Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rules PRISM not unconstitutional to search on data of a US citizen
Apr 22, 2016 09:55 AM EDT
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rules against a court challenge about the unconstitutionality of FBI's use of the US' surveillance database, PRISM. An appeal is not an option in the court's decision on the subject.
When asked about her opinion on the FBI's use of the PRISM database in searching for information on US citizens, Amy Jeffress argued that FBI's search broke the Fourth Amendment in the constitution. According to The Register, Jeffress suggested that a written justification must be secured before searching for information on a US citizen.
However, FISC judge Thomas Hogan disagreed with Jeffress saying that there is no statutory requirement that limits the PRISM data to foreign intelligence. According to Reuters, he also noted that acquiring data on domestic crime evidences can also be utilized for cases involving national security.
The internet data surveillance program, PRISM, was exposed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is supported by the Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act which will expire next year. The program gathers information from various sources such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and many others that are sent to and from foreign individuals.
According to The Washington Post, PRISM is gathered by NSA, but CIA and the FBI also have access to the database. Hogan wrote on his decision that it would be a strained reading of the rules to give access to FBI for information on evidence of a crime by a US citizen but limit them from obtaining data to find the evidence.
Jeffress was a former Justice Department official and is now in private practice. She was appointed through the USA Freedom Act to advocate on limits and transparency on surveillance utilized by the government. However, the public advocate program does not allow an appeal on a judge's decision in court. The U.S. House of Representatives also previously suggested for agencies to secure a warrant before proceeding with their search. However, the subject has not yet been discussed in the senate.