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EFF Sues NSA, Justice Department, FBI

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 333

New submitter Jawnn writes "The Washington Post reports that the EFF has filed suit against the NSA in Federal Court in San Francisco, on behalf of multiple groups (court filing). Those groups include, 'Rights activists, church leaders and drug and gun rights advocates.' EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said, 'The First Amendment protects the freedom to associate and express political views as a group, but the NSA's mass, untargeted collection of Americans' phone records violates that right by giving the government a dramatically detailed picture into our associational ties. Who we call, how often we call them, and how long we speak shows the government what groups we belong to or associate with, which political issues concern us, and our religious affiliation. Exposing this information – especially in a massive, untargeted way over a long period of time – violates the Constitution and the basic First Amendment tests that have been in place for over 50 years.' Apparently, not everyone out there is believing the 'If you have nothing to hide' excuses being offered up from various government quarters."

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Happy Tuesday from The Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301373)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Tuesday from The Golden Girls! (0, Redundant)

MondoGordo (2277808) | about a year ago | (#44301387)

i think that's confidante ... not cosmonaut ...

Re:Happy Tuesday from The Golden Girls! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301627)

YHBT

good (5)

Budgreen (561093) | about a year ago | (#44301377)

we need even more people doing this. .

fourth amendment vs. first amendment (4, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44301443)

my take on this? it's more of a fourth amendment issue than a first amendment issue. i would push both probably, but I understand why one needs to choose a primary target. i guess an open question is, how would you rank order the amendments in terms of importance?

Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (4, Informative)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year ago | (#44301565)

They are all of equal importance.

However to answer your question, you rank their importance by which one appears to be most violated and easy to attack the culprit with.

Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (3, Insightful)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a year ago | (#44301569)

my take on this? it's more of a fourth amendment issue than a first amendment issue. i would push both probably, but I understand why one needs to choose a primary target. i guess an open question is, how would you rank order the amendments in terms of importance?

I'm going for at least a 15-way tie.

Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44301581)

But First is bigger than Fourth....it is counterintuitive, but nevertheless true.

Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44301699)

The fourth amendment's applicability is only certain in the minds of privacy advocates. Legally, the fourth amendment is generally held to mean that the government can't disrupt your life with its searches or target someone specifically without a good enough reason to convince a judge. The NSA's sniffing is legally comparable to a police dragnet checking door-to-door for a suspect - it infringes privacy, but the impact on any particular person's life isn't unreasonable.

On the other hand, the first amendment is a much easier fight. The leaked information shows fairly well that the snooping (or at least its analysis) was targeted before any crime was committed. That means that the NSA's prejudiced against particular groups, and that's within spitting distance of a first-amendment violation.

After showing that some instances violate the first amendment, it's also an easier fight to argue that any wide-spread persistent snooping program is too easily also a violation. It's a similar tactic to the argument that no separate racially-segregated schools can be equal. Then once the first amendment has been invoked to protect people's metadata as free speech, then the fourth can be brought in to argue that any snooping of metadata must be approved by a warrant beforehand.

That also puts privacy in a much stronger place in the long run. By going after the first amendment protection, it can be argued that any aspect of a person's social life is a protected expression (within the limits usually invoked, like prohibiting murder as a form of protest), so that prohibits the government from seeking something the public knows (like a vehicle's whereabouts).

If successful, it could reconcile the public's love of sharing information with the hatred of the government learning that information.

Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301889)

Legally, the fourth amendment is generally held to mean that the government can't disrupt your life with its searches or target someone specifically without a good enough reason to convince a judge. The NSA's sniffing is legally comparable to a police dragnet checking door-to-door for a suspect - it infringes privacy, but the impact on any particular person's life isn't unreasonable.

The reason they take that stance is simply so they can violate people's rights with impunity as long as the violations are not deemed to be 'unreasonable.' Not new, but still pathetic nonetheless. The fourth amendment says no such thing, and no intelligent person would say that collecting data on nearly all Americans in an effort to stop the terrorist bogeyman is even close to reasonable; they would say it's a disgusting practice created by a freedom-hating government. The impact is unreasonable.

Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about a year ago | (#44302043)

The NSA's sniffing is legally comparable to a police dragnet checking door-to-door for a suspect

Nope. It's billions of counts of illegal wiretapping against people who are not suspects. That's why it's a crime.

