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"The policies do not always lead to perfect outcomes," top Facebook official says.
The love and sympathy of everyone at Borough Market goes out to all those affected by last nightrsquo;s terrorist attack at Finsbury Park.
Seeing yet more people killed and injured on our cityrsquo;s streets, just as our own community is starting to get back on its feet after the atrocity here, is deeply harrowing.
If there is any comfort we can offer to the people of Finsbury Park, it is this: we have seen up-close... Source: RealWire
'We are in real trouble if we apply blunt weapons to this' UK government ministers calling for increased surveillance abilities in the wake of last Wednesday's terrorist attack have encountered opposition from a somewhat unexpected quarter.…
Hit list: Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia The UK has banned airline passengers on direct inbound flights from six countries in the Middle East and North Africa from taking a range of electronic devices into the cabin due to fears of a terrorist attack.…
Medieval terror bastards not great at hacking says ex-top NSA lawyer RSA USA  There’s no need to panic about the threat of a major online terrorist attack, since ISIS and their allies are all talk and no trousers.

That's according to the former head of the US National Counterterrorism Center.…
EnlargeCary Bass-Deschenes reader comments 3 Share this story As a tumultuous 2016 draws to a close, one case distilled contemporary law enforcement, terrorism, encryption, and surveillance issues more than any other: the case popularly known as “FBI vs.

Apple.” The ordeal began on February 16 when a federal judge in Riverside, California, ordered Apple to help the government unlock and decrypt the seized iPhone 5C used by Syed Rizwan Farook.

Farook had shot up an office party in a terrorist attack in nearby San Bernardino in December 2015. Specifically, United States Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym mandated that Apple provide the FBI a custom firmware file, known as an IPSW file, that would likely enable investigators to brute force the passcode lockout currently on the phone, which was running iOS 9.

This order was unprecedented. Apple refused, and the two sides battled it out in court filings and the court of public opinion for weeks. But the day before they were set to argue before the judge in Riverside, prosecutors called it off.

They announced that federal investigators had found some mysterious way to access the contents of Farook’s phone, but provided hardly any details.
In April 2016, Ars reported that the FBI paid at least $1.3 million for a way to access the phone.

But getting into the phone seems to have resulted in little, if any, meaningful benefits. The underlying legal issue remains unresolved.
In May 2016, FBI Director James Comey noted that the government would likely bring further legal challenges in the near future.

The law is clearly struggling to keep up with the current realities of encryption.

These issues impact not only national security cases, but also more run-of-the-mill crimes. In short, many of the most profound questions of our time have yet to be resolved.

These include: what measures can the government take in order to mitigate encryption? What tools can the government employ in order to conduct legitimate investigations? Can a person or a company be compelled to hand over a password or fingerprint to unlock a phone or create new software to achieve that end? In years past, Ars has tried to predict what privacy-related cases would reach the Supreme Court.

Given that our track record has been abysmal, we’re going to take a slightly different approach this year.

Today, we’ll update the five surveillance-related cases that we thought would become huge in 2016.

Tomorrow, we’ll expand our outlook to include other important legal cases still ongoing in 2017 that touch on important tech issues. Not exactly an angel on top Case: United States v. MohamudStatus: 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected appeal in December 2016 As with last year, we’ll begin with the story of a terrorism suspect who was convicted of attempting to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon, in 2010.

That case involved a Somali-American, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who became a radicalized wannabe terrorist. Mohamud believed that he was corresponding with an Al-Qaeda sympathizer, and he was eventually introduced to another man who he believed was a weapons expert.

Both of those men were with the FBI. Mohamud thought it would be a good idea to target the ceremony on November 27, 2010. He was arrested possessing what he believed was a detonator, but it was, in fact, a dud. Earlier this month, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an effort to overturn Mohamed Osman Mohamud’s conviction on the grounds that the surveillance to initially identify the suspect did not require a warrant. Mohamud went to trial, was eventually found guilty, and was then sentenced to 30 years in prison. After the conviction, the government disclosed that it used surveillance under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act to collect and search Mohamud's e-mail.
Seeing this, Mohamud’s legal team attempted to re-open the case, but the 9th Circuit disagreed. As the 9th Circuit ruled: "The panel held that no warrant was required to intercept the overseas foreign national’s communications or to intercept a U.S. person’s communications incidentally." From here, Mohamud and his legal team could ask that the 9th Circuit re-hear the appeal with a full panel of judges (en banc), or they could appeal up to the Supreme Court.
If either court declines, the case is over, and the ruling stands. Slowly turning wheels of justice Case: United States v. HasbajramiStatus: Appeal pending in 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals Similar to Mohamud, another notable terrorism case revolves around Section 702 surveillance.

As we reported at this time last year, Hasbajrami involves a United States person (citizen or legal resident) accused of attempting to provide support for terrorism-related activities.

