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US Supreme Court Says Wiretapping Immunity Will Stand

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the give-the-people-what-we-want dept.

Government 203

wiredmikey writes "The U.S. Supreme Court said this week it will let stand an immunity law on wiretapping viewed by government as a useful anti-terror tool but criticized by privacy advocates. The top U.S. court declined to review a December 2011 appeals court decision that rejected a lawsuit against AT&T for helping the NSA monitor its customers' phone calls and Internet traffic. Plaintiffs argue that the law allows the executive branch to conduct 'warrantless and suspicionless domestic surveillance' without fear of review by the courts and at the sole discretion of the attorney general. The Obama administration has argued to keep the immunity law in place, saying it would imperil national security to end such cooperation between the intelligence agencies and telecom companies. The Supreme Court is set to hear a separate case later this month in which civil liberties' group are suing NSA officials for authorizing unconstitutional wiretapping."

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"Justce is blind." (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41612911)

To the law.

SCOTUS (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41613193)

"Breaking the Law is useful in enforcing the Law that is illegal under the foundation of Law."

Wonderful little police state you got there.

Re:SCOTUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613247)

Well put.

Re:SCOTUS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613313)

funny how it's all good when protestors break the law, but all bad when the government breaks the law.

Re:SCOTUS (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41613423)

And that the government has the exact opposite view.

Re:SCOTUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613453)

The government is a great deal more powerful than mere protestors, and the government is attacking everyone. At least those annoying protestors weren't violating everyone's privacy.

Re:SCOTUS (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41614257)

And therein lies the problem. The US government derives its power from its people. Well, it's supposed to anyway. To quote the film entitled "V For Vendetta":

People should not be afraid of their governments.

Governments should be afraid of their people.

While a radical viewpoint, it is in essence what the "founding fathers" intended in writing the Constitution of the United States of America: the government exists solely for its people, but it would not exist without their consent. The government is supposed to be limited by its people. Sadly, this has not been the case. Laws are passed that grant power to the government with too few of its people ever knowing about it until it is already done. And as long as it isn't unconstitutional, the Supreme Court technically does not need to say that it should not be passed. In other words, it works to the benefit of the government, not the benefit of its people. I love this police state...erm...country (NOT).

Re:SCOTUS (5, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#41614655)

You sir are mistaken. You're correct in your statement that the purpose of the government is to serve "The People". Your mistake is presuming you are one of "Those People". "The People" in question have the wealth and power to pay for this government which protects their interests with incredible force and velocity. You may have at one time been one of "The People", but that time has pretty much passed and the only way I can see fit now to drag this festering dung heap back to something even vaguely resembling the intent of the founding fathers, would be to;

1. Eliminate both offending parties and their minions.
2. Eliminate the Federal Reserve Bank.
3. Tell the monied interests of England and its hegemony to eat feces and die.
4. Separate Corporation and State.
5. Reenact Glass-Steagall.
6. Enforce the separation of Church and State.
7. Reconstitute government checks and balances.
8. Prune the Executive Branch right back to the President's eyebrows.
9. Take the profit motive out of government, and teach our children why its important that they do a hitch as a representative.
10. Bury the military industrial complex, it is a dead end and threatens the integrity of the future of the human race.
11. Pay whistle blowers and celebrate them as heroes.

Sorry if I missed anything, I realize this is at best a pipe dream, but a person can dream. We are quick running out of time to take back what is rightfully ours. I'm certain y'all have your own to-do lists. I don't see this as a conservative/liberal problem. I see this as a problem between a vanishingly small plutocracy and the rest of humanity. These are not wise people and they are making knee-jerk decisions that start with culling the herd. I'm not volunteering for a species wide down sizing thanks. /p

Re:SCOTUS (5, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41613487)

I think it's bad when either break the law. However, I consider it a lot more egregious when the government breaks the law because they are the ones who made the law and enforce it. I'm not fond of a do as I say not as I do mentality.

Re:SCOTUS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613625)

Pretty much. Works the same for "family values" issues between Democrats and Republicans. Clinton shouldn't have cheated on his wife, but he's a liberal, so it's not like he ran on a God-fearing family values platform.

Re:SCOTUS (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613949)

But did he even cheat? I'm not disputing that he had sex with women other than his wife. I'm saying I think it possible, even likely Hillary knew about it and either didn't care, or didn't care that much. If she was okay with it, then who the hell cares?

Re:SCOTUS (2, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#41614763)

This is a pile of flaming bull dung!!! PEOPLE wake the fsck up. One side takes any stupid thing guaranteed to make the other side feel more righteous, or justified, or closer to their warm and fuzzy Gawd. And uses it as a wedge, a distraction from any freaking thing that actually matters!!! Abortion, Animal Rights, Gay Marriage... its all a bunch of smoke and mirrors designed to hide the fact that your representatives don't. They are bought and sold to the highest bidder. On a planet with 7,000,000,000 homo sapiens, what frigging difference does it make where Slick Willy stick his Slick Willy. Exactly NO DIFFERENCE. Its one more way to make you stop looking at the fact your pockets, pensions and portfolios have all been picked clean.

