Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Privacy: An Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act

Description: 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.
Date: October 9, 2012
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: 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.
Date: September 13, 2012
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

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.
Date: September 10, 2012
Creator: Elias, Bart
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses

Description: 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.
Date: September 6, 2012
Creator: Thompson, Richard M., II
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: New Independent Agency Status

Description: 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.
Date: August 27, 2012
Creator: Hatch, Garrett
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China, Internet Freedom, and U.S. Policy

Description: 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.
Date: July 13, 2012
Creator: Lum, Thomas; Moloney Figliola, Patricia & Weed, Matthew C.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

United States v. Jones: GPS Monitoring, Property, and Privacy

Description: In United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012), a Global Positioning System (GPS) device was attached to the undercarriage of Jones's car by the police to track his movements for four weeks. This report will examine three decisions regarding searching, attachment, and monitoring in an effort to find their place in the body of existing Fourth Amendment law pertaining to privacy, property, and technology.
Date: April 30, 2012
Creator: Thompson, Richard M., II
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Description: The detainee provisions passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 affirm that the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, authorizes the detention of persons captured in connection with hostilities. 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.
Date: April 11, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings

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. It also discusses notable circuit court opinions addressing issues of ongoing relevance.
Date: April 6, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K. & Garcia, Michael John
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Description: The detainee provisions passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 affirm that the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, authorizes the detention of persons captured in connection with hostilities. 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.
Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Description: This report provides a background to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012, the Authorization to use Military Force act, and the President's power to detain "enemy combatants." It then gives a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals and an overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to national security. It concludes by discussion 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.
Date: February 1, 2012
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues

Description: As Congress considers addressing some of the problems in the nation's immigration system, the detention of noncitizens in the United States may be an issue as Congress may choose to reevaluate detention priorities (i.e., who should be detained) and resources. There are many policy issues surrounding detention of aliens. The Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) increased the number of aliens subject to mandatory detention, and raised concerns about the justness of mandatory detention, especially as it is applied to asylum seekers arriving without proper documentation. Additionally, as DHS increases its ability to identify aliens who are subject to removal from local jails in more remote locations, the nationwide allocation of detention space may become an issue.
Date: January 12, 2012
Creator: Siskin, Alison
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information

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.
Date: January 12, 2012
Creator: Murphy, M. Maureen
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Detainee Provisions in the National Defense Authorization Bills

Description: This report offers a brief background of the salient issues raised by H.R. 1540 and S. 1867 regarding detention matters, provides a section-by-section analysis of the relevant subdivision of each bill, and compares the bills' approaches with respect to the major issues they address.
Date: November 18, 2011
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K. & Garcia, Michael John
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides historical background of the 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.
Date: November 15, 2011
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: New Independent Agency Status

Description: Recommended by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission), the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) was initially established as an agency within the Executive Office of the President (EOP) in 2004. Critics, however, maintained that the board appeared to be a presidential appendage, devoid of the capability to exercise independent judgment and assessment or to provide impartial findings and recommendations. This viewpoint gained acceptance in the 110th Congress when the PCLOB was reconstituted as an independent agency within the executive branch by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act (IR9/11CA), signed into law on August 6, 2007. On January 5, 2011, President Obama nominated two people to serve on the board, but the Senate has not confirmed either. This report will be updated as events warrant.
Date: November 14, 2011
Creator: Hatch, Garrett
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 112th Congress

Description: The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA; 5 U.S.C. §552) enables any person to access—without explanation or justification—certain existing, identifiable, unpublished, executive branch agency records. Pursuant to FOIA, the public has presumptive access to requested agency records unless the material falls within any of FOIA's nine categories of exemption from disclosure. This report discusses FOIA's history, examines its implementation, and provides potential policy approaches for Congress.
Date: July 26, 2011
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides historical background of the 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.
Date: July 18, 2011
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights

Description: Iraq's political transition from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to a plural polity that encompasses varying sects and ideological and political factions has been accomplished through a series of elections that began in 2005. However, disputes regarding various communities' claims on power and economic resources has contributed to popular frustration and continued political unrest. This report discusses these issues.
Date: April 19, 2011
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Privacy Protections for Personal Information Online

Description: 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.
Date: April 6, 2011
Creator: Stevens, Gina
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Legal Standing Under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause

Description: 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.
Date: April 5, 2011
Creator: Brougher, Cynthia
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department