Facebook’s new chief lawyer helped write the Patriot Act

Jennifer Newstead, a person named by Trump who served in the Justice Department under Bush, will soon take over as Facebook's general counsel, the company said in a press release on Monday afternoon. Newstead will take over from Colin Stretch, who announced plans to retire last year.

"Jennifer is an experienced leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission," Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement included in the statement. 19659003] But many are already worried about Newstead's story pushing and legislating for more powerful electronic surveillance. As The Hill notes, a 2002 Justice Department press release describes it as "helping to develop" the legislation. The notorious Bush administration lawyer, John Yoo, described him as the "daily administrator of the Patriot Act in Congress" in his 2006 book.

Approved after the 9/11 attacks, the Patriot Act greatly expanded the scope of the government's surveillance powers, which enable new techniques such as itinerant telephone tapping and so-called "hidden" orders. Section 215 of the Patriot Act was used to justify the mass collection of telephone records of US operators. UU., Although both the ruling and the legal interpretation that justified it remained secret until Snowden leaked.

Most relevant to Facebook, the Patriot Act also initiated the practice of so-called "national security letters," in which intelligence agencies informally request specific data without authorization from a court or judge, citing security threats. national.

Facebook is still actively dealing with these data demands, which have only increased since the NSA's collection activities were made public. Facebook received more than 32,000 requests for data from the US police in the second half of 2018, and the FISA court requested the content of more than 20,000 accounts during the same period. Little is known about the details of those requests, which are often subject to strict gag orders.

As a general counsel, Newstead will be in a unique position to block or enable such requests, and your professional history suggests that you may be more sympathetic to the government's security mandate than users' desire for privacy.

Newstead will work closely with Joel Kaplan, Facebook's global policy chief. Kaplan, a prominent conservative, was inspired by many Facebook employees last year when he appeared as a guest at the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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