Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

WikiLeaks In New Legal Battle

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the sounds-like-something-needs-to-be-leaked dept.

Privacy 86

geegel writes "The US Justice Department is now fighting in court demands from three WikiLeaks associates to disclose the names of several electronic service platforms that received requests to hand over user information. This comes after Twitter obtained a court order to unseal the demands in order to notify the three persons. The current legal row has seen both the ACLU and the EFF provide legal assistance to the WikiLeaks associates."

cancel ×

86 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So many 503s (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337180)

If you want to post, you might get through using the https page:

https://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/06/04/1650250/WikiLeaks-In-New-Legal-Battle [slashdot.org]

Re:So many 503s (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337188)

Does Slashdot even have any admins? This has been going on for days.

If it wasn't for the frequent UI updates making it worse I would assume Slashdot had been abandoned for years.

Re:So many 503s (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337270)

I ran out of titty skittles :-(

Re:So many 503s (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337352)

Seems like there's a problem with their Varnish config. Someone needs to light a few firecrackers under that guru's ass.

Re:So many 503s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337466)

I'd post by my user name but logged out and can't log in or even ask for my password for 48 hours...

Anyway.... I think the cat is out of the hat.... Slashdot runs off Amigas....

Re:So many 503s (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337602)

Still better than fail whales balancing beach balls.

Re:So many 503s (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#36340406)

Whatever happened to Cowboy Neil?

Re:So many 503s (5, Informative)

Soulskill (1459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337430)

We're working on the 503 problems. Sorry it's been such a pain.

Fix the RSS feed while at it (was Re:So many 503s) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337550)

While at it, why not fix the RSS feed? XML doesn't understand HTML tags in the titles (e.g. ), nor most of the entities (like ). It's quite a joke if an IT site can't even get something that simple right, right?

Re:So many 503s (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338788)

We're working on the 503 problems. Sorry it's been such a pain.

With what? Good intentions and bad language? Whatever you're using hasn't worked in a long time...

Re:So many 503s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36339556)

Fix the RSS while you're at it. You can't use HTML () and arbitrary entities within the title (&emdash), ya know?

slashdot in new battle with 503s (1, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337186)

The 503s are winning.

Posted a story about the 503's (0, Offtopic)

wulfmans (794904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337190)

I posted a story to slashdot about the 503's. I doubt it will get posted. But since yesterday site been slow, unresponsive and the magic 503 error LOL. I feel censored.

Re:Posted a story about the 503's (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337392)

(Score:-1, Offtopic) Offtopic mods? Wow, I haven't seen those in awhile.

wait till alex jones haers about this!!!11!11! (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337972)

did you know there is.... a slashdot japan?

clearly, they are in with the 'globalist banksters'

EFF (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337200)

I believe in the EFF. I wish they never defended wikileaks. What they did was illegal. You can't post classified and / or stolen information. Pretty simple.

Re:EFF (3, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337232)

And regular newspapers absolutely never do that...

Re:EFF (4, Interesting)

el_tedward (1612093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337240)

I'll bite.

What about the new york times and bazillions of other news organizations? How does the type of organization you are determine the legality of ones actions?

Re:EFF (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337248)

And people who aren't Freemasons can't wear the Freemason ring. However, since I'm not a Freemason, their prohibition doesn't affect me; therefore, I can wear their ring if I want to. The US's jurisdiction isn't supposed to reach outside its borders (even if it does in fact).

Re:EFF (3, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337598)

Even if you accept the US's jurisdiction as world-wide, what Wikileaks did wasn't illegal. It falls squarely under freedom of the press. What Manning did was illegal, and he'll be punished for it, but once the information is out there, the media has no obligation to cover it up.

Re:EFF (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337856)

What Manning did was illegal, and he'll be punished for it

He has /already/ been punished and made an example of. I wander how history will remember Manning...

Re:EFF (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337908)

What Manning did was illegal, and he'll be punished for it

He has /already/ been punished and made an example of. I wander how history will remember Manning...

Assuming you mean "wonder" and "wander" was a typo Manning's likely to be veiwed like all too many spies/oathbreakers: some will think he was useful at best maybe even sympathetic, but NEVER to be trusted or believed. And if it turns out Wikileaks is just Julian Assange's anti-US cult-of-personality, Manning will go down as a tool.

Not too many spies in history who divulged classified/secret data who are held in high esteem by anyone.

Re:EFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36339562)

I love the fact you commented on his one spelling mistake. You then made one of your own, the rest of your post was grammatically very poor, and you're a fucking tool.

