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That Was Fast: Leahy Drops Warrantless E-mail Surveillance Bill

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the sees-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing dept.

Privacy 107

Presto Vivace writes "Under the right conditions, online activism can be very effective. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has already abandoned his warrantless e-mail surveillance bill we discussed this morning. 'The Vermont Democrat said today on Twitter that he would "not support such an exception" for warrantless access. ... A vote on the proposal in the Senate Judiciary committee, which Leahy chairs, is scheduled for next Thursday. The amendments were due to be glued onto a substitute (PDF) to H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved. Leahy's about-face comes in response to a deluge of criticism today, including the ACLU saying that warrants should be required, and the conservative group FreedomWorks launching a petition to Congress -- with over 2,300 messages sent so far -- titled: "Tell Congress: Stay Out of My Email!""

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Oops, somebody noticed (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#42047213)

Translation, "I thought nobody would notice."

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42047655)

The people didn't like it, he changed his stance.

It's how it's suppose to work.
I know,it doesn't fit into your lazy ass whiny spoon fed view point.
But there you are.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42047821)

The fact that he even considered it in the first place is disturbing on its own.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42049537)

The fact that he even considered it in the first place is disturbing on its own.
 
This is key, and far more important than the fact that he dropped it when so many people complained. As far as I am concerned, people in power who try to pull this kind of crap should be removed from power immediately. He or others will try it again when they get the chance.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (2)

noobermin (1950642) | about 2 years ago | (#42050335)

One more thing... (-1, Offtopic)

noobermin (1950642) | about 2 years ago | (#42050403)

I know this is kinda dumb to ask, but there's this awesome article [slashdot.org] over here and it has less than 20 comments...can we make this a real "News for Nerds" site again and discuss it? I know, I'll make it political a tad...

Ahem... Toshiba Cambridge Research Laboratory has developed this protoype...WHY WASN'T IT DONE IN AMERICA!? There, we can make it a discussion about the role of government in funding research!

One less article about DemocRATS and RepubliCUNTS with a slight tinge of technology (email!) would be refreshing.

reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053899)

patents and copyright rule sin usa are too much....
you did yourself right out of business ROFL....

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (1)

mellon (7048) | about 2 years ago | (#42056457)

It's impossible to know the truth of the matter. Clearly _someone_ floated a trial balloon, which got shot down. Whether that someone was Leahy is unknowable, and we shouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about it, because it's just time wasted. The fact that he's disavowing it so strongly means either that he didn't float the balloon (he's telling the truth) or that he gets the message. Either result is fine.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42054769)

Isn't it, though. Boils down to the fact that he's basically foresworn on his Oath of Office and probably ought to be recalled on that basis alone- but the idiots that keep voting for him to be in there won't do that.

If we did that sort of thing with this bunch when they do things like this, The House and Senate might actually start working more like it's supposed to.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (4, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 years ago | (#42047981)

No, Leahy's stance should never have been pro anything that erodes 4th Amendment protections. Our elected representatives are supposed to protect our rights, not sell them away. This is further proof positive that we need a third party. Both Democrats and Republicans want increasing control over us.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048581)

With the selection of third parties we have, they are not much better.

The Greens:

Where I live, they have managed to get public land closed, saying it was for the environment. Said land? Well, the local county "leased" it for a 50+ year term, and now sports a golf course. What once was an area for hiking and mountain biking is for golf carts, and the surrounding area is "blessed" by the runoff from fertilizer.

They live in a world where they want to deprive people of enjoyment. Usually they end up as pawns of big business. The greens get an area closed off, then the loggers move in. They also have zero empathy for anyone not leading their lifestyles. Vandalizing a family's minivan just because it isn't a hybrid car promotes little other than resentment.

Then, there are are the Libertarians:

The average Libertarian is essentially a loud Republican. Their cries are similar: remove regulation, business uber alles, golden showers from trickle down economics are the way to go, "small" government, let us return to the Gilded Age where tycoons were tycoons, and average Americans slept in shit, and "The Jungle" demonstrated the right way to make sausage. Almost no Libertarians have any grasp of basic macroeconomics, civics, and concepts like balances of power. They moan and groan about how hellish taxes were, however, they were almost triple when their hero, Reagan, was in office. On one hand, they want the people who make their products only making minimum wage, on the other hand, they whine about US jobs going overseas. Of course, this party is a God-send for big business. For example, when I see posts about any significant advance from NASA on Slashdot, there is the Libertarian posting about "why should our tax dollars go for this?"

