Two More OLC Opinions Published:

I spent the weekend in idyllic Orkney Springs, VA. After I left on Friday, the Office of Legal Counsel released two more opinions, both concerning "Einstein 2.0," which sounds a little like a kid movie sequel ("Beethoven's 2d," anyone?), but actually is a cybersecurity initiative used to protect civilian unclassified networks in the Executive Branch against malicious network activity.

The first opinion is a 35 pager signed during the waning days of the Bush Administration, which concludes that Einstein 2.0 complies with the Fourth Amendment, Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, FISA, the Stored Communications Act, and the pen register and trap and trace provisions of the U.S. Code, provided that log-on banners or computer-user agreements are consistently adopted, implemented, and enforced by agencies using the system.

The second opinion, which is much shorter (just a hair over 5 pages), was signed August 14, 2009. It states that "[w]e have reviewed that opinion and agree that the operation of the EINSTEIN 2.0 program complies with" those provisions, which I guess isn't to be assumed nowadays, and also goes on to conclude that operation of Einstein does not run afoul of state wiretapping or communications privacy laws. Most of the opinion discusses the reasonable expectations of privacy of system users.

Publication of the August 14 opinion is the best indication yet that the current OLC is making it a priority to quickly publish those opinions it intends to publish.

The opinions received some press coverage. The most in-depth article was in the Washington Post.

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.