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Senate Bill Rewrite Lets Feds Read Your E-mail Without Warrants

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the as-if-they-wouldn't-otherwise dept.

Government 403

concealment writes "A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law. [Sen. Patrick] Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge."

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Yay! Democrats! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42039981)

Guardians of our Liberties and Privacy!

Good thing those nasty old Republicans aren't running the show. They might force the Feds to get a search warrant or something.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040019)

You're gonna have to rewrite your national anthem at this rate

Home of the brave - Nope. You have a whole agency called TSA which I assume stands for The Scared Americans

And what with this lot you can hardly be called the land of the free

Re:Yay! Democrats! (5, Insightful)

Damastus the WizLiz (935648) | about 2 years ago | (#42040057)

Guardians of our Liberties and Privacy!

Good thing those nasty old Republicans aren't running the show. They might force the Feds to get a search warrant or something.

Do you really think that one side or the other is going be that much better?

Re:Yay! Democrats! (0)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#42040125)

Do you really think that one side or the other is going be that much better?

Yes. If you look at the way votes go, these types of bills are supported by a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040345)

Yes. If you look at the way votes go, these types of bills are supported by a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats.

Yup, which explains perfectly why this bill is coming from a Democrat controlled Senate..... Oh, wait.....

Re:Yay! Democrats! (2)

danbert8 (1024253) | about 2 years ago | (#42040435)

If you look at the way the votes go, I would guess only one or two senators will actually vote against this. I know Rand Paul will be at least one. We'll see if he can rally anyone else.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040695)

No. They're human and they're working for their paychecks, NOT the common good.

Both sides are shit. Let's worry about fixing this world first before we take sides.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | about 2 years ago | (#42040807)

Agreed.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040531)

Do you really think that one side or the other is going be that much better?

The senators are not self endorsed and self elected.
People vote for them, so next time vote for a candidate you agree with even if he isn't part of the two party establishment.
The status quo benefits no one, well it benefits those in power who will screw you at the first occasion.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#42040723)

I'd argue that republican vs democrat is missing the underlying cause. The parties aren't conspiring to erode our privacy or liberties. The voters have indicated they're willing to trade those away for a sense of security. The parties are selling the voters what they want.

Stupid voters...

Re:Yay! Democrats! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040835)

The problem is that such laws are unconstitutional. If a law is unconstitutional, it does not matter if the voters want it or not; the government should not make it into law. The government is shares just as much fault with the stupid voters.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040105)

They might force the Feds to get a search warrant or something.

Really? Last I remember, it was a Republic President that was whinging that it was too hard to get a search warrant even from the rubberstamp FISA court [wikipedia.org] . Oh and let's ignore that it was the Democrat bill for surveillance oversight bill [archive.org] that passed in 2007 to increase court oversight and give no immunity to the telecoms. Oh and let's forget that the biggest block of voters against these expansions has been from the Democrats and not the Republicans.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (5, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about 2 years ago | (#42040193)

Your glee is... misplaced. Since the paranoid responses to September 11 over a decade ago, both sides of the aisle can hang their heads in shame. The elected officials of both parties have pushed the power of government to interfere with our personal liberties on the promise of "keeping us safe". It's bullshit, of course, but to suggest that it is being shoveled by one party more than another is to ignore plain facts.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#42040885)

The elected officials of both parties have pushed the power of government to interfere with our personal liberties on the promise of "keeping us safe".

After they realized the voters were screaming for it, led on by the media. The reason I bring this up is not to excuse either party, just that in order to solve it, the voters need to be educated. Probably by third party candidates. Third party candidates are the only ones with nothing to lose, and thus the only ones able to really tell the customers (voters) that they're wrong and stupid.

Unfortunately, the media also is compounding the problem: they have an interest in carrying messages that the customers want to hear as well, which again, is "Give me your liberties and I'll keep you safe from the world."

Look at the age of the Senator. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040235)

[google.com]

That generation (generalizing Big time) - both Dems and Reps - have a completely different view of America. They were the kids who were alive during WWII and saw everyone working together to defeat evil. The government was Good. The government fought for freedom.

