Foreign Intelligence

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Links to recent Foreign Intelligence Project related activities of the Center for Advanced Studies (updated 03/08). See also, Program on Law Enforcement and National Security in the Information Age (PLENSIA).

Related Congressional Testimony:

Testimony of Kim Taipale, executive director of the Center for Advanced Studies, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Modernization: Reconciling Signals Intelligence Activity with Targeted Wiretapping, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SCCI) Hearing on The Foreign Intelligence Modernization Act of 2007 (May 1, 2007).

K. A. (Kim) Taipale testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee

Testimony of Kim Taipale, executive director of the Center for Advanced Studies, "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Reform" before the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) (July 19, 2006). [Written Testimony]

See also, related: Testimony of Kim Taipale at the Hearing on the Privacy Implications of Government Data Mining Programs before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, DC (Jan. 10, 2007). [HTML] [PDF]

Related Journal Articles:

K. A. Taipale, The Ear of Dionysus: Rethinking Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, 9 Yale J. L. & Tech. 128 (Spring 2007) (see CAS News Alert 04.19.07).

K. A. Taipale, Rethinking Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, World Policy Journal, Vol. XXIII No. 4 (Winter 2006/07).

K. A. Taipale, Whispering Wires and Warrantless Wiretaps: Data Mining and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Sec., No. VII Supl., Bull. on L. & Sec.: The NSA and the War on Terror (Spring 2006).

Related Opinion Commentary:

Commentary (with James Jay Carafano), "Free the Hostages: Continuing FISA Concerns," National Review Online (Oct. 24, 2007).

Commentary (with James Jay Carafano), Fixing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, The Washington Times (Jan. 24, 2006).

Related Radio/Print Media:

Dan Eggen, "NSA Spying Part of Broader Effort; Intelligence Chief Says Bush Authorized Secret Activities Under One Order," Washington Post A:01 (Aug. 1, 2007).

Barry Levine, "What Does the NSA Know About You?" Newsfactor Magazine (July 24, 2006).

Scott Shane, "Experts Differ About Surveillance and Privacy," N. Y. Times (July 20, 2006).

James W. Brosnan, "Rep. Wilson promotes warrantless spying bill," Scripps Howard News Service (July 20, 2006).

Sarah Lai Stirland, "Experts Paint Different Pictures Of Surveillance Law," National Journal's Technology Daily (July 19, 2006):

Roger Pilon, "Surveillance in Perspective: Executive Checks on the Imperial Congress," The (Jun. 5, 2006).

NSA Surveillance, WHHY Radio Times, National Public Radio (May 16, 2006):

Kim Taipale, executive director of the Center for Advanced Studies (CAS), and Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, discuss the NSA surveillance programs. (1 hr.)

Balancing Privacy and Security, The Wall Street Journal (May 16, 2006):

Kim Taipale, executive director of CAS, and Marc Rothenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), discuss the role of technology in government surveillance efforts in The Wall Street Journal (May 16, 2006). Their online exchange is linked here.

Mark Williams, "The Total Information Awareness Project Lives On," MIT Technology Review (Apr. 26, 2006):

K. A. Taipale, executive director of the Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy, points out that in 1978, when FISA was drafted, it made sense to speak exclusively about intercepting a targeted communication, where there were usually two known ends and a dedicated communication channel that could be wiretapped.

With today's networks, however, data and increasingly voice communications are broken into discrete packets. Intercepting such communications requires that filters be deployed at various communication nodes to scan all passing traffic with the hope of finding and extracting the packets of interest and reassembling them. Thus, even targeting a specific message from a known sender today generally requires scanning and filtering the entire communication flow in which it's embedded. Given that situation, FISA is clearly inadequate because, Taipale argues, were it to be "applied strictly according to its terms prior to any 'electronic surveillance' of foreign communication flows passing through the U.S. or where there is a substantial likelihood of intercepting U.S. persons, then no automated monitoring of any kind could occur."

Taipale proposes not that FISA should be discarded, but that it should be modified to allow for the electronic surveillance equivalent of a Terry stop -- under U.S. law, the brief "stop and frisk" of a person by a law enforcement officer based on the legal standard of reasonable suspicion. In the context of automated data mining, it would mean that if suspicion turned out to be unjustified, after further monitoring, it would be discontinued. If, on the other hand, continued suspicion was reasonable, then it would continue, and at a certain point be escalated so that human agents would be called in to decide whether a suspicious individual's identity should be determined and a FISA warrant issued.

To attempt to maintain FISA and the rest of our current laws about privacy without modifications to address today's changed technological context, Taipale insists, amounts to a kind of absolutism that is ultimately self-defeating.

United Press International (UPI), "NSA concerned over computer phone service," (Apr. 11, 2006):

When FISA became law in 1978, even rudimentary e-mail was years away from use. The law "did not anticipate the development of global communications networks," [said] Kim Taipale.

Shane Harris, "Internet devices threaten NSA's ability to gather intelligence legally," (Apr. 10, 2006).

Shane Harris, "FISA's Failures," Issues and Ideas, National Journal (Apr. 8, 2006) quotes extensively from Whispering Wires, including:

The FISA law "did not aticipate the development of gloabal communications networks," according to Kim Taipale.

The article goes on to examine why FISA is inadequate to address certain technology developments and foreign intelligence needs, and to discuss some proposed 'fixes' and how to put legal bounds around the controvercial NSA terrorist surveillance program.

