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Short-term memory loss (5, Insightful)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430504)

Now wait just a minute. From the article:
"We hold that the do-not-call registry is a valid commercial speech regulation because it directly advances the government's important interests in safeguarding personal privacy and reducing the danger of telemarketing abuse without burdening an excessive amount of speech," the [Denver-based] appeals court said.
Emphasis mine.

Is this the same government that instituted the Patriot Act? (I know, some of it was recently declared unconstitutional [slashdot.org] , but the Act was put in place first.)

It's very nice that privacy is becoming a little more important these days, at least with the state governments, but please don't try to rewrite history.

That said, I'm very happy the do-not-call list will remain. It's cut down my dinner interruptions to almost zero.

Re:Short-term memory loss (4, Insightful)

anonymous cowherd (m (783253) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430557)

Note that it was the executive and legislative branches that cooperated to pass the USA PATRIOT Act, while the quote is a statement of the judicial branch.

Wait a minute (0, Troll)

Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430766)

You mean the branches of the American government can't even be bothered to work together? No wonder your war is arsed.

Re:Wait a minute (-1, Flamebait)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430827)

Let's listen to the guy who still lives under the rule of a monarchy. I'm sure he knows a lot about modern governments.

Re:Wait a minute (5, Insightful)

LetterJ (3524) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430834)

It's not a bug. It's a feature.

By having checks and balances with each branch able to step in and correct the other, we can keep things relatively in line. Not that things like PATRIOT don't get through, but *without* the checks and balances, there's a pretty good chance we'd see a lot more and a lot worse than that.

Re:Wait a minute (4, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430949)

People expect checks and balances to happen overnight..

The nasty bits of the USA PATRIOT act are on the way out.

Critics however just bitch and moan and complain and want it gone overnight. If that was possible, that'd be worse than what we have now.

Checks and balances exisits, but they are slow moving deliberative iterative processes.

Re:Wait a minute (-1, Flamebait)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430856)

Shut up, bitch.

Re:Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430858)

You mean the branches of the American government can't even be bothered to work together? No wonder your war is arsed.

*sigh*, this is by design moron. The theory being that a government can become dangerous when any one person/group can control all three branches of government (legislative, judicial, executive). Therefore we separate them. It's called "separation of powers" or sometimes "checks and balances."

Re:Short-term memory loss (4, Insightful)

Skater (41976) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430580)

I'm pretty sure that comment was meant to be "government's role in general, as defined by the constitution" as opposed to "the current administration". Also, remember the Supreme Court didn't pass the Patriot Act...

--RJ

Re:Short-term memory loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430669)

"Also, remember the Supreme Court didn't pass the Patriot Act..."

And neither did the current administration. It just signed it.

Re:Short-term memory loss (4, Interesting)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430626)

Of course, it was the same Supreme Court that declared parts of the Patriot Act unconstitutional. The SC is being VERY consistent here.

The system works. Sometimes it just takes a little more time.

Re:Short-term memory loss (4, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430641)

It's tempting to believe that we are governed by a monolithic well of power called "The Government" but in fact, "The Government" is an organization of many individuals and departments, with varying levels of competency, conflicting goals, and uneven beneviolence.

Congress, the Attorney General, and the President were the groups responsible for the Patriot Act. The Supreme Court is a different department of government.

Re:Short-term memory loss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430664)

All the "Patriot Act" nonsense is just political posturing. Take time to actually read and understand it, and you'll find it contains little change from laws existing for decades. All it really did was update them for changes in communications technology since the 60s.

Bullshit. From EPIC (3, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430736)

The USA PATRIOT Act significantly expanded law enforcement authority to surveill and capture communications. There are three major laws that create the framework for the government interception of communications:

* Title III: Requires probable cause, a high legal standard to meet, from a judge for real-time interception of the content of voice and data communications. See EPIC's Wiretapping Page.
* Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA): Governs government access to stored email and other electronic communications. Within ECPA, the Pen Register statute governs real time interception of "numbers dialed or otherwise transmitted on the telephone line to which such device is attached." Although the use of such devices requires a court order, it does not require probable cause: there is no judicial discretion, and the court must authorize the surveillance upon government certification. A government attorney need only certify to the court that the "information likely to be obtained by such installation and use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation." Therefore, the Pen Register and Trap and Trace statute lacks many of the privacy protections found in the wiretap statute.
* Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA): Authorizes the government to carry out electronic surveillance -- against any person, even Americans -- in the United States upon obtaining a judicial order based upon probable cause that the target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. FISA, which applies primarily to the government's power in foreign intelligence and counter-intelligence cases, therefore does not offer many of the protections required under the federal wiretap statute. See EPIC's FISA Page.

