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EFF Tells Court That the NSA Knowingly and Illegally Destroyed Evidence

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the was-that-wrong? dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 269

An anonymous reader writes in with this latest bit of EFF vs NSA news. 'We followed the back and forth situation earlier this year, in which there were some legal questions over whether or not the NSA needed to hang onto surveillance data at issue in various lawsuits, or destroy it as per the laws concerning retention of data. Unfortunately, in the process, it became clear that the DOJ misled FISA court Judge Reggie Walton, withholding key information. In response, the DOJ apologized, insisting that it didn't think the data was relevant — but also very strongly hinting that it used that opportunity to destroy a ton of evidence. However, this appeared to be just the latest in a long history of the NSA/DOJ willfully destroying evidence that was under a preservation order.

The key case where this evidence was destroyed was the EFF's long running Jewel v. NSA case, and the EFF has now told the court about the destruction of evidence, and asked the court to thus assume that the evidence proves, in fact, that EFF's clients were victims of unlawful surveillance. The DOJ/NSA have insisted that they thought that the EFF's lawsuit only covered programs issued under executive authority, rather than programs approved by the FISA Court, but the record in the case shows that the DOJ seems to be making this claim up.'

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269 comments

the dog ate my homework (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168499)

that excuse always works for me.

Re:the dog ate my homework (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168617)

it seems to work for President Obama too.

Re:the dog ate my homework (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168677)

But his Imams never bought into the excuse.

Re: the dog ate my homework (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168761)

Nah, he just read about the dog eating his homework in the news the next day.

The dog has eaten the Constitution (3, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 months ago | (#47169717)

If that dog only ate your homework the consequence is limited between that dog and you

But in the reality is that the dog, aka, the Government of the United States of America, has eaten the Constitution

The Constitution of the United States of America used to be the HIGHEST LAW OF THE LAND, used to be , no longer, because the way that motherfucking dog is behaving, it not only ignores the Constitution, it goes directly AGAINST what the United States of America is all about !

We call ourselves a "democracy", we call ourselves "the land of the free, home of the braves" ?

Well ... the only FREE thing is the freedom of that fucking dog in destroying the country, and the BRAVERY of the government to LIE UNDER OATH !!

It's not that I like to swear, it's not that I enjoy using vulgar words, but as an American, I simply can't stand any longer what is going on !!

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169997)

Oh, shut up!
You still have the freedom to be brave and bash your government and the government has the freedom to bash your head for it.

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (1)

Camael (1048726) | about 2 months ago | (#47170115)

You still have the freedom to be brave and bash your government and the government has the freedom to bash your head for it.

Spoken by an Anonymous Coward.

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (3, Interesting)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 months ago | (#47170687)

You still have the freedom to be brave and bash your government and the government has the freedom to bash your head for it.

Spoken by an Anonymous Coward.

There's being brave and then there's being suicidal.

The United States of America had many Anonymous Cowards who agitated for Freedom. They were anonymous - or pseudonomous - because they wanted to be able to keep on saying it instead of saying it once, dying, and having no further voice in the matter. Some had to flee the country entirely.

Of course, we are much more civilized today, and we'd never see anyone have to flee just because they spoke up for freedom and the Constitution now.

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170759)

You still have the freedom to be brave and bash your government and the government has the freedom to bash your head for it.

Spoken by an Anonymous Coward.

There's being brave and then there's being suicidal.

The United States of America had many Anonymous Cowards who agitated for Freedom. They were anonymous - or pseudonomous - because they wanted to be able to keep on saying it instead of saying it once, dying, and having no further voice in the matter. Some had to flee the country entirely.

Of course, we are much more civilized today, and we'd never see anyone have to flee just because they spoke up for freedom and the Constitution now.

LOL !

If George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and all the founding fathers of USA all opted to be anonymous cowards they wouldn't dare to sign the Declaration of Independence in the first place, and of course there would never be any United States of America at all !

Man, you Americans have grown so weak and pussay !!

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (2)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 2 months ago | (#47171731)

He's talking about Thomas Paine.

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about 2 months ago | (#47175329)

If George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and all the founding fathers of USA all opted to be anonymous cowards they wouldn't dare to sign the Declaration of Independence in the first place, and of course there would never be any United States of America at all !

Man, you Americans have grown so weak and pussay !!

If George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and all the founding fathers of USA were sitting at a table in a room with red-coats ringed around, inside and out, they probably wouldn't have spoken up too loudly. Or at all.

You conspire together first. When actual revolution comes, that's when you can band together in the open and hope you don't get completely crushed.

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171093)

That's because you can have either freedom or democracy, but not both at thee same time. Democracy is the rule of the people. So, either the mob can vote whatever the f*** they want to, trampling your rights, ignoring constitution, whatever, as long as they get a 51% majority, that's democracy (and no freedom) - or they can't, they are bound by laws, constitution - then you possibly have freedom but definitely not democracy.

The US constitution doesn't use the "d***cracy" word for a reason. The Founding Fathers knew that it was the precise antithesis to freedom. Liberals seem to think that it is prerequisite - and so, here we are in this mess.

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47173369)

I concur with Churchill, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

Re: The dog has eaten the Constitution (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 months ago | (#47171469)

As long as you just complain while they take assertive action, they will win.

You're just an example - we have a broad coordination problem. We either need to solve that or get a message to future generations to not adopt this kind of system.

Re: The dog has eaten the Constitution (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#47172935)

You're just an example - we have a broad coordination problem. We either need to solve that or get a message to future generations to not adopt this kind of system.

I agree with you on many things, Bill, but this isn't one of them. I mean yes, we do need to put a foot on the head of Congress until they wise up. BUT...

The system is just fine. It isn't broken. What's broken are the corrupt people in it. And they have taken every opportunity to corrupt it further, even when their actions were blatantly illegal.

If everything went according to the rules -- even the existing rules -- we wouldn't be having these problems.

Just about any system imaginable can be abused. That doesn't mean the system is bad. It just means the abusers are bad.

Re: The dog has eaten the Constitution (1)

Sciath (3433615) | about 2 months ago | (#47182595)

I'd have to agree in large part. Which comes first though, morals or a form of government? Is government premised upon morals or visa versa? That's the problem in America. I think the operation of government is premised upon cultural norms and morals. And in America today there is a crisis of morals. It's become a truly dog eat dog arena. People even pride themselves on how many and in what way they have (fucked) gotten over one someone else. The macho-macho man attitude dominates everything Americans do and they relish the praise and attention. From our financial markets to our sporting events bravado reins. There was a time that Americans weren't such attention seekers and braggarts. We even stayed out of the war until we were forced into it. But when we did do something we did it together and with humility. Humility in modern America is an extinct animal. We've become so proud of ourselves, so into ourselves that we're incapable of recognizing our own hubris. Pride goeth before the fall???

I think you CAN stand it, and even LIKE it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171845)

We call ourselves a "democracy"

And that's accurate. We are the dog.

Talk to people, or shit, just read Slashdot. In general, most people think the Constitution has bad some things in it, that We The People disagree with, and that the country would be better off without.

We don't all agree on which parts of the Constitution are bad ideas and shouldn't really be in the Constitution, but we're nearly unanimous in that there's stuff in there that we want to get rid of (but are too pussy to formally amend).

Then we turn our disagreements in a democratic strength, for trade. I'll look the other way when you undermine that part if you'll look the other way when I undermine this part. "Trade ya a fourth amendment for a second. Deal? Yay, we both win!"

as an American, I simply can't stand any longer what is going on

Lots of people say that, but on November 5, 2014 let's have a look at the election results and see if a significant fraction of voters have even tried (I'm not even going to discuss the silly idea of actual victories) to vote out the Democrats and Republicans. I predict that approximately 99% of the people who say they can't stand it, will be proved to have been blowing hot air.

(Proved. I won't be waxing philosophical or speculating or spouting vague "social science." I'll be pointing at cold hard election numbers which conclusively show an objective truth. Just like in 2012 and 2010 and 2008 and 2006 and 2004 and ...)

If you're the one person in a hundred who actually follows through, good for you. But you understand that any betting person, would be pretty justified in saying that you're lying about not being able to stand it anymore, don't you? Even if they're wrong that you're lying about not being able to stand it, don't you agree that all the numbers will suggest that most people who say that, are lying?

Put up or shut up, America. You do have a democracy, and you just don't like how you constantly make such awful decisions, like a sorority girl who gets drunk every single night.

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (1)

mrjimorg (557309) | about 2 months ago | (#47171973)

Would you guys stop calling us a democracy!? We were a republic. Here is the difference:
Democracy- You vote on each law
Republic- You for for representatives who vote on laws
Dictatorship - Government by one who dictates (rules with a pen and a phone)

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 months ago | (#47172017)

Your definition of democracy is only of one type known as "direct democracy". There are also semi-direct and representative democracy variants. There is much more nuance than you make it seem.

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (1)

PhloppyPhallus (250291) | about a month and a half ago | (#47203261)

Or you could actually look up the meanings of those words and discover that:

A democracy is simply a government where power is ultimately wielded by the people who are governed, whether directly or indirectly.
A republic is merely a government without a king or other hereditary ruler.
A dictatorship is a government ruled by a dictator, who singularly holds absolute power over the government.

These definitions are clearly not mutually exclusive--a democracy is often a republic (the US) but sometimes not (the UK). A dictatorship is often a republic (the Syrian Arab Republic), but is sometimes not (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). However, a dictatorship is never a democracy, except, I suppose, in the unlikely case of a country populated by a single person!

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about 2 months ago | (#47175301)

we call ourselves "the land of the free, home of the braves" ?

Only in Atlanta. The rest of us prefer "Home of the brave."

Re:The dog has eaten the Constitution (1)

Sciath (3433615) | about 2 months ago | (#47182429)

Ditto.

Re:the dog ate my homework (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168781)

Nah, he just read about the dog eating his homework the next day. Found out with the rest of us

Re:the dog ate my homework (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 months ago | (#47169285)

"I have a dog?"

Re:the dog ate my homework (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168843)

Now do all you fucking Kool Aid drinkers understand what a piece of shit Obama and his minions are?

Don't even fucking utter the word Bush, he's painting in his bath tub. Your stinking turd is running the show now.

Re: the dog ate my homework (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168937)

Bush. Bush. Bush. Bush. Who the fuck started this? Who started the "you're with us or you're with the terrorists" bullshit, which apparently is good up until a Democrat gets elected. Whose people got journalists and TV personalities fired for daring to question him? Who avoided killing bin Laden so we'd have a bogeyman to justify his illegal wars?

Screw you. Your people started this, and I am (seriously) sorry that Bush's replacement hasn't cleaned up the mess that people like you created. I don't think highly of the guy, at all, but you do not get to deny the situation we got put in which has enabled all this.

Re: the dog ate my homework (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169601)

Actually, Bush didn't create the mess. Jimmy Carter did with his incompetence in dealing with Muslim extremists and Billiary Clinton helped with the bombing of the Afghan aspirin factory during their administration.

It is funny to remember all the hatred of Bush over his policies. Now, Obama was kept those policies and added to them. He, Obama, has gone Nixonian on the USA.

Re: the dog ate my homework (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169665)

Actually, Bush didn't create the mess. Jimmy Carter did with his incompetence in dealing with Muslim extremists and Billiary Clinton helped with the bombing of the Afghan aspirin factory during their administration.

It is funny to remember all the hatred of Bush over his policies. Now, Obama was kept those policies and added to them. He, Obama, has gone Nixonian on the USA.

All the presidents since Eike's time are responsable. If you think otherwise you have a very rosy view of the executive power in the US. Not a single one of them had the opportunity arisen would have passed over the power grab made by Bush Jr & Co.
The real failure here is Congress. Congress has to act as a counterbalance to the executive power, the problem is those fuckers after 9/11 essentially abdicated their role.
They gave carte blanche to Bush and now to Obama to do whatever the hell they want and the Constitution be damned.

Re: the dog ate my homework (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169719)

Anyone subpoena'd to explain this will require total immunity from prosecution. If Congress doesn't grant total immunity to all who are named and involved, they will be protected via Executive Privilege.

C'mon, do you not Eric Holder?

Re: the dog ate my homework (1)

just_a_monkey (1004343) | about 2 months ago | (#47170117)

If only there was some way to change a bad president, or a unresponsible congress, if The People felt that they didn't do their jobs the right way

Re: the dog ate my homework (1)

Sciath (3433615) | about 2 months ago | (#47182751)

Except when it comes to national health care and now the bringing home of some dumbass army ranger in exchange for some Taliban for which the republicans want to impeach him now.

Re: the dog ate my homework (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47174857)

You do realize that it was Reagan who, while still a presidential candidate, made a deal with Iranian revolutionaries to prevent/sabotage the release of hostages under Carter's tenure, and who then had the CIA fund Al Qaeda for their fight against the Russians in Afghanistan? You do realize that don't you?

Re: the dog ate my homework (1)

Sciath (3433615) | about 2 months ago | (#47182715)

Quite right. In some respects Obama is even worse. His draconian immigration practices are worse. His prosecutions in the 2007-2008 financial collapse has been non-existent. He's continued Bush's surveillance policies, even expanded them. His administration has continued and encouraged practices that promote mixing religion and government. His use of drones has more than doubled while the FCC has pushed for legislation to limit civilian use of drones. He's failed in his efforts to close Gitmo (as he promised). His DOJ has allowed increasing number of monopolies in various industries. He's failed to pursue and get any job protections for Americans (as he promised). He's promoted policies to further restrict self defense rights. He's talked the talk but hasn't walked the walk. Sorely disappointed in the first black president. He's turned his back on American freedoms.

Re: the dog ate my homework (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about 2 months ago | (#47175337)

Bush. Bush. Bush. Bush. Who the fuck started this?

"He started it" didn't work in 3rd grade, it sure as hell doesn't work here either. Give that up.

Re:the dog ate my homework (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168949)

Tar baby Obama aint my turd so I can bring up Bush all I want. Obama is just Dubya's more well spoken but equally incompotent clone. Both of them should be executed for war crimes.

Re:the dog ate my homework (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 2 months ago | (#47169295)

it seems to work for President Obama too.

The actual excuse he uses is "I didn't know about it until I saw it on the news."

So... to summarise: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168511)

Destruction of evidence makes the NSA guilty.
- EFF, 2014

Re:So... to summarise: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168531)

The destruction of that data is required by law. EFF tried to go on a fishing expedition.

Re:So... to summarise: (5, Informative)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 months ago | (#47168593)

The preservation order overrides any policies and destruction rules.
They knew that to destroy those records was both illegal and obstruction.
As to fishing expedition, apparently the judge didn't think so.

Re:So... to summarise: (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168601)

The destruction of that data is required by law.*

*only when it conveniently helps the government.

