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US Senators Concerned With Surveillance Bill "Loophole"

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the lets-have-a-look dept.

Privacy 128

zer0point writes "The law lets U.S. agencies monitor the communications of foreigners outside the U.S. But two senators are questioning whether a loophole allows the storage and search of messages from Americans that are picked up inadvertently while foreigners are being monitored. The intelligence community has repeatedly said it takes steps to minimize the data collected on Americans. Among the senators’ concerns: that the administration hasn’t been able to estimate how many people in the U.S. have had their information reviewed under the program."

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Hasn't been able to? (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289777)

I suspect the truth is "hasn't been willing to".

People have been willing to ignore these sorts of things since they can at least pretend it's probably doesn't involve their own information. If the truth came out, and the government admitted it was electronically sifting through virtually all internal US communications... I suspect people would start to get riled up over it.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (4, Funny)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289831)

You underestimate the apathy of the average citizen. Or overestimate their intelligence. It is hard to tell them apart sometimes.

This is to protect the children from the terrorists. The government said so. They even nudged me and winked, so I know it is true.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290021)

I don't really think it's apathy or lack of intelligence. There are plenty of people that are incredibly intelligent that do not have degrees or high paying salaried jobs. Have you ever operated heavy equipment like an excavator? I know guys that are nearly savants with those things. Not a one of them cares about politics. They chose to apply their wisdom and wits to something tangible, something they can change directly. I can understand that. So much of politics is slight of hand, trickery, lies and deceit that many people just refuse to participate any longer. I can understand that as well.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290229)

If more of those people actually particpated, put themselves into the mix, then perhaps they would be able to change more.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290379)

The left yells you the right is trying to take away your rights. The right tells you the left is trying to take away your rights. They both tell you the other side is wrecking tgr economy. Unless you are paying VERY close attention, it's hard to sort out fact from paranoid fantasy.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (1)

hot soldering iron (800102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290825)

Left? Right? You're talking about different hands of the same organism, correct? Maybe they are both right.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290883)

Left? Right? You're talking about different hands of the same organism, correct? Maybe they are both right.

Just between you and me, that sounds like paranoid fantasy as well.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291071)

Just between you and me, that sounds like paranoid fantasy as well.

They shout at each other across the aisle during the day and then go to the same bars and laugh together at night. It's all a big fucking act, and the evidence is broadly available. Look at who is paying their salaries if you still don't believe...

Re:Hasn't been able to? (2)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291817)

"They shout at each other across the aisle during the day" -> Of course they do. The Democrats are trying to broker a compromise with the Republicans whereby they can get access to the 'Candy Desk,' and the Republicans want nothing to do with it, because Senator What's-His-Face ends up eating all the cherry licorice.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292265)

go ahead and walk around like a fucking moronic pollyannish twit.

the used car salesman is out to fuck you, and the new car salesman isn't.

i've got instant equity for you my friend on a great land deal.

once you add up all the benefits on this opportunity, it's like your making more than your current job, plus we have an excellent break room.

government employees work incredibly hard, and there's nearly insurmountable stress. daily.

getting a masters in librarian science is an excellent idea.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40292761)

If only there were more parties to choose from...

Re:Hasn't been able to? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290451)

I don't really think it's apathy or lack of intelligence.

He said the "average citizen." So yes, it's both apathy and a lack of intelligence. He also didn't mention anything about degrees or high-paying jobs.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (1)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 2 years ago | (#40293425)

I don't really think it's apathy or lack of intelligence

So much of politics is slight of hand, trickery, lies and deceit that many people just refuse to participate any longer.

How is that different from apathy? Alternatively, what is the difference between "I don't care." and "I would care, but..."?

Re:Hasn't been able to? (1)

thexile (1058552) | more than 2 years ago | (#40292511)

or vagina.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289841)

It is the natural order of things for people in charge to want MORE power, not less. They are not about to give-up the ability to record Americans conversations. In fact the current government is stone-walling Congress not just on this issue (how many messages were caught "accidentally"), but also the gun-running program into Mexico.