Title III governs the "contents" of communications, defined as "any information concerning the substance, purport, or meaning of that communication." The Supreme Court has held that the contents of a communication are entitled to full Fourth Amendment protection. Therefore, the government's access to "content" information is limited by constitutionally imposed search and seizure requirements. In order to abide by these constitutional restrictions, Title III imposes strict limitations upon the government's ability to obtain communication content:

* a law enforcement agency may intercept content only pursuant to a court order issued upon findings of probable cause to believe that
1. an individual is committing one of a list of specifically enumerated crimes,
2. communications concerning the specified offense will be intercepted, and
3. "the pertinent facilities are commonly used by the alleged offender or are being used in connection with the offense."
* Only designated officials can authorize such interception,
* The interception is authorized for a limited time period.
* Interception is subject to a statutory exclusionary rule: any information intercepted in violation of the wiretap statute cannot be admitted into evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding.

Conversely, the Supreme Court has held that there is no constitutionally recognized privacy interest in the telephone numbers intercepted by a pen register or trap and trace device. In U.S. v. New York Telephone Co., 434 U.S. 159 (1977), the Supreme Court emphasized the limited information captured by pen register devices: "neither the purport of any communication between the caller and the recipient of the call, their identities, nor whether the call was even completed is disclosed by pen registers." This is reflected in the ease with which law enforcement officers are able to obtain trap and trace/pen register installation: upon the certification by an attorney that pen register information is likely to be relevant, the judge must approve the installation of the device.
Analysis of Specific USA PATRIOT Act Provisions
Pen Registers, the Internet and Carnivore

Prior to the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, the statute authorizing the use of "pen register" and "trap and trace" devices governed real time interception of "numbers dialed or otherwise transmitted on the telephone line to which such device is attached." Although the use of such devices requires a court order, it does not require a showing of probable cause. There is, in effect, no judicial discretion, as the court is required to authorize monitoring upon the mere certification by a government attorney that the "information likely to be obtained by such installation and use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation." Therefore, such procedures lack almost all of the significant privacy protections found in Title III, the statute governing the interception of the actual "content" of a communication (e.g., a phone conversation or the text of an e-mail message).

Section 216 of the Act significantly expanded law enforcement authority to use trap and trace and pen register devices. Prior law relating to the use of such devices was written to apply to the telephone industry, therefore the language of the statute referred only to the collection of "numbers dialed" on a "telephone line" and the "originating number" of a telephone call. The new legislation redefined a pen register as "a device or process which records or decodes dialing, routing, addressing, or signaling information transmitted by an instrument or facility from which a wire or electronic communication is transmitted." A trap and trace device is now "a device or process which captures the incoming electronic or other impulses which identify the originating number or other dialing, routing, addressing, and signaling information reasonably likely to identify the source or a wire or electronic communication."

By expanding the nature of the information that can be captured, the new law clearly expanded pen register capacities to the Internet, covering electronic mail, Web surfing, and all other forms of electronic communications. The full impact of this expansion of coverage is difficult to assess, as the statutory definitions are vague with respect to the types of information that can be captured and are subject to broad interpretations. The fact that the provision prohibits the capture of "content" does not adequately take into account the unique nature of information captured electronically, which contains data far more revealing than phone numbers, such as URLs generated while using the Web (which often contain a great deal of information that cannot in any way be analogized to a telephone number). Although the FBI, prior to the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act, compared telephone calls to Internet communications to justify invocation of the existing pen register statute to authorize the use of its controversial Carnivore system, whether the law as then written in fact granted such authority remained an open and debatable question. The amendment made by Section 216 codified the FBI's questionable interpretation of the pen register statute, thereby closing the door to fully informed and deliberate consideration of this complex issue.