Of course, we have Occupy:

Occupy had a message, but claiming parks as campgrounds and having to have coordinated police remove them has made any politician deaf to anything coming out of Occupy. The only thing that movement has done has been to sharpen the skills of riot police. Had Occupy mimiced the same strategy as the Tea Party (come into a city, stage an organized protest with proper permits given, then fscking LEAVE and not have to be thrown out of parks), they would have a voice at some place other than the defendant's chair.

So, we have three sub parties. Two as puppets for big business, one that nobody will pay attention to because it is easy to confuse an Occupy event with a re-enactment of Woodstock.

Once the US gets a party that actually represents the middle class (regulate business, put in reasonable fair trade laws, etc.) appears, then maybe it would be an alternative. Otherwise, there isn't anything to be taken seriously.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048951)

A third party is not a solution.

What we need is a reform to the system to something besides Winner-Takes-all.

Why does one guy with the most votes win? Many states, perhaps most, don't even require a majority, just a plurality.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#42051413)

I would love going back to runner-up in presidential elections becoming the Vice President. That could make for excellent gridlock within the executive branch.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (2)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | about 2 years ago | (#42053023)

THIS . Such as system worked well for decades, and fostered compromise between the parties. We need to return to this system ASAP. It would also reduce the mudslinging between candidates during the campaign, because they would both know they have to work with each other for the next four years. Abandoning this protocol was a deeply regressive move, IMO.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (2)

mog007 (677810) | about 2 years ago | (#42053827)

Decades? The 12th amendment (which changes the method for selecting VP) was ratified in 1804. That's only 17 years after the Constitution was formally adopted by the US.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42058625)

Yes, because Palin would have been a great VP...

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (2)

pclminion (145572) | about 2 years ago | (#42049529)

Our third parties are definitely a bit, uh, radical. But there's a difference between a government made up entirely of Greens, and a government that has a certain amount of Green influence. I voted for some Green candidates in the past election, and some Libertarians too. It's not because I want to see a government entirely composed of those viewpoints. I simply feel that a mixture of all of these views may lead to more diverse and effective government.

A government composed entirely of Greens would probably require us to all kill ourselves for the good of the planet. A government composed entirely of Libertarians would disband itself the moment it formed. I don't want either of those things.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42049689)

No, Leahy's stance should never have been pro anything that erodes 4th Amendment protections.
 
Trying to erode the founding principles of the nation is treasonous. Jail the bastard.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42055027)

Actually, NO, it's not treasonous.

Article III, Section 3 :

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

Since this isn't levying war or adhering to our enemies, giving aid and comfort (See what Obama's doing for the Muslim crowd for an example of THAT particular act...) it's not Treason and thereby not treasonous. Please use the proper terms for things- you dilute the impact of your commentary and allow them to call the people that are paying attention "loons" and the like. For what he's doing...heh... I'd daresay he's in violation of the law in the meaning given by 5 USC 7311. Most of the jokers in Congress that do this sort of thing are in violation of that and thereby 18 USC 1918 which specifies it as an explicit crime.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 2 years ago | (#42053761)

This is further proof positive that we need a third party. Both Democrats and Republicans want increasing control over us.

Problem is, even if there were a slightly viable national 3rd party, it would be another 20 years before they could control any sub/committee - where the real power lies.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42054851)

Heh... Now's the time to start- aim a bit lower than the Presidential Election and don't allow your bunch to distract you from the core goals of the party.

Most of the people in those third parties have tended to be otherwise never-rans from the other parties that couldn't make it on a Dem or GOP ticket. This comes across as being a bunch of flakes. What the Libertarians did this Presidential Election didn't help things either- and all "voting their conscience" did was give the edge to Obama, who they didn't want in office even more than Romney. In pretty much all cases, the nutballs in all those alternate parties have driven the discussion and diluted the impact that they'd otherwise had. The Libertarians, for example, are no longer really the bunch that they started out as and there's no way that you can gain any more to agree with them because they're all over the map and too extreme (not conservative or liberal, mind, but rather, amazingly both at the same time and not in useful ways...).

Start fresh. Start with something basic and fundamental. Don't allow the liberals to control the discussion by shifting subjects from those basics. You never know, you might end up succeeding if you go about it that way.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 2 years ago | (#42048157)

aw... and we were that | | close to convincing everyone to finally encrypt their emails...