Re:So... to summarise: (1)

Spamalope (91802) | about 2 months ago | (#47172333)

The destruction of that data is required by law.*

*only when it conveniently helps the government.

Report any data harmful to the NSA as having been destroyed by an automated process per policy. No person is took any objectionable action, and 'policy' is responsible.

Actual destruction of data is optional. Archive it on another classified system and nobody else can reach it.

Re:So... to summarise: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168841)

The destruction of the data and ALL derived data is required. FAIL

Re:So... to summarise: (5, Interesting)

dnavid (2842431) | about 2 months ago | (#47168919)

The destruction of that data is required by law. EFF tried to go on a fishing expedition.

Both the FISA court and Federal court eventually decided that the NSA was both allowed to, and required to, preserve information relevant to the ongoing cases, and the NSA both knew this and also eventually advocated for this position. See: https://www.techdirt.com/artic... [techdirt.com] .

Court-ordered legal discovery also has force of law and would supercede any legal requirement to destroy information by plaintiffs or defendents.

And the DOJ did not assert the EFF was on a "fishing expedition"; it argued that it misunderstood the scope of discovery, and would not have destroyed the information in question if it did (which seems highly improbable given the circumstances).

Bad DOJ (3, Interesting)

Camael (1048726) | about 2 months ago | (#47170153)

And the DOJ did not assert the EFF was on a "fishing expedition"; it argued that it misunderstood the scope of discovery, and would not have destroyed the information in question if it did (which seems highly improbable given the circumstances).

That is an unbelievably stupid argument by the DOJ. It's common sense that when the court orders you to preserve documents, you hold on to any documents which may remotely be affected at all. This is a clear cut case of contempt of court and ought to be prosecuted as such.

The DOJ is setting a fine example for all other law abiding citizens out there. I expect to see more "I misunderstood the scope of discovery" excuses in forthcoming civil and criminal cases.

Re: Bad DOJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170821)

That's not actually the case here. See, unlike the boogeyman that someone is artfully crafting in the media, the NSA isn't spying on each individual. They're snarfing up all the data they can, and then, only under a very narrow ruleset, looking at the small.parts.they have permission to. Now, the systems are set up to purge data before it has been retained beyond the limit of law(my system does this automatically) and data that is kept has to be pulled out. This is a privacy safeguard that your strawman deliberately ignores. So, unless you have pulled the data, in a specific manner, its gone. This is not a bad thing. If one guy misinterpreted the preservation order as described, this exact situation will happen. Its not a DOJ destroying evidence thing, its an artifact of a set of systems meticulously built to comply with the law. There's a reason the folks lkistening in on their exes got caught. The system is designed to the ruleset presented by congress and the courts.

Re: Bad DOJ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47172603)

Yes, we all know this.

The point is that once the order was given for discovery, the automated delete/purge systems should have been turned off for the records in question. This is SOP for ANY records management system when litigation occurs.

NSA/DOJ is claiming "ohhhh....you meant THOSE records, we thought you only meant the records created under executive authority".

They did not "misinterpret" the order (actually there have been various data preservation orders), they willfully ignored it. Court documents show that NSA/DOJ knew full well that the retention order covered FISA as well as executive order.

Re: Bad DOJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47172641)

Yeah, keep repeating the party line, NSA shill.

Re: Bad DOJ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47173735)

See, unlike the boogeyman that someone is artfully crafting in the media, the NSA isn't spying on each individual. They're snarfing up all the data they can, and then, only under a very narrow ruleset, looking at the small.parts.they have permission to.

I don't believe they abide by the rules. This case would seem to support that believe as they haven't felt the need to obey a very obvious court order then be deceptive about it. This is based upon their lawyers not being incredibly incompetent but why did they hire them if they are?
Also any data they share with GCHQ isn't held under their rules.

Re: Bad DOJ (1)

dnavid (2842431) | about 2 months ago | (#47174611)

That's not actually the case here. See, unlike the boogeyman that someone is artfully crafting in the media, the NSA isn't spying on each individual. They're snarfing up all the data they can, and then, only under a very narrow ruleset, looking at the small.parts.they have permission to. Now, the systems are set up to purge data before it has been retained beyond the limit of law(my system does this automatically) and data that is kept has to be pulled out. This is a privacy safeguard that your strawman deliberately ignores. So, unless you have pulled the data, in a specific manner, its gone. This is not a bad thing. If one guy misinterpreted the preservation order as described, this exact situation will happen. Its not a DOJ destroying evidence thing, its an artifact of a set of systems meticulously built to comply with the law. There's a reason the folks lkistening in on their exes got caught. The system is designed to the ruleset presented by congress and the courts.

If it was a legitimate and reasonable error, the guidelines for federal discovery specify that the offending party should not face serious sanctions. However, that's not the case here for several specific reasons. First, the DOJ attempts to argue that the misinterpretation was that the discovery order only involved programs authorized by Presidential directive and not FISA court approved programs, however the discover orders make no such reference nor can any such reference be reasonably made. Second, the NSA specifically made a request to the FISA court to allow them to preserve that very information beyond its normal expiration date, implying they had already temporarily suspended purging that information pending the court ruling. Therefore, suggesting that the data was automatically purged by default is false: the NSA already implied in court documents that they had taken steps to preserve elements of that information they deemed useful to themselves for the purposes of these court cases. Third, the DOJ was explicitly asked by plaintiffs in one of the related cases to explicitly notify the FISA court that the documents in question should be preserved for discovery, and the DOJ failed to notify the FISA court. The DOJ's excuse was that they disagreed with the plaintiffs in that case and thus felt there was no need to notify the FISA court, but that's either gross incompetence or willful fraud: according to the rules for discovery, the DOJ does not have the right to simply disagree with a party's discovery request and ignore it, as they claimed they did. The DOJ lawyers should know that: its a fundamental rule of how discovery works in US courts. The DOJ had an obligation to present that request to the FISA court and then attempt to get an evidentiary ruling before choosing to ignore it.

More simply, you can't argue the data was deleted "automatically" because the NSA had already made efforts to preserve it past its expiration. Second, you can't argue the DOJ was reasonable in its belief the data was irrelevant because the discovery order explicitly covers it. And third you can't argue the DOJ was acting in good faith because they deliberately failed in its fundamental responsibility to the FISA court to report any discovery or evidence preservation request, something the FISA court itself called the DOJ on.

But its actually worse than that. The evidence now suggests that all of this was a legal ploy, something the judges in both courts (Federal court and the FISA court) now seem to be aware of. When the DOJ was asked to hold the documents, they didn't go to the FISA court initially and ask the FISA court for permission to hold the data for evidence in the Federal court case. They asked the FISA judge for permission to hold the data indefinitely. The FISA court refused, and the DOJ then told the Federal court that it couldn't hold the data because the FISA court said no. But the FISA court found out about it (via a restraining order request) and essentially scolded the DOJ for attempting to perpetrate a fraud on the court. The FISA court explicitly told the DOJ that by asking for an indefinite stay and not telling the FISA court it was trying to fulfill a discovery order, it had deliberately misled the FISA court.

This is not a case of the EFF on a fishing expedition, nor is it a case of a legal technicality being blown out of proportion. Both the Federal court judge AND the FISA court judge are essentially calling the DOJ lawyers out for attempting, in a legal sense, to get Mommy to overrule Daddy by playing legal games, in defiance of the law. If the offending party was any entity other than the US government, they would almost certainty be facing simultaneous contempt of court rulings.

Re: Bad DOJ (1)

Camael (1048726) | about 2 months ago | (#47177097)

To the AC supporting the DOJ :-

While your explanation sounds plausible at first blush, other commenter smarter than I here have pointed out various flaws in your explanation you would do well to address.

The fundamental problem with your explanation is that no one really knows how the system works except for the NSA. And given that the Director of National Intelligence himself was caught telling untruths to Congress while under oath [nytimes.com] , and deliberately refused to correct the error when he had a chance to do so [theguardian.com] , you should understand why it is difficult to grant any benefit of doubt to the NSA when they give out their explanations.

To put it bluntly, the gut instinct of anyone who catches a liar is to disbelieve everything he says unless backed by solid evidence.

Re:So... to summarise: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171249)

So when do we stop thinking of the NSA as an organization vs real people, and start putting the real people in jail?

Re:So... to summarise: (3, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 2 months ago | (#47168611)

- EFF, 2014

Go destroy some evidence in a case against you where a judge has ordered you to preserve it. Let me know how that works out for you. The NSA will get away with it. You'll be asking Bubba to make sure he uses some lube.

Re: So... to summarise: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168759)

I wish more people weren't willing to put up with their government breaking the law. We should be up in arms about shit like this because it decays the very foundations of this country.

Re: So... to summarise: (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168835)

Why the fuck aren't you, if you think it's such a good idea? You want the meat, you butcher it your own goddamn self. Whining that something should be done, but isn't, and insinuating that you're not doing it yourself == makes you a useless tool. Grow a fucking pair and stand behind your beliefs or shove it.

Re: So... to summarise: (4, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 months ago | (#47169263)

Why the fuck aren't you, if you think it's such a good idea? You want the meat, you butcher it your own goddamn self. Whining that something should be done, but isn't, and insinuating that you're not doing it yourself == makes you a useless tool. Grow a fucking pair and stand behind your beliefs or shove it.

Because if one or two people that are fed up act on it and they get brushed off, 20 people act up get sent to jail, 200 get still get sent to jail but get a dismissive blurb in the local paper, 2,000 they get pepper sprayed and leader charged with inciting riot, 20,000,000 get a senator or two to half heartedly admit there might be an issue that might need looking into and never do anything substantive, It takes a critical mass to effect change

Re: So... to summarise: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169347)

Considering that voter turnout in the US isn't very high (especially for non-presidential positions), 20 million motivated people would go far.

Re: So... to summarise: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169709)

It takes a critical mass to effect change

It doesn't have to. Just a handful of carefully placed bullets ought to do the trick.

Re: So... to summarise: (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 months ago | (#47170291)

Shooting politicians will almost certainly effect change, but it most likely won't be the change that you're looking for.

Re: So... to summarise: (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47170857)

Perhaps only if you don't reach critical mass. Shoot more of them until the point is well understood.

Re: So... to summarise: (1)

Rakarra (112805) | about 2 months ago | (#47175415)

Perhaps only if you don't reach critical mass. Shoot more of them until the point is well understood.

Do you not realize that the "average person" would be absolutely horrified by political assassinations? The MASSES would be the ones angrily demanding a crackdown, and there would be no need for any media manipulation to convince it of them. Nothing would have a greater effect to increase the power of the surveillance state.

Re: So... to summarise: (1)

q4Fry (1322209) | about 2 months ago | (#47181099)

Perhaps only if you don't reach critical mass. Shoot more of them until the point is well understood.

If I reply to this comment, does that put me at one degree of separation from a suspected terrorist? O.o

Re: So... to summarise: (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 months ago | (#47170135)

Because if one or two people that are fed up act on it and they get brushed off, 20 people act up get sent to jail, 200 get still get sent to jail but get a dismissive blurb in the local paper,

You're a fool for assuming that doing something to stop this, requires violent protests. That would be counterproductive, no matter how many people you have on your side.

Meanwhile, those same 2,000 people, in a single congressional district, can swing the outcome of the vote. Even just the fear of that, will make the representative in question ready to do whatever your bidding... Including starting an congressional investigation into NSA's practices.

Hell, with your proposed 2 million people, even with them only just voting the way you tell them, you would be the dictator of whatever the state, and would completely determine all the races for senator and house representatives in that state. You would single-handedly choose which Presidential candidate wins that state, which could be HUGE. You would have the heads of both the political parties, coming to your home on a regular basis, trying to find out what they can possibly say or do that month, to get you to vote for their side in the next election.

Re: So... to summarise: (4, Informative)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 months ago | (#47170575)

It actually turns out to be very easy to do something about it:
https://supporters.eff.org/don... [eff.org]

Re: So... to summarise: (4, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 months ago | (#47171357)

Supporting EFF is a good start, I agree, but it's no magic solution. Remember, EFF's lawsuit about the NSA dragnet was completely stopeed in its tracks by the "state secrets" defense for YEARS, until Snowden's leak put the relevant info into the public domain, when it was finally allowed to proceed.

Re: So... to summarise: (2)

Camael (1048726) | about 2 months ago | (#47170195)

It takes a critical mass to effect change

AC has a point, albeit somewhat crudely worded. You need a trigger to start the critical mass rolling. We might still have racial segregation today if Rosa Parks obediently gave up her seat when ordered to do so [wikipedia.org] . Mahatma Gandhi did not have that critical mass when he started his Salt March [wikipedia.org] , the march inspired many other to join him and later turned into civil rebellion.

Of course its easier to say it can't be done, sit back and complain over the internet =)

Re: So... to summarise: (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 2 months ago | (#47174853)

Well, the unprovoked brutalization of 'Occupy' protesters (on several occasions, in several locations) didn't trigger shit. What's it gonna take this time around? It really does seem like the American public is so apathetic that we can pretty much rule out any sort of widespread rebellion.

Re: So... to summarise: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170829)

You're numbers are off:
"And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
Singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an
Organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
Fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and
Walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement"

Thanks, Arlo!

Re: So... to summarise: (1, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 2 months ago | (#47169397)

We tried that already with the Occupy movement. It ended up being judo'd into supporting those rat bastard "Tea Party" conservixtremists.

The problem is that it is angry average Joe against teams of highly intelligent, highly motivated, professional weasels working for the big two parties. And unfortunately, they have been equipped with knowledge of human psychology, economics, and anthropology.

WHAT? What drugs did you get at the occupy rally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169979)

"We tried that already with the Occupy movement. It ended up being judo'd into supporting those rat bastard "Tea Party" conservixtremists.

Sorry, but there's simply NO WAY you were not on SOME drug when you typed that!

The "Occupy Movement" was synthetic - it was setup by organizers affiliated with the Democrats who recruited and/or encouraged a bunch [youtube.com] of losers [youtube.com] to "take to the streets" and "occupy" a few parks - but was NEVER intended to succeed in doing ANYTHING to the Wall St. Bankers who FUNDED Barack Obama. "Occupy Wall Street" was an attempted leftist-populist SMOKESCREEN sponsored in many ways by the Democrats [cbsnews.com] who, you will note, spoke glowingly [youtube.com] about the movement and refused to enforce many laws against its actions (for as long as it was useful). It was an attempt to create a counter-balance [occupydemocrats.com] to the TEA partiers on newscasts through an election cycle (originally, to get Obama through 2012, but now bits are trying to re-ignite for 2014 [dccc.org] ). The "occupiers" were "useful idiots" who undoubtably stood for many OPPOSITE THINGS from the TEA Party, but did not understand that their true masters would never let them be effective [salon.com] ; that was NOT the plan. They were NOT "judo'd into supporting" the TEA Party. .. the individual "occupiers" were just used by the politicians and their friends at ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC etc for an election cycle and then were discarded [youtube.com] when the tactic failed to convince middle America that the TEA PArty was equally synthetic and obnoxious. Every polluted park, drug overdose, rape, smashed window, etc just further highlighted the complete CONTRAST with the TEA Partiers who did no none of those things.

