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Conor Friedersdorf

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.
Results 61-70 of 101

The NSA Needs a Church Committee

August 19, 2013 The time is ripe for a new Church Committee, the surveillance oversight effort named for Senator Frank Church, who oversaw a mid-1970s investigation into decades of jaw-dropping abuses by U.S. intelligence agencies. If recent stories about the NSA don't alarm you, odds are that you've never read the Church Committee ...

Analysis: Who Should Lead a Probe Into NSA

August 16, 2013 The time is ripe for a new Church Committee, the surveillance oversight effort named for Senator Frank Church, who oversaw a mid-1970s investigation into decades of jaw-dropping abuses by U.S. intelligence agencies. If recent stories about the NSA don't alarm you, odds are that you've never read the Church Committee ...

Let's Give Every NSA Employee an Anonymous Whistleblowing Opportunity

August 15, 2013 What if every NSA employee and contractor was required, once a year, to fill out an anonymous civil liberties survey? The anonymity of respondents would be persuasively guaranteed, and a multiple choice format would prevent the disclosure of any classified information. Answering would be as easy as putting a number ...

Analysis: Obama Has Already Broken His Pledge on Surveillance Reform

August 13, 2013 President Obama pledged last week that he would take "specific steps" to reform U.S. surveillance policy. This week, he proved unable to keep his word for any longer than a weekend. What was the latest Barack-and-switch? Here's what Obama said Friday to reassure Americans about the NSA, with my emphasis: ...

Analysis: How Secrecy Has Already Corroded Our Democracy in Concrete Ways

August 8, 2013 This summer, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, an author and longtime champion of the Patriot Act, emerged as one of the most concerned voices arguing that it is being used to violate the rights of Americans. A letter he sent to Attorney General Eric Holder singles out Section 215, the law's "business ...

King George's Revenge: Is Britain Using Our Tax Money to Spy on Us?

August 2, 2013 Weeks ago, I worried that surveillance officials in allied countries might conspire with one another to spy on one another's citizens. The NSA is restricted in the spying it can do on Americans. But it can spy on the British all it wants. And there's no law that prevents the ...

The Era of iSpying: Court Upholds Warrantless Cell-Phone Tracking

July 31, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow As ever, rumors are circulating about the features Apple may include on the next iteration of the iPhone. Will it store fingerprints as a security feature used to unlock the device or aid secure transactions? That's the buzz. The idea has undoubted appeal. I'd love to press my thumb to ...

Local Anti-Drone Activism Begins: 'If They Fly in Town, We Will Shoot Them Down'

July 30, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Charles Krauthammer once predicted that the first American to shoot down a domestic drone would be a folk hero. Phillip Steele, a resident of Deer Trail, Colorado, wants to enable that hero. As the FAA loosens regulations on domestic drone use, Steele has submitted an ordinance to his town's board ...

Senate Majority Whip: FISA Court Is 'Fixed' and 'Loaded'

July 29, 2013 The Obama Administration says the FISA court adequately safeguards Americans' civil liberties. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who holds the second-highest Democratic leadership position in the Senate, disagrees. "These FISA courts -- there should be a real court proceeding," he said on Sunday. "In this case, it's fixed in a ...

Commentary: On Spying, Obama Just Isn't That Into the Democratic Coalition

July 25, 2013 "People who understand how representative government works," Matt Yglesias recently argued, "are going to remain fundamentally comfortable with our basic partisan commitments and there's nothing even a little bit hypocritical about it." Is he correct? I don't believe that partisan commitments are hypocritical or that Yglesias is a hypocrite. Lots ...