Oh well.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (1)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 years ago | (#42048287)

The fact that he heard the people and changed his stance to appease constituents : good.

The fact that he was trying to cornhole us san lube until a collective "WTF are you trying to do back there??" : bad

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048695)

You're such a bitch, words don't even describe your mindless totalitarian supporting ass.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42053987)

The people didn't like it, he changed his stance.

It's how it's suppose to work.
I know,it doesn't fit into your lazy ass whiny spoon fed view point.
But there you are.

Funny how when the politicians we like change their position, it's a natural "evolution" and an admirable trait, but when the politicians we don't like do it, it's "flip-flopping" and a sign of crass selfishness and total lack of principles.

"Obama's position on gay marriage has changed. It's 'evolved.' Good for him!"
"Romney's position on abortion has changed. He's a total 'flip-flopper'!"

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 2 years ago | (#42058123)

The people didn't like it, he changed his stance.

It's how it's suppose to work.
I know,it doesn't fit into your lazy ass whiny spoon fed view point.
But there you are.

I thought in politics (USA, anyway), you aren't ever, EVER supposed to reverse your political stance until the Supreme Court says you must.

I kid, I kid...

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | about 2 years ago | (#42047807)

Now what was my hand doing in that cookie jar?

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (3, Insightful)

klingers48 (968406) | about 2 years ago | (#42047987)

This is the key point. They will try again when the heat dies down. Spooks and ignorant senators/congressmen can't actually divorce themselves from the mentality of the intelligence community and really understand where most of the pushback is coming from. It's never been about having something to hide or not... It's a community of informed IT enthusiasts who embrace the technology to a point where it becomes a feeling of violation when their digital privacy is threatened.

I'm not a behavioral scientist or a psychologist, and this might even be wrong, but I'm sure I've read before that our brain remaps our "personal space bubble" when we drive a car. I also believe that (beyond the obvious) reasons why we get angry at telemarketers/doorknockers, wear clothes, put locks on our doors and curtains on our windows is because we have a deep-down, hard-wired intellectual personal space that has evolved alongside our physical personal space.

Problem is, every unsolicited knock on the door, phone ring from a stranger or person peeking through the curtains rankles us in our lizard brain because an external force is attempting to wrest some control of our intellectual personal space. It's no different to a perfect stranger standing two inches from our face. It's wrong. Our lower brain connected to our higher brain sees "THREAT!!"

We feel the same way when the government pries into our communications, movements or histories. It's not about being ashamed of anything or having "something to hide", it's about a feeling of an exterior force violating our intellectual idea of personal space. We are being denied the control we desire over what we show the world. That is in my opinion the core issue governments will never be able to understand. That's the answer to the inevitable "Why are they protesting?" question.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#42048137)

This is the key point. They will try again when the heat dies down.

"The price of liberty is eternal vigilance." -- Thomas Jefferson

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 2 years ago | (#42051395)

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#42048895)

It's more that we rightly view email and other written communications to be papers/effects.

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.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (2)

pclminion (145572) | about 2 years ago | (#42049567)

It's never been about having something to hide or not...

Privacy in general is not about hiding things, not just restricted to IT-related topics. I once had a debate with a previous manager -- her claim was that if you didn't want anybody to know you were doing something, then perhaps you shouldn't be doing it. I wanted to counter that if she believed that, perhaps she wouldn't mind installing a camera in her bedroom so I could watch her having sex.

Of course, I didn't say that. But I wanted to.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42049187)

We need to make an example out of him and folks like him. We need to pull together the collective resources of the ACL, EFF, thinktanks, etc to fund opposition at the next election to support anybody but him. This is a tier 1 issue at stake. If folks are able to take him down it will send a message to the other rats in congress.

Re:Oops, somebody noticed (4, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#42049469)

Exactly! This is why we need a randomly selected American civilian (similar to jury duty) to follow around every congress member and every time they do something stupid or controversial or clearly evil, they'd get to react like "WTF are you signing that crap? Are you shittin' me right now? Why are you adding that to the bill? Why are you going to a $1000 luxury dinner with that oil company exec?"
Now that's representative-based democratic oversight, lol.

Re:Oops, it was not a Republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050407)

If it would have been a Republican amendment nobody would have cared. Surprising a Democrat had the nerve to create this. But they both like to do whatever they want and usually get away with this.