-jcr

Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (3, Interesting)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44301739)

I would say the 9th is probably the most important and most overlooked.

Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (5, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about a year ago | (#44301805)

here's the basic premise in the founding of the enlightenment model US (boiled down):
rights were given to you by your creator, not by your government.
your government didn't give them to so, they can't take them away.

if any right is allowed to be redefined as a privilege, or if it is re-cast as something "given" to you by a government then all rights can be redefined or recast. and if they are redefined, they can be taken away arbitrarilly. so they are all equally important. if you want to keep any of your rights then you must be pro-gun, skateboarding isn't a crime, don't spy on us, free speach even if i don't like it, punk rock anarchist. anything less is just a slow slide into slavery.

god knows we have too many people who only care about the rights they feel like using. conservative and liberal.

Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44302263)

And then there's this argument: Rights aren't real if they can be taken away from you arbitrarily for no crime whatsoever.

George Carlin rightfully references Japanese-American internment as proof that rights in America are a fiction.

Re:fourth amendment vs. first amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301827)

Simple math... 1st Amendment is a much more powerful right, more potent, and more important, than the 4th Amendment, as far as the courts are concerned. What your take is... really only matters to you, brother.

Re:good (3, Informative)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about a year ago | (#44301575)

This has already been settled in court. If you can't prove that you were harmed by a secret program, you don't have standing to sue. (Regardless of the fact that you can never prove that you were harmed because, you know, it's a secret)

Re:good (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year ago | (#44301621)

But it's not a secret, not anymore, so it hasn't been settled. Since we now know the program exists, and have proof that it exists, the case takes on a whole different aspect (namely, whether metadata collection infringes the various rights granted in the various cited amendments.)

Re: good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301757)

holy irony, "If you have nothing to hide.." are government excuses? THEY should obey this mantra themselves first.

Re:good (2)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about a year ago | (#44301959)

According to the government, it's still a secret program. If something becomes public it does not remove its security designation.

Re:good (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#44302267)

According to the government, it's still a secret program. If something becomes public it does not remove its security designation.

The government can claim that black is white also, but it doesn't make it true. The government has to convince the court that the plain meaning of the word "secret" doesn't apply. Of course, with the Roberts court, the government has a high probablility of doing just that.

Question: how do you get promoted as a judge? By tending to favor people who sue the government or by tending to favor the very people who make appointments to judicial positions?

Re:good (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#44301641)

If you can't prove that you were harmed by a secret program, you don't have standing to sue.

Well, if we have evidence that ALL (meta)calls are being monitored, then that seems like anyone should be able to prove they were harmed.

Re:good (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44301897)

If you can't prove that you were harmed by a secret program, you don't have standing to sue.

Well, if we have evidence that ALL (meta)calls are being monitored, then that seems like anyone should be able to prove they were harmed.

Okay, so legally, how were YOU harmed by this? Be specific, generalities won't get you far in court.

Re:good (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44302093)

I am the government, it acts in OUR NAME. I am harmed when my agent acts contrary to the rules we have set forth for it.

Re:good (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44302295)

Okay, now that we have the high-order generalities out of the way, can you provide some specifics?

Re:good (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44302299)

Tightening the tin foil even harder hurts.

Even worse, the foil rips and I have to get a new one. This gets expensive.

Re:good (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#44302309)

mental anguish

Re:good (5, Informative)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a year ago | (#44301759)

This has already been settled in court. If you can't prove that you were harmed by a secret program, you don't have standing to sue. (Regardless of the fact that you can never prove that you were harmed because, you know, it's a secret)

Precedent has been set, yes. But the ongoing lawsuit Hedges v. Obama may provide a counter precedent. Hedges cannot show he has been harmed by the NDAA of 2012, but he can show that he could be. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. So far he has been successful, but the government is appealing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedges_v._Obama

Re:good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301865)

I am incapable of understanding how its having been a secret is not enough to prove that it is illegal. If it wasn't, there would be no reason to keep it secret because no one would oppose it.

The whole idea of "secret courts" is, in and of itself, ludicrous. Keeping "national security" information from the nation's public whose security is at stake ensures that only those who want to and can do harm will get the information.

Re:good (2)

jcr (53032) | about a year ago | (#44302083)

The whole idea of "secret courts" is, in and of itself, ludicrous.

And unconstitutional.