Congressman: "I have an email here that says you were aware of the program. It's addressed to you."
Holder: "That refers to the previous Wide Receiver program under Bush."
Congressman: "Uh no, the email says right here, and I quote, 'Fast&Furious'. That would be under President Obama's and your watch."
Holder: "The email is wrong. It was Bush." :-o

Re:Hasn't been able to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290135)

It is the natural order of things for people in charge to want MORE power, not less. They are not about to give-up the ability to record Americans conversations.

What for? Of what use to the government is all of this data?

Re:Hasn't been able to? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290439)

The government wants to know what you think of it so it can help you more.

It's being a caring big brother, see.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290717)

I dunno, ask Putin if he'd like to know who does/doesn't agree with him. You don't want the wrong person to disappear in the night.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290929)

And you think it would be any different under a Romney administration, like it was any different under a W administration?

You do know that this is more just posturing from some in Congress, right? The real people with a say in it (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, similar group in the House) are already bought off or otherwise on the program, so it doesn't really matter.

This toothpaste dribbled out of the tube long, long ago.

Crsnk up the FUD to 11. (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290337)

If you don't know the government isn't monitoring you, you must assume they are?

Re:Crsnk up the FUD to 11. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290889)

What you think or what you assume is irrelevant. The government is monitoring you. The government monitors as many people as their technology allows.

Re:Crsnk up the FUD to 11. (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40292165)

Before 9/11, the government already had a law in place allowing them to place wiretaps FIRST and then request a warrant up two two weeks after the fact. Post 9/11, after the Bush administration got caught systematically placing and maintaining wiretaps without a warrant, they asked for legal approval for US security agencies to use their own discretion on placing wiretaps without need of a warrant, ever. They argued the current law, requiring the eventual issue of a warrant after the fact, to be unworkable because of the sheer volume of communications they wanted to monitor.

At that point, a lot of people who don't normally buy into conspiracy theories came to the conclusion the government intended to data-mine all telecommunications traffic in some manner. Now, we have an NSA facility being constructed in Utah - slated for completion next year, I believe - that has the openly stated purpose of doing just this.

So, yeah - I think it's safe to assume the government is monitoring me, you, and every other US citizen.

Re:Crsnk up the FUD to 11. (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | more than 2 years ago | (#40292557)

Well... not yet. The facility isn't finished yet.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290427)

Actually, since the law the senators enacted (with the house and president's signature) requires us to minimize intercepts of communications of US persons, it's very hard to determine how much we've collected, since if we knew, we wouldn't collect. That's not a very satisfying answer, and I'm of course posting AC, but the truth is generally very boring.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (2)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290497)

I read a great article [wired.com] on something much bigger than what they currently do, and it's all perfectly legal according to the article. The NSA super compute center being built currently, scheduled to be on line 2013 has links already in place by agreements with the only provider for major telecom hubs in the US which is AT&T. According to the article the NSA will be snooping, storing, and even trying to crack the encryption for all internet traffic both foreign and domestic, and all without a warrant.

Simply put, if it's not legal now it will be next year with the activation of this new center.

Re:Hasn't been able to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290987)

You know what answer you'd get from an average Joe where I live? "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to worry about."

Sure...not! (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289781)

I really don't believe anyone would try to "minimize" the data collected and stored on Americans. I think this loophole was intentional, but what can I do about it?

Re:Sure...not! (1)

bobbied (2522392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289939)

Don't make international calls.... Specifically, don't call somebody in the list of countries where the bad guys frequent....

Re:Sure...not! (2)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290179)

Don't make international calls.... Specifically, don't call somebody in the list of countries where the bad guys frequent....

Like, uh.. the United Kingdom (7/7) [wikipedia.org] or Spain [wikipedia.org] , or, pretty much any large country in Western Europe.

Re:Sure...not! (0)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290397)

You actually think they ONLY monitor long distance? Really? If you want to catch the terrorists that are planning on blowing up the then you must monitor domestic communications to catch them HERE.

Re:Sure...not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290023)

Probably nothing, but if every country on the planet inserts this very same clause into their Constitution, "X Constitution allows X to monitor communications of foreigners living outside X and further the X Constitution allows he President/PM to order the execution of Foreigners anywhere" might provide some balancing weight. At least these very same insane bunch will start signing a different song.