To them, we are the source of Good, Truth, Justice, and that we can do no wrong. They lived during the US' best economic times, they saw the US become a World power and pretty much lead the World.

My 20 something daughter and her grandparents talk as if they come from two different countries. It's really entertaining. I look forward to Thanksgiving.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040563)

You could post something like "Damned Republicans!" and get a +5 on Slashdot, without anybody realizing that Leahy's a Democrat.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (3, Informative)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | about 2 years ago | (#42040791)

Good thing those nasty old Republicans aren't running the show. They might force the Feds to get a search warrant or something.

Sadly neither side is the epitome of Liberty, but Democrats are no better, that is for sure.

Re:Yay! Democrats! (3, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 2 years ago | (#42040907)

You see a direct attack on the Fourth Amendment, and the best you can come up with is, "ha ha, it was your side that did it, not mine." Do you listen to yourself or are everyone's civil rights just another baseball game to you?

Re:Yay! Democrats! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040915)

Patrick Leahy is a cum-burping shit stain. (Is that still legal to write?)

NOT COOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42039983)

Seriously? How far are they going to go before they just mount cameras on everybody and all of our traffic is controlled by the US government? What is this nazi germany?

Re:NOT COOL (2)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about 2 years ago | (#42040139)

Be careful what you say negative about the government. They are watching you..

Re:NOT COOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040419)

Be careful what you say negative about the government. They are watching you..

And that, in a nutshell, is what it's all about.

Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040005)

The Government can only ensure your privacy effectively if they know everything you want to keep private.

Slashdot has a credibility problem (4, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#42040011)

I saw the summary and immediately thought "oh, surely this is Yet Another example of the submitter tarting up a story and the editor not bothering to read the story first to verify the truth of it".

The story seems to be true (except that it's just in the bill stage, so the headline should read "will let", but let's not let facts get in the way, Slashdot), but that's immaterial to my post here.

Re:Slashdot has a credibility problem (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about 2 years ago | (#42040113)

Well, I don't know about that, the quality of editing has always been variable here...remember Zonk?

Anyway, in this case since they just cut and pasted the text 100% from the original article, not too much chance of making mistake.
But not much added value either.

How about asking /.ers their opinion on how to potentially circumvent these rather draconian-seeming proposals; store your mails offshort, and encrypt all local copies? Is there a convenient but more secure alternative to Google docs?

Re:Slashdot has a credibility problem (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about 2 years ago | (#42040133)

erm, "offshore", of course...

Re:Slashdot has a credibility problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040161)

Yeah, we shouldn't be worried because Sen. Patrick Leahy's past has been so very honest. (He started SOPA and got cameos in the Nolan Batman movies.)

Re:Slashdot has a credibility problem (0)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#42040407)

OK, seriously.

You're the second or third poster to completely miss my point and drivel on about your personal politics. I don't give a fuck about your politics. This is about the fact that when Slashdot posts a story about government, I tend to suspect the opposite of what's claimed is true.

You are part of the problem here.

Re:Slashdot has a credibility problem (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42040357)

...tarting up a story...

Hey, it worked over there in the UK for Tony Blair to help Bush start a real war. What's the problem?

Re:Slashdot has a credibility problem (3, Interesting)

Tmann72 (2473512) | about 2 years ago | (#42040399)

Considering it specifically calls it a Bill in the headline this seems to be one of those situations where anyone with knowledge of how the system works would automatically understand what you said anyway. Otherwise, even without your additions the argument wasn't really enhanced in any real way. The privacy problem is still very real, and the legislation should be stopped immediately. The fact that this is "only" at the bill stage doesn't diminish the realities of the privacy violations here. Aside from the fact that this likely is unconstitutional as a violation of the 4th amendment. However, to be fair, we need to update the fourth amendment. It currently reads "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." We need to expand on this to account not just for papers, but to digital documentation.