-jcr

Re:good (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44302063)

This is a very wrong precedent. ANY US CITIZEN has standing against his government acting this way. TO tell me I have no standing while they blatantly and with malice ignore the the 4th is absolute bullshit. The instant they broke the law, I became an injured party. Ignoring the 4th is breaking the law, no matter how 'legal' you make it.

Re:good (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | about a year ago | (#44301657)

NSA just going to find dirt on anyone who tries to do it and put us all in jail..

Re:good (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#44301931)

We need not only people doing this, but we need to draw national and international attention to this. If they start pulling this "national security" excuse the way they have been for years and years (decades has it been? yeah... since Bush's first term and before!) the world will be watching. Stock in US companies will decline until the government begins to answer for its crimes. Money is the only way to see any sort of resolution to the problem. And no doubt the first resolutions will be "yes, of course we will stop doing this... the things you know about... but we won't stop doing the things you didn't know about and we will quietly change the things you knew about so they are now different enough that they are no longer the same thing." They won't "stop" and they won't reform. They'll wriggle and dodge. Then they will get exposed again. It won't be over the first time.

The cries of the people will not bring results. It will be the cries of business and speculators/investors/bankers which will be heard. I don't like the way the system currently works, but if it can be somehow used to make some change, it's good. It's not ideal and we should have something better. But things have to change and the sooner, the better. But more than that, we need some constitutional amendments and/or laws which add specific consequences to government players who violate the constitution. That stuff just can't keep going on.

Re:good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44302137)

Too think the EFF didn't know about this, is an insult to wise peoples intelligence. They are doing what everyone else is doing now that they were caught in bed with the NSA, they are trying to save face.
The EFF should've been more open with what they knew, and they weren't. The EFF is a defunct org, that tries to get people to buy into there "were all about your electronic freedoms" rhetoric. I am just saying when you take a VERY close look at them they are wolfs, pretending to be sheep. More and more people are seeing them like this, and its things like suing government agencies that keep them drawing people in.

I am not saying they are helping the NSA like the big companies, but they are involved on way or another.

Re:good (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44302257)

Why? The state will simply use the "mother may i" word of the day, national security, and it'll all go poof!

The simple fact of the matter, which so many refuse to accept, is this: you can NOT fix a corrupted system by working WITHIN that system...why? Because its corrupted silly! It would be like saying if you played three card monty enough times with the hustler on the corner you would come out ahead. in reality you can't win because if it looks like you have a shot they will just change the rules on you, just that easy.

So I'd wish them luck but all they are doing is pissing money down a rathole, I have a better chance of winning the powerball than they do of winning against the fed over spying, or did everyone forget the immunity for the telecos that the administration supported and got when it looked like their dirty little secrets would come out? the absolute best case scenario would be another Scooter Libby, the fed puts up a scapegoat and gives them a slap on the wrist and the MSM buries the story, game over. More likely they won't even get that, the judges will cockblock them with some catch-22 like "You can't bring a case unless you can prove you were being spied upon...which you can't prove because we won't give you discovery or force them to give you the evidence that shows it was you being spied upon" and again, game over.

Sadly all we can do is grab as much as we can for ourselves and wait for the whole rotten mess to collapse, which with the jobs being sent overseas, 2 wars, and a fed that is printing money almost as fast as Zimbabwe? I predict it won't last another 20 years. This is why all empires fall, they become too nasty and corrupt until the whole rotten mess can't be sustained and it all falls down.

Bravo EFF (5, Informative)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about a year ago | (#44301393)

Again. Go to their site - eff.org - and donate.

Re:Bravo EFF (4, Funny)

SOOPRcow (1279010) | about a year ago | (#44301415)

But then the government will know who I associate with!

Re:Bravo EFF (2)

Salgak1 (20136) | about a year ago | (#44301437)

Like Sprint. . . .they ALREADY know your Friends and Family. . .

Re:Bravo EFF (4, Informative)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#44301531)

Then go here to launder your money:

https://www.humblebundle.com/ [humblebundle.com]

And give 100% to the EFF. You get the XKCD book too.

Re:Bravo EFF (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44301593)

So, you have one more reason to donate, which will cause one more reason to donate, and then only the sky is the limit.

Re:Bravo EFF (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#44302157)

The EFF just started taking bitcoins again. I hear governments hate bitcoins. At worst, they'd probably assume you were buying guns and drugs from the EFF and dodging taxes while doing it. THEN when you revealed that you weren't, the government would be so embarassed they'd probably leave you alone.

