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Anti-Civil Liberties Legislation Progresses

michael posted about 13 years ago | from the steamroller dept.

United States 348

hillct writes: "The ACLU has a very good comparison chart of anti-terrorism provisions in legislation currently being considered by congress. It covers the Combating Terrorism Act of 2001, the House Bill (PATRIOT Act) and the Senate Bill (USA Act), comparing it all to current law. We've all seen pieces of this information but the ACLU staffers did a great job consolidating it all." CDT also has a very good pdf guide to these about-to-be-passed laws. But the Onion has the best commentary.

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No LambdaMOO fuckers (-1)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | about 13 years ago | (#2412422)

Are getting this FP from me. ACs suck!

Re:No LambdaMOO fuckers (-1)

linux4life (525779) | about 13 years ago | (#2412511)

what's happened to geekizoid?

First posters suck (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412429)

Enough said.

ACLU (-1, Troll)

kfckernel (518726) | about 13 years ago | (#2412439)

need I say more?

Re:ACLU (2, Funny)

BugMaster ChuckyD (18439) | about 13 years ago | (#2412452)

"need I say more?"

...umm yes because as it stands your post makes no sense and conveys no information at all.

Re:ACLU (2, Funny) (87560) | about 13 years ago | (#2412518)

It could be a sort of Zen rhetorical question. A sort of 'is it really important if I say more, or less, cosmically speaking?'.

Or he could just be a first post Troll who is wondering how much he has to write to get past the lameness filters. The subject is just a red herring.

Or perhaps I'm hungry. Yes that seems more likely. -- hhgttg

Actually, yes. (2)

Russ Nelson (33911) | about 13 years ago | (#2412580)

Actually, yes. What the FuCk are you talking about??? Yes, they're the ACLU. So what about it?

Amen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412625)

Sometimes you have to wonder if even they believe in some of their "official positions".

Re:ACLU, good, bad? Who's the man with the gun? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 13 years ago | (#2412696)

While the good old ACLU may not be too popular with a certain talk show hows who's losing his hearing (a trait I'd swear was endemic to those unwilling to hear, let alone listen to other points of view, but I digress), and has no doubt benefitted immensely from their work on behalf of his rights and, also, at their expense (what irony, and who among the faithful following actually has considered that this is why he's a millionaire, ironic? Not really, he's a bit a of the old P. T. Barnum, but I'm digressing again ;-), I'd certainly rather have this group (despite how support of this group was used against Dukakis by Bush Sr.) than not have them keeping the well-meaning governments cotton-pickin' hands out of our rights. We need a few of them Voltaire&sup1 types these days, because the folks in the Taliban sure have their own ideas on civil rights.

I wholly disapprove of what you say--and will defend to the death your right to say it.

What happens next? (1, Interesting)

JakiChan (141719) | about 13 years ago | (#2412443)

We may be holding our own against these anti-privacy options, but what if there is another terrorist attack? I don't think we will be able to keep them from passing something that will severly limit our freedoms.

Re:What happens next? (-1)

Shitsack Comments (256887) | about 13 years ago | (#2412483)

As a matter of fact, I'm holding my own right now.

Re:What happens next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412493)

What's even scarier is that if somone is trying to push an agenda to suspend civil liberities all they would have to do (in these times) is induce another `terrorist attack'.

Scary Part (2, Insightful)

gimmie_prozac (525455) | about 13 years ago | (#2412447)

The scary part about legislation like this is that once it is adopted, it tends to stay in place. Today's ant-terrorism initiaitve is tommorow's rationale of the cops to packet-sniff your ISP...

For the Nth time - YOU HAVE NO PRIVACY (3, Redundant)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | about 13 years ago | (#2412641)

How long will posters here continue to believe they have any privacy to protect???

The only place you have privacy is in a room in your house with no windows. Otherwise assume you are being observed.

If you have a credit card, your entire purchase history is in a database.

If you have a drivers license or ssn which you use to identify yourself, your activities can be traced.

You phone can be trivially tapped.

You are being videotaped in most public buildings whether you know it or not.

Your internet connection is the most trivial of all to tap and trace.

Use TiVo? You viewing habits are in a database.

Where oh where is this privacy you are trying to protect? At least a national ID card would make everyone aware of the fact that they have ZERO privacy.

But we should ahve those privacies!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412706)

But we should have those privacies!!

We want these privicies back. We shouldn't have to be in our own house w/o any windows to ahve privacy. It should all be opt in for these damn databases.

