ACLU’s Searchable NSA Document Database

The American Civil Liberties Union has created a searchable database of NSA documents released since June 2013 when selections from Edward Snowden’s massive cache of documents started being reported.

We have made all of the documents text-searchable to allow users to investigate particular key words or phrases. Alternatively, the filter function allows users to sort based on the type of surveillance involved, the specific legal authorities implicated, the purpose of the surveillance, or the source of the disclosure. For example, you can have the database return all documents that both pertain to “Section 215” and “Internal NSA/DOJ Legal Analysis.” We will update the database with new documents as they become available to the public

Full Transcript of Edward Snowden’s Appearance at SXSW

Courtesy of

Ben Wizner:    Okay. I think we’ll get started. There wasn’t a lot of applause when we came on stage. I guess you are here to see somebody else. My name is Ben Wizner I’m joined by my colleague Chris Soghoian from the ACLU. And maybe we can bring up on screen the main attraction.

Edward Snowden:    Hello.

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Bruce Schneier On the NSA’s Dissembling About “Collecting” Data

Bruce Schneier does a masterful job of succinctly cutting through the NSA’s nonsensical claim that when it collects data on millions of Americans that it isn’t really collecting data at all,

Indeed, ever since Snowden provided reporters with a trove of top secret documents, we’ve been subjected to all sorts of NSA word games. And the word “collect” has a very special definition, according to the Department of Defense (DoD). A 1982 procedures manual (pdf; page 15) says: “information shall be considered as ‘collected’ only when it has been received for use by an employee of a DoD intelligence component in the course of his official duties.” And “data acquired by electronic means is ‘collected’ only when it has been processed into intelligible form.”

. . .

Back when Gmail was introduced, this was Google’s defense, too, about its context-sensitive advertising. Googles computers examine each individual email and insert an advertisement nearby, related to the contents of your email. But no person at Google reads any Gmail messages; only a computer does. In the words of one Google executive: “Worrying about a computer reading your email is like worrying about your dog seeing you naked.”

. . .

When a computer stores your data, there’s always a risk of exposure. There’s the risk of accidental exposure, when some hacker or criminal breaks in and steals the data. There’s the risk of purposeful exposure, when the organization that has your data uses it in some manner. And there’s the risk that another organization will demand access to the data. The FBI can serve a National Security Letter on Google, demanding details on your email and browsing habits. There isn’t a court order in the world that can get that information out of your dog.




Eben Moglen: Freedom’s Future

A talk given by Eben Moglen at Columbia Law School on December 4th, 2013

Good afternoon.

We must now turn our attention from what Mr.Snowden has taught us concerning the scope of our problem to what, with his assistance, we may do to conceive our responses.

We have seen that, with the relentlessness of military operation, the listeners in the United States have embarked on a campaign against the privacy of the human race. They have across broad swathes of humanity compromised secrecy, destroyed anonymity, and adversely affected the autonomy of billions of people.

They are doing this because they have been presented with a mission by an extraordinarily imprudent national government in the United States, which having failed to prevent a very serious attack on American civilians at home, largely by ignoring warnings, decreed that they were never again to be put in a position where they should have known.

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Eben Moglen: The Union, May It Be Preserved

A talk given by Eben Moglen at Columbia Law School on November 13th, 2013.

Good afternoon.

Since we were last together, Mr. Albert Gore Jr.—once Vice President of the United States, and the man who got the most votes in the presidential election of 2000—said, in a public speech in Montreal, that Mr. Snowden had disclosed evidence of crimes against the United States Constitution.

Senator John McCain—who has never gotten the most votes in a presidential election—immediately came out, and said that General Alexander—whose departure has been scheduled, as we discussed last time—should be fired for allowing Mr. Snowden, who was a mere contractor, access to classified information. This sudden and unprovoked attack on the business model of Booz Allen Hamilton, and many of his campaign contributors was, of course, a beautiful example of the misdirection, misleading, and sheer lying we were talking about last time.

Mr. Gore—who was famously a journalist rather than a lawyer before he went into politics, which may account for his occasional love of truthfulness—was of course exercising layman’s privilege in talking about crimes against the United States Constitution. Much in the way that liberty has been taken with the law when people attack Mr. Snowden as a “traitor.” But Mr. Gore is using layman’s privilege. Many of the people who have abused the language with respect to Mr. Snowden are lawyers, and should have known better.

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