Re:Bravo EFF (5, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#44301521)

I wonder when Paypal will stop processing donations to the EFF.

Re:Bravo EFF (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#44301703)

I wonder when Paypal will stop processing donations to the EFF.

Heh, PayPal may stop processing donations (or, rather freeze donations - they'll still take the donations) just because they want the money. It's not like they are regulated.

A more interesting question is when will Mastercard/Visa start blocking EFF? I seem to recall that they did that once against Wikileaks after a few passionate speeches by senators.

Re:Bravo EFF (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44301857)

A more interesting question is when will Mastercard/Visa start blocking EFF? I seem to recall that they did that once against Wikileaks after a few passionate speeches by senators.

Probably never. While WikiLeaks was quite happy to ignore US law in its "protests", the EFF has danced happily within the realm of legality for its muckraking. Sure, they annoy politicians, but they do so while staying within the law. They're a champion of freedom that everybody can publicly support... and if one politician ever attacks them, his opponent will enjoy the boost in public support.

Re:Bravo EFF (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44301557)

Fuck that, how do I sign on for the class-action?

Re:Bravo EFF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301873)

I can't, Visa and Mastercard are blocking payments now!

Re:Bravo EFF (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#44302051)

The DHS will finally have RMS in its crosshairs. Alien vs Predator...

Re:Bravo EFF (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about a year ago | (#44302243)

Good point.

...aaaaaaand done.

Re:Bravo EFF (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#44302317)

Again. Go to their site - eff.org - and donate.

I just did. They are still taking PayPal, and I don't give a rat's arse what alphabet agency puts me on their little watch list. It was time to put some money where my mouth is.

It's time to take a stand, people.

Donar here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301405)

Best money I ever spent.

Re:Donar here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301639)

D('donar', 'donor') == D('donar', 'doner')

If I had a doner kebab here I would probably say the same.

I hear drones flying by now! (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year ago | (#44301407)

Not nice to fool around with spy agencies.

If you have nothing to hide (3)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44301451)

then it's still none of their damn business. Consittutionally speaking.

Re:If you have nothing to hide (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44302215)

It's more than that. It is their legitimate business to look for people of some types (criminals, terrorists, spies, etc.), but what the innocent have to fear from broad sweeps is a very real problem even if everybody has good intentions: false positives. They aren't just hypothetical. They really happen [wikipedia.org] . On top of that, how do you know your friends aren't themselves a problem, or that they've never ever been involved with anything questionable, or that they aren't connected to someone who is?

So, even if you have "nothing to hide" there are things to fear from these activities. I really don't want my door broken down by a SWAT team or worse because someone goofed up a fingerprint (what happened to Brandon Mayfield) or a fricking IP address.

Sue the government? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44301459)

Only if it gives permission.

Lots of luck.

Lawsuits and protests are proving to be ineffective as governments around the world grab more and more power. The time to hit the next level is rapidly approaching. The enemy has yet to reveal its true face.

Re:Sue the government? (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44301541)

We've seen its face before. It's just been a long time since we saw it up close and personal.

Re:Sue the government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301789)

We just need people to speak up against it. If you have good speech skills please help. If you don't, donate a few dollars. This is probably more important that what you are going to spend that money on.

nothing to hide? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301495)

If there is nothing to hide then let the government bare all and come forward. Unless they DO have something to hide (Illegal activity we've been hearing about the last few years for starters)...

Yee Ha! (5, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about a year ago | (#44301513)

Lets see how far we can get. We all need to donate. This is a test of our very democracy. I fear its long gone.

Re:Yee Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301583)

From outer your country it looks like there is no democracy in the USA.

Re:Yee Ha! (2)

crakbone (860662) | about a year ago | (#44301679)

The U.S. is a Republic. Think your Democracy test is going to fail.

Re:Yee Ha! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44302069)

Why can't we have a moderation "-1, Stupid"?

Re:Yee Ha! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301785)

The EFF has been doing this for years.
It's just gaining traction because, for some fuck unknown reason, it's in the media spotlight now.

Where the fuck was the investigative journalism when all these dark data centers and closed room telco data taps were being built? You know, the ones that have been reported here on Slashdot for a damn near decade?

This is only in the spotlight now because it's politically convenient for some one, for some reason. Don't be manipulated. Keep your eyes open. Look for the strings on the puppets and follow them to the source.