People like this guy are why we lose privacy sometimes,

"Oh they took it already, i shouldn't try to get it back."

this is a violation of my civil liberties! (-1)

motherfuckin_spork (446610) | about 13 years ago | (#2412450)

damn you!

damn you all!

now I'm gonna be all pouty.

I'm gonna sue!

Re:this is a violation of my civil liberties! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2412507)

I'm a boy named Sue.

Re:this is a violation of my civil liberties! (-1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 13 years ago | (#2412532)

Gotta love Johnny Cash. He was wearing all black before all these weirdo goth types started.

Re:this is a violation of my civil liberties! (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2412562)

You got that right... he was doing sex, drugs and rock & roll before any of those whiney fags.

Unfortunately, he was saved by the lord! Hallelujah!

Re:this is a violation of my civil liberties! (-1)

Shitsack Comments (256887) | about 13 years ago | (#2412559)

My bologna has a first name.

Re:this is a violation of my civil liberties! (-1)

Juan Epstein (238683) | about 13 years ago | (#2412551)

I wash myself with a rag on a stick!

News Flash! - AP wires report bill blocked (5, Informative)

pyramid termite (458232) | about 13 years ago | (#2412458)

"The Bush administration's anti-terrorism legislation has stalled because of one senator's concern that it will erode civil liberties. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., tried to hurry the bill through Tuesday, but Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., refused Daschle's request to let the bill go through without debate or amendment."

I'm glad to see that one of our representatives feels a responsibility to have this discussed before it's passed. The article's available through Yahoo's home page - it would seem that Feingold wants to change several key provisions of the bill.

Re:News Flash! - AP wires report bill blocked (2)

sulli (195030) | about 13 years ago | (#2412473)

Feingold's a good guy - he co-authored the Senate version of the campaign finance bill that is currently stuck in the House. Maybe a /. interview is in order.

You can say that again (1)

poemofatic (322501) | about 13 years ago | (#2412575)

Maybe a /. interview is in order.

Re:News Flash! - AP wires report bill blocked (3, Interesting)

ScumBiker (64143) | about 13 years ago | (#2412535)

Feingold is my state senator. I'd be willing to put together an interview email to him. I've also got some contacts in the media here.

Re:News Flash! - AP wires report bill blocked (-1)

Shitsack Comments (256887) | about 13 years ago | (#2412591)

Senators are usually good at responding to e-mails from "scumbiker".

You've got to be kidding me! (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 13 years ago | (#2412586)

Feingold?! I never thought I'd see the day...

Re:News Flash! - AP wires report bill blocked (1)

psychalgia (457201) | about 13 years ago | (#2412643)

props to my boy from Wisconsin, Feingold is one of the few who listens to his people.

Links (was: Re:News Flash! - AP wires report ..) (4, Informative)

pherris (314792) | about 13 years ago | (#2412662)

"Senator Blocks Attempt to Pass Bill" ck s_terror_laws_2.html

BTW, you can thank him for doing the right thing at: tm l#form


Re:News Flash! - AP wires report bill blocked (0)

GrendelWraith (20481) | about 13 years ago | (#2412686)

I am proud to have cast my vote to get Russ elected. We may be completely nuts in Madison, WI. But at least some of our elected officials are all right.

The Onion (2)

jd (1658) | about 13 years ago | (#2412461)

All it needs is maybe some Sage. I suggest the team from "The Mary Whitehouse Experience". They've not been doing much satirical commentary, lately, despite the fact that they're probably the best there's been. (Even TW3 - That Was The Week That Was - was tame, in many ways, in comparison.)


Shitsack Comments (256887) | about 13 years ago | (#2412464)

Bruce Willis is actually DEAD! Throughout the WHOLE MOVIE! What a mindfuck!

Re:SPOILER ALERT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412481)

is that why the movie sucked so much? no it was because of that stupid kid


Shitsack Comments (256887) | about 13 years ago | (#2412497)

How old do you think that little fucker will be the first time he hits rehab?


motherfuckin_spork (446610) | about 13 years ago | (#2412509)

been there, done that...


Sunken Kursk (518450) | about 13 years ago | (#2412484)

What movie?


Shitsack Comments (256887) | about 13 years ago | (#2412510)

The Sixth Others

Amazing (1)

plemeljr (250971) | about 13 years ago | (#2412469)

The amazing thing about all of this legislation is that people I held in high esteem are all in favor of the proposed legislation. Everyone from my mother, to my professor, to my boss want this legislation passed.

Obligatory quote:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

-Identity up for debate

Re:Amazing (2)

tb3 (313150) | about 13 years ago | (#2412522)

Obligatory quote:

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

I am so tired of seeing that, no matter how approproiate it may be.

