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US DOJ Say They Don't Need Warrants For E-Mail, Chats

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the you-can-trust-us dept.

Government 457

gannebraemorr writes "The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI believe they don't need a search warrant to review Americans' e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files, internal documents reveal. Government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they're not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail."

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457 comments

"split" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667507)

Keep knock'n back that cool-aid

Land of the free (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667515)

to be watched by the Government.

Fourth Amendment (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667521)

"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:Fourth Amendment (5, Funny)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#43667555)

when the government does it, that means that it is not unreasonable.

Re:Fourth Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667653)

The law does not matter when is the Government is in charge of defining it.

Re:Fourth Amendment (5, Insightful)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a year ago | (#43667655)

I think you got that backwards, or forgot the /sarcasm tag:

Searches by government are by definition unreasonable, thus they need a warrent.

Re:Fourth Amendment (-1, Troll)

Lakitu (136170) | about a year ago | (#43667755)

Please don't shitpost like this.

Your sarcasm is lost in the text. All it can possibly do is convince people reading it that, somewhere out there, there is actually a horde of people who legitimately believe this.

If you're trying to make some edgy stance against government infringement of civil liberties, you're being fucking retarded and counterproductive.

thanks in advance,
everyone

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667845)

All it can possibly do is convince people reading it that, somewhere out there, there is actually a horde of people who legitimately believe this.

There is actually a horde. They are called the Government and their operatives.

Re:Fourth Amendment (4, Insightful)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about a year ago | (#43667605)

And the entirety of the 4th amendment is eliminated by storing your data on somebody else's system since it's no longer considered part of YOUR "persons, houses, papers, and effects" Still like "the cloud"?

Re:Fourth Amendment (3, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43667625)

And the entirety of the 4th amendment is eliminated by storing your data on somebody else's system since it's no longer considered part of YOUR "persons, houses, papers, and effects"

Still like "the cloud"?

Bullshit - my papers and effects are my papers and effects, regardless of where I keep them.

Could you imagine how hard it would be for banks to sell safety deposit space, if there was no guarantee other people weren't able to rifle through your shit?

Re:Fourth Amendment (2)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about a year ago | (#43667681)

Not talking about how it should, talking about how it is currently being interpreted by the courts and the DOJ

Re:Fourth Amendment (3, Insightful)

Zcar (756484) | about a year ago | (#43667729)

Safety deposit boxes are different since you have a lock on it.

If I simply give you an unsealed packet of papers, I am assuming the risk you'll had those over to the government if they ask you for them even if I ask you not to. There's no 4th amendment protection under those circumstances. This is analogous to using a web mail provider like gmail, hotmail, etc. where you're asking them to store plain text emails. You've arguably lost the 4th amendment protections in this case. Any protections are statutory, not constitutional.

Re:Fourth Amendment (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43667771)

Safety deposit boxes are different since you have a lock on it.

If I simply give you an unsealed packet of papers, I am assuming the risk you'll had those over to the government if they ask you for them even if I ask you not to. There's no 4th amendment protection under those circumstances. This is analogous to using a web mail provider like gmail, hotmail, etc. where you're asking them to store plain text emails.

OK, then go access my gmail account and post all the content therein online.

Oh, wait, you can't, because that account has a fucking lock on it, that only I (and Google, supposedly) have a key to.

Re:Fourth Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667853)

Yes, you don't think that the bank doesn't have a way to get into security boxes too? The banks all have master keys or at least tools to crack open a box if you don't want to give the key up.

Re:Fourth Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667761)

Would you imagine how hard it would be for banks to sell safety deposit space, if there was no guarantee other people weren't able to rifle through your shit?

There is a good reason [wikipedia.org] that I do not own a safe deposit box.

Re:Fourth Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667861)

Why? Because there weren't any safe deposit box seizures, and those that were taken possession of due to bank failure were either claimed by the owners or still in the basement of the treasury? Is that your good reason [wikipedia.org]

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year ago | (#43667893)

You linked to the article explaining "the myth of a safe deposit box seizures order". You might try reading your own links sometime, rather than believing internet rumor.

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#43667943)

There is a good reason that I do not own a safe deposit box.

IF your bank fails. Obama has seen to it that they won't (to the detriment of us all, oh well), so I'll be keeping my box for a bit longer I think.

