Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

What you should know about NSA phone data program

RECOMMENDED READING


Q&A: Surveillance of phone records

What information is being obtained?

The order called it "metadata" that consisted of telephone numbers and the times and duration of calls, but not the contents of the phones calls or the names and addresses of those who owned the phones.

How does the government get access to this mass of data?

Through a court order and by relying on a provision in the USA Patriot Act. It says the government may obtain business records, phone records or other "tangible things" by going to a special court and "showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the tangible things sought are relevant to an authorized investigation."

Who decides on these requests?

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose judges operate in secret. They are appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts. It was Judge Roger Vinson from Florida who approved the order for Verizon phone records.

Is it constitutional for the government to secretly obtain the phone records of ordinary Americans?

Probably. The Fourth Amendment forbids "unreasonable searches" by the government, but the Supreme Court has drawn a sharp distinction between what is truly private and what is not. When people talk on the phone, that is a private conversation, the court said, and it is protected by the Constitution. So, before police can "wiretap" a phone call, they must persuade a judge to give them a search warrant. This requires showing they have "probable cause" to believe a crime is in progress. But in the 1970s, the court said business records, tax records and phone records are not truly private. These records circulate through offices and through the mail. Because such records are not protected under the Fourth Amendment, a police official or FBI agent may obtain them by sending an order to a business saying they are needed for an investigation.

Is there any legal limit on what records the government may secretly obtain?

That is not clear. Before this week, many had assumed the law limited the government to obtaining only records that were "relevant to an authorized investigation." These words from the Patriot Act were read to mean officials were tracking certain people because they were suspected of involvement in terrorism. But Vinson's order made no mention of an actual investigation. He said Verizon must turn over "all call detail records," including "local calls . . . wholly within the United States."

Justice Department lawyers have not explained in public their interpretation of the law. Some outside experts say they must take the view that having access to the entire database of phone calls is "relevant" to investigating terrorism plots.

"This is all about searching for patterns of calls," said Washington attorney Stewart Baker, a former general counsel for the National Security Agency. He said he had no actual knowledge of the current program, but he said having access to the phone records would allow the NSA to link calls to suspected terrorists, here or abroad.

Comments
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

TAMPA — Can the Bucs pull off back-to-back wins with a backup quarterback? Win a game on the road for the first time this season? Politely hand the unnamed trophy for the state’s worst football team back to the Dolphins?Mike Evans is back from his su...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

In the crowd-pleasing sports-talk of game of "Who Would You Rather Have?’’ there might not be a more perfect match-up than this.Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.Both are defensive tackles. Both went to, what were at the time, Big 12 schools. Both were ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first? Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL players. S...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa police: Drunk wrong-way driver caused major crashes on Courtney Campbell Causeway

Tampa police: Drunk wrong-way driver caused major crashes on Courtney Campbell Causeway

TAMPA — Police arrested a 26-year-old man they say drove the wrong way while drunk and caused a multi-vehicle crash Friday on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.Collin John Cole faces two counts of driving under the influence causing serious bodily injur...
Updated: 3 hours ago

AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

NEW YORK (AP) — Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, has died. He was 64. AC/DC announced the death on their official Facebook page and website Saturday. The posts did not say when or where...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

During the day, you hear from the psychics and the kooks. The well-intentioned tipsters, and the unsolicited profilers. This is all part of serial killer spillover, a sort of cottage industry of macabre.It gets tougher at night when you’re hounded by...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations Friday in a statem...
Updated: 3 hours ago