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National Security Letters Ruled Unconstitutional, Banned

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the hooray-for-the-eff dept.

United States 231

A U.S. District Court Judge in California today ruled that so-called National Security Letters, used by government agencies to force business and organizations to turn over information on citizens, are unconstitutional. Judge Susan Illston ordered the government to stop using them, but gave the government a 90-day window to appeal the decision, during which the NSLs may still be sent out. The letters were challenged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of a telecom who was ordered to provide data. "The telecom took the extraordinary and rare step of challenging the underlying authority of the National Security Letter, as well as the legitimacy of the gag order that came with it. Both challenges are allowed under a federal law that governs NSLs, a power greatly expanded under the Patriot Act that allows 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 been reprimanded for abusing them — though almost none of the requests have been challenged by the recipients. After the telecom challenged the NSL, the Justice Department took its own extraordinary measure and sued the company, arguing in court documents that the company was violating the law by challenging its authority. The move stunned the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the anonymous telecom. ... After heated negotiations with EFF, the Justice Department agreed to stay the civil suit and let the telecom’s challenge play out in court. The Justice Department subsequently filed a motion to compel in the challenge case, but has never dropped the civil suit."

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Patriot Act is unconstitutional (5, Insightful)

inputdev (1252080) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186709)

It's nice to see checks and balances. I wondered what happened to those.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (3, Insightful)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186737)

Looks more like David against Goliath to me.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (5, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186855)

Yeah. Except this David doesn't even have a sling. It's going to go to SCOTUS, they'll side with the save-the-children, oh-no-terrorists, and it's-for-your-own-good crackpottery that dominates the mindset of our legislature and our judiciary.

Interstate = intrastate, ex post facto = go ahead and add punishment (just call it something else), probable cause = "well, we thought it was a reasonable search", borders = 100mi from the.... borders.

Come on, we know exactly how this is going to go.

Although I have to say, three fucking big cheers for trying, little people.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187125)

The problems you allude to are real, but the courts are not completely purchased.

Arizona vs. United States last year ended identity demands "on suspicion of brown-ness."
Pacific Operators Offshore v. Valladolid, kept big business from slithering out of it's medical obligations
US v. Jones let a known-complete-dirtbag walk because the GPS tracker was placed on his car a day after the warrant expired.
                I can think of few better cases of upholding the 4th amendment than this

I think this check on government/business power is still having a demonstrable effect. I don't think we've quite lost yet.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (3, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188097)

Arizona vs. United States last year ended identity demands "on suspicion of brown-ness."

Sadly, it'll just move the corruption to a manufactured pretext mode: "I saw him swerve", etc. It'll no more stop this than NY cops pulling over black people preferentially has stopped despite loads of negative publicity, etc. It'll no more stop than the USG will let Cat Stevens back into the country. The whole damned shooting match is corrupt. I suspect it will serve as a lesson for Governor Brewer to treat Obama with more respect. But yeah, the decision went the right way. So did Heller -- but for many of the wrong reasons, and under an opinion that was batshit crazy. It can happen.

Pacific Operators Offshore v. Valladolid, kept big business from slithering out of it's medical obligations

This was such an edge case that it will have almost no impact on anyone, anywhere. Which in my admittedly cynical view, probably serves to explain how it went this way.

US v. Jones let a known-complete-dirtbag walk because the GPS tracker was placed on his car a day after the warrant expired. I can think of few better cases of upholding the 4th amendment than this

Yeah, that's a win, no doubt. If you count having to chase totally obvious government malfeasance all the way to SCOTUS a win, sigh. I know I couldn't afford to do it. But -- hopefully -- it'll make future cases expire on contact. Assuming there aren't other circumstances, like, the federal government actually caring about the case and claiming no one can see the reasons because they're state secrets [wikipedia.org] and other such highly fragrant fertilizer.

I don't think we've quite lost yet.

