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Google Releases Data On FBI Spying

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the number-of-people-surprised:-0-999 dept.

Communications 104

An anonymous reader writes "According to Wired, 'National Security Letters allow the government to get detailed information on Americans' finances and communications without oversight from a judge. The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs and has even been reprimanded for abusing them.' It's significant, then, that Google has released data about how many NSLs they've received annually since 2009. The numbers are fuzzed — the FBI apparently worries that if we know how often they're spying on us, we can figure out who. But Google is able to say they've received from 0-999 letters each year for the past four years. And we know it's likely near the upper end of that range because they list the number of accounts affected, as well: always over a thousand."

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First Post! (-1, Flamebait)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091541)

Somebody get me a shoulder-fired missile!

Re:First Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091659)

Mr. Rove, are you taking your medication as the doctor prescribed
after the last election ?

We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (5, Insightful)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091553)

We've gone way too far with empowering the government. The time is now to roll back the "emergency" terrorism powers the government gave itself after 9/11. We are not "at war" with Al Qaeda in the United States. There are plenty of opportunities to catch terrorists without infringing on the rights of law-abiding Americans who have done nothing wrong.

These powers were voted into place in a panic and now we're living with the consequences.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091657)

Finish the PATRIOT act? Why do you hate America?

You would vote for the COMMIE act, for sure.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092115)

Lol (but not really) at the person who thinks the PATRIOT act (or supporting it) has anything to do with patriotism or protecting US "freedoms".

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092781)

Indeed.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43094091)

You and I and GP realize that. Probably the best way to get all the morons who don't already realize it is through satire, such as AC was doing.

The Daily Show is, after all, doing more to safeguard liberty by informing the public right now than any of the news networks are. While that's awful, it's the truth, and we should probably learn something from it.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43096349)

You would vote for the COMMIE act, for sure.

Cats Occupying My Many Internet Environments? You bet your ass I'd vote for that!

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (4, Interesting)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091683)

Compare this aggressive surveillance with the slap on the wrist of HSBC [rollingstone.com] , and it is hard to believe that this is really about national security.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about a year and a half ago | (#43095731)

But dude, that was only one bankster and one cartel: HSBC did an estimated one-half trillion dollars of drug money launder per year, for a period of ten years. Now consider how many criminal orgs are out there, distributing tax-free drugs worldwide, and the number of banksters which must be involved with their money laundering activities? (We know that Societe Generale, Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and others, have been involved in the past --- and we know that the Chinese Triads, Turkish-Bulgarian Mob, various Russian Mobs, and the drug cartels throughout the Americas, do a rollicking business, now don't we? (Great comment, though....)

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091757)

I'm Dutch and the Patriot Act affects my life and privacy too

RESTORE LIBERTY

REPEAL THE PATRIOT ACT

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (5, Interesting)

emho24 (2531820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092735)

It would be interesting to start up a White House petition asking for the repeal of the patriot act. "Interesting" may be a poor choice of words on my part, the official response would probably be more amusing than interesting.

Two fun White House petitions might be:
- repeal the Patriot Act
- dismantle Homeland Security

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

fazey (2806709) | about a year and a half ago | (#43094319)

There already was one... im not sure where it went tho. It either didnt get enough votes or someone accidentally 'delete from table where like "%patriot%"';

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (2)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093157)

I'm Dutch and the Patriot Act affects my life and privacy too

RESTORE LIBERTY

REPEAL THE PATRIOT ACT

We're damned if we do and damned if we don't...

If we go through the pain in the ass efforts with citizen signatures, getting senators to actually act based on the citizen opinion (which is mostly scared and uninformed people), get the process started to repeal (which will take years with convenient delays), and actually GET it appealed, that will be the time terrorists strike just to spite us.

If we don't bother to repeal, corporations and those influenced by said corps will find convenient ways to reduce freedom even more before we become a controlled socialist state.

Like I said, damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43096149)

that will be the time terrorists strike just to spite us.

They may kill a couple hundred people but the rest will still have their freedom. Isn't dying for our country supposed to be more patriotic than cowering?

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about a year and a half ago | (#43096909)

No. "Patriotic" now means "sitting down and shutting up, unless you're cheering the government."

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year and a half ago | (#43097507)

No. "Patriotic" now means "sitting down and shutting up, unless you're cheering the government."