Executive Order in 3... 2... 1... (4, Insightful)

hawks5999 (588198) | about 2 years ago | (#42047269)

Whenever this stuff can't get through Congress it just ends up in a Friday night EO dump. Is this one important enough for Black Friday? We'll know by Monday.

Re:Executive Order in 3... 2... 1... (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 2 years ago | (#42047461)

That's what I was thinking. They can't pass it because the public is up in arms, but then they sneak it in quietly when nobody is paying attention.

Re:Executive Order in 3... 2... 1... (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#42047735)

"sneak it in quietly" is what they just failed to do.

Re:Executive Order in 3... 2... 1... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#42047535)

It'd probably be a few months waiting until the heat goes away. They're not in a big hurry.

or maybe go ahead and do it anyway (2)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 2 years ago | (#42048987)

and pass a retroactive legalize anyway deal like they did with FISA abuse.

Re:Executive Order in 3... 2... 1... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048063)

Whenever this stuff can't get through Congress it just ends up in a Friday night EO dump. Is this one important enough for Black Friday? We'll know by Monday.

Black Friday... Was that a pun?

Re:Executive Order in 3... 2... 1... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048297)

Whenever this stuff can't get through Congress it just ends up in a Friday night EO dump. Is this one important enough for Black Friday? We'll know by Monday.

Black Friday... Was that a pun?

Wow, you got modded down. I guess the concept of a dark day when email privacy rights are compromised isn't understood.

Maybe the modder likes the idea of having the Govt reading his email!

No time like the present... (1)

dav1dc (2662425) | about 2 years ago | (#42047307)

No time like the present to start using encrypted forms of communication.

Re:No time like the present... (3, Interesting)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#42047409)

try convincing nongeeks and nontinfoilhaters to use double public key encryption for all of their communication be it email chat or voip. they will fight it tooth and nail because it "more complicated" translated requires one additional click per message maybe a couple keystrokes for your password.

Re:No time like the present... (1)

Krojack (575051) | about 2 years ago | (#42047459)

Yeah I would love to do this but the thought if having to explain let alone help my parents and other siblings set this up makes me cry.

Re:No time like the present... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#42047533)

No problem! We can just simplify the process by setting up a large number of so called "certificate authorities", who we will trust implicitly and pay yearly fees for little chunks of math! Nothing could possibly go wrong, and we can have a comforting little padlock symbol for noobs...

Re:No time like the present... (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#42047771)

you forgot employing scare tactics against people who don't pay for the little bits of math opting to generate it on their own computer. go look at any https site that uses a self-signed certificates, the first thing your browser does is give you a large warning about how you are at risk. then make you click through several dialog boxes saying you really are sure that you simply want to veiw the encrypted page

Re:No time like the present... (2)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#42047817)

Duh. That's because a self-signed certificate delivered over the Internet from a random web site provides no protection whatsoever against a man-in-the-middle attack.

Re:No time like the present... (4, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | about 2 years ago | (#42048657)

It does if you'd bother to look at the fingerprint and verify it's the same as last time. Which the browsers should do, but they don't because it cuts into their CA root key inclusion fees.

Re:No time like the present... (1)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 2 years ago | (#42049031)

To be fair, you can install an untrusted, self-signed certificate to your machine. This will eliminate future prompts and provides the same notifications when the certificate suddenly changes its fingerprint. Unfortunately, you have to click through a link and several dialogs to do it.

Re:No time like the present... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42049117)

But I dont get any warnings on non-secure sites, that's much less at risk, right?

Re:No time like the present... (1)

dzym (544085) | about 2 years ago | (#42047845)

Just because you, personally, are not interested in a solution to the problem of authentication in the computer security field doesn't mean SSL certificates shouldn't make a stab at attempting to solve it. Access control (encryption) isn't really much use without the other.

Re:No time like the present... (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#42048117)

or we could simply use a separate header for authorized cirts and self signed explain to people the defference. or we could make signing free or cheap.

Re:No time like the present... (1)

Jetra (2622687) | about 2 years ago | (#42047513)

That's why I learned a secret code. Simple, yet effective. However, with enough of these, it will be passed. How much more can we take?

Re:No time like the present... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42047685)

Once again wrong approach.
Fight for restriction in what people can do with that data.

The best encryption in the world is no stronger then a knee cap.