Re:Fourth Amendment (2)

thoth (7907) | about a year ago | (#43667887)

Bullshit - my papers and effects are my papers and effects, regardless of where I keep them.

Could you imagine how hard it would be for banks to sell safety deposit space, if there was no guarantee other people weren't able to rifle through your shit?

It comes down to the legal argument over an expectation of privacy. You expect a bank to keep the contents of a safety deposit box private. Arguing unencrypted emails, facebook posts, tweets, etc. You expect your home to be private. Claiming you expect email (especially unencrypted ones), facebook posts and twitter messages to be treated with the same privacy is a stretch of varying degrees. Some of the methods are 100% opposite the "expectation of privacy", e.g. people participating want to reach as many others as possible.

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

thoth (7907) | about a year ago | (#43667957)

Argh cut and paste and preview fail. Oh well. Sentence 3 obviously misplaced and rewritten. ;)

Re:Fourth Amendment (-1, Troll)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#43667665)

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Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

fatalwall (873645) | about a year ago | (#43667711)

Technically incorrect. If what you said is true then anything you placed inside a bank locker would be subject to the same searches. The manner you pay a company for services matters not.

People so readily try to throw out amendments because technology has changed when in reality an email would fall under the class of papers because papers are documents emails are electronic documents and your computer or cloud service is the filing cabinet or vault you store them in.

That being said, I do not like the services people describe as the cloud as its just a new marketing term to cover a type of service that has existed for years without any legal confusion until it became wide spread for consumers and took on the name cloud.

Re:Fourth Amendment (4, Insightful)

Meeni (1815694) | about a year ago | (#43667953)

Voice over phone line is in "clear", and ATT could listen to it. Yet it is still required to have warrant to bug the line. I fail to see what is different with my emails. They are traveling "the infrastructure" in clear, that doesn't mean they are intended to be read by every bystander. As a matter of fact, somebody got a very harsh sentence for intruding onto S. Palin's mailboxes and revealing the content of these emails, so it seems to be quite clear and settled that emails are not to be considered public by default.

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about a year ago | (#43667713)

Bullshit argument. If I store my bag in a locker at the gym it does not give right to the govt to search that simply because the locker is technically owned by the gym. I have procured the authority to use that locker as my personal space. The same could be said of a storage unit. Now there may be a grey area in the case of the owner of the storage location (whether that is a locker, a storage unit or Gmail) allowing govt access without a warrant. But that's where contracts and contract law come into play. If my contract states that I have exclusive rights to that storage location then the owner cant grant anyone access, including themselves, without a legitimate reason to do so. And a cop saying "open up" isnt a legitimate reason.

Re:Fourth Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667753)

Yea, that'll work, you keep spouting that while they go through your stuff.

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year ago | (#43667851)

Bullshit argument. If I store my bag in a locker at the gym it does not give right to the govt to search that simply because the locker is technically owned by the gym. I have procured the authority to use that locker as my personal space.

So you know that you've rented that locked space with the expectation of privacy and extension of your personal space. Storage lockers, ditto. When you rent an apartment, ditto.

But if you simply give your stuff to someone else, you lose that protection. I pay nothing to Google for their gmail. It's on their servers.

And now IEEE has announced that they will be moving their mail alias services to Google and giving members free access to Google Stuff (I forget all the details.) So, here's another example of someone handing your data over to a company where it loses any expectation of privacy or limits on search.

Re:Fourth Amendment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667951)

So, by you, police do not need a warrant to search your apartment? After all, your apartment is not YOURS.

Re:Fourth Amendment (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667849)

The 4th Amendment sucks. I admit, I thought it was a good idea. But over the last four years or so I realized that the 4th Amendment - and desire for privacy in general - is racist.

Frosty Piss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667531)

The FBI is reading /s posts. You have been warned.

Re:Frosty Piss (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667757)

The FBI is reading /s posts. You have been warned.

I'd be more worried about them reading /b posts honestly.

FOI Requests? (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#43667543)

Does the same logic mean that the government can not reject FOI requests for emails and can not redact anything in emails?

Re:FOI Requests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667747)

Pffffaahahaahahaha no.

even if they did (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667549)

they would read them all and deal with lawsuits/getting warrants later...