Invoking Godwin's law, clause 9/11: this discussion is now over.

Re:Amazing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412592)

Seeing this quote is almost as annoying as the media's insistence on clarifying that "jihad" means "holy war" whenever it comes up.

Geeze! We've only been hearing the definition of jihad 20 times a day for the past month...

It's like looking at a grocery store ad and seeing:
"Special! $2.50 for a gallon of milk (A white liquid extracted from the mammary glands of cows)"

We know what it is already! Quit telling us!

Obligatory idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412629)

Godwin's Law merely states that as a thread's length increases, the probability of using Nazis or the Holocaust as a metric to compare peoples' arguments approaches 1. There's nothing about who wins or who loses.

Re:Obligatory idiot (2, Informative)

then, it was nigh (455221) | about 13 years ago | (#2412669)

Godwin's Law merely states that as a thread's length increases, the probability of using Nazis or the Holocaust as a metric to compare peoples' arguments approaches 1. There's nothing about who wins or who loses.

Not strictly true, according to the Jargon File [] :

[...] There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. [...]

Re:Amazing (1)

mimbleton (467957) | about 13 years ago | (#2412655)

Hell, maybe , just maybe they know better than you ?
Isn't that possible or you are much smarter than all these people ?

PETA == terrorists? (4, Funny)

Dr. Awktagon (233360) | about 13 years ago | (#2412475)

Under the definition proposed by the Administration, even acts of simple civil disobedience could lead organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to become targets of "terrorist" investigations.

Say, maybe these laws aren't so bad after all...

*ducks and runs* ... errm... *crouches down and runs* (don't want to offend the ducks)

Re:PETA == terrorists? (2)

zpengo (99887) | about 13 years ago | (#2412585)

I disagree with the definitions proposed by the administration. PETA aren't terrorists, they're just obsessive weirdoes with nothing better to do.

Oh wait, maybe they *are* terrorists...

Re:PETA == terrorists? (0, Offtopic)

Mu*puppy (464254) | about 13 years ago | (#2412617)

People for the Eating of Tasty Animals (PETA), terrorists?? Damnation, I should've known something was up when I got a copy of the Anarchist'S Cookbook along with my membership card...

(BTW, what -would- be considered 'ethical treatment' for a cow born and raised to someday wind up on a dinner plate...?)

Re:PETA == terrorists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412654)

they should train the cows to fly airliners into buildings?

Insightful?!? (-1, Offtopic)

cow_licker (172474) | about 13 years ago | (#2412674)


Fellow geek here. Not only a geek, but a vegan as well. I don't see how making some lame comment about PETA gets to be insightful, but anyways... I invite you to check out these realmedia clips here [] and here [] , and tell me that PETA doesn't have a cause worth fighting for.

Personally seeing shit like this makes me forget about how important open source is and focus on more important things.

Re:Insightful?!? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412703)

No one argues that animals shouldn't be treated humanely, but PETA goes way, way beyond to make animals life morally equivalent to human life.

That makes them complete wackos. Not terrorists necessarily, but definitely wackos.

Now, they have the perfect right to be a wacko if they want. But when they try and push their wackoness on me, I get pissed. I have the absolute natural right to eat animals because of my place on the food chain.

Martial Law (4, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | about 13 years ago | (#2412479)

How long before martial law is the norm? What will 'martial law' be like then? I've noticed instead of what don't we have the right to do, we now ask what do we have the right to do in the past century. Even under the strictest rules, if you want to bomb something, you're going to bomb something. Its up to intelligence agencies and police forces to find out who wants to bomb what, and then stop them. Laws are like fences. They sit there and hope to deter would-be criminals. But there isn't anything stopping someone who isn't deterred from breaking that law...We should just make bombs illegal. That would have about as much effect.

Preventive detention using other laws... (3)

sterno (16320) | about 13 years ago | (#2412607)

Remember that Al Capone was put away for tax evasion, not murder, extortion, or any of a hundred other crime that he was responsible for directly or indirectly. If you make sure that it's very easy to become a criminal, then you can more easily pick them up, keep them off the street, and make sure they don't do anything bad.

I mean who of us doesn't break the occasional law? Maybe it's just speeding or making a copy of a friend's software or downloading an MP3 from Morpheus. They'd be happy to have an endless intermeshing of complex and confusing laws so that they can detain anybody before they become a "real threat".

What if tomorrow they outlawed uncertified, non-backdoored encryption standards. Then all of the terrorists who give two shits about our laws will still break them, but all of a sudden they can be arrested for these more minor infractions. This gives law enforcement a means to detain and prosecute them even if it isn't for the murder of thousands of people.