"The problem is that it is angry average Joe against teams of highly intelligent, highly motivated, professional weasels working for the big two parties"

No. The problem is [1] that the many "angry average Joe" characters you cite are angry about DIFFERENT THINGS and want to go in ENTIRELY different directions for solutions, and [2] that the government is now SO big and involved in EVERYTHING that polititians can easily create a myriad of "wedge issues" to get various "angry average Joes" to support them (beacause of those "wedges") as they harm those Joes with other policies. The "Angry Average Joe" who goes to "occupy" thinks the solution is Marxism (even though that has NEVER worked). The "Angry Average Joe" who joins the TEA Party wants to go back to the small government with limited authority our founders gave us (which DID work). These positions CANNOT be merged; they are POLAR OPPOSITES. This gets gamed by politicians who then argue over things like abortion, gay marriage, global warming, etc as a way to drag people to their sides REGARDLESS of issues of Marxism vs Freedom (and, yes, those two are OPPOSITES... you CANNOT re-distribute wealth without first STEALING it at gunpoint)

So much anger... (1)

Camael (1048726) | about 2 months ago | (#47170211)

I find from past experience that people who feel the need to shout to make their point (especially in caps over the internet) invariably have nothing worth listening to.

Re:So much anger... (1)

rezme (1677208) | about 2 months ago | (#47183439)

Moreover, I find it hard to take anyone seriously that thinks the Occupy movement was astroturfing, but the Tea party wasn't...

Re:WHAT? What drugs did you get at the occupy rall (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47170627)

Is that you John Galt?

Re: So... to summarise: (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47170881)

...

The 'Occupy' movement was a bunch of self entitled spoiled brats in North Face tents and backpacks being obnoxious jerks and breaking shit in some cases. They had no actual goals they could agree on. They had no actual organization. Just a bunch of young adults who 'hate the man' and they don't even know why considering most of them were part of the fucking 1% they were up in arms about. Most of them didn't even actually know why they were there.

If you think that was a 'protest' you have no idea what an actual protest is. Everyone who wasn't too lazy to get off their ass and work just found the whole thing an obnoxious annoyance that got in their way.

Re: So... to summarise: (1)

fulldecent (598482) | about 2 months ago | (#47171119)

Large-scale change requires a large-scale of people. And I'm sorry to report that people are quite dumb, self-entitled, unorganized and spoiled nowadays.

Just like the US Department of Defense has recognized that future threats will be increasingly from terrorist organizations versus traditional regional threats, our next social revolution will be fought with a majority of the participants showing up just to have a good background for their selfies.

Re: So... to summarise: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171529)

Right. When the Occupy movement broke out, I thought... for about six hours... that it might be something I could get behind. There IS an unholy corrupt alliance between financial institutions and the government.

But then it quickly became evident what principles the movement was solidifying around, and it was naive juvenile nonsense. It fell victim to the same problem the Tea party did, but in hours instead of months... it took a legitimate rallying point, and let become associated with all the other issues that the extremist wings of the respective parties want to push.

Re: So... to summarise: (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 2 months ago | (#47173477)

The impression I got was that they were against certain things that I'm also against, but had no coherent idea of what they wanted to have happen.

That doesn't work. In the 60s, there were large demonstrations against the Vietnam War. There was a clear goal that pretty much everybody in the movement agree on: get the US out of Vietnam. After a while, it became politically necessary to get the US out of Vietnam.

The other lesson is that, while laws are a blunt instrument, they're practically surgical compared to mass movements like that. Authorities made decisions on the war on the basis of what would play in Peoria rather than responding to the actual situation (to be fair, AFAICT all civilian authorities disregarded the actual situation and did things based on politics and ego).

Re: So... to summarise: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47181231)

I watched one of the Occupy marches out the window of the office I worked at on K Street. (I am not a lobbyist, but I used to work for some.)

My absolute favorite part was a guy with an orange protest sign that ran thusly: Stop Cheating Movie-goers! with a picture of a film roll or something.

I visited one of the camps, though only for an hour, and in (some) contrast to GP, it was not (at least mostly not) brats in North Face tents. Most of the tents were in haphazard shape. Very few of the people I talked to could articulate any cogent statements about their desires. The only one I heard from more than one person was a repeal of Citizens United.

I was disappointed. I wanted the Occupy movement to mean something, but [the nearest segment of it to me] didn't know what it wanted, or at minimum couldn't express what it wanted.

Re:So... to summarise: (2)

qeveren (318805) | about 2 months ago | (#47169349)

That's... sort of how it works, but not exactly. Depending on the jurisdiction involved, this leads to 'spoilation inference', where the destroyed evidence is considered 'conscience of guilt' and the court will consider the destroyed evidence as strongly against the spoiling party.

Re:So... to summarise: (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | about 2 months ago | (#47172331)

In point of fact, it does. Destroying evidence is a crime.

Dear Slashdot (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168521)

1) Is posting AC really Anonymous?
2) Has Slashdot ever received a FISA letter?

Re:Dear Slashdot (4, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 months ago | (#47168651)

Of course they have. Nothing you do on the Internet is anonymous.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

Camael (1048726) | about 2 months ago | (#47170223)

I hereby request for a canary clause!

At least let me know if the puir bird is dead.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 2 months ago | (#47169099)

1) No, posting AC isn't really anonymous.
2) No FISA letter is needed. Transmissions aren't encrypted. (Well, perhaps they are now, they weren't until recently. Now my browser hides the communications protocol, so I can't easily tell. But https is not more secure than your ISP. Why try to do a site-by-site breach of security when a man-in-the-middle is already in place.)

Re:Dear Slashdot (2)

Kufat (563166) | about 2 months ago | (#47169379)

HTTPS isn't "not more secure than your ISP." It's not more secure than the worst trusted root CA. In the absence of a CA compromise, your ISP cannot MitM HTTPS or other SSL-based protocols without your browser/client warning you about it.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47169421)

Someone has to know how to decrypt this information. The way of doing that is sent over the Internet, which can easily be MitMed. Copying the information is trivial, and there's no reason the user would know.

Re:Dear Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169779)

What information do you hope to gain from that. The posts on slashdot are viewable by anyone.
The thing NSA could want is to connect a post with a person to track the people who holds an unfavorable opinion.
The time for the post is listed together with the post and they have already recorded when everyone accessed slashdot.
Being able to decrypt the data would not give you more information, it will only allow you to verify what you already knew.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47169837)

You missed the point of my post.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 months ago | (#47169861)

Dont worry the US wants an online sarcasm detector
http://www.engadget.com/2014/0... [engadget.com]
Recall http://news.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org] for the real fun :)

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 months ago | (#47170593)

Wait, OPEC employees post on slashdot? That explains a lot...

Re:Dear Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170417)

I recommend you actually try that before posting such nonsense. Every SSL certificate has a private and public encryption key attached. The public key is sent to the client as part of the certificate and it's used during SSL handshake to transmit session key securely. The private key never leaves the server (unless heartbled). If you want to MitM some SSL session, you either need your own forged SSL certificate for the target domain signed by some CA trusted by the client, or you need to get your hands on the server's private key sou you can decrypt session key during handshake. Otherwise the best you can do is capture the whole encrypted session and brute force it later.

Re:Dear Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170619)

Yo, Alice, here's how MITM works for SSL:

Eve can replace your certificate/key request with her own provided she has the cooperation of any trusted CA. Have you looked at the list of CAs in your browser? Now your SSL session ends at her server, she reencrypts and transmits your packets to Bob. Bob thinks Eve has the session and returns replies to her. She reencrypts to you. You think you're in an encrypted session with Bob, but you're not.

Use something like CertPatrol and you saw it light up after Heartbleed because everyone is redoing certs. The question is why websites sometime change certs that aren't due to expire, just out of the blue?

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171317)

Yo, Alice, here's how MITM works for SSL:

Yo, Mallory, if you read my post again, you'll notice that I've said exactly that: "If you want to MitM some SSL session, you either need your own forged SSL certificate for the target domain signed by some CA trusted by the client, or..."

The question is why websites sometime change certs that aren't due to expire, just out of the blue?

Here's one legitimate reason: Server admin made a stupid mistake and their server key might be compromised as a result.

As long as the new cert has the same CA as the old cert, I wouldn't worry about the sudden change. But then again, I'm really glad that my bank has their certificate fingerprints written in their terms of service and I can go get an official hard copy from their local office.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47170645)

Someone has to know how to decrypt this information. The way of doing that is sent over the Internet, which can easily be MitMed.

Yes the "way of doing that" *is* sent over the internet encrypted specifically to prevent a mitm attack. The whole fucking point of encryption is to prevent a mitm attack. So if you've got some new information showing that mitm attacks are actually easy (e.g. you solved the RSA problem, etc), then lets hear it.

Re:Dear Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47173723)

Well, you're only half right. Yes, the whole system is designed to prevent a MitM attack. However, no, all of the information isn't sent over the internet encrypted before a proper handshake takes place. In a key exchange, each side only reveals a portion of necessary information to transmit information to the other side; not information on how to encrypt it.

That all sounds really confusing and difficult to explain, so for a better explanation just check out this short video: http://www.wimp.com/howencryption/

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 months ago | (#47170217)

Post submissions are not encrypted.

Source: Wireshark capture when I previewed this post.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 months ago | (#47170305)

If you are a subscriber, then you can use HTTPS, however your traffic then stands out to traffic analysis (it's not hard to tie the encrypted connection which sends more information than an HTTP GET with the sudden appearance of a new post in the next user's unencrypted request for the page). They're also, I believe, still using a certificate that was issued before Heartbleed was disclosed and so is almost certainly compromised.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 months ago | (#47170597)

I didn't think anybody would still be a paid subscriber after DICE bought the site. If the cert is dead rendering SSL/TLS is pointless, are their any other compelling reasons to continue to pay?

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 2 months ago | (#47173017)

"Subscriber" is a bit of a misnomer. Your subscriber credit only depletes if you check the "opt out of ads" setting*. I paid once a long time ago and deselected that setting, so I've been marked as a "subscriber" ever since without having to make additional payments.

(* I don't know if that setting even exists anymore. All I know is I just used an ad-blocker instead.)

Re:Dear Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47173719)

I've never paid, yet the opt out of ads checkbox is at the top of every story I've opened today. Just FYI.

Dear Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169171)

If you want anonymous posting (as well as better comments and better stories), check out soylent news [7rmath4ro2of2a42.onion] . That's the onion link, which is through tor (end-to-end anonymous and encrypted). Where is slashdice's onion url? Exactly. Half the time, you can't even *read* slashdice with tor (pink banned page much?)

Re:Dear Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169761)

Well .. fwiw ... I've been experimenting during the past several months by occasionally posting intentionally provocative comments as an AC that go way beyond allowing it to being brushed off as simply another troll comment -- just to kind of see if anything out of the ordinary or unusual might happen.

Let's say the results have been interesting. Based on certain real world experiences, I now feel I've managed to put myself on some type of low-level watch list.

Re:Dear Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170589)

You might want to loosen the tinfoil, it seems to be restricting the flow of oxygen to your brain.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

just_a_monkey (1004343) | about 2 months ago | (#47170701)

Based on certain real world experiences

Like what?

Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (5, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 months ago | (#47168525)

In general I think that destroying evidence should result in the assumption that they're hiding a worst case scenario. So I agree with the EFF. Destroying evidence = automatically guilty of accusations. Have a nice day.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 months ago | (#47168645)

In addition to the court stipulating that whatever the EFF had claimed the evidence said: everyone down the chain of management that was responsible for knowingly ordering destruction of evidence involved with their case, should be criminally prosecuted personally, (or impeached, if a cabinet official or elected official).

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168785)

Impeached then prosecuted.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168857)

And then fucking burned at the stake.

Screw that. Just douse them with gasoline and light'm up.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170171)

Impeached, impaled. Tomato, potato.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170313)

I'm unfortunately not in office, and I approve this message.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (4, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47168789)

In general I think that destroying evidence should result in the assumption that they're hiding a worst case scenario. So I agree with the EFF. Destroying evidence = automatically guilty of accusations. Have a nice day.

The problem with this is that what is that even going to accomplish? Ok, the court rules that they illegally spied on US citizens. They tell the NSA that they have to stop doing that. The NSA says, "fine - we were never doing it in the first place, and we'll continue to not do it." Then they keep doing what they've been doing all along, which they define as not being illegal spying by whatever contortions they apply.

It isn't like the court is going to make somebody go to jail if the law is broken. If YOU spy on somebody illegally you'll get locked up for it. If the government does it, well, I guess the rules just must not have been clear enough.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 months ago | (#47169319)

The problem with this is that what is that even going to accomplish?

For years the courts have been throwing out cases because "you can't prove anything" meant that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue.
If the court stipulates that the plaintiffs were spied on, then they have standing to sue, and the case can move forward.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (5, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47169413)

The problem with this is that what is that even going to accomplish?

Let me ask you a question: Do you really and truly believe that taking no action will make things better, worse, or will the corruption remain the same? In the best case scenario, things remain the same (being illegal and unconstitutional). Historically however, inaction more often results in things becoming worse. Inaction never results in things improving, at least for the recipients of the abuse.

Many constitutional rights violations are felonies. Convicted felons can not hold a security clearance and can not work for an agency such as the NSA in any capacity. Other agencies, such as the CIA and FBI, do have jobs that do not require a clearance, but depending on the job classification can (and often do) restrict convicted felons from filling those positions.

Any cabinet member can be impeached by Congress, and the reasons for impeachment include misdemeanor offenses. In other words, Congress can remove the head of the NSA, CIA, FBI, DOJ, etc... by vote. The primary motivation for impeachment is very sensitive to issues of Constitutional violations (see this [infoplease.com] for a reference).

The false analogy you provide, of "no punishemtn" or "go to jail" is simply not true. Being banned from working a career you have spent your life doing is a punishment, as is being barred from holding jobs or offices in the future, loss of retirement, etc...

We would probably agree that the punishment may not be severe enough. If you believe that doing nothing is a better answer, you are not thinking very clearly. Exactly why do you think we have numerous historical quotes from people telling you to take action? Like Martin Niemöller

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the
Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me

or Edmund Burke

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170737)

Notice: If you post anonymously do not expect a reply.

If you post publicly, expect a reply from a team of people in black SUVs.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47180551)

In my experience, it was a late-model sedan (Lincoln, I think)

-m

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 2 months ago | (#47172519)

Convicted felons can not hold a security clearance and can not work for an agency such as the NSA in any capacity.