Wait, don't they do that sort of thing in Chi
AAAAAH, almost got me to say it. You sneaky Fjandr, you. :)

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (4, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091799)

A decade ago, the Municipality where I reside enacted a quarter cent sales tax increase to build a sporting complex that was to "sunset" away as soon as the debt was paid off. (Advertised as a huge economic plus to the entire community, blah blah blah...) It has become crystalline to any observer not too poor to pay attention that the City will never willingly allow this revenue source to dry up. The justification process has already begun at Council meetings: maintenance issues will have to be resolved by increased property tax evaluations if this tax increase is allowed to fade, etc. Whether you are talking about a tax or a way to circumvent a citizen's Constitutional freedoms, once they're in your overlord's hands, they're gone baby gone.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092747)

A property tax is the proper way to fund the maintenance of the facility. If the businesses and community are improved by the project, the property values will reflect that added value and that's what should be taxed.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#43096373)

re: A property tax is the proper way to fund the maintenance of the facility.
.
A fee for use can also be proper, such as a toll to pay for bridge passage [wikipedia.org] that helps to pay for maintenance. The Coronado Bridge [wikipedia.org] in San Diego used to be paid for that way. You can also push a social or ecologic/"green" agenda by waiving the toll if the car has multiple passengers and requiring the toll if the car has only a single passenger. But they've gotten rid of the tolls on that bridge completely since 2003.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

Fjandr (66656) | about a year and a half ago | (#43096925)

The proper way to tax it is by taxing ticket sales or the gross revenue of the sports organizations who use the stadium.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43093215)

Are you talking about the San Antonio Alamodome?

The Alamodome was built using a 0.5% city sales tax for five years, levied in 1989. The Alamodome is the only major domed facility in the country to be almost debt-free when it opened. Officially the sales tax reverted to its original level on March 31, 1994.

What really happened was after the tax 'reverted', the city council quickly added a new 0.5% sales tax. Then sold the plan to the public by saying "there will be no tax increase".

Of course, everybody involved wants to forget that the purpose of building this sporting complex with public money was to attract an NFL team to San Antonio, to make the share-holder very rich. Sadly, it didn't pan out. Today the biggest use of the Alamodome is the annual 'Bridal Show Extravaganza' and the 'Home and Garden Show'. sad sad sad

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about a year and a half ago | (#43096753)

“...an immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus, and eliminating extravagance, to accomplish a saving of not less than 25 percent in the cost of the federal government.” - 1932 Democratic platform

“A government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” - Ronald Reagan

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091815)

One of my basic insights of life: When someone is running around screaming "emergency", a lot of the time they simply want people to shut down the smart part of their brain and do something they otherwise wouldn't.

Some examples of what people often mean when they say "This is an emergency!":
- Your boss: "Please work lots of overtime for no compensation."
- A salesperson at your company: "Please work lots of overtime so I can get a big fat commission."
- A salesperson selling to you: "Please don't think too hard about either the product or the price."
- A politician: "Please stop complaining about this bill I'm going to shove through that hurts you and helps my friends."
- A non-profit: "Please donate more time and money to our group, preferably without asking too many questions."
- Some (thankfully not all) spousal partners: "Please give me more control over our shared resources so I can buy the things I want." Or "Please make me feel appreciated."
- A friend or family member: "Please give me more of your time, money, and attention."

So that's why you have to define what an emergency is and what it isn't. My personal definition: A problem where human lives or a very large amount of property is at stake, and swift action will demonstrably reduce the damage. That means that a heart attack is an emergency, a server down is a problem but not an emergency. In the case of the Patriot Act, all the useful emergency actions had been done several weeks earlier, and the emergency part of what happened was over when Congress passed the bill.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092775)

Whenever a boss asks me to work overtime "off the clock" I ask them if I can get a few extra hours on my paycheck without actually working those hours should I ever find myself in a similar situation as he finds himself at present. The answer is always, "no." "There's your answer," I reply. Respect is a two-way street.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#43096241)

Holy shit, you have the job security of A GOD 8-O

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43094029)

One of my basic insights of life: When someone is running around screaming "emergency", a lot of the time they simply want people to shut down the smart part of their brain and do something they otherwise wouldn't.