Well, here's to you and your optimism. I'd buy you a beer if I could. I'd just as soon be completely, utterly wrong.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186749)

This is all just part of the process in getting it to the Supreme Court where they will be rubberstamped. And then no one can ever challenge their constitutionality again.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186849)

This is all just part of the process in getting it to the Supreme Court where it will once again be demonstrated that the Constitution is still not a suicide pact.

FTFY.

And then no one can ever challenge their constitutionality again.

Why? Are we going to put all the trust fund rebels in an internment camp?

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (5, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186859)

Damn, someone even more cynical than me. Gods I hope you're wrong.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186889)

What you mistake for cynicism is merely a more fashionable brand of naivete.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (4, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187489)

Hey, a new addition to the doublespeak dictionary: Cynicism is Naivete.

You may well be right, and that would be a deeply worrying trend since unlike most flavors of naivete which lead people to overreach their abilities (and sometimes succeed), cynicism leads people to attempt nothing at all, and thus certainly fail.

Thank you for a potentially productive perspective, I'll have to try it on the universe for a while see if it fits.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (5, Informative)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186909)

[Once it's been upheld by the Supreme Court], no one can ever challenge their constitutionality again.

Not quite. Ever heard of Plessy v. Ferguson? It's admittedly much more difficult (on the balance for good reason) to challenge a previously-decided Supreme Court decision, but by no means impossible. That's just one (probably the most famous) example of the Court reversing itself, but there's a lot more.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (1)

detritus. (46421) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188083)

Ableman v. Booth [wikipedia.org] was a famous case where even the own authority of the federal courts were questioned, not by a southern state court but by Wisconsin! The Wisconsin Supreme Court didn't recognize the federal court's authority and let a guy who helped fugitive slaves to escape into Canada to evade US law enforcement. But the US Supreme Court, in their infinite wisdom, came to the brilliant conclusion that they were supreme.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188287)

"But the US Supreme Court, in their infinite wisdom, came to the brilliant conclusion that they were supreme."

And therein lies the problem. At least if you listen to the Federal Government, rather than reading history.

When debating about whether to ratify the Constitution, the States were repeatedly guaranteed that the Supreme Court would be the ultimate arbiter ONLY when it came to matters of the powers enumerated in the Constitution. On questions of WHETHER the Federal government was exceeding its Constitutional powers, the Supreme Court was not to be relied on. Because -- of course -- the Supreme Court is part of that same government. And it was never intended that the Federal government should have the authority to decide what its own powers are. If it were, there would have been no need for a Constitution in the first place.

Following is an excerpt from James Madison's "Report of 1800" before the Virginia legislature. Modern English translation below.

"However true therefore it may be that the judicial department is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of the Constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the authorities of the other departments of the government; not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial as well as the other departments hold their delegated trusts. On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it; and the concurrence of this department with the others in usurped powers might subvert forever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very Constitution which all were instituted to preserve."

In other words, the Supreme Court is normally "supreme" in matters of normal Federal law, but NOT "in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact" (the States). His reasoning for this is perfectly solid: since via the Constitution, the States were creating the Federal government, and ceding some of their powers to it, the Federal government cannot be more powerful than the States themselves, except in those areas explicitly set out by the states in that same Constitution. The Supreme Court cannot lord it over the States because the States created it and gave it power in the first place, which is a logical contradiction. ("On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it;")

And where the question of whether the Federal government has exceeded its authority arises, the Supreme Court is no more immune to power-grabbing than the other branches of the Federal government. ("... the concurrence of this department with the others in usurped powers might subvert forever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very Constitution which all were instituted to preserve.")

Therefore, when the Federal government is deemed by the States to have exceeded its rightful powers as enumerated in the Constitution, it is "the right and the duty" (as he and Jefferson wrote elsewhere) for those States to resist the Federal government, and declare that "law" null and void.

That is exactly what you are seeing today, with a great many states voting to "nullify" Obamacare, certain gun and marijuana restrictions, and other Federal "laws" that they feel are unconstitutional.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188161)

"That's just one (probably the most famous) example of the Court reversing itself, but there's a lot more."