Incorrect, and here's a quote from an Washington Post article on this...

Each agency can have their own rules. The majority of agencies will not disqualify a person with a felony but you may want to call the HR office and check if you are unsure or you may want to apply and then if you are required to get a clearance then you can state that you had a felony then.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47173389)

Selective reading problem, try reading the complete paragraph and trying again. Though I would recommend you read the complete post again instead of cherry picking something to debate from either the post or the paragraph.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 2 months ago | (#47178025)

Not quite. FBI is one of the few that you can not get a job at as a felon. There's no debate, only pointing out an inaccuracy in your post. I've been around enough of them to know.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47179177)

Exactly a selective reading problem, in addition to denial of that fact.

such as the CIA and FBI, do have jobs that do not require a clearance, but depending on the job classification can (and often do) restrict convicted felons from filling those positions.

The use of the word "can" is not obscure. "able to", "permitted to" are easily found in a dictionary. Notice that "CIA and FBI" are explicitly listed in that sentence stating that felons "can" be restricted from holding certain jobs "and often do" get excluded..

What I stated a felon _can not_ have is a security clearance.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47180503)

But you can be a contractor, CI or work "ex-officio" if you have the "right" type of knowledge/expertise.

If you have said expertise, you can often be asked to perform "unlawful activities" with impunity/under sanction in order to get them the information they're looking for.

-m

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47184705)

Many constitutional rights violations are felonies. Convicted felons can not hold a security clearance and can not work for an agency such as the NSA in any capacity.

You can't convict a government agency of a felony. Even if you could, you obviously can't rule that the NSA isn't allowed to work for the NSA.

Unless you actually name and convict AN INDIVIDUAL these penalties are fairly meaningless.

Also, only a prosecutor can bring up an individual on a criminal charge. The ACLU can file a civil suit against an individual, but that does not carry any criminal penalties.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

Zalbik (308903) | about 2 months ago | (#47172717)

The problem with this is that what is that even going to accomplish?...
It isn't like the court is going to make somebody go to jail if the law is broken. If YOU spy on somebody illegally you'll get locked up for it. If the government does it, well, I guess the rules just must not have been clear enough.

And this is one reason why they win. A large of the people who are even aware of what the NSA is doing, and who think it is wrong just don't think there is any way to change the system. The people in power have convinced the masses that either (1) what they are doing is right, or (2) you can't change it.

I'd suspect:
- 10% of people approve of what the NSA is doing is fine cause "I haven't done anything wrong" and "It'll help catch dem dirty terrerist's!".
- 50% just don't care, they just want to collect their paycheck and buy the latest shiny iThing they are told to purchase.
- 30% appear to care, but don't think there is any way for the system to change.
- 9.999999% care and are willing to act, but aren't a large enough group / organized enough to effect any change.
- .0000001% care and are in a position to act, but then have to flee the country and go live in Russia.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (5, Informative)

Mr. Shotgun (832121) | about 2 months ago | (#47168825)

In general I think that destroying evidence should result in the assumption that they're hiding a worst case scenario

That is exactly what is supposed to happen, it is called spoilation of evidence [uslegal.com] and is very frowned upon. The penalties are supposed to include inferring that the missing evidence is beneficial to the opposing party and civil and criminal penalties against whomever destroyed the evidence. Though I doubt that will happen in this case.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (3, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 months ago | (#47169303)

No the logical rule is that purposefully destroying is the crime, neither proving nor disproving the crime related to that evidence and the originating accusation. However, the penalty applied for the destruction of evidence is the crux of the matter, in destroying the evidence of a crime the penalty should be more severe or treated as if it was the maximum possible infringement of the accused crime. The is to motivate people to preserve the evidence so that everyone knows what is going on and government and society can react to the breach on order to take step to repeat it's repetition. In destroying evidence of a crime, you are destroying the ability of society to take corrective measures and thus it affects the whole of society, well beyond those directly affected in the actual breach of law. It will also make it a pretty stupid act to destroy evidence of a lessor crime than the one you were accused of.

The whole principle of a public trial is so that everyone can know what is going on. That any claims are proven, that actions of government are substantiated, when it does the accusing and when it is the accused. It is not about simply mindlessly punishing people. It is all about what happened, why it happened, what can be done to remediate it and how it can be prevented in future.

Take for example the worst most heinous possible criminal. Simply executing them based upon a confession is completely and utterly pointless. Knowing exactly what they done, how they done, proof of this to ensure no guilty party goes free whether as a result of a false confession or those associated with the crime. This helps to gain knowledge to reduce the chances of repetition of the crime. Just like keeping the perpetrator alive as a subject of medical research, genetics, psychological and future pharmacological research associated with prevention of that crime, so not just about being able to release them if they are latter proven innocent. Those who commit the worst crimes are the most valuable research tools in order to prevent those crimes that they committed.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

qeveren (318805) | about 2 months ago | (#47169353)

It's called 'spoilation inference', and actually works kinda like that. Not so much an automatic guilty as "the destroyed evidence shows conscience of guilt and therefore strongly supports the opposing side".

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47170663)

Well the worst case scenario is that 9/11 was an inside job and Obama is a secret Muslim. Now how do we proceed?

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170825)

That isn't worst case.

The more likely scenario is that NSA is trying to in practice abolish the constitution and by controlling all information also controlling the nation.
If anyone else tried to do something similar they would be executed if they didn't get shot before that.
If the law applies equally to everyone I can see why NSA would like to destroy evidence since a fair trial would likely lead to a lot of lifetime imprisonments and a couple of executions.

Not that I think that would ever happen.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47171703)

Well the worst case scenario is that 9/11 was an inside job and Obama is a secret Muslim. Now how do we proceed?

Well, there's lots of worst cases.

Say, Obama is actually the lead of an alien invasion force who plans on harvesting Earthlings as food. That would suck.

Or that another Bush will get elected to the presidency. That would definitely suck. Someone would have to invade Iraq again.

Or they'll cancel Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. That would be terrible.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47173449)

Say, Obama is actually the lead of an alien invasion force who plans on harvesting Earthlings as food. That would suck.

Well I think that depends... Are these aliens Christian or Muslim? Does the alien leader wear a flag pin when he appears in public? Will the aliens allow a mosque at ground zero? Will the aliens say "Happy Holidays"? Will the aliens discriminate against Ben Stein's academic ideas?

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47170849)

Well ultimately that's up to the judge. Destruction of evidence in a case can have certain criminal penalties but most of the time it winds up being at the discretion
of the judge to sanction or in some cases hold the willing party in contempt. We'd all like to believe that the legal system is fair and balanced but we know differently. For example, In a criminal case where prosecution destroys evidence this usually means the judge will throw the case out. I presume now that the judge is thoroughly pissed off at the DOJ/NSA in this case for violating his order but will probably wait from the opposing council's statement of the facts before ruling. We're supposed to have three branches of government here and the DOJ/NSA fall under the executive branch so the judge here if he agrees with the EFF arguments should throw the book at the DOJ/NSA and whoever did this. The DOJ could argue that this is a matter of national security blah blah we had to prevent evidence from terrorists blah blah FISA court blah blah.. Who knows.

Re:Destroying evidence should have worse penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171245)

In general I think that destroying evidence should result in the assumption that they're hiding a worst case scenario. So I agree with the EFF. Destroying evidence = automatically guilty of accusations. Have a nice day.

What the EFF is arguing, "Destroying evidence = automatically guilty of accusations", is OTTOMH exactly what the Rules of Federal Procedure state.

And nothing will be done. (5, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | about 2 months ago | (#47168563)

The NSA could admit that they break the law every day of the week, murder Americans on american soil, steal millions of dollars, destroy companies and even the entire economy, and do you know what will happen?

Absolutely nothing.

They believe they are above the law. And heck, most of the legislative branch believes they are above the law. The judicial and executive branches are more than willing to look the other way, so as a result, the NSA gets a free pass to do whatever they want.

Because.... national security... and boogyman terrorists... and something, something mumble mumble. Whatever the fear flavor of the week is. 1984 was an instruction manual.

Re:And nothing will be done. (3, Insightful)

mfh (56) | about 2 months ago | (#47168599)

Oligarchies are a funny animal. If you are 99% of the people you do anything like NSA does and you die alone in a prison cell or you're shot point blank. 1% of NSA affiliated members can do any of it and it's "national security".

Re:And nothing will be done. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168711)

That's just how humans do things. Authentic justice is not very compatible with survival instinct, and so it is really hard to do on a personal level, and basically impossible on a national level.

Re:And nothing will be done. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169011)

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

If you actually give a damn about the concepts of liberty and equality, you should be prepared to give your life for them. Same as any belief you actually hold. Otherwise, you're just posturing.

Re:And nothing will be done. (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47169181)

One minor complication, of course: accruing points for authenticity may be virtuous; but it isn't very useful.

In fact, given that 'security' is the ubiquitous justification of these sorts of programs, most attempts to 'refresh the tree of liberty' will just show up as talking points next time the NSA wants a budget increase, or feels like arguing that the rules against domestic surveillance are compromising its effectiveness.

Yes, it sounds all Serious and tough-minded to tell the chatterers that if they aren't fighting at the barricades, they are just whiners; but it ignores the fact that resistance can be worse than useless. In the case of 'national security' apparatus, violence that fails to leave them burned to ashes, and their toadies decorating the lamp posts of the capital, simply makes them look more legitimate and necessary. Since that level of force is unlikely to be a DIY project, you will, at very least, need to reach the level of whining where it becomes a group effort, or where alternate means become available.

Re:And nothing will be done. (1)

Camael (1048726) | about 2 months ago | (#47170261)

Perhaps then, some form of civil disobedience [wikipedia.org] that cannot be misinterpreted in any way as a terrorist threat?

I confess I have no answers, I'm just impressed enough by your comment to try and throw out a few thoughts. In a way, I think the growing social stigma/approbation is beginning to have some effect- the executive is forced to justify itself, there appears to be more elected officials questioning the NSA and tech companies appear to be less compliant in servicing the secret demands.

Nowhere near enough of course, but it is a start.

Re:And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170617)

Being prepared to give up your life and well-being is not the same as rushing off and impaling yourself on a pike or blowing yourself up. Those people are idiots, plain and simple. Being ready to make that sacrifice is a realistic recognition of the potential consequences and a statement of the value that the belief holds for you. It's rather difficult to do any sort of activism while dead, therefore the sane course would be to stay alive for the purpose of furthering your goals.

Can americans still demonstrate at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171431)

I know it did not work out for OWS, but maybe there are more americans that agree with protesting against pervasive surveillance.
I know, too, that since the lesson of Vietnam war, US government has limited the chance for universities to become breeding ground for social movements. But take a look at the rest of the world: Chile has a quite recent example of university students becoming the spearhead of political change, much against its oligarchy, with most media backing the -then president- richest man in the country.
You could, if you were willing to sacrifice the small things, but you most of you are not even willing to sacrificy a semester, or a pay day or anything. Or maybe it's that your communications are so filtered that the powers that be prevent you from gaining critical mass...
Maybe there are thousands of facebook event invitations "protest NSA" that just get filtered to the bottom of the feed ... who knows

Re:And nothing will be done. (1)

mfh (56) | about 2 months ago | (#47177209)

After you.

Re:And nothing will be done. (1)

mariox19 (632969) | about 2 months ago | (#47168643)

The sad thing is that when one individual decides to blow the lid off the whole thing, a good number of Americans insist that "the law is the law" and that the first thing we need to do is get hold of him and hold him accountable. I say, let's start with the people in charge who are really putting this republic at risk and breaking the law every single day, from 9 to 5, and patting themselves on the back because, you know, they're catching "bad guys."

When we're done with them, then how about we turn our attention to Monsieur Snowden.

Re:And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168681)

"The law is the law" will be a mantra by most of those who chant it today right up to the point that the other party takes over the administration. Then those people will suddenly cry that it's tyranny and needs stomped out...
 
The glory of the royal scam.

Re:And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169407)

That's a really weird claim to make. I've never seen any partisan divide over this stuff.
There are many Democrats and Republicans on both sides of the Snowden controversy.

Re:And nothing will be done. (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47169873)

Then you're not paying attention. Many people suddenly switch positions when the Other Team gets into power. Politicians who do this are obviously just doing it for political reasons, but many normal people do this as well.

Of course, there are also many people who are just authoritarian assholes at heart, and they support things such as the NSA spying from the bottom of their wretched little hearts.

Re:And nothing will be done. (1)

Camael (1048726) | about 2 months ago | (#47170283)

Of course, there are also many people who are just authoritarian assholes at heart, and they support things such as the NSA spying from the bottom of their wretched little hearts.

Pretty much par for the course for human behaviour and another variation of NIMBY [wikipedia.org] all over again. These laws/regulations are all good and necessary -unless they start to affect me, of course.

Re: And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168719)

These NScumbAgs deserve to be imprisoned or worse. Their behavior is treasonous. You're right though, they'll get away with it.

Re: And nothing will be done. (1)

DamnOregonian (963763) | about 2 months ago | (#47169059)

Please stop using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means. It's not some political epithet to throw around at any political entity that flips its finger to checks and balances.

Their behavior is however, appalling.

Re: And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169369)

It's certainly a betrayal of the very principles that this country is supposed to stand for. Sadly, the constitution didn't do enough when the government is the enemy, and it's violating the constitution, because those sorts of people should definitely be considered traitors.

Re: And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170631)

Would you rather die on your feet or live on your knees?

Re: And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171777)

If you take an oath to uphold and defend the constitution, and then you systematically ignore it ... well, that is arguably treason.

It's certainly believing the end justifies the means. And it also leads you to fall back to "but I was just following orders".

Re:And nothing will be done. (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 months ago | (#47168749)

Re Absolutely nothing.
You now know what your courts, political leaders, lawyers, tame press, trusted brands and top academics have fully supported, funded, not wanted to understand or just let happen.
What can you do as a customer?
Reconsider just consuming the brands that fooled generations. Go out and find other, better US brands. From that chat app, email account, operating system, hardware, software, telco, crypto course.
When you buy your next lcd, rethink the brand on the bezel covering that lcd.
Why support the brands that decrypt all the time, every time. Take your free time back, expert skills from their branded support sites and redirect your wisdom to other products and services.
No more 3rd party forum help, no more hype for their next product.
You have to use what you have to use in many situations but you still have the freedom to change your personal tech selections.
Tell people why you no longer supporting some trusted brands. Tell people why your are now supporting another brand.
Sit back and enjoy as the front groups, sock puppets, PR experts spin up color of law quotes to reshape and redefine their brands pasts.

