Morning Security Brief: DNA Debate, Secret Surveillance Court Documents Ruling, and More
Civil rights groups are asking why the U.K. government has been sending DNA samples from terrorism suspects to police agencies around the world with no oversight; the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court releases a ruling; and President Obama makes little headway on cybersecurity issues with China’s President Xi.
► A U.K. civil rights group, The National DNA Database Ethics Group, is asking the U.K. government to explain why police have been collecting DNA samples from terorrism suspects and sharing that information with other police agencies around the world. The DNA samples in this database are separate from a national database maintained by the U.K. government. The U.K. Parliament has previously ruled that the police cannot share details from DNA samples without an implication of the individual’s guilt. This has led some to question whether the police are attempting to subvert this ruling with the second database. While some of the samples were taken from crime scenes or after arrests, others were obtained during covert searches of suspects’ homes.
► In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has released an opinion justifying the government’s continued protection of its secret surveillance program . The opinion says that the FISC does not have to release any documents on the surveillance program because the court does not have the jurisdiction to release its own documents. In the opinion, the court notes: “This action is outside the inherent jurisdiction previously recognized by this court with respect to its supervisory powers over its own records and files. Moreover, even if this court had jurisdiction over this Motion, it should deny it, rather than allow another court to determine whether any portions of its opinion should be released under FOIA.”
► MSNBC is reporting that after two hours of discussions on cybersecurity issues this weekend, President Obama and Chinese President Xi agreed only that they “needed to work together to tackle cybersecurity issues.” This issue was considered a high priority for President Obama after recent reports that China had used cyberattacks to breach 40 Pentagon weapons programs.