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Utah Considers Warrantless Internet Subpoenas

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the mission-creep dept.

Privacy 234

seneces writes "The Utah State Legislature is considering a bill granting the Attorney General's Office the ability to demand customer information from Internet or cell phone companies via an administrative subpoena, with no judicial review (text of the HB150). This represents an expansion of a law passed last year, which granted that ability when 'it is suspected that a child-sex crime has been committed.' Since becoming law, last year's bill has led to more than one non-judicial request per day for subscriber information. Pete Ashdown, owner of a local ISP and 2006 candidate for the US Senate, has discussed his position and the effects of this bill."

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234 comments

Please, think of the children! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258238)

Yeah.

Yes, they are thinking of the children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258266)

as justification-bait for a power grab over citizen's rights.

Re:Yes, they are thinking of the children (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258292)

Eh, you must be knew here. That's how fascism works. You trick people into voting for these sorts of morons by scaring the crap out of them by theoreticals and what ifs. Then you do whatever you need to to do to take their rights.

Re:Yes, they are thinking of the children (0)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258428)

Fascism works by asking people for an inch and then taking a mile. No, wait... that's capitalism. Fascistic capitalism?

Re:Yes, they are thinking of the children (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259250)

No, no, no. Fascism-inch-mile, yes. Capitalism is more like telling people they can earn a mile by working hard, when at the end of the day they discover it really only amounted to an inch, but hey, they still have a job and there's always tomorrow. Communism would then be where you give your daily inch to the motherland and get back in the bread line...

I could go on all day.

Re:Yes, they are thinking of the children (1)

CharlieHedlin (102121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259512)

So what you are saying is the majority of us loose no matter what the system? Figures.

Without ranting too much, I think our capitalist system is the least bad of all the alternatives.

Re:Yes, they are thinking of the children (1)

Evtim (1022085) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259966)

I don't know. It seem that the wealth distribution (20% of the people hold 80% of the wealth) is more or less constant since slavery onwards. Only because the total pie got bigger our shares got bigger so we think we are OK compared to those suckers 200 years ago...

Re:Yes, they are thinking of the children (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258622)

"Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act."

-George Orwell

Re:Yes, they are thinking of the children (1)

nooodles (1692480) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259214)

Hear, hear. 20xx - when the new dictatorships arise....for the children.....again.

Re:Yes, they are thinking of the children (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31260178)

It's true, and the people on slashdot are not immune to this. We just frequently disagree about what constitutes a *fake* scare. For one crowd, it's Muslim terrorists/Islam etc. and for another crowd it's global warming, etc...

Either way, repugnant laws get passed, no matter which of the two main parties is in charge of the US.

And now (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258258)

This is a case study in why you can't pass exceptional legislation aimed at exceptional crimes. Just because a crime is particularly repugnant does not mean that we should lay down our rights to try and stop it. Don't be so lazy, find a better solution.

Re:And now (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258498)

+1 insightful.

Hopefully this legislative law will be overturned by the Utah Supreme Court, although it won't stop the practice. If the General Attorney asks a cellphone or internet company for information, they can still turn it over voluntarily. What do they care about the privacy of their customers?

We need an amendment to our State Constitutions and eventually, our U.S. Constitution:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects
[including information held in third-party hands] against unreasonable searches and seizures,
shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause supported by Oath or affirmation [in a court of Law], and particularly
describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Re:And now (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258866)

You might have a fancy modern Constitution thats open to interpretation.
A living document with regard to current standards of equality.
People living in Utah want a constitution that allows LEO to read your edocuments with no warrant,
to seize you and then see if your rights have been violated if nothing is found.
Thats not so unreasonable, they did have probable cause.
If you feel you where violated as nothing was found the court can give your community an affirmation that you where only a "person of interest".

Re:And now (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259268)

I think more accurately, the people behind this bill do not see electronic interactions as the same as the physical.

Re:And now (5, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258594)

Laws should not be passed just based on how they are to be used.

They should be passed based on how they can be abused. If there are too many ways they can be abused (or if the impact of abuse is high), they should not be passed.

Re: Child abuse is the new Godwin. (5, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259170)

Exactly, and just as I predicted. Child abuse and kiddie porn should be added as a clause to Godwin's law when it comes to legislative discussions: sooner or later someone is going to bring up "The Children" to defend their side of the argument.

Re: Child abuse is the new Godwin. (3, Interesting)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259382)

Not that my opinion ever matters to the talking heads on tv but whenever someone uses something along the "think of the children" line (in a non-satirical way) I consider their argument lost.

Someone should pass a law enforcing that. If you use a "think of the children" argument you lose. And you get ground glass poured in your eyes.

Re:And now (1)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31260206)

That's why they always start with "child porn" etc, to get the "thin end of the wedge" into the Constitution. Then the hammer comes and they open it up to FAR more than "protecting the children".

