to the issue presented to the court.

Another key part of the reform - the bulk collection by the NSA of phone metadata records of Americans- is set to end by the close of this month. The USA Freedom Act places curbs on the bulk collection program by leaving the phone records database in the hands of telecom operators, while allowing only a targeted search of the data by the NSA for investigations.

In September, the FISC court appointed a lawyer Preston Burton as amicus curiae in connection with a specific application by the government to retain already acquired  phone records beyond Nov. 28 for use for technical and litigation purposes.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?