Now all we need is a reversal of Wickard v. Filburn (arguably on its way, with all the recent State nullification of Federal "interstate commerce clause justified" laws.

And a few others, too. But that would be a big one, and as I say there is a very good chance we will see it before many years are out.

Precedents (4, Informative)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186939)

And then no one can ever challenge their constitutionality again.

Well, there's the Dred Scott decision; but the process of challenging that one killed 600,000 Americans.

Less difficult challenges were "Buck vs. Bell" which IIRC was the one that allowed states to sterilize people against their will and was the source of the infamous "3 generations of imbeciles are enough" quote.

I'm sure there are plenty of other cases; but the bottom line is that SCOTUS ruling one way doesn't etch things in stone. You know what they say, Freedom isn't Free. Sometimes you have to die, fill the jails, lose all your money, etc; and if you're lucky you'll live to see your grandchildren get their God given rights back from those who stole them.

Re:Precedents (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187707)

And therein lies the rub that prevents most selfish people from putting their own asses on the line.

Re:Precedents (3, Funny)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187797)

3 generations of imbeciles are enough

That one obviously had to be reversed. Where else would we get enough imbeciles to fill Congress?

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187699)

Laws usually have many provisions, and each provision is separately vulnerable to attack.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186787)

Governm: "Will you do me this favor?"
Company: "Yep, check it off the list of things you need to get done (also pay me)"
Governm: "Thanks I owe you"

Company: "Hey remember me? I need you to balance our favors by allowing me to get away with XXXX"
Governm: "Sure, we're going to be too busy with YYYY to spend resources on checking for XXXX"

See, we still have our checks and balances.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186829)

I wondered what happened to those.

David Copperfield made them disappear. He best, longest running gag yet. And nobody has even noticed yet...

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (2)

triffid_98 (899609) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187463)

Really? I thought his best illusion involved getting supermodels to marry him.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186835)

The checks were cashed in order to tip the balances.

I can only assume that in this case either somebody didn't get their check, or somebody with some integrity was accidentally allowed to hold an important office. Either way I'm sure lots of powerful people are scrambling to rectify the oversight.

Let's all give a big round of applause to Judge Susan Illston for actually upholding her oath and doing her part to rein in the beast of unrestrained government power. hopefully the Supreme Court will show similar backbone in the inevitable appeal.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186869)

"Patriot Act" was a very highly manipulative naming for a very unpatriotic act. Smoke and mirrors all too common and further enabled by current major media.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (1, Informative)

dcollins117 (1267462) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187815)

"Patriot Act" was a very highly manipulative naming for a very unpatriotic act.

It is DoubleSpeak exactly as described by Orwell in the book 1984. Some people read the book and see cautionary tale of a dystopian future in which an oppresive govenment exerts mind control on its citizens, while others see it as a handy instruction booklet. The former are called "Normal", the latter "Republicans."

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188151)

I know, we need to get Bush out of the White House.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186873)

It's nice to see checks and balances. I wondered what happened to those.

They've been furloughed as a budget-cutting measure.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (1)

memnock (466995) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186887)

It is nice to see. I wonder though why it's taken this long for a ruling that actually does check some of the over reach of the govt. Does this ruling actually have the legs to make it the SCOTUS and be upheld? I hope so, but I'm not sure the chances are good since all other challenges have been turned aside. But I'm not legal scholar, so perhaps this case has the right details and arguments to last through all the challenges.

To echo others, I'd like to help this case, but the rejection, overruling, or upholding of a case aren't subject to popular vote. Hmmm....

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (4, Funny)

akboss (823334) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187289)

It's nice to see checks and balances. I wondered what happened to those.

The checks bounced and the balances are tipped over.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187319)

No the "patriot act" is not.

It is a huge law of many different things all rolled into one act.

Some aspects should absolutely be declared unconstitutional. Some are good things. Don't be an idiot.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187407)

Your check wasn't big enough.

Re:Patriot Act is unconstitutional (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187691)

They went into our congresscritter's pockets.

