Tech and policy: Senate approves FISA; China requires real names online

A couple of tech and policy developments:

• Happy holidays, here’s a “gift” from the Senate, which today voted to extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for five years, giving the U.S. government the continued ability to spy on suspected terrorists  overseas without a warrant. The spying includes accessing phone calls and online communications. Four amendments that would have provided more protection or transparency were rejected, according to the Verge. The Electronic Frontier Foundation details the amendments, one of which would have required the National Security Agency to disclose the number of Americans affected by FISA.

The Senate approved the bill 73 to 23, and President Obama is expected to sign it, according to Hillicon Valley.

• And in China, the government on Thursday approved tighter controls over the Internet, including requiring people to use their real names when registering for Internet and phone services, of course bringing up censorship concerns.”Enforcing real name registration will make web users more cautious when posting comments online,” an adjunct professor told Bloomberg. China also legalized the deletion of content deemed illegal, according to Reuters. Finally, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that in recent weeks, Internet users in China have run into more roadblocks when trying to access the Internet, including issues with virtual private networks — which had been used to access blocked websites.


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  • RedRat

    Dianne Feinstein has been the most pro-activist supporter of FISA. If I were a California voter, I would be ashamed to have her representing me. Her comment that “incidences have been “few” and “inadvertent.” are disingenuous at best. This bill is just another successful attempt at frittering away our Constitutional rights. I guess 1984 is now here and part of our culture–who are the pigs and who are the people at the table?