DID ANY OF YOU NOTICE WHAT HAPPENED ON SEPT. 16th 2012? Ben Bernanke said the Fed would purchase $40,000,000,000 a month in mortgaged back securities. The same hour the price of gold and oil shot up, that was the sound of your dollar instantly being worth less. They're printing money to buy YOUR MORTGAGE, which they will turn around and invest in derivatives (have you been watching the derivatives market over the last few weeks?) And word has it that the banks will return the favor in kind by buying government bonds. This is a Ponzi Scheme, and my darlings you and I are holding the bag. I hope you all have your fall back plans well laid out. Thing are not well here.

Re:SCOTUS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613685)

Maybe you weren't paying attention, but the government has pretty much made any means of effective protest illegal.

Re:SCOTUS (2)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | about 2 years ago | (#41614043)

Protesting is inherently public. As you protest, if you break more and more laws, you get less and less support, because everyone's watching you descend into madness.

Much of what the government does is behind closed doors. If they were to continue and break more and greater laws up to and including constitutional mandates, it's still happening in private, and each act has to be reported to get the same loss of confidence and support. The government breaking its own laws ought to be viewed with the same "slippery slope" glasses as terrorism, because in the same way, it can get out of control without you ever realizing it, and then explode all at once, destroying everything that was valuable about the system.

Re:SCOTUS (1)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#41614795)

Great post... would have been timely in... oh, 1984. We live in the fall out of the explosion you describe. Of course things haven't gotten bad yet. But I hear a mighty gurgling sound, and I fear the big flush is coming.

Re:SCOTUS (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41614097)

funny how it's all good when protestors break the law, but all bad when the government breaks the law.

If you don't believe in holding the government to the highest standards, PLEASE do not vote.

Re:SCOTUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613469)

If you think that contradiction is bad, imagine how crazy laws are to those who recognize the underlying contradictions in all arbitrary laws. We have an institution with a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence that spreads chaos in every mandate it issues, justifying itself by saying it needs to protect us from violence and chaos. It is utterly mad that we are expected to ignore the fact that violence against innocent people requires that people both oppose and embrace/commit violence at the same time or that arbitrary people oppose it and others commit it. It is insane.

Re:SCOTUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613575)

SCOTUS?

SCROTUS! as in: How would you like to suck my balls Mr Scalia...

Re:SCOTUS (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about 2 years ago | (#41613899)

"Breaking the Law is useful in enforcing the Law that is illegal under the foundation of Law."

Wonderful little police state you got there.

But..But..But..It's for the children.

Re:SCOTUS (3, Interesting)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#41613901)

The supreme court is like having the referees of a game be an employee of one team. Most trials that go to the supreme court are individuals vs the government. And which side do you think the court sides with?

I think we need a rule change. Make it like a criminal trial. In order for the government to win they need to get all 9 votes. One no and the government loses.

Re:SCOTUS (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 2 years ago | (#41614155)

I see it as blatantly unconstitutional. They simply had to get a warrant to do it before such foolish things as blanket warrant policy came about.

It will hit the courts again in perhaps a slightly different form. But we will prevail on maintaining our privacy!

Re:SCOTUS (1)

Caledfwlch (1434813) | about 2 years ago | (#41614301)

And to think we were worried about Huawei and ZTE... I guess it's ALL communications conglomerates!

...interesting. Hope it becomes an election issue. (3, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41612945)

Seriously - I'd love to see both candidates try and wriggle out of owning that one in the upcoming debates, since both are (by now) equally culpable.

Too bad there isn't a moderator with sufficient testicular fortitude to hold their feet to that particular fire...

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (5, Insightful)

davydagger (2566757) | about 2 years ago | (#41612969)

I've been saying this for years, the REAL issues aren't brought up in the debates.

They are queitly mumbled under the breath of canidates, and dissenters are put on "lists", and harrassed.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (0)

fragtag (2565329) | about 2 years ago | (#41613055)

Where are the mod points when I need them! I don't even bother watching political debates live because the debate questions tend to be a quick rehash of the things we hear on a daily basis.

Can we get some real discussion on the issues please?

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (5, Interesting)

Githaron (2462596) | about 2 years ago | (#41614125)

We need more parties in the debates, the questions need to be tougher, and the debates should be on three times a week for a month so they can get into the nitty-gritty details of their policies.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41614837)

We need more parties in the debates, the questions need to be tougher, and the debates should be on three times a week for a month so they can get into the nitty-gritty details of their policies.