Link to donate to the EFF (4, Informative)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186729)

Re:Link to donate to the EFF (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186833)

Yeah, this actually makes me want to donate outside of the bundles. It's great to see an organization that is fighting for the rights of individual citizens instead of companies and the government.

Re:Link to donate to the EFF (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186961)

Yeah, this actually makes me want to donate outside of the bundles. It's great to see an organization that is fighting for the rights of individual citizens instead of companies and the government.

So, you're advocating people lend financial assistance to a "terrorist organization" (EFF having been placed on the double-secret-probation terrorist list by the DoJ/DHS)? Enjoy your stay at Gitmo. /sarc

Seriously though, it would not surprise me in the least to hear in the near future that the DoJ/DHS has labeled the EFF as some sort of terrorism-supporting organization. That's the problem with wars against nebulous and ill-defined groups such as "terrorists". All it takes is redefining/widening what the definition of a "terrorist" and "terrorism" is to label any political opposition as "enemies of the State".

Strat

Re:Link to donate to the EFF (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186899)

I don't live in the US, but I've gone ahead and donated to the EFF.

Re:Link to donate to the EFF (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187605)

Is there a way to donate 100% anonymously? I don't want my name on yet another "sucker list."

Anonymous Donations Are Accepted (4, Informative)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187757)

From their privacy policy [eff.org] :

We are pleased to receive anonymous donations in the mail, but please note that your personal information is required if you choose to donate using our online form.

Their address is:

Electronic Frontier Foundation, 454 Shotwell Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

This is probably as close as you can get to anonymous, unless you have a friend drop off cash at their office.

HERE IS MY SIDE OFTHIS STORY !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186757)

On advice from counsel, I have no side of my story !! I will comply !! (Drop trousers !! Bend over !! Uncle Sam you may enter at Your convenience !!)

Actually... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186767)

they are constitutional. I have proof but you're not allowed to see it. I'd tell you how many pages that proof has but that would endanger the lives of officers in the field.

Re:Actually... (2)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186907)

Pics or it doesn't exist.

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186915)

To be fair, no one actually said there was proof, just an argument they aren't going to share.

Re:Actually... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187317)

. . . a National Security Letter is being printed now, with your name on it, Mr. Anonymous Coward. Because the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit thinks that may not be your real first name, letters will be printed for all A* Cowards. Or better yet, A* C*. Oh, the hell with it, let's just do * * and be done with it.

Actually, I wonder why they even bother to issue a letter anyway these days.

When WWII ended, the US won a bunch of German rocket scientists as a prize for its space program. When the Berlin Wall fell, and the War on Terror started, the US cherry-picked ex-Stasi officers for its intelligence agencies

They were experienced, tanned, rested, and up to the call of duty . . .

Nobody expects the National Security Letter!

It's main weapon is fear . . . and surprise . . . it's two main weapons . . .

Re:Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187555)

Actually they cherry picked rocket scientists and others familiar with German technology at the time. Of course they had to share them with Russia and England. I also believe France for got access even though their claim to the spoils of war were dubious at best. And it turned out that not even the rocket scientists impact on allied technology was that great. The US had already had nuclear bomb technology and the US and Britain had a fully functional jet fighter called the Gloster Meteor. Any ex-Stasi officers who were not hunted down by Isreal would have been rested and tanned if they had some really good embalming fluid in them. Intelligence agencies have no problem finding all the amoral bastards they need without raiding a retirement home.

Re:Actually... (5, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187725)

You know what's interesting is that the Bill of Rights is in the constitution as a pack of 10 amendments, whereas the laws that even define the concepts of state secrets and classified information are established at a federal statute level.

Given the supremacy clause, shouldn't my civil rights trump concerns about national security?

The law that says I am entitled to due process outranks the law that says I have to let the government play keep-away with information.

Re:Actually... (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188187)

It's the interpretation that gets you. They simply redefine the words of the Constitution so that it means what they'd like it to say.