Re:And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168773)

There's only one way out. A boat to a deserted island. Oh yes, and this solution only lasts as long as 100% of the airspace on the planet is not patrolled using drones. (I hate to say it, but it IS a remote possibility some day.)

Re:And nothing will be done. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168909)

Who cares, man. Ow My Balls! is on in 30 minutes

Re:And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168997)

Wrong.

Affairs eventually get to the point where you have a "Red Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire" Moment, and people wake up and realize they've been duped. That feeling we all had after 9\11? Same thing happens, except people go apeshit, and you either get Hitler, or George Washington.

History says you usually get Hitler. And Hitler had no issues with marching royalty off to death camps you see, in fact that's what usually happens.

I'd be very scared of the US if I were a foreign country; one destabilizing moment and thermonuclear war becomes a reality.

Re:And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169029)

The only way up is further down the rabbit hole. May you live in interesting times.

Re:And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168999)

The key case where this evidence was destroyed was the EFF's long running Jewel v. NSA case, and the EFF has now told the court about the destruction of evidence, and asked the court to thus assume that the evidence proves, in fact, that EFF's clients were victims of unlawful surveillance.

Whats funny about this is the NSA'a stance on it. So its okay to destroy evidence in a lawsuit, because it was illegally obtained to begin with? But its perfectly normal for secret courts, secret prisons, to keep someone who is innocent.based off of little to no evidence, indefinitely, without he or she ever actually getting any fair and balanced trial! And to go around dictating that encryption services will be blackmailed into giving up their keys. Or really any company that they feel they can gain from.

And yet the data they've collected has no "terrorist" links or threats, and their still being allowed to go on as usual. This reminds me of the FBI, CIA's domestic programs to spy on anyone/everyone they deem a 'threat' such as Martin Luther King, bands like the Sex Pistols, but in particular its own citizens in order to control them, hiding behind the old "war on communism" argument. When are people going to wake up and realize this country is no better then Russia!

Re:And nothing will be done. (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 months ago | (#47169087)

They believe they are above the law. And heck, most of the legislative branch believes they are above the law. The judicial and executive branches are more than willing to look the other way, so as a result, the NSA gets a free pass to do whatever they want.

Because.... national security... and boogyman terrorists... and something, something mumble mumble. Whatever the fear flavor of the week is. 1984 was an instruction manual.

But, the NSA has one additional 'Because'.
Because.. They have dirt on... Everyone and anyone who might act against them.

Re:National security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170713)

make no mistake about it... when a politician talks about national security... they're talking about THEIR security... not YOURS.

They dont give two shits about YOUR security.

Same goes for the phrase "family values"

Re:National security (1)

Sciath (3433615) | about 2 months ago | (#47184159)

I dare say they do. But only to the extent you're around long enough to lay down your life to protect them. That's what they mean by the phrase "national security".

Re:And nothing will be done. (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47170961)

The NSA could admit that they break the law every day of the week, murder Americans on american soil, steal millions of dollars, destroy companies and even the entire economy, and do you know what will happen?

Absolutely nothing.

A bit over the top but most clandestine operations carried out by our government usually wind up the same way. Anybody remember "Iran-Contra" [infoplease.com] , "Bay of Pigs" [wikipedia.org] or "Guatemala?" [wikipedia.org] Other than the Watergate conspirators, nobody ever really did hard time for any of those.

They believe they are above the law. And heck, most of the legislative branch believes they are above the law. The judicial and executive branches are more than willing to look the other way, so as a result, the NSA gets a free pass to do whatever they want.

Because.... national security... and boogyman terrorists... and something, something mumble mumble. Whatever the fear flavor of the week is. 1984 was an instruction manual.

The legislative branch has been a puppet of both political parties as long as anybody can remember. We'd like to think that judges are impartial and only interpret the evidence and the laws and administer decisions in an unbiased way. To a large extent that's why we have an appeals process that allows other judges to review the rulings or proceedings of lower courts. Ultimately that winds up in the Supreme Court in some cases. All of these courts however are bound by laws and the constitution all of which are under the perusal of the third branch, the legislative branch meaning congress. So when you have legislation that's not "clear" a judge will use his/her discretion and rule on what's known or how they feel, those judges are considered "activist" and are frowned upon by whichever party isn't in the majority. But you'll never change that just like you'll never be able to prove a pubic hair was on a can of coke. In the case where the law is clear however a judge does have to follow the law if the plaintiffs or prosecution have proven their case and despite what we do think about judges, most take their role solemly and with great respect for the laws they have to apply to cases. The problem with the FISA system and the laws around it, it's been too easy for the DOJ to yell "National Security" and the lower court judge has to yield to federal law. The problem with FISA, which was established by congress, is that it has no public review and the judges are appointed by the Supreme Court Chief Justice, again not an open or vetted process by any stretch of the imagination. To solve this we have to abolish the FISA court and start to allow "Sealed Proceedings" to occur in Federal Court where evidence could compromise national security is locked out of public view but the case still proceeds.

Also remember this, you have no constitutional right to privacy. You have a right to your home, a right to free speech, a right to have guns, a right against self incrimination but nowhere does the constitution say that you have a right to not having your communications, your movements and your transactions with third parties monitored.

Re:And nothing will be done. (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 months ago | (#47172067)

Also remember this, you have no constitutional right to privacy. ... but nowhere does the constitution say that you have a right to not having your communications, your movements and your transactions with third parties monitored.

Actually we do and the constitution doesn't explicitly enumerate our rights but does enumerate what the federal government and now other governments are allowed to do. Specifically see the 10th Amendment [wikipedia.org] that states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

As far as monitoring communication that one seems to be explicitly protected by the 4th Amendment [wikipedia.org] with the text:

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.

So snooping on everyone's communication in the nation sure smells like search. Alas you are correct in that none currently in power to do anything about this will. They may make some noise for political gain but nothing more.

Re:And nothing will be done. (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47172465)

Good points but still, nothing guaranteeing privacy in terms of rights even with the 10th however the 4th where you quote:

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.

Has been narrowly applied to in your possession, in your home/office. What you share with third parties which includes all of the Internet isn't covered because you're sharing it with that third party. Even the US Postal Service snaps a photo of every piece of mail it delivers so the government if they wanted to could mine your network from on-paper correspondence as well.

The only way to ensure privacy is to write it into the constitution and since members of congress are now contemplating a new amendment to prohibit nameless, deep-pocketed spending on political campaigns/issues right now, it seems that this would be a good time for them to get off their asses and protect our privacy even with third parties, written and electronic communications and data storage should be held in the same regard as things in our homes or in our possession. Also don't forget unwarranted dumping of your cell phones, strip searches for minor offenses and of course DNA swabs for same.

Re:And nothing will be done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47174085)

What you share with third parties which includes all of the Internet isn't covered because you're sharing it with that third party.

If you want to play that game (and buy into their propaganda), then there's one little detail you're overlooking: that 3rd part? It also has constitutional rights. Whether they steal your information from you or someone else, they are infringing on that unreasonable search and seizure clause.

Hold on I think I found it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168565)

The biggest DUH ever.

http://stapledthedesignlife.fi... [wordpress.com]

The Future (2)

jmd (14060) | about 2 months ago | (#47168575)

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul - Leonard Cohen "The Future"

These are not isolated events anymore. Everything is being turned upside down.

Re:The Future (1)

sploxx (622853) | about 2 months ago | (#47169767)

So true and frightening. From 1992!

Stuff is definitely getting weird.

Frightening (4, Interesting)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 2 months ago | (#47168577)

To all of you government surveillance apologists: doesn't it really frighten you that these guys routinely don't follow the law and get away with it? It scares the shit out of me. These people have the power to destroy you and everything/everyone that you love, and they seem to have nothing guiding them but their gut feel. How do you know they won't mistake your kid for a terrorist? Or bust down your door in the middle of the night tossing a flash-bang into your kids crib?

These fucking people are out of control and need some serious jail time.

Re:Frightening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168613)

The law says it's perfectly legal for NSA to destroy evidence that would compromise national security if revealed in a civil court.

Re:Frightening (5, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 2 months ago | (#47168647)

The law says it's perfectly legal for NSA to destroy evidence that would compromise national security if revealed in a civil court.

So the NSA gets to decide which evidence could impact national security of course, and pretty much all of it impacts national security so there is effectively no oversight. So pretty much the NSA operates as an unchecked branch of the government.

You apologist are many things: cowards, shills, etc. Patriots you are not. You are undermining our democracy (however much we have left).

Re:Frightening (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 months ago | (#47168833)

pretty much all of it impacts national security

Pretty much all? Clearly, if the NSA is doing something it impacts national security. Otherwise they wouldn't be doing it. Duh. Besides that, it's right there in their name. National Security Agency, see?

Re:Frightening (1)

msauve (701917) | about 2 months ago | (#47168885)

"if the NSA is doing something it impacts national security"

So, the metadata for grandma's call to the pizza store is now a matter of "national security," simply because the NSA collects it?

Re:Frightening (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 months ago | (#47169053)

It is if you ask them.

Re:Frightening (0)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 2 months ago | (#47168889)

pretty much all of it impacts national security

Pretty much all? Clearly, if the NSA is doing something it impacts national security. Otherwise they wouldn't be doing it. Duh. Besides that, it's right there in their name. National Security Agency, see?

On /. my nick is pitchpipe, but in real life my name is Truth Teller, and do you know what I say? You're a fucking moron. It must be true because it's right there in my name: Truth Teller. Duh. See?

Or do you think it might not be that simple?

Re:Frightening (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 months ago | (#47169015)

I think your sarcasm detector is broken.

Re:Frightening (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 months ago | (#47169127)

I'm told that the nsa/fbi/etc has an app for that!

Re:Frightening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171811)

Probably with a backdoor, too.

Re:Frightening (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 2 months ago | (#47169249)

I think you are right. I guess that makes me the fucking moron. I invoke Poe's Law.

Sorry about that.

Re:Frightening (1)

swillden (191260) | about 2 months ago | (#47172295)

:-)

BTDT.

Re:Frightening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168853)

"You are undermining our democracy (however much we have left)."

I'm pretty sure we lost that in 2001 : ( Sadly everything the NSA is doing is perfectly legal, at this point they're above the law and there's not a goddamn thing we can do about it without a group effort. As I see it right now I think that will be impossible, they already have too much control for people to try and put a stop to their twisted games. In the end the people will win, but we're headed for some dark times for a very long time. :/ We keep letting them slowly chip away at everything we are and time is on their side. If they tried it all at once it would never work, but they're smarter than that, they know the only way to do it is by conditioning us over decades. They do it strategically in an attempt to keep the big picture looking undamaged as possible.

Re:Frightening (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47168907)

The principles that this country--the so-called "land of the free and the home of the brave"--is supposed to stand for are far more important than national security, even if we were to stupidly give them the benefit of the doubt by saying that collecting nearly everyone's communications effectively stops terrorists.

Anyone saying otherwise is taking us in the direction of a police state.

Re:Frightening (1)

Camael (1048726) | about 2 months ago | (#47170345)

The principles that this country--the so-called "land of the free and the home of the brave"--is supposed to stand for are far more important than national security, even if we were to stupidly give them the benefit of the doubt by saying that collecting nearly everyone's communications effectively stops terrorists.

I will go further and say that shattering those principles are treason. Think about the amount of global goodwill the USA has lost over the past decade as news of its unjust invasions, NSA spying activities, Abu Gharaib, Guantanamo, waterboarding treatment, drone programme targetting civillian buildings etc gets about. Think of the increased danger US nationals have to face from angry terrorists seeking revenge for perceived injustice.

The more insidious effect is that things have deteriorated to such an extent that even Americans themselves are questioning what they stand for.

And the image of America is dragged down to be on par with totalitarian regimes like Russia and China.

Re:Frightening (2)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 months ago | (#47169479)

"The law says it's perfectly legal for NSA to destroy evidence that would compromise national security if revealed in a civil court."

NO IT DOES NOT
The law does cover some procedures and methods to allow the court to review the evidence without making it public.
IANAL and even I know that.

So, are you just ignorant or a duplicitous shill?

Re:Frightening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169035)

Oh come on now, Germany had federal police with nearly unlimited powers and look how that turned out.
Sure, there was the whole incineration of cities and large scale destruction as the unenlightened invaded, but for a while it was probably pretty good.

Re:Frightening (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169153)

Disagree. They need to be shot or hung.

Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168605)

That the NSA destroyed evidence is not proof of the claim. It is only proof that they obstructed the judicial process, which the executive branch is allowed to do in matters of national security.

There is nothing wrong with what NSA did. It is perfectly legal for NSA to destroy evidence that, if revealed in a trial, would compromise national security.

Keeping the US safe is a clear and compelling interest that takes priority over a measly civil claim.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (5, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | about 2 months ago | (#47168657)

I know this is a troll, but people would do well to remember that being unable to hold the government accountable for their actions is a much greater threat to national security than any outside entity could muster against the people.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168697)

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, or lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves"
- Abe Lincoln

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (5, Interesting)

Drishmung (458368) | about 2 months ago | (#47168673)

Keeping the US safe is a clear and compelling interest that takes priority over a measly civil claim.

Ah, yes, "The ends justify the means". The trouble with that is that the means determine the end. If your means are corrupt, lawless and arbitrary, just what sort of outcome do you expect?

I believe this has been discussed previously: Matthew 7:16, 1 Samuel 24:13, Matthew 12:33, Luke 6:43, James 3:12

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168847)

Ah, yes, "The ends justify the means". The trouble with that is that the means determine the end. If your means are corrupt, lawless and arbitrary, just what sort of outcome do you expect?

Thank you for my newest retort to the Snowden apologists who claim that all the foreign intel information he took and released (and will probably release some more) is justified because of the domestic stuff that was revealed, i.e., the ends justifying the (lawless and arbitrary) means.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168927)

Actually, I agree with all of the leaks and believe their foreign spying was immoral.

What about the bandwagon fallacy that many authoritarians spew forth in an effort to justify the spying? "Everyone is doing it, so it's okay!" Well, no, it's not, because everyone has rights, and we shouldn't violate even the rights of foreigners without a damn good reason (i.e. evidence that they're enemies).

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (1)

mSparks43 (757109) | about 2 months ago | (#47169311)

Yes, being honest (snowdens means) should clearly be a criminal offence, and is a terrible way to do business..
Freedom is slavery and all that.

