The legislation would create a special advocate's office tasked with arguing in favor of stronger privacy protections before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Currently, the court only hears arguments from government attorneys in favor of surveillance. The advocate would be able to appeal decisions and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board would be given subpoena power to investigate issues related to privacy and national security.
The bill would also require the attorney general to disclose significant court decisions related to an interpretation of law. Companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook would be able to reveal more statistics about the information they turn over to the government.
The legislation will face opposition from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who is working on her own bill to increase transparency but preserve most of the NSA's surveillance powers.
"I will do everything I can to prevent this [phone data] program from being canceled," Feinstein said on Wednesday.
Thursday's planned markup of Feinstein's NSA bill was postponed.
'TWTR' publishes S-1: Twitter published detailed business information on Thursday as part of its move to go public.
According to the S-1 form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Twitter has 218.3 million average monthly active users, and its revenue in the first half of the year was $253.6 million. The company plans to use the ticker symbol "TWTR."
The company warned that spam, security breaches and privacy concerns all pose threats to its business. It also said it could have to change its business practices in response to data protection laws or other new regulations.
Twitter is required to follow a 2011 Federal Trade Commission order related to improper security practices.
"We expect to continue to be the subject of regulatory inquiries, investigations and audits in the future by the FTC and other regulators around the world," Twitter wrote.
The company also said it depends on expanding mobile Internet use and warned it faces competition from Facebook (including Instagram), Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Yahoo.
Internet freedom deteriorating: Internet freedom is declining around the world, according to Freedom House, which released its annual paper on Internet Freedom Thursday. While the world has focused on U.S. surveillance programs after Edward Snowden’s revelations, “disconcerting efforts to both monitor and censor Internet activity have been taking place in other parts of the world with increased frequency and sophistication,” the paper said. Based on its study of 60 countries, Freedom House pointed to “the proliferation of laws, regulations, and directives to restrict online speech; a dramatic increase in arrests of individuals for something they posted online; legal cases and intimidation against social-media users; and a rise in surveillance.”
Ads coming to Instagram: Instagram users will begin seeing advertisements in their feeds, the Facebook-owned company announced in a blog post Thursday. The company said its rollout of advertisements will “start slowly.” Sponsored posts should “feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands,” the post said. “As always, you own your own photos and videos,” Instagram reassured users. “The introduction of advertising won’t change this.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden joked about putting Edward Snowden on a kill list.
Hayden also said he hopes the NSA is involved in targeted killings.
The group convened by President Obama to review the government’s surveillance programs should examine transparency and oversight measures, two tech industry associations said.
Facebook launched an initiative to combat cyber bullying in Maryland schools.
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