Ron Wyden (5, Interesting)

NoKaOi (1415755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289821)

When I clicked on the article I was wholly unsurprised to find Ron Wyden was one of the senators. Every time there's something in the news about a bit of sanity coming from a senator, it seems to have Ron Wyden's name. It's encouraging that there's a senator like that out there, but it's discouraging that it's only 1% of them. I wish we could get one or two of those for my state.

Re:Ron Wyden (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289857)

There is a reason why despite my being single-mindedly pro-life, he's the only Democrat I'll vote for.

Re:Ron Wyden (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290127)

There is a reason why despite my being single-mindedly pro-life

i.e. a moron.

I am pro life and afraid of Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290701)

There is a reason why despite my being single-mindedly pro-life, he's the only Democrat I'll vote for.

I am really pro-life too and I protest all wars, abortion, drone attacks, the death penalty, and any and all killing.

How do you cope? I'm constantly being harassed as being a "Liberal" and "Anti-American" and yet, I am a die hard Republican. .

What do you do?

Re:Ron Wyden (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289985)

Don't forget Bernie Sanders. I first learned of him back in the 90's when I would watch C-SPAN. Every single vote they ever held I would see the I-Yea, or I-Nea exactly as I would have voted. I later learned that the "I" was Bernie Sanders.

Re:Ron Wyden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290565)

Bernie doesn't matter since he's a self-described socialist. Therefore he's against everything the Republitarians stand for.

Re:Ron Wyden (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290391)

2%. Count Mark Udall.

Re:Ron Wyden (1)

Delarth799 (1839672) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290435)

I think whats almost as discouraging is that whenever something like this appears in the news its always two and every so often three senators who are raising concerns about this stuff. Its never a large bunch =/

Re:Ron Wyden (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290731)

Every time there's something in the news about a bit of sanity coming from a senator, it seems to have Ron Wyden's name.

I guess it depends on your definition of sanity. Ron Wyden is very good at scoring points by making the right kinds of noises. He depends on the Portland/Eugene vote to keep him elected, and very little on the rural parts of Oregon which are much more conservative.

He still has to deal with the "Smith killed a kid" ad that came out after he claimed he'd run a clean campaign, at least as far as I'm concerned. It is interesting that Republican PACs are assumed to be in the pocket of the candidates they support, and yet Wyden wasn't responsible for the ads his PAC ran during that campaign.

Re:Ron Wyden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290945)

He does make being an Orgeonian worth something, at least for the bulk of people who live in or near Portland. There aren't enough who are polar opposites to him (Greg Walden) yet to cancel out the Portland Metro vote (Clackamas county notwithstanding).

Too bad Greg Boucher got voted out in Virginia. He was on the right side (not the winning side) as far as this stuff went, too.

Re:Ron Wyden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292175)

When it comes to senators with a "bit of sanity", I wish I could get *THREE* from my state!

I'm concerned (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289855)

with the fact that they are not concerned with the rights of people outside the Holy Land of the United States of America. Typical.

Re:I'm concerned (2)

bobbied (2522392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289981)

So do you suggest that we apply the same rules of evidence used in our courts to inelegance gathering overseas? So shall we just go to the international courts to get warrants? I don't think that's a workable solution.

Re:I'm concerned (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290557)

No. But I suggest that we stop spying on others.

Re:I'm concerned (3, Funny)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289987)

with the fact that they are not concerned with the rights of people outside the Holy Land of the United States of America. Typical.

No problem. I am not concerned with the rights of Americans, e.g. I feel free to ignore their copyrights.

Re:I'm concerned (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289991)

Just curious, can you name /any/ countries with the ability to snoop on foreigners that have proudly and legally bound themselves not to?

EU nations not snooping on other EU nations doesn't count. (Although props to them for making a start on it.)

Re:I'm concerned (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40292179)

You may not have noticed, but they were elected to represent the interests of Americans. Why would they be particularly worried about whether foreigners are having their rights violated? Those foreigners are represented by governments that are supposed to be concerned about that sort of thing.