When the FBI's use of Carnivore was first revealed in July 2000, there was a great deal of concern expressed by members of Congress, who stated their intent to examine the issues and draft appropriate legislation. To facilitate that process, former Attorney General Reno announced that issues surrounding Carnivore would be considered by a Justice Department review panel and that its recommendations would be made public. That promised report had not been released when Ms. Reno left office, and Attorney General Ashcroft announced that a high-level Department official would complete the review process. That review, however, was not completed prior to September 11, 2001. As a result of the delay, Congress did not have the benefit of the promised findings and recommendations when it enacted the USA PATRIOT Act. Because Carnivore provides the FBI with access to the communications of all subscribers of a monitored Internet Service Provider (and not just those of the court-designated target), it raises substantial privacy issues for millions of law-abiding American citizens.

The USA PATRIOT does contain a provision requiring law enforcement to file under seal with the court a record of installations of pen register/trap and trace devices. This amendment may provide some measure of judicial oversight of the use of this enhanced surveillance authority.
Addition of Terrorism and Computer Crimes as Predicate Offenses Permitting Interception of Communications Under the Wiretap Act

Section 201 added crimes of terrorism or production/dissemination of chemical weapons as predicate offenses under Title III, suspicion of which enable the government to obtain a wiretap of a party's communications. Because the government already had substantial authority under FISA to obtain a wiretap of a suspected terrorist, the real effect of this amendment is to permit wiretapping of a United States person suspected of domestic terrorism.

Section 202 added "a felony violation of section 1030 (relating to computer fraud and abuse)" as a crime providing the predicate for a Title III wiretap application. Felony offenses under Section 1030 are: intentional, unauthorized access to a protected government computer to obtain and communicate classified information for clandestine foreign "with reason to believe that such information so obtained could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation"; access to a protected computer causing more than $5000 damage; access to a protected computer with the intent to extort; or any second offense.

Neither Section 201 nor Section 202 changes the definition of communications subject to intercept, or the standard that the government must reach in order to obtain an intercept.
Expanded Dissemination of Information Obtained in Criminal Investigations

Section 203 amended the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to permit disclosures of "matters occurring before the grand jury" when the matters "involve foreign intelligence or counterintelligence" to "any Federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official in order to assist the official receiving that information in the performance of his official duties." Rule 6(e)(3)(c) governs the permissive disclosure and use of information revealed in a grand jury proceeding, which prior to the enactment of the USA PATRIOT Act could be disclosed only when directed by a court in connection with a judicial proceeding; when permitted by a court upon the request of the defendant or upon a showing that the information discloses a violation of a state criminal law; or when disclosed by the prosecutor to another grand jury. The new law requires that a disclosure made under the new exception be revealed, under seal, to the court. The term "foreign intelligence information" is defined as information that "relates to the ability of the United States to protect against" an actual or potential attack, hostile act, sabotage, international terrorism, or clandestine intelligence activities conducted by a foreign power or its agent, as well as information relating to the national defense, security, or conduct of foreign affairs of the United States.

Section 203 also amended 18 U.S.C. 2517, which governs the permissive disclosure and use of intercepted communications. Under the new law, intercepted information related to "foreign intelligence or counterintelligence" can be disclosed to "any Federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official" to the extent that "such disclosure is appropriate to the proper performance of the official duties of the officer making or receiving the disclosure," and the information can be used by any officer properly in possession of the information to assist "in the performance of his official duties."

Section 203, as codified, was an improvement from the equivalent amendment initially proposed by the Administration in the ATA. The ATA would have permitted broad disclosure of sensitive information gathered by law enforcement agencies with any employee of the executive branch, including the intercepts of telephone conversations, without any safeguards regarding the future use or dissemination of such information. The USA PATRIOT Act amendments limit the use of the information to a proper investigation (subject to legal sanctions as defined by Section 223 upon misuse or misdisclosure of the information). However, while such sharing may be appropriate in the case of international terrorism investigations, the limitation permitting sharing only of "foreign intelligence information" is insufficient to limit disclosure to information relating to investigations of terrorist activities.
Interception of "Computer Trespasser" Communications

Prior law prohibited anyone from intentionally intercepting or disclosing the contents of any intercepted communications without complying with the requirements of the wiretap statute, unless such interception and disclosure fell within one of several statutory exceptions. The USA PATRIOT Act, Section 217, creates a new exception, permitting government interception of the "communications of a computer trespasser" if the owner or operator of a "protected computer" authorizes the interception. The new exception has broad implications, given that a "protected computer" includes any "which is used in interstate or foreign commerce or communication" (which, with the Internet, includes effectively any computer). The "authorization" assistance permits wiretapping of the intruder's communications without any judicial oversight, in contrast to most federal communication-intercept laws that require objective oversight from someone outside the investigative chain.