For all those saying "nothing will be done".
Loosing this court case will almost certainly lose the NSA their budget.
And by destroying evidence they took one giant leap towards loosing the case.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170255)

Yes, being honest (snowdens means) should clearly be a criminal offence

No other means were available. If you don't accept the means he used you are in a position where it is illegal to report crime.
Now that is a mindfuck and a half.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 months ago | (#47169317)

The alternative would have been to remain complicit in keeping such crimes secret. That's even more lawless and arbitrary.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (3, Interesting)

krashnburn200 (1031132) | about 2 months ago | (#47168877)

Colossians 3:22

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (2)

Drishmung (458368) | about 2 months ago | (#47169117)

True. The NSA, as a government agency, is obliged to follow the rules, in spirit as well as letter. Well said.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (1)

krashnburn200 (1031132) | about 2 months ago | (#47176493)

LOL you! I like you. O master of trollkwondo.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47170691)

Oh good, let's bring the Bible into this. It's just what this conversation needs. All we need now are some 9/11 conspiracies, and we've got the full spectrum of right wing crazy town.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47171873)

The outcome I expect is at Daniel 2:44. You'll know when it's about to happen by watching for the events of 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168695)

Keeping the US safe is a clear and compelling interest that takes priority over a measly civil claim.

Ahh, ColdFjord, so "nice" to hear from you again.

Just remember, we're watching you too, motherfucker.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 months ago | (#47168815)

That "measly civil claim" is the US Constitution. The US Constitution vs new lines and added paragraphs adding extra "national security" color of law?
If any gov can just say evidence does not exist, that no court can see it, that no paper work can be found - the legal system stops for an entire cadre of gov workers.
How long before more gov agencies, bureaucracies and well connected contractors try the same color of law trick? All they have to do is spin up a "national security" story and at a federal level, state or city level your access to any court is reduced to a very expensive request?

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (1)

Mr. Shotgun (832121) | about 2 months ago | (#47168879)

Inter arma enim silent leges?
Sorry but that idea was bullshit back in Ancient Rome and it is bullshit now. If the country cannot follow the rule of law in wartime how can they expect the citizens to respect it?

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168963)

Which is why I refer to Lincoln as an authoritarian asshole.

Re:Sorry, destruction is not proof of claim (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 months ago | (#47169495)

To repeat from what I posted for another AC troll.

The law has procedures and methods to allow the court to review the evidence without making it public.
That is why it will NOT compromise national security.
IANAL and even I know that.

So anyhow, where do they keep digging up ignorant or lying cretins like you from?
I wonder if someone is trying to astroturf us.

Watch this (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47168683)

Watch THIS. [pbs.org]
It blew my friggen mind. Michael Hayden is an evil motherfucker.

Damage of reputation for the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168689)

I wonder what kind of light does this shed on the US if a state agency of the US destroys evidence in a legal process?

I dont know but what kind of criminal or legal status does destroying evidence in a legal process have in the US?

"The DOJ/NSA have insisted that ..." (1)

fishb0ne (1190195) | about 2 months ago | (#47168699)

Evidence. That's what matters. Not insistence.

The root cause (1)

jmd (14060) | about 2 months ago | (#47168707)

If you want to understand how our country came to this, it is quite well summed up in 260 or so pages in a book called "The Authoritarians" by Bob Altemeyer.

Download the book here: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

This is written from extensive research into right wing authoritarian personality (right wing is not a political aspect here). If you want to know why the entire globe seems to be following this destructive (destructive from a majority point of view) read this. It becomes easy to see why politicians can kill their own citizens. How can someone let Wall St bankers off the hook yet throw someone in jail for possessing one joint and throw away the key.

Enjoy...it is very enlightening. And FREE!

Re:The root cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168869)

Thanks Bob. Maybe you Canucks aren't all hosers after all.

And this is why (1)

Snotnose (212196) | about 2 months ago | (#47168745)

the EFF gets a charitable contribution from me every year
/ As does the Alzheimer's foundation
// and Helen Woodward
/// the rest of em can fark off

Re:And this is why (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 months ago | (#47170253)

You are an enemy of America.

Pick up that can.

What is this actually going to do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47168945)

Even if you find some miraculous way to win (which you won't) you're dealing with organizations which have proven time and again that they're not just above the law, but they own it, and can manipulate it in any way they see fit.

Since when has this been a legal defense? (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 months ago | (#47169111)

Tell you what Federal Government... if you consider this a defense against destroying evidence, then certainly you'd be okay with lowly citizens that are supposed to be EQUAL to you before the law to use the same defense when you bring us to trial...

Right? Or are we the only ones that have to follow the rules?

they didn't destroy anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169145)

I don't think they destroyed anything, it's all just hidden away.

Misleading a FISA judges gets you... (1)

Coditor (2849497) | about 2 months ago | (#47169247)

... nothing. Rubber stamps are never wrong.

Re:Misleading a FISA judges gets you... (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 2 months ago | (#47173577)

A friend of mine, whose information is usually good, told me that the FISA court had at least at one time worked out a procedure for dealing with that. He didn't know if it was still being followed.

Normally, a LEO will go to a FISA judge and ask for a warrant. The LEO is supposed to tell the truth, since FISA doesn't have its own investigative arm. If the judge found the LEO materially lying, either at the time or later, FISA would effectively blacklist that LEO, refusing to hear his or her warrant requests. This meant that there was a penalty for being caught lying, and it made the LEO less effective at his or her job.

It was hardly ideal (I'd rather see perjury prosecutions myself, but that's not going to happen), but it was at least some form of penalty.

Donate to the EFF! NOW!!! (5, Insightful)

cpm99352 (939350) | about 2 months ago | (#47169469)

I used to financially support the NRA, under the assumption that they defended the 2nd amendment. A while age I realized that was not actually correct,

The EFF is the best example of an entity that defends *all* amendments. I now financially support them, every month. When NPR comes begging for money I'm happily able to refuse, secure in the knowledge that EFF is far more effective in their use of funds than NPR when it comes to presevring the Constitution.

There are a ton of relatively affluent people here on Slashdot. It certainly wouldn't hurt you to allocate a small amount of money to EFF annually, and we know their results.

Re:Donate to the EFF! NOW!!! (2)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 2 months ago | (#47169617)

I donate every month as well. You've got to feed our troops. :)

You have some VERY confused ideas (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47169823)

"I used to financially support the NRA, under the assumption that they defended the 2nd amendment. A while age I realized that was not actually correct"

Um, no... the NRA is still the only organization that FIGHTS for the 2nd amendment. Gun Owners of America IMHO is a fig leaf for people who want to claim they care about the 2nd while being ineffectual in doing it. I personally wish there was an NRA-equivalent (that had members of the House and Senate quaking in their boots) for EACH of the 10 amendments that form the Bill of Rights. For example, we need a well-funded RUTHLESS grass-roots organization dedicated to JUST the 4th amendment that will tolerate NO politician who would support ANY search of a person, his home, his papers (information, "meta" or not) and his "effects" (other possessions) that would be comitted without a specific narrowly-drawn sworn-out under-oath search warrant. The NRA should NOT be the only organization with that zeal for the constitution and the 2nd amendment should NOT be the only amendment that has such a zealous supporter. And, no - the ACLU is not there for any of that (they get all tangled-up in favorite left-wing social and fiscal causes, let their politics drive them to weighing whether to enter any particular fight over any particular amendment, and have been far too willing to go mushy on the 1st and 2nd when their left-wing friends are stomping on them.)

"...the knowledge that EFF is far more effective in their use of funds than NPR when it comes to presevring the Constitution. "

Yikes! NPR is government-run pro-government propaganda; they're NO example of ANYTHING positive - the equivalent of Pravda, or some Goebels-run outfit. The American left USED to shout slogans AGAINST "the man"... now the left that used to burn draft cards and THINK the evil federal government MIGHT be spying on it, turns to the central government for EVERYTHING (food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, news, entertainment, etc.) even KNOWING that government is spying on them! So much for things like "never trust anyone over 40" and "Hey Hey LBJ, How many kids did you kill today?". If the government resumed the draft today, I suspect there'd be a lot of left-wing Obama supporters who'd SUPPORT the draft and turn-in anybody trying to escape to Canada!

NPR should NEVER have been created in the United States, should never have been funded or licensed, and should have been shut down long ago. For all you left-wingers who love it (thereby exposing just how completely left-wing it has become while funded by ALL taxpayers) you should ask yourselves a serious question: Would "Air America" have survived and been forced to become better and more-competative if NPR had not been there as a place for liberal listeners to go to? That's the free market, and IF liberal ideas really ARE good, then they should succeed and prosper in such a market. Without NPR (which, as a government mouthpiece, has to live within certain bounds) I'd bet a MORE liberal commercial radio network WOULD HAVE succeeded (and liberals on Capitol Hill would not always be having to fight for NPR funding and worry that the GOP might succeed in cutting it).

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (3, Interesting)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47169899)

Um, no... the NRA is still the only organization that FIGHTS for the 2nd amendment.

They don't do a very good job of it. In fact, they seem to do a very good just of 'compromising' away rights. For instance, I believe the NRA said that it doesn't have problems with restricting people with criminal records, or people with mental health issues.

If you take the position that the 2nd amendment means that modern weaponry is fine (Which I do.), then you can't arbitrarily decide that it doesn't protect certain weaponry that you find scary. Yet, many types of guns are banned, and certain people are forbidden from owning them. That's unconstitutional if you're using such an interpretation.

and have been far too willing to go mushy on the 1st and 2nd when their left-wing friends are stomping on them.)

I am aware that their interpretation of the 2nd amendment differs from ours, but when have they gone mushy on the 1st amendment?

If the government resumed the draft today, I suspect there'd be a lot of left-wing Obama supporters who'd SUPPORT the draft and turn-in anybody trying to escape to Canada!

Yes, typical hypocritical partisan hacks who don't give a shit about freedom. They exist on both sides. Another group that's pathetically hypocritical are those who say that they want small government and that the government is often incompetent and downright corrupt (So far, this applies to me.), but when it comes to things such as the NSA's mass surveillance, they say the government is full of perfect little angels who would never make mistakes or abuse their powers. Sickening.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (3, Interesting)

dwpro (520418) | about 2 months ago | (#47170655)

I am a gun owner and supporter of the 2nd amendment, but I believe it's a fair reading of the 2nd amendment that the "well regulated militia" can be interpreted to not include folks who can be judged incompetent to own a weapon, though there should be due process on this decision. Even if such a provision did not exist, I would imagine other provisions would justify limited gun regulation. if the govt can take away your children for incompetence, surely they can take away your weapons. I agree with you on the modern weaponry question, however.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47174717)

I am a gun owner and supporter of the 2nd amendment, but I believe it's a fair reading of the 2nd amendment that the "well regulated militia" can be interpreted to not include folks who can be judged incompetent to own a weapon, though there should be due process on this decision. Even if such a provision did not exist, I would imagine other provisions would justify limited gun regulation. if the govt can take away your children for incompetence, surely they can take away your weapons. I agree with you on the modern weaponry question, however.

A "well regulated militia" is referring to the demeanor of the militia and a way to keep it mainstream. It's more about how to keep the militia from being a separate class of people with little concern or respect for the wishes of the citizenry. They've separated themselves from the rest of society by being the only ones allowed to have a gun; developing a mindset that treats others as property or less than human.

Their solution may not be applicable now and may have been an ideal one for their time. However, I've explicitly experienced this attitude on more than one occasion while being both inside and outside of the militia myself. (The children issue is a fairly recent development that would have been shocking to Americans up until the 1960's or 70's.)

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47174799)

I don't think that's a "fair reading" at all; it doesn't say any such thing. If you don't like what the 2nd amendment does in its current form, push for a constitutional amendment. Ignoring it is not an option, which is what the government is currently doing.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 2 months ago | (#47174963)

1) US Code includes those incompetent people in the militia, sadly.

2) The right to bear arms is not limited to the members of the militia anyway.

3) A literal and honest interpretation of the second amendment means ordinary people cannot be prohibited by law from owning nuclear warheads. I think we can all agree that this isn't a good idea. However, instead of amending the Constitution to impose legal limits on what arms we can bear, we instead abandon the literal honest interpretation in the interest of expediency. A truly slippery slope.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47176391)

3) A literal and honest interpretation of the second amendment means ordinary people cannot be prohibited by law from owning nuclear warheads. I think we can all agree that this isn't a good idea. However, instead of amending the Constitution to impose legal limits on what arms we can bear, we instead abandon the literal honest interpretation in the interest of expediency. A truly slippery slope.

There's probably a good argument that can be made for the ownership of defensive weapons vs being against the ownership of offensive ones. It's impossible to effectively defend only yourself with a nuke or canister of cyanide unless you're not concerned about commiting suicide or the effects on those around you.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47176501)

There's probably a good argument that can be made for the ownership of defensive weapons vs being against the ownership of offensive ones.

The second amendment makes no such distinctions.

Remember: The government can *only* do what the constitution says it can. If the constitution doesn't say the government can take away people's WMDs, then it has no legitimate authority to do so. Period.

Don't like it? Move to amend the constitution. That's why it can be amended to begin with! It's amazing how many people try to modify the constitution with invisible ink and then pretend that they think we should follow the constitution.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47170729)

So you would support allowing psychotic people to have guns? I support the 2nd amendment, but this just seems crazy.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 2 months ago | (#47173611)

Yeah, I think jellomizer screwed up by leading with that argument. I'm in more sympathy with his second paragraph, which points out that there's a whole lot of military weaponry that may not be owned by civilians according to laws I think are unconstitutional.

If "militia" means anything in the amendment, it means that citizens should be permitted military-grade weapons. However, try to get modern assault rifles and machine guns and see what happens.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47173933)

You seem like a reasonable person...

1. What do you think should be the restrictions on private ownership of weapons for regular (e.g. law abiding/sane) people? Only small arms? No explosives? No tanks? No checmical/biological/nuclear weapons? No restrictions at all?

2. What do you think should be the restrictions on private ownership of weapons for violent criminals and the mentally disturbed?

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 2 months ago | (#47177051)

1. The Second Amendment doesn't have restrictions on it, and for some time after that there were (AFAIK) no limitations on weapons civilians could own, and that includes warships. I'd personally rather have restrictions on AA weaponry, nukes, chemical weapons, and biological weapons. I don't see how restrictions on automatic weapons and grenade launchers could possibly be constitutional, but the judiciary branch doesn't seem to see it my way.

2. In this case, I'm going to consider "well-regulated militia" again, and suggest that we can ban weapons for violent criminals and mentally disturbed and dangerous (I've known plenty of harmless people who were mentally disturbed).

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47184151)

2. In this case, I'm going to consider "well-regulated militia" again, and suggest that we can ban weapons for violent criminals and mentally disturbed and dangerous (I've known plenty of harmless people who were mentally disturbed).

Historical documents show that "well-regulated" militia had nothing to do with forbidding "violent criminals" or "mentally disturbed" people from owning guns.

You're just setting yourself up for authorities who have the ability to arbitrarily decide the second amendment doesn't apply to you. If that's what you want, at least have the decency to propose a constitutional amendment.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47174779)

I support the 2nd amendment

Are you sure? It says nothing about psychotic people being an exception, nor does it imply it anywhere. If you don't like those people being able to own guns, move to amend the constitution, not just ignore it.

