Lawyers group questions the targeting of law firm by spy agency
The NSA does not rely on foreign partners to circumvent US law, the agency contends
IDG News Service - Reported interceptions by an Australian spy agency of a U.S. law firm's communications with overseas clients violates longstanding legal protections, the American Bar Association charges.
The ABA, in a Thursday letter to National Security Agency leaders, said it is concerned about a recent New York Times report saying the Australian Signals Directorate had intercepted communications between a U.S. law firm and its client, the government of Indonesia.
The Australian spy agency offered to share the information with the NSA, according to the Times story.
"The attorney-client privilege is a bedrock principle of our free society," ABA President James Silkenat wrote. "The interception and sharing of attorney-client privileged communications by government agencies -- or any third party -- raises concerns, including chilling the full and frank discussion between lawyer and client that is essential for effective legal representation."
Silkenat asked the NSA to explain its policies designed to protect attorney-client privilege. "We know that NSA, as a federal agency committed to the rule of law, recognizes the attorney-client privilege," he wrote.
An NSA spokeswoman didn't have an immediate comment on the ABA letter, but she disputed reports that the NSA has used foreign partners to collect information that it cannot.
"Any allegation that NSA relies on foreign partners to circumvent U.S. law is absolutely false," she said by email. "The National Security Agency does not ask its foreign partners to undertake any intelligence activity that the U.S. government would be legally prohibited from undertaking itself."
The NSA works with several partners, but the information collected must be "in support of a valid foreign intelligence requirement, and comply with U.S. attorney general-approved procedures to protect privacy rights," she added.
Attorney-client communications do not get special protections from NSA surveillance, the New York Times article noted.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is email@example.com.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy
- Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works
- BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works
- Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)
- Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more. All Government IT White Papers
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- All Government IT Webcasts