And the tin-foil hat and conspiracy types are no less prone to that. Outrage spreads fast on the 'net, and stopping to think leaves you behind the herd.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091827)

you are only half right. the people were in a panic. the lawmakers were cool, calm and licking their chops. police and military also salivated at the New Normal(tm).

only the people were told to 'be afraid!'. the rest, well, their dreams came true! more money for their buddies. why build roads here and improve our infrastructure when we could, you know, have an all new buying spree on spy shit, tanks for police, and tasers. lots and lots of tasers and chemical weapons (cough, I mean, its essentially just a food product..). cause, tasers and weapons grade sprays really help fight FOREIGN enemies...

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year and a half ago | (#43095779)

"the people were in a panic. the lawmakers were cool, calm and licking their chops. police and military also salivated at the New Normal(tm)." Sounds very much like all the ban this, ban that happening right now the the US in the wake of Newtown, CT. But then "guns are evil" so we're all good with it.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091917)

We are not "at war" with Al Qaeda in the United States. There are plenty of opportunities to catch terrorists without infringing on the rights of law-abiding Americans who have done nothing wrong.

Questions (bitter type of humor, I wish it could be sarcastic, but it's just sad):
1. in the United States, if not Al Qaeda, who are the Americans "at war" with? (given the amount of "security theater" in US, somebody should be cast in the "enemy role". Well, who's currently playing that role?)
2. just how FBI could know who are the law-abiding Americans without spying them? (just how much security the Americans ask today in exchange for the "presumption of innocence" right? Isn't the "security farce admission ticket" a bit too expensive for the quality of the play?)

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092697)

In response to question 1, I believe we are at war with ______. This is not by accident, but by design; without a defined enemy, the people are suspicious of every activity. Further, when an undesirable is targeted, people are less likely to object to the heavy handed treatment of the enemy as it would bring a slight relief from this unknown and unspecified threat.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092817)

In response to question 1, I believe we are at war with ______. This is not by accident, but by design; without a defined enemy, the people are suspicious of every activity. Further, when an undesirable is targeted, people are less likely to object to the heavy handed treatment of the enemy as it would bring a slight relief from this unknown and unspecified threat.

I surmise that not the undefined enemy is what keeps people on their toes: would be just enough to have the feeling of constantly being at war. If retreating from Afghanistan, other wars would need to be invented: the lower cost of troupes maintenance the better, as long as it's menacing enough.
What a boon a cyberwar would be, wouldn't you think?

You contradict yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091957)

We've gone way too far with empowering the government

powers the government gave itself after 9/11

Which is it? Did "we" empower the government, or did government give themselves those powers?

Re:You contradict yourself (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092541)

Maybe you gave the government the power to further empower itself. Just like when lighting a fire: The first bit of energy has to be provided, but as soon as it burns, it can ignite more material all by itself.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092269)

And while you're at it, try to keep your laws to yourselves.

We have stupid politicians ourselves, don't need yours too.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (2)

moeinvt (851793) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092923)

No, we're not at war with Al Qaeda, our government is at war with "terrorism" AND according to DHS documents, reports from some of the various "fusion centers" and the West Point counter-terrorism center, a "terrorist" might be anyone who engages in political activism and especially anyone who wants to cut government budgets(a clear threat!). The whole world (including U.S. soil) is the battlefield.

The concepts of "right" and "wrong" no longer apply. It's a matter of who the government likes and who they don't like.
Wall Street bankers get a free pass, Wall Street protestors get beaten and pepper-sprayed.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

ranpel (1255408) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092989)

NOW punctuation exclamation mark

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43094745)

In order to roll back the Patriot Act, the DHS must be de-activated.

To do this (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year and a half ago | (#43095175)

We would need to roll back the GOP. Buried deep underneath might be the reminants of (big D) Democratic spines.

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about a year and a half ago | (#43095669)

"We've gone way too far with empowering the government..."


"We" kimosabe???? "We" never empowered the gov't, their owners took it to another level, dood! "We" have always been at war with al Qaeda on Wall Street, FYI, sonny!

Which was why Robert Mueller III was appointed the director of the FBI only several days prior to the 9/11/01 events. Robert Mueller, scion of the Truesdale fortune, which was created by colluding with Rockefeller and his bunch; monopolizing transport of oil, blowing up competitors' oil refineries, etc.

FYI, sonny, Robert Mueller III is the grandnewphew of Richard Bissell, one of the three top CIA dogs fired by President John F. Kennedy prior to his assassination.