Re:And now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31260392)

What's in that for government? The goal is power and revenue, not justice.

I'm no lawyer but.. (1)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258268)

it's hard to see how this can possibly be legal. A warrant being issued without judicial review first? That's like an omelet without a egg.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258298)

It sounds like a good way for them to "find" cp or other material on someone's hard drive. And by find, I mean plant.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (5, Informative)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258356)

The Patriot Act made this SOP at the federal level for anything related to a terrorism investigation. My guess is the same standard will soon apply to child porn investigations.

Under the Patriot Act, FBI agents may issue National Security Letters to obtain comprehensive financial and communications records about anyone, including people suspected of no wrongdoing and no connection to terrorists or foreign powers. To do this, the FBI merely needs to claim the information is relevant to an investigation. Anyone receiving one of these orders is prohibited by law from speaking about it to anyone else, except their attorney. The FBI issues tens of thousands of NSLs each year, most of them directed at U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (4, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258438)

How I wish that my sig was only a joke.

Internet privacy is GONE. (2, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258442)

The simple fact is, all this stuff we are hearing in the news lately about what tunes governments are making ISPs dance to is solely WHAT WE ARE HEARING ABOUT.

You can be quite certain that for every event we hear about, there are ten more we don't happening behind the scenes and gathering far more data.

Everyone should consider their internet connection completely open to (at least) government scrutiny at all times. You should assume that everything that passes through your ISP is recorded and monitored by at least your ISP, and is available to any government agency at any time.

You know what the hell of it is? If someone blew the whistle that the government was steaming open everyone's mail that passed through the USPS, people would be going ape-shit.

But the fact that they monitor all electronic communications? Yawn.

Re:Internet privacy is GONE. (2, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259402)

You know what the hell of it is? If someone blew the whistle that the government was steaming open everyone's mail that passed through the USPS, people would be going ape-shit.

But the fact that they monitor all electronic communications? Yawn.

It's all part of a more general phenomenon that many people have noticed: A computer instantly invalidates all precedent. As soon as the word "computer" appears, people usually forget everything they ever knew, and have to relearn everything from scratch.

This is especially clear in the legal field. Consider any "freedom" that your local laws declare. Look around for how the freedom is treated in the vicinity of a computer. You'll find that almost always, and authority (your boss, your ISP, your government, you school system) completely ignores that freedom in anything dealing with computers.

For instance, many countries have laws saying that legal authorities can't invade your home without a court warrant (or whatever it's called in the local language). But legal authorities everywhere routinely do this with computers. In most cases, they'll even invade your home to get at your computer, and even remove it from the premises, without bothering to get permission from any court. They also routinely "crack" citizens' computers to get electronic access, to take copies of your files. This is in clear violation of the law nearly everywhere, but since there's a computer involved, all laws are moot, until the legal system establishes the same protections near computers that apply everywhere else.

Look around at discussions like this; you'll find that the rule "All precedent disappears in the presence of a computer" is a workable explanation for pretty much all of them.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258456)

The Patriot Act made this SOP at the federal level for anything related to a terrorism investigation.

Who said they limited this to terrorism investigations? There's some evidence that these are in fact being misused for non-terrorism cases.

Oh, and NSLs are probably just as unconstitutional as this bill. The issue with them, though, is that the person who would take the serious risk of challenging one in court is not actually the target of the investigation, but whoever the NSL is issued to.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (5, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259146)

There has been a tool in most states since long before 9/11, allowing the cops to come into your house and search at any time, with or without a warrant. Your friendly local game commission dude is a member of law enforcement. He accompanies many raids, here in Arkansas. The laws regarding game are considered "special". If the game commission thinks you've poached a deer, they can come in, search your house, and find it, at gunpoint, all without a warrant. The cops want to make a drug bust? No warrant necessary. Just call the game warden, tell the warden there's some suspicion that some guy poached a deer, and, oh yeah, there may be drugs and/or guns in the house, so we'll accompany you for "protection".

Few people seem to realize that the erosion of rights has been going on for decades, rather than just the past nine years.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258566)

The Patriot Act made this SOP at the federal level for anything related to a terrorism investigation. My guess is the same standard will soon apply to child porn investigations.

The Patriot Act (which should have been named "traitorous coward act") only covers federal agencies, not any state law enforcement agencies. I don't see how this bill will stand judicial scrutiny.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258598)

>>>Under the Patriot Act, FBI agents may issue National Security Letters to obtain comprehensive financial and communications records about anyone, including people suspected of no wrongdoing and no connection to terrorists or foreign powers. To do this, the FBI merely needs to claim the information is relevant to an investigation
>>>

This is why we can no longer depend upon the U.S. Supreme Court. They've had almost ten years to nullify this unconstitutional law and have not done so. Therefore I propose this:

The "Protect the 9th and 10th Amendments" Act.
----- Proposed Amendment XXVIII.
Section 1. After a Bill has become Law, if one-half of the States declare the Law to be "unconstitutional" it shall be null and void. It shall be as if the Law never existed. ----- Section 2. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths* of the several States by the date January 1, 2050.