Haha, have you seen Romney/Ryan interviews? They refuse to answer any specific questions because their plan is to cut taxes, increase military spending, keep all other spending (except PBS). Oh, and repeal the health care bill, keep just the popular parts (i.e. the ones that cost money), while tossing out unpopular parts.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (1)

besalope (1186101) | about 2 years ago | (#41614563)

Where are the mod points when I need them! I don't even bother watching political debates live because the debate questions tend to be a quick rehash of the things we hear on a daily basis. Can we get some real discussion on the issues please?

I just watch the debates live due to the drinking game aspect. I entirely agree that we won't get anything useful from them.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41614709)

You don't hear Barack Obama without a teleprompter on a daily basis. And for good reason.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (4, Insightful)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about 2 years ago | (#41613065)

... and dissenters are put on "lists", and harrassed.

Or worse [wikipedia.org] .

They're real to us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613119)

This wiretaping rule is no problem to John Q. Public. As far as they're concerned this only affects people who are doing wong.

The only way to get the Obama Admin off of this is maybe make it a Tea Party issues - "Hey Teapartiers! That Socialist Obama has all these powers to spy on you God fearing Christians so he knows whose guns to take away!"

Really, I'm not joking. It WILL work!

Re:They're real to us. (2, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41613191)

This wiretaping rule is no problem to John Q. Public. As far as they're concerned this only affects people who are doing wong.

The only way to get the Obama Admin off of this is maybe make it a Tea Party issues - "Hey Teapartiers! That Socialist Obama has all these powers to spy on you God fearing Christians so he knows whose guns to take away!"

Really, I'm not joking. It WILL work!

No, it won't - I know, I spend a good portion of every day surrounded by that particular group of mental midgets, and lord know I've tried to convince them of such. See, those groups (ultra-right Tea Baggers, ultra-left Uber-Socialists) don't care what happens in the world, unless it's relayed to them by one of their self-appointed Minstries of Truth - in the case of RWNs, it's Newscorp and Rush Limbaugh; for the LWNs, you have Bill Maher and NBC.

The only way you'll get the nutjobs to actually listen to reason is to have their personal media messiah's express it in a way that convinces said nutjobs will accept reality; for example, call in to Limbaugh's program posing as a member of his audience base, and posit the idea in a way that makes Rush think he thought of it himself.

Re:They're real to us. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613631)

for the LWNs, you have Bill Maher and NBC.

I think that you need to do a bit more research before making your next assertion of who LWNs listen to.

Bill Maher is not followed by the true LWNs. He is often cited by LWNs as someone who does more harm to their cause than good.

NBC is not the channel for LWNs. MSNBC is.

Re:They're real to us. (5, Insightful)

scot4875 (542869) | about 2 years ago | (#41613795)

Maher is a comedian. Kind of like Jon Stewart, except with less rigorous fact-checking. Their audiences know this.

Limbaugh is also a comedian. The difference is, neither he nor his audience know it.

--Jeremy

Re:They're real to us. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41614799)

Um, no. The first two have laughter as the goal. The third one has a political agenda and is of an ilk that routinely calls to mind the historic phrase "have you no shame..?"

Re:They're real to us. (2)

Qzukk (229616) | about 2 years ago | (#41613731)

maybe make it a Tea Party issues

Their handlers are salivating at the thought of getting those powers back.

For instance, the Texas Republican Party Platform document stated that they should make bill of rights cases un-appealable to the Supreme Court by using Congress's control over jurisdiction of courts to make violations of the Bill of Rights outside of the Supreme Court's jurisdiction. (All that bullshit about "critical thinking skills" or whatever was a huge fucking snowjob and the liberals bought into it hook line and stinker.) Why? Because they expect that they'll be in power and won't have to worry about minority liberals taking away Second Amendment rights, and they'll be free to infringe on any rights they feel like.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41614221)

Nothing will change as long as we have fucktards voting like it's a high school homecoming king and queen election. This idea of voting for something great is wasting a vote is just nonsense that keeps us inline. If people aren't willing to accept that voting against the major parties is a version of revolution than nothing will happen until people have to start to choose between revolution and starvation.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613083)

Not to defend any of this crap, but how is Romeny culpable at all?

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41613429)

Because he exists.. we are all culpable when we give them this authority by reelecting them. The politician is a mere reflection.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613767)

Not to defend any of this crap, but how is Romeny culpable at all?

Because if Romeny weren't held culpable here, between those two the GP poster would have to blame Obama and ONLY Obama.

Can't do THAT to the Lightworker!

(You think I'm kidding?)