Re:EFF (2)

SudoGhost (1779150) | more than 3 years ago | (#36339614)

Not all those who wander are lost.

president obama, is that you? (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338020)

sir, with all due respect, don't you have better things to do than post on slashdot?

Re:EFF (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36339120)

Yeah, but why should the US constitution apply world-wide only because its other laws do?

Re:EFF (2)

gerddie (173963) | more than 3 years ago | (#36339184)

What Manning did was illegal, ...

What happened to innocent until proven guilty? He is still only a suspect ...

Re:EFF (1)

RadiantPhoenix (2029232) | more than 3 years ago | (#36344570)

What Manning did was illegal, and he'll be punished for it

What Manning allegedly did.

All hail the EFF (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337264)

What they did was illegal. You can't post classified and / or stolen information.

Tell it to the New York Times, asshole posting as AC.
Or listen to the laughter if you tell it to any reputable news publication.

Re:All hail the EFF (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337364)

Although I support wikileaks and the EFF, there There is nothing reputable at the New York Times.

Re:EFF (3, Insightful)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337474)

I believe in the EFF. I wish they never defended wikileaks. What they did was illegal. You can't post classified and / or stolen information. Pretty simple.

As your privacy is gradually stripped away, how many times have you heard the words "If you have done nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear."

Re:EFF (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338120)

There is no privacy today for anyone. The only real privacy relied on good manners and a modicum of respect to others but these attributes are sadly absent today by anyone's standards. Whether it's a government agency or just some knucklehead publishing stolen customer information online privacy is gone.

Cause if it is the law... (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337840)

Cause if it is the law, then it is automatically moral and right, pure and simple, /sarcasm

please show me exactly which law says that (2, Interesting)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337994)

because you can't.

there is no law banning the 'leaking' of classified information.

there are several different laws that ban specific types of information, some of it classified, in certain situations, by certain people.

the truth is that the vast majority of the documents that Manning released do not fall under any law simply becasue they are classified.

read his charge sheet, then look up the actual laws and read them. the civilian laws that he broke do not use the word 'classified'. at all. the Espionage Act (he has about 5 or so charges on this) is regarding 'national defense information'.

please tell me how information about Gadhafi's "hot nurses" are information vital to the national defense.

congress has been unwilling or unable to pass any law making a blanket ban on passing classified information.
or the Collateral Murder video. how does that rise to the level of the Espionage Act?

why is there no blanket anti-classified leaking law? because congress itself leaks classified information all the time, in order to fight political battles in the media. thats where all the 'senior officials who did not wish to be named' comments come from in news stories.
you can read about Ollie North's experience in the 80s, the whitehouse leaked, congress leaked, everyone leaked. it was part of their media strategy.

There is a great paper from the 1973 Columbia Law Journal by Schmidt and Edgar about this, you can read it online at

http://www.fas.org/sgp/library/index.html [fas.org]

Essentially, the American nation has put more faith in open debate and discussion than in government secrecy and its associated blatant lying and corruption (see Reynolds v. United States for a classic example).

this principle is slowly being chipped away by various underhanded tactics over the years, but the spirit of openness is like an unquenchable flame or some kind of endemic weed... the human condition is to ask questions and demand accounability from authority.

Re:please show me exactly which law says that (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338618)

Young Manning doesn't have to be guilty of the various laws which you have attempted to cite. Mr. Manning is and was subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He broke many regulations under that code. It remains to be seen whether the advocates can or will press the case as a capital case. They COULD.

And, before you try to tell me that the UCMJ doesn't authorize capital punishment - it does. In fact, a summary court martial followed by an immediate execution is unheard of today, but the UCMJ still supports it. (summary court martial effectively being an abbreviated court in number and rank of court officers)

he is not charged with 'posting' 'classified' info (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36340004)

even if you look at the military charges...

they are things like 'moving information from a classified system to an unclassified system', or 'using a computer for its non-intended purpose'. it doesnt have anything about 'passing classified information to wikileaks'. it might say a lot of things, but thats one thing it doesnt say.

you have also mentioned 'stolen' information. this i find very hard to understand. all US government work is uncopyrightable, it is in the public domain. where does the 'value' then derive? that is the langauge of 18 USC 641, 'theft of government property'. how can you steal something that is free? is the information only valuable because nobody knows it? if so, then how can passing it to wikileaks be considered stealing, since it has lost all of its 'scarcity' by being posted on the internet? the last Espionage case that involved Theft of Government property that i know of (the Amerasia case) resulted in a slap on the wrist of the defendants for 641 violations.. they had ver batim put classified government reports into a magazine.