Oh wait! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667565)

Maybe we should create an amendment to the constitution that makes this issue more clear regarding illegal search.

Oh, wait... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

well then maybe we should create a law that clarifies the position a bit further

Oh, wait.. http://www.justice.gov/opcl/privstat.htm

ok, well maybe we will have courts decide that emails are personal property

Oh, wait... http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_emails_personal_property

when/where does it end?

Re:Oh wait! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667617)

It ends when you start sending prosecutors to jail for misconduct.

Re:Oh wait! (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43667801)

It ends when prosecutors start sending prosecutors to jail for misconduct.

FTFY, and identified the real problem at the same time.

If self-policing worked, we wouldn't have need for police, you know?

Re:Oh wait! (1)

Spiridios (2406474) | about a year ago | (#43667829)

It ends when you start sending prosecutors to jail for misconduct.

Who prosecutes the prosecutors? I'm not really disagreeing with you, just pointing out that reform has to start a little higher up.

Re:Oh wait! (1)

Zcar (756484) | about a year ago | (#43667843)

It's not misconduct to follow procedures ruled constitutional by the US Supreme Court, e.g. United States v. Miller (1976) and Smith v. Maryland (1979).

To be clear, I think they should be protected, but as far as I can tell, that's not the current state.

Re:Oh wait! (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year ago | (#43667883)

Give them a fair trial, take them out back and then shoot them for treason.

That is what they are doing when they violate the pledge they swore as a government servant to protect and defend the constitution.

The death penalty should be reserved for multiple-murderers and people who misuse their government position to infringe on the rights of people.

Yes, but... (4, Informative)

Zcar (756484) | about a year ago | (#43667789)

Yes, those all apply to email in your possession. But, not necessarily to those stored with third parties. It's called the Third Party Doctrine.

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/the_data_question_should_the_third-party_records_doctrine_be_revisited/ [abajournal.com]

In essence, the doctrine holds that information lawfully held by many third parties is treated differently from information held by the suspect himself. It can be obtained by subpoenaing the third party, by securing the third party’s consent or by any other means of legal discovery; the suspect has no role in the matter, and no search warrant is required.

Depends (3, Insightful)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43667575)

If you can sniff the network and easily read what I sent then fine. If I secure my emails so they don't appear in plain text then I think you do. If you secure your communication then you should require a warrant, because otherwise anyone could read what I send and I should have no expectation of privacy with my communications.

Re:Depends (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43667645)

If you can sniff the network and easily read what I sent then fine. If I secure my emails so they don't appear in plain text then I think you do.

So basically your stance is - if you mail a letter in a sealed envelope, it's fair game, but if the letter is written in code, it's not.

Strange philosophy you have there.

Re:Depends (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43667691)

Well you can open either one but if you can't read it then you need seek a warrant to get me to decode the information for you. If you cared about the sensitivity of the information you would of secured it in the place so I actually do support that concept. If you leave the information open and readable with out effort then fine, but if you take the time to encode the information then it's not open game.

Re:Depends (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43667823)

Well you can open either one but if you can't read it then you need seek a warrant to get me to decode the information for you. If you cared about the sensitivity of the information you would of secured it in the place so I actually do support that concept. If you leave the information open and readable with out effort then fine, but if you take the time to encode the information then it's not open game.

But in the case of a sealed envelope, it's not open by definition. It shouldn't matter whether the information within is encrypted or not, because your rights have already been violated by virtue of the fact that the seal was broken by someone other than the intended recipient; which, concerning physical mailings, is already a crime.

What makes you think electronic communications should be treated any different?

Re:Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667909)

What makes you think electronic communications should be treated any different?

They don't have envelopes.

Re:Depends (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43667919)

Well anyone can sit on a network and sniff data without being the intended destination, just by sitting in the middle they can get a copy of the data. If the letter could be read with out being opened that it's okay, I'm not suggesting the mail should get opened and read. Securing your message is like putting it not only in code but in the envelope. Not securing your data is like sending with without an envelope, anyone can see the letter just be looking at it.

Re:Depends (1)

Nickodeimus (1263214) | about a year ago | (#43667869)

Data transmitted over the internet is always encapsulated. If you receive data that is not addressed to you you are supposed to discard it. If the government reads data that is not addressed to it then it is in violation of the 4th amendment.