According to the government, Agron Hasbajrami, an Albanian citizen and Brooklyn resident, traded e-mails with a Pakistan-based terror suspect back in 2011.

The terror suspect claimed to be involved in attacks against the US military in Afghanistan.

After he was apprehended, Hasbajrami pleaded guilty in 2013 to attempting to provide material support to terrorists. After he pleaded guilty, the government informed Hasbajrami that, like with Mohamud, it had used Section 702 surveillance against him, and the case was re-opened. Many cases that have tried to fight surveillance have fallen down for lack of standing. Hasbajrami’s case is different, however, because he can definitively prove that he was spied upon by the government. As his case neared trial in mid-2015, Hasbajrami pleaded guilty a second time.

But shortly thereafter, he moved to withdraw the plea again, which the judge rejected.
So the case progressed to the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals. Earlier this year, when we expected to see Hasbajrami’s first appellate filing, his new lawyers filed an application with the judge.

They asked that the case be held “in abeyance,” which essentially puts a kind of stay on the appeals process.

The 2nd Circuit agreed. The reason? Because US District Judge John Gleeson, then the judge at the lower-court level, issued a classified opinion “which directly relates to and impacts the issues to be raised on appeal.” United States v. Hasbajrami was delayed when Judge Gleeson stepped down from the bench in late February. While Judge Gleeson’s opinion was released (in a redacted form) to the defense attorneys, by September, defense attorneys argued again in filings to the new judge that they possess adequate security clearance and should be given access to this material, unredacted. As they wrote: In that context, the government repeatedly fails—in its argument as well as the authority it cites—to distinguish public release of the redacted portions from providing security-cleared defense counsel access to that material. Here, all Mr. Hasbajrami seeks is the latter.

Thus, the dangers of dissemination beyond to those already authorized to review classified information simply do not exist, and the government’s contentions with respect to national security serve as a red herring. The most recent entry in either the appellate or district court docket is an October 31 filing.
In it, defense attorneys inform the 2nd Circuit that they are still waiting for Chief US District Judge Dora Irizarry to rule on receiving the unredacted version. One of Hasbajrami’s attorneys is Joshua Dratel.

Dratel is famous for having defended (and still defending) Ross Ulbricht, the convicted mastermind behind the Silk Road drug marketplace website. The Free Encyclopedia Case: Wikimedia v. NSAStatus: Appeal pending in 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals Of course, Section 702 is just one of many ways the government is conducting surveillance beyond its intended target. Wikimedia v. NSA is one of several cases that has tried to target the “upstream” setup that allows the NSA to grab data directly off fiber optic cables. Wikimedia, which publishes Wikipedia, filed its case originally in March 2015.
In it, the company argues that the government is engaged in illegal and unconstitutional searches and seizures of these groups’ communications. But, in October 2015, US District Judge T.S.

Ellis III dismissed the case. He found that Wikimedia and the other plaintiffs had no standing and could not prove that they had been surveilled.

That action largely echoed a 2013 Supreme Court decision, Clapper v.

Amnesty International
. The plaintiffs filed their appeal to the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals immediately.
In their February 2016 opening brief, which was written by top attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union, they argue essentially that Wikipedia traffic had to have been captured in the National Security Agency’s snare because it’s one of the most-trafficked sites on the Internet. They wrote: In other words, even if the NSA were conducting Upstream surveillance on only a single circuit, it would be copying and reviewing the Wikimedia communications that traverse that circuit.

But the government has acknowledged monitoring multiple internet circuits—making it only more certain that Wikimedia’s communications are being copied and reviewed. Moreover, the NSA’s own documents indicate that it is copying and reviewing Wikimedia’s communications.

Taken together, these detailed factual allegations leave no doubt as to the plausibility of Wikimedia’s standing. The government, for its part, countered by saying that the 4th Circuit should uphold the district court’s ruling. Why? Because, as it argued in April 2016, Wikimedia’s argument is largely speculative. ... the facts do not support plaintiffs’ assumption that Wikimedia’s communications must traverse every fiber of every sub-cable such that, if the NSA is monitoring only one fiber or even one sub-cable, it still must be intercepting, copying, and reviewing Wikimedia’s communications. Beyond that, the government continued, even if Wikimedia’s communications were intercepted, the plaintiffs have not demonstrated how they have actually been injured, because a large portion of the NSA’s interception is done by machine. The government continued: Indeed, plaintiffs’ complaint generally fails to state a cognizable injury because, whatever the nature of the particular communications at issue, plaintiffs have made no allegation that interception, copying, and filtering for selectors involve any human review of the content of those communications. The two sides squared off at the 4th Circuit in Baltimore on December 8, 2016 for oral arguments.

A decision is expected within the next few months. Fast food, fast crimes Case: United States v.

Graham
Status: Decided en banc at 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, cert petition filed to Supreme Court This case was a big hope for many civil libertarians and privacy activists.

