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Judge: NSA Phone Program Likely Unconstitutional

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the stop-listening dept.

The Courts 345

schwit1 writes in with the latest on an U.S. District Court ruling over NSA spying. "A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency's phone surveillance program is likely unconstitutional, Politico reports. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon said that the agency's controversial program, first unveiled by former government contractor Edward Snowden earlier this year, appears to violate the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which states that the 'right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.' 'I cannot imagine a more "indiscriminate" and "arbitrary invasion" than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval,' Leon wrote in the ruling. The federal ruling came down after activist Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit in June over the program. The suit claimed that the NSA's surveillance 'violates the U.S. Constitution and also federal laws, including, but not limited to, the outrageous breach of privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of association, and the due process rights of American citizens.'"

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345 comments

About time (5, Insightful)

Todd Palin (1402501) | about 4 months ago | (#45707771)

Now the NSA will appeal. Off to the Supreme Court it goes. About fucking time. It is time to enforce the fourth amendment. I hope there are many more fourth amendment challenges in the pipeline. The bill of rights is the only thing left to save us from government tyranny.

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707853)

Don't worry, even if they thought it wasn't below them to ignore this, the president's administration will make up an excuse to "justify" the agency's practices. Or come up with another dog and pony show of an "oversight" committee made up of people with a complete conflict of interest regarding privacy and constitutionality.

Re:About time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708241)

Why are you being so coy?

The OBAMA Administration will appeal this because Obama feels he has the right to know all about you. Yes, boys and girls, while Bush signed he law, Obama is wielding it.

Re:About time (1, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 4 months ago | (#45707861)

The problem with knee-jerk assessments, which most people are operating under (Fourth Amendment, unreasonable search and seizure) is that there are all sorts of vague bits of the constitution and other amendments which leave wiggle room for things which fall under "National Security" and have done for a long time.

There's this comical belief that Congress should have the ability to approve of War Powers, which the constitution clearly states are those powers reserved to the President. Which is a way of saying, what you think it should be and how it is is not always clear cut. There's always the possibility of a Split decision by the Supreme Court, where an opinion of the court states that in the time of war, or potential war, the Executive Branch may be delegated certain abilities. Defining when hostile threats are likely or not, that's not the purview of the court.

It will certainly, no matter how it is ruled, be interesting reading.

Re:About time (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 4 months ago | (#45707895)

If a President is going to have War Powers, shouldn't there be a war going on?

Last I looked Congress are the ones that get to say when that is.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708083)

It's kind of depressing that we've circled back to these arguments over the last decade. Takes me right back to the days of "we're not even officially at war with Iraq, call your congresscritter to get them to end this mess"

Re:About time (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 4 months ago | (#45708153)

Sounds great in theory, but it's political naivety at best to assume that's the way to resolve the situation. Google for what happens when any politician dares to claim we're not currently at war in Iraq or Afghanistan. The American people often stand in the way of the obvious solution.

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708433)

If a President is going to have War Powers, shouldn't there be a war going on?

Dude, we've always been at war with Eastasia.

Re:About time (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 4 months ago | (#45708567)

If a President is going to have War Powers, shouldn't there be a war going on?

Dude, we've always been at war with Eastasia.

I think the general category is "Terrorists" and at least on specific one is "Al-Qeada", although "American Taliban", "Religious Extremists" and various other enemies of the State are used as needed. Should be a Bingo game - you get the park a peanut on a square each time one is mentioned in the news or in a press briefing.

Re:About time (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#45707951)

"The problem with knee-jerk assessments, which most people are operating under (Fourth Amendment, unreasonable search and seizure) is that there are all sorts of vague bits of the constitution and other amendments which leave wiggle room for things which fall under "National Security" and have done for a long time.

There's this comical belief that Congress should have the ability to approve of War Powers, which the constitution clearly states are those powers reserved to the President. Which is a way of saying, what you think it should be and how it is is not always clear cut. "

Wow. You have a pretty bizarre view of the Constitution. I suggest you sit down and actually read it sometime. Soon.

Re:About time (5, Informative)

GodInHell (258915) | about 4 months ago | (#45708027)

The constitution says that the Congress shall have the power: "To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;" which sounds a lot like "war powers" to me. I must have missed the part where the Article I grants the president the power to declare war (hint, it doesn't).

Re:About time (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#45708071)

No president has. They declare "police actions" and bypass the constitution. The federal government basically suspended the constitutional oversights on themselves during the civil war, and never saw the need to abide by it again.