Re:Yee Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44302219)

No, it's in the news again because now we have proof that the surveillance wasn't just phone numbers and call times (pen registers), it was that PLUS call CONTENT being saved for future mining (and from all types of communication, phone, email, chat, etc.) .

Big difference in what Snowden is telling us, especially since "they" (under Bush II) told us they WEREN'T storing or mining call content.

But those of us with a sense of history knew that Bush II story was BS, so none of this is a real surprise. Governments since ancient Sumer have been spying on their own folks, the only thing that changes is the technology involved in the spying and the amount of data that can be collected. What matters is whether the government that uses the data comprises folks the likes of Gandhi or Hitler.

And I bet all those undersea cable breaks in 2008-2011 that pushed all the traffic from the mid east, india, near east, and far east onto under-surveillance lines routed through the US were all "accidents", too.

I'm not paranoid, I'm a student of history...

Ubiquitous Franklin quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301527)

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security...

Re:Ubiquitous Franklin quote (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301753)

Oh FFS with this already.

Here read this at least:

http://www.lawfareblog.com/2011/07/what-ben-franklin-really-said/

Then try to do some research and read some college history texts.

Re:Ubiquitous Franklin quote (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44302109)

I prefer this angle:

Liberty is guaranteed by the Constitution; safety and security are not.

Re:Ubiquitous Franklin quote (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#44302205)

OK, I read it. So he was talking about surrendering liberty to a wealthy family, rather than to a government entity. It's still a relevant quote.

Re:Ubiquitous Franklin quote (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about a year ago | (#44301825)

A republic if you can keep it.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301529)

I really do not have anything to hide but I sure as hell don't want people (anyone, including the Government) peeking in my windows, monitoring who, what and when I call, e-mail or otherwise have contact with. I hope (with little faith) the lawsuit brings more to light and seriously opens eyes. I really love my country but I am afraid it is well on its way to an Orwellian, pussy-whipped, politically correct version of what it once was.

Re:Well... (3, Interesting)

stanlyb (1839382) | about a year ago | (#44301619)

Well, what's wrong with actually having anything to hide? No, really, you make it sound as it is a bad thing, but please, show me where in the constitution it is written that if you have something to hide, the minimum sentence is 4 years, for example...

Re:Well... (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44302125)

Ace Ventura said it best:

"That's none of your damn business, and I'll thank you to stay out of my personal affairs."

The impact of metadata surveillance (5, Insightful)

gentryx (759438) | about a year ago | (#44301547)

Today, most US media seem to be obsessed with pointing fingers at Snowden. What few people realize is how this total surveillance of NSA and GCHQ tilt the balance of powers. Using graph theory, it is possible to compute (just from knowing who's talking to whom) who the agitators are in any given movement. If the Brits would have had the same technology back in 1770, there would have been no American Revolution. They'd simply have pinpointed and jailed the members of the Committees of Correspondence, leaving the revolution headless. A malevolent government could use this technology to suppress its own people. This is too much power.

Re:The impact of metadata surveillance (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about a year ago | (#44301709)

Would government controlled media behave any differently? That being said, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have to at least consider that we have a small bird of the family anatidae on our hands.

We are too focused on direct forms of control, the old communist and fascist couldn't even DREAM of what we have today, and it is all done with a fabric of self sustaining bribery.

http://cryptome.org/2012/07/gent-forum-spies.htm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301741)

http://cryptome.org/2012/07/gent-forum-spies.htm

Re:The impact of metadata surveillance (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301819)

If the Brits would have had the same technology back in 1770, there would have been no American Revolution.

Wow. A pro-NSA posting on /. that is not instantly modded as Troll?

Re:The impact of metadata surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301935)

Are you British?

Re:The impact of metadata surveillance (5, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44301915)

This. The real problem is misuse, not use for finding terrorists. As long as there is one secret room in one of these multiying billion-dollar data centers, it's all for naught.

Let us listen in on the Republicans, or Democrats, and see their strategy. Then we can preemptively counter it with trial balloons, dirty tricks, astroturfing, and so on. This crap is bad enough without the power to make any of the opponents' plans stillborn or DOA.

Let's check up on candidate X. No alarms go off. See his calls, and calls of those he calls -- ooh, he's talking to someone rich, or a PAC. How can we discredit them?