An appeals court had initially rejected the thorny third-party doctrine and found that, because the two suspects voluntarily disclosed their own location to their mobile carrier via their phones, they did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. But in May 2016, the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in an en banc ruling, found in favor of the government.

The court concluded that police did not, in fact, need a warrant to obtain more than 200 days' worth of cell-site location information (CSLI) for two criminal suspects. As the court ruled: The Supreme Court may in the future limit, or even eliminate, the third-party doctrine.

Congress may act to require a warrant for CSLI.

But without a change in controlling law, we cannot conclude that the Government violated the Fourth Amendment in this case. This case dates back to February 5, 2011 when two men robbed a Burger King and a McDonald’s in Baltimore.

Ten minutes later, they were caught and cuffed by Baltimore City Police officers.

Eventually, Aaron Graham and Eric Jordan were charged with 17 federal counts of interstate robbery, including a pair of fast food robberies and another one at a 7-Eleven.

They also received charges for brandishing a firearm in furtherance of the crime. A Baltimore City Police detective first sought and obtained a search warrant for the two cell phones recovered during a search of the getaway car. Prosecutors later obtained a court order (a lesser standard than a warrant) granting disclosure of the defendants’ CSLI data for various periods totaling 14 days when the suspects were believed to have been involved in robberies.

The government next applied for (and received) a second application to another magistrate judge for a new set of CSLI data, covering a period of July 1, 2010 through February 6, 2011 (221 days). In August 2012, Graham and Jordan were found guilty on nearly all counts.

They were sentenced to 147 years in prison and 72 years, respectively. Meghan Skelton, Graham’s public defender, has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, which has not yet decided whether it will hear the case. Who is the Dread Pirate Roberts? Cases: United States v. Ulbricht and United States v.

Bridges
Status: Appeals pending in 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively While Section 702 surveillance and cell-site location information are important, there was one defendant who was defeated largely by snatching his laptop out of his hands: Ross Ulbricht.

The young Texan was convicted as being Dread Pirate Roberts, the creator of the notorious online drug market Silk Road. Later on in 2015, Ulbricht was given a double life sentence, despite emotional pleas from himself, his family, and friends for far less. 2016 kicked off with Ross Ulbricht’s formal appeal to the 2nd Circuit.

Ars described it as a “170-page whopper that revisits several of the evidentiary arguments that Ulbricht's lawyer made at trial.” These included theories that Ulbricht wasn’t Dread Pirate Roberts, and it attributed digital evidence found on Ulbricht’s computer to “vulnerabilities inherent to the Internet and digital data,” like hacking and fabrication of files.

According to the appeal, these “vulnerabilities” made “much of the evidence against Ulbricht inauthentic, unattributable to him, and/or ultimately unreliable.” Plus, corrupt federal agents Shaun Bridges and Carl Mark Force tarnished the case against Ulbricht, claimed his lawyer.

That lawyer is Joshua Dratel, who makes his second appearance on this list. The government responded with its own 186-page whopper on June 17, 2016.

After a lengthy recap of the entire case, United States Attorney Preet Bharara opened his arguments with a notable flaw in Ulbricht’s logic: But nowhere, either below or here, has Ulbricht explained, other than in the most conclusory way, how the corruption of two agents—who neither testified at his trial nor generated the evidence against him—tended to disprove that he was running Silk Road from his laptop. In short, the government argues, Ulbricht was caught red-handed, and the appeals court should uphold both the conviction and the sentence. The following month, federal prosecutors in San Francisco unsealed new court documents that make a strong case that former agent Bridges stole another $600,000 in bitcoins after he pleaded guilty. By August 2016, Bridges’ lawyer Davina Pujari filed what she herself said was a “legally frivolous” appeal to the 9th Circuit on behalf of her client, and she asked to be removed from the case.

Bridges’ case remains pending at the appellate level, and no oral arguments have been scheduled. (Pujari is still Bridges’ lawyer for now.) Bridges remains a prisoner at the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institute in Indiana, where he is scheduled for release in 2021. Later in August, Ars chronicled the saga of how a San Francisco-based federal prosecutor joined forces with a dogged Internal Revenue Service special agent to bring Bridges and Force to justice. Meanwhile, Ulbricht’s lawyers, led by Joshua Dratel, faced off at the 2nd Circuit against federal prosecutors on October 6, 2016 to challenge Ulbricht’s conviction and sentence.