As for 'aiding the enemy', this UCMJ law doesn't mention the word 'classified', at all. yes it is a potentially capital crime, but the prosecution has indicated they will not pursue this.

this brings me to another question - why hasn't he been charged with the UCMJ Espionage law? Why did they use the much less harsh civilian Espionage law, and subparagraph (e) to boot? That paragraph is usually reserved for people like the AIPAC case, the Pentagon Papers case, guys who take home boxes of stuff (Ford), the Morison case, etc. If Manning truly 'aided the enemy' why dont they charge him with the full gamut of UCMJ violations?

He is not charged with Treason either. Why not? Could it be that the 'worst leaker in US military history' didnt leak anything all that important? Could it be that the state department over-classifies most of its material for political reasons?

Could it be the 'collateral murder' video is merely embarassing, and not vital national defense information?

If you chop away at the 34 counts against him, you will find there are only a handful of charges actually related to battlefield information. The rest of it is... what? If he gets convicted on every last count, then it sets a precedent that makes a large percentage of current war reporting basically illegal and punishable by felonies. it also makes communicating with reporters a crime. is that really what we want our future to be?

Re:he is not charged with 'posting' 'classified' i (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36340120)

Wow. You are upset they are trying him for crimes he likely committed, rather than crimes he likely did not?

why i am upset (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36340662)

because the media has painted him as the 'worst leaker in history' when the charges do not justify this portrayal

because the anger against wikileaks and Manning, stoked by illogical and incorrect assertions regarding his actions and the legality or illegality of them, will result in bad legal precedent, if he is convicted on all counts

because that precedent will then be used to target many, many other people for things like leaking embarassing videos.

If Manning's precedent stands on the Collateral Murder video for example, then the Abu Grahib photo leaks would be prosecutable under the Espionage Act.

Re:he is not charged with 'posting' 'classified' i (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36340644)

He is not charged with Treason either. Why not? Could it be that the 'worst leaker in US military history' didnt leak anything all that important? Could it be that the state department over-classifies most of its material for political reasons?

No, it's because Treason is a crime specifically defined in the US Constitution. Manning's circumstances don't meet the Constitutional test for treason.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

As far as I recall or know, only one person has been charged with treason since WW2.

$1 million for arrest of American al Qaeda charged with treason [cnn.com]

An American al Qaeda propagandist was indicted Wednesday on treason charges, the first person charged with the offense during the United States' war on terrorism, officials said.

Adam Yahiye Gadahn, who has appeared in five al Qaeda videos, is also charged with offering material support for terrorism, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty said.

But think about it, he is charged with aiding the enemy. That is treason by any common understanding of the word, and would constitutie treason in most countries, it just does not meet the US Constitutional meaning.

The State Department has been relocating diplomats and warning activists and sources around the world after Wikileaks outed them. This has been very disruptive.

WikiLeaks sparks worldwide diplomatic crisis [telegraph.co.uk]
WikiLeaks cables prompt US to move diplomatic sources [guardian.co.uk]
Wikileaks: US will have to reshuffle diplomats following revelations [telegraph.co.uk]

You might want to go back and look at some of those issues in your post using different sources, you're heading in the wrong direction in many cases.

where should i be looking? (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36340968)

The first article you linked to discusses a lot of allegations in the wikileaks info - it doesnt go into much detail about the disruption caused.

The second article you linked to says this: "The repercussions for US diplomats, some of whom have written colourful descriptions of their host countries and leaders, have so far been relatively minor."

"It said officials believed the disclosure of the cables had affected contacts in some countries between US diplomats and human rights activists, who were now wary lest their names and views emerge in the future."

The third article says this:"We're going to have to pull out some of our best people – the diplomats who best represented the United States and were the most thoughtful in their analysis – because they dared to report back the truth about the nations in which they serve."

As for the first article - a lot of that was known before wikileaks dumped it, by old fashioned reporting.
As for the second article - that is troubling. however after reading "Dirty Diplomacy" by Craig Murray, i do not automatically assume that US ambassadors care about human rights or report the truth back home. Especially after allying with people like Karamov of Uzbekistan, who has somehow managed to make life more repressive than it was during Soviet times but got US support because of the airbase at K2 for a number of years. (we no longer are so friendly with him)

As for the third article ... diplomats are shuffled around all the time. In fact every time there is a new president, a bunch of his campaign contributors and cronies are posted as diplomatic staff. It is the 'spoils system' in the modern era, is it not?