The same could be said of anything stored by any service provider.

Every piece of data, no matter how small it is, is kept in some sort of container whether in transit or in storage. Those containers are no different than an envelope travelling through the US Postal Service and are thus protected. Encryption shouldn't really matter at that point where the government is concerned. If they want to look at it then they should have to show cause before a judge and that judge should have to sign off on a narrowly defined warrant that allows them to read the data.

This needs to be explicitly codified into law, since our nanny state government seems to think otherwise.

Re:Depends (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43667941)

I don't entirely disagree, it's just that if you don't secure your communication then anyone who wants to can read it. Regardless of how the packet is encapsulated you just need to be a NIC in "monitoring" and you'll see all the data.

Re:Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667871)

They do not have to seek a warrant to get you to decode it. If the mail is fair game then your act of encoding it is obstruction of justice, which they can simply arrest you for.

Re:Depends (1)

Ted Stockwell (2878303) | about a year ago | (#43667749)

I think a better analogy would be if you mail a letter in an envelope that can simply be held up to a light in order to read the contents then it's fair game, but if you send your message in a lead-lined envelope that must be opened in order to read the contents then a warrant is required.

Re:Depends (2, Insightful)

Lakitu (136170) | about a year ago | (#43667809)

It's not strange at all. Isn't this a technical site?

Email is sent plaintext over the wire. There's no envelope.

It's like complaining about someone being able to hear your radio broadcasts in plain language. Or overhear your conversation in a restaurant.

Re:Depends (1)

Spiridios (2406474) | about a year ago | (#43667929)

So basically your stance is - if you mail a letter in a sealed envelope, it's fair game, but if the letter is written in code, it's not.

I'd argue it's slightly different. An unsecured packet is more like a postcard than a sealed envelope. The delivery info and content are there for anyone to see as it passes by. Last time I did a packet sniff, the sniffer didn't say "here's the delivery info, press a key to break the seal and see the contents", it just showed me the whole packet all at once. Adding encryption is like adding an envelope, you can see the delivery info, but you must take some other action to see the contents.

Second Amendment (5, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#43667579)

People keep claiming that they want to keep their guns because they need to protect themselves if their rights are taken away by the government...

HELLO???? At what point do you start defending yourselves? Your rights are being slowly stripped away and have been over the course of the last 30 years, and nobody does anything?

Even when the Stormtroopers are patrolling the streets, and curfew after dark is in place and people are afraid to speak against the government, or talk on their phones, with your neighbors turning each other in for 'treason'... you'll all still be sitting on your guns waiting for the government to take away your rights.

Re:Second Amendment (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667637)

People keep claiming that they want to keep their guns because they need to protect themselves if their rights are taken away by the government...

HELLO???? At what point do you start defending yourselves? Your rights are being slowly stripped away and have been over the course of the last 30 years, and nobody does anything?

Even when the Stormtroopers are patrolling the streets, and curfew after dark is in place and people are afraid to speak against the government, or talk on their phones, with your neighbors turning each other in for 'treason'... you'll all still be sitting on your guns waiting for the government to take away your rights.

Until they actually do something with those newfound "powers" there won't be much uproar. As long as the searches/seizures are discrete, everyone is happy because "it wont happen to them".

Re:Second Amendment (3, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#43667689)

So... as long as the government comes after dissidents, one at a time, it's OK. As long as your rights are taken away, one at a time, it's OK. As long as you are oppressed SLOWLY, that's fine. Face it. America is sheeple. No one is ever going to take up arms against the government, and if someone does, he's easily dismissed as a kook by the media, and killed in a hail of gunfire and we all cheer on TV that we've been "saved" from this guy by the long arm of oppression.

Re: Second Amendment (2)

dah_sab (926405) | about a year ago | (#43667803)

Let's not be too harsh on Americans. Most people are sheeple, no matter where they live. We'd have a lot more revolutions otherwise. Few people want to be the 1st to die on the front line, even if success in the long run were assured. May be one reason a giant army of the unemployed haven't risen up against a govt here that clearly doesn't care if they live or die.