The court is expected to rule within the next few months.
Apple may have refused to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter, but the tech industry is still better off working with the U.S. government on encryption issues than turning away, according to a former official with the Obama administration. “The government can get very creative,” said Daniel Rosenthal, who served as the counterterrorism director in the White House until January this year. He fears that the U.S. government will choose to “go it alone” and take extreme approaches to circumventing encryption, especially if another terrorist attack occurs. “The solutions they come up with are going to be less privacy protective,” he said during a talk at the Versus 16 cybersecurity conference. “People will think they are horrifying, and I don’t want us to see us get to that place.” Rosenthal made his comments as President-elect Donald Trump—who previously called for a boycott of Apple during its dispute with the FBI—prepares to take office in January. A Trump administration has a “greater likelihood” than the Obama administration of supporting legislation that will force tech companies to break into their customers’ encrypted data when ordered by a judge, Rosenthal said. “You have a commander-in-chief, who said at least on the campaign trail he’s more favorable towards a backdoor regime,” Rosenthal said. Earlier this year, one such bill was proposed that met with staunch opposition from privacy advocates. However, in the aftermath of another terrorist attack, Congress might choose to push aside those concerns and pass legislation drafted without the advice of Silicon Valley, he said.   Rosenthal went on to say that U.S. law enforcement needs surveillance tools to learn about terrorist plots, and that’s where the tech industry can help.

During his time in the White House, he noticed a “dramatic increase” in bad actors using encryption to thwart government efforts to spy on them. “There are people trying to come up with a reasonable solution,” he said of efforts to find a middle ground on the encryption debate. “To immediately say there is no solution is counter historical.” Michael Kan Cindy Cohn (right), executive director of EFF, and Daniel Rosenthal, former director of counterterrorism for the White House. However, Rosenthal’s comments were met with resistance from Cindy Cohn, executive director for Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocate.
She also spoke at the talk and opposed government efforts to weaken encryption, saying it “dumbs down” security. “This idea of a middle ground that you can come up with an encryption strategy that only lets good guy into your data, and never lets a bad guy into your data, misunderstands how the math works,” she said. Law enforcement already possess a wide variety of surveillance tools to track terrorists, she said.
In addition, tech companies continue to help U.S. authorities on criminal cases and national security issues, despite past disputes over privacy and encryption. But law enforcement has done little to recognize the risks of building backdoors into products, Cohn said. Not only would this weaken security for users, but also damage U.S. business interests. “If American companies can’t offer strong encryption, foreign companies are going to walk right into that market opportunity,” she said. Cohn also said any effort to force U.S. companies to weaken encryption wouldn’t necessarily help catch terrorists.

That’s because other strong encryption products from foreign vendors are also circulating across the world. “The idea that the Americans can make sure that ISIS never gets access to strong encryption is a pipe dream,” she said. “That’s why I think this is bad idea.

Because I don’t think it’s going to work.” The Versus 16 conference was sponsored by cybersecurity firm Vera. 
Just wait for FBI versus Apple: The Revenge Versus16 Silicon Valley should work with the US government in Washington to arrive at a solution that gives law enforcement access to encrypted comms, but that respects individual privacy. That's according to former White House counterterrorism and cybersecurity official Daniel Rosenthal, who was debating where the issue of encryption should go next. Nonsense, responded Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), on stage at the Versus conference in San Francisco.
If the tech sector offers some form of compromise now, the government will only come asking for more later. In the week since Donald Trump was elected president, tech companies have reported a 25 per cent spike in people encrypting their communications. The reason why is not hard to discern: on the campaign trail the Republican nominee repeatedly stated that he would be prepared to use the full power of the federal government to carry out his policy goals, which includes the forced deportation of millions of people, the surveillance of millions of others, and the pursuit of terrorism above all else. What's more, Trump weighed in on the biggest showdown in the past decade between law enforcement and the tech industry, telling crowds that they should boycott Apple over its refusal to bypass its own security and grant the FBI access to a locked phone that belonged to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. Risk Both Rosenthal and Cohn acknowledged that the likelihood of the executive branch of the US government pushing for a backdoor into encryption was "significantly greater" under the Trump Administration. Although both offered some consolation: Rosenthal said there still remained forces within the executive branch that would argue for the value of strong encryption and the importance of privacy; Cohn promises that the EFF will continue to fight – as it has for decades – to prevent government overreach. But while both agreed in general, Rosenthal and Cohn represented two very different viewpoints, themselves reflecting two very different attitudes on the East and West Coasts of the United States. Both agreed that the bill put forward by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr in April was a horrible piece of legislation (it eventually died, but not without significant effort being made to kill it). Rosenthal warned, however, that if the tech industry rules out working on ways to open up access to encrypted data, it may find itself left out the conversation when the "inevitable" next terrorist attack hits the United States and the government reacts to it with new laws. Cohn stuck with well-worn arguments about the mathematics of encryption: weakened encryption is weak for everyone, and a backdoor is a backdoor as much for bad actors as for law enforcement. She also warned that if the US government pushes a law to undermine encryption, it sends a signal to the rest of the world's governments, and makes it impossible for tech companies to stand up to other, inevitable demands from across the world. Déjà vu This is not the first time this debate has played out – for months this year the back-and-forth over encryption turned into fixed positions. Rosenthal fell back on flattering the West Coast as being "much smarter" and urging tech companies to figure out a way to make breakable encryption possible.
In response, Cohn offered the logic of math and argued that everyone has access to prime numbers.
She shook her head at the Washington, DC policy process of finding a middle ground between opposing sides: there is no middle ground on encryption – it works or it doesn't. Fortunately, neither fed into the familiar insults traded between the coasts – but they did reference them: Silicon Valley doesn't care about terrorism; Washington, DC doesn't care about its citizens' privacy. Rosenthal thinks that Apple should feel an obligation to be a "good citizen"; Cohn notes that law enforcement agencies should be obliged to follow the law and run all requests for information through the legal process – "because companies are not always in the best position to evaluate requests or know if the system is being misused." In short, despite the best efforts of two very knowledgeable individuals actively looking to find some common ground, nothing new was uncovered. It's also notable that neither Cohn nor Rosenthal currently possess government or tech industry roles.
It is, of course, possible that there are lots of positive conversations going on behind closed doors between DC and Silicon Valley.