With this amendment, there'd be no need to wait for the 9 old people on the court. You (and your neighbors) could collectively instruct the State Legislature to declare the law "unconstitutional". Once 25 other legislatures have done the same, then the U.S. law would be voided, and there's be no more Patriot Act.

My proposed amendment would simplify the process, shorten the time that an unconstitutional law sits on the books (2-3 years, not decades), and most-importantly, not require citizens to sit in jail or otherwise be spied upon.

"as if the Law never existed" is impossible (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258844)

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1044817/constitution_day_review_of_laws_recently.html?cat=37 [associatedcontent.com]

"The Sun Sentinel reported this week that a Riviera Beach law prohibiting the wearing of pants low enough to expose underwear or skin was declared unconstitutional after three young men were arrested and jailed after police spotted their boxer shorts showing above their pant waists." -- you can't give back to those men the time they spent in jail.

"Two years ago a North Carolina court struck down as an unconstitutional infringement on liberty a 201 year old law prohibiting cohabitation by unmarried couples. From 1997-2006, there had been 36 arrests for violation of the state cohabitation law, according to USA Today." -- same.

It only takes a few moments on your preferred search engine to fine plenty of other past examples of people who have served time for "violation" of laws which were later found to be unconstitutional.

Re:"as if the Law never existed" is impossible (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31260186)

Interesting info. The process of these unconstitutional laws needs to be stopped before they are ever passed. We can't allow unconstitutional laws to be passed and used for years before we finally figure out they are unconstitutional...

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259834)

Legislature doesn’t get to rule on whether laws are constitutional or unconstitutional. That is a function of the judicial branch. If you wanted to get a state to declare a law unconstitutional, you’d have to do it through the state supreme court. Your plan would still be interesting, though, since if enough states’ supreme courts ruled that a law was unconstitutional, it wouldn’t have to go to the federal supreme court for a ruling.

However, if enough of the states want something, they could introduce a bill in congress overturning the old law... that’s basically the equivalent of what you asked for, I think, but it relies on your state representatives in congress rather than your state legislature (with representatives from each district) to put in a word for your state saying that you don’t like the law.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (2, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 4 years ago | (#31260254)

Sorry, no. Stupid laws are bad, but destroying the separation of powers is equally bad. Determining if a law is unconstitutional is a matter for the judiciary who are, at least supposedly, legal experts qualified to make such judgments and largely immune from retaliation for those decisions. Passing it off to elected officials is silly, particularly in a two-party system where laws are likely to be struck down just based on who's in power at any given moment.

What I would like to see, however, is a method of challenging laws--perhaps even going so far as to get a ruling on constitutionality before the law is even passed--that can be requested by parties without other standing. At the very least, allow politicians to do so; I'm sure the opposition party will take advantage many times. I remember cases in the warrantless wiretapping debacle being thrown out because people who didn't know they were spied on didn't have legal standing to sue for information about whether or not they had been spied on. Talk about retardedly circular logic. Luckily a handful of judges saw through it, but I digress.

The problem, of course, is that it would seriously overwork an already overtaxed judicial system and it might delay passage of important bills. (How long, I wonder, would an average judicial pass over a bill take to complete?) I still think it would be worthwhile to set up some sort of constitutional court and pay some judges to do nothing but examine the constitutionality of legislation without prior prompting. Why should people have to be hurt (arrested, fined, jailed, shamed, etc) by a law that is unconstitutional before it can be declared such? It would also stop legislatures passing clearly unconstitutional laws, either due to disregard of the Constitution or just so they can talk about how tough on _X_ they are. It also opens up the possibility to completely block laws from being passed if they're determined to be unconstitutional in the drafting/debate stages.

As an added benefit, I think it's hard to vote against. The only real argument I can see against it is delay on legislation, which I think can be worked around with some clever language amounting to "we can pass this while the review takes place, but if it comes back unconstitutional it's automatically void" (perhaps with a larger majority?). Which is, really, quite like the system we have right now -- just significantly faster. The decision would be, of course, appealable up to the USSC, but like the current situation most of them would not see a hearing there. There would also probably need to be an intermediate appeal, probably working like current appeals courts: A judge or panel or judges hears the original case, which can then be appealed up to a panel (if a single judge started it) or the full court before going up to the USSC.

