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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Sketch of Selected Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462237/
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background, Legislation, and Policy Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462059/
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462046/
Public Access to Data from Federally Funded Research: Provisions in OMB Circular A-110
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463492/
Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information
This report discusses federal laws governing consumer financial information held by financial companies, Gramm-Leach-Bliley's privacy provisions, and public and industry reaction. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462565/
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462315/
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462346/
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462520/
Search and Seizure Cases in the October 2012 Term of the Supreme Court
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462605/
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462745/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462925/
Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463237/
Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463138/
Congressional Authority to Regulate Firearms: A Legal Overview
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463160/
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463101/
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 113th Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462927/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment--of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462149/
Data Security: Federal Legislative Approaches
This report discusses the core areas addressed in federal legislation, including the scope of coverage (who is covered and what information is covered); data privacy and security safeguards for sensitive personal information; requirements for security breach notification (when, how, triggers, frequency, and exceptions); restrictions on social security numbers (collection, use, and sale); credit freezes on consumer reports; identity theft penalties; causes of action; and preemption. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462159/
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Terrorism Investigations
This report provides background information on key elements of the FBI terrorism investigative process, based on publicly available information. This report sets forth possible considerations for Congress as it executes its oversight role, including the extent to which intelligence has been integrated into FBI operations to support its counterterrorism mission and the progress the Bureau has made on its intelligence reform initiatives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462980/
Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court
This report provides an overview of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) procedures, summarizes court cases related to the detentions and the use of military commissions, and summarizes the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2006, analyzing its effects on detainee-related litigation in federal court. The report summarizes pending legislation and provides an analysis of relevant constitutional issues that may have some bearing on Congress's options with respect to the Guantanamo detainees. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463519/
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463259/
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
This report analyzes the existing law and authority to detain U.S. persons, including American citizens and resident aliens, as well as other persons within the United States who are suspected of being members, agents, or associates of Al Qaeda or possibly other terrorist organizations as "enemy combatants." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463062/
Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information
This report discusses federal laws governing consumer financial information held by financial companies, Gramm-Leach-Bliley's privacy provisions, and public and industry reaction. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc332985/
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc306543/
Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287956/
Free Exercise of Religion by Secular Organizations and Their Owners: Implications for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc284518/
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc282353/
National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc272129/
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
Report that provides a background to the detention of enemy belligerents, followed by a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227744/
Privacy: An Abridged Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
Report that provides an overview of federal law governing wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227714/
Search and Seizure Cases in the October 2012 Term of the Supreme Court
Report that looks at three search and seizure cases heard during its October 2012 term. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227796/
Privacy: An Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
Report that provides an overview of federal law governing wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). It also appends citations to state law in the area and the text of ECPA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227713/
U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Internet Freedom: Issues, Policy, and Technology
Report regarding the role of the United States and other foreign companies in facilitating Internet censorship by repressive regimes overseas. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227660/
Pilotless Drones: Background and Considerations for Congress Regarding Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227807/
Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues
Report that 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, followed by a discussion of legal considerations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc228075/
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Egyptian politics and current issues in U.S.-Egyptian relations. 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. U.S.-Egyptian relations are complex and multi-faceted, and this report addresses the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122295/
Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses
This report first explores the potential uses of drones in the domestic sphere by federal, state, and local governments. It then surveys current Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, including cases surrounding privacy in the home, privacy in public spaces, location tracking, manned aerial surveillance, and those involving the national border. Next, it considers how existing jurisprudence may inform current and proposed drone uses. It then describes the various legislative measures introduced in the 112th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones and, finally, briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122251/
Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: New Independent Agency Status
This report examines initial responses to the 9/11 Commission's call for a board to oversee adherence to presidential guidelines on information sharing that safeguard the privacy of individuals about whom information is shared, and the implementation of this board. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122322/
Sexual Violence in African Conflicts
This report focuses on conflicts in Africa in which sexual violence is reported to be widespread or systematic. It describes the context in which such violence takes place, selected cases where it is currently occurring, and U.S. policy responses. The report concludes with a discussion of potential policy considerations, including the design and effectiveness of U.S. programs; coordination between agencies and between international donors; and the question of whether policy responses to sexual violence can be separated from the broader context in which such violence occurs. The report includes a detailed case study of DRC, which has drawn particular attention from the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103070/
Law Enforcement Use of Global Positioning (GPS) Devices to Monitor Motor Vehicles: Fourth Amendment Considerations
This report discusses the basics of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, society's reliance on it, and some of the related legal and privacy implications. In addition, the report examines legislative and judicial responses on both federal and state levels. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103138/
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Egyptian politics and current issues in U.S.-Egyptian relations. 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. U.S.-Egyptian relations are complex and multi-faceted, and this report addresses the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103184/
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress
This report provides historical background of the the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structures, 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103198/
Closing the Guantanamo Detention Center: Legal Issues
This report provides an overview of major legal issues that are likely to arise as a result of executive and legislative action to close the Guantanamo detention facility. It discusses legal issues related to the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees, the continued detention of such persons in the United States, and the possible removal of persons brought to the United States. It considers selected constitutional issues that may arise in the criminal prosecution of detainees. Issues discussed include detainees’ right to a speedy trial, the prohibition against prosecution under ex post facto laws, and limitations upon the admissibility of hearsay and secret evidence in criminal cases. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99006/
Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings
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. It also discusses notable circuit court opinions addressing issues of ongoing relevance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99017/
Privacy: An Abridged Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
This report provides an overview of federal law governing wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99041/
Privacy: An Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
This report provides an overview of federal law governing wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). It also appends citations to state law in the area and the text of ECPA. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99040/
Privacy Protections for Personal Information Online
This report examines some of the efforts being made to protect of personal information, through federal laws and regulations. This report provides a brief overview of selected recent developments in the area of federal privacy law. This report does not cover workplace privacy laws or state privacy laws. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99059/
China, Internet Freedom, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Congressional interest in how Internet use in the People's Republic of China (PRC) is tied to human rights concerns in several ways: as a U.S. policy tool for promoting rights in China; though use of the Internet political dissidents and political repression; the role of U.S. Internet companies in spreading freedom and complying with PRC censorship; and the development of U.S. Internet freedom policies globally. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98026/
Legal Standing Under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause
This report analyzes the constitutional issues associated with standing (a restraint on the power of federal courts to render decisions), specifically related to cases arising under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment regarding religion. It provides a background on the doctrine of standing, including the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of various types of standing: standing to sue as a citizen, as a taxpayer, and on behalf of another party. It also examines the current standing rules related to the Establishment Clause. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97978/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96738/
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