Michael Clayton: You are the senior litigating partner of one of the largest, most respected law firms in the world. You are a legend.
Arthur Edens: I’m an accomplice!
Michael Clayton: You’re a manic-depressive!
Arthur Edens: I am Shiva, the god of death.
— Michael Clayton
Congress now is hotly debating domestic spying powers under the main law governing U.S. surveillance aimed at foreign threats, writes the Wall Street Journal today. An expansion of those powers expired last month and awaits renewal, which could be voted on in the House of Representatives this week.
The White House and Congress are embattled over whether companies should be given retroactive immunity for participation in the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. The NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls reported USA Today two years ago. Blogrunner has the latest poop.
The biggest point of contention over the law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, is whether telecommunications and other companies should be made immune from liability for assisting government surveillance.
Largely missing from the public discussion is the role of the highly secretive NSA in analyzing that data, collected through little-known arrangements that can blur the lines between domestic and foreign intelligence gathering.
Supporters say the NSA is serving as a key bulwark against foreign terrorists and that it would be reckless to constrain the agency’s mission. The NSA says it is scrupulously following all applicable laws and that it keeps Congress fully informed of its activities.
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, reported USA Today, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth.
A “Quantico circuit” provides the FBI with access to cellular records, claims a security consultant. A third party can then have access to the billing system and your Electronic Security Number (ESN), which uniquely identifies mobile devices, says the seven-page affidavit (pdf) by the Government Accountability Project. The allegations warrant further investigation of Retroactive Immunity, wrote Chairmen John Dingell of the Energy and Commerce Committee which has oversight on the issue.
The ‘Home Location Register‘ is a central database that contains details of each mobile phone subscriber. It stores details of every SIM card and your unique identifier called an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) which is the primary key to each phone record.
Related DailyWireless articles include; Your Data: For Sale, Cell Location Tracked by Government, Domestic Spying Immunity, Microsoft: $44.6B for Yahoo!, NSA@Home, MetroFi SideGuide: Always On Intrusion, Cell Location Tracked by Government, Martin: Forgetabout NSA Query, Warrantless Wiretap Immunity?, F.I.A. FUBAR, Nightmare or Reality?, Dataveillance, and Information Awareness Office