Liberties groups push for information on Yahoo email surveillance

Liberties groups push for information on Yahoo email surveillance
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A coalition of more than 30 civil liberties groups is encouraging the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to release information on reported surveillance of Yahoo's email system. 

Groups ranging from Amnesty International to the Electronic Frontier Foundation co-signed a letter asking Director of National Intelligence James Clapper release information about an alleged Federal order for Yahoo to install software to monitor its entire email platform. 

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“We believe such a massive scan of the emails of millions of people, particularly if it involves the scanning of email content, could violate FISA, the Fourth Amendment, and international human rights law, and has grave implications for privacy,” reads the letter.

The letter comes as Reuters reports U.S. officials do not believe the surveillance order sent to Yahoo will ever be released, even to the brunt of legislators. Administration officials reportedly briefed the heads of Congressional intelligence and judiciary committees. 

“I was surprised to read that,” said Elizabeth Goitein, the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at New York University’s Brennan Center, a signatory of the letter. 

“I just released a report on secret law including extensive talks with ODNI where they assured me of their commitment to declassifying these types of orders. It would be surprising to hear there are plans they would be reneging on their commitment.”

The letter asks for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act transcripts permitting the surveillance, disclose how the software was used and enumerate how often similar orders have been issued.