Sure, they'd also find all of these other people violating that law because we don't care to have the government being able to see everything at a moment's notice. But hey, what's the sacrifice of a couple crypto dissidents going to prison if we can make everybody safe.


Re:Martial Law (3, Funny)

Asikaa (207070) | about 13 years ago | (#2412611)

"We should just make bombs illegal"

You mean they're not? Someone should tell Wal-Mart about this missed opportunity.

Are we at war? (4, Insightful)

clovis (4684) | about 13 years ago | (#2412482)

The suspension of civil rights during a war is OK by me - it's an old tradition and a sensible one. Are we having a war with someone?

The problem I have is that Constitution reserves the right to declare war to Congress. If we need war powers, fine, declare war. It sure looks like one to me.
Otherwise, don't mess with my Bill of Rights.

Re:Are we at war? (2)

Jburkholder (28127) | about 13 years ago | (#2412631)

Quick quiz: what was the last time congress actually officially declared war?

Re:Are we at war? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 13 years ago | (#2412636)

Wasn't that in WW2?

Re:Are we at war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412645)

Answer: When war was declared on Japan following the attack on pearl harbor (we never declared war on germany, although the axis pact obligated germany to declare war on the US as a result of our declaration against Hapan, IIRC).

Korea - no
Vietnam - no
Grenada - no
Panama - no
Haiti - no
Iraq - no

makes you wonder exactly what use there is in making it official since it is almost never done, eh?

Re:Are we at war? (3, Insightful)

greenfly (40953) | about 13 years ago | (#2412677)

I suppose the problem is that, especially with these new definitions of war. We could be at "war" indefinitely. I mean, we didn't declare war on Afghanistan, we declared war on "terrorism" and have stated that this war will not end until all terrorists are stopped.

Now... these goals are kind of vauge to me. It is the kind of thing that could lend itself to a "war" that lasts for decades, all the while our civil liberties would be suspended "for the war". Say, while we are at it, why don't we suspend our civil liberties to help fight the "war" on drugs too. There's another war that I'm sure we will end in a month or two!

1984 allusions are running rampant at this moment, but "we have always been at war with Eurasia".

What happened to key escrow? (1)

sharp-bang (311928) | about 13 years ago | (#2412488)

I don't see, in either document, any discussion of the earlier proposals to re-implement key escrow or otherwise backdoor commercial encryption products. Did this die quietly or what? Anyone know?

Re:What happened to key escrow? (2)

sulli (195030) | about 13 years ago | (#2412501)

It was never proposed in any of the anti-terrorism legislation. Sen. Judd Gregg mentioned that he didn't like strong encryption recently and hinted at a bill, but AFAIK no bill has emerged from his office. I think key escrow is DOA.

ACLU and Technology: All Civil Liberties? (3, Interesting)

idonotexist (450877) | about 13 years ago | (#2412494)

First off, I am happy ACLU has released this report and is lobbying against provisions limiting civil liberties. However, very a long time, I have been confused over the absence of the ACLU in fighting court cases and legislation curtailing digital liberties. I have not seen ACLU participate in DMCA cases or against proposed legislation such as SSSCA. As a result, I assume the ACLU has no argument over such laws.

But, given that ACLU has a mission, stating the obvious, to promote liberties, why has the ACLU long been absent on issues related to technology? Is it merely because there is an absence of techie members in the ACLU to advance such causes? Or does ACLU really dislike issues related to technology?

Re:ACLU and Technology: All Civil Liberties? (1)

Sir_Real (179104) | about 13 years ago | (#2412540)

These matters fall into the domain of the EFF.

Re:ACLU and Technology: All Civil Liberties? (3, Informative)

ChuckDivine (221595) | about 13 years ago | (#2412595)

This question and its answer have been posted before.

Simply put, the ACLU, while famous, is a small organization with a limited budget. At the few ACLU events I've attended (yes, I am a member), I've been one of the few (perhaps only) technologically savvy persons. The ACLU does not tend to be the lead organization on information technology issues because EFF takes on that role. It's called division of labor, not lack of interest. Does the EFF take stands on racial profiling, the drug war, etc.?

Re:ACLU and Technology: All Civil Liberties? (5, Insightful)

revscat (35618) | about 13 years ago | (#2412702)

But, given that ACLU has a mission, stating the obvious, to promote liberties, why has the ACLU long been absent on issues related to technology?

What are you talking about? The ACLU has a long history of defending tech rights, and were the first organization to challenge an Internet-related federal law and have it heard by the Supreme Court. Check out Reno v. ACLU [] if you haven't done so before. This case was heard way, way back in 1997. The ACLU has also worked in conjunction with the EFF and/or EPIC on numerous occasions.