FYI, sonny, Robert Mueller III's wife is the granddaughter of Gen. Cabell, one of the other two CIA dogs fired by President Kennedy prior to his assassination.

FYI, sonny, Robert Mueller III was first appointed to the position of chief of the DOJ's criminal division by George H.W. Bush when the investigation into the BCCI was getting far too close to the White House, and Mueller successfully interdicted the investigation/trials, etc. (For a quick and easy understanding of that, see the movie, "The International" with Clive Owens and Naomi Watts.)

Re:We Need to Roll Back the PATRIOT Act (1)

detritus. (46421) | about a year and a half ago | (#43095753)

Maybe some budget sequestration too? "Terrorism" funding is the DHS cash cow.

I never believed the hype about it (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091563)

"National Security Letters" were quite plainly search warrants and subpoenas without Fourth Amendment protections back when they were first proposed. And that's all they'll ever be: If the FBI had real evidence that somebody was a bad guy, they could have easily gone to a judge and said "We'd like to investigate this person, and here's why."

Instead, we're heading into Kafka land: People investigated and/or locked up without charges, without evidence they can confront, without a chance of freedom, and punishment of death when it's all over.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (1, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091599)

we're heading into Kafka land: People investigated and/or locked up without charges, without evidence they can confront, without a chance of freedom....

I read Kafka quite a lot, and I can only agree with you. The US of America are slowly turning into a police state. What boggles my mind the most is that no one rises up, no one shouts, no one cries for a revolution. If this happened here, I would have been on the (digital) streets already for some time.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091703)

Sure they do. They are then called bigots and racists because these are Obama policies and the only reason to oppose an Obama policy is if you are a bigot.

By the way, Holder yesterday announced that it is within Obama's power to drone strike a US citizen on US soil without a trial based on whatever he deems is approprate. You've lost democracy cheering for the dictator while screaming names at the rebels.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091749)

By the way, Holder yesterday announced that it is within Obama's power to drone strike a US citizen on US soil without a trial based on whatever he deems is approprate

Is this true? I'll mod you up if you can provide a citation.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091853)

Holder [washingtonexaminer.com] says drone strikes on US soil are legal. But then again I've been told by former president Carter that I'm a bigot so you shouldn't listen to me.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092219)

...Right. I think most people avoid listening to you because you're a fucking nut, at least you posted this anonymously instead of using your low-ID account. No need to embarrass yourself for _eternity_ with your schizophrenic babbling.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092799)

So what? The police are allowed to fire upon on U.S. citizens on U.S. soil under some circumstances. (Bank robbers being one such example). A drone is merely another lethal weapon they might use. And of course the president can order such an action. "Use a drone instead of hoping the traditional roadblocks will work..."

Re:I never believed the hype about it (4, Insightful)

moeinvt (851793) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093549)

Your and the government's line of reasoning is laughable.

Yes, force is sometimes justified. The "circumstances" you're describing are cases where a criminal poses an IMMEDIATE DANGER to those around them. An armed robbery clearly meets that legal standard.

You and the government are trying to equate that with the practice of dropping a missile on someone who isn't actively engaged in any criminal act just because the White House assumes the person is a terrorist.

You say "of course" the president can order this? Where in The Constitution is the president empowered to assassinate U.S. citizens without charge or trial? The fact that he is exercising this power doesn't mean he can LEGALLY do it. In fact, the ACLU has been demanding that the White House publicize their legal justification. They have thus far refused.

This practice is totally illegal and totally un-Constitutional.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43095209)

Yes, force is sometimes justified. The "circumstances" you're describing are cases where a criminal poses an IMMEDIATE DANGER to those around them. An armed robbery clearly meets that legal standard.

So drone strikes are legal under those circumstances? Speaking as someone who thinks Holder is probably guilty of being an accessory to dozens or hundreds of murders (from the Fast and Furious gun "walking" fubar), the drone thing is a pretty weak accusation to make against Holder given his weaselly statement on it.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (2)

Cytotoxic (245301) | about a year and a half ago | (#43097373)

It is euphemistically called the Disposition Matrix [wikipedia.org] by the Obama administration. This president has decreed for himself the power to order the execution of anyone, including American citizens, anywhere, including within the United States, for reasons known only to him and at his sole discretion, without oversight or appeal.

Yeah, it's worse than having a gun walking operation go south on you.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091863)

Here. You can mod him up: http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/05/holder-drone-strike-against-americans-in-the-u-s-possible/

Re:I never believed the hype about it (2)

compro01 (777531) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092183)

Somewhat [huffingtonpost.com] .