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (5, Insightful)

bjwest (14070) | about 2 years ago | (#41613219)

Why would it come up in the debates when both parties feel they have the right to warrantless wiretapping. Kinda hard to debate something when there's no difference in viewpoint.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613433)

Kind of like most actual points of governing.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613359)

HA!

The only issues that are even mentioned in 'debates' are ones that don't matter to the politicians (and more importantly, the ones sponsoring a candidate). This is why you will never ever hear a thing about the thousands arrested by government across the country protesting the bankers and wall street and such, yet not a single banker has been prosecuted even where outright fraud has been admitted and proven. They won't talk about the mercenaries who took over when 'active military personnel' withdrew from iraq. They won't talk about the unsustainable financial madness or anything of meaning. They speak trivially like insane twilight zone propagandists while the world falls down around their oblivious heads. They are there to toss off some platitudes and stir up wedge issues without substance that costs them nothing. Anything of real value to them is most often something that has bribed both major political parties.

And the moderators come from the media, which exists by the whim of politicians(both in the violent domineering sense with laws as well as dependent sense with interviews and such). One cannot easily do well as a journalist if he is excluded from the source of his news. Murdoch was hurt badly when Obama excluded fox news. He had to make quite a few concessions to be included again. Sure, a true journalist who does investigation may be able to serve people interested in more than speeches and sound bites, but then how will they find an entire business that can support this sort of model of journalistic integrity? So in short, moderators have no incentive to rock the boat. They are drawn from a pool of people dependent upon the favors of our rulers. That is why it is the fringe elements of journalism that carry the standard of truth. It may share the space with many from different contradictory biases and such, but one bias that is not present is direct dependency on politicians for ones daily bread. But they are never permitted to participate with politicians in these 'debates'.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41613561)

This is why you will never ever hear a thing about the thousands arrested by government across the country protesting the bankers and wall street and such, yet not a single banker has been prosecuted even where outright fraud has been admitted and proven.

I'm not sure why the candidates should be talking about people getting arrested in protests. I'm not aware of the federal government arresting one person for protesting. State and local government might have but the candidates aren't running for state or local government.

So in short, moderators have no incentive to rock the boat.

Moderators need to be moderate and impartial by default. The debates are there to show the differences in candidates not to show one as better or worse then the other. IF a moderator seems to be favoring one candidate over the other, it can actually cause a backlash that would cause the defeat of one of them. It can also cause a reluctance of candidates participating in them. The candidates are the ones who are supposed to bring these things up- not the moderators. What you are asking for is more akin to journalist asking questions at press briefings and speeches.

If a moderator is rocking the boat, they are doing something completely wrong. Part of the reason you might dislike the way the debates are might be because you have a different concept of what purpose they serve then what you seem to think they should be. You should never be able to tell what ideas or ideology a moderator holds over politics in general or any particular subject by questions asked in a debate.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41613385)

Romney has never been in a position that could influence the warrantless searches or the laws forbidding the lawsuits. He has never been a senator or congressman and lost his last attempt to run for president.

He did run for senator against Ted Kennedy back in 94 or so, but lost that. He's basically been just a governor and politician who tried to get a job at a federal level.

Romney can probably weasel out of culpability if he wanted to. However, I doubt either candidate wants to because they most likely see nothing wrong with it. Obama threw some bones when trying to get elected last time, but that was just campaign posturing to get people to vote for him though.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613885)

Romney has never been in a position that could influence the warrantless searches or the laws forbidding the lawsuits. He has never been a senator or congressman and lost his last attempt to run for president.

He did run for senator against Ted Kennedy back in 94 or so, but lost that. He's basically been just a governor and politician who tried to get a job at a federal level.

And he ran the SLC Olympics.

And a successful business or two.

Better than a 1/2 term Senator who's never actually been accountable for anything before in his entire life...

But don't worry, lot's of people fail at their first real job and get fired from it.

Romney can probably weasel out of culpability if he wanted to. However, I doubt either candidate wants to because they most likely see nothing wrong with it. Obama threw some bones when trying to get elected last time, but that was just campaign posturing to get people to vote for him though.

Understatement of the millennium.

"Threw some bones"!?!?!?

How about waved the false flag of "Hopenchange" like a matador enticing a herd of lobotomized bulls? (And cows are STOOOOPID to begin with!)

Gitmo closed yet?

Hell, "illegal" and "warrantless" wiretaps ended yet? (Ain't that apropos!)

Deficit cut yet?

Jobless rate lowered yet?

Where's that "middle class tax cut"?

When's Obama gonna "focus like a laser" on jobs?

Oh, and the funniest thing is, the Obama we saw in last week's debate WAS the REAL Obama. Remember Hillary cleaning his clock in the last debate of the 2008 Dem primary season? Hillary finally realized she might lose to Teh Won and took off the kid gloves and whipped his ass in the last Dem debate - but it was the last Dem debate because Teh Petulant Won took his empty chair and went home and refused to debate any more.