More recently they have filed amicus briefs in cases regarding anonymous speech [] on the net, as well as in the DeCSS [] case.

To state that the ACLU has "no argument" with laws such as the DMCA or the SSSCA is to argue from simple ignorance. Both of those laws directly conflict with the values that the ACLU tries to advance and preserve.

Integrity Versus Security (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412502)

This is slightly off topic, however it does apply when you start thinking about what information is currently available.

A lot of information on the web has recently been deleted. While it is true that Google has much of this material cached [] , more and more information related to war, disease, and terrorism will go away.

While we need to worry about security, we also need to care about security. When folks get information, they can make choices. When choice is available, we have room for freedom.

Please Sign This Petition (5, Informative)

The Slashdolt (518657) | about 13 years ago | (#2412505)

This [] is a petition to keep people from taking your freedom. Stand up for your rights, please! Do it before it's too late. It's much more difficult to take back laws once they are in place.

Re:Please Sign This Petition (2)

zpengo (99887) | about 13 years ago | (#2412539)

Yeah, because we all know a list of e-mail addresses is great for swaying the opinions of politicians. Here, let me upload my CD-ROM of 10,000 e-mail addresses...

Re:Please Sign This Petition (1)

The Slashdolt (518657) | about 13 years ago | (#2412568)

It's better than sitting there and doing nothing. What have you done to support those who are trying to keep from getting your freedom taken away?

Re:Please Sign This Petition (-1)

Shitsack Comments (256887) | about 13 years ago | (#2412576)

Here, let me upload my CD-ROM of 10,000 e-mail addresses...

You know that "e-mail addresses" are not the same thing as "naked cheerleader photos", right?

Re:Please Sign This Petition (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412571)

I don't believe that just blindly screaming about government taking your rights is the answer at all.

Some of the porposed laws are excellent, especially in the PATRIOT act. I believe that the FBI shold have had roving wiretaps all along. They're not that infringing at all, and can help in finding out more evidence on suspected terrorists and their associates.

I used to be the staunchest civil-libertarian, but since the attack, I don't mind at all giving up some civil liberties in order to find bad-guys. Remember, the government wouldn't be watching you if it didn't have suspicions about you doing something wrong in the first place.

And if you are an associate of a terrorist, tough. You should be shadowed too, until proven innocent.

Re:Please Sign This Petition (2, Insightful)

MediumWare (527525) | about 13 years ago | (#2412628)

Well, that is exactly what they are hoping, that you have been affected enough by the attack for them to pass what they want from under your nose, with you thinking it's the right thing to do.
"Remember, the government wouldn't be watching you if it didn't have suspicions about you doing something wrong in the first place"
Suspicion is not enough to strip you of more and more of your civil rights. What if you are innocent, which is very possible, then you would have lost your privacy and few other civil rights because of "suspicion".
And if you are an associate of a terrorist, tough. You should be shadowed too, until proven innocent
Does that translate to "You should be guilty, until proven innocent"? No, a terrorist is another criminal, some might argue that it's on another level, but that's not the point here. And what you are saying is that everyone associated with a crimial qualify to loose their civil rights!

Big Holes in Small Countries (2, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | about 13 years ago | (#2412508)

It will probably turn out that we're bombing camp grounds or something. Camp grounds, dirt roads, small runways...I don't see much of a need to take away our civil liberties. Life goes on, even without the WTC, and the people involved. Why should we all be less free? Might that have been bin Laden's real goal?

Of Course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412517)

THe ACLU is also wasting its time by suing a school that displayed the words 'God Bless America' Nice to see them keeping busy

Nothing new (1, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 13 years ago | (#2412521)

While I don't agree with parts like holding indefinetly without warrants, these new proposals are nothing new. Only thing new is the technology.

It's always been US law that if a judge agrees you're a suspect the police and FBI can pick apart your whole life. They can come into your house and business and seize everything as evidence, tap your phone and etc. Only thing different now is they're only going to need one warrant. It'll save on paperwork and effort.

Nothing but pencil pushing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412525)

Laws shmaws...

How do you "combat" terrorism? That's like healing death.

One last time (3, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 13 years ago | (#2412527)

If there isn't a torrent of letters and phone calls while such things still matter, each and every one of us will deserve whatever we get. Get off your as^H^Hslashdot and get on the phone, get a letter written, and get it to the post office. Now. These guys are intent on "protecting" us no matter how much harm they do in the process.