Oh, and I think it's patently ridiculous to claim that all "psychotic" people would kill someone. There are so many mental illnesses these days thanks to the pseudoscience known as psychology that most people have one.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47175099)

Are you sure? It says nothing about psychotic people being an exception, nor does it imply it anywhere. If you don't like those people being able to own guns, move to amend the constitution, not just ignore it.

The constitution refers to mentally competent adults. It doesn't explicitly say this anywhere in the constitution, but it is the reason that you cannot be convicted of false imprisonment for sending their kids to their rooms. It is also the reason children and the mentally incompetent are not able to consent to enter into a contract.

Oh, and I think it's patently ridiculous to claim that all "psychotic" people would kill someone. There are so many mental illnesses these days thanks to the pseudoscience known as psychology that most people have one.

I didn't claim that all psychotic people will kill someone. Clearly some will. You could give loaded handguns to every 3 year old, and not all of them would kill someone either, that doesn't make it a good idea. I think denying the 2nd amendment to mentally incompetent people is as legitimate as parents denying the 2nd amendment to a toddler.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47175205)

The constitution refers to mentally competent adults.

The second amendment makes no such exceptions.

I think denying the 2nd amendment to mentally incompetent people is as legitimate as parents denying the 2nd amendment to a toddler.

Then you're just as bad as those people who oppose the second amendment altogether, rather than trying to amend the constitution to fit your anti-freedom views.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47175231)

Oh, and parents refusing to spend their own money to buy their child something is their right. This is an example of government thugs violating people's constitutional rights.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47175711)

Oh, and parents refusing to spend their own money to buy their child something is their right. This is an example of government thugs violating people's constitutional rights.

I didn't say anything about spending parents money.

If I want to use my money to buy your child an loaded handgun as a present, do you have a right as a parent to violate the US constitution and deny your 3 year old child his/her 2nd amendment rights by taking the gun away from them?

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47175763)

I think it's your right to buy a child a loaded handgun. But unless the 3 year old child is living by themselves somehow, the parent also has the right to mandate that the child has to give up the guns in order to continue living at the house. Just an example of exercising one's own private property rights. But if the parent had no problem with it, then neither would I.

You are also making a mistake by conflating parents and other private entities with the government. It is the government that has its powers restricted. If the government stopped that whole affair from happening, then there would be a 2nd amendment violation.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47175851)

So lets say the 3 year old kid really wants the gun and says he/she would rather not live with the parents if it means they can't have the gun (you know how fussy kids can be when they want something), do the parents have to let the kid leave and play with the gun? Or are they allowed to detain the child by force?

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47175925)

Why are you so desperate to compare children with people who are supposedly mentally incompetent (Which is defined by pseudoscientists and can be applied to anyone in the fucking world!)? Do you think this will ever change my opinion about the second amendment? It won't.

But yeah, I'm against treating children like little slaves. Let them go experience that nice, comfy world out there, and hopefully they won't end up flattened in the middle of the street. It's a problem that solves itself, really.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47176315)

Why are you so desperate to compare children with people who are supposedly mentally incompetent (Which is defined by pseudoscientists and can be applied to anyone in the fucking world!)? Do you think this will ever change my opinion about the second amendment? It won't.

Because children and the mentally incompetent share a lot of the same qualities, the most relevant to this conversation being the one where the constitution does not apply to them in the same way that it applies to mentally competent adults.

I wasn't trying to change your mind. You said I didn't believe in the 2nd amendment because I didn't want crazy people to have guns. I was just trying to figure out what you thought the limits of the 2nd amendment were, to determine what was required to be consistent with your view of the constitution and the 2nd amendment. Is there was human being you'd deny the right to own a weapon? Or is it really every single US citizen's right from newborn to psychopath to own a nuclear weapon?

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47176411)

Because children and the mentally incompetent share a lot of the same qualities, the most relevant to this conversation being the one where the constitution does not apply to them in the same way that it applies to mentally competent adults.

But it *does* apply.

Do you think free speech zones, the TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, DUI checkpoints, stop-and-frisk, etc. are constitutional? You think something is constitutional just because judges say so, or it's accepted by our society? That isn't how it works at all.

Or is it really every single US citizen's right from newborn to psychopath to own a nuclear weapon?

Look, if you proposed a constitutional amendment that said the government has the power to restrict ownership of WMDs, I'd be right behind you. Until then, knock this crap off.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47176425)

You also keep overlooking the fact that *anyone* can be determined to be "mentally incompetent." Psychology produces mostly bad science, 'experts' can be paid off, 'experts' can be wrong, etc. Being a homosexual was once considered a mental illness, for instance. There are all kinds of problems with trying to restrict "mentally incompetent" people's rights, and none of it leads to a good result. It's just too easily abused, and I would never support such a thing.

And also, just like most gun owners won't murder people, most "mentally incompetent" people won't, either. If you support restricting them, you support collective punishment, which is absolutely intolerable. This is the sort of thing I'd expect from the anti-gun crowd.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47176551)

You also keep overlooking the fact that *anyone* can be determined to be "mentally incompetent."

That's a different problem (if it exists). The solution to this is to fix our system of determining mental competence and not simply assuming everyone is mentally competent to own a gun.

Psychology produces mostly bad science, 'experts' can be paid off, 'experts' can be wrong, etc.

Again, not a good reason to simply assume everyone is mentally competent.

Being a homosexual was once considered a mental illness, for instance.

Even when it was considered a mental illness, there was a time when homosexuals were still deemed mentally competent (i.e. responsible for their actions, etc). To make the following logical deductions "the system was flawed -> the system will always be flawed -> we shouldn't even have a system", is rather extreme.

There are all kinds of problems with trying to restrict "mentally incompetent" people's rights, and none of it leads to a good result.

There are lots of problems with it, and it's society's job to handle those problems as best it can. Some of it certainly leads to better results than would have happened otherwise. My wife used to be a social worker in a hospital for mentally ill. She used to come home everyday with stories about how they had to get court orders to force people to take their medication, or restrain them to prevent them from hurting themselves and others during psychotic episodes. Sometimes people just can't be trusted to be safe around themselves and others. Allowing them to have guns is probably just about the worst idea imaginable.

It's just too easily abused, and I would never support such a thing.

Court systems are easily abused. Legislative power is easily abused. Any kind of authority is easily abused. These are not a good arguments for anarachy (at least not to those of us that prefer to live in a civil society). These are good arguments for improving our safeguards against abuses.

And also, just like most gun owners won't murder people, most "mentally incompetent" people won't, either.

Most bullets miss people. That doesn't make it ok to shoot at people. Giving a gun to a mentally competent person with no criminal history carries a very low risk of that gun being used in a homicide by that person. Giving a gun to some people (small children, mentally incompetent, psychotic people, etc) carries a much higher risk even if less than 50% (i.e. not most) will actually murder someone.

If you support restricting them, you support collective punishment, which is absolutely intolerable.

It's not punishment to deny gun possession to those that are not capable of bearing such a responsibility (e.g. children, mentally incompetent adults, and psychotic people). We restrict rights of these people for the same reason we don;t let children and blind people drive cars. There is a reasonable expectation that these people will be a significant danger to themselves and others if they are not denied these rights.

This is the sort of thing I'd expect from the anti-gun crowd.

If you actually surveyed people in the "pro-gin crowd" whether they'd want guns in the hands of mentally incompetent people, I think you'll find that they generally don't.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47176617)

That's a different problem (if it exists). The solution to this is to fix our system of determining mental competence and not simply assuming everyone is mentally competent to own a gun.

It's not a different problem, because these same terrible standards that our society uses to judge whether someone is "mentally competent" are going to be used for this.

Court systems are easily abused.

"too easily" There is also the question of if it's a necessary evil. Safety in this way is not at all necessary. Not even a little bit.

FYI, I'm opposed to anything the government can too easily abuse, or powers that it simply shouldn't have. Listing off other powers that could be abused isn't going to help you. If you managed to show me that a power that the government currently has is too easily abused or some other such thing, I would only agree with you. So don't waste your time. My position has absolutely nothing to do with anarchy, though I am an advocate of an absolutely minimal level of government interference. This is not such a case.

Most bullets miss people. That doesn't make it ok to shoot at people.

No, it doesn't, and that has to do with intent. If some *individual* decides to do that, then you may arrest them and handle that in court. But don't infringe upon an *entire group's* individual liberties simply because some of them are Bad Guys.

It's not punishment to deny gun possession to those that are not capable of bearing such a responsibility (e.g. children, mentally incompetent adults, and psychotic people).

You're literally turning them into unpeople and denying them basic rights that the constitution says they should have, and without even having a coherent definition of any of those things. The worst part is, you don't seem to be advocating for any sort of constitutional amendment. Unless you are, I'm even more opposed to what you're saying.

If you actually surveyed people in the "pro-gin crowd" whether they'd want guns in the hands of mentally incompetent people, I think you'll find that they generally don't.

Then guess which group they belong to? They certainly don't care about the 2nd amendment. Quit pretending to be a supporter of the second amendment.

Oh, some other thing I forgot to mention. In case it isn't clear, I believe that freedom is far more important than safety, so I'll never agree with your standpoint on forbidding "mentally incompetent" people from owning guns. I want to live in "the land of the free and the home of the brave," not a land where people mindlessly chant that phrase and then support policies that take us in the exact opposite direction. I'd rather risk letting 'undesirables' have guns than infringe upon their rights. Period.

As far as I'm concerned, if you're so scared of someone deciding to shoot people with guns (And really, the only real way you could determine if they're such a person is if they've done similar things before. Anything else is thoughtcrime.), they shouldn't be walking around freely to begin with, assuming they've committed crimes before. And if they are, they get the rights that normal citizens get.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47177457)

You're literally turning them into unpeople and denying them basic rights that the constitution says they should have,

No, I am saying that certain people can/should be determined not to be mentally competent, and therefore do not have the same rights as other people, due to the danger they pose to themselves and others. This has nothing to do with turning people into non-people, merely determining which people can be behave responsibly.

Then guess which group they belong to? They certainly don't care about the 2nd amendment. Quit pretending to be a supporter of the second amendment.

By your definition of what constitutes support of the 2nd amendment, only a very small minority of Americans actually support the second amendment. Your pretty much alone if you want to allow mentally incompetent people have guns. It's not like we can ask them, but I'm pretty sure even the founding fathers that drafted the 2nd amendment wouldn't want mentally incompetent people with weapons.

As far as I'm concerned, if you're so scared of someone deciding to shoot people with guns (And really, the only real way you could determine if they're such a person is if they've done similar things before. Anything else is thoughtcrime.), they shouldn't be walking around freely to begin with, assuming they've committed crimes before

1. That's not the *only* way you can determine that. 2. Even having committed violent crimes before does not prove that someone will continue to commit violent crimes.

It is possible to determine that some people are mentally incompetent and/or dangerous. That doesn't mean that they have committed a crime or deserve to be punished. Maybe they do need to be segregated from society, but part of this includes taking their guns away.

You think you can absolve yourself of denying people their 2nd amendment rights by detaining them against their will and simply saying "the owner of this building doesn't allow guns"? That's bullshit.

If a crazy person who has never committed a crime starts building a nuclear bomb, would you do anything to stop them? How could you? If they have never committed a crime, and since there is no way perfect way of determining someone is crazy, and the 2nd amendment is absolute in allowing people to obtain weapons of any kind. Would you just let them build the weapon?

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47177573)

No, I am saying that certain people can/should be determined not to be mentally competent, and therefore do not have the same rights as other people, due to the danger they pose to themselves and others. This has nothing to do with turning people into non-people, merely determining which people can be behave responsibly.

And you have failed to show a workable solution. You haven't even defined what constitutes as a "mentally ill" person. The current state of affairs is that it's trivial to be diagnosed with some mental illness because psychology as a field of science just doesn't produce quality research like other fields, and this will continue for some time. What do you suggest doing until then? How long will this take to get fixed, and how many people will suffer in the mean time? Or will you wait who knows how long before implementing your proposed solution?

By your definition of what constitutes support of the 2nd amendment, only a very small minority of Americans actually support the second amendment.

Correct. You'll find that I'm no fan of most people. We have the TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, free speech zones, stop-and-frisk, constitution-free zones, unfettered border searches, DUI checkpoints, protest permits, the drug war, etc. Most people support at least one of those things.

It's not like we can ask them, but I'm pretty sure even the founding fathers that drafted the 2nd amendment wouldn't want mentally incompetent people with weapons.

It doesn't matter what you think they would have wanted. What matters is what they left behind.

1. That's not the *only* way you can determine that.

Do you have a credible method, or are you suggesting that we strip people of their rights for thoughtcrime?

2. Even having committed violent crimes before does not prove that someone will continue to commit violent crimes.

Yes. Agreed.

You think you can absolve yourself of denying people their 2nd amendment rights by detaining them against their will and simply saying "the owner of this building doesn't allow guns"? That's bullshit.

I think the constitution should be amended. That's another difference between you and me, apparently. I actually want to go through the correct processes to get this whole thing resolved, although I do not agree with taking rights away from "mentally ill" people. I also do not agree with unlimited punishment after one has served their time.

If a crazy person who has never committed a crime starts building a nuclear bomb, would you do anything to stop them? How could you? If they have never committed a crime, and since there is no way perfect way of determining someone is crazy, and the 2nd amendment is absolute in allowing people to obtain weapons of any kind. Would you just let them build the weapon?

Until the constitution is amended...

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 2 months ago | (#47181045)

And you have failed to show a workable solution. You haven't even defined what constitutes as a "mentally ill" person. The current state of affairs is that it's trivial to be diagnosed with some mental illness because psychology as a field of science just doesn't produce quality research like other fields, and this will continue for some time. What do you suggest doing until then? How long will this take to get fixed, and how many people will suffer in the mean time? Or will you wait who knows how long before implementing your proposed solution?

I'm not a mental health expert. I am a software engineer. My workable solution is to get experts to decide when people are safe to own guns. Obviously you don't like this solution, but the fact that one person doesn't like it doesn't mean it's bad.

Correct. You'll find that I'm no fan of most people.

Clearly

We have the TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, free speech zones, stop-and-frisk, constitution-free zones, unfettered border searches, DUI checkpoints, protest permits, the drug war, etc. Most people support at least one of those things.

Supporting the cause of freedom to the point of giving guns to people who are not responsible enough to handle them safely is insane. You say we don't have a way to determine with 100% accuracy who will murder someone. So what? Should we let children drive cars on the freeway because we don;t know which children will be bad drivers?

It doesn't matter what you think they would have wanted. What matters is what they left behind.

What is left behind is a document that is interpreted by the supreme court (as defined by the constitution itself).