And didn't Clint Eastwood win? See this week's New Yorker cover? Romney schooling an empty chair in a debate.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#41613441)

You would? I think it's pretty obvious how it would go. If the moderator asked about it, Obama or Romney would make the same argument the administration made already. And the voters would continue to ignore the loss of civil rights. If pressed further, feet held to the fire as it were, they would repeat the argument the administration already made and the voters would continue to ignore the loss of civil rights. The media and voters would wonder what the stick up the moderator's butt was. The line "If you aren't doing anything wrong, then you don't need to hide" would be brought up in some form or another, and the two would pat themselves on the back for wisely not caring about wiretapping when there are terrorists out there.

The voters swallowed the fear mongering from politicians, pundits, and people selling books and articles on how the world is out to get you. They cowered in fear and offered their rights up to a police state as payment for perceived security. Both parties are guilty, but they're giving the customers what they want. There's not a politician alive of any party who could get through to the voters and get them to stop sacrificing their rights in exchange for security. Ben Franklin would be completely ignored by the media today, aside from being the occasional punchline.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41613477)

Seriously - I'd love to see both candidates try and wriggle out of owning that one in the upcoming debates, since both are (by now) equally culpable.

Right. Even if someone brought it up, they don't have to wiggle out because they are both in agreement. While there are some differences (and not minor ones) between those two, the list of agreements is even longer

If we are lucky we might hear debate on the disagreements. Why debate stuff they agree on? Without a 3rd (or a 4th) party candidate that can actually call them on that?

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613723)

Yeah if only we had a moderator with balls, it's not the entire system that's rotten.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#41613793)

It won't. The only election issues in the US are "abortion, gays in the military, and gay marriage". As of the past 30 years. Anything else is quickly shouted down and buried under a flurry of the aforementioned, with the odd stem cell thrown in.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613917)

America (except the West Coast, Hawaii, and Northeast) will probably be eventually renamed to "Jesusland" if the far right has its way.

Re:...interesting. Hope it becomes an election iss (2)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#41614245)

The number one question I would like to ask politicians, political candidates and people more generally (including and especially both Obama and Romney) is this:
Do you believe that it is acceptable for the government of the United States of America and its agencies to violate the Constitutional rights and civil liberties of ordinary American Citizens in the name of the War on Terror?

so, basically they are saying... (5, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41612981)

So essentially, they have openly stated that because the practice is useful to the government ut should not be subjected to judiciary review, despite clear concerns from privacy advocates, and seemingly legitimate legal challenges to the validity of the practice?

Since when did the judiciary stop doing its job and become rubber stampers?

Re:so, basically they are saying... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613033)

Not really. Denying a petition doesn't mean the SCOTUS agrees with the lower decision just that the Court won't hear the case for whatever reason. It doesn't have to say why. Here, likely, the Court thought the issue would be settled in the other case it did take and that the two cases weren't close enough to combine. Basically, decide the NSA case. If NSA can't authorize then AT&T can't comply. It's a waterfall decision so there is no reason to hear both.

Re:so, basically they are saying... (2)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41613201)

>Denying a petition doesn't mean the SCOTUS agrees with the lower decision just that the Court won't hear the case for whatever reason

Tacit approval is still approval.

--
BMO

Re:so, basically they are saying... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613261)

No it's not. At least not when dealing with the SCOTUS. You cannot use a petion denial as support for your case, because the SCOTUS didn't say if they agree or not. They have not spoken on the issue one way or another.

Re:so, basically they are saying... (2)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41613425)

The overall effect is the same.

Tacit approval means that the Court will simply look the other way. While it doesn't set legal precident, it certainly sends a signal.

--
BMO

Re:so, basically they are saying... (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41613585)

It sends a signal that the court did not address it. Any other court can address it if someone with cause can bring the case to it. That seems to be the problem in this case though, you cannot get cause if the law says you cannot sue.

Re:so, basically they are saying... (1)

psiphiorg (566033) | about 2 years ago | (#41614087)

Sometimes there are multiple cases which offer similar questions but different facts. If they pick one case that has a lot of complicating factors, where they might not even be able to get to the main question they want to answer because an "easier" solution comes up to get rid of the problem, that's an ineffective use of the court's time. Better to take the case that gets to the heart of the question and ensure that they can actually be effective.

Re:so, basically they are saying... (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#41613241)

It's a blatant copout that admits "There's so many fuckups we don't have time to fix them all" and gives the appeals courts a blank check to run amok.

Re:so, basically they are saying... (1)

Shaman (1148) | about 2 years ago | (#41613073)

About 11 years ago, when 9/11 made all the dreams of the totalitarian twatwaffles come true. In the opinions of many, the two circumstances are linked.