Re:About time (5, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#45708121)

When a black body like the NSA oversteps their bounds, especially to the degree they’ve admitted, much less been reported, then they need to be stopped.

The real problem is this. You can’t do anything about it. You can elect all the new politicians you want. You can chuck out anyone you want in elected positions. The NSA isn’t elected, and isn’t going anywhere. And does know ALL the skeletons of those who are elected. So that they can be manipulated to not looking into the NSA activities.

THAT’S why they need to be stopped.

Re:About time (3)

mugnyte (203225) | about 4 months ago | (#45708387)

While I don't (yet) believe the NSA is blackmailing the rest of the government to obey its wishes, I don't think they are "going to be stopped" in any meaningful way. Instead, I think we're going to pick ever-more-hair-splitting rules for technology's use in policing. The reason effect is that they'll just go underground for a bit.

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 months ago | (#45708427)

If they're not going to be meaningfully stopped, then their version of blackmailing is already working.

There isn't any practical difference.

Re:About time (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 months ago | (#45708133)

The wiggle room I'll give the NSA and other "Security" Agencies is enough to make the noose around their neck comfortable, but not enough to take it off completely. What the NSA has done, is created enough wiggle room to take the noose off their necks, and put it on everyone else's necks.

They say they "only" collect Metadata, well isn't that fine and dandy! I'm in the industry, and given enough metadata, you can reconstruct the data you need, and often better detail than it was before. And in the case of Databases, metadata IS the valuable bits needed to form the surveillance state. Since the data being monitored and collected can easily be tied back to a person / group, you've done nothing except remove the data only one step away from being a breach of the 4th Amendment, and nothing else. The same intrusion happens, and you're not fooling anyone, except those that parse words very carefully. Like Clapper's famous "non-lie".

Re:About time (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 4 months ago | (#45708361)

There's this comical belief that Congress should have the ability to approve of War Powers, which the constitution clearly states are those powers reserved to the President.

Throughout history, there tends to be a problem when the president can do whatever the fuck he wants without legislative oversight...

Re:About time (4, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | about 4 months ago | (#45708385)

There's this comical belief that Congress should have the ability to approve of War Powers, which the constitution clearly states are those powers reserved to the President.

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

What Constitution are you reading? The congress pretty clearly has the power to declare or not a war.

Re:About time (2)

msauve (701917) | about 4 months ago | (#45708425)

There's this comical belief that Congress should have the ability to approve of War Powers, which the constitution clearly states are those powers reserved to the President.

Uh, have you actually read the Constitution?

Congress has the power to

"provide for the common Defence ... declare War, ... raise and support Armies, ... provide and maintain a Navy ... To make Rules for the ... Regulation of the land and naval Forces ... To provide for calling forth the Militia to ... suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions ... To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States..."

The President gets to be Commander in Chief.

The enumerated powers are pretty lopsided against your claim.

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 4 months ago | (#45708447)

There's this comical belief that Congress should have the ability to approve of War Powers, which the constitution clearly states are those powers reserved to the President.

Actually the constitution gives congress the ability to declare war. You are actually thinking about the War Powers Resolution of 1973 which allows the president to have 48 hours to notify congress that he committed armed forces to military action and they can't operate more than 60 days without authorization from congress or a declaration of war.

Anyway the War Powers Resolution wasn't used to authorize the NSA to collect phone data. It was explicitly given by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act of 2001. This surveillance program was enacted by congress and approved by the president. This is not a case of executive power being abused, instead this is an abusive law.

Re:About time (4, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45707883)

Yeah, last time this question got to the supreme court, the court's reaction was "you can't prove you're being spied on, go away"

And of course, we were being spied on, and the courts refusal to grant standing is one of many extremely poor choices by the court in the Bush years(they didn't stop with bad decisions when Obama arrived, not saying that).

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

asylumx (881307) | about 4 months ago | (#45708179)

one of many extremely poor choices by the court in the Bush years(they didn't stop with bad decisions when Obama arrived, not saying that).

I'm glad some people recognize that this isn't anything new. When the Patriot Act passed, many of us saw this coming but it seems like all the outcry now is just too late. It was obvious that the gov't would data mine the entire population to accomplish their goal, and it was obvious that the data they were collecting and mining would end up getting misused by people all over the chain of command. Lo and behold, that is exactly what is happening.