Do you have a credible method, or are you suggesting that we strip people of their rights for thoughtcrime?

Stopping mentally incompetent people from harming themselves or others is not punishing a thoughtcrime. It's not even a crime. By definition, a person who is mentally incompetent is not responsible for their actions. Responsibility is a 2 way street. With responsibility comes freedom, and the ability to be punished for breaking laws.

I trust the opinion of mental health experts as to who is not responsible. It's not perfect but it is far better than the alternative. What you are suggesting is liek saying our justice system is not perfect, therefore we should open up all the jails and allow every prisoner onto the streets.

I think the constitution should be amended. That's another difference between you and me, apparently. I actually want to go through the correct processes to get this whole thing resolved, although I do not agree with taking rights away from "mentally ill" people. I also do not agree with unlimited punishment after one has served their time.

I actually want do want to amend the constitution to specifically limit rights on what kinds of weapons can be owned. It is clear to me that weapons have become much more deadly since the 2nd amendment was written. It is also obvious to me that the constitution does not (and never did) apply to the mentally incompetent, for the same reason it doesn't apply to animals and plants. Children, the mentally incompetent, animals and plants are not responsible for their actions.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 2 months ago | (#47184129)

Obviously you don't like this solution, but the fact that one person doesn't like it doesn't mean it's bad.

Given the fact that psychology produces far too much bad science, and the 'experts' would rely on it, yeah, it's bad. Oh, and homosexuality was once a mental illness. You're just setting yourself up for arbitrary rights violations, where 'experts' arbitrarily decide that you're not enough of a person to own a gun.

You'll find that I'm far from the only one who questions psychology's status as a science.

Supporting the cause of freedom to the point of giving guns to people who are not responsible enough to handle them safely is insane.

It's not doing so that is insane to me. You've offered zero workable solutions, and your only solution is so unworkable that it's hilarious. And I think that freedom is more important than your safety, so I'd never support it to begin with.

What is left behind is a document that is interpreted by the supreme court (as defined by the constitution itself).

You might want to refer to Thomas Jefferson's words: "The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal"

Don't put the Supreme Court on some holy pedestal and act as if they're absolutely right. I have a feeling that that's where this was going. They've been wrong many times, and I doubt even you would agree with all of their nonsensical decisions.

Stopping mentally incompetent people from harming themselves or others is not punishing a thoughtcrime.

When you punish them by preventing them from exercising their second amendment rights because they think in a certain way that you do not approve of, you are, in fact, advocating that we punish people for what is essentially thoughtcrime. It disgusts me.

It's not perfect but it is far better than the alternative.

It's not just "not perfect," it is a horrendous solution based on pseudoscience that will lead to the violation of people's constitutional rights, and it has zero constitutional basis.

What you are suggesting is liek saying our justice system is not perfect, therefore we should open up all the jails and allow every prisoner onto the streets.

Nope. That's your own delusion. The justice system is a necessity to some extent, but preventing people who you don't like from owning guns is not. I suggest punishing people who do use their guns to hurt others, not preemptively taking away their rights.

It is also obvious to me that the constitution does not (and never did) apply to the mentally incompetent

How is that clear to you? You're arbitrarily deciding that certain people don't have rights. Unless the constitution explicitly says as much, you are wrong.

Children, the mentally incompetent, animals and plants are not responsible for their actions.

The constitution often refers to "the people." It says nothing about the mentally incompetent. Nor does it say that people lose their rights when others such as you arbitrarily decide they're not responsible for their actions. It's just an irrelevancy.

Face it. You're just trying to take away the rights of people you don't like, because freedom isn't something you truly desire. You don't even give a shit about what the constitution says; you just want to modify it with invisible ink and then pretend it never applied to undesirables.

Again, if you would stop pretending that the constitution says a damn thing about "mentally incompetent" people not having 2nd amendment rights, and suggested that we amend the constitution, you wouldn't seem like such an idiot. But as it is, I see you as a traitor to the principles this country is supposed to aspire to. And yes, that means giving up most 'safety' for freedom.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

Sciath (3433615) | about 2 months ago | (#47184461)

It is universally accepted that "children" are too mentally and physically immature to assume responsibility for handling anything "dangerous" which includes certain "toys", utensils, etc. That is not in anyway comparable to an "adult" or more mature "child" in learning to safely use such things. Even adults who some people might consider "incompetent" might not be considered incompetent by other adults. So the child/incompetence analogy doesn't really work.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 1 month ago | (#47189385)

So the child/incompetence analogy doesn't really work.

Some adults are *as* mentally competent as small children. When say mentally incompetent I am not using 2 different scales for children and adults. A mentally incompetent adult is someone who would not be held responsible for killing another person in a court. A mentally incompetent adult is someone who if they were allowed to live in the general population, would require an adult guardian in the same way that a child requires an adult guardian.

I am not talking about some guy who is considered stupid by his friends.

Also, you'll notice that my comparison was actually a pretty good one, because Jellomizer thinks that children should have the right to own guns for the same reason that the mentally incompetent should. And that reason is that the 2nd amendment doesn't have any explicit limitations according to him.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

Sciath (3433615) | about a month and a half ago | (#47191151)

Based upon your example(s) you have an extremely limited view of incompetence and you appear to be using a only the legal definition. In fact there are a number of varieties or levels of incompetence. People can be incompetent from an employment viewpoint and that variety of incompetence can be used by a local sheriff to deny a person a concealed carry permit but has nothing to do with the "legal" definition where someone is considered mentally unable to make sound financial and medical decisions. If you had ever been degreed in medicine or psychiatry or even social work you'd understand there are varying degrees of mental infirmity including but not limited to your legal use of the word. Also, considering your example of people's "stupidity" depending upon the (again) degree of stupidity doctors, judges, law enforcement, etc. would or could consider a person as incompetent. Stupidity is merely a more common phrase people use to describe varying degrees of incompetence. There is no one degree of stupidity.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a month and a half ago | (#47193267)

I specifically referred to mental incompetence which has an accepted definition.

Do you think the 2nd amendment should be interpreted in such a way that not a single free US citizen should be denied access to a firearm? Because the *only* claim I am making is that *some* people are not mentally competent enough to own a firearm, and that denying these people the right to own a firearm is not a violation of the constitution, because the constitution applies to mentally competent adults.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

Sciath (3433615) | about 2 months ago | (#47184427)

How does one determine "incompetence"? Is a depressed person incompetent even though they are still able to function in society? Is someone with a character disorder or even split personality, or Aspergers, "loners", the physically handicapped, etc. be considered incompetent? There is a vast spectrum of human conditions, maladies, and "deviant" behavior that people can debate whether or not they would consider someone "incompetent". Either way, it's a pretty arbitrary line to draw.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 1 month ago | (#47189373)

How does one determine "incompetence"?

I don't know the specifics because I am not an expert in mental health. I do know that this is something that is done all the time, albeit imperfectly.

How does one test for competence in any area? whether it is driving, calculus, or medicine? Someone who is experienced in the relevant field devises a test designed to separate the competent people and the people who are not (i.e. the people who are capable of doing X and the people who are not). Tests, like pretty much everything in life can't be 100% accurate, and you expect some percentage (hopefully small) of false positives and false negatives.

In my view, the fact that tests can not be perfect, is not a good reason to abandon tests.

Is someone with a character disorder or even split personality, or Aspergers, "loners", the physically handicapped, etc. be considered incompetent?

*Mentally* competent people are people who can be held responsible for their actions. Since being an Asperger "loner" is not a proper excuse for committing a crime, it implies we treat Asperger loners as being mentally competent. Physically handicapped people aren;t necessarily mentally compromised at all, so I don;t know why that was even mentioned.

Who is *not* mentally competent? People who we would not consider responsible for their actions if they broke the law. Small children, animals, severely mentally retarded people, the mentally insane, etc.

Which lines are not arbitrary?

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47188583)

Are you sure? It says nothing about psychotic people being an exception, nor does it imply it anywhere. If you don't like those people being able to own guns, move to amend the constitution, not just ignore it.

Denying rights to certain people is permitted when they're incarcerated (Amendment XIIISection 1.Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, ... ). Unfortunately for the mentally ill, the keywords here are " duly convicted". If they aren't, then they have the same rights as everyone else. Although a lot of people would like to consider mental illness as a punishable offense, it's debatable on whether "punishment" supersedes "duly convicted".

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47188635)

Denying rights to certain people is permitted when they're incarcerated (Amendment XIIISection 1.Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, ... ).

That deals with slavery and involuntary servitude, as it says. And even if it did, it would only apply while they're convicted, not forever after they get out.

Although a lot of people would like to consider mental illness as a punishable offense, it's debatable on whether "punishment" supersedes "duly convicted".

The punishment can only be given after they've been duly convicted.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

Sciath (3433615) | about 2 months ago | (#47184369)

First of all, known psychotic, violent and anti-social people are prohibited from owning firearms. Even people discharged from the military under "less than honorable" conditions are forbidden to own firearms in most states. Whether they're psychotic or not makes no difference. Secondly, psychosis is a difficult thing to diagnose. Even psychiatrists treating patients don't know oftentimes if a patient is depressed, has a personality disorder, merely anti-social, psychotic, etc. There are NO clear demarcation lines with various mental issues, most of the time those disorders do not result in violent behavior. Prediction is spurious at best. The only definitive indication of severe mental disturbance is actual behavior. Yet behavior is unpredictable, and once violent behavior begins it's too late to completely prevent. So the idea of keeping firearms out of the people's hands as a blanket policy is without legal (Constitutional) precedence because it would deny ownership to a vast majority of people who are not disturbed, who are responsible and are not common threats to society especially in light of the fact violent behavior is often unpredictable. One would be denied a "freedom" without due process and a compelling state interest.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 1 month ago | (#47189353)

First of all, known psychotic, violent and anti-social people are prohibited from owning firearms.

Which apparently jellomizer is opposed to.

Secondly, psychosis is a difficult thing to diagnose.

I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that fall into a gray area. There are also people that are clearly very dangerous and should not even be allowed to be in the general population, much less own guns. Jellomizer apparently thinks that because some people fall into gray areas, then it's not fair to take guns away form anyone. He would rather everyone have the freedom to own guns because he values freedom over safety in *every* situation. He thinks sacrificing even a very little freedom for a lot of safety is a bad thing (e.g. preventing even the most dangerous people form owning guns).

One would be denied a "freedom" without due process and a compelling state interest.

I am not advocating anything except due process. Jellomizer is saying there is no such thing as due process in determining someone (no matter how potentially dangerous) is not fit to own a gun.

Re:You have some VERY confused ideas (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 2 months ago | (#47174943)

That's bullshit. I used to support the NRA as well. Eventually I read about one too many instances of them actively working against gun owners.

The NRA is the only organization that fights for gun manufacturers. They care about gun owners to the extent that they continue buying more guns.

Then again, now that I've read the remainder of your post, I realized I shouldn't have bothered with a response. You're nuts.

Re:Donate to the EFF! NOW!!! (1)

Zalbik (308903) | about 2 months ago | (#47172861)

There are a ton of relatively affluent people here on Slashdot. It certainly wouldn't hurt you to allocate a small amount of money to EFF annually, and we know their results.

This.

Too many posts here are either "you should be willing to die for your rights, you sniveling cowards!", or "there's nothing we can do, nothing we should try, let's all go eat worms"...

Here's a simple, painless way to support the cause of protecting our rights. And as the court case shows, it is effective, if at nothing else than generating publicity regarding the crimes being committed by government on a daily basis.

Anyone who thinks what the NSA is doing is wrong should go and donate today.

but but (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 2 months ago | (#47169655)

the bad guys are from middle east, they are making viruses....

U.S. Marshals Seize Cops’ Spying Records... (4, Interesting)

eddy (18759) | about 2 months ago | (#47170127)

Here's a new sneaky approach, less destructive but so far effective: U.S. Marshals Seize Cops’ Spying Records to Keep Them From the ACLU [wired.com]

Re:U.S. Marshals Seize Cops’ Spying Records. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47174457)

Here's a new sneaky approach, less destructive but so far effective: U.S. Marshals Seize Cops; Spying Records to Keep Them From the ACLU [wired.com]

So, although disobeying a direct order, the police seize the spying records of the police and respond with "We do not discuss pending litigation". Lol. These former bathroom bad boys are a real laugh riot. If they aren't doing anything wrong, what do they have to hide? More than likely, it would be discovered they were practicing their sexual predator skills, including pedophilia.

This is the kind of attitude one gets when the minimum requirement for being employed in the security sector is being a school yard football faggot with a gym yard GED. Extra points if someone in your family is already a member of the union.

It's time to seriously consider constitutionally defined police powers spread into several well defined (non-crippling) checks and balances derived from mainstream representation independently diverse enough to be valid.

Re:U.S. Marshals Seize Cops’ Spying Records. (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | about 2 months ago | (#47174597)

I find this case particularly amazing - in just three paragraphs you'll find a dozen reasons to be outraged -- or to dispair. After the first sentence you wonder if it is a parody, but it gets even better:

Recently, the Tallahassee police department revealed it had used stingrays at least 200 times since 2010 without telling any judge because the device's manufacturer made the police department sign a non-disclosure agreement that police claim prevented them from disclosing use of the device to the courts.

The ACLU has filed numerous records requests with police departments around the country in an effort to uncover how often the devices are used and how often courts are told about them.

In the Sarasota case, the U.S. Marshals Service claimed it owned the records Sarasota police offered to the ACLU because it had deputized the detective in the case, making all documentation in the case federal property. Before the ACLU could view the documents Sarasota had put aside for them, the agency dispatched a marshal from its office in Tampa to seize the records and move them to an undisclosed location.

No surprise. (1)

jcr (53032) | about 2 months ago | (#47170573)

We already know, thanks to Snowden, that the NSA commits billions of felony wiretaps as a matter of routine. They have no regard at all for the law, why would they comply with their duty to preserve evidence in an ongoing investigation?

-jcr

Find the backups. (1)

cHiphead (17854) | about 2 months ago | (#47170603)

Backups. There's usually a backup somewhere that still contains the data.

This is nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47170693)

we've known for years that the NSA was a wholly illegal organization run by hardened criminals.

The question is... why do they still get funding?

NSA *destroying* data? (1)

Dennis Hopper (3662053) | about 2 months ago | (#47171117)

Yeah, I bet that wasn't important or relevant.

NSA is like Enron (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | about 2 months ago | (#47172021)

Only, they don't go to jail, they just carry on as normal.

A Humble Request (1)

tech.kyle (2800087) | about 2 months ago | (#47175701)

Oh, EFF. How I love thee. Looks like the donations generated from Humble Bundles are turning in to results.

For the last time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47183253)

What the NSA doesn't get with "legal" court orders, they obtain with good 'ol black hat hacking.

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