You know there is a problem (5, Interesting)

Alien54 (180860) | about 13 years ago | (#2412538)

You Know there is a problem when groups from across the political spectrum are complaining about the loss of rights.

The is a petition to retain your Civil Rights at Defend Your Freedom dot org [] . I have seen stuff on this sort of thing from everyone including the KKK to the ACLU, Pat Buchanon, and Common Cause. Something strange is going on when people across the spectrum are bitching, not just the wierdos [] .

Heck, even the Department of Homeland Security sounds like something out of Nazi Germany. This is unfortunate given the allegations that the Bush grandfather made his fortune in trade with that country.

There is a whole lot of political dirty laundry out there that needs to be washed.

Re:You know there is a problem (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | about 13 years ago | (#2412610)

I hate to mention it, but everyone you mentioned above "IS" the weirdos.

This one's scary (3, Insightful)

Red Aardvark House (523181) | about 13 years ago | (#2412550)

From the CDT summary:

Interception of computer trespasser communications (House 105, Senate 217)-
Allows ISP's, universities, network administrators to authorize surveillance without judicial order

Who left these entities to decide what's right or wrong? IMHO, this is too much power left to entities not expert in the field of law.

What's even worse is that there is no expectation of privacy for "unauthorized use" although that term is not defined. So it's up to the individual interpreter of the proposed law. Even the downloading of an unauthorized mp3 can allow the tapping of all communications by that individual, with no time limit!

The effects could be far-reaching, from unnecessary accusations of terrorism, to less privacy in the workplace.

How many times must this happen. (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 13 years ago | (#2412553)

Although America brags about its cival liberities. But when there is a threat Americans are so ready to give them up. It seems to be that real Americans are the ones who stand up in times of threat and disaster and say to the law makers that what they are doing is wrong. And like many times in the past history will look down on your desisions. Like gathering asian americans in WWII. Blacklisting "Comunists" during the Cold War. What ever happened to the addage Although I dont agree with what you say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.

One thing that's missing here (5, Insightful)

poemofatic (322501) | about 13 years ago | (#2412556)

is any sort of justification. For instance, increased wiretap auhtority. Just how would it have prevented the attack of Sept. 11? What sorts of nasty things are terrorists doing that we can't combat with the current system? How would required back doors make us safer?

I'm beginning to see a purely visceral response: terrorism => we are in danger => police need more powers.

On another note, where is the debate? I keep hearing that there will be one, but has anyone seen a member of the administration make a reasoned defense of these bills? Outlined why they are needed? Responded to criticism? Has there even been any criticism in the major media? (links would be appreciated)

Re:One thing that's missing here (1)

NearlyHeadless (110901) | about 13 years ago | (#2412660)

Read this article: F.B.I. Limited Inquiry of Man Now a Suspect in the Attacks [] . The F.B.I couldn't examine his computer or phone records because they couldn't show beforehand that he was a foreign agent. They couldn't get the warrants under a criminal investigation because "a criminal investigation would prohibit it from obtaining approval for a warrant under the surveillance act allowing covert intelligence gathering and searches related to Mr. Moussaoui."

This is something the ACLU insists on, even though it greatly limits the authorities. Very likely, this attack would have been prevented if the laws had been just slightly different. Some of the changes make a great deal of sense, such as roving wiretaps. It would have been more convincing to me if the ACLU had suggested some better alternatives. As to those who insist a police state is just around the corner: BULLSHIT!!. Every country in western Europe has different laws about how the police conduct searches. Not one of them is a police state. We can make rational adjustments in our laws. It's fine to point out flaws in the legislation, but slashdotters sound like they are against any changes, which is just paranoid.

Why, oh why... (5, Interesting)

ZaMoose (24734) | about 13 years ago | (#2412558) a link to the Onion today? It always gets beaten on on Wednesdays (when they update). Now it's going to take forever for me to get the infographic... *sigh*

Although I think they ran the best series of reaction pieces to 9/11 I've seen, particularly "God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule" and "Terrorists Surprised to find Selves in Hell".

Of course, with new info pointing to the fact that only ~6 of the 'jackers actually knew it was a suicide mission might lend credence to that last story...

Re:Why, oh why... (1)

Nightpaw (18207) | about 13 years ago | (#2412644)

Read it on Tuesday evening. Or pick up a hard copy.

This legislation... (3, Insightful)

Mister Black (265849) | about 13 years ago | (#2412569)

This is the kind of knee-jerk, reactionary legislation that scares me most. "We need to destroy our freedom in order to save it." If we're going to just trample all over the Constitution of the United States, we might as well just merge the FBI and CIA into a new organization called the KGB and call ourselves the Soviet Union 2.0

yay! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412582)

gj to all who voted for bush.