This does need to go to the supreme court, and hopefully the court will see reason. I'm not sure what I expect to happen, though, since (as you mentioned) both parties have shown that this kind of surveillance is something they support.

Re:About time (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 months ago | (#45707913)

Off to the Supreme Court it goes.

To get rejected for lack of standing, or some other legalistic mumbo jumbo.

Re:About time (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#45708007)

"To get rejected for lack of standing, or some other legalistic mumbo jumbo."

No. There is no "lack of standing" excuse anymore. We now have proof beyond doubt -- many times over -- that the NSA's activities have chilled speech and caused corporations to go out of business.

Re:About time (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 months ago | (#45708053)

No. There is no "lack of standing" excuse anymore.

And who is going to correct SCOTUS if they choose to pretend that there is?

We now have proof beyond doubt -- many times over

We also have a SCOTUS that has been stuffed with authoritarian sycophants.

Re:About time (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#45708143)

"And who is going to correct SCOTUS if they choose to pretend that there is?"

Everybody.

Look... SCOTUS is a branch of the Federal government, just like the other two. It is not immune from image problems (especially in recent years, when it has demonstrably failed to do its job again and again and again).

They just could not get away with that ruling, because everybody knows that it would be a lie.

And just in case you hadn't read your Constitution lately: SCOTUS judges are not "appointed for life." They are appointed during "good behavior". If they exhibit something that is not "good behavior" (as such a ruling would be), they CAN be removed from office.

Re:About time (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#45708197)

Everybody

Look... SCOTUS is a branch of the Federal government, just like the other two. It is not immune from image problems (especially in recent years, when it has demonstrably failed to do its job again and again and again).

How cute and naive. The Supreme Court is immune to "image problems". Unless any of the justices have done something that Congress has decided they should be impeached for then they will face no consequences.

Re:About time (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#45708307)

"How cute and naive. The Supreme Court is immune to "image problems". Unless any of the justices have done something that Congress has decided they should be impeached for then they will face no consequences."

*I* am naive? That's hilarious.

Try this on for size. [wikipedia.org]

As James Madison famously wrote about in his Report of 1800, the Supreme Court is no more "immune" from politics than any other branch of the Federal government. Asserting otherwise is just plain ignorant.

Re:About time (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#45708459)

*I* am naive? That's hilarious.

You're correct. Your naiveté is quite hilarious.

Try this on for size. [wikipedia.org]

Did you have some actual argument? Why would the president use that when the Supreme0 Court is siding with him?

As James Madison famously wrote about in his Report of 1800, the Supreme Court is no more "immune" from politics than any other branch of the Federal government. Asserting otherwise is just plain ignorant.

Get back to me when they actually do face a consequence. I won't hold my breath?

Re:About time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708199)

> "And who is going to correct SCOTUS if they choose to pretend that there is?"
> Everybody.
> They are appointed during "good behavior". If they exhibit something that is not "good behavior" (as such a ruling would be), they CAN be removed from office.

It's politically unfeasible. The tyranny of the majority crushes your grass-roots movement of posting to /.

Re:About time (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about 4 months ago | (#45708321)

Everybody.

Oh aren't you adorable. Since when has even a significant percentage of "everybody" cared about adherence to the Constitution? The reality, if you actually talk to people, is that the vast majority of Americans would applaud SCOTUS for helping keep us safe from terrorists.

Look... SCOTUS is a branch of the Federal government, just like the other two. It is not immune from image problems (especially in recent years, when it has demonstrably failed to do its job again and again and again).

Image problems, no. If a SCOTUS justice embarassed the government, say by pulling a Rob Ford, he'd be impeached no problem. But no SCOTUS justice will ever be impeached for rubberstamping policies approved by both other branches of the government, even if they are blatantly unconstitutional.

They just could not get away with that ruling, because everybody knows that it would be a lie.

Both the President and Congress are perfectly happy living with that lie. The American people are too divided by party politics to even notice that they are being conspired against by both parties. SCOTUS would absolutely get away with that ruling.

And just in case you hadn't read your Constitution lately: SCOTUS judges are not "appointed for life." They are appointed during "good behavior". If they exhibit something that is not "good behavior" (as such a ruling would be), they CAN be removed from office.

And who is going to do that? The same Congress that has failed to censure James Clapper for perjury?

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708389)

Yeah, but who gets to decide if they are going to be removed?

Re:About time (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 4 months ago | (#45708195)

and caused corporations to go out of business

That opens the door to the SCOTUS's other favorite "get out of hard decisions free" card: they can declare the point moot since their decision won't un-bankrupt the corporations.