Maybe it is more 'disruptive' than, say, the Iraq War, which outraged almost the entire world against us. But 'disruption' is not a crime is it?

Re:EFF (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338566)

What wikileaks did was illegal? Please, cite some laws that they broke. If you actually find some laws that you think that they broke, then PLEASE follow up with your rationale for US jurisdiction over wikileaks and/or Julian Assange. I would really prefer if you could keep it rational, and paint a nice clear picture for dummies to understand.

Before you start, allow me to point out that Julian is not a US citizen, nor is wikileaks a US company, corporation, organization, nonprofit, or any other such entity. That should both simplify, and complicate your task - but if you really understand that they are not subject to US jurisdiction, then you'll appreciate my effort here.

Re:EFF (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36339398)

The only law I can see anyone possibly breaking would be accepting stolen property and then selling it for profit which Wiki leaks has been doing. In normal situations a journalist or news outlet is protected by law when it comes to questioning the source of their information. In this case everyone knows where the information came from and the US is attempting to refine their knowledge on the actually path the information took once it was stolen. I don't really think they will be able to do anything but stranger things have happened and the released information has not caused any real harm yet other than embarrassing some diplomats and government leaders around the world.

Re:EFF (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36341186)

As someone already pointed out, you can't really steal information that is in the public domain to begin with. As for WikiLeaks selling the intel, I would be very sceptical of such reports. There's a lot of disinfo mixed in with the real information regarding WikiLeaks.

Re:EFF (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36346080)

That's like saying I can steal your car and then leave it in parking lot some where with the keys in the ignition. This doesn't mean the car is suddenly in the public domain. Any one taking the car would be charged as an accessory to the original crime or charged with accepting stolen property. In this case the military information was acquired illegally under US law. The military documents were definitely not in the public domain. I imagine that the only people who could be charged are those that released the material first. After the information was released publicly once it was then in the public domain and I don't think any crimes were broken in that instance. The guy charged with the theft has so far only been charged in respect to the military material. The punishment for breaking these laws are sever and I am afraid they guy is going to be at the mercy of the military prosecutor who will ultimately make the decision on exactly which charges they are going to be pursuing when it gets to trial. The government is probably using the charges which have the harshest penalties such as execution in an attempt to gain his cooperation. Personally I hope the military and government prosecutors show some restraint if the guy is convicted.

Re:EFF (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36348084)

That's like saying I can steal your car and then leave it in parking lot some where with the keys in the ignition.

Here we are talking about intellectual property, as opposed to tangible goods.

The military documents were definitely not in the public domain.

On one hand, you have information as completely abstract concept which is not a property, and you have documents (classified or otherwise) which are tangible copyrightable work of the US agencies. Since US has a rule that government-produced work cannot be copyrighted [wikipedia.org] it does not enjoy the level of protection that other copyrighted works enjoy. This applies to all documents produced within the government. Military documents are, naturally, covered by this, as well as documents produced by CIA, NSA, and any other government agency, with a few exceptions like USPTO.

I imagine that the only people who could be charged are those that released the material first.

You'd have to find out who wrote the original law, then. :)

The guy charged with the theft has so far only been charged in respect to the military material.

Manning is charged with lots and lots of stuff. These include not only unauthorized transmission of classified documents (breaking the rules of handling classified documents, right?) but also aiding the enemy, and other stuff like illegal installation of software to extract the documents, etc. If you care, look up "Bradley Manning charges" and you'll find many articles on the topic.

The protection of government documents is facilitated through the system of classification [wikipedia.org] . This system prescribes storage options and handling rules to all government subjects depending on the level of classification and their level of clearance. So, if someone leaves a document out there "with the keys in the ignition", he is breaking the handling procedure, not the copyright law. The documents are already in public domain, so they can't break copyright laws. Therefore, those documents are not stolen, but mishandled. The crimes of mishandling do not (at least should not) extend to non-government people, and especially not the press.

The government is probably using the charges which have the harshest penalties such as execution in an attempt to gain his cooperation. Personally I hope the military and government prosecutors show some restraint if the guy is convicted.

The reason the military and the government have not shown any restraint whatsoever when treating Manning in a way that borders on torture [guardian.co.uk] is that they needed to make it clear that they won't tolerate such leaks. He was more of a message to others working within the government.