Re:Second Amendment (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43667863)

No one is ever going to take up arms against the government, and if someone does, he's easily dismissed as a kook by the media, and killed in a hail of gunfire and we all cheer on TV that we've been "saved" from this guy by the long arm of oppression.

Yea, that's probably why all the media coverage of the 'celebration' after the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made me want to wretch... too eerily reminiscent of the '2-Minute Hate' from 1984....

We've always been at war with Eastasia...

Fucking scary.

Saw this on the Web today (5, Interesting)

judoguy (534886) | about a year ago | (#43667641)

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more - we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward."

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

Re:Saw this on the Web today (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43667715)

Fantastic book, terrifying too.

Hopefully no one needed to look at the name to know who wrote it.

Re:Saw this on the Web today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667933)

Lefties will tell you Solzhenitsyn [amazon.com] is just an anti-stalinist whinger that exaggerates the number killed and must be dismissed by any fair minded person.

Re:Saw this on the Web today (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#43667973)

It's all a bit late, I suppose, but what I find appalling about this story and earlier ones in the same vein is the failure of parents and the education system to inculcate sufficient knowledge and understanding in those now in the Dept. of Justice who think warrantless search is somehow good to see that that view is both odious and inimical to individuals, the collective society composed of us all, and the Constitution under which they are supposed to function.

Re:Second Amendment (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667671)

Even when the Stormtroopers are patrolling the streets, and curfew after dark is in place and people are afraid to speak against the government, or talk on their phones, with your neighbors turning each other in for 'treason'... you'll all still be sitting on your guns waiting for the government to take away your rights.

Or, as Boston proved, they'll be cheering in the streets.

Hell, Boston proved that the Fourth Amendment is no obstacle to searching people's houses without a warrant. Not only did the people there let them do it, but they were happy to let them do it.

Of course, Boston is a disarmed population, so maybe it would be different if the populace was armed - but I doubt it. All you have to do is cry "terrorist!" and the people will be happy to shut down a city to catch an unarmed injured teenager.

If you ever needed to see why we need to take more action to defend our freedoms from the terrorists that are our government, Boston demonstrated quite clearly. The marathon bombings were nothing compared to the police action that followed.

Re:Second Amendment (1)

PraiseBob (1923958) | about a year ago | (#43667827)

The marathon bombings were nothing compared to the police action that followed.

I must've missed some of the news. How many people had their limbs blown off by the police during the search? How many children were killed during the optional curfew?

Re:Second Amendment (5, Insightful)

Zcar (756484) | about a year ago | (#43667831)

Hell, Boston proved that the Fourth Amendment is no obstacle to searching people's houses without a warrant. Not only did the people there let them do it, but they were happy to let them do it.

Yes. And there's no violation of the 4th Amendment if you willingly wave that right and say, "Come right on in and look around!" The 4th is only about coerced searches.

tick-tock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667767)

tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock

Re:Second Amendment (1)

thoth (7907) | about a year ago | (#43667937)

People keep claiming that they want to keep their guns because they need to protect themselves if their rights are taken away by the government...

HELLO???? At what point do you start defending yourselves?

What you (meaning in general, not you specifically) is an organization like the NRA which beats the drum for Amendments 4+ as much as the NRA beats the drum for Amendment 2. But, the NRA is largely a gun manufacturer's rights organization, more so than one representing the actual people that are members. That in turn comes down to incentive and profit - there is money to be made yelling about Amendment 2, but not so much for Amendment 4+. Call that a free market failure.

Obama lied, Chris Stevens Died (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667593)

"Pentagon spokesman George Little said, 'We have repeatedly stated that . . . our forces were unable to reach it in time to intervene to stop the attacks.' That is true only if the Pentagon is incapable of improvising. If you see people in a burning house, you do your best to help immediately; you dont wait for the fire department to respond in a normal manner. If called upon, the Marines on Sigonella would have gathered whoever was on hand and piled into one of a dozen military planes parked at the base. The Benghazi airport 90 minutes away was secure; CIA operatives were standing on the runway, because they had improvised by hiring a plane and flying in from the embassy in Tripoli, 400 miles away. A fighter jet could have refueled at that airport, with the CIA providing cover. Instead, the military ordered four Special Operations soldiers at the Tripoli embassy not to fly to Benghazi and join the CIA team."