Re:I'm concerned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40293233)

Why would they be particularly worried about whether foreigners are having their rights violated?

Because the beloved US Consitution applies to man, not solely to US citizens.

What...? (4, Interesting)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289859)

But two senators are questioning whether a loophole allows the storage and search of messages from Americans that are picked up inadvertently while foreigners are being monitored. The intelligence community has repeatedly said it takes steps to minimize the data collected on Americans.

What does that 2nd sentence even mean and why was it included? Either they are allowed, which case no need to minimize the data on Americans or they are not allowed to. "Taking steps to minimize" means nothing quantifiable (up to 100% reduced!).
Even assuming I trust everyone here, that is still a totally meaningless and irrelevant statement included in the article.

Re:What...? (0)

dark12222000 (1076451) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290151)

It's a very meaningful statement, you're just an idiot. What is being said here is that
1. The intelligence community IS collecting data on Americans
2. The intelligence community IS storing said data
3. The intelligence community hasn't done much to stop said collection


I realize anything beyond strict sentential logic is beyond you, but please try to keep up with the rest of us and learn to read between the lines.

Re:What...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290611)

oh bullshit. It means that it's impossible to get a 100% filter to ensure that they're not collecting on any Americans. The reason they can't provide good data on how much they have collected is because it's damn tough to figure out who exactly is on the phone via wiretap. That voice recognition shit you see on CSI is TV, not reality.

Re:What...? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291097)

Running stop signs is illegal. Any competent driver will take steps to minimize running stop signs. But odds are you will still do it on occasion, purely by accident.

This isn't hard to understand, unless you are actively trying not to understand it.

Re:What...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292245)

Running stop signs is illegal. Any competent driver will take steps to minimize running stop signs. But odds are you will still do it on occasion, purely by accident.

This isn't hard to understand, unless you are actively trying not to understand it.

If you are going to go with car analogies, then a better one is the speed limit. People will tell you that they try to go under the speed limit. If they went over, it was inadvertent. But, the only reason people pay any attention is that if they get caught going over the speed limit, they get in trouble. So, they weigh that risk versus the convenience of going fast. They are arguing that allowing them to go however fast they want is no big deal, since they routinely notice that they are going a little bit over the speed limit, and make efforts to slow down. But, that is a bit like the record companies getting a law passed that they are allowed to hack into people's computers to make sure you are not copying their music. They promise they will only do it for that reason and if they don't, it wouldn't matter that there were no penalties.

       

Re:What...? (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40293323)

The simple solution to this problem is to throw out anybody who doesn't state unequivocally that they will stop the collection of data on US citizens.

Senator 1: "We will take steps to minimise the collection of US communications."
Voters: "Get out."
Senator 2: "We will drastically reduce the scope of the project to exclude the communications of US citizens as much as possible.
Voters: "Get out."
Senator 3: "We will stop collecting data on communications made to and from US citizens."
Voters: "How will you do that?"
Senator 3: "We will scrap the program, and put in legislation ensuring that this kind of warrantless tapping of communications is heavily punished in the future."
Voters: "Give that man a job!"

Can you folks please just grow a backbone and get this shit sorted out?

Oh come on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289867)

We KNOW you spy on all of us...

Why do you keep pretending you don't? You're fucking around and wasting time.

Here... see... i'll do it.
WE SPY ON EVERYONE ALL THE TIME!
See how easy that was? Now get the fuck back to work.

I never would have guessed... (2)

bobbied (2522392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289919)

What this article leaves out and the reader should know, is that it is illegal for the federal government to monitor domestic communications without a warrant. There is no such protection afforded non-citizens outside of the USA. At issue is when the CIA (or other foreign intelligence gathering organization of the Federal Government) is monitoring a foreign national outside of the USA who may be talking to someone inside the states. The "loophole" they are talking about basically is that as long as the collection target is not a domestic US citizen, any information gathered is legal to keep, even if it involves a domestic party. It must also be understood that such evidence would NOT be admissible in court for a criminal trial having not been obtained though a warrant. I wonder if it could legally be used as probable cause to obtain the warrant though.