Re:EFF (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36349556)

IP can be considered tangible goods in every since of the word. But I seriously doubt the military gives a damn about the nuances of copyright law in this instance. They went directly to classifying the material protected under the laws governing military and state secrets. Even if copyright laws were being applied the theft and dissemination of the information would be like hacking into a publishers library and downloading a new unreleased novel or song before it was officially released under the applicable copyright laws. Basically encouraging theft for the purpose of avoiding the restrictions of copyright laws. The really sad thing in this whole situation is that none of the material released so far has been of any great importance or impact. No grand conspiracies or lies exposed that are worthy of spending 1 year let alone 25 years in jail.

Re:EFF (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36350072)

IP can be considered tangible goods in every since of the word. But I seriously doubt the military gives a damn about the nuances of copyright law in this instance.

And you're right. Military doesn't give a shit about copyright protection because there is none. They do care about copyrighted work of their contractors, but that's a different matter, and certainly has nothing to do with diplomatic cables in question. Diplomatic staff are all government people, so whatever material they produce is considered public domain, regardless of their classification. So, they cannot care about copyright laws even if they wanted to. What they do care about is the way classified documents are treated.

They went directly to classifying the material protected under the laws governing military and state secrets.

Exactly.

If copyright laws would be applied the theft and dissemination of the classified government documents it would be like hacking into a publishers library and downloading a new unreleased novel or song before it was officially released under the applicable copyright laws.

Fixed it for you. And no, it would not be the same, because an unreleased novel is protected by copyright law the moment it is put on paper (or an eletronic document, like LaTeX source). This doesn't hold true for government documents, and hence your analogy fails.

Basically encouraging theft for the purpose of avoiding the restrictions of copyright laws.

No. They don't encourage theft. They encourage secrecy. Which is withholding information from "we the People". Some argue that this is justified in some circumstances, some argue that it is not, but that's what they are doing, basically. Personally, I do not agree they should, but I'm not from US, so I don't care too much either.

The really sad thing in this whole situation is that none of the material released so far has been of any great importance or impact. No grand conspiracies or lies exposed that are worthy of spending 1 year let alone 25 years in jail.

Obviously the US government doesn't think so, right?

oy vey a legal battle (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337208)

more opportunities for kikery

Hey Slashdot! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337218)

Have you turned over any records to the Feds concerning Wikileaks members (or any records, period)? If you can't comment on that, then perhaps you could outline what Slashdot's policy is for turning over records to law enforcement when not accompanied by a Federal warrant or National Security letter.

They have and they will (3, Interesting)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337242)

Years ago someone posted the "top secret" scientology documents into the comments and they were deleted. I can't recall if it was court ordered or merely a scare letter from an attorney.

Re:They have and they will (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337290)

It was a scare letter from a lawyer. The same thing happened with the leaked Windows source code. (I think roblimo posted a story about that one)

Re:They have and they will (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337572)

I can recall. It was court ordered. Gun-on-the-head-like. The whole site would have gone down, and the guys gone to coercive contention. Something like that.

Yes, that's a crime, and the criminal is the child-raping terrorist mass-murdering jacking-off-into-the-wounds-of-the-tortured financially conspiring social engineering warlocks called "Scientology"*. With the assistance of a Cheney-like court, lacking spines, balls, a heart, or any kind of emotion, pissing on the constitution and shitting on the faces of the founding fathers.

* Amassing as many evil words as I can. Because they deserve it.

Re:They have and they will (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36341688)

Years ago someone posted the "top secret" scientology documents into the comments and they were deleted. I can't recall if it was court ordered or merely a scare letter from an attorney.

I know this is rather unrelated here, but the real difference between a religion and a cult is the amount of secrecy leaders want/need. I don't subscribe to organized religion, but I don't recall other religions being so damned secretive of their "documents", which is rather laughable with scientology, since most of their "documents" can be found in the science fiction section if any bookstore, filed under "Hubbard".

Re:Hey Slashdot! (5, Informative)

Soulskill (1459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337400)

We haven't received any such requests since I've been working here, so no, nothing's been turned over to the Feds or anybody else. I'm not aware of any requests happening before that either, but I couldn't say for sure.

The closest we've come, to my knowledge, was a DMCA takedown request [slashdot.org] after copyrighted Scientology material was posted in a comment. The comment ended up being deleted, but I think the post pretty clearly illustrates how we felt about that. There was also a time Microsoft asked us to remove some comments [slashdot.org] back in 2000. Those comments stayed in place [slashdot.org] .

