August, 2017

FISA Court: NSA Illegally Surveilled Americans for Over Five Years

U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) Judge Rosemary M. Collyer issued an opinion in April 2017, following up on compliance hearings in October 2016, in which the NSA disclosed to the court that there had been an illegal, broader, and more frequent surveillance of Americans since 2011 than had previously been disclosed to the court. The court noted a “lack of candor” on the part of the Agency and characterized the matter as a serious Fourth Amendment issue.

Sources:  Tim Johnson, “Secret court rebukes NSA for 5-year illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens,”, May 26, 2017:
Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, U.S. FISA Court April 26, 2017, [redacted] Opinion:

Facebook Could Monitor Users Emotional Reactions Through Web-Cameras

Recent reports describe a Facebook 2014 patent application, published in 2015, as enabling the company to monitor the emotional reactions of its users to viewed material. The technology, Techniques for emotion detection and content delivery, monitors one’s emotional state when viewing photos, content, or video, and algorithms would then change the type of advertisements to suit the viewer’s emotional responses. Another patent process would also monitor the force and speed with which one types text-messages to predict emotional state and offer suggestions for font type or size.

Sources:  Aatif Sulleyman, “Facebook Could Secretly Watch Users Through Webcams, Patent reveals,”, June 8, 2017:
Curtis Silver, “Patents Reveal How Facebook Wants To Capture Your Emotions, Facial Expressions And Mood,”, June 8, 2017:
 Casey Newton, “A boredom detector and 6 other wild Facebook patents,”, June 12, 2017:
Patent Application US 2015/0242679 A1:

by Neil Leithauser
Associate Editor