Re:No time like the present... (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#42048009)

Lets assume for a minute that the government and carriers/isp's and mail providers were willing to abide by the rules and actually care about and respect people privacy you would still have the problem of crackers and other malicious entities. The government is just the most potentiality scary bogeyman. Every one should be using encryption on all communication and conceivably sensitive/embarrassing/compromising data. I personaly have to settle for merely cryptographically signing rather than encrypting most of my emails because people are unwilling to take security measures that they perceive as being complicated even when they aren't. While true no encryption key is stronger than the physical/mental protection of the key-holder most people aren't going to get their knee broken over their personal correspondence but it could still be used as black mail if found. For example a while ago there was a cracker breaking into college aged womens computers stealing nude photos and then blackmailing the women for more nude footage. Had they women encrypted all of their photos the cracker would have had nothing to black mail them with.

law breakers will break laws limiting what people can do with data
unfortunately
law maker will make laws exempting themselves

Re:No time like the present... (1)

pclminion (145572) | about 2 years ago | (#42049597)

If the government is willing to break laws, why would they break them in the most atrocious way possible? Instead of shattering my knees, they would just fabricate evidence. That's a much safer plan.

Re:No time like the present... (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 2 years ago | (#42048279)

Not to mention that they're all using web-based mail, or tweets, or facebook posts.

Re:No time like the present... (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | about 2 years ago | (#42049297)

If you only type a couple of keystrokes for your password, it must not be much of a password.

Or perhaps you are averaging out keystrokes/message?

Or have your applications save your passwords?

Re:No time like the present... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048679)

Precisely. Even with a warrant, nobody gets into my personal email and information.

how to make babby (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42047447)

i am 12 and what is email?

knock knock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42047531)

fuck off leahy

templates broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42047635)

the template is broken on the earlier story. why doesn't slashdot seem to care that some of their templates are broken?

Re:templates broken (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42047767)

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

Two sides to every story (4, Informative)

BinarySolo (1951210) | about 2 years ago | (#42047715)

According to this [thehill.com] , Leahy claims CNET was incorrect in its original article and that he never supported the warrantless wiretapping. When he tried to clarify this stance, CNET comes out with this article saying that he backtracked because of the backlash caused by their article. Not going to make the judgment call on which side is right, but it should at least be noted that there are two sides to the story.

Re:Two sides to every story (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42047811)

Three sides. Leahy, CNET, and the truth.

Re:Two sides to every story (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#42050395)

Just because there are two sides doesn't mean that one of them is lying or only partly right.

Re:Two sides to every story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050203)

TFA from thehill has some good key excerpts:

"Leahy's revision would require police to obtain warrants to read private emails, regardless of how old they are or whether they were opened."

"Leahy, one of the original co-sponsors of ECPA, said in a statement last year that "updating this law to reflect the realities of our time is essential to ensuring that our federal privacy laws keep pace with new technologies and the new threats to our security.” "

"The aide said it is possible that CNET was referring to a draft of the bill circulated by other lawmakers or interest groups, but that Leahy would not support any similar proposal."

"Chris Calabrese, a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who has been following the issue, said he had seen the draft bill cited by CNET, but he said he was never under the impression that Leahy supported it."

"Calabrese noted that the proposal cited by CNET is similar to amendments proposed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Judiciary Committee's top Republican."

Demostats, Refuglicans - they're all in it together!

He momentarily let his true face show... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42047755)

...sadly, few voters will remember it when he comes up for re-election.

Re:He momentarily let his true face show... (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 years ago | (#42048235)

The purpose of having another candidate is to remind you what the first one did wrong.

Strange bedfellows... (3, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#42047777)

When the ACLU and a conservative group are loudly on the same side of something, you know whatever it is is bad.

Re:Strange bedfellows... (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 years ago | (#42047993)

When the ACLU and a conservative group are loudly on the same side of something, you know whatever it is is bad.

The age old adage applies, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Re:Strange bedfellows... (1)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#42048505)

Not a friend, just a temporary ally.

Re:Strange bedfellows... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051423)

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. Nothing more, nothing less.

(one of the maxims of maximally effective mercenaries)

Not bad (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#42048029)

Final Jeopardy Answer: The opposite of political "Mom and Apple Pie"

Contestants, all politicians, risk political capital in guessing what this is.