Re:Slashdot has a credibility problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040679)

No you don't... the Supreme court is capable of intepreting the meaning of the amendment not just the literal words. Which is why you're allowed to bear firearms more modern than muzzle-loaded muskets...

Re:k5 has a credibility problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040467)

git thee back to ghey5

Imagine that, a Dem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040025)

Dems love to violate the constitution and their oath of office.

Hmmm no longer freedom and liberty for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040039)

Not so far off from a communist state. Next step Internet Firewall (if not already there).

Resistance is futile!

Great minds (1)

halfkoreanamerican (2566687) | about 2 years ago | (#42040051)

Yet another good idea from the people we voted into office. 1) Why do these people have jobs? 2) Why are they still living in America? The very least we could do is vote them out of a job and set them adrift.

Reality (5, Insightful)

Yaddoshi (997885) | about 2 years ago | (#42040059)

Whenever anyone starts freaking out about email snooping, I find it is a good time to point out that an email message that is not encrypted is roughly as secure in transit as a postcard.

Re:Reality (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 years ago | (#42040101)

Is there any reason that encryption is not the default in email these days?

Re:Reality (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#42040217)

Because it is non trivial to set up. People of average intelligence get confused with key exchanges, signing, etc.

Re:Reality (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 2 years ago | (#42040449)

Not necessarily. All we would need is some mechanism to automatically retrieve a public key for any intended recipient, like a phone book or directory. Heck, just add it on to the SMTP protocol or something. Yeah I know there are other issues to be resolved. My point is we could work out a technical solution, the real problem would be getting everyone to switch from the entrenched protocol we have now.

Re:Reality (1)

hierofalcon (1233282) | about 2 years ago | (#42040781)

Thus allowing all spam bots to automatically encrypt their spam straight to your mailbox without intervention by system spam filters like spamassassin.

Re:Reality (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#42040249)

The reason is tha it would require exchange of keys with everybody who sends you email.

Re:Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040387)

Hard to explain the subtleties of key exchange, and key security to the typical user. Remember, in order for encryption to protect your communication, you must control that encryption. If it was just Google/Apple/Microsoft/etc. doing the encryption for you, then you have not gained a thing. The one that controls the keys, controls the access.

And then, those who do understand PKI seem to think that they don't need it because they have nothing to hide.

Re:Reality (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#42040471)

Yes. Key management is surprising difficult, and does not scale.

Re:Reality (1)

dpilot (134227) | about 2 years ago | (#42040689)

Do we really want that? People are generally BAD at security. If we actually had secure email, people and businesses might actually start to TRUST it. At that point the encryption keys become a much more valuable target than email accounts and passwords are today. I'm guessing that general identity theft and stolen key problems would be FAR worse than stolen password problems are today.

I suspect lack of trust is much better than erroneous trust.

Re:Reality (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 2 years ago | (#42040131)

I find it is a good time to point out that an email message that is not encrypted is roughly as secure in transit as a postcard

Thats ok, I've been steaming open your envelopes. You really ought to look into mail encryption.

Re:Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040377)

Actually sending a postcard is probably more secure than email because the postcard is not duplicated and stored on a server after delivery. Principles like Secrecy of correspondence [wikipedia.org] are meant to provide security to mail. Too bad that authority figures seem to think that just because it is digital, it doesn't have to follow the same rules. They do not seem to make that same logical mistake in other areas where it is convenient for them...

Re:Reality (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#42040409)

And in my country the police (or anybody else) aren't allowed to routinely intercept my post without a warrant (and otherwise it has to be random discovery, i.e. the post office spot a suspicious package or trail of packages and inform the police, etc.).

So even if your analogy were perfect, it's got little to do with the warrantless tracking.

That said, even if you encrypt the postcard, there's nothing to say that the guy the other end isn't forced to give a decrypted version to his local law enforcement or face jail-time anyway. Which is, again, strangely true to the analogous email storage too.