Re:so, basically they are saying... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 2 years ago | (#41613217)

This isnt even really the scary bits that have gone on since 9/11

In a world where the U.S. government gets access to all of the E.U. members banking data, what sort of in-country data could possibly be off limits?

Lets face it, not only have they recorded every phone call since sometime shortly after 9/11, they also have direct access to every database of every major corporation. That includes your banking data, your credit data, your email, and what articles you posted upon on slashdot.

Re:so, basically they are saying... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613087)

The Spanish Inquisition was also useful in preventing the spread of heretical doctrines. Doesn't mean it was a good idea.

Re:so, basically they are saying... (3, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#41613259)

So essentially, they have openly stated that because the practice is useful to the government ut should not be subjected to judiciary review, despite clear concerns from privacy advocates, and seemingly legitimate legal challenges to the validity of the practice?

At issue isn't the wiretaps themselves are kosher but whether you can punish the telecom for doing what the people at whatever government agency ordered them to do. This is pitting the telecoms and the people against each other while the real culprit, the government agents, just snicker. The entire private sector needs to take up the protest together.

Re:so, basically they are saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41614521)

Really, does anyone read and/or comprehend the articles? I know it's slashdot and it's hard to get over the instant knee jerk reaction but try a bit. The argument isn't about wiretapping per se, but immunity of the telcos when cooperating with the government. I'm all for privacy, government oversight etc, but it seems totally reasonable to me that if the big G comes in and says they need access to X and asserts that they have a legal right to X in the interest of national security that you give them X. If they misrepresented themselves and they really didn't have a right to X, then it should be the government's problem, not my problem.

The argument isn't about the wiretaps themselves, but who should be accountable, and I think that accountability is correctly with the government not some company that they strongarm.

Re:so, basically they are saying... (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | about 2 years ago | (#41614617)

So essentially, they have openly stated that because the practice is useful to the government ut should not be subjected to judiciary review, despite clear concerns from privacy advocates, and seemingly legitimate legal challenges to the validity of the practice?

Well, sort of. Or more like, don't arrest AT&T officials because they did what the President told them to do. Kind of the wrong spot to put them in. Sort of like Mom tells you to do something, and Dad tells you he'll ground you if you do. They shouldn't be in the middle between two branches of government.

This is a government issue, and a separation of powers issue. It's also a "vote for candidates who will end illegal wiretapping" issue. Of course, that was Obama, and he wasted no time completely flipping on that issue, so good luck.

Watch Countdown to Zero documentary to understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613097)

I'm a strong advocate for privacy, but people should realize that it's incredibly easy to make a nuclear bomb, once you have the enriched uranium. Rather than shut this program down, perhaps the public should demand that the data mining be administered under a very concise mission statement. The public could even help to draft it. That perhaps makes more sense than just railing against ALL data mining operations.

Read the constitution to understand (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 2 years ago | (#41614365)

This isn't railing against all data mining operations. This is railing against data mining operations that operate in direct opposition to the 4th amendment of the US constitution.

There are still a few people around who think the government ought to be limited by the constitution, and that the only legitimate way to change the constitution resides under the aegis of article V, and that the fiddling the government -- all three branches -- has been doing is by definition illegal.

Re:Watch Countdown to Zero documentary to understa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41614751)

woah, be careful what you say. Michael Crawford is in jail for trying to warn people how easy it is to make bombs. Of course, it probably didn't help that he called 911 to tell them about it. Repeatedly. After they told him to stop wasting their time with his incoherent rambling.

James Madison said it best. (5, Insightful)

SirAstral (1349985) | about 2 years ago | (#41613165)

If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
          Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.
          The loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad.
â" James Madison (father of the US Constitution)

Re:James Madison said it best. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613279)

Well Spoken! Also said by Cicero over 2000 years ago "Laws are silent in times of war".

Re:James Madison said it best. (5, Informative)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41613483)

"This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector." - Plato

There is nothing new in this world.

Re:James Madison said it best. (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about 2 years ago | (#41613579)

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Obama's kind of been a dick about this (3, Interesting)

HeckRuler (1369601) | about 2 years ago | (#41613319)

As much as I like the guy, this would be the thing that would get me to vote against him. If the opposing candidate promised justice in this case, that would be a really REALLY good sign.

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (0)

compucomp2 (1776668) | about 2 years ago | (#41613391)

LMAO, do you seriously think Romney would be any better?

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (1)

poity (465672) | about 2 years ago | (#41614697)

Why not vote for Gary Johnson? Posters above us have established (with overwhelming moderation approval) that both mainstream candidates are similar, so it would be illogical to vote for one because you fear a victory by "the other" major party.

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (2)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 2 years ago | (#41613465)

Maybe there is an opposing candidate that would do better, but if you expect improvements in civil liberties from either of the two major parties, I think you'll be disappointed.