I actually have no idea if we have a "policy" for such requests, since it hasn't come up. If it were up to me, I'd tell them to get stuffed. I suspect CmdrTaco would as well. Honestly, I don't know what records we'd have that would be worth requesting.

Re:Hey Slashdot! (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337680)

We haven't received any such requests since I've been working here, so no, nothing's been turned over to the Feds or anybody else.

Look. I know how this stuff goes. You can't exactly say that you did, but if you have, just give us a signal -- Maybe just cough twice (er, no -- something electronic...) OK just cause a few server errors -- that'll be the signal.

Re:Hey Slashdot! (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337960)

We haven't received any such requests since I've been working here, so no, nothing's been turned over to the Feds or anybody else.

OK just cause a few server errors -- that'll be the signal.

So, every one of those damned 503 errors was a subpoena or NSL-based request? Wait, you probably can't answer that and stay out of PMITA accommodations, so I'll rephrase it.
So, every one of those damned 503 errors caused your nose to grow longer?

Re:Hey Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36338040)

like...all those guru's meditating...OMG!!!

Re:Hey Slashdot! (2)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338074)

I've always wondered whether libraries/etc who would like to protest these kinds of gag orders could easily get around them in this manner:

Every week post a list of library card numbers with the statement "we declare that we've never gotten a request for records for any of these numbers."

Then one week the list change slightly - three numbers are missing from the list, and a new list is started "we can neither confirm nor deny that we've gotten a request for records of any of these numbers."

Or every time you borrow a book the librarian tells you (or prints out on your due date slip) "I can confirm that we've never had to divulge personal information about you in response to a court order." One day the message either changes to "can never confirm or deny" or goes away.

Unless courts want to start issuing gag orders when there ISN'T an investigation this would be pretty hard to defeat. It is basically just a keepalive system where the absence of a message sends the message.

Re:Hey Slashdot! (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36339420)

From what I recall, one library actually did that. They got smacked down, if I recall correctly.

you misunderstand librarians (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36357026)

i would say the vast majority do not understand or care about what you are talking about. if the police come asking for stuff, their first instinct is to be helpful and get rid of the 'bad people'.

libraries are top down bureaucracies that make corporate life seem like a montessori school. independent thought is not allowed, especially regarding "the computers", control of which many library administrators cling to as some kind of ailment for middle age.

what about that gigantic box in the data center? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36338096)

i had a 'remote viewing' session once of the slashdot data center, with a guru in the sonorran desert after smoking a secret weed that only blooms once in a hundred years.

inside, we saw the slashdot servers. we were able to 'latch on' to the data packets and follow them through the cables, slowing down time by 186,00,00,00,00 times so that we could see what was happening. Actually we didn't so much slow down time, as speed up our brains, but that's another post for another time.

We came, eventually to a little box. It was marked "NSA: Super Secret Spy Device" in Palatino Linotype. I thought this was strange, because I always figured them for more of an Arial or something conservative and stolid. Anyways. There were two cables out. One was marked "The Internet". The other was marked "Super Secret NSA Spy Program". Also the tag said "This tag not to be removed by penalty of law."

This really threw me, I started thinking about mattresses. Specifically, the 'mattress planet' from Douglas Adam's books. I couldn't hold my state of suspended animation any longer, and my guru and I fell off the time plane, back towards the Earth. Our minds were slowing down too fast - we were at risk of a sort of mental breakdown, similar to what happens to divers when they return too quickly to the surface after an extended period underwater.

Fortunately my guru friend had loaded his entire trailer with golf balls salvaged from a nearby lake. Apparently there is something about the shape of golf balls that channels psychic energy into a hyperbolic manifold. Since the soul paths do not intersect on the plane surface, this allows you to slowly bring your speed down without actually having to learn the complicated mechanics of astral dynamics.

After that we had a few bears and ate some vegetarian vienna sausages. We knew nobody would believe us. We hardly believed it ourselves. But when Hepting leaked those AT&T papers were like 'yeah man! yeah!'.

Re:what about that gigantic box in the data center (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338664)

Wow. What a story. Got any bears left? I haven't had a bear steak in ages. Don't ruin those good bears with gay little vienna sausages though - I'll pass on them!

Re:what about that gigantic box in the data center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36340558)

Properly cooked, bear makes excellent hot beef style sandwiches.

Streisand Effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36338264)

These kinds of takedown orders make me wonder why we don't see a LOT MORE of the "Streisand Effect" happening in those scenarios?