Anyway, the idea is rough in details, but the jist is pretty simple: Don't hurt people with an unconstitutional law before it is struck down.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258362)

Ah, you mean an "administrative omelet"... Perfectly standard and legal, I assure you. Plus, its presence on the menu is our only defence against the paedoterrorist menace.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (1)

Atriqus (826899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258382)

Because the phrase "suspected child-sex crime" is equivalent to hitting the win button in a US government building; the merits don't actually need to make sense, as lot as someone declares it. Hell, it was probably the back-up line if "suspected weapons of mass destruction" didn't work.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (4, Funny)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258494)

If a LEO sees something on a forum or in real time in a chat room, they cannot wait for paperwork from a judge to be filed, signed, stamped, sealed, delivered back to a LEO and then driven out to an isp to try its best searching a database for an ip and address 24-48 h later.
Just trust the city or state police. Its not like the 1960's or 1970's, they have cleaned up at all levels - really.
They work on multi year federal and international cases and there has been decades of quality law reform in every state of the union.
Cointelpro was in the distant past, the Missouri Information Analysis Center report was a misunderstanding and quickly cleared up in the mainstream press.
Just give your local LEO the tools they need to make the internet safe from power points of demonic activity.
New net laws will allow the modern Utah internet user to have a faster internet again, ensuring shorter working hours, more safe time with the family online and lower mortgages.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (1)

CharlieHedlin (102121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259618)

Is your post serious? It sounds like a sound argument for this law, except the trust your local law enforcement. I generally do, but I don't feel I will always be able do do so. These aren't powers that can be easily taken back later. And I know from the way gun owners are treated in some localities that some parts of the country have a LONG ways to go before there can be the trust you talk about.

Re:I'm no lawyer but.. (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 4 years ago | (#31260356)

trust your local law enforcement. I generally do

Tolerate, but watch with a critical eye. This method has served me well and I strongly recommend it.

Those in positions of power worked long and hard to be there. Case by case, ask yourself, "Why?"

This will never be abused, of course (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258284)

Child porn will be used as a generic criticism of anyone they want to eavesdrop on, regardless of the actual investigation.

Child porn has become a root password to the legal system.

Re:This will never be abused, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258386)

Child porn has become a root password to the legal system.

That makes good sig material -- as good as "cool-sounding sig has become a root password of +5 insightful."

Would still need a reason to request the data (3, Informative)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258304)

Not that I agree with the bill, but the summary obviously left out important details.

His amended bill limits the power to suspected felonies and two misdemeanors -- cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment

Re:Would still need a reason to request the data (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258368)

I, for one, feel much better knowing that you'll be able to be the subject of a warrant without judicial review just for sending somebody a nastygram over the internet...

Re:Would still need a reason to request the data (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258644)

You don't even need that.

A lot of cops carry around a fake search warrant, toss it into the hands of the homeowner and then just *walk in* without giving the homeowner a chance to read the fake document. Of course anything the cops find during this illegal search is inadmissible in court, but it can still be used in an interrogation room to extract a voluntary confession.

Re:Would still need a reason to request the data (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259092)

It is, also, unfortunately the case that a lot of judicial review is of pretty shockingly low quality. "So, an unnamed 'confidential informant' says that there are drugs involved? Where do I sign! And would you prefer a 'knock and announce' or 'no knock' warrant?"

While anybody who attempts to explicitly circumvent procedural safeguards is to be viewed with deepest suspicion, and stymied where possible, the fact that seemingly robust procedural safeguards can quietly rot away from the inside, without any especially visible outside change, is probably ultimately more dangerous.

For instance, any attempt to use military units in policing would certainly attract notice, and probably cause considerable outrage. The fact that nominally-civilian SWAT teams, with military weapons and training, execute more than 40,000 raids a year isn't even news(except when some 'isolated incident' of their raiding the wrong house and perforating someone's unarmed grandmother makes local news).

Re:Would still need a reason to request the data (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258706)

But if there isn't a review what keeps them from making sure that everyone isn't trying to commit "cyber-stalking", "cyber-harassment" or thousands of possible felonies? The last time I check it isn't all that hard to commit some kind of felony offense. Odds are you or someone you know did something this week that a case could be built around. Something that didn't involve voter fraud, murder, poisoning a river or doing horrible things to innocent children.

So you ripped that tag off of the mattress. Can you prove that you don't know someone in the mattress manufacturing industry? I see that you received a rebate on that "product". Can you prove to the court that you did not conspire with the Serta to remove the tag and that the monetary incentive you received wasn't payment for that removal? I should also remind you that perjury will get you thrown in jail for the next 5 years and obstruction of justice, however we happen to define it, is also a crime, so please, answer the question.

Of course this is a silly example that I'd hope no jury would fall for, but the truth of it is if certain people want you in jail, odds are, you are going to jail.

Re:Would still need a reason to request the data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259996)

Yea dude your pointing that out only makes this law even worse. cyber-harassment is an extremely broad thing

Just another in a long... (-1, Flamebait)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258340)

Just another thing in a long string of homophobic, bigoted, racist and now constitutional right removing crap out of Utah.

Stay classy you pedophilic whack jobs.

We shoulda wiped your asses out when there were only a few of you alone out in the desert.