Re: Obama lied, Chris Stevens Died (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#43667661)

"Pentagon spokesman George Little said, 'We have repeatedly stated that . . . our forces were unable to reach it in time to intervene to stop the attacks.'

These are essentially the same people who had solid intel that could have prevented the 9/11/2001 attacks, but did nothing with it.

Considering recent history, believing a word these vile fucks say is suckerdom to the n-th degree.

TFA highlights (3, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#43667607)

things like policies on "unopened" email older than 180 days. Are we talking about the 'seen' flag being set? or the file being opened? yeah, of course government law enforcement agencies want the power to snoop on this kind of stuff but it sounds like theyre doing it without a warrant to get around the fact that most judges are completely ignorant about email and electronic communication.
then again judges have ruled in the past the FBI does not have this kind of broad jurisdiction to warrantlessly read email, so maybe they really are just ignoring the rulings?

either way, its been proven by multiple school shootings and a recent bombing that spy-on-the-whole-country technology is worthless. it doesnt help anyone prevent or prove crime, it only enables precrime and thoughtcrime to be used as fodder for law enforcement careers and budget proposals.

I do not mind if they do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667619)

as long as I do not get in trouble for using encrypted email!

Hard pressed to disagree (4, Interesting)

bignetbuy (1105123) | about a year ago | (#43667659)

Cue the flamebait accusations....

I'm can't disagree with the U.S. Government's position on this one. If data is sent via the Internet, the world's biggest public network, and isn't encrypted, then why should anybody need anything to read it? Unreasonable search and seizure doesn't apply when one person is talking to another person on a street corner...or on the world's biggest public network.

Encrypt your messages and then an argument can be made for 4th Amendment violations.

Re:Hard pressed to disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667723)

Encrypt your messages and then an argument can be made for 4th Amendment violations.

Try explaining this process to the majority of the American public. Seems like nobody else- particularly the government- will at this point.

At what point, if any, does the relative security of a password protected email client come into play here? Is it completely wrong to assume that passwords imply some modicum of privacy of a conversation among individuals?

Re:Hard pressed to disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667811)

This is not about the interception of plain text messages as they travel through the internet. It is the willful acknowledgement by the DoJ that what is stored (not in transit) on your email hosting provider is and can be ours without cause, need for a warrant, or even an acknowledgement that your email is being reviewed.

Now, I would love to run my own email hosting, However, if you have ever run an email host, you can be rest assured that you will run into problems/headaches/hassles. Most people see email as a magical text message. I hit send, and away it goes. They prefer to pay a company to provide that service for them. Again, most people assume that this also comes with some form of basic privacy protections. However, given that the DoJ can rewrite what is considered "Private" which leaves many/most Americans vulnerable.

data at rest vs. data in transit (2)

PetiePooo (606423) | about a year ago | (#43667873)

If data is sent via the Internet, the world's biggest public network, and isn't encrypted, then why should anybody need anything to read it? . . .

Encrypt your messages and then an argument can be made for 4th Amendment violations.

You're not distinguishing between data in transit and data at rest. And it's an important distinction. Using Google's mail service as an example, my gmail is encrypted in transit via SSL. Always. I use HTTPS-Everywhere plugin to ensure that.

That said, I don't know how Google stores it while it rests on their servers, but it is in that state that the government claims they have a right to inspect it without a warrant. I hope it's encrypted, but it's not under my direct control. And it sounds like government is insisting Google not only give them access but share any keys they use to encrypt the data at rest. That means, if it is encrypted on their servers, that only helps protect it from hackers and accidental disclosure, not from authorized (by Google) agents.

The solution, as you hinted at, would be to encrypt your messages with something like PGP or GnuPG before sending them (in transit) or storing them (at rest) in either your or the recipient's mailbox. That puts the encryption keys squarely under your control, and makes the stored ciphertext inaccessible to the government, but comes with its own usability and key management issues. It's not something your everyday user is going to be comfortable with.

I don't believe that should mean that the less technically adept experience less privacy, but that's just my humble opinion...

Email and chats are like Post Cards (1)

dehole (1577363) | about a year ago | (#43667667)

and should be treated as such. Do you think a post card is a secure way to communicate with someone? If you want your messages to be relatively secure, encrypt them so only the two parties conversing will know the contents. Then they would need a court order to get the encryption key ( if said encryption key doesn't violate your 5th amendment right to not self-incriminate).

