This week in tech and politics

A federal judge ruled that the warrantless Internet and telephone surveillance program authorized by the Bush administration violates the U.S. Constitution and must cease immediately.

The White House found itself in the hot seat after a federal judge ruled that the warrantless Internet and telephone surveillance program authorized by the Bush administration violates the U.S. Constitution and must cease immediately.

The landmark decision makes U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's once-secret program. In a sweeping victory for the American Civil Liberties Union and its clients, which included organizations representing criminal defense lawyers, journalists, Islamic-Americans and academics, Taylor appeared to knock down several major legal arguments that the Bush administration has used to defend the program since it was revealed by The New York Times last December.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government renewed its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers , effectively extending its grip on the administrative body that coordinates Net addressing until up to 2011. The new contract covers technical functions related to the Internet domain name system (DNS) and is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1, one day after the existing contract expires.

Technically, the agreement lasts for one year, and the government has the option of renewing it each year for up to four additional years. In addition to asserting its plans to retain control over the Internet's "root," the master file that lists what top-level domains are authorized, the Bush administration said it plans to maintain its supervision over ICANN.

A first wave of U.S. passports implanted with radio tags will soon begin making their way into the hands of American travelers, despite lingering privacy and security concerns. Not long after researchers at a pair of security conferences in Las Vegas demonstrated potential risks associated with the new documents, the U.S. Department of State insisted that the documents are tamperproof and said it had begun producing them.

The agency said it plans to issue the documents through the nation's other passport facilities within the next few months as part of its original plan to make all future passports electronic by October. It was unclear how many e-passports would be mailed out this year, though a State Department representative said Monday that the agency expects to distribute a total of 13 million passports by year's end.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. Before joining CNET News in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.

 

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