Anonymous telecom? (2)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186797)

My bet is on a small ISP based in Santa Rosa, CA.

Challenging Authority (5, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186801)

the Justice Department took its own extraordinary measure and sued the company, arguing in court documents that the company was violating the law by challenging its authority

. Stunning is the right word. That lawsuit, which appears to still be active, is an affront to a nation of laws with respect for civil rights. Legally attacking citizens for challenging authority ought to carry a steep political price.

Re:Challenging Authority (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186823)

That lawsuit, which appears to still be active, is an affront to a nation of laws with respect for civil rights.

Who are you talking about now? Norway? Sweden? Vulcan?

Re:Challenging Authority (4, Funny)

servognome (738846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186937)

Don't be silly, Norway and Sweden don't exist

Re:Challenging Authority (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187211)

They are Europe's Delaware.

Re:Challenging Authority (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188189)

I thought Norway was part of Sweden.

Re:Challenging Authority (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187205)

Hahahaha. Sorry, that's still how the US sells itself. Ah... marketing.

Re:Challenging Authority (1)

tolkienfan (892463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187033)

It's frivolous, or worse. They should be slapped down hard.

Re:Challenging Authority (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187485)

With a capital SLAPP.

Supreme court (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186807)

There should be a mechanism for cases like this to leapfrog to the SC. Nothing will be decided 'till it gets there. (I should live so long...)

The Justice Department (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186811)

Who the hell is running that circus act? They are acting like nothing more than a bunch of clowns. Evil, murdering, vicious clowns.

Re:The Justice Department (2, Interesting)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187727)

The "Justice" Department is Obama's tool of vengeance against those who oppose his holy proclamations.

Re:The Justice Department (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187867)

Except this isn't a "holy proclamation". GWB's Dept of Justice set up the system, the precedents, and would have done the exact same thing, per The Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, et al. No, correct that. They'd have been black-bagged off to some 'Stan, Poland, etc. before going to Gitmo (or a Supermax) because they were a "grave threat". The precedent was set already, and is just being "improved on" by That Black Guy.

Re:The Justice Department (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188201)

Some people still think there are two parties in Washington instead of two faces of the same party, the Money Party.

what can Joe Citizen do? (4, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186837)

to support this and help it get driven all the way to the top SCOTUS?) so it gets set in concrete?

Re:what can Joe Citizen do? (5, Informative)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186863)

Give money to the EFF. You'll even get a nifty t-shirt out of the deal if you like.

Mod Parent Up (1)

bradorsomething (527297) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186967)

Giving to EFF is a good step.

Re:what can Joe Citizen do? (3, Interesting)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187169)

The main thing you can do, is when people ask you to vote for the constitutional amendment which legalizes NSLs, say you're going to vote against it and why, and then when election day comes, follow through on the promise.

Re:what can Joe Citizen do? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187759)

The main thing you can do, is when people ask you to vote for the constitutional amendment which legalizes NSLs, say you're going to vote against it and why, and then when election day comes, follow through on the promise.

Unless you're a Congressman, Senator or state legislator, you don't get to vote on Constitutional amendments in the United States. So your "when" isn't going to happen.

Department of Injustice (-1, Troll)

Alien Being (18488) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186841)

These cocksuckers and any judges who approve of their methods must be killed.

Re:Department of Injustice (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186927)

It always seemed like a simple solution to me. Kill everyone who does bad things and then hey! No more people doing bad stuff! What's wrong with that?

Re:Department of Injustice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186979)

It always seemed like a simple solution to me. Kill everyone who does bad things and then hey! No more people doing bad stuff! What's wrong with that?

Would that "everyone" include those engaged in 'unapproved-of' vigilantism, as determined by other vigilantes?

Re:Department of Injustice (1)

jittles (1613415) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187031)

It always seemed like a simple solution to me. Kill everyone who does bad things and then hey! No more people doing bad stuff! What's wrong with that?

Would that "everyone" include those engaged in 'unapproved-of' vigilantism, as determined by other vigilantes?