It wasn't an announcement. It was a reply to a direct question ("Do you believe that the president has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil?") from Rand Paul.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092631)

By the way, Holder yesterday announced that it is within Obama's power to drone strike a US citizen on US soil without a trial based on whatever he deems is appropriate.

Their argument is that "due process" is not the same thing as "judicial process". Basically, if government officials have a meeting over some drinks to discuss the issue at hand, that would qualify as a "due process".

Re:I never believed the hype about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091949)

One source is ( and many other like it ):

http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/05/holder-drone-strike-against-americans-in-the-u-s-possible/?hpt=zite_zite9_featured

which references the original letter from Rand Paul:
http://paul.senate.gov/files/documents/BrennanPaul.pdf

And the reaction of Holder to the letter:
http://paul.senate.gov/files/documents/BrennanHolderResponse.pdf

where Holder states that:
"It is possible, I suppose, to imaginee an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States."

Now the important part is, what does it mean? I dont claim to know, but some questions are:
*) Should we think about this like "there will always be circumstances where such, seemingly strange, actions can and do happen"
*) Isnt this a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act? (http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act)

Specifically: Sec. 1385. - Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus
"Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both".

*) Wasn't this already possible ?

*) If the conclusion is that it is possible; why is so important all of a sudden? The difference is that this has applied to non-Americans for more than a decade (and even much longer) (the law, not the drones per se), but now that it seems to apply to Americans, it is a problem?

Re:I never believed the hype about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092861)

Obama? Are you joking? Obama is a pawn in the hands of the people responsible for the national security. Great majority of the provisions the federal government granted itself to spy on its citizens, was actually passed into law and then further extended under Bush administration - the TSA, DHS, patriot act and so on. Mind you, the first time the federal government used the term "homeland" to describe the USA was when Bush was in power. This term shifts the scope from the people that make up the USA to the territories and assets that fall under the federal rule. You are no longer "the nation" - you are merely inhabitants of the "homeland".

Re:I never believed the hype about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091759)

If this happened here, I would have been on the (digital) streets already for some time.

It's easy to act like a tough guy on the Internet, but your country is practically just as bad, worse in some cases, and you haven't done shit. The primary difference is that we constantly hear about the American problems because they're a country that's actually relevant on a global scale.

It's going to take a hell of a lot more than angry blog posts and voting once every four years to make any significant changes.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091867)

The voices that tried to warn were shut down by the government (i.e. threatening with 30 years of jail for something that should not be a crime) of as a warning for everyone else. Anyway, mass/media control is in order, is not just advertisers the ones that can make people in numbers do or not do things in subtle ways. Even here you can see what happen with people trying to raise awareness.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091915)

the circuses are still around, so people are still distracted.

sporting teams and 'games' continue and the grunts among us are suitably distracted from the real problems and they spend their time rooting for their 'team' and they really -hate- the other teams. that keeps quite a lot of the population occupied.

tv is the other distraction. as long as the tv 'flows', people won't rise up.

now, take tv and sporting events away and you'll hear an outcry!

of course, they will cry mostly about taking their distractions away. once they are restored, the people will settle down again. even if you did an experiment by taking away their distractions, they'll only fight enough to get THOSE back, not the things that are really important.

the US is easy to keep in line. the 'essentials' must flow. those in control know this and are careful to keep those things in place 'for us'.

other countries are not quite as easily sated as we are. this is one of our downfalls in the US. its too easy to keep us sedated.

finally, the news is entirely owned (controlled, really) by the state and no news media dares ask hardball questions anymore. they know who their daddy is and won't risk being 'cut off' from the next big interview. so even if things (when things) go to hell, we'll never hear the real story.

it would take some really massive stuff to get us to rise up. and we'll always be just south of that threshold, too.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (1)

moeinvt (851793) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093837)

I largely agree, but TV isn't enough to distract people from being hungry.