The problem here is NOT message security. The problem here is law enforcement being able to do these things with no tracking, no permissions, no way to tell if they are deliberately targeting innocents (e.g. fishing expeditions), no way to tell if they are intercepting their old girlfriend's post, etc. because of the desire to remove JUDICIAL OVERSIGHT. Nobody cares that X sent an email that was used to prosecute him.

We *do* care that person in department *Y* has routine, unauthorised, complete access to things we do with no judicial oversight and could be using them to snoop on your girlfriend, or see if his hunch was right about your sexual habits. And THAT is none of their business, and why we have judicial oversight in the form of having to ask for warrants that are limited in scope (i.e. you can't just ask for a warrant to "always" do this "for ever").

Re:Reality (3, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#42040909)

That said, even if you encrypt the postcard, there's nothing to say that the guy the other end isn't forced to give a decrypted version to his local law enforcement or face jail-time anyway.

You make a valid point but I think the gist of this legislation is to allow legal, casual snooping without the hassle of obtaining a warrant. If this bill passes, there will be egregious abuses (cop snooping on ex-wife, etc) that will go unchallenged because, well, it was legal. The only excuse needed will be "I felt the safety of the person was at risk" or "We had reason to believe..."

Whole point is, this bill would make casual snooping and abuses very easy to get away with and the consequences non-existent and easy as pie to skirt-around.

Re:Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040921)

I don't like that they are trying this either, however, let's start a list of how many people would have unfettered/untraceable access to your online life TODAY and try and put it all in perspective. At least if it comes out that law enforcement are the ones that did it, there would be SOME public scutiny possible. As of right now, it's purely nameless when it happens...

Oh, and BTW - Google has a BUTT load of info on everyone whom has ever searched for anything using their engine....and they keep it quite a while! Which is just as damaging IMHO...

Re:Reality (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about 2 years ago | (#42040847)

Phone calls aren't encrypted either - they're probably even a bit easier to intercept as they don't need the post office involved.

They still need a warrant to listen in on, however.

Law enforcement also can't go back to see all my old post cards and listen to my old phone conversations they same way they could view my old emails.

Re:Reality (1)

root_42 (103434) | about 2 years ago | (#42040933)

Opening a letter is very easy to do, and yet it is forbidden by law (at least here in Europe) without a warrant. The ability that you /can/ open or read something does not imply that you should be allowed to do that.

(Most of) You voted for it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040127)

Well over 90% of you voted for the one party system. I hope you're happy with what you got. This is the future that Winston Smith was told about, that you were also warned of. But you let those warnings go by the wayside so you could shout down the other half of the one party system, foolishly thinking your voice mattered.
 
What's the popular term for that around here? Oh, yes... EAT YOUR OWN DOGFOOD!!!!!

Re:(Most of) You voted for it! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#42040525)

EAT YOUR OWN DOGFOOD!!!!!

cat food [commondreams.org] ... It has 'real' tuna and 'real' tuna parts

incredible waste of man power and risk to innocent (1)

andrew2325 (2647845) | about 2 years ago | (#42040175)

It would cost a lot of money to pay people to read through spam, which resides in most of them. There is always a risk that the feds would end up using it as an excuse to target innocent civilians. Duh.

Re:incredible waste of man power and risk to innoc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040303)

Most people with desk jobs don't do any actual work anyway, spending their days wading through spam and facebook posts. I believe that this is an ingenious job creation strategy that can fix our economy by giving jobs to people that require skills they already possess.

Re:incredible waste of man power and risk to innoc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040433)

No one is innocent, citizen.

Fascinating... (4, Insightful)

fullback (968784) | about 2 years ago | (#42040189)

I'm an ex-pat who's lived outside the U.S. for twenty years (this year). It's been fascinating to watch the transformation of America from a distance over the past decade.

It's fascinating, like watching a car crash in slow motion is fascinating.

Re:Fascinating... (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#42040485)

I'm an ex-pat who's lived outside the U.S. for twenty years (this year). It's been fascinating to watch the transformation of America from a distance over the past decade.

