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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Pilotless Drones: Background and Considerations for Congress Regarding Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System

Pilotless Drones: Background and Considerations for Congress Regarding Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System

Date: September 10, 2012
Creator: Elias, Bart
Description: Report that covers the history and current status of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Particular attention is paid to recent privacy implications and potential intrusiveness of drone operations that have emerged as a significant issue before Congress. It also looks at the current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) timeline to establish six test ranges throughout the United States to study unmanned aircraft integration technical issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background

National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background

Date: January 3, 2014
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This report discusses the USA PATRIOT Act (107-56) and its expanded authority to issue national security letters (NSLs). A report by the Department of Justice's Inspector General (IG) found that in its pre-amendment use of expanded USA PATRIOT Act authority the FBI had "used NSLs in violation of applicable NSL statutes, Attorney General Guidelines, and internal FBI policies," but that no criminal laws had been broken.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Date: February 4, 2014
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Description: This report provides historical background of the United Nations Human Rights Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions. Finally, it highlights possible policy issues for the 112th Congress, including the overall effectiveness of the Council in addressing human rights, implications for U.S. membership, and U.S. financial contributions to the Council.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Free Exercise of Religion by Secular Organizations and Their Owners: Implications for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Free Exercise of Religion by Secular Organizations and Their Owners: Implications for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Date: March 21, 2014
Creator: Brougher, Cynthia
Description: This report examines the constitutional and statutory protections related to free exercise of religion, including current Supreme Court interpretations, as well as judicial and legislative avoidance of defining the parameters of religious belief. It also discusses significant examples of existing religious exemptions in current law, such as employment nondiscrimination, health care, and public accommodations law. Finally, it analyzes recent federal judicial decisions that have considered the religious freedom rights of commercial entities whose owners have religious objections to the contraceptive coverage requirement.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings

Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings

Date: April 21, 2014
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K. & Garcia, Michael John
Description: This report discusses major judicial opinions concerning suspected enemy belligerents detained in the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The report addresses all Supreme Court decisions concerning enemy combatants and also discusses notable circuit court opinions addressing issues of ongoing relevance.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

Date: June 5, 2014
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.
Description: This report provides an overview of the key issues for Congress related to Egypt and information on U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt, as well as addressing the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information

Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information

Date: July 14, 2014
Creator: Murphy, M. Maureen
Description: This report discusses federal laws governing consumer financial information held by financial companies, Gramm-Leach-Bliley's privacy provisions, and public and industry reaction.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Search and Seizure Cases in the October 2012 Term of the Supreme Court

Search and Seizure Cases in the October 2012 Term of the Supreme Court

Date: May 15, 2013
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: The Supreme Court decided four search and seizure cases during its October 2012 term: Florida v. Jardines, Florida v. Harris, Bailey v. United, and Missouri v. McNeely. This report discusses the prior precedents in each case as well as the decision reached by the Court.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Date: December 14, 2009
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Description: This report provides historical background of the Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Date: May 4, 2010
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Description: This report provides historical background of the Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Date: April 30, 2013
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Description: This report provides historical background of the Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions. Finally, it highlights possible policy issues for the 113th Congress, including the overall effectiveness of the Council in addressing human rights situations, implications for U.S. membership, and U.S. financial contributions to the Council.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Date: June 5, 2008
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Description: This report provides historical background of the Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Date: March 11, 2009
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Description: This report provides historical background of the Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Date: July 31, 2008
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Description: This report provides historical background of the Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background, Legislation, and Policy Issues

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background, Legislation, and Policy Issues

Date: January 23, 2014
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: This report provides background on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), discusses the categories of records FOIA exempts from public release, and analyzes statistics on FOIA administration. It also provides background on several legal and policy issues related to FOIA, including the release of controversial records, the growth in use of certain FOIA exemptions, and the adoption of new technologies to improve FOIA administration. The report concludes with an examination of potential FOIA-related policy options for the 113th Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Sketch of Selected Issues