[See also, related, Wilson P. Dizard III, "Privacy, efficiency on the agenda," Government Computer News (Jan. 22, 2007); Ellen Nakashima and Alec Klein, Daylight Sought For Data Mining, Washington Post (Jan. 11, 2007); Ryan Singel and Kevin Poulsen, "Privacy To Be Tone for New Senate Judiciary Committee," 27B Stroke 6 (WIRED News) (Jan. 10, 2007).]

Related Book Chapters:

K. A. Taipale, Introduction to Domestic Security and Civil Liberties, in The McGraw-Hill Homeland Security Handbook (David Kamien, ed., McGraw-Hill, Sep. 2005) (download PDF).

K. A. Taipale, Why Can't We All Get Along? How Technology, Security and Privacy Can Co-exist in a Digital World, in Cybercrime: Digital Cops in a Networked World (Ex Machina: Law, Technology & Society Book Series, Jack Balkin, et al., eds., NYU Press, 2007).

Other Background Material:

Journal Articles:

K. A. Taipale, "The Trusted Systems Problem: Security Envelopes, Statistical Threat Analysis, and the Presumption of Innocence," Homeland Security—Trends and Controversies, IEEE Intelligent Systems, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 80–82 (Sept./Oct. 2005).

K. A. Taipale, "Technology, Security and Privacy: The Fear of Frankenstein, the Mythology of Privacy and the Lessons of King Ludd," 7 Yale J. L. & Tech. 123; 9 Int'l J. Comm. L. & Pol'y 8 (Dec. 2004).

K. A. Taipale, "Data Mining and Domestic Security: Connecting the Dots to Make Sense of Data," 5 Colum. Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. 2 (Dec. 2003).

Book Chapters:

K. A. Taipale, Designing Technical Systems to Support Policy: Enterprise Architecture, Policy Appliances, and Civil Liberties, in Emergent Information Technologies and Enabling Policies for Counter Terrorism (Robert Popp & John Yen, eds., Wiley-IEEE, Jun. 2006)

Papers, abstracts, project descriptions:

K. A. Taipale, "Transnational Intelligence and Surveillance: Security Envelopes, Trusted Systems, and the Panoptic Global Security State," [ABSTRACT] Working Paper No. 05:06:01 [invited paper prepared for presentation at the 'Beyond Terror: A New Security Agenda' Conference, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University, Providence , RI, June 3-4, 2005,].

Recent Data Mining Presentation:

Kim Taipale, From Data Mining to Computational Social Science for Counterterrorism to the Committee on the Technical and Privacy Dimensions of Information for Terrorism Prevention and Other National Goals, The National Academies, Washington, DC, Apr. 27, 2006.

More: CAS Publications.

Related Links:

NATIONAL SECURITY ACT OF 1947 (As Amended) (50 U.S.C. §§401 et seq.).

TITLE 50 > CHAPTER 36 CHAPTER 36—FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE (50 U.S.C. §§1801-1811, 1821-29, 1841-46, and 1861-62).



See also, related links at: Cybercrime, Cyberterrorism, and Digital Law Enforcement Course Outline and Syllabus.


About the Center for Advanced Studies:

The Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy is a private, non-partisan research and advisory organization focused on information, technology and global and national security policy and related issues.

Kim Taipale, BA, JD (New York University); MA, EdM, LLM (Columbia University), is the founder and executive director of the Center. (bio)

The Center seeks to inform and influence national and international policy- and decision-makers in both the public and private sectors by providing sound, objective analysis and advice, in particular by identifying and articulating issues that lie at the intersection of technologically enabled change and existing practice in policy, law and industry.

The Center is also a partner in the Global Information Society Project and has research programs in Law Enforcement and National Security in the Information Age; Telecommunications and Spectrum Policy; Information and Warfare: Information Operations, Information Assurance and Operational Resilience; Environment and Energy Policy; and Intellectual Property and Trade; among others.

Areas of Focus:

Information Policy: National and domestic security and civil liberties (including privacy), cybersecurity and computer crime, telecommunications and spectrum, intellectual property, innovation and antitrust, internet and free speech. Information policy and free trade, globalization and global security, international jurisdiction, internet governance. Information management, institutional and organizational architecture and business process engineering.

Enabling Technologies: Data aggregation, data integration, data fusion, data analysis, data mining, artificial intelligence, decision support, distributed networks, enterprise architecture, distributed computing, wireless communication, remote sensing, identification, authentication, network and computer security, biometrics, cryptography, rule-based processing, digital rights management, knowledge management.

Security Applications: Foreign intelligence (FI), defense intelligence (DI), counter-intelligence (CI), domestic intelligence, homeland security, law enforcement, counterterrorism, counter-insurgency, electronic surveillance, regulatory compliance, corporate and enterprise security, corporate intelligence, competitive intelligence, systems security, cybersecurity, information security, communication security, information assurance (IA), information warfare (IW), perception management, strategic influence, information operations (IO), psychological operations (PSYOPS), military deception (MILDEC), operations security (OPSEC), electronic warfare (EW), computer network operations (CNO), computer network attack (CNA), computer network exploitation (CNE), computer network defense (CND), netcentric strategy, environmental monitoring, international relations and global security.

Related Areas of Research Interest:

Technology innovation and adoption, social change, knowledge-creation, decision-making, learning, risk-analysis, risk-management, conflict resolution, deviation analysis, pedagogy, communications, media analysis, information economics, control theory, network theory, emergence, complexity, computational social science, history of technology, and cultural history.