But it seems unlikely. What seems even more unlikely is that the conversation will start with the arrival of the Trump Administration.

Trump's stated policies are in many ways antithetical to both the politics and the finances of Silicon Valley. Trouble ahead When that inevitable next terrorist attack does come, we can expect to see the Apple versus FBI argument return – but this time with much greater odds and carried out in much louder voices. Just as with the election itself, there is increasingly less room for compromise. One side will win, and one side will lose. Where will it fall? It will come down to Trump and whether he can persuade Congress to enact a new law.

The Obama Administration was split on the issue and the President very publicly sat on the fence.

That is far less likely to happen with the President-elect. If there is a large terrorist attack, as Rosenthal noted, the people's concerns about privacy will fall away if they are offered a firm hand and a clearly stated solution. And while Tim Cook has taken a principled stance on privacy and encryption, and Google and Facebook and many other tech companies have said they support that view – no one has ever said they will ignore the law of the land. ® Sponsored: Customer Identity and Access Management
Enlarge / The lawyers are petitioning a court housed in the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco.Bloomberg / Getty Images News reader comments 7 Share this story Two lawyers and legal researchers based at Stanford University have formally asked a federal court in San Francisco to unseal numerous records of surveillance-related cases, as a way to better understand how authorities seek such powers from judges.

This courthouse is responsible for the entire Northern District of California, which includes the region where tech companies such as Twitter, Apple, and Google, are based. According to the petition, Jennifer Granick and Riana Pfefferkorn were partly inspired by a number of high-profile privacy cases that have unfolded in recent years, ranging from Lavabit to Apple’s battle with the Department of Justice. As they wrote in their Wednesday filing: Most surveillance orders are sealed, however.

Therefore, the public does not have a strong understanding of what technical assistance courts may order private entities to provide to law enforcement.

There are at least 70 cases, many under seal, in which courts have mandated that Apple and Google unlock mobile phones—and potentially many more.

The Lavabit district court may not be the only court to have ordered companies to turn over private encryption keys to law enforcement based on novel interpretations of law.

Courts today may be granting orders forcing private companies to turn on microphones or cameras in cars, laptops, mobile phones, smart TVs, or other audio- and video-enabled Internet-connected devices in order to conduct wiretapping or visual surveillance. This pervasive sealing cripples public discussion of whether these judicial orders are lawful and appropriate. In their 45-page petition, they specifically say that they don’t need all sealed surveillance records, simply those that should have been unsealed—which, unfortunately, doesn’t always happen automatically. Petitioners seek the unsealing of underlying materials only from cases where there is no longer any need for secrecy, e.g., the criminal investigation has terminated, the surveillance order (including any delayed-notice order) has expired, or charges have been filed.

These records are public documents and should be publicly docketed and unsealed unless good cause exists on a case-by-case basis for continued secrecy based on the facts and circumstances of the individual matter. Granick is the director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and previously worked at Zwillgen, one of the law firms that represented Apple in the wake of the December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernadino. Pfefferkorn is the Cryptography Fellow at the same Stanford group.

Both women have been outspoken on the issue of expansive government surveillance. The petition has yet to be assigned to a judge, and as such, hearings have not been scheduled.
Enlarge / Kuwaiti customs desks like these could start taking mandatory DNA samples of visitors as soon as this November.YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / Getty Images News reader comments 12 Share this story A Kuwaiti lawyer has filed a formal constitutional challenge to his country’s controversial mandatory DNA law, which is reportedly set to take effect in November 2016. The law mandates DNA collection from all citizens and resident foreigners, a total of about 3.5 million people, plus all visitors to the tiny Gulf state.

The law was quickly passed by the Kuwaiti Parliament after a July 2015 terrorist attack in the capital left nearly 30 people dead.

