Finally! Some pushback against NSA spying
The Michigan government passed a landmark law in June that received very little media attention. It is mostly a symbolic law, but in this case the symbolism is important.
According to Michigan’s Fourth Amendment Rights Protection Act, also known as Public Act 71 of 2018, state and local governments can only assist or provide support to the federal government’s collection of data if there is a search warrant or the informed consent of the targeted party. The bill is set to take effect in just a few weeks on June 17th.
...“This new law guarantees no state resources will be used to help the federal government execute mass warrantless surveillance programs that violate the Fourth Amendment protections enshrined in the U.S. Constitution,” Howrylak said soon after the bill was first passed earlier this year in March.
“Michigan will not assist the federal government with any data collection unless it is consistent with the constitution,” he added.
...The only state to have passed a bill similar to Michigan’s is California, which passed the Fourth Amendment Protection Act in 2014. However, that piece of legislation protects the Fourth Amendment in name only as it bans local assistance “in response to a request from a federal agency” and “if the state has actual knowledge that the request constitutes an illegal or unconstitutional collection.”
In most cases the federal government doesn't need local assistance to violate your fourth amendment rights, but if every state passed a similar law it would both send a powerful political message, and it would cause a considerable drain on the domestic spying agencies resources.
Consider the current state of America in which a law must be passed to require authorities must act "consistent with the constitution".
Five years later, Snowden's whistleblowing is still having positive effects in the world.
GCHQ’s methods for bulk interception of online communications violated privacy and failed to provide sufficient surveillance safeguards, the European court of human rights has ruled.
But the ECHR found that GCHQ’s regime for sharing sensitive digital intelligence with foreign governments was not illegal, and it explicitly confirmed that bulk interception with tighter safeguards was permissible.
The ruling, which follows Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations, is a comprehensive assessment by the ECHR of interception operations carried out until recently by UK intelligence agencies.
Unfortunately, unlike Europe, when Snowden's revelations finally made it to the U.S. courts, our legal system bent over backwards to protect domestic spying.
The National Security Agency vacuumed up more than 534 million records of phone calls and text messages from American telecommunications providers like AT&T and Verizon last year — more than three times what it collected in 2016, a new report revealed on Friday.
The new report — an annual set of surveillance-related statistics issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — did not explain why the number of records increased so dramatically.
This massive expansion of domestic spying happened even while the NSA admitted they were breaking their own rules, again.
We badly need more pushback against the abuse of our civil right in this country, and fighting back appears to be immensely popular in a bipartisan way. It looks like a political opportunity for any party that would take up the fight.