America transformed into a snooping society well over a decade ago. Did you not read the European Parliament's ECHELON investigation in 2001 (a sensation sadly forgotten after the infinitely bigger press sensation of September 11th)? All that infrastructure was in place in the 1990s, and it was President Clinton who favoured intercepting foreign business correspondence in order to "level the playing field".

Legality (4, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#42040595)

Did you not read the European Parliament's ECHELON investigation in 2001

That was a secret thing because it was illegal. If your snooping powers are illegal, you'll do it anyway when it's really really important. There's always the risk of getting caught or bad PR or losing your job etc. But once you enshrine the snooping in law and sidestep constitutional protections, it become ripe for abuse. So yes, it has always been going on but they're now trying to take it to another level.

A little bit of history repeating... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040207)

Just out of curiosity, I was wondering how much further the American people are going to let their government take them down a well-documented path that has led to so many of history's darkest episodes...? Seriously, what happened to the rebel spirit and legacy of your forefathers? From what I've read, they wouldn't have taken this kind of crap from anyone, much less their own elected officials!

Re:A little bit of history repeating... (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#42040291)

The first step was the destruction of history classes. Anyone under 30 doesn't understand why losing little freedoms is so dangerous.

Re:A little bit of history repeating... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040385)

MOD THIS UP!!!

Re:A little bit of history repeating... (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 2 years ago | (#42040465)

wrong

Re:A little bit of history repeating... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040733)

That's why it's people under 30 who are driving the passage of such laws.. wait, what age are senators and representatives? I'm pretty sure they're over 30, along with most of the population.

Re:A little bit of history repeating... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040839)

For the record, I'm under 30 and, whilst no expert or indeed passionate hobbyist, I think it's fair to say I have a blurry understanding of history (which major groups were where and up to what) ranging from around the time of the Romans leading all the way to the present with it all coming into focus around 1800 where I can list individual names and deeper analysis of the influences occuring within a society (as opposed to my earlier (in history) understanding of socities as a whole).

Futher more, I feel my knowledge is shared by a large proportion of my peers to the point where we're able to converse about our opinions of certain era's.

Two points I'd like to make:

* I'm not American (just saying)
* My history classes stopped at 14.
* We're also not old enough to occupy the positions of power within society.

So, rather than point the finger at us I would say it is those over 30 who have forgotton the lesson's they learnt as they're the one's repeating the mistakes.

Re:A little bit of history repeating... (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#42040649)

Seriously, what happened to the rebel spirit and legacy of your forefathers?

It's still there. It's just that we've set up a Federal court system so we express our discontent using lawyers instead of guns. It takes longer and makes fewer headlines.

Re:A little bit of history repeating... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040891)

I think a lot of people don't think it can happen here. If you try to tell them, they will not listen. How can you "prove" it? You can't. It's a matter of perception and interpretation. Without "proof" (and even possibly with it) people will not believe it. They don't want to believe it.

if this is important to you (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#42040285)

Stop whining on Slashdot for a few minutes and write your Senator and Congressman.

Re:if this is important to you (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#42040629)

I've written my senators, I've met with my senators, about the only thing I haven't done is bloody well forcibly remove my senators.

Sorry, the American system is broken. A farce.... and it's just a matter of time until those armored personnel carriers in every city start rolling around.

Re:if this is important to you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040861)

Bullshit, a million raindrops becomes a torrent.

Re:if this is important to you (4, Insightful)

dnahelicase (1594971) | about 2 years ago | (#42040899)

Stop whining on Slashdot for a few minutes and write your Senator and Congressman.

Last time I wrote my senator (Dan Coats) it was to express my disapproval in what he was doing and how he was acting on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

I got a letter back in the mail, which started out "Thank you for your letter supporting me in my disapproval of how the Obama administration is handling the Bengazi incident. As you may or may not be aware, I sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee..."

You can write, call, speak, campaign, but it doesn't really matter. Everyone that gets elected seem to think they have a "mandate" and do whatever they want until someone else gets elected and continues on in the same manner.

