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Foreign Surveillance and Incidental U.S. Communications: Concerns of Amnesty v. McConnell
Dartmouth Law Journal (2010)
  • Tarik N. Jallad, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Even with the most recent amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, questions still remain regarding the constitutional protections implicated during foreign and U.S. communications. In particular, Amnesty v. McConnell concerns the incidental U.S. communications that could be acquired during warrantless surveillance of a non-U.S. person overseas. While explicit Fourth Amendment protections are in place for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, the same is not true for the non-U.S. person located outside the nation’s borders. In conjunction with the 2008 Amendments Act, FISA attempts to adhere to the murky constitutional requirements demanded in this situation. However, some critics are not convinced, challenging the act as an unconstitutional violation of their privacy rights.

With international communication increasingly available for millions of people, the privacy concern brought by Amnesty v. McConnell has a global effect. Although ultimately dismissed for a lack of standing, this recent development argues that on its face, the FISA Amendments Act is constitutional under the Fourth Amendment despite the reality that incidental U.S. communications may be acquired.

  • FISA,
  • Surveillance,
  • Privacy,
  • Fourth Amendment,
  • Foreign Intelligence
Publication Date
Citation Information
Tarik N. Jallad. "Foreign Surveillance and Incidental U.S. Communications: Concerns of Amnesty v. McConnell" Dartmouth Law Journal (2010)
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