Of course, Snowden claimed he could listen directly to their phone with no alarms going off, but even without, it's a dangerous power.

"They can't do that" is toothless if it's just a manual requirement for forms and permission, instead of uncorruptible logging and alarms going off in 50 managers' offices.

Re:The impact of metadata surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44302319)

This has been going on since government was founded, and people didn't have a problem with it then. If you have free time check out in a search FBI surveillance, they tagged just about anyone and everyone who they deemed a threat, MLK jr, even the Kennedy's, anyone and everyone that was involved with equal rights, or fighting for freedoms. The mainstream Media is a tool for government, this is why I do not listen or bother with them. ANd there were various underground media sources reporting about this type of wide open surveillance for the last 10 years, and the same people on slashdot kissing the EFF's butt are the same ones that laugh out loud, that government agencies could have the ability to conduct such surveillance.

You have only yourselves to blame, for laughing at those people that warned you of this. And this all started long before the patriot act, but the patriot act gave them free reign to do whatever to whomever.

I'm sure the Jews in Germany though... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301549)

Thought they had nothing to hide too...

You may have nothing to hide now but how do you know that after the next election the government wont start targeting the group you are affiliated with. Don't think it can happen... During the last election the IRS targeted conservative non profit organizations...

Maybe next time the government will target liberal organizations... Remember McCarthy?

Re:I'm sure the Jews in Germany though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44302175)

Thought they had nothing to hide too...

Other than the horns.

Re:I'm sure the Jews in Germany though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44302231)

I'm sure the Jews in Germany though...Thought they had nothing to hide too

We're talking about people, here.

During the last election the IRS targeted conservative non profit organizations

They're just the ones who were reported on.

Re:I'm sure the Jews in Germany though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44302279)

left-handed dentists without tonsils (thank you, Berkeley Breathed).

GLWT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301553)

n/t

Its not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301645)

Apparently, not everyone out there is believing the 'If you have nothing to hide' excuses being offered up from various government quarters."

It's more along the lines of:

Just because you carry a little blue/green card, know the names of all 52 states, and signed some documents swearing allegiance to the good ol' USA doesn't actually mean you are trust-worthy.

And

Just because you have a little booklet with some stamps in it saying you are good to visit doesn't mean you are trust-worthy.

If one should not trust the government which consists of people then why should one trust the populace which also consists of people.

EFF - Defender of citizen rights??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301721)

I seem to remember them ignoring human experimentation of US citizens by means of radio by an AI operated by the US government.

Probably more agents than an independent body. How many stars did Google get for 'having your back' on data privacy??? lol.

Pointless (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44301723)

The EFF suing the NSA is like me challenging Mike Tyson to a fistfight.

Re:Pointless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301981)

The strength is in numbers, how about 10 of you against mike tyson, i highly doubt he can overcome that. The more people that come together the easier and faster this shit can get undone

Re:Pointless (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44302187)

Mike could take ten of me quite easily. That's actually my point. How many toddlers could you take on? Five, ten, fifty? I'll bet you could take on an unlimited number of toddlers. The EFF could throw every cent and every lawyer it has at this and it won't make a dent.

Why First Instead of Fourth? (5, Interesting)

organgtool (966989) | about a year ago | (#44301763)

I imagine the court will say that the government is not stopping anyone from exercising their rights to free speech simply because they are recording their conversations and building graphs of associations. It would seem more effective to claim these rights under the Fourth Amendment since this deals more with privacy than the First Amendment. In any event, this will likely end the way it did the last time the EFF tried to sue the federal government - the court will seek documents from the security agencies, the security agencies will claim that they can not reveal that information for reasons of "national security", and the court will say that the EFF doesn't have a case since they don't have any evidence due to the fact that the defendant refuses to provide the documents the court requested. This is how fascism begins in a democracy.

Re:Why First Instead of Fourth? (3, Informative)

betterprimate (2679747) | about a year ago | (#44302065)

They already tried to use the Fourth Amendment. Problem is you basically have to make the government admit to how they violated the fourth amendment:

"The EFF is demanding that the Justice Department immediately process the records previously requested under FOIA and are asking for the feds to compensate them for any attorney fees incurred in their lawsuit against the government.

'As Congress gears up to reconsider the FAA, the American public needs to know how the law has been misused," EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel says. 'The DOJ should follow the law and release this information to the American public.'" http://rt.com/usa/blanketing-spy-program-information-983/ [rt.com]

More...