Why do we even have warrants in the U.S. anymore? (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42040313)

Seriously, what does the 4th Amendment in particular, or the Constitution in general, even apply to anymore? The government can subvert every single protection afforded in the Constitution simply by saying "It's a national security matter" (or even "It's a law enforcement matter") and every court in the country will simply turn its head and ignore it.

Re:Why do we even have warrants in the U.S. anymor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040549)

4th amendment will trump this bull...er bill... if it comes to pass. The first instance of this type of evidence brought to court will be challenged as unconstitutional and the law will be gone. The only way to overcome the 4th amendment is to pass another amendment that repeals it.

That said, we've been seeing the erosion of this basic right for a long time and none of the courts really give a shit. National Security > all.

Re:Why do we even have warrants in the U.S. anymor (5, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#42040657)

No it won't. The Constitution is just about meaningless these days.

- you can be stopped, searched, and seized with no suspicion or warrant
- try using your right to bear arms in NYC
- granted, they're not quartering troops in our homes....but there is no need to.
- guess, we still have the right to gripe...for now

Re:Why do we even have warrants in the U.S. anymor (1)

jodido (1052890) | about 2 years ago | (#42040613)

Sadly, this has always been true, simply less well-known and perhaps less widespread. Google, for example, Cointelpro. Yes, that came to light and was declared unconstitutional, but it's naive to think Cointelpro was the only program of its kind and that with its demise all illegal (and legal) government spying came to an end.

It's called treason for a reason (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040343)

Let's call this what it is, high treason. The president, members of congress, and judges all swear an oath of office to defend the Constitution, not render it asunder.

"I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. ..."

A GREAT PLAN! (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 2 years ago | (#42040367)

Now I understand the plan. The gov is going to close the budget deficit by data mining everyone's email, Facebook, etc. for preference and tendency data that will then be sold to advertisers for tons of money! This is a great idea and doesn't require any tax increases.

Yuck (4, Interesting)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 2 years ago | (#42040417)

Since I live in Vermont I figured I'd call his office - and was passed along to the Judiciary Committee - where I got the [what sounded like every other] usual dissembling response. ("The Senator is very concerned about privacy..."). I'm afraid unless EFF and others get involved very publicly this is a fait accompli.

When SOPA was floating around I called and was told by a (what sounded like a 20-something year-old) staffer "You don't know what you're talking about at all" - exact words - so I'm not holding out much hope!

Re:Yuck (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#42040815)

I'm afraid unless Google and some other major corporations get involved very publicly this is a fait accompli.

You're underestimating how corrupt the US political system is.

where is a petition against this that I can sign? (2)

cellurl (906920) | about 2 years ago | (#42040495)

where is a petition against this that I can sign?

Re:where is a petition against this that I can sig (1)

caknuckle (2521404) | about 2 years ago | (#42040623)

Start one here? [change.org]

Re:where is a petition against this that I can sig (3, Funny)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#42040671)

You can find the petition here...

http://cheaperthandirt.com/ [cheaperthandirt.com]

Encrypt your email (2)

schwit1 (797399) | about 2 years ago | (#42040515)

Assume everyone can read your email if it's not encrypted.

1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040521)

One day you won't be able to take a shit in a bathroom without having a camera in the stall with you! Its too late, we picked these dumb asses in office.

Thanks a lot, you assholes in Vermont (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040543)

Leahy is a disgrace to Vermont and to those who respect civil
rights.

on the flip side it will be fun (2)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about 2 years ago | (#42040575)

Maybe we can catch more government scandals.

Investigative power for non-investigative agencies (1)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about 2 years ago | (#42040577)

I can understand giving the FBI or other investigative agencies more power to snoop on American citizens' digital communications - I do not agree with it, ESPECIALLY if there is no need to get a judicial warrant before starting the snooping, but I can understand the desire for that level of snooping ability.
But why give that ability to agencies line FCC or SEC? What possible reason is there for the Securities & Exchange Commission to need access to my email? Same question for the Federal Communication Commission?

reap what you sow (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 2 years ago | (#42040589)

Just a reminder before moaning about your privacy:

Next time, think before you click. Unfortunately you'll have to wait four years to correct your mistake.

