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FOIA request forces DoJ to reveal National Security Letter templates


ECHELON: EXPOSING THE GLOBAL SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM

Nicky Hager
from his book SECRET POWER
In the late 1980?s, in a decision it probably regrets, the U.S. prompted New Zealand to join a new and highly secret global intelligence system. Hager’s investigation into it and his discovery of the Echelon dictionary has revealed one of the world’s biggest, most closely held intelligence projects. The system allows spy agencies to monitor most of the world’s telephone, e-mail, and telex communications.
For 40 years, New Zealand’s largest intelligence agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) the nation’s equivalent of the US National Security Agency (NSA) had been helping its Western allies to spy on countries throughout the Pacific region, without the knowledge of the New Zealand public or many of its highest elected officials. What the NSA did not know is that by the late 1980s, various intelligence staff had decided these activities had been too secret for too long, and were providing me with interviews and documents exposing New Zealand’s intelligence activities. Eventually, more than 50 people who work or have worked in intelligence and related fields agreed to be interviewed.


ACLU acquires documents showing broad data Feds can request from ISPs, telecoms.

As the result of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Department of Justice has revealed, for the first time, the types of secret letters that the government can send out to ISPs and other tech companies being asked to reveal personal data about their users and customers who are being investigated for national security reasons. In 2009, over 6,000 Americans received such National Security Letters (NSLs).
According to the Wall Street Journal, the “letters show that the FBI is now informing people who receive the letters how they can challenge the documents in court. But some key elements of the letters remain blocked from view—including lists of material the FBI says companies can send in response to the letter.”
Most commonly, government investigators request names and addresses associated with phone and Internet records. There are also some especially broad requests, including “electronic communications transactional records,” and “Internet activity logs.” However, it remains unclear exactly what those terms mean, and how companies comply or don’t comply with such requests is also a mystery.
“You are hereby directed to provide the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the names, addresses, and length of service and electronic communications transactional records, to include existing transaction/activity logs and all electronic mail (e-mail) header information, for the below listed [e-mail/IP] address holder(s): [e-mail/IP address or addresses] [on a specific date] or [For the period from [specific date] to [specific date][present],” the template states.

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