I personally don't see the huge issue with this, unless we are seeing a rash of prosecutions based on such evidence. I have heard of no such cases. Further, unless the Fed is really not trying to filter the data at all, it is unlikely that they have much data that they have to purge. After all, this IS an investigative effort that targets non-US-citizens so it makes sense their filtering is pretty good, or this effort would be useless.

I'll guess that the guys with the tinfoil hats who are looking for the black helicopters won't like this, but I'd be much more worried about Google or Facebook collection efforts than this.

Re:I never would have guessed... (4, Interesting)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290017)

I personally don't see the huge issue with this, unless we are seeing a rash of prosecutions based on such evidence.

"We have sought repeatedly to gain an understanding of how many Americans have had their phone calls or emails collected and reviewed under this statute, but we have not been able to obtain even a rough estimate of this number," Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado wrote ... The senators said in the report that the Director of National Intelligence had told them it was not feasible to come up with such a number.

If nothing else, I worry that even the few senators who may be interested in protecting American rights are blatantly snubbed by the CIA when trying to do so. That doesn't concern you?

Re:I never would have guessed... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290177)

Congress holds the money and can choose to not fund the CIA anytime it decides to. Just remember that the CIA is a part of the *executive* branch, subject to the funding appropriation process, the Laws passed by congress and upheld by the courts. There are checks and balances here and the CIA amounts to but a small player on this stage. So I encourage the senators to do what they can to make the point if they don't get what they want from the CIA.

Re:I never would have guessed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290961)

Unless Congress somehow can set up its own shadow force, they know that if they were to do this, there would be many...accidents suddenly among Congress members. There's 535 of them. The CIA, NSA, and their private-sector lackies (Xe Corporation et al), well, way more than that.

Re:I never would have guessed... (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290607)

I personally don't see the huge issue with this

I do. It allows the potential for abuse, and I see it as an unnecessary power to have. Especially when it allows them to spy on citizens. No, I'm not going to blindly trust the government or their filters that are supposedly "pretty good."

I'll guess that the guys with the tinfoil hats

You needn't have a tinfoil hat to see that humans tend to abuse their power when given too much of it. History is filled with such things, and I certainly don't want to take any unnecessary risks.

Re:I never would have guessed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291691)

---snip--- The "loophole" they are talking about basically is that as long as the collection target is not a domestic US citizen, any information gathered is legal to keep, even if it involves a domestic party. It must also be understood that such evidence would NOT be admissible in court for a criminal trial having not been obtained though a warrant. I wonder if it could legally be used as probable cause to obtain the warrant though.

I personally don't see the huge issue with this, unless we are seeing a rash of prosecutions based on such evidence. I have heard of no such cases. ---snip---

A. I doubt "they" are worried about due process or warrants.

B. We might never hear of "prosecutions", as the parties could be "disappeared".

Amazing! (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#40289923)

California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the committee, said she believes that existing provisions in the law are adequate to prevent Americansâ(TM) communications from being mishandled. ... But Sen. Feinstein said she agrees that the committee should know just how many Americans are having their communications monitored.

I am sure Senator Feinstein will see things differently if she was spied upon. And, even more interestingly, "Americans' communication ... being mishandled" really depends on her definition "mishandled". Maybe she believes that not spell-checking the permanent records is "mishandling", but spying itself is fine?
As always, it is great to see that the only meaningful debate (which may or may not result in any changes) is whether the senators should be kept in the loop. Nothing about protecting Americans from being monitored 24-7.

Re:Amazing! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290253)

I am sure Senator Feinstein will see things differently if she was spied upon.

She doesn't have to worry about that, she plays ball.

Re:Amazing! (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290959)

That's naive.

The ones that play ball are the ones with the most known about them. If you have a bought stooge, you want to make sure they stay bought. Never run the risk of having loose lips sinking your ships. Always have a sword of damoclese hanging over their heads to keep them in line with your goals.

Anyone who can't see how the military industrial complex and its intelligence arms are controlling US politics along side other corporate interests needs to have their brains examined. Follow the money. The big expenditures are far and wide military spending, and subsidies. There is no question who is pulling the strings.