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41613481)

Romney is even more authoritarian.

Unfortunately, in a two party system, you are bound to pick the lesser of two evils, and a vote for a third party is a vote for the incumbent.

In b4 shitstorm of people who don't know how the system is deliberately broken.

--
BMO

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613609)

Building an effective third party takes more than a single election cycle. Coming from a parliamentary system I have seen grassroot parties grow from nothing to destroy the establishment. It only takes 10 years or so of consistent campaigning and voting. There is a tipping point at which the stalwart supporters make a party "relevant" and worthy of media attention (and uninformed voter's votes). Features targeting 5% of the voting populace can sell newspapers on a slow day. And those newspapers can drive a lot of popular opinion.

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (3, Informative)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41613855)

>. Coming from a parliamentary system I have seen grassroot parties grow from nothing to destroy the establishment.

The US government is not a parliamentary system where various parties can form coalitions and whatnot. There is no such thing as a "minority government" in the US legislature.

--
BMO

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (5, Insightful)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#41613771)

First, a vote for 3rd party is not a vote for the incumbent.
Second, even along that line of thought, it is only a half vote for the one opposite who you would have voted for.
Third, it is not a wasted vote when voting against the ruining of the country.

A vote for Obama or Mitt is VERY VERY BAD for this country. Like 50 years from now people will be looking in their history books studying why people were so stupid.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41614065)

I'm writing in Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (1)

Conchobair (1648793) | about 2 years ago | (#41614285)

I'm voting 3rd party. You're telling me that's a vote for Romney and Romney supporters tell me that it's a vote for Obama. So, by everyone's count I've got three votes now. That sounds pretty awesome to me.

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#41614585)

The only way to break the 2 party, one establishment system is to vote for somebody else, who represents an actual choice for real freedoms.

Gary Johnson is on every ballot.

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (5, Informative)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41613539)

If the opposing candidate promised justice in this case, that would be a really REALLY good sign.

How would that be a good sign?
Obama swore (pre-election) that he would veto any bill that gave retroactive immunity to telcoms. The fact that he lied was a big disappointment.

With Romney, I KNOW he won't hold to that promise even if he makes it.

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (3, Informative)

meglon (1001833) | about 2 years ago | (#41613701)

Obama swore (pre-election) that he would veto any bill that gave retroactive immunity to telcoms. The fact that he lied was a big disappointment.

He never had the chance to..... signed into law by bush.

https://www.eff.org/press/archives/2008/07/09 [eff.org]

Two things should be pointed out: Obama voted for this bill, and all of the "nay" votes were democrats.

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=2&vote=00168 [senate.gov]

Re:Obama's kind of been a dick about this (1)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#41614557)

The fact that he lied was a big disappointment.

Only to the suckers who bought his act.

-jcr

People don't understand the true purpose of SCOTUS (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613321)

Most people buy what they are told in highschool about the division of power and all that stuff. There is no need to go over it again, we all are well aware of what we were taught.

The true purpose, at least for the last 100 years or so, is to justify the behavior of government and give it a stamp of approval. You can't argue about the constitutionality of a item that the supreme court ruled on, right? They are the 'ultimate decider', the 'supreme court' that decides on the what the constitution says and what it means.... This is all what we are taught.

And frankly. It's all bullshit. The 'division of power' was created to purposely make government inefficient. Its setup to slow down the government so that 'the people' can keep up and not be fooled into giving up rights for this or that crisis. The public is subject to boughts of a sort of temporary insanity were some popular fear or event can be used by clever statesmen to forward their agenda to the detriment of the population's interest.

The Supreme Court is NOT a check on the power of government. It was never designed that way and it never has been used in that way.

The proof of what I say is this: The Supreme Court is part of the government. Saying that SCOTUS is intended to limit the power of government is like saying that congress or the president's job is to limit the power of government. It's BS. They are not going to limit themselves... they are a third of the government. You don't get to vote on them, you don't get to vet them. The member of the court is appointed through politics. They are carefully chosen and selected by their compliance and philosophical agreements with the use of government power as a means to any end. If they showed any signs of a willingness to actually limit government, or whatever, then they would of never been appointed in the first place.

What the modern purpose of SCOTUS is for propaganda. They decide what is and what is not constitutional so you can't argue about it. You think that the indemification for wiretapping is illegal and against the constituion? Well 'Fuck you'.. the supreme court disagrees and they are right and you are wrong because they have the authority to decide these things and you do not.

THAT is the true purpose. They exist to squash arguments and movements. They are their to help EXPAND government by providing the justification and legal basis for anything the government wants to do. That is the criteria used to decide who gets appointed by the other 2 branches. Why would 2/3rds of the government choose the final 1/3rd that has any chance or desire to fight them over what they want to accomplish?

