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Obama Looks to Wind Down NSA's Bulk Data Collection

Proposal leaves data with phone companies

(Newser) - President Obama wants the federal government to stop sucking up huge amounts of data on Americans' phone calls, administration officials tells the New York Times . The president—days away from his own deadline for revamping the National Security Agency's phone-surveillance program —is set to roll out a proposal... More »

Feds: Sprint Overcharged Us for Wiretaps

Firm accused of bilking agencies for $21M upgrade

(Newser) - Telecommunications companies that assist government wiretappers are allowed to claim back "reasonable expenses"—but the federal government says Sprint Communications padded its bill to the tune of $21 million. In a lawsuit filed yesterday, the government accuses the firm of having "knowingly submitted false claims " to... More »

Turk PM in Hot Water Over Explosive Tapes With Son

Erdogan calls them fake, while opposition calls on him to resign

(Newser) - The prime minister of Turkey is furiously denouncing as fake a recording leaked online in which he and his son appear to discuss how to hide massive quantities of cash. In what Reuters describes as a "dramatic" parliament session, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the recordings were "a shameless... More »

Verizon, AT&T Make a Pretty Penny Off Wiretaps

Government pays Verizon $500 a month to eavesdrop on a line

(Newser) - If you think your cellphone bill is bad, just be thankful you're not the snoops at the FBI or NSA. Tapping a single Verizon customer's phone costs the government $775 for the first month, and $500 for each month thereafter, while AT&T charges a $325 "activation... More »

FBI Pushes for Easier Online Snooping

White House expected to back surveillance expansion

(Newser) - In a shift expected to spark a major debate on Internet freedom, the White House is leaning toward granting the FBI's wish to make it easier to eavesdrop on online communications, insiders tell the New York Times . The FBI, which argues that advances in technology are causing its ability... More »

Feds Look to Make Facebook, Google Allow Wiretaps

Privacy advocates slam proposal

(Newser) - Feds are working on a proposal to push big online companies to comply with government wiretapping orders. Under the measure, which hasn't yet gained White House approval, the likes of Google and Facebook would be fined increasing amounts if they refused to submit to the orders, the Washington Post... More »

Russia Finally Reveals Why Tamerlan Worried Them

New information could have prompted further FBI investigation: AP

(Newser) - Russian officials have finally revealed what fueled mounting concerns about Tamerlan Tsarnaev : After they wiretapped his phone, they caught him talking about jihad with his mother in 2011. In another recorded conversation, mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva spoke to a person in southern Russia who is the subject of a separate FBI... More »

Berlusconi Gets 1 Year in Wiretap Case

But prison sentence won't start immediately

(Newser) - Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to a year in prison today in his wiretapping case, but don't look for him to be wearing stripes anytime soon, Reuters reports. He can appeal the decision, and a jail term won't start until all possible appeals are exhausted, ANSA explains. This sentence... More »

Dad Charged in 4 Honor Killings Said He'd Do It Again

Parents, son accused of killing three teen daughters

(Newser) - A father accused of killing his three teenage daughters and his first wife was recorded voicing his disgust with his "treacherous" daughters and saying he would kill them again even if they came back to life a hundred times. The wiretap evidence was played at the trial of Mohammad... More »

Watchdog: Google Buzz Skirted Wiretap Laws

Group files complaint with FTC, wants more changes

(Newser) - A watchdog group has filed a formal complaint with the FTC over Google’s much-derided launch of Buzz. The Electronic Privacy Information Center wants the FTC to order more sweeping protections than Google itself has subsequently unveiled, and it suggests the search giant violated wiretapping laws. More »

Cop: O'Keefe Wanted to Cut Phone Lines, Not Tap Them

They wanted to test Landrieu's out-of-touch reputation

(Newser) - James O'Keefe and his crew of intruders did not intend to tap Mary Landrieu’s phones, but rather disrupt service and gauge the office’s response to being cut off from constituents, a law enforcement official tells MSNBC . They were motivated by allegations that constituents had a hard time getting... More »

Look Out, Wall Street: Feds Using Wiretaps Now

Insider trading case against Galleon is first to use the tactic

(Newser) - The bad boys of Wall Street better watch their mouths. Federal prosecutors used wiretaps to make their case against hedge fund giant Raj Rajaratnam this week, and they plan to use them again in similar investigations. Wiretaps may be common when going after the mafia, say, or terrorists, but their... More »

Mukasey: Now's No Time to Weaken Patriot Act

Terror arrests show that national security needs trump privacy worries

(Newser) - The arrests last week of Najibullah Zazi and other terror suspects should make lawmakers think twice about making intelligence-gathering more difficult for those trying to keep America safe from terrorist attacks, writes Michael Mukasey. Congressional Democrats are considering imposing new requirements on Patriot Act provisions when they come up for... More »

Judge: CIA Used Fraud to Get Wiretap Case Dismissed

Orders Tenet to explain misleading actions on wiretap suit

(Newser) - US District Judge Royce Lamberth released hundreds of secret filings yesterday, saying the CIA falsely claimed that state secrets were involved in a 15-year-old wiretapping lawsuit, McClatchy reports. The agency allowed the judge to continue believing that an agent involved in the case was undercover, when in reality that cover... More »

Wiretap Program Had 'Limited' Value: Fed Report

(Newser) - The Bush administration's warrantless wiretap program wasn't such a great anti-terror tool after all, says a new federal report. The wiretaps—on the international communication of Americans—"generally played a limited role" in counterterrorism efforts, despite the assertions of President Bush, Dick Cheney, and other top officials that they... More »

Your Cell Phone May Be Eavesdropping

(Newser) - Be careful where you leave your cell phone. All it takes is a quick download—the equivalent of loading a ringtone—to install software that wiretaps your calls and even records ambient noise when the phone is unused. Experts say a surprising number of spouses, co-workers, and parents are using... More »

US Judge Boots Warrantless Wiretap Cases Vs. Telecoms

(Newser) - A federal judge has tossed out more than three dozen lawsuits filed against the nation's telecommunications companies for allegedly taking part in the government's email and telephone eavesdropping program that was done without court approval. The dismissals were widely expected after Congress in July agreed on new surveillance rules that... More »

Wiretap Catches Rep Making Deal for Pro-Israel Lobby Group

Bushies helped kill probe of Dem Harman

(Newser) - A wiretap by the National Security Agency caught California Rep. Jane Harman promising a suspected Israeli agent she’d intervene on behalf of two pro-Israeli lobbyists facing espionage charges, sources tell CQ Politics. In exchange, the agent promised to pressure then-minority leader Nancy Pelosi into making Harman chair of the... More »

Timing of Blago Call, Jarrett's Senate Retreat Questioned

Obama aide reported out of consideration Nov. 10, same day as marathon bull session

(Newser) - The timing of reports that Valerie Jarrett, a top aide to Barack Obama, was out of the running to succeed him in the Senate, and the Nov. 10 conference call on which Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich discussed selling that seat is raising questions, the Wall Street Journal reports. The FBI... More »

Judge Demands White House Turn Over Wiretap Memos

He'll determine if their public release would jeopardize national security

(Newser) - A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to turn over legal memos related to the government's policy allowing warrantless wiretapping, reports the Los Angeles Times. The memos must be turned over by Nov. 17 for review by US District Judge Henry Kennedy, who will determine if releasing them would... More »

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