Re:Just another in a long... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258690)

>>>We shoulda wiped your asses out when there were only a few of you alone out in the desert.

Clearly you don't understand the concept of freedom/liberty. You may not like the Mormons, but they still have the right to live their lives however they please, within their own member state (Utah).

Also I lived in Utah for half a year - not long, but enough time to see they are not evil people. They just want to live their lives & raise families like any other American in any other member state

BB (4, Interesting)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258348)

As always, Big Brother comes in small, fairly digestible steps. Note
the progression below:

> Last year, the Legislature granted prosecutors subpoena power
> when they suspect a child-sex crime has been committed.

Here it was one crime...of course the one, where it's really hard to
say no to such a bill. Then we continue, as is not just to be
expected but a given:

> Daw's bill initially had sought to expand the authority to any
> crime, but committee members balked at such broad power last
> Friday. His amended bill limits the power to suspected felonies
> and two misdemeanors -- cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment.

So now it's child-sex crimes + SUSPECTED felonies + 2 misdemeanors.

In a couple of years, give or take, it'll become standard-operating
procedure applying at will to *everyone*. And that, ladies and
gentlemen, is the problem with taking away basic rights from the
people. It will always get worse, because nobody wants to lose their
shiny new toys anymore that give you almost god-power over other's.
Except, of course, you're in Soviet Russia. There Big Brother
doesn't subpoena your ISP records but the actual user for, uh,
re-education. A bit more of this stuff above and we'll be there too.

Re:BB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259594)

News just in: Soviet Russia ceased to exist in 1991. But please don't let little things like actual facts interfere with your morbid fear of imaginary entities. It's what makes Americans grea....American.

Re:BB (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259942)

> News just in: Soviet Russia ceased to exist in 1991. But please
> don't let little things like actual facts interfere with your
> morbid fear of imaginary entities.

Don't let your morbid fear of analogies and figures-of-speech
interfere with your real or imagined comprehension of my article.
Thanx!

Re:BB (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31260130)

> of course the one, where it's really hard to say no to such a bill.

Yep. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came [wikipedia.org] ... comes to mind.

If they would prosecute subverters of these laws (1)

Tangential (266113) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258350)

Laws like this /always/ end up being subverted for lots of other purposes. I believe that if people who were found to have subverted it were vigorously prosecuted, then eventually, law enforcement/prosecutors would quit asking for such laws in the first place.

Re:If they would prosecute subverters of these law (2, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258444)

Or we could just make a little list of the bill's supporters, and arrange for the local authorities to get anonymous tips that they're suspected of downloading child porn.

Re:If they would prosecute subverters of these law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258502)

Laws like this /always/ end up being subverted for lots of other purposes.

I believe that if people who were found to have subverted it were vigorously prosecuted, then eventually, law enforcement/prosecutors would quit asking for such laws in the first place.

So in other words, what you are saying is we should "shut the f#$k up and do what we are told."
I hope I'm mis-interpreting what you wrote.

Constituion? What constitution? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258364)

I'm of the mind that the issuance of an administrative warrant constitutes an act of treason.

Re:Constituion? What constitution? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259024)

I understand most of Americans agree that the Constitution says certain things. But not many of us have actual read the Constitution, at least not carefully.

The Constitution does not expressly forbid something like this. And when you pull out the Bill of Rights to disprove me, read it carefully and objectively. What you'll see is that

(a) the people's right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizures is protected [although from whom is not said. Everyone agrees this includes the feds, some think it's only the feds but not the states, and most people seem to think it applies to other private individuals, which it does not but probably should.]

(b) it sets certain conditions on what is needed to justify a warrant, and requires that warrants apply to specific persons and things.

(c) it does not say when warrants must be used for a search to be reasonable. You have to know the kinds of instances that customarily required warrants at the end of the 1700s. Many kinds of searches don't require warrants: hot pursuit, administrative law searches etc. Some of these cases might be *wrong*, but they're not prohibited. It is not even explicitly prohibited to get around these restrictions by simply not using warrants, although most reasonable people would infer that.

(d) it applies to "papers" and "personal effects"; it wasn't until 1928 that SCOTUS reversed itself and began to consider a privacy interest in the information per se, not the carrier of the information. People who want to return to the state of law in the 19th Century don't realize this means giving up almost all modern legal protections for privacy.

The problems of the US Constitution with regard to privacy aren't unlike the problems with copyright in the digital era. The Constitution was drafted in an era where almost all information about a person remained with that person, and moving that information around was an exceptional situation. If he posted a letter, the physical embodiment of that letter was his property, it was one of his "papers", until it was received by the addressee.

Email or text messages don't work that way. The information is inscribed onto the carrier's property. If people knew how little Constitutional protection they have in this situation, they'd be shocked.

Stretching the Constitution to cover this takes the kind of creative constitutional exegesis that leads to Griswold v. Connecticut (birth control) and Roe v. Wade.