The new law places the determination solely in the hands of law enforcement and the system owner or operator. In those likely instances in which the interception does not result in prosecution, the target of the interception will never have an opportunity to challenge the activity (through a suppression proceeding). Indeed, such targets would never even have notice of the fact that their communications were subject to warrantless interception. However, the USA PATRIOT Act does include an exception prohibiting surveillance of someone who is known by the owner of the protected computer "to have an existing contractual relationship with the owner or operator of the protected computer for access to all or part of the protected computer." The ATA, which did not contain such an exception, was so vague that the provision could have been applied to users downloading copyrighted materials off the Web. However, even with this fix, the amendment has little, if anything, to do with legitimate investigations of terrorism.
New Treatment of Voice-Mail Messages

Section 204 amended Title III and the Stored Communications Access Act so that stored voice-mail communications, like e-mail, may be obtained by the government through a search warrant rather than through more stringent wiretap orders. Section 204 also brings voice mail under the authority of Section 209, which permits nationwide search warrants. Messages stored on an answering machine tape remain outside the scope of either statute.
Application of Cable Companies to Electronic Surveillance

Section 211 amended Title III to provide that where a cable company provides telephone or Internet services, it must comply with the laws governing interception and disclosure of communications by other telephone companies or ISPs. This subjects cable companies acting in this capacity to 18 U.S.C. chapters 119 (Title III), 121, and 206, laws governing the interception and disclosure of real time wire, oral or electronic communications, pen register/trap and trace information, and stored communications. The new law supercedes the original provisions of the Cable Act relating to obligatory and voluntary disclosure of subscriber information, although the amendment would provide an exemption for "customer cable television viewing activity" (an undefined term, but one meant to address what channels are watched by the customer). However, the stringent privacy protections prohibiting release of customer information to non-governmental entities absent customer consent are left in place.
Nationwide Application of Surveillance Orders and Search Warrants

Prior to the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, the laws relating to both wiretaps and pen register/trap and trace devices authorized execution of a court order only within the geographic jurisdiction of the issuing court. The Act (sections 216 and 220) expands the jurisdictional authority of a court to authorize the installation of a surveillance device anywhere in the United States. The availability of nationwide orders for the interception and collection of electronic evidence would remove an important legal safeguard by making it more difficult for a distant service provider to appear before the issuing court and object to legal or procedural defects. Indeed, it has become increasingly common for service providers to seek clarification from issuing courts when, in the face of rapidly evolving technological changes, many issues involving the privacy rights of their subscribers require careful judicial consideration. The burden would be particularly acute for smaller providers -- precisely those, for instance, who are most likely (according to the FBI) to be served with orders requiring the installation of the Carnivore system.

Section 220 amends the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to expand the jurisdictional authority of a court to authorize search warrants outside of the judicial district in an investigation of domestic or international terrorism. Although permitting nationwide application of search warrants creates the same problem as expanding the scope of surveillance orders -- making it harder for those served by such warrants to object to legal or procedural defects -- this provision, because it applies only to investigations of domestic or international terrorism, was more narrowly tailored to apply only to the anti-terrorism investigations.
Authority to Conduct Secret Searches ("Sneak and Peek")

Section 213 eliminates the prior requirement that law enforcement provide a person subject to a search warrant with contemporaneous notice of the search. The new "secret search" provision applies where the court "finds reasonable cause to believe that providing immediate notification of the execution of the warrant may have an adverse effect." Although the Administration's "Field Guidance on New Authorities Enacted in the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Legislation" states that the new authority "is primarily designed to authorize delayed notice of searches," the amendment permits seizure of any tangible property or communications where the court finds "reasonable necessity" for this seizure. The law requires that notice be given within a "reasonable period," which can be extended by the court for "good cause." "Reasonable period" is undefined, and the Administration's Field Guidance advises that this is a "flexible standard."