By having a large database of everyone’s DNA, presumably it would be easier to identify victims of terrorism or perhaps even criminal suspects. The law, believed to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world, is viewed by many critics as being not only ineffective as a tool to combat terrorism but as being a potentially huge privacy liability if this database were to be stolen or hacked.
Still, anyone who refuses collection could be subject to imprisonment or a fine of about $33,000, according to the Kuwait Times. “Compelling every citizen, resident, and visitor to submit a DNA sample to the government is similar to forcing house searches without a warrant,” Adel Abdulhadi, the attorney, told New Scientist. “The body is more sacred than houses.” The Kuwaiti attorney also argued in a Wednesday statement that this law was in violation of “Islamic Sharia”—the Constitution of Kuwait is explicitly based on this traditional Islamic law. Some fear that this law could be used as a blunt weapon, for example to determine paternity in a country where adultery is illegal.

The Kuwait Times also reported earlier this month that some people may be in a rush to sell their homes and leave the country as a way to avoid the DNA collection. Many activists are concerned that a DNA scan could somehow be used as a further wedge between native-born Kuwaitis, other citizens, and “Bedoons,” a group of hundreds of thousands of stateless and often poor people who are routinely denied government benefits. Neither Abdulhadi nor the Embassy of Kuwait in Washington, DC, immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment. Law and order In the United States, it's legal for law enforcement to perform DNA collection on arrested individuals.

This law was upheld in 2013 in the landmark 5-4 Supreme Court decision, Maryland v. King. In a powerful dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia blasted his colleagues in the majority: “Perhaps the construction of such a genetic panopticon is wise.

But I doubt that the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection." In California, a case known as People v.

Buza
 is still pending at the state’s supreme court.

A lower court ruled in 2014 that a California law that required a DNA sample from anyone arrested on felony suspicions violated the state’s constitution, which explicitly states “privacy” as an “inalienable right.” At the federal level under the King standard, however, at least one scholar doesn’t view it as that far of a leap for the United States to implement some sort of DNA collection at the border. “Maryland v. King, which authorized collection of DNA from arrestees, spoke in broad terms about the government’s interest in using DNA as a means of verifying identity, and there is also fairly generous Fourth Amendment law about suspicionless searches at the border,” Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University who has written extensively on this issue, e-mailed Ars. “So that suggests border collection would likely be upheld.

A program that collected DNA from all citizens (say, at birth) for a law enforcement database, however, would be more likely to run into opposition.”
Edward Snowden speaks via video link at a news conference for the launch of a campaign calling for President Obama to pardon him on September 14.Spencer Platt / Getty Images Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has asked President Barack Obama for a pardon, and the ACLU, which represents Snowden in the US, agrees.

The following essay by Timothy Edgar, which originally appeared on the blog Lawfare, supports that position.

Edgar is the former director of privacy and civil liberties for the Obama administration's national security staff, and is currently the academic director of law and policy at Brown University's Executive Master in Cybersecurity program, and visiting scholar at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. reader comments 62 Share this story I have signed on to the letter asking President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden that was released today.
I know this will be an unpopular position among many of my former colleagues in the national security community. My reasons for doing so are not fully captured by that letter. They are different from those who see Snowden simply as a hero and the NSA as the villain. I have concluded that a pardon for Edward Snowden, even if he does not personally deserve one, is in the broader interests of the nation. Around the time Edward Snowden got his first job in the intelligence community, I decided to leave my position as an ACLU lawyer in the hope I could make a difference by going inside America’s growing surveillance state.
Surprisingly, senior intelligence officials took a chance on hiring me in a unique new office safeguarding civil liberties and privacy.
I began work in June 2006. For the next seven years, I worked with a growing team of internal privacy watchdogs inside the intelligence community. We reviewed the most secret surveillance programs in government, including the major programs that Snowden later leaked. Our job was to ensure those programs had a firm basis in law and included protections for privacy and civil liberties. While I am proud of the work we did, it is fair to say that until Snowden stole a trove of top secret documents and gave them to reporters in 2013, we had limited success. It took a Snowden to spark meaningful change. The NSA’s operations are essential to national security and to international stability, but it is hard to reconcile them with the values of a free society. Snowden forced the NSA to become more transparent, more accountable, more protective of privacy—and more effective.

Today, the NSA’s vital surveillance operations are on a sounder footing—both legally and in the eyes of the public—than ever before. For that, the United States government has reason to say, “Thank you, Edward Snowden.” The Snowden Reforms In the last four years, there have been more significant reforms to mass surveillance than we saw in the four decades before the Snowden revelations began. Not since the post-Watergate reforms of the Ford and Carter administrations has the intelligence community faced such scrutiny. The NSA has taken painful steps to open up.

The most secret of the government’s secret agencies will never be a model of transparency.
Still, it has never been more transparent than it is today. Before Snowden, basic information like the number of targets of the NSA’s mass surveillance operations affected by court-ordered surveillance was a closely-guarded secret.

Today, the head of the intelligence community publishes an annual transparency report that provides these and other details. Before Snowden, the NSA used a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act to amass a nationwide database of American telephone records.