There's little doubt the Constitution is almost hopelessly broken with respect to 21st Century privacy concerns. We have to look to statutory law for protection.

Re:Constituion? What constitution? (2, Insightful)

jthill (303417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259588)

The information is inscribed onto the carrier's property

So: if you write a letter on paper someone else paid for, not only do you magically lose your right to be secure in your effects, that someone else loses theirs, too? Every teensiest little deviation from the microscopically-narrowest-conceivable construction of the limits on the Almighty Executive Authority throws you into the realm of unbridled tyranny?

Many kinds of searches don't require warrants

Every kind of search that doesn't match exactly the microscopically-narrowest-conceivable construction of the language describing those that do explicitly require a warrant ... can be done at whim, because

We have to look to statutory law for protection.

... the government has absolute power except where a law explicitly denies it?

Every teensiest little deviation from the microscopically-narrowest-conceivable construction of the limits on the Almighty Executive Authority throws you into the realm of unbridled tyranny?

One of the main Federalist arguments against adding the Bill of Rights was that (a) it didn't say anything the Constitution didn't already imply and (b) if they bothered to state some of the consequent limits on government authority explicitly, cretinous martinets would try to argue that those were the only limits.

And here we have one, doing just that.

Re:Constituion? What constitution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31260004)

"The Constitution does not expressly forbid something like this."

It doesn't have to, the constitution doesn't allow it either, The constitution is a list of powers that were granted to the federal government, if it's not on the list they can't do it.

The Bill of Rights is often misinterpreted as a list of all protections/rights that individuals have, when this is clearly not the case. re-read the 9th and 10th Amendments. and please do it "carefully". Continuing to spread the ill-informed and incorrect presumption that the only rights you have are the ones listed in the bill of rights is dangerous to the liberties of everyone, and it needs to be stopped.

Apparently Constitution doesn't apply in Utah (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258388)

..the ability to demand customer information from Internet or cell phone companies via an administrative subpoena, with no judicial review (text of the HB150).

I don't get it. Isn't Utah the home of a lot of those militant constitutional crusaders? So giving health care coverage to poor people and making people have health insurance to cut out the freeloaders in the health care system is socialism and unconstitutional, but law enforcement reviewing GPS cellphone data and their ISP logs without a warrant is all okay? You want the government out of our lives...unless it's abortion or right to die, then government intervention is okay.

How do you rationalize positions like that?

Re:Apparently Constitution doesn't apply in Utah (3, Insightful)

Attack DAWWG (997171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258942)

Rationalize?

These are the "Get yer gummint hands off my Medicare!" types. These are the ones who scream all day long about states' rights, and then yell for the federal government to do something when other states legalize medical marijuana or gay marriage.

And you want rationalization?

Rationale: personal preferences (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259084)

How do you rationalize positions like that?

"Those are my personal opinions. Yours may be different."

That's, roughly speaking, how you do it.

And you can't really say "But your opinions are wrong!". At best, you can say something like "The policies you advocate go against the constitution", and they can respond "Well, then I guess my opinion is that we should change the constitution."

You may try arguing that their suggested policy has consequences which (a) they don't know about; and (b) they don't like or agree with. I'm not sure how well it works, but at least you're attacking the problem from a decent angle.

Re:Rationale: personal preferences (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31260072)

And you can't really say "But your opinions are wrong!". At best, you can say something like "The policies you advocate go against the constitution", and they can respond "Well, then I guess my opinion is that we should change the constitution."

One would hope that's what they'd say. Although my experience is that they're probably too impatient for that, so they'll say something about it being a "living document" while thinking "It's just a piece of paper."

Re:Apparently Constitution doesn't apply in Utah (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259460)

Easy, both major parties are for Big Government. The difference is just what areas of the government that they want bigger. And, of course, for all their protests, neither party will really try to shrink government too much when they take power. They'll just slow/freeze the growth of the "bad big government" sections and increase the growth of the "good big government" sections. This applies to the states as well as the federal government.

Re:Apparently Constitution doesn't apply in Utah (1)

EL_mal0 (777947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259562)

Not that I agree with the bill, but I suppose I could be considered one of those militant constitutional crusaders from Utah.

I believe the argument is somewhere along the lines of, "Criminals give up their rights, including the right to keep the state out of their business, when they commit a crime." I doubt you'd find too many people who disagree with this line of reasoning. However, there is that probable cause thing that makes legislation like this confusing to me.

On the other hand, law abiding citizens do expect the government to stay out their business. This holds true for a range of issues, be it health care, perceived land grabs for environmental protection (link [deseretnews.com] ), gun control, etc.

Not saying I agree with all aspects of where this reasoning goes, but you asked how these positions are rationalized.

Re:Apparently Constitution doesn't apply in Utah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259682)

Why did they stop at only 'cell phones'. Why not land lines too? or is that to hard to do because of previous laws still on the books?