Grammar (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337262)

Can anyone give me a summary using better grammar so I can actually understand it?

The real question here is... (4, Insightful)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337496)

Why would the justice dept want to hide who it is asking records from.

If they are in the right.. well.. why hide it.

Re:The real question here is... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337912)

Why would the justice dept want to hide who it is asking records from.

If they are in the right.. well.. why hide it.

Because
A) the public might get uppity and demand that private corporations not give up information without a fight.
B) the public might stop patronising the services of private corporations that the government requests information from.

Those are both very real arguments that have been made by government lawyers in court cases.
The government can't afford to have corporations stonewall them because the public doesn't like being snooped on.

Re:The real question here is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36340602)

It's probably more like, the justice department wants to be able to swoop in on the people before they get wind if it and destroy any further incriminating evidence.

This is a big reason why the cops do not call someone a week in advance and make an appointment to execute a search warrant. They just show up expecting to search.

Re:The real question here is... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338218)

Why would the justice dept want to hide who it is asking records from.

If they are in the right.. well.. why hide it.

Because surveillance operations and investigations are usually most effective when they're secret so the subjects of the investigation / surveillance don't change their incriminating behavior, or try to destroy evidence?

Really, is this not obvious? Why don't football players call the play in the open when they line up so the other team can hear? "Left end run on three -- hut - hut - hut - Oh! That had to hurt!"

Revealing investigations and surveillance operations means effectively no more sting operations. That means, guys like this won't be buying their "explosives" from the FBI, but will find someone else who will provide the real thing... much to practically everyone's regret.

FBI thwarts terrorist bombing attempt at Portland holiday tree lighting, authorities say - November 26, 2010 [oregonlive.com]

A Corvallis man, thinking he was going to ignite a bomb, drove a van to the corner of the square at Southwest Yamhill Street and Sixth Avenue and attempted to detonate it.

However, the supposed explosive was a dummy that FBI operatives supplied to him, according to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint signed Friday night by U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a Somali-born U.S. citizen, was arrested at 5:42 p.m., 18 minutes before the tree lighting was to occur, on an accusation of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Re:The real question here is... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338362)

If they hadn't spent so much time destroying their own credibility with the people and if they didn't act so much like paranoid lunatics most of the time, people would voluntarily keep it quiet, just for the asking.

Re:The real question here is... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338342)

They can't have the subjects getting all uppity and thinking the government is supposed to serve them and shit.

National Defense is Different (1, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337770)

I have no sympathy for Wikileaks when it comes to National Defense secrets. There is a whole magnitude of difference from corporate malfeasance in these leaks.

Re:National Defense is Different (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337810)

Once upon a time [cbsnews.com] , Haiti was going to increase their minimum wage from $0.24/hour to $0.61/hour. Levi Strauss and Hanes (among others) didn't like that, so the US State Department pressuredHaiti to create an exemption for textile workers.

The only reason anyone knows that happened is because of wikileaks.

Re:National Defense is Different (3, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338312)

Once upon a time, ...

"Once upon a time"? What a splendidly evasive way to say, under the Obama Administration.

WIKILEAKS: U.S. Fought To Lower Minimum Wage In Haiti So Hanes And Levis Would Stay Cheap [businessinsider.com]

A Wikileaks post published on The Nation shows that the Obama Administration fought to keep Haitian wages at 31 cents an hour

Once again we see Wikileaks essentially in the role of, "If you don't know it, it's news to you". Geeks that wouldn't give a damn about anything in Haiti are finally reading about it in Wikileaks, take whatever information is there with no context, and assume the worst.

Haiti minimum wage protests escalate [smh.com.au]

The debate has fuelled unrest across the impoverished Caribbean nation. Some critics argue that an increase would hurt plans to fight widespread unemployment by creating jobs in factories that produce clothing for export to the United States. . . .

Many in the international community who view garment factories as the way to boost Haiti's economic development oppose the wage increase.

With new trade advantages that allow for duty-free exports of clothing to the US, such factories could provide "several hundred thousand jobs to Haitians ... over a period of just a few years," according to a report submitted to the UN in January.

But it said that plan requires that costs be kept down.

The report had been requested by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and prepared by Oxford University professor Paul Collier. It is now being promoted by former US President Bill Clinton, the new UN envoy for Haiti.

Re:National Defense is Different (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36349104)

Don't be an effing tool.

Republican or Democrat, it makes no bloody difference - are you naive enough to still think the US is a democracy? Both serve corporate interests instead of the people - voting is so fraud infected it's ludicrous.