Considering the fact that government deficit spending is being financed by Federal Reserve money printing, and there is no end in sight, I don't see how commodity prices can do anything but rise. What happens when people on food stamps, those on fixed incomes, and people already on the cusp of poverty can't buy enough to feed themselves? Even more government borrowing and spending? Where does this end?
I don't know if there would be an "uprising", but I think there's a high probability that we could experience food riots and widespread civil unrest.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (2, Interesting)

moeinvt (851793) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093291)

"What boggles my mind the most is that no one rises up, no one shouts, no one cries for a revolution"

The Ron Paul movement was the best organized resistance against the police state that We, The People could muster. It was a valiant effort, but the MSM and political establishment still crushed it easily.
I think the liberty movement is in re-appraisal mode right now. However, if there is one civil liberties issue that people care about, it's the 2nd Amendment. Hopefully we can leverage the anti-gun threat to inform people that gun control is just a piece of a systematic effort to destroy freedom in the USA.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (1)

mmmXIII (849315) | about a year and a half ago | (#43097503)

Replying to undo bad moderation.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092815)

Once people have nothing to lose, they'll react accordingly. When each contact with the public runs an increasing chance of being a fatal encounter, things will change.

Re:I never believed the hype about it (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093283)

"National Security Letters" were quite plainly search warrants and subpoenas without Fourth Amendment protections back when they were first proposed. And that's all they'll ever be: If the FBI had real evidence that somebody was a bad guy, they could have easily gone to a judge and said "We'd like to investigate this person, and here's why."

Instead, we're heading into Kafka land: People investigated and/or locked up without charges, without evidence they can confront, without a chance of freedom, and punishment of death when it's all over.

I'm trying to play devil's advocate here on the side of the FBI. Wait, I can't. It's just easier to be in full hidden control than to operate within the public eye.

I was going to suggest that perhaps there aren't enough judges, aren't any judges that have enough time to review details before they sign off on them, perhaps the judges are chicken-shits and afraid they'll be held responsible for signing off on something that harms citizens.... but all of that stuff just doesn't have any way of being answered. Lack of knowledge leads to judgment (no pun) - FBI is judged as being a fear-mongering control-happy agency that doesn't like to do paperwork before they act since 9/11... or can't do paperwork because they want to just go out and do something NOOOOWWWW.

Well, I'd like to be able to just walk out and start working at a high-paying job NOOOOOWWWW, but it isn't that easy. It takes effort, time, and paperwork before activation. The FBI doesn't want to be constrained by rules.

Ah, there's my devil's advocacy: No one likes being constrained. That makes it okay, right? ;)

we're heading into Kafka land ---WTF???? (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about a year and a half ago | (#43095807)

"...we're heading into Kafka land..."

Huh? We've been there for quite some time, big guy! I mean, back in the early 1900s, when Rockefeller wa supposed to have broken up Standard Oil, the world's largest monopoly (today called ExxonMobil), it was only done on paper --- he established a holding company specifically to move the stock ownership to each holding company, as each unit was supposedly "sold off."

Because Standard Oil was then sold on the Curb Market (street market or outside market, not on the NYSE where it would have to list specific financial data on assets), Rockefeller was able to avoid outsiders having any definite knowledge of their actual assets, later this would be further elaborated, over the years, to hiding their wealth and ownership through foundations, trusts, unregistered trusts and offshore finance centers).

For further elucidation in the matter, read John Moody's The Masters of Capital, and The Truth about the Trusts, as well as William C. Moore's Wall Street (these books are somewhat old, but you have to start way back to understand why nobody today knows who the eff owns anything, and believe you me, buddy boyo, they still own all this stuff!!!!).

I feel sorry for the FBI. (2, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091565)

Because most of what they have to read when they're figuring out what's up with someone that fits into what they're researching is as poorly written as that summary/post. That's some fine editing, there.

Re:I feel sorry for the FBI. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092701)

You should use punctuation.

Color me surprised. Thanks Patriot Act! (4, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091571)

'In the interest of National Security' is a fast and loose term that has too often been used to escape the cleansing sunlight of oversight.

Re:Color me surprised. Thanks Patriot Act! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092645)

Please think of the children!

When you have done nothing wrong... (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091623)

When you have done nothing wrong, you have your good reputation to worry about...

Re:When you have done nothing wrong... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092387)

Depend if your definition of wrong matches with the one of the government or their representatives or what they want the public to believe, you know, there are examples [slashdot.org] .

Welp, Time to Release My Medical Records (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091643)

I have had between 0 - 999 cancerous growths in my life.

In other news... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43091679)

FBI releases data on Google spying.