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Sketch of Selected Issues

Date: July 7, 2008
Creator: Bazan, Elizabeth B.
Description: This report briefly outlines three issues relating to electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and touches upon some of the perspectives reflected in the ongoing debate. These issues include the inherent and often dynamic tension between national security and civil liberties, particularly rights of privacy and free speech; the need for the intelligence community to be able to efficiently and effectively collect foreign intelligence information from the communications of foreign persons located outside the United States in a changing, fast-paced, and technologically sophisticated international environment or from United States persons abroad, and the differing approaches suggested to meet this need; and limitations of liability for those electronic communication service providers who furnish aid to the federal government in its foreign intelligence collection. Two constitutional provisions, in particular, are implicated in this debate — the Fourth and First Amendments. This report briefly examines these issues and sets them in context.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Date: December 4, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Description: This report provides a background to the legal issues presented, followed by a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals. An overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to the national security is presented. The report concludes by discussing Congress's role in prescribing rules for wartime detention as well as legislative proposals in the 112th Congress to address the detention of U.S. persons.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Public Access to Data from Federally Funded Research: Provisions in OMB Circular A-110

Public Access to Data from Federally Funded Research: Provisions in OMB Circular A-110

Date: March 1, 2013
Creator: Fischer, Eric A.
Description: The results of scientific studies are used in making many governmental policy decisions. While the studies are often published, the data on which they are based may not be, even for federally funded research. Before 1999, academic and nonprofit performers of such research were permitted but not required to make their data available to the public through provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In October 1998, a provision in P.L. 105-277 changed that, requiring that such data be made publicly available. This report provides background on the 1999 revisions to federal policy, a discussion of the impacts of those changes, and an analysis of the issues raised by them.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information

Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information

Date: July 14, 2014
Creator: Murphy, M. Maureen
Description: This report discusses federal laws governing consumer financial information held by financial companies, Gramm-Leach-Bliley's privacy provisions, and public and industry reaction.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances

Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances

Date: September 28, 2008
Creator: Sullivan, Mark P.
Description: The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 110th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues

Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues

Date: June 27, 2008
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr. & Elsea, Jennifer K.
Description: This report provides background on the development of intelligence satellites and identifies the roles various agencies play in their management and use. Issues surrounding the current policy and proposed changes are discussed, including the findings of an Independent Study Group (ISG) with respect to the increased sharing of satellite intelligence data. There follows a discussion of legal considerations, including whether satellite reconnaissance might constitute a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment; an overview of statutory authorities, as well as restrictions that might apply; and a brief description of executive branch authorities and Department of Defense directives that might apply. The report concludes by suggesting policy issues Congress may consider as it deliberates the potential advantages and pitfalls that may be encountered in expanding the role of satellite intelligence for homeland security purposes.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Date: October 31, 2008
Creator: Lum, Thomas & Fischer, Hannah
Description: This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights -- major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congressional Authority to Regulate Firearms: A Legal Overview

Congressional Authority to Regulate Firearms: A Legal Overview

Date: April 5, 2013
Creator: Chu, Vivian S.
Description: Courts have been confronted with the question of whether federal laws can be applied to intrastate possession and intrastate transfers of firearms, or whether such application exceeds the authority of Congress. This report explores these cases and how courts have analyzed these as-applied challenges under the Supreme Court's Commerce Clause jurisprudence primarily set forth in United States v. Lopez.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 113th Congress

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 113th Congress

Date: March 8, 2013
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy
Description: This report provides background on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), discusses the categories of records FOIA exempts from public release, and analyzes statistics on FOIA administration. The report also provides background on several legal and policy issues related to FOIA, including the release of controversial records, the growth in use of certain FOIA exemptions, and the adoption of new technologies to improve FOIA administration. The report concludes with an examination of potential FOIA-related policy options for Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department