The point here, though, is that the stooge only thinks they can get away. The truth is that when they became a stooge, their puppet masters looked in on all their dirty laundry right up front, before accepting them for the job. If she turned on her puppeteers, rest assured, the amount of dirty laundry that would suddenly "leak" mysteriously would be enormous, and damning. She would never work in politics again.

Re:Amazing! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291085)

The point here, though, is that the stooge only thinks they can get away.

No, the point here is that she is not trying to get away. She has played her role faithfully all along and I expect her to do so until death. That doesn't mean they don't spy on her, but it means they don't have to do it so much. Just watch out for exceptions and flag on them, no big deal.

I thought that... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289935)

Spying on citizens not under your own authority illegal?

The US government seams to freak out when foreign citizens spy on it yet it seams to be ok when it does it to them.

Re:I thought that... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290109)

I don't think you are understanding the character of this issue. Yes, foreign spies operating in the US need to be worried, and yes we should and do take steps to deal with such activities. I expect other countries to do the same for spies located in their borders... But at issue here is intelligence gathered from domestic sources about foreign communications. Basically the law gives the CIA the right to monitor communications that cross our borders, despite the fact that at least one side of the conversation is domestic and domestic monitoring usually requires a warrant.

If foreign countries "freak out" over such monitoring, so be it, but they are free to do the same for communications that cross their border. Many other countries do exactly the same thing, as well as filter the allowed communications where the US doesn't filter.

The US is not being inconsistent in how it treats the rest of the world here. In fact, if anything we are much less tolerant to monitoring domestically than almost all of the rest of the world which makes us a much easier target for spying. Seems our constitution does a good job of protecting us from such abuses, or at least it has so far.

Re:I thought that... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290735)

Yes, exactly what do other nations do in regard to monitoring communications with foreign nationals?

Could it be that they engage in this stuff too? Why don't we see articles discussing legislative hearings on their policies on Slashdot?

Re:I thought that... (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291075)

Seems our constitution does a good job of protecting us from such abuses, or at least it has so far.

Like from the TSA and the Patriot Act? Then again, it really doesn't matter much how the US compares to other countries. That won't determine whether or not the US is doing a good job.

Go back to sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40289949)

Canada will monitor the American citizens and America will monitor thje Canadian citizens and the politicians can still claim that they don't monitor their own citizens so that's all right then.

Don't worry America, go back to sleep. God, we need Bill Hicks to point this stuff out...

Re:Go back to sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292025)

Can't sleep. Need weed.

Get on that gubmint.

(creepy captcha:transmit)

NSA Response: (3, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290033)

"Nothing to see here Senator Likes-to-be-spanked-by-nuns-while-wearing-diapers and Senator Visits-livegoatporn.com-every-fifteen-minutes. No personally-identifying information is being collected and certainly wouldn't get out unless completely by accident."

I hate to do it (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290059)

I hate to do it, but someone has to.
How many people have been killed by international terrorists on US soil in all of history?
How much have we spend on counter-terrorism efforts in the past 10 years?
Do some math... and we're spending billions per civilian life to stop terrorist attacks.
Lets just stop for a while and see what happens.

Now you're going to jump up and yell "That's cold! It's horrible! How could you?!?!"
Well, yea... fine, I'll accept that. But what if we instead spent all those billions on cancer research?
Not only would we save far more lives, over a much longer term, but dieing from cancer is plain and simple a worse way to die that having your plane blown up or crashed.
Counter terrorism is an excuse to maintain our cold-war levels of military readiness that simply are not needed any longer. We need to stop, and think before we spend and bomb.

Re:I hate to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290333)

Man, I didn't think Ron Paul posted on SlashDot.

So... What is one terrorist attack *worth* to you? Say a dirty bomb in Times Square? A few car bombs spread around to create panic? How much financial damage would that be?

You see if you just consider the money and deal only with cold hard cash, how much would it cost to simply relocate New York City if it was rendered unsafe through an attack? I dare say many more billions than we've spent in 10 years.

So, even if you just look at money, I think you are wrong about the the cost benefit analysis just in dollars. Then add the human lives that could be lost? Slam dunk we are doing the right thing..