Final Jeopardy Question: Anything the ACLU and conservative groups vocally oppose

Re:Strange bedfellows... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048431)

Not really. ACLU shares many same beliefs as libertarians. So more correctly, when they do line up on the same side you know its a government versus privacy issue. In this particular case, I think they are correct. But I'll reserve my judgment for their future endorsements, as they both are kind of bizare at times.

He just realized... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42047949)

His email could be read too...

Just think of all those contributors that would be upset...

He'll resubmit after he gets all of his email encrypted...

Trial Balloon (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#42047979)

Now that it was shot down from being in the open, it will reappear in a unrelated bill, buried under 1000's of other layers so it wont be noticed until its too late.

Re:Trial Balloon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048727)

We have to pass the bill to see whats in it. Isn't that how the DNC works? And if you are against the bill for not being able to see whats in it you are a racist.

Leahy switched his mind twice? (1)

grantus (261016) | about 2 years ago | (#42048031)

Translation: The CNET story was wrong [computerworld.com] .

Politicians do a lot of dumb things, but this would have been a total reversal for Leahy.

Re:Leahy switched his mind twice? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#42048737)

Direction aside, two things come up here:

1) Way to pimp your own stuff. I'll grant that you did at least disclose (well, offhanded). ;)

2) Leahy backed PIPA and SOPA full-throttle, fer hell's sake... so while neither are perfect parallels to TFA, it does prove one thing: His hands are definitely *not* clean when it comes to the whole Intarwebs thing.

Re:Leahy switched his mind twice? (1)

grantus (261016) | about 2 years ago | (#42049725)

PIPA and electronic privacy are entirely different issues. Believe it or not, it is possible to be for electronic privacy and also be for heavy copyright enforcement. Apples and oranges.

And yes, it's pretty evident I wrote that story. I thought the story was on topic.

Re:Leahy switched his mind twice? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051555)

In a purely theoretical sense, yes. In practical, when you consider technology involved, no.

In order for heavy copyright enforcement to work, providers have to disclose inordinately large amounts of information to parties interested in enforcing their copyright.

On top of that, PIPA had very little to do with actual heavy copyright enforcement, or privacy for that matter. If you read the bill or even its description on the wikipedia, you'll see that the primary goal of the bill was to give the government rights to shut down any website (that they deem infringing, but anything can be deemed infringing). On top of that, it contained provisions where providers would be responsible for user-generated content. The first provision alone is bad, but the second coupled with the first effectively means that the government can shut down anything that at least allows user comments (Gov Y: we don't like website Z. Gov. Y creates an account on site Z, posts an infringing comment, and promptly shuts down the site for infringement).

When someone with over 30 years of lawmaking experience proposes a bill with such gigantic problems, people should stop and think what is exactly going on i.e. it's unlikely that they would just miss those problems - it's more likely the bill was written as it was with exact agenda in mind. Even then, that's a terribly short-sighted idea, because all it takes is for an executive branch to be run by the opposing party for something like this to bite people who propose things like that in the back.

My previous comment still stands: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048113)

He's a cum-burping shit stain.

Re:My previous comment still stands: (1)

pclminion (145572) | about 2 years ago | (#42049613)

You are insulting cum-burpers and shit stains everywhere by the comparison. Some of my best friends are cum-burpers!

Why assume CNET was correct? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048155)

Leahy denies that the CNET story was ever true, so it may be not be the case that he changed his mind. As far as I can tell, every source for the claim that he was backing warrantless e-mail surveillance comes from the same story in CNET based on the same anonymous leak. Senator Leahy says that the version of the bill cited was never his. Other reporters have doubted the story from the start, and think that the draft is actually something proposed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). It sounds more in character for the latter. It doesn't make much sense to assume that Leahy flipped and then instantly flopped as soon as he got some public blowback. That would have inevitably resulted the second the revised version of the bill was introduced at the upcoming hearing.

Good for now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048185)

It will be back. When attention of the public focuses elsewhere.

Safeguarding our privacy? (1)

Tontoman (737489) | about 2 years ago | (#42048209)

This is especially ironic since Leahy is not only handling this warrantless wiretap issue, but he is also a man who has already has resigned from a Senate committee for his inability to keep secrets. http://www.nytimes.com/1987/07/29/us/iran-contra-hearings-senator-leahy-says-he-leaked-report-of-panel.html [nytimes.com]

We could have fixed this, but didn't (2)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 2 years ago | (#42048399)

We could have fixed this whole privacy thing from the beginning, but for whatever reason we didn't.