Re:yay! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412603)

You're a fool if you think Gore would be any different.

Unfortunately for the ACLU... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412612)

...racial profiling in this case would have proven an effective technique.

Ummm...PETA/ELF (5, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 13 years ago | (#2412620)

"The definition of "terrorism" is too broad, permitting the special surveillance powers granted in this legislation to be applied far beyond what is commonly thought of by the term. Under the definition proposed by the Administration, even acts of simple civil disobedience could lead organizations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to become targets of "terrorist" investigations."

Well, I might get flamed for this, but...

While I do not support laws that infringe on any of the Amendments to the Constitution...

Some of the things that groups like the ELF (Earth Liberation Front) terrorism. tr ibutors/kurtz071701.shtml

"Eco-terrorism, sponsored by loosely knit groups like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front, began in earnest in 1998, with the burning down of a mountaintop ski resort in Vail Colorado, the release of 10,000 minks from an Oregon mink farm, and the burning of a slaughterhouse. Eco-terrorism has proliferated since then, although, until recently, fear of provoking further retaliation has prevented targeted businesses from publicizing the problem. Biotechnology projects are the latest targets, with a fire set to the offices of a global biotech project at Michigan State University in Lansing and various experimental crop sites destroyed."

Events like that, terrorizing people that wear fur or leather, it's not right. In a society based on Common Law, like the US, those things that are not illegal are legal, wearing leather or fur, or raising minks for fur, isn't illegal and it's not right for a private citizen to attack that property. Many of the *LF groups are starting down the same path as Hezbollah and Hamas did in the 60s and 70s. If those domestic groups practice the same kind of distributed terror as Aryan Nation or Hezbollah, the Police and FBI should go after them with the same tools as they go after other "hate" groups.

PETA branding people for a choice of calories is no more right than Aryan Nation branding people for a choice of mate or church.

Not generally fond of the ACLU, but... (3, Informative)

CodeShark (17400) | about 13 years ago | (#2412622) this case, I am glad for the analysis which they have done. As I have read the basic news stories on this, all I ever heard was that certain politicians had "concerns", but no legal analysis of what is good and bad in the proposed changes to the current laws.

My interest in posting is to pose questions as to the various facets of the currently proposed laws could be improved to so that the various gov't agencies who are charged with keeping the rest of us reasonably safe have a better legal tool set with which to do so, without the significant loss of civil liberties.

So, what are the /. thoughts/analysis on these questions: Is the ACLU analysis spot on? extremist? Not harsh enough?... Are there other views on these various points that we should consider important enough to not protest all of the changes? and finally, my pet question: how can we get the ACLU as up in arms about the DCMA and the SSSCA as they are about these acts?

The problem with the Onion.. (2, Interesting)

schon (31600) | about 13 years ago | (#2412647)

I was reading this Onion story yesterday, and the problem I see with it, is that it's just too subtle.

Yes, you read that correctly, and I'm not being sarcastic.

I'd bet any major newspaper could run that story word-for-word, and the majority of US sheeple would not only believe it happened, but agree with the "government's" position.

It's just too subtle.

uh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412651)

thats nice and all but what the fuck does this have to do with news for nerds?

So slashdot is a civil liberties site now?

I mean the DMCA is related to tech stuff, but this terrorist stuff is a real stretch.

What's next articles exposing racial profiling or something?


ian stevens (5465) | about 13 years ago | (#2412653)

You have to love it when governments squeeze seemingly unrelated items into a bill they are trying to pass. Check out Secion 503 of the Patriot Act (emphasis mine):


The matter under the headings `Immigration And Naturalization Service: Salaries and Expenses, Enforcement And Border Affairs and Immigration And Naturalization Service: Salaries and Expenses, Citizenship And Benefits, Immigration And Program Direction' in the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2001 (as enacted into law by Appendix B (H.R. 5548) of Public Law 106-553 (114 Stat. 2762A-58 to 2762A-59)) is amended by striking the following each place it occurs: `Provided, That none of the funds available to the Immigration and Naturalization Service shall be available to pay any employee overtime pay in an amount in excess of $30,000 during the calendar year beginning January 1, 2001:'.

Would someone please tell me how this helps in the "fight against terrorism"? Never mind that it seems like an awful lot of overtime, just how does it help the anti-terrorism cause to limit overtime pay? Employees of the above departments might be forced to work a lot more overtime given the new restrictions that might be placed on their work and this just serves to screw them if they happen to work quite a lot more. This just seems like a petty section.