Re:In other news... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092423)

Surely they will do the same as with Kim Dot Com, they ordered him to not delete some files they put and then got jailed for storing those files. If google spying is "fbi ordered us to keep track of this" and then condemned for doing so, which one is the criminal?

Re:In other news... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093337)

FBI releases data on Google spying.

The FBI doesn't release information, you funny commenter, you. :)

Someone will always abuse power (1)

Looker_Device (2857489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091681)

If not at the institutional level, then at least at the individual level, SOMEONE who is given unfettered access to a database on everyone will use it to check up on their old girlfriend, look up celebrities, dig up dirt on their neighbors, etc. The FBI is made up of human beings just like any other institution.

Re:Someone will always abuse power (1)

VanessaE (970834) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093323)

Yes - human beings who have a choice whether to work for the FBI or not. If you make the choice to work for an abusive organization, you deserve every last bit of negativity that comes in your direction. The same holds true whether its the FBI, a collection agency, or some shady telemarketing firm. Don't want to be the recipient of such negativity? Find a job with a more reputable employer.

Your responsibility to be a decent, honest, upstanding human being and citizen of a country NEVER ENDS.

Wow, only 3 per day max (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091807)

Frankly I was expecting more.

Reprimand, scheprimand (1)

L. J. Beauregard (111334) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091851)

Has anyone lost his job or gone to jail?

Only less than a 1000? (4, Interesting)

Isca (550291) | about a year and a half ago | (#43091905)

I'm actually surprised it was only under 1k since there are so many google account holders.

Taking a step back for just a moment, I can see an actual suspect (one in which they have gone and gotten a warrant on) having a mail account that has mailed xxx number of other emails - if they really think their warranted suspect is a terrorist threat then they will want to look into the email accounts/gchat logs of those he emailed.

I think the concept of needing to do this is ok in certain investigations but it needs needs more judicial oversight with checks and balances. Even if it's a judge saying "what investigation is this attached to?" and tying it to a subpoena'd suspect. I'd also like to make sure that this is only used for national security issue. I wouldn't want this flipping over into normal run of the mill criminal activities. I'd even go so far as to say "If evidence is found in this way it's off limits" as evidence so it doesn't have the temptation of being abused.

Re:Only less than a 1000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092501)

It's not in their job description. Think about it, how many people can they have in a department? How many working on something in particular? A dozen, two dozen? In that case, 1000/year, becomes quite a lot.

Re:Only less than a 1000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092749)

used for national security issue

They've given gag orders to everyone, and threatened them with long prison sentences, should anyone disclose even the smallest details. You can't know whether they're applying this fairly, even in your opinion -- you're not allowed to know.

Re:Only less than a 1000? (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43093967)

I'm actually surprised it was only under 1k since there are so many google account holders.

Me too. Every time one of these Google transparency articles is published, all the tinfoil hat types come out of the woodwork screaming and hollering about Big Brother... but when you actually run the numbers and look at context, they're anything but impressive. 10,000 FBI requests? I'd be worried about Big Brother too. But a thousand (or less) - that's less than I'd expect just from normal investigations. (The FBI investigate a lot of cases per annum.)
 
Make no mistake, these numbers are going to go nowhere but up... But a large part of that increase will simply be a reflection of reality - more and more people are putting more and more of their lives online, and the justice system is catching up with that.

Re:Only less than a 1000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43095057)

Yes, but these are a 1000 or less without court oversight.

Even if its just 1, that is too much.

Separation of power is important. More important than any or certainly nearly any investigation.

Re:Only less than a 1000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43094553)

At that point, the thing your asking about is a warrant.

You have reasonable suspicion that this account has emailed these other accounts, and since this account was found to belong to a terrorist, we need to find out if these other accounts are terrorists as well. They have been associated with a terrorist and have been receiving correspondence from what looks like a dead letter drop. Probable cause is here.

Sounds like a warrant, and I am surprised the FBI did this stuff when they could have gotten a warrant. What, were they worried that the judge is a sympathizer or something? Or that their chain of evidence was corrputed?

Come on FBI, you are better then this. this is some amateur hour shit you would expect from the SS or the KGB, who's methods had a stupidly high false positive rate, and resulted in lots of fruitless searches and lots of aggravated people.

Unless terrorizing random people is the goal.

At least they are data courteous (1)

Yebyen (59663) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092027)

Sure they are sending ~3 requests a day to an organization that can handle millions of queries per second. I would be upset if they had sent individual letters -- now that's abuse!