There was a time when people read E-mail using local clients. Freeware programs such as Thunderbird [mozilla.org] and Pegasus Mail [pmail.com] were common.

The issue could have been addressed by fiat from any one popular software package. It would only have required:

1) For each user, generate a default public and private key on install
2) Add a field to the protocol requesting the recipient's public key if they have one
3) Add a field advertizing the sender's public key
4) Add a button on the interface for "Prevent others from reading the content"

Done right, that's all it would have taken.

The protocol allows for experimental fields which can be ignored if the client doesn't understand, and there is already a mechanism for "delivery confirmation" which could be adapted for "public key confirmation". It would have taken very little to have the client intercept the public key response, process it, and not bother the user about it.

The mouseover for the button could have said "use encryption if the recipient has a compatible client".

At the time, this would have been a feature that mainstream clients didn't have (Outlook, Exchange, &c), so it would have been a selling point for open source. It would have led people to encourage the recipient to change to a more secure client. There would be an incentive to make other packages compatible, and soon the feature would be everywhere.

All of this could have been implemented transparently for the naive user, with a more sophisticated interface for advanced users who needed more control.

But for some reason we didn't do that, and now everyone reads their E-mail online. We didn't make this a de-facto standard, and now we've missed our chance. (I've often wondered if the browser could automatically encrypt/decrypt the content of specific named text blocks from specific sites such as gmail. Then the content could be encrypted online, but show cleartext to the user.)

We have the means and expertise to fix some of these problems, all it takes is the will to do it.

Re:We could have fixed this, but didn't (4, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 2 years ago | (#42048793)

The issue could have been addressed by fiat from any one popular software package.

Thus solving it for users of one package.

2) Add a field to the protocol

Which protocol? SMTP? POP? IMAP? UUCP?

The protocol allows for experimental fields

Same question.

The mouseover for the button

Oh, this would solve the problem only for the people with GUI mail clients.

could have said "use encryption if the recipient has a compatible client".

Sorry. How does my email client know what email client YOU are using and whether it supports this? Is there a new protocol you are proposing where one client asks another prior to sending an email? What happens if the recipient is offline?

But for some reason we didn't do that,

Mainly because it is an intractable problem, much more difficult than simply having one GUI email client start doing it. Here's one big problem: how do I read those encrypted emails sitting in my mailbox when I'm not using the specific GUI email client that deals with them, or I don't happen to have the key and can't get it because I'm not online at the moment?

(I've often wondered if the browser could automatically encrypt/decrypt the content of specific named text blocks from specific sites such as gmail. Then the content could be encrypted online, but show cleartext to the user.)

If you are limiting yourself to defining "email" as "gmail accessed via a web browser", you simplify the problem considerably. Of course Google could store all your email in an encrypted form and send you a javascript (if you have a js enabled/capable broswer) applet that decodes it on your system. If you send them your public key, they could even encrypt the stuff they store on their disks as it came in for you, if it wasn't already. You still have the problem of how you make sure every system you use to access that email has the key kept locally, and what happens for people who have gmail forwarded to some place else.

So, yes, the problem is rather trivial if you force everyone and everything through one mail server and ignore the huge diversity in protocols used to transport email and the kinds and types of clients/servers used to do it.

Please stop being a troll (2)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 2 years ago | (#42049373)

The issue could have been addressed by fiat from any one popular software package.

Thus solving it for users of one package.

Yes, solving it for one package. As mentioned in the post, there would be an incentive for other packages to implement the scheme in order to be compatible. As mentioned in the post. Perhaps enough incentive to form a Tipping point [wikipedia.org] .

2) Add a field to the protocol

Which protocol? SMTP? POP? IMAP? UUCP?

The protocol allows for experimental fields

Same question.

Which one do you think? Do you need a complete spec, or will just an outline do? Google is your friend.

The mouseover for the button

Oh, this would solve the problem only for the people with GUI mail clients.

Did you really think I was advocating implementing this only on GUI clients?

The point was to get enough naive users into the system to make it a de-facto standard. Most naive users use a GUI client, so starting there would put the solution before a wide audience quickly.

could have said "use encryption if the recipient has a compatible client".

Sorry. How does my email client know what email client YOU are using and whether it supports this? Is there a new protocol you are proposing where one client asks another prior to sending an email? What happens if the recipient is offline?