Re:About time (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#45708245)

"That opens the door to the SCOTUS's other favorite "get out of hard decisions free" card: they can declare the point moot since their decision won't un-bankrupt the corporations."

No, it doesn't, because they don't have any way around the "chilling speech" issue.

Re:About time (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45708047)

I'm pretty sure they can't use the "no standing" argument anymore since Snowden documents showed the NSA was actually doing it.

Re:About time (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#45708155)

And who is going to stop them exactly? That's before you get to the fact that the Supreme Court is in no way forced to hear the case even if there is standing.

You've got it wrong. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707947)

About fucking time. It is time to enforce the fourth amendment.

It isn't that the 4th Amendment isn't being enforced, but rather that there are conflicting ideas about how the 4th Amendment applies. I'm sure you think you know, but is yet to be seen how the courts will decide. It isn't 1789 anymore, and the 4th Amendment has been applied to a lot of situations and there is a lot of legal history (precedent) as to how it applies. It is entirely possible, maybe even likely that they will win at the trial court and lose on appeal. Only time will tell.

The fact that there are now courts in two different jurisdictions in conflict could make review by the Supreme Court more likely if the result doesn't change on appeal. It is way too early to pop champagne yet, there is still a long road ahead before this is truly decided.

Applies to call content only ? (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 4 months ago | (#45708161)

I expect that the Court will only prohibit warrantless access to the phone call's content, the conversation. The the two phone numbers, a timestamp and a duration will probably still be accessible without a warrant.

"Court" refers to US Supreme Court (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about 4 months ago | (#45708231)

To be clear, "the Court" is referring to the US Supreme Court. I believe they have authorized "metadata" in the past, addresses on envelopes.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708405)

The only thing? Not so. 'We' did it in 1776, and 'we' can do it again.

Bwahahahaha... (as if)

Career suicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707789)

So long Mr. Leon, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Re:Career suicide (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707899)

Life tenure

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_judge#Tenure_and_salary

Re:Career suicide (0)

Qzukk (229616) | about 4 months ago | (#45708227)

Don't worry, the NSA will find his kiddy porn even if they have to fake the encrypted 3.5" floppy disks with thousands of horrible pictures nobody can see, found in an abandoned shack next door to the judge's garder's dog walker.

Re:Career suicide (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#45708261)

Which doesn't mean what you think it does. Congress can remove justices. It's their Constitutional authority. Did you not bother to read either the second or third sentences of that section?

NSA Press Release (5, Funny)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#45707791)

"That's nice."

-NSA Press Secretary

Re:NSA Press Release (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708131)

"Silence the Judge."
-NSA General Keith B. Alexander.

Yea but nothing happened (2)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 4 months ago | (#45707839)

FTA: He said was staying his ruling pending appeal "in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues."

Re:Yea but nothing happened (1)

robinsonne (952701) | about 4 months ago | (#45707915)

Nothing was going to happen anyways since this guy's verdict is restricted to only his court's jurisdiction. Unless the SCOTUS wants to weigh in and give the (correct) answer, and have the attorney general prosecute the law breakers, if everyone doesn't get automatically pardoned anyway, nothing will happen regardless.

Re:Yea but nothing happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708065)

Um, he's a federal judge.

Re:Yea but nothing happened (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#45708293)

So what? His judgement still only applies to his jurisdiction. Since he's a district court judge it is quite a limited one.

Re:Yea but nothing happened (4, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 4 months ago | (#45708401)

His verdict applies tothe entire country. His 'limited jurisdiction' only applies to the types of cases he can take, not to a specific region.

"In general, federal courts may decide cases that involve the United States government, the United States Constitution or federal laws, or controversies between states or between the United States and foreign governments. A case that raises such a "federal question" may be filed in federal court."

http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/UnderstandingtheFederalCourts/Jurisdiction.aspx [uscourts.gov]

Re:Yea but nothing happened (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 4 months ago | (#45708211)

He's a federal judge. If he did not stay the ruling, the NSA would be forced to stop. Granted there is obviously going to be an appeal, but during the appeal process the NSA would have to follow the original ruling.

Follow up Headline (5, Funny)

TheGeneration (228855) | about 4 months ago | (#45707841)

"NSA decides it doesn't care what the constitution says and keeps on doing what it wants."

