This News Alert was released at a forum on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance in New York, April 18, 2007, in connection with the Program on Law Enforcement and National Security in the Information Age (PLENSIA), a Global Information Society Project (GISP) at the World Policy Institute (WPI).

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FISA Should be Amended, says Center for Advanced Studies


NEW YORK, Apr. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy today announced the publication of “The Ear of Dionysus: Rethinking Foreign Intelligence Surveillance in the Yale Journal of Law and Technology. This article expands on previous testimony by the Center’s Executive Director K. A. Taipale before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Hearing on Modernizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) and before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearing on the Privacy Implications of Government Data Mining.

“FISA simply did not anticipate the nature of the current threat to national security from transnational terrorism and nuclear weapon proliferation, nor did it anticipate the development of global communication networks or advanced technical methods for intelligence gathering,” writes Taipale. “FISA is no longer adequate to address certain technology developments, including the transition from circuit-based communications to packet-based communications; the globalization of communications infrastructure; and the development of automated monitoring techniques, including data mining and traffic analysis,” he argues.

The Center for Advanced Studies has long advocated that FISA be amended to provide an updated statutory mechanism involving congressional authorization and oversight, together with an explicit statutory basis for anticipatory judicial orders and review, so that legitimate foreign intelligence requirements and national security operational needs can be met while still protecting privacy and civil liberties.

On April 13, 2007 the administration submitted legislation to Congress [included as Title IV of the Fiscal Year 2008 Intelligence Authorization Act] [DNI Fact Sheet] requesting that FISA be amended “to bring FISA up to date with the revolution in telecommunications technology that has taken place since 1978, while continuing to protect the privacy interests of persons located in the United States.”  As Congress holds hearings to consider the administration’s request, the Center urges that the issues discussed in “The Ear of Dionysus be considered.   The article is available for download at

[A précis of this article was published as Rethinking Foreign Intelligence Surveillance in
World Policy Journal (Vol. XIII No. 4, Winter 2006-2007) available at]


The Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy -- -- is an independent, non-partisan research organization focused on information, technology, and national security policy.  Kim Taipale is the founder and executive director of the Center.  He is also a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, a member of the Markle Task Force on National Security in the Information Age, and an adjunct professor of law at New York Law School.

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