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/08/court-ruling-that-nsa-spying-violated-4th-amendment-remains-secret/ [arstechnica.com]
http://ncjolt.org/eff-seeks-answers-from-secret-court-in-ruling-on-nsa-spying-violations/ [ncjolt.org]
https://www.eff.org/document/complaint-19 [eff.org]

Re:Why First Instead of Fourth? (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year ago | (#44302087)

I imagine the court will say that the government is not stopping anyone from exercising their rights to free speech simply because they are recording their conversations and building graphs of associations.

The first also covers freedom of association, which is infringed by the government building graphs of all associations, just as it would infringe free speech if they bugged everyone's living room. More on Freedom of Association here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_association [wikipedia.org]

Awesome News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301925)

The will be the highest profile case yet by the EFF. I hope it gains mass media attention.

If we didn't have anything to hide then everyone should be able to see everyone's business, not the select few.

List of plaintiffs (4, Interesting)

gnujoshua (540710) | about a year ago | (#44301937)

The plaintiffs include:
  • First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles
  • Bill of Rights Defense Committee
  • Calguns Foundation
  • California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees
  • Council on Islamic Relations
  • Franklin Armory
  • Free Press
  • Free Software Foundation
  • Greenpeace
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Media Alliance
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
  • Open Technology Institute
  • People for the American Way, Public Knowledge
  • Students for Sensible Drug Policy
  • TechFreedom
  • Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

Logic hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44301943)

I'd just like to drop by to point out the huge gaping hole in the "if you have nothing to hide" argument. I currently have nothing to hide, because I follow the laws. The thing that concerns me is that some point in the future, new unjust laws will be created, such as "it is illegal to speak anything negative about the U.S. government", and now they have record of you doing so. Nevermind the fact that it would violate freedom of speech, and the banning of an ex post facto law... our rights are plummeting like Facebook stock. Already our right to bear arms is all but removed, and judges are now denying some people jury trials. How many more times must the gov't destroy the Constitution before enough people get angry? I don't mind if the Constitution is changed; there are clear protocols for doing so spelled out in the document itself. However, until that day comes, it is the highest form of law in the land, higher than any federal law, judge, or even POTUS or SCOTUS.

Easy to Abuse (3, Insightful)

PineHall (206441) | about a year ago | (#44302057)

My big concern is how easy it is to abuse this information in big ways.

"Mr President, we have information from an anonymous source (wink, wink) that you opponent is talking to Joe Smith. Now we know (wink, wink) that Joe has some connections to some shady characters. Your official reelection campaign does not need to worry about this. I am going to pass on this information to some of your supporters and they will break the news with some attack ads."

That temptation is use this information to gain an advantage is great. The argument that it will only be used to fight terrorism assumes that those with access will always work for the good of all and ignore any personal advantage they could gain. We all are by nature selfish and will usually act to our advantage. That bunch of good old boys that will not always do the right thing, especially since they operate in secrecy with minimal checks. It is too easy to abuse this information.

Donate, donate, donate (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#44302077)

Put your hands in your pockets ladies and gents, girls and boys, support the cause with your monies. Let's bring these dogs to heel.

Just like where I've left my car keys (1)

bytesex (112972) | about a year ago | (#44302089)

The NSA already knows the outcome of this trial.

fair shake of the sauce bottle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44302129)

... excuses being offered up from various government quarters ...

If they've done nothing wrong, they'll have nothing to hide. Of course, they will scream "national security" instead and bury this court case.

The next NSA leak (1)

alispguru (72689) | about a year ago | (#44302221)

... needs to be the metadata of phone records for Congresscritters, and their staff. They're already required to log physical visits by lobbyists - seeing who calls whom during breaks in legislative sessions would be even more interesting.

Maybe that would convince them that easy global access to traffic analysis is too dangerous for routine government access.

Already tried, complete fail (1)

pongo000 (97357) | about a year ago | (#44302331)

In dismissing the case, the court agreed with the precedent set in two other cases, which basically said that Americans donâ(TM)t even have the right to sue their government over its surveillance program, unless they can prove that their communications were intercepted. Of course, thatâ(TM)s essentially impossible since the program is classified and you canâ(TM)t use classified documents in court, even if you somehow got your hands on them.

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/10/why_you_cant_sue_the_government_for_spying_on_you/ [salon.com]

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