Re:I hate to do it (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290625)

I believe the likelihood of such an attack is also very much worth considering, and that rights are far more important than a few people's lives. In other words, I think this "to stop the terrorists" nonsense has to go unless they show that it's working, show that it doesn't violate anyone's rights, and show that a specific attack is likely going to occur.

Re:I hate to do it (2)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290657)

You know, I really really hate straw man arguments. Especially when you are brainwashed in to thinking that's the only answer.

Did you know, that we have chemical detection units that could be installed in airports that detect chemicals in the air without intrusion. We also have numerous types of animals trained to do the same. Did you know that using either of those two methods would have caught the underwear bomber before they boarded a plane. No current methods including the naked scanner will pick up a surgically implanted bomb, so don't bother. Did you know that the naked scanner would have done little good in finding the allegedly used plastic box cutters in the 9/11 hijackings?

Did you know that using dogs, or the airborne detection would save loads of money? But you, you only see the option of the TSA. Yes, groping grandma is the only option right?

I won't even go further for an AC. Just do some research, people much smarter than you have already pointed to answers.

Re:I hate to do it (1)

Harkin (1951724) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291363)

Do you know how much money it cost to develop those chemical sensors? Billions of dollars.
Dogs are great and all but pretty easy to fool as well. Just coat everything in BACON!

Re:I hate to do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292835)

We need to stop, and think before we spend and bomb

The bombing is far from thoughtless, they're just not your thoughts.

Shock: secret court decides itself is legal. (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290065)

She pointed out that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has repeatedly found that the collection program is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution

Secret court decides that its reason to exist is legal..... news at 11:00

Loopholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290073)

One of the great things about the constitution is that it established a checks and balances scheme that allowed judiciary system to rule on a system of law fearlessly, effectively, and independently. Unfortunately, our judicial system is broken today because loopholes exist because judges are not taking the "essence of the law" into consideration. What is the purpose of a judge if they are merely ruling and not making judgements?

Hey U$A (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290123)

Suck dick ..!..

Rule #1 needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290175)

If any information is collected by real time surveillance of any sort without a judicial ruling pertaining to a particular person for particular stuff, AND NO ADVERSARY WAS AVAILABLE TO OBJECT, then it can never be used in evidence for any domestic civil, criminal, administrative case or any other legal proceeding with consequences to the subject at all. Zero tolerance. Cite precedent that the government itself uses zero tolerance in many legal actions.

Submitted for approval. GFL.

JJ

The US is not then prying on the traffic of S.AM? (2, Interesting)

jon_doh2.0 (2097642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290375)

Oh no, god forbid "Americans" are subject to the same treatment as that which they mete out. The self perceived exceptionalism of the US is so jarring, created equal indeed.

Re:The US is not then prying on the traffic of S.A (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 2 years ago | (#40290871)

It may be difficult for you to accept this, but many Americans are against a lot of what our government does in the name of our safety and interests. I know that foreign stereotypes of Americans are well-ingrained and constantly reinforced by the foreign media, but you could exercise your critical thinking organ a bit here.

Re:The US is not then prying on the traffic of S.A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292427)

It may be difficult to you to accept this, but:

1) The parent comment specifically spelled "Americans" instead of Americans. You people from the United States consistently refer to yourselves as Americans, like there were no Americans outside of the USA. This is disrespectful against the whole continent, and you know what? there are way WAY more non-USA Americans than USA ones.

2) Don't blame the foreign stereotipes for what can be easily seen even here. This news has 89 comments, most of them from "Americans". There is not a single one of those that tries to say something on the lines of: "actually, we should NOT be monitoring foreign communications either! These guys outside of our borders are also people, and they deserve the same rights we do!"

3) Even though I am sure that there is a (different) subset of "Americans" that are against every USA government policy, "majority" is what counts in a democracy. Further, the parent was even as graceful as judging you for the actions chosen by (the representatives of) a majority of "Americans". When you decide that "guys outside of our borders are bad and want to kill us", you are judging billions of people for the actions of a very thin minority. Hence, don't be surprised if you get bad reactions.

Re:The US is not then prying on the traffic of S.A (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 2 years ago | (#40292651)

You are both wise and brave, and your choice of responding as AC proves this.