Congress has nowreplaced this program of bulk collection with an alternative program that leaves the data with telephone companies. Before Snowden, the secret court that authorizes intelligence surveillance never heard more than the government’s side of the argument. Now, outside lawyersroutinely appear to argue the case for privacy. Before Snowden, there was no written order, directive or policy that gave any consideration to the privacy of foreigners outside the United States. When intelligence officials asked lawyers like me about privacy, it went without saying that we were talking about American citizens and residents.

Today, for the first time in history, a presidential directive requires privacy rules for surveillance programs that affect foreigners outside the United States. In an agreement with the European Union, the American government has been forced to adopt new protections for foreign data.
In the next few years, the NSA’s partners in the United Kingdom will have to justify the surveillance practices of both countries in court against human rights challenges. In 2017, Congress will review PRISM—a program leaked by Snowden that allows the NSA to obtain e-mails and other communications from American technology companies.

The law that provides authority for PRISM expires at the end of the year.

The law also gives the NSA access to the internet backbone facilities of American telecommunications companies, in a program called “upstream collection.” Until Snowden leaked details about PRISM and upstream collection, little was known about how the law worked.

Thanks to Snowden, the debate over whether and how these programs should continue will be one in which the public is reasonably well informed – unlike the debates in Congress over the Patriot Act in 2001, 2005, 2009, and 2011, over the Protect America Act in 2007, over the FISA Amendments Act in 2008 and 2012, and over the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act in the Supreme Court in 2013. The NSA’s new transparency about its surveillance operations showed that they were designed not to bring about a dystopian society where privacy would be abolished, but to collect intelligence vital to the national security.

To be sure, Snowden’s trove of documents and the investigations that followed showed some programs were more effective than others.  The same privacy board that reviewed PRISM said that the NSA’s bulk collection of American telephone records had “minimal value.” The board could find “no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.” Still, there has been remarkably little evidence of intentional abuse of the NSA’s sweeping powers for improper purposes unrelated to intelligence. None was revealed by Snowden. In response to inquiries from Congress in the fall of 2013, the NSA itself disclosed that itsinspector general had uncovered a dozen incidents over ten years in which analysts used overseas collection to spy on ex-girlfriends. As a result, the programs Snowden exposed have all survived in some form.
In the case of telephone records, the NSA says that the privacy reforms adopted by Congress have actually resulted “access to a greater volume of call records” than before. Many of the NSA’s other mass surveillance programs also enjoy greater public support and legitimacy than they did before Snowden came along.

As Jack Goldsmith observes wryly, “These are but some of the public services for which the U.S. government has Snowden to thank.” A Failure of Leadership Edward Snowden’s actions caused great damage to national security. They should not have been necessary to achieve the sensible reforms of the past four years.

That they were represents a failure of leadership by the intelligence community and the national security teams of the previous two administrations.

For me, that failure is at least in part a personal one. As a privacy and civil liberties official inside the intelligence community, and later at the White House, my job was precisely to provide top officials with confidential advice about how to ensure that intelligence programs were protective of our liberties.
In doing so, I made just the sort of arguments that many have said Snowden should have raised internally instead of compromising classified information. Unlike Snowden, I had direct access to the officials that could have made surveillance reform a reality—and who did so, after the Snowden leaks forced their hand.

There is no way a junior NSA contractor could have accomplished more. Snowden’s critics argue that he should have made his concerns about privacy known through official channels without disclosing secrets and without breaking the law.

That would have achieved nothing—even in an imaginary world in which the agency had a perfect system for protecting whistleblowers.
Snowden’s concerns were not those of a traditional whistleblower. Snowden’s complaint was not that the NSA was violating its rules, but that its aggressive pursuit of its mission—even as it largely adhered to its existing rules – posed a serious risk to privacy in the digital age. If Snowden was wrong about mass surveillance being an “architecture of oppression,” he was certainly right about that, as many government officials have now acknowledged. There is an inherent tension between the values of a free society and mass surveillance. For Snowden and his supporters, the answer is easy. End mass surveillance—which is to say, most of what the NSA does.

Those of us who believe that the NSA’s far-flung operations are essential to national security and global stability have the harder task of keeping mass surveillance under control. If Snowden deserves our thanks for both this round of surveillance reform and the next, it is only because the laws and institutions we created to control surveillance had become so obsolete.
Intelligence agencies should not need the shock of massively damaging leak to abandon programs that are not working and refine and improve those that are.

Disclosing details of classified programs should not be the most effective way to force change. What Do We Do With Snowden? It makes no sense for the United States government to pursue Snowden like a digital age Inspector Javert while at the same time admitting that his actions strengthened both our civil liberties and our national security.

This is especially true because it was the intelligence community’s own shortcomings that made his reckless leak the only effective way to achieve reform. If Snowden returned to the United States today, of course, he would have to stand trial for disclosing classification communications intelligence, among other serious crimes.