This significant change in the law applies to all government searches for material that "constitutes evidence of a criminal offense in violation of the laws of the United States" and is not limited to investigations of terrorist activity. Prior law authorized delayed notification of a search only under a very small number of circumstances (such as surreptitious electronic surveillance). The expansion of this extraordinary authority to all searches constitutes a radical departure from Fourth Amendment standards and could result in routine surreptitious entries by law enforcement agents.
Expanded Scope of Subpoenas for Records of Electronic Communications

Under prior law, law enforcement could use a subpoena to obtain "the name, address, local and long distance telephone toll billing records, telephone number or other subscriber number or identity, and length of service or a subscriber to or customer of such service and the type of services the subscriber or customer utilized" from an internet service provider. Section 210 expands the type of information that a provider must disclose to law enforcement to include, among other things, records of session times and duration; any temporarily assigned network address; and any means or source of payment. This heightened authority to use subpoenas (rather than court orders) for a broader (and more revealing) class of information is not be limited to investigations of suspected terrorist activity.
Lowered Standard for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance

Section 218 expands the application of FISA to those situations where foreign intelligence gathering is merely "a significant" purpose of the investigation, rather than, as prior FISA law provided, the sole or primary purpose. "Significant" is not defined, and this vagueness could lead to inconsistent determinations and potential overuse of the FISA standards. The more lenient standards that the government must meet under FISA (as opposed to the stringent requirements of Title III) are justified by the fact that FISA's provisions facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information, not criminal evidence. This traditional justification is eliminated where the lax FISA provisions are applicable, at least in part, to the interception of information relating to a domestic criminal investigation. The change seriously alters the delicate constitutional balance reflected in the prior legal regime governing electronic surveillance.
Multi-Point ("Roving Wiretap") Authority

Section 206 expands FISA to permit "roving wiretap" authority, which allows the interception of any communications made to or by an intelligence target without specifying the particular telephone line, computer or other facility to be monitored. Prior law required third parties (such as common carriers and others) "specified in court-ordered surveillance" to provide assistance necessary to accomplish the surveillance. The amendment extends that obligation to unnamed and unspecified third parties.

Such "generic" orders could have a significant impact on the privacy rights of large numbers of innocent users, particularly those who access the Internet through public facilities such as libraries, university computer labs and cybercafes. Upon the suspicion that an intelligence target might use such a facility, the FBI can now monitor all communications transmitted at the facility. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the recipient of the assistance order (for instance, a library) would be prohibited from disclosing the fact that monitoring is occurring.

The "generic" roving wiretap orders raise significant constitutional issues, as they do not comport with the Fourth Amendment's requirement that any search warrant "particularly describe the place to be searched." That deficiency becomes even more significant where the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally.
Liberalized Use of Pen Register/Trap and Trace Devices under FISA

Section 214 removes the pre-existing statutory requirement that the government prove the surveillance target is "an agent of a foreign power" before obtaining a pen register/trap and trace order under the FISA. Therefore, the government could obtain a pen register/trap and trace device "for any investigation to gather foreign intelligence information," without a showing that the device has, is or will be used by a foreign agent or by an individual engaged in international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. The amendment significantly eviscerates the constitutional rationale for the relatively lax requirements that apply to foreign intelligence surveillance. That laxity is premised on the assumption that the Executive Branch, in pursuit of its national security responsibilities to monitor the activities of foreign powers and their agents, should not be unduly restrained by Congress and the courts. The removal of the "foreign power" predicate for pen register/trap and trace surveillance upsets that delicate balance.

However, The USA PATRIOT Act includes a provision prohibiting use of FISA pen register surveillance under any circumstances against a United States citizen where the investigation is conducted "solely on the basis of activities protected by the First Amendment." This exemption was not contained within the ATA, and limits to some extent the potential overreach of this expanded authority.
Access to "Any Tangible Things"

Section 215 grants the FBI the authority to request an order "requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items)" relevant to an investigation of international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Although the amendment is entitled "Access to Certain Business Records for Foreign Intelligence and International Terrorism Investigations," the scope of the authority is far broader and applies to any records relevant to the individual. This amendment, which overrides state library confidentiality laws, permