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US Patriot Act’s bulk collection provision expires

Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, which authorises bulk collection of phone records, has expired as of 1 June 2015, halting for the time being one of the government’s major tools for mass surveillance.

As EFF notes,

Section 215 now—at least temporarily—reverts to its pre-Patriot Act form, which doesn’t permit any collection of financial or communications records, and requires the Government to provide “specific and articulable facts” supporting a reason to believe that the target is an agent of a foreign power.

Last month, a a three-judge panel in New York ruled that Section 215 does not provide the authority for the bulk collection of domestic phone records.

Journalists, activists and even some politicians widely recognise that Section 215 only became controversial, and therefore subject to reform and expiration, thanks to Edward Snowden’s disclosures of NSA records, generating global debate on the government’s power and how to curb it.

Despite the temporary lapse, the US Senate plans to move forward with a vote this week on the USA Freedom Act, which would move collected phone metadata from government control to that of telecoms.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says Edward Snowden should not face prosecution

Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has suggested the United States should drop its prosecution of Edward Snowden, because his revelations have served the public and launched an international debate about electronic surveillance. Earlier this year, the United States unsealed a criminal complaint against Snowden that includes multiple Espionage Act counts, each of which carries a ten-year prison sentence.

Speaking at the launch of a report into surveillance commissioned by the UN General Assembly as a direct consequence of Edward Snowden’s revelations, Pillay said that “those who disclose human rights violations should be protected, we need them.”
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Help Edward Snowden to safety

Truthtellers should be protected, not persecuted or prosecuted. Edward Snowden’s safety lies in the hands of governments who have the power to make the offers of asylum he needs – but political leaders will not act unless they feel the popular pressure to do so. Here’s how we can show governments around the world that their citizens want a safe haven for Edward Snowden.

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Tier B allies

This undated internal NSA document illustrates the degrees of cooperation in the agency’s relationships with different foreign powers. “Tier A” and “Tier B” are elsewhere referred to as Second and Third Parties: see the book No Place To Hide, 13 May 2014.

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