Re:Follow up Headline (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45707905)

I'm pretty sure you could start arresting people at that point, though.

Re:Follow up Headline (5, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 4 months ago | (#45708069)

"You could, but frankly, we'd rather talk about the 16.76 GB of underage duck-rape porn that you downloaded between August 6, 2004 and September 30 of the same year. Why don't you have a seat over there?"

But 60 Minutes said it was fine!! (2, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 4 months ago | (#45707849)

And also that Edward Snowden was a cheater!

Re:But 60 Minutes said it was fine!! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 4 months ago | (#45707927)

And also that Edward Snowden was a cheater!

"National Security" forgives a lot of sins.

Re:But 60 Minutes said it was fine!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707977)

And also that Edward Snowden was a cheater!

So is any company that benefits from the NSA's or any other intelligence agencies industrial espionage program.

Re:But 60 Minutes said it was fine!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708049)

You are a paranoid conspiracy theorist.
US intelligence agencies don't have industrial espionage programs.

Re:But 60 Minutes said it was fine!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708265)

Yeah, the part that I thought was particularly distasteful was spying on Airbus and giving all the secrets to Boeng.

Of course they do. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 4 months ago | (#45708325)

US intelligence agencies don't have industrial espionage programs.

Of course they do, industrial espionage is within their original scope of operations [wikipedia.org] so they've been doing it all along.

Link to Huffington Post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707875)

At least try to find an 'original' source and not just a news sausage maker.

It's Bush's fault! (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | about 4 months ago | (#45707877)

Oh wait, he appointed Leon... Now I don't know who to hate, maybe it will just have to be the whole government!

Re:It's Bush's fault! (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 4 months ago | (#45708337)

Ah, yes, the retarded partisan that has to defend his own side at all costs. And people wonder why this country is going down the shitter.

from TFA.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707887)

"But in his a 68-page, heavily footnoted opinion, Leon concluded that the government didn't cite a single instance in which the program 'actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack.'"'

Who wants to bet there'd be a false flag coming soon, that the gov't miraculously stops via this very program? Hrmmmm...

Here is a reaction by Snowden upon this ruling (5, Informative)

vikingpower (768921) | about 4 months ago | (#45707889)

In a New York Times article, [nytimes.com] Snowden reacts, stating:

"“I acted on my belief that the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts. Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.”"

Re:Here is a reaction by Snowden upon this ruling (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 4 months ago | (#45708039)

Chin up, Mr. Snowden. The government of the US may believe you're a traitor, but the time will come when you're seen as one of the heroes and guardians of liberty.

Re:Here is a reaction by Snowden upon this ruling (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708127)

The Chinese and Russians he conceded he gave intelligence secrets to for permission to travel through their territory and for temporary residence respectively certainly think he's a hero.

Re:Here is a reaction by Snowden upon this ruling (3, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#45708259)

[Citation needed]

Or: you are a liar.

Re:Here is a reaction by Snowden upon this ruling (2)

houghi (78078) | about 4 months ago | (#45708331)

I hope that when he gets back to the USofA it will be not by a pardon or by giving him amnesty, but because he is welcomed as a hero.

Like they give a shit. (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about 4 months ago | (#45707961)

They do what they want. Need court order? No problem, they just set up a secret court, that spits out authorizations, in secret, when they want it, they can even back date it.

Oh, this shit is all illegal? No worries, nobody will go to jail. They'll just say it was to catch them pedophiles.

January 2, 2014 News Bulliten (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707981)

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon has been discovered with child pornography, cocaine, Al Qaeda literature, plans to bomb Congress and Justin Beiber albums.

When asked he said the albums were for his grand-daughter. Everything else was a plant by the Government.

Fox News reported that this Liberal Activist Judge is the norm for Democratic Presidential nominations and his guilt is obvious.

Sean Hannity states, "This is where Obama has pushed us."

Rush says, "What! What do you expect from a Democrat!"

Stewart makes some jokes...

Colbert makes some jokes...

Mahr makes some jokes...

The Internet talks out of their collective asses ....

And we make one more step towards World wide totalitarianism.

It's gonna happen. Just when I get hope of the future more shit happens that shows the dystopian future of scifi authors is coming true.

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707991)

But without all the mass surveillance how will the NSA keep us safe from people like this [slashdot.org] that cold fjord is pissing himself over?

Judge says Snowden guiltless patriot (2)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 4 months ago | (#45708013)

What's the difference? There is no difference. Someone revealed that crimes were being committed by the government. At great personal and professional cost. That person is a hero. This is as stupid simple as morality gets.