This will never happen.
Snowden’s lawyers know he would likely be convicted and would face a lengthy prison term.  Under federal sentencing guidelines, an offender with no criminal history who is convicted of disclosing “Top Secret” communications information under 18 U.S.C. § 793(d) faces a prison term in the range of 168-210 months, or 14 to 17.5 years. See U.S.S.G.M. § 2M3.2. Snowden might face a considerably longer sentence if convicted of additional charges, or as a result of sentencing enhancements. Naturally, Snowden prefers to stay abroad. The law does not allow the public interest defense that Snowden says he wants, nor should it. Permitting such a defense would encourage copycats. A Snowden wannabe might hope his lawyer could convince a credulous jury that his leaks also had some positive outcome, even if the benefits were scant. The Snowden disclosures were a unique watershed event, resulting in historic reforms.
It is highly unlikely a future leak of classified surveillance information would produce such positive change. While Snowden might be enticed to return if offered a favorable plea agreement, negotiating such a deal would create poor incentives. One idea, favored by the top lawyer for the intelligence community, was for Snowden to plead guilty to a single felony charge and serve three to five years in exchange for his help undoing the damage he caused.

Through his lawyer, Snowden has said he would never plead guilty to a felony.
If a plea deal was ever really on the table, Snowden has less to offer every day, as the information he leaked becomes stale and the intelligence community moves on.
In any event, the Justice Department rightly objects to negotiating plea agreements with fugitives, to avoid giving those who flee prosecution an advantage over those that do not. The Status Quo Nevertheless, the status quo is clearly not in American interests.
Snowden’s exile in Russia is a continuing embarrassment.
Snowden has become a potent symbol for privacy and civil liberties, human rights, and an open internet in which surveillance operations are controlled by law. His presence in Moscow is a gift to Vladimir Putin, allowing the Russian president to cynically pose as a defender of digital human rights. Every time Snowden makes a virtual appearance before his admirers, the unspoken message is that he has been forced to seek asylum because the United States opposes these values. The message is no less effective for being false and unfair. By contrast with a trial or a plea agreement, a pardon is an unreviewable act of discretion by the president. Presidents have used them not only to correct injustices, but also when the broader interests of the nation outweigh the importance of punishing a crime even where some punishment is clearly deserved. Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon to help the country move beyond Watergate. Jimmy Carter pardoned draft dodgers to close the chapter on the Vietnam War. Pardons are exceedingly rare.

A pardon sets no precedent and so creates no incentives. Future leakers could not count on one.

Even if Snowden does not deserve a pardon for what former Attorney General Eric Holder called his act of “public service,” we should give him one and move on. We are the good guys. It is time for the world to know it again.
The SAIP app, which the French Interior Ministry announced ahead of Euro 2016, can alert users to a terrorist attack nearby or in areas they've designated. The French government on June 8 introduced SAIP, a mobile application designed to alert users of a terrorist attack or other highly dangerous event.SAIP, an acronym describing a system to alert the public with information, was released two days ahead of the Euro 2016, a European football (soccer) championship that begins June 10 and around which tremendous security preparations are taking place.On June 6, security services in the Ukraine arrested a French national whom they said was planning multiple terror attacks during the event.

According to BBC News, the man had guns, detonators and approximately 275 pounds of explosives.Available in French and English, SAIP turns a user's phone screen bright red and flashes the word "alert." It doesn't vibrate or emit a sound, in case the user is already hiding from a nearby attacker.
Very briefly, it describes what the situation is.

And at the bottom of the screen is a button stating "how to act" that offers guidance. The application can also be set up to provide alerts for select zip codes or neighborhoods—for example, parents whose child is attending a concert could set up the app to alert them to a situation where the concert will be.
It can be set up for eight different locations. According to the Website of the French Interior Ministry, alerts are issued after being validated by that department.The app follows planning meetings held after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.

According to Libération (in French), a Short Message Service (SMS) alert system was considered and ruled out, due to its cost and likelihood to overwhelm a wireless network.And while SAIP is based on geo-location, Libération reports that no personal data on the phone is made available to third parties and users' privacy is assured.Other apps have been created to provide alerts around terror threats.

G4S TravelAware, for example, helps employers stay connected to employees traveling abroad for work; TerrorView provides information about threats that it says can help people make life-saving decisions; and the U.S.

Department of Homeland Security created a First Responder Support Tools (FiRST) app for first responders.SAIP is notable for being released around a particular event.The U.S.
State Department issued a Europe Travel Alert May 31, alerting U.S. citizens to "the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation.France, it noted, has extended its state of emergency through July 26 "to cover the period of the soccer championship, as well as the Tour de France cycling race, which will be held from July 2 to 24."  The British government also issued a travel alert that it updated June 7. "During Euro 2016," it says, "stadiums, fan zones, venues broadcasting the tournament and transport hubs and links represent potential targets for terrorist attacks. You should be vigilant at all times, especially in areas hosting Euro 2016 events."SAIP is available for iOS and Android.