The check against federal power is YOU. It's YOU and your local governments. Your states and your local representatives. It's the 10th admendment. It's your refusal to obey and the refusal of the law enforcement agencies in your local areas to support and enforce out bullshit laws.

And this is why the Federal government is working it's ass off to eliminate local law enforcement. They are busily wrapping up every bit of law enforcement they can into a nation-wide law enforcement organization. Not to make it easier to fight terror or war on crime.. but to make sure your local police force is on their side in any conflict.

Re:People don't understand the true purpose of SCO (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 2 years ago | (#41613497)

Sounds good.

I'd extend it further to posit that the purpose of democracy isn't really to give its citizens anything more than an illusion that they have any impact on how things are run. Democracy is merely safeguard to prevent the established institution from being overthrown in a bloody revolution in case one of the leaders fucks up royally. Our leaders have become brilliant at straddling the line, though.

Re:People don't understand the true purpose of SCO (2)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#41613863)

Good post let me add some points.

The Senate before the 17th amendment represented the state governments in Washington DC. This was important because it pit one group of greedy power hungry bastards against another. The 17th amendment was passed because they said the way senators were elected was corrupt. Of course it was. That was the purpose. Now nobody represents the state governments in DC and it shows.

Second.
The final check is a jury trial and nullification. A jury can rule on not only the guilt or innocence but on the law itself. In the jury room you can decide a law is unconstitutional and declare the defendant innocent. This is why whenever these bullies punish or detain people without trial it is such a dangerous path to go down.

Re:People don't understand the true purpose of SCO (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41614055)

you can exercise your RIGHT to jury nullification.

but be aware that you risk 'angering the court' and getting one of those law talking guys to give you a bad court thingie.

contempt of court can be a deterrent. you have to lie to the court to even get past voire dire, and so there's that. and when you lie and say you won't follow your heart, but will, instead, dutifully be a sheep to the judge's view of the law - then you go and vote against his views, you are really risking contempt. lots of bad court thingies. ouch.

they know this. they silence us with these threats.

what are you going to do? take jail time, yourself, just to fight a bad law?

how many modern americans can or will do this?

note: having any negative spots on your legal history can be a show-stopper for many mid and higher end jobs. they also know this and use this threat against you.

Nullification (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41614437)

Within a deliberating jury, you do not have to state a reason for your position. They can ask you; but you don't have to answer them. All you have to do is stick to your position; there's no risk of contempt of court, etc. The only risk is protracted deliberation.

Personally, I say: "Guilty", "Not Guilty" or "I'm still thinking about my position on this." Holding to the latter until everyone else is tired, then dropping my dissenting vote as late in the process as possible seems to work very well. Once dropped, "I"m listening", "I remain unconvinced" or "I remain convinced" is sufficient to hold your position.

The point is, if you never state why you vote as you do, you can't be held to any particular motivation. It's not difficult. Just hold your damn tongue.

Why are you poeple so dishonest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613369)

Americans are the most dishonest people I have ever met. That's the major reason I don't like you.

Nothing is safe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613411)

Please, the courts won't even hold anyone in the government accountable for unlawful opening of snail mail. You think they'll do a thing about email and wiretaps?

If you want privacy, the only way is to encrypt it and put up a black bag detection system...

You are good enough to detect an alarm system bypass, right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTLINGUAL [wikipedia.org]

The fourth amendment has been dead at least 60 years. Long live the second.

Require a damn warrant !!!! (3, Insightful)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about 2 years ago | (#41613567)

What the hell is wrong with the Judiciary? Why not require a warrant like any other search, because it's digital? If it REALLY is a matter of national security a judge would sign a warrant in a second. This whole thing is just horse shit so the NSA can spend billions of tax dollars spying on its OWN citizens because they have been grasping at straws in the war against terror, which frankly has accomplished jack shit in my opinion.

Imagine if we took 100% of the NSA dollars and spent it on teachers and education, science programs, social programs like healthcare, college tuition forgiveness and urban development..... ahh to dream, guess I won't be using ATT anytime soon.

Re:Require a damn warrant !!!! (1)

Widowwolf (779548) | about 2 years ago | (#41613961)

You really think its only ATT...LOL

Government declares itself above the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613875)

What could possibly go wrong?

Government forgives itself. (1)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#41614501)

One more case to show that relying on a branch of the federal government to limit the powers of the federal government is an exercise of futility.

-jcr

SCOTUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41614613)

There is no constitutional right to privacy. SCOTUS doesn't need to take it because there is no relevant question of law involved.
By and large, information gained in a warrantless search can not be used in a court of law.

Government scrutiny is like the war on drugs. There is no stopping it. There is no winning. We could try to not fund it?

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