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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Aug 1, 2013.
Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 - Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to expand government reporting requirements with respect to surveillance programs under FISA and the USA PATRIOT Act. Permits persons (any individual, including any officer or employee of the federal government, or any group, entity, association, corporation, or foreign power) receiving certain production orders to make public disclosures regarding the categories of orders to which they complied and the total number of users whose information was produced.
Directs the Attorney General to report annually to Congress, in an unclassified form to be made available to the public, regarding orders approving electronic surveillance, pen register and trap and trace devices, the production of tangible things (commonly referred to as business records, including books, records, papers, documents, and other items), and the targeting of persons outside the United States other than U.S. persons.
Sets forth the details to be included in various reports, including:
the total number of applications made for orders and number of such orders granted, modified, or denied; good faith estimates of the total number of individual persons (any individuals, excluding any group, entity, association, corporation, or governmental entity) whose tangible things or electronic or wire communications information were obtained or produced; good faith estimates of the total number of U.S. persons (U.S. citizens or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence) whose information was obtained and the number of such persons whose information was subsequently reviewed or accessed by a federal officer, employee, or agent; the total number of computer-assisted search queries initiated by the federal government in certain databases under specified orders and the number of such queries whose search terms included information from a U.S. person; and the number of subscribers or customers of an electronic communication service or remote computing service whose tangible records were produced and the number of such persons whose records were subsequently reviewed by the federal government. Requires certain totals, when the total number is fewer than 500, to be expressed as a numerical range of "fewer than 500" instead of as an individual number.
Directs the Attorney General to submit an annual certification confirming that in the course of the preceding year no orders entered for the production of tangible things were used to obtain the contents of an electronic or wire communication.
Permits persons and other entities receiving specified production orders to disclose, every six months: (1) the total number of orders received and the percentage or total number of orders with which they complied; (2) the total number of individual persons, users, or accounts whose information of any kind was produced to the government or was obtained or collected by the government; and (3) with respect to specified categories of orders, the total number of individual persons, users, or accounts for whom the contents or records of electronic or wire communications, including certain subscriber records of remote computing services, were produced to the government or were obtained or collected by the government.
Provides immunity from court actions to such persons and entities making voluntary disclosures under this Act.