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Privacy Watchdog’s Next Target: The Least-Known But Biggest Aspect Of NSA Surveillance

Publication Date: 
July 23, 2014
The Washington Post
Ellen Nakashima and Ashkan Soltani

CIS Director of Civil Liberties, Jennifer Granick discusses surveillance under Executive Order 12333 with The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima and Ashkan Soltani. 

An independent privacy watchdog agency announced Wednesday that it will turn its focus to the largest and most complex of U.S. electronic surveillance regimes: signals intelligence collection under Executive Order 12333.

That highly technical name masks a constellation of complex surveillance activities carried out for foreign intelligence purposes by the National Security Agency under executive authority. But unlike two other major NSA collection programs that have been in the news lately, EO 12333 surveillance is conducted without court oversight and with comparatively little Congressional review.




Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, said 12333 allows “bulk collection” of data or the ingestion of massive amounts of data without a filter for a target’s e-mail address or phone number, for instance.