I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708037)

We find this guy hiding out in Russia and try him for the treasonous swine he is. Let the prison system determine just how he should be dealt. I say rotate him through at least one prison in each of the states.

The Jury

Re:I say (4, Insightful)

mugnyte (203225) | about 4 months ago | (#45708303)

Because not knowing that everything you do is traced is safer than knowing? He broke the law because the US government is lying to its citizens. Is the government completely immune to breaking the law? Should Watergate have only been about two rogue reporters?

Re:I say (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708411)

Redrum and Hofbrau did not do the break in of the brothel. x It was Bart Renault would done that.xIt's liken if it was n't for this man the world is safer. Learn stuff next time before.x

Just metadata could catch the Founding Fathers (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#45708057)

See, if they had just done it with proper warrants, even if just thru the secret FISA court, it would be fine. Now they're gonna get their ass rammed by constiutional challenge..

And deservedly so.

hmmmm. (4, Insightful)

jafac (1449) | about 4 months ago | (#45708059)

I reckon it's about time for another "crisis" to remind us all why we need to keep the NSA apprised of all of our private activity. For our own safety, of course.

Now just hold on there (2)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 4 months ago | (#45708061)

So you're telling me a secret program authorized by a secret court to ubiquitously collect private information about U.S. citizens was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ constitutional rights?

The hell you say.

A clean judge? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708063)

I guess that judge didn't have any skeletons in his digital closet against which the NSA could apply "leverage."

Arbitrary? (1)

bogidu (300637) | about 4 months ago | (#45708077)

You mean like DUI checkpoints?

Re:Arbitrary? (3, Informative)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 4 months ago | (#45708277)

You mean like DUI checkpoints?

Driving is not a constitutionally protected right. Most states issue drivers licenses as granting the driver the privilege of being allowed to drive on public (i.e., government built and owned) roads. If you don't like the terms, you are free to not accept them but then you also may not use the state's roads.

DUI checkpoints have only been ruled unconstitutional when it was shown that cars being stopped were driven by members of identifiable ethnic groups. The stop itself was not unconstitutional but the uneven application of who got stopped violated "equal protection under the law."

Cheers,
Dave

Re:Arbitrary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708335)

Please also note that advanced warning is required for DUI checkpoints.

Re:Arbitrary? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708499)

"If you don't like the terms, you are free to not accept them but then you also may not use the state's roads."

Drink the Kool-Aid much? The "state's roads" are part of the commons. They belong to everyone. The illusion that the state has to somehow grant me the privilege of being on public property is an outrageous fabrication. (Hint: Where is the public land where it's not a "privilege" to be there, in your estimation? Oh right, there isn't any...)

Re:Arbitrary? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 4 months ago | (#45708345)

You mean like DUI checkpoints?

DUI checkpoints are illegal in my state (Washington State).

Freedom - it's what's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The flaw with the business dealings argument. (2)

Egdiroh (1086111) | about 4 months ago | (#45708103)

All of the times when cases like this have gone the other way, the precedent cited was one about business dealings, which being voluntary, void your sole oversight over the details of those dealings.

The problem with that argument as it pertains to cell phones, is that the government maintains a monopoly on the airwaves which it licenses out to cell providers. It would be like the government licensing out all roads to be toll roads and then getting to track your movements because they were part of a business dealing.

What is the Limit (3, Interesting)

mugnyte (203225) | about 4 months ago | (#45708235)

If not this phase of technology used for National Security, there will be some other. In any case, what level of technology use by the government is safe or allowed? I suspect this issue/case is just one of a myriad of ongoing decisions to balance the use of technology for crime/safety while letting everyone (at least) feel like their privacy is respected.

[it doesn't take much to envision a stability to just-appearing technology so that they become applicable in many potentially intrusive ways...drones hovering above public places using instant facial recognition to identify any person-of-interest, without need to publish why interest arose...infra-red cameras on streetlights to track who is in each home and when...ubiquitous vehicle-tracking, engine-disabling technology to capture any suspect in a vehicle...100% person-presence tracking]

The technology is going to be everywhere, and it's understanding by the general populace is shrinking. The technocrats will provide the tools for the aristocrats and both will try to balance between appeasement and revolution by the rest of society. Choosing to avoid technology now will only handicap you. Some as-yet-unknown sci-fi authors will be heralded as prophets.

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