If you have the public key for the recipient, then they have a compatible client. If you don't, you send the message in the clear and request the public key.

Really, this isn't rocket science - the first message I receive from the recipient would contain their public key. My first message to them would be in the clear, but would provoke a public-key sendback which my client would silently process.

(I've often wondered if the browser could automatically encrypt/decrypt the content of specific named text blocks from specific sites such as gmail. Then the content could be encrypted online, but show cleartext to the user.)

If you are limiting yourself to defining "email" as "gmail accessed via a web browser", you simplify the problem considerably. Of course Google could store all your email in an encrypted form and send you a javascript (if you have a js enabled/capable broswer) applet that decodes it on your system. If you send them your public key, they could even encrypt the stuff they store on their disks as it came in for you, if it wasn't already. You still have the problem of how you make sure every system you use to access that email has the key kept locally, and what happens for people who have gmail forwarded to some place else.

So, yes, the problem is rather trivial if you force everyone and everything through one mail server and ignore the huge diversity in protocols used to transport email and the kinds and types of clients/servers used to do it.

The protocol doesn't matter, since the message body can contain any text.

You could, for instance, encode public keys as part of the body of any message by wrapping it in a field delimiter which the client could pick out. If your browser isn't compatible, then the recipient would see the public key encoding as text.

This isn't so different from digital signatures, which are encodings of binary data attached to the bottom of a document body. I'm only suggesting that a similar method be used to attach the sender's public key, and have the client make note of the public keys as it gets them.

The sender uses the recipient's public key if it has one. Otherwise, it sends in the clear. The first messages will be in the clear, and encoded for all subsequent messages.

Really, this is not rocket science. Take a moment to think things through.

Re:Please stop being a troll (1)

scared masked man (2776663) | about 2 years ago | (#42052787)

You're overcomplicating it: all that Thunderbird would need to do would be to come with Enigmail bundled and have it set up automatically (with the keyring password stored in the password manager - insecure, but idiot-safe), and, in easy-install mode use PGP-MIME, automatically sign by default, and encrypt if you have the recipient's key. That makes everything work without any addition to the protocols, and is almost transparent to non-PGP users (who just see some meaningless parts attached to their messages, which they are used to seeing from Outlook).

His mistress ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42048477)

... told him it would probably be a bad idea.

Warrants shmarrants (1)

jodido (1052890) | about 2 years ago | (#42048861)

Big deal, big nothing. So now they need a warrant. How hard do you think that is to get? The FISA courts approved 11252 of 11273 requests from 2004-2011.

Its not about data, its about information... (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 2 years ago | (#42049771)

The law enforcement and intelligence agencies continue to push for more and more data (warrentless wiretapping of every internet packet that flows through AT&Ts tapping points, wholesale retention of internet data by ISPs, email snooping, increasing numbers of CCTV cameras private and public and who knows what else) yet I dont see any funding anywhere for the massive numbers of agents required to find the few needles in that ever-larger haystack and turn that massive pile of data into useful information.

Re:Its not about data, its about information... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42051635)

Don't you worry. They are quite efficient at automatically filtering all of this stuff. Sure, they might incorrectly nab your comment as a terrorist threat, but hey, we all have to make sacrifices for the greater good.

Minor skirmish won... (1)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#42050001)

Great, shining a light on this got the asshole to withdraw his latest attempt to violate his oath of office, but it is NOT ENOUGH. Until and unless Ruling Party politicians can expect to get their asses bounced off the public teat for this kind of behavior, they'll try again and again. It's long past time to end Leahy's career of public disservice.

-jcr

Result.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050307)

Result: not a bother. Illegal spying on Americans will continue without impediment.

Not So Fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42050885)

The "Bill" had in Leahy's and Obama's mind had gotten out of control.

What is 'out of control'?

The "Bill" would apply equally to all Federal Employees, those elected and those non-elected.

THAT, set a fire under Obama's ass.

Ergo, "Bill" withdrawn.

Now the 'Not So Fast.'

Obama will issue a Secret National Security Executive Order demanding and claiming the right to
all 'ALL' communications by USA non-Governmental citizens.

The processing will be handled at a US Facility in Utah and far remove from FOIA.

A sad day indeed.

RTFB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42057489)

He should have read the frigging bill ( some lobbyist wrote ) before he proposed it.

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