What is left to defend? (1)

ihawk (469768) | about 13 years ago | (#2412656)

After reading the report on the Onion, I have a couple of questions: How is what Bush & Co are proposing different from the totalitarian regimes they are complaining about, and if we go along with this, what freedoms do we have left to defend?

What they are saying is that we have to give up our right to free speech in order that they can defend our right to free speech.

This is the most twisted, bizarre logic I have ever experienced.

Here is my stand: What makes us America, and makes us different, is a consitution based on individual freedoms and a government accountable to the people. If we give any of that up, we have already lost the war. The attack on the WTC will have been successful. It is only if we maintain our freedoms and our character and our constitution that we have a chance of winning. It is that freedom that makes us different from Osama Bin Laden. Give it up and we are they same as the terrorists.

Re:What is left to defend? (2)

ZaMoose (24734) | about 13 years ago | (#2412712)

Errrm, Onion == Satire News. It's fake. Ari Fleischer never said those things (well, not in as many words).

Meanwhile, UK plans to halve trial by jury (5, Informative)

JPMH (100614) | about 13 years ago | (#2412665)

As part of a wider report into the future of the UK justice system published on Monday, Lord Justice Auld recommends removing the right of trial by jury in 50% of current cases.

The right to trial by jury would be abolished in all instances where the sentence was likely to be less than two years. This would include most prosecutions under sec. 296 of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act (the UK's DMCA), as well as serious reputation-destroying charges such as theft, assault and drug offences, where defendants can at the moment insist on jury trials. To prevent "perverse" decisions, Auld also recommends that judges should be allowed to ask juries specific menus of questions about the facts of the case instead of innocent-or-guilty verdicts, reserving the final decision for the judge themself.

In a democratic system, the last ditch defence against a really bad law is that a jury can refuse to convict, in spite of the evidence, if they think that the prosecution is unfair or unreasonable. Cases thrown out by UK juries against the evidence in recent years include vandalism charges against GM crop protesters, official secrets charges against civil service whistleblowers and shoplifting charges against confused elderly people. Juries have also tended to be more critical of police evidence than judges and court officials; and to have had more relaxed views in obscenity and pornography cases.

Specific comment: Independent [] , Guardian []
General reports: BBC [] , Times [] , Telegraph [] , Guardian [] , Independent []
(submitted to /. yro yesterday; rejected).

And remember, as this week's NTK [] points out, bad UK law is often just version 0.1 for bad law in the US.

Does this quote bother you as much as me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412667)

We must all do our patriotic duty to protect our country's great ideals," Fleischer continued, "and we have to be careful about what opinions we express if we are to defend our Constitution, a sacred document behind which all Americans must stand united as one."

Pardon me but isn't one of the most fundamentally important parts of the Consitution the right to freedom of speech? Yes, by all means consider what you're saying and to whom but come on! This guy is saying "ignore the constitution's rights if you want to protect the constitution."

I'm the hell out of here. (2, Troll)

Absynthe (34189) | about 13 years ago | (#2412676)

I was willing to stay and get anthraxed or fuel bombed. I am not willing to stay here and get dragged off by the new police state. Does anyone know how hard it is to emmigrate to Canada?

Write your congressmen (1)

Loewe_29 (459497) | about 13 years ago | (#2412682)

The ACLU has a web site which will allow you to send email, fax, or paper mail to you congressmen. Please write them if you want to protect your rights.

USA act (Senate bill) []
PATRIOT act (House bill) []

I already did, but unfortunatly, my "representatives" (McCain, Kyl, and Jeff Flake from AZ) are all sponsors of these horrible bills.

"History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure."

- Justice Thurgood Marshall, 1989

freedom (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2412684)

Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.
--President Thomas Jefferson.

Enough said....

The Constitution is a balancing act (2)

gentlewizard (300741) | about 13 years ago | (#2412698)

...not an absolute.

When the country was founded, there was a HUGE debate over whether "we, the people" could be trusted to govern ourselves. Those who favored democracy felt we did; those who wanted to create a mini-Great Britain didn't. So in the end, we got a balancing act in which we democratically elect representatives, in whom we trust to do the right thing. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, but that's besides the point. The point is, we have a hybrid system on purpose.

So in the wake of 9/11 we can expect the balance to be reopened for debate. The question is still and always has been this: can you trust an open society of common people to make the right decisions and act like good citizens? Or do you have to have a central government provide a high degree oversight and control?

I'm voting that we've still got what it takes. I hope the changes that get passed are minor ones. To do otherwise would be to give up on the "great experiment" that is the point of having a separate country in the first place.
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