Re:Apparently Constitution doesn't apply in Utah (3, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259702)

This is the same Utah that is about to pass a law stating that a woman who has a miscarriage "recklessly" is liable to a murder charge [rhrealitycheck.org] . The legislature probably relishes the idea of mandatory pregnancy testing in order to properly enforce the law...

Re:Apparently Constitution doesn't apply in Utah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259960)

Welcome to the Idiocracy that is "Utah's Capitol Hill".

Re:Apparently Constitution doesn't apply in Utah (2, Informative)

EL_mal0 (777947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31260082)

Agreed. The parent makes an important distinction between Utah's Capitol Hill and Utah. There's a higher concentration of crazies up at the Capitol than in the population at large.

Re:Apparently Constitution doesn't apply in Utah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31260028)

Don't forget Utah legislature invalidating by decree the scientific evidence for global warming, don't forget polygamy, & be sure to read "Under the Banner of Heaven". Utah is a wierd experience in so many ways. OTOH it has incredible natural beauty & great skiing.

PS no relation to Noel...:-)

Oh, won't you think of the children? (4, Insightful)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258392)

Child sex crime is horrible.

No argument there. I have children. The mere idea indeed, horrifies me.

But I am dismayed to see such crimes being used as leverage to obtain ever more far-reaching powers.

There is no question that "all power corrupts". It's not a standard quote for nothing - it is, all too sadly, true.
I believe that no special powers are needed here - just sensible application of the ones that the already specially privileged police forces already have, is sufficient. I see no realistic problem with getting a search warrant from a judge. Like for searching a house.

Suspicion indeed - I'd like to feel the police would need a little more than suspicion - suspicion with enough basisi to convince a judge, perhaps? Isn't that what they are for, as a counterbalance to "over zealous" police forces?

After all, anybody can suspect anybody of anything - with no basis whatsoever. And I don't think that's a good basis for a law. It's more like a license to harass, I'd say. And isn't there already enough of that?

Re:Oh, won't you think of the children? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258588)

"We had reason to suspect him of a child sex crime and/or connections to terrorism, so we got the logs from his ISP, and from what we discovered the original suspicions were unfounded but we did find _x_ which we then charged him with ...."

Re:Oh, won't you think of the children? (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258674)

There is no question that "all power corrupts".

Actually, to my mind there is a question. I don't believe power corrupts, I believe power attracts the corruptible. The fact that there are a few good cops and good politicians kind of illustrates that; but people go for those jobs because they're power hungry.

Re:Oh, won't you think of the children? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259600)

It's probably a bit of both. Powerful positions attract those who would like to use such power. However, if you give someone power they might honestly think they're using it for the common good. They might honestly try to use it wisely, but the temptation will always be there.

There's a bad guy on the loose and you have this power to pull cell phone records without a judge's ok. You might get approval the first few times, but how long until the urge to catch the bad guy and end his threat becomes too great and you pull those records "just this once" without approval? And since you did it that one time and nobody objected/got hurt (in fact, peoples' lives were saved/made better), why not do it again? Just this second time, mind you. It's to help people. It really won't matter if you only do it two... ok, maybe three times. Four times max. Definitely no more than five... or six...

Before you know it, you're using this power regularly and stomping on civil liberties right and left. In your mind, though, you're still doing everything not to further your own power, but "for the good of the people." And any attempts to remove your increased powers, returning you to the proper levels of power, are seen as a threat to your ability to protect the world from the bad guys. (Thus, civil liberties activists are working for the bad guys and must be stopped....)

Re:Oh, won't you think of the children? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259138)

It's not just child sex crimes. Dick Cheney leveraged terrorism and 9-11 to achieve two goals that he had been seeking long before anyone had ever heard of Osama Bin Laden--the restoration of pre-Watergate Presidential power and the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

IANAL (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258400)

i thought judges issued subpoenas.

Judicial Subpoena should be easy enough (3, Funny)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258452)

Atty: Your honor, the suspect is a Morman Fundamentalist.
Judge: And you have proof of this?
Atty: He cliams 35 dependants on his state taxes.
Judge: Subpoena granted.

Re:Judicial Subpoena should be easy enough (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258570)

FYI: No Mormons or Religions were slandered in above post.

Disturbing implications (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258454)

More than one request per day, in suspicion of a child-sex crime?

There must be a lot of sick perverts in Utah.

Re:Disturbing implications (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258782)

Are there, or are there lots of people exploiting it? The bill allowed for judge-less subpoena based on child sex crimes, and the statistic says that more than one judge-less subpoena was asked for per day, but it doesn't explicitly say that more than one judge-less subpoena was asked for per day that then led to the receipt of information about child sex offences. Given the way that governments work once they've got a loophole then it wouldn't surprise me if they're not all entirely kosher requests.

Are you fucking serious!? (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258468)

It's obvious you do not need an understanding of history or the constitution to be a politician in Utah.