I'm not even going to worry about the privacy issues, in my mind I'm imagining Google as a one-man (or two-man) IT department where your highest paying client sends you fewer than 3 requests per day. We get these ridiculous RFPs where they ask us to detail our 'strategy' for this or that, and sometimes I'd like to tell them, "we have none." Are you joking? We're not hundreds of guys here, and we're not on your payroll!

That would cripple me. I can't imagine receiving 3000 requests per day and having to process them in order to be in compliance with the law.

Re:At least they are data courteous (1)

SourceFrog (627014) | about a year and a half ago | (#43095375)

We get these ridiculous RFPs where they ask us to detail our 'strategy' for this or that

Send them a quote for the hours that would be required to prepare such documentation.

So, what exactly is Google trying here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092161)

Are they trying to show how much of "good guys" they are for being open about this, trying to make us see through the fingers with the fact that they are actually handing their users' inboxes out to the feds?

It's over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43092311)

It is over 9,000!!!!!

What about non Americans (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092457)

There is no law protecting them, so fbi/cia/whatever could ask their records too. why not release those numbers too?

Google - Just another bag man... (0)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year and a half ago | (#43092737)

...for the corporate sponsored shadow government. God damn... I miss the days when there were at least some corporations that stood up to this kind of abuse.

Re:Google - Just another bag man... (1)

kllrnohj (2626947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43097261)

Google is currently the *ONLY* company that is standing up to this kind of abuse. Find anyone else, *ANYONE*, that reports these sorts of numbers. They all comply with them, but only Google is willing to talk about it. And only Google has worked to be able to talk about them in the first place.

Fuck off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43094699)

I am anonymously telling you to fuck off. Sorry in advance, there making me.....

Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43094727)

ENG 160 rocks!!

So, you're saying .... (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | about a year and a half ago | (#43094971)

that the people who can't be trusted with cellphones because they sext pictures of their junk to everyone in the contact list also can't be trusted with surveilance powers unfettered by a judges discretion?

Say it isn't so!

The word is “usurpation”. (1)

jcr (53032) | about a year and a half ago | (#43095707)

The fourth amendment is not ambiguous, and any act of congress that purports to grant the authority to the FBI to write their own warrants is unconstitutional, and therefore not a law at all.

To make this stop, people have to refuse to comply with these “national security letters”, go to court, and sue the FBI for civil rights violations.

-jcr

Fourth Amendment is not so clear (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43096105)

The fourth amendment is not ambiguous

It actually is quite ambiguous. Read literally it never requires a warrant (much less specifies who can issue them): it requires only that searches and seizures not be "unreasonable", and that any warrants that are issued be based on probable cause, and specific as to the places to be searched and things to be seized. Those two clauses have no actual explicit relationship in the text.

Re:The word is “usurpation”. (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about a year and a half ago | (#43096809)

You can't sue unless you can prove they did it, to you, personally, and that you suffered some harm. If you ask them if they did it, they will say it is a secret and they cannot tell you. If you somehow find out, you are not allowed to say so, because it is a secret. So if you sue, you get in trouble for revealing secrets.

It is astonishing that most Americans are ok with this.

Flawed logic in "near the upper end" conclusion (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43096069)

But Google is able to say they've received from 0-999 letters each year for the past four years. And we know it's likely near the upper end of that range because they list the number of accounts affect, as well: always over a thousand.

Uh, no, that doesn't follow. There is no basis for the assumption that the average number of accounts affected by an NSL is 2 or fewer, which is the assumption necessary to conclude that "over a thousand" accounts affected makes it more likely than than not that the number of actual NSLs is in the upper half (much less "near the upper end") of a 0-999 range.

In fact, the numbers for 2010 (0-999 NSLs, and 2000-2999 accounts effected) are only consistent with > 2 accounts per NSL, which suggests that (presuming the accounts/NSL ratio is the same across years) the number of NSL in the other years were likely in the lower half of the 0-999 range.

0-999 is too fuzzed to be useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43096455)

How about increments of 100 per year AND if the last n years were all under 100, a sum total of those years in increments of 100.

Example:

2008 - less than 100
2009 - less than 100. 2008-2009: between 100 and 200.
2010 - between 100 and 200
2011 - between 100 and 200. 2010-2011: between 0 and 100
2012 - between 100 and 200. 2010-2012: between 100 and 200

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