What Wikileaks has done is allowed EVERYONE to see what's going on, even when people with their heads up their arses say 'nothing new here, move along, Wikileaks isn't important'.

Wake Up.

Re:National Defense is Different (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337868)

That is not what is at issue here. What is at issue is that the justice dept is handing out requests for user information like candy and not allowing anyone to know who they are asking. It reeks of gestapo and should not be confused with whether or not Wikileaks is a national security risk.

Re:National Defense is Different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36337888)

Oh, yes. With people like you it's sooo easy. Just declare whatever you don't want known to be a matter of "national security" and the sheeple will follow. Oh, wait: it already happened! [arstechnica.com]

Re:National Defense is Different (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 3 years ago | (#36337896)

I have no sympathy for Wikileaks when it comes to National Defense secrets. There is a whole magnitude of difference from corporate malfeasance in these leaks.

My impression of the US diplomats has had a huge boost after reading summaries about how they reported about other countries and people. It was sharp and a lot better than I expected (looking back at eight years of Bush). I haven't seen anything yet that would seriously harm the US interest. For everything that I have read in newspapers, it only has made the world better.

So can you tell me (at least) one national defense secret that has been published and that harms the US?

how do you know what they leaked? (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338154)

have you been reading about it?

doesn't that make you a criminal too, technically, since you are 'retaining national defense information', which is covered by 18 USC 793 subparagraph (e) ?

Re:how do you know what they leaked? (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36339508)

You're only breaking US law if you have lawful access to US secrets and leak it. Reading about stuff in Wikileaks doesn't count.

au contraire mon frere (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36340038)

18 USC 793 (Espionage Act)

subparagraph (e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or
control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch,
photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model,
instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or
information relating to the national defense which information the
possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the
United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully
communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated,
delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver,
transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the
same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains
the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the
United States entitled to receive it;

i.e. if you have 'national defense' information on your computer, that you downloaded with your web browser, you are 'retaining' it.

You can also look at 18 USC 1030(a)(1), the "Computer Espionage" act, which broadens the language even further.

The recent Jane Mayer story on the Thomas Drake case flat out says that his 5 espionage charges, if successfully prosecuted by the government, would set a precedent that makes a lot of reporting a criminal activity, because reporters have to take notes about sensitive information and keep it on their persons to write their stories.

How does Mayer know? She wrote the book (The Dark Side) on the government's torture program - where it came from, how it made it's way from the Korean war to the Navy Seal survivial training (SERE), and from there to a couple of psychologists, and directly into Bybee's torture memos ... which directly influenced activities at Guantanamo, Abu Grahib, and in the 'black prisons' across the world.

she discovered all this by asking a lot of government officials a lot of questions and taking a lot of notes. notes that she wont be able to if the current spate of 6 non-spying Espionage Act prosecutions set precedent

Re:National Defense is Different (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338790)

I know I'm paraphrasing this analogy badly, but here goes:
Leaking secrets is like breaking somebody's basement window. Nobody's life is directly threatened by the act, but it may expose the fact that there is a slave in the basement; the owner deserves every bit of embarrassment and punishment that is to follow.

There is nothing in the public sphere that should be kept secret. If officials are running shady international operations, it's only their fault when it blows up in their face.

Top Secret CODE WORD 'R' (1)

nsaspook (20301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338222)

WikiLeaks has proven the old school saying about 'being cleared for Ridiculous'.

"classified" has lost it's meaning (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 3 years ago | (#36338466)

when something is classified it means it becomes a state secret because there is a need for secrecy. unfortunately, this has become a way to get around oversight. yes, there are absolutely a need for some documents to be classified but having millions upon millions of documents be classified is a just an all out abuse. dont want to let anyone know you fucked something up? CLASSIFY IT! dont want people to know how much of our resources you are wasting? CLASSIFY IT! then there is shit that is just ridiculous to classify. classifying a report for a run of the mill day is just STUPID. if they didnt classify EVERYTHING but instead just the truly important stuff then the people might actually regard it as something of significant importance.

being an asshole on record does not mean you get to keep it a secret because it makes you look bad.

Re:"classified" has lost it's meaning (1)

metaforest (685350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36341338)

It this technique not winnow and chaffe?

Fill the pipe with bullshit and real info... only the cleared monkies know which his which.

Can someone parse the first sentence for me? (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36342674)

Which one is the verb, “is fighting” or “demands”?

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?