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[liberationtech] Skype Open Letter: CALL FOR SIGNATORIES

Nadim Kobeissi nadim at
Wed Jan 16 23:01:08 PST 2013

Thanks for your expert advice, Chris. We're currently in the process of
reworking the letter with assistance from the EFF and we'll take what you
said into consideration.


On Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:58 AM, Christopher Soghoian <chris at>wrote:

> You may want to consider rewriting your law enforcement/government
> surveillance section:
> As a result of the service being acquired by Microsoft in 2011, it may now
> be required to comply with CALEA due to the company being headquartered in
> Redmond, Washington. Furthermore, as a US-based communication provider,
> Skype would therefore be required to comply with the secretive practice of
> National Security Letters.
> You don't articulate why being subject to CALEA is bad. Are the people
> signing the letter arguing that law enforcement should never have access to
> real-time intercepts of skype voice/video communications? If so, say that,
> and why. If not, CALEA merely mandates access capabilities, it doesn't
> specify under what situations the government can perform an interception,
> Also, if you want to raise the issue of secretive surveillance practices,
> NSLs wouldn't be at the top of my list (yes, they don't require a judge,
> but they can at best be used to obtain communications metadata). I would
> instead focus your criticism of the fact that US surveillance law does not
> sufficiently protect communications between two non-US persons, and in
> particular, the government can intercept such communications without even
> having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge. Specifically, non-US
> persons have a real reason to fear FISA Amendments Act of 2008 section 702
> Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 ("FAA"), codified as 50
> U.S.C. 1181a, which allows the Attorney General and the Director of
> National Intelligence ("DNI") to authorize jointly the targeting of
> non-United States persons for the purposes of gathering intelligence for a
> period of up to one year. 50 U.S.C. 1881a(1). Section 702 contains
> restrictions, including the requirement that the surveillance "may not
> intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be
> located in the United States." 50 U.S.C. § 1881a(b)(1). The Attorney
> General and DNI must submit to the FISC an application for an order ("mass
> acquisition order") for the surveillance either before their joint
> authorization or within seven days thereof. The FAA sets out a procedure by
> which the Attorney General and DNI must obtain certification from FISC for
> their program, which includes an assurance that the surveillance is
> designed to limit surveillance to persons located outside of the United
> States. However, the FAA does not require the government to identify
> targets of surveillance, and the FISC does not consider individualized
> probable cause determinations or supervise the program.
> (from:
> While I am happy to provide feedback, I'm in no way authorized to sign on
> to this letter on behalf of the ACLU.
> On Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 11:58 AM, Nadim Kobeissi <nadim at> wrote:
>> Dear Privacy Advocates and Internet Freedom Activists,
>> I call on you to review the following draft for our Open Letter to Skype
>> and present your name or the name of your organization as signatories:
>> The letter will be released soon. Feedback is also welcome.
>> Thank you,
>> NK
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