Re:reap what you sow (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#42040877)

I'm guessing you're laboring under the mistaken impression that there is any disagreement between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to civil liberties protections. There isn't: both major parties oppose civil liberties in the name of "national security".

The land of the free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42040597)

This is not something a free society does. This violates the 4th amendment.

Sorry America, but you're fucked and are fast becoming a joke.

All your bluster around the world about freedom and democracy is hypocrisy now.

Now, show us your papers citizen ... we're looking at them anyway.

Epic Fail

Homeland Security already reads everything (1)

yayoubetcha (893774) | about 2 years ago | (#42040603)

If you don't think that Homeland Security already reads everything being emailed and posted on the popular social networking sites, as well as a general gleaning of all sites, then you live in a world I'd like to be part of. They scan for key phrases, and if it matches an alert level, it gets kicked "upstairs" to a human reader; phrases like "New Clear BOMs"; "Kiel the Press a Dent" and "please vote for Obama" :)

Americans? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#42040635)

This is about everyone having their mail server in american soil or hosted by an american company, maybe even routed. But if this law gives some protection to US citizens, wont give it to the rest of the people.

It's About Time (1)

Froggels (1724218) | about 2 years ago | (#42040691)

I feel safer already. But seriously I do think we need more such laws. If we are boiling a frog then perhaps turning up the heat may be the best course of action at this point.

We may have to have the revolution after all. (4, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 years ago | (#42040789)

Access to my tweets without a warrant is not a fight I need to have. I spew these out to my supposedly private followers, and it would be trivial for the government to sneak into my list with a handle as unimaginiative as bigbrother or watchingyou or even mintruth. Privacy on Twitter is not an illusion, it is nonexistent.

Access to my Facebook wall, if I designate it as for friends only, I think is improper. No, this I need to fight.

Reading my email without a warrant? Time to consider that email is replacing snail mail so well that the USPS is going under, just slower than Hostess. If the government needs a warrant to open an envelope and read my paper mail, they should need a warrant to do the same to my email.

And the electronic nature of email does not change the fact that I have as much an expectation of privacy as with paper mail. Think it over. Someone can, for most of us, reach into your mailbox and take out an envelope, steam it open, Polaroid the contents, and put it back. The medium does not change the act, merely the process. We need to re-establish the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, among others. This finally gets me to open up my phone and email my representatives today. We may have to have the revolution after all.

Digital Bill of Rights (1)

Tmann72 (2473512) | about 2 years ago | (#42040797)

This is why I think we need a digital bill of rights to stop this stuff from happening before it even gets going. I started a petition on the we the people sight. If you agree go sign it! Apparently I need 150 signatures just to get it properly listed. http://wh.gov/XLym [wh.gov]

Sen. Leahy's ReWrite (2)

Evisscerator (1650377) | about 2 years ago | (#42040799)

I think its time for US, the PUBLIC, to start CHARGING our ELECTED REPESENTATIVES with TREASON for doing this back handed, secretive bullshit. They need to go to prison and made an example of. I'm tired of these ELECTED TYRANTS trying to change the CONSTITUTION that THEY are SWORN TO UPHOLD and PROTECT !

Modern communications and the Constitution (4, Insightful)

Zaphod-AVA (471116) | about 2 years ago | (#42040825)

Secure in our papers and effects. When written, this included all private communications. Simply because we use electrons instead of ink and paper doesn't mean we lose the protection of the 4th amendment.

Re:Modern communications and the Constitution (1)

Tmann72 (2473512) | about 2 years ago | (#42040931)

Thus why I started this petition. Help me get the 150 votes required to make it fully visible! http://wh.gov/XLym [wh.gov]

I don't really understand (2)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#42040895)

Why are they pushing for having a law for warrantless inspections!
Come on! Since when in the USA a warrant is really really needed by feds?
They can just do it, right?

GNUPG is you friend (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#42040913)

Ditto.
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