Re:Are you fucking serious!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258562)

It's obvious you do not need an understanding of history or the constitution to be a politician in Utah.

As someone who has been stuck in this state for 10 years, I can tell you that you have no idea how right you are.

This is also the legislature where one member states "Brown v. Board of Education didn't do anything to help anyone" AND wants to do away with 12th grade because it is a "waste of time" - and still gets re-elected....

This is also the state that will not do away with the sodomy laws that are on the books, even though the supreme court struck them down years ago.

This is the state where one sponsor of a bill outright said he didn't care if it was unconstitutional or not...

Politicians License! (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258740)

You should have to get a "driver's license" to be a politician. Seriously, a rigorous test on your first election and a refresher every two years you have to pass. What would be in it? Atrocity, horror, deceit, power-grabs, road-to-hell-with-good-intentions, and the whole other works. What people don't realize is that your opinion is stupid. So is mine. You should not be allowed to vote simply by your opinion - you should have an understanding of what you are governing. If you don't then you're no better than a monkey flipping random switches.

The Utah Conservative... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258514)

...only believes in limited government when morality isn't a factor.

Yet Again... (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258536)

Politicians hear the words "for the good of the children" and their brains turn off.

Re:Yet Again... (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259556)

Actually...that would be the voters who turn their brains off. Said politician is just doing what'll get the people to reelect him.

I hate people that prey on the defensless, but... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258602)

I agree with H.L. Mencken when he said:
"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."

And to the AG I say get a real warrant if you suspect someone of committing a crime. If you can't prove that to a judge move on to another case.

This guy is a Democrat (1)

Attack DAWWG (997171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258672)

Pete Ashdown, the guy who is speaking out against the warrantless wiretapping, is a Democrat.

But this is Utah.

Good luck with that. How many people do you think will even listen?

Re:This guy is a Democrat (1)

Attack DAWWG (997171) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258702)

. . . er, I meant warrantless subpoenas for information. Hit the submit button too quickly.

In other news (1)

Jonesy69 (904924) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258684)

Mormons across the state are up in arms!

I think... (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258686)

Web traffic and where people go can be open to public, but the contents of emails can not.
Emails are used by companies as legal proof that communication has been made and could contain sensitive materials.
As far as where people go on the internet, is like tracking someone when they are driving their car somewhere, anyone can do it, and you should not be offended when someone sees you and says, "yeah....i saw you driving by the other day, I waved, but you didn't see me..." that is not worth controlling. As for cell phones, I consider that cell phones again are a way to communicate which could contain sensitive insider information, so no that should not have easy access without a warrant

As your Government... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258798)

As your Government, I am in some fashion your parent, meaning you are in some fashion my child. I want to come up with new laws so I can fuck up your rights.

Therefore, by extension, ALL wiretaps are related to child sex, and therefore all wiretaps should be allowed without a warrant.

Think of the CHILDREN!

Not really news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258864)

A LOT of states use administrative subpoenas to get business records. It would be different if they were trying to get actual use and behavior by the customer. Subpoenas, which are less than a warrant (and a warrant less than a court order) are usually the legal process for obtaining records from a business. This is how cell phone records, account information, and hundreds of other types of documents are obtained. If you really want to bring the criminal justice system to a screeching halt, try requiring police to get in front of a judge every time they want to know who the owner of a phone number or email address is......

And of course, there's no real controls on it (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258928)

They had the temerity to make law enforcement agencies that use this statute write a detailed report on their behavior every year to explain themselves, but did not so much as put anything in there to provide for their prosecution by state agencies if they abuse it. This is the worst kind of transparency as it says to the public, "yes, we know there are violations of the law, we have them right here, nicely documented, but damned if we'll do anything about it."

Living in... (1)

zerointeger (1587877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258944)

Utah is interesting.
We have everything that the bigger cities have. Unfortunately that includes corruption. I am not going to try and slander the law enforcement community as a whole, nor the politicians, as I do not think it is warranted.

However, having witnessed first hand corruption I cannot think of any law that would stop this practice.

This whole thing of labeling everything a sex crime, leads me to believe that cointellpro has simply morphed into a form that will always merit support from politicians, families and law enforcement constituents.

I have not read the contents of the bill but I wonder if there are safeguards for us tax payers? I also question biased opinions from within the ranks those that took an oath to protect the law. A tapped internet connection can also be used as a reverse proxy which would then be subjected to the investigative authority and their best interests and/or their quota.

Ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259362)

Fuck Utah, fuck all those morman fucker's and fuck the horses they rode in on.

Ah, Utah politics (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259630)

The Utah State Legislature

...or, as it's more commonly known, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Ugh (1)

PenguinGuy (307634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31259644)

makes me glad I am leaving the worthless state. Don't know if the state I am moving to is any better, but it can't be any worse.

My advice to you is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31259866)

Get off the Internet...
NOW!!!

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