I think its better to encrypt everything, rather than having some off-handed comment taken out of context. I have had 0 luck of convincing anyone else I communicate with to employ such measures though, so eh... Face to face communication is more secure anyways.

Re:Email and chats are like Post Cards (2)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#43667751)

Bullshit, the test is and always has been what a reasonable person assumes, and a reasonable person assumes their personal communications between themselves and a second party are not being eavesdropped, recorder, or otherwise sifted through by their government without a warrant! If we are to pervert the basic tenants of the constitution and the bill of rights to what it is possible for a modern surveillance state to achieve then we should just scrap this government and start over.

Re:Email and chats are like Post Cards (1)

dehole (1577363) | about a year ago | (#43667977)

We claim to have the right to privacy, but when we don't do anything to protect that right, we essentially lose that right (see the Patriot Act). I DO NOT agree with what the government is doing here, which is why I advocate securing/minimizing your communications if at all possible. When it comes to the people's rights vs the governments intentions, lately it seems that the government wins.

Re:Email and chats are like Post Cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667905)

Emails are NOTHING like postcards. If I send a postcard, anyone who sees it laying around can pick it up and read it. If I send an email, sure someone who knows what they're doing might be able to read it, but for they would have to put effort into it. If I send a postcard, I'm going to assume people are going to see it laying on a table somewhere and read it. I do NOT assume the same for an email, because, for the most part, that's just not true. You shouldn't have to choose between sending a postcard, and duct taping your letters shut. There should be an in between, which is when you send a letter, and assume that since it's a letter people aren't going to open it. People can open it, of course, but if they do and they get caught there should be a punishment.

What if Twitter and FB disagree? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about a year ago | (#43667677)

Will someone be arrested for obstruction?

Re:What if Twitter and FB disagree? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667791)

Will someone be arrested for obstruction?

No, we won't arrest anyone... ...they'll just disappear

There is a silver lining here (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a year ago | (#43667701)

...show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they're not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail."

That implies that Obama really is trying to keep his promise about transparency, but he is fighting his own organization. The article doesn't mention Obama at all though.

lol privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667709)

NOT ON MY WATCH

Re:lol privacy (1)

slashdyke (873156) | about a year ago | (#43667817)

I would have to agree. Much as I dislike it, there is no privacy, "on my watch". Too many digital cameras with photos to facebook. Too many security cameras. To much data collection. I am sure my bank has a better idea of how much I actually drive, and where I go, based on where I use my debit and credit cards. So, yeah. Privacy? Not on my watch, not until the end of civilization as we have come to know it.

I'm waiting for... (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#43667735)

...the marches and protests on Washington Mall, complete with giant presidential effigies and Hitler mustaches.

Better update my HOSTS file (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667743)

Pretty sure I saw a post somewhere that showed how to prevent this exact situation... can't be too sure though... the post was kinda long...

This just in! (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#43667787)

People aren't encrypting enough...

Its clearly too easy for them. If we encrypt more then they might have a harder time violating rights.

The Constitution V2.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667835)

"You have no rights. That is all."

Much easier to memorise than that old-fashioned, long-winded stuff using complicated words.

Obama, or Holder, or Who??? (0)

jasnw (1913892) | about a year ago | (#43667865)

Since Day 1 of the Obama presidency I've wondered about our Attorney General and the whole attitude and actions of the DOJ. At least once a month they do something that seems counter to what I think Obama and the Democratic Party stand for, and there's no outcry from either. Is Holder like an earlier DOJ Bad Boy (J. Edgar Hoover) in that he has a closetful of incriminating evidence on every politician in DC? The entire bureaucratic structure that is the DOJ needs to be cleaned out and re-staffed, pretty much from the ground up. I don't know if this is carry-forward from people buried deep in the DOJ during the Bush the Lesser years, or if this really is a reflection of what Holder, and perhaps his nominal bosses, want to see happen? I don't want to sound all paranoid about this, but I am.

As usual...... unjust control. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43667889)

There is freedom of speech in Soviet America. There is no freedom AFTER speech.

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