Re:The US is not then prying on the traffic of S.A (-1, Flamebait)

Harkin (1951724) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291327)

All Americans are created equal. And by Americans I mean North Americans AKA AWESOMACANS, right up until the point AMEICAAAAA stops and lame Cannadia (Canlamedia) starts. What?

Re:The US is not then prying on the traffic of S.A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40293179)

Yeah. It's racism.

Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40290775)

I'm confused now. I thought that the loophole that they were trying to close with patriot2 was the inability to spy on people who might be Americans or might be foreign (e.g. anyone on a VoIP call) how can they call this a loophole when its pretty much the entire point of the current legislation.

So, let me see if I got this right.. (1)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291105)

There is a law in the US, that allows the imperialistic yankee government to eavesdrop on my communications, because I’m a citizen of another county and I live outside the boundaries of your aggressive, intrusive, dictatorial, arrogant regime? In my book that is called spying and worries me that you people talk about it with a straight face! Not that I expect much honesty and straight dealing from a country that start wars for profit and lies about non existing weapons of mass destruction, so they can invade another country to steal petrol!

Must be election time (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291191)

Its the ONLY time congress 'cares' about our rights and wave their 'look at me flag'. As soon as the elections are over, it will be back to business as usual.

They don't care, they never have, never will.

How would you do this? (1)

Harkin (1951724) | more than 2 years ago | (#40291269)

"that the administration hasnâ(TM)t been able to estimate how many people in the U.S. have had their information reviewed under the program." So unless I'm mistaken I pretty sure communications going through other countries don't have some kind of "this is a us comms" tag. Ya, you MIGHT be able to use an IP but with the nature of the Internet and routing it's pretty easy to get that mucked up. So that said, how do you count the number of communications collected on US persons if your not sure where they came from? That said, even if you are filtering on IP then all anyone would need to do is connect to a US based proxy and WOOOO it's bannananananana time. I have no idea what that means.

The US will be one day a great country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40291277)

When they finally understand that:

a) "the law" is not enough to rule society... you gotta have Morals above the law;
b) a foreigner is also to be considered under the law to have similar rights to nationals, it's not possible to hold double standards and maintain sanity;
c) "American" are everyone who lives in all Americas, not just the ones from the US;
d) "United States of America" s too generic a name; e.g. "The Guianas" could one day form another "United States of America"... be creative and get a fscking name, it's harder than electing a national anthem or flag,

Meanwhile, we get to read deplorable summaries like the present one and witness "senators" worry about fellow countrymen instead of about human rights.

Not that my country wouldn't d the same... oh, wait, we wouldn't, because some great guy made some brilliant law, and Congress approved, saying that people shouldn't be treated differently because of their nationality.

Maybe that's what makes this situation look worse to me...

"state-sponsored" huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292015)

google-warning-gmail-users-about-state-sponsored-attacks [slashdot.org]

The law lets U.S. agencies monitor the communications of foreigners outside the U.S.

It appears that the "state" Google is warning about is the United States.

#idrc.trolltalk.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292065)

[anti-slAsh.org] Asshole to others subscribers. Please Free-loving climate NIGGER ASSOCIATION Racist? How is current core were I have a life to worthwhile. It's they are Come

Such wiretaping may be illegal in other countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292123)

If it is not legal for citizens of your country, then why would citizens of other countries think it is ok for you to do it to them?

Obama's Dilema (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292253)

President Barak Hussein Obama II has quite a dilema on his hands these days.

In his own words ""Americans' respresent the single greatest threat th my Presidency and whose existance is a constant source of aggitation."

Beloved President Obama disperately needs the tools to murder citizens of the U.S.A. on a massive scale.

Under his plan of attack for October, Congress will supply the 'Tool' to obliterate Americans on a massive scale never witnessed before in the entire history of the U.S.A.

Obama the Obilterator unleashed.

With his feasting on the U.S.A. dead of October will Obama turn his hunger and murder rampage to new killing fields of Asia?

Obama loves the sweet flesh of one-year children.

LoL

Ezpats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40292459)

How many of those "foreigners" may actuallly be US citizens?

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