No. That "everyone" includes everyone. No one is exempt from doing bad things. And when there is no one left, there won't be anyone to do the bad things anymore.

Re:Department of Injustice (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187991)

Who gets to define what is 'bad'?

Re:Department of Injustice (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187157)

No vigilantes. You basically set up a few thousand people to be the executioners. Those people are also bad, because killing is bad, so then you get them to kill each other. When there's only one left he kills himself. Then only the clean and pure and good people survive. Yay! Plus the corpses of the damned will provide food for a good while if processed properly.

Security Letters (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186903)

This was the right thing to do by making them illegal cause that's what they are,illegal as hell

This is impossible (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43186917)

Obama promised to govern transparently and end invasions of privacy without a warrant.

Re:This is impossible (2)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187149)

I'm still waiting to hear his definition of "transparency"

Re:This is impossible (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187283)

I think you've already seen his answer.

Re:This is impossible (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187357)

I'm still waiting to hear his definition of "transparency"

Silly citizen. YOU'RE not allowed to hear it.

Re:This is impossible (2)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187743)

It's written in transparent ink.

Re:This is impossible (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187999)

Yes we can! Yes we can! O-bam-a! O-bam-a!

bleh..

Justice Department is just like an HR department (5, Interesting)

redshirt (95023) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186963)

Many people think that a corporation's Human Resources department is there for the protection of the employees. In reality, the opposite is the case - to protect the management from the employees. The same is true for the Justice Department. It doesn't exist to protect the people, but rather to protect the administration and control the population. Sure every once in a while they manage to do the right thing to satisfy the people. My HR department organizes an annual summer picnic.

Re:Justice Department is just like an HR departmen (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187207)

Many people think that a corporation's Human Resources department is there for the protection of the employees.

Which is silly, because if companies even wanted to expend the slightest effort to pretend that was the case, they would call it "Employee Services". They call it "Human Resources" quite honestly -- its there to manage corporate resources that happen to be human.

In reality, the opposite is the case - to protect the management from the employees.

No, its there to protect the value of the employees (including those that are "management") as corporate assets; protecting the corporation from harm when those assets operate outside of the corporations desired parameters is a part of that, but doesn't define the role. This is much the same role as, say, the department tasked with overseeing factory operations has with respect to heavy machinery.

Sure every once in a while they manage to do the right thing to satisfy the people. My HR department organizes an annual summer picnic.

Manging morale for the purpose of increasing retention and productivity is part of the positive value side of protecting the value of the employees as corporate assets as much as mitigating the harm from dissatisfied employees is on the negative value side. You oil the machine to keep it working while it is working as desired, and you contain the damage and discard it as quickly as possible when it stops doing so and becomes a liability to keep around. All part of the same mission.

Holy crap? (4)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43186965)

How is this not all over the front of every news site's homepage?

Re:Holy crap? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187051)

Maybe they all got NSL demanding they not publish it?

Re:Holy crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187175)

News outlets should find out, and name and shame the bozo's who brought this up.
Good on the EFF. There is law, and there is make-up. You can challenge the law, but not criticize make-up. This only makes sense is you agree the Constitution is make-up. Or is it the other way around?
The Supreme Court may not be compliant or react well to unchallengeable 'laws'.

Re:Holy crap? (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188079)

How is this not all over the front of every news site's homepage?

When someone can be judge, jury, executioner, and managing editor ...

or MAYBE (-1, Troll)

Dripdry (1062282) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187193)

it's just a troll headline to get donations for the EFF...
Ever think about that, Slashdot? Come on, where are all the tinfoil hats?

#1 Rule about NSLs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187285)

The number one rule about NSLs, is no one talks about the NSLs.

"Secret Government" is a huge threat to us all (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187385)

Even as I was a TSA screener for a while, the whole "papers please!" measures that have been coming down have simply reminded me of "Nazi Germany" from old movies and the like. At some level I found it amusing if only because people were so easily pushed into accepting this. Nobody questioned things enough. Nobody asked "why is the security threat condition never 'GREEN'?" Of course I was also disgusted by it. That we were told to explain to people about rules which were 'secret' and couldn't be shown to them made me feel like a real shit. I was glad to finally get another job when I could.

A government which cannot be trusted has already betrayed the people and it needs to be corrected. "It was my job" was an excuse I used too... though, the things I let slip by me... well... :) I can't say that I let them slip by intentionally, but in one attempt, I was foiled by a co-worker who ratted out a one-legged man who had marijuana in his pocket. I *so* wanted to let that go...

Re:"Secret Government" is a huge threat to us all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187615)

That you ever took a job with the TSA speaks volumes of your character... shame on you

Re:"Secret Government" is a huge threat to us all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187777)

Well, in his defense, his name is "erroneus"(sic).

Re:"Secret Government" is a huge threat to us all (1)

inputdev (1252080) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187803)

don't judge people by their titles, judge by behavior, if you must judge. It doesn't sound to me like he/she has anything to be ashamed of.

Re:"Secret Government" is a huge threat to us all (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188213)

People gotta pay bills.

Re:"Secret Government" is a huge threat to us all (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188175)

Even as I was a TSA screener for a while, the whole "papers please!" measures that have been coming down have simply reminded me of "Nazi Germany" from old movies and the like.

Which just goes to show that what everyone says is true - the TSA hires clueless idiots. As bad as it's gotten, we're nowhere even *close* to a totalitarian state. Hint: In such a state, not only would the lawsuit that's under discussion here never be filed... we wouldn't even be having this discussion. (In the literal sense - there would no public forum for such discussions.) Grow the ef up, learn some history, and quit exaggerating.

I thought that was the point (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187527)

The whole point of national security letters is to suspend rule of law due to an emergency, right?

Re:I thought that was the point (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188217)

I have it on good authority that we've always been at war with East Asia.

question (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187747)

Isn't the 14th Amendmen to the *Constitution* supreme to any law that would give the feds the right to do this crap?

They call it the "supremacy" clause for a reason.

Re:question (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188219)

There you go bringing up the Constitution. Nobody pays any attention to that old thing anymore.

Anonymous Telecom? (1)

Mr McGumby (1051730) | about a year and a half ago | (#43187785)

My question is, why would the telecom want to remain anonymous? Wouldn't they gain plenty of positive attention from consumers if they showed they were sticking up for their privacy?

Re:Anonymous Telecom? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43187973)

Part of the law authorizing National Security Letters states that you cannot tell anybody you were served with the letter, except those needed to execute the request. If you do tell, it is a felony, punishable up to 5 years in prison.

Folks in the Internet community believe Sonic.net is the telecom in question, but the company has refused to comment.

This is an opportunity to Do Something! (1)

leftover (210560) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188091)

A modestly positioned judge has taken a stand against what most of us here oppose. What can we do? Make noise!
Write your congrescritters -- real letters, made of paper.
Call your local TV stations and urgently express your desire that they talk this up repeatedly.
Use social media to praise the judge too.

At last (1)

dacullen (1666965) | about a year and a half ago | (#43188123)

Finally, a judge with the cojones to try to stop the United States' slow slide towards a police state. A bit disappointing to see that he left them weasel room. Far too many 3 letter folks operating unchallenged like The Inquisition.

Obama Final Solution In Play 20 minutes ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43188281)

The Secret Executive Kill Order was written, signed, and delivered.

The USAF Raptor Drones and support F16 and JSTARS aircraft from Edwards AFB are in pursuit of the 'Cracker' Judge.

Drone 1 Orbiting Bethesda Maryland, pinpointing the residence; Status READY.

Drone 2 Orbiting Federal Judiciary Buildings in DC; Status READY.

NAVY SEAL TEAM RAINBOW, on locations in DC, Bethesda and Falls Church; Status FLAMEN.

Message for DoD Sec Hagel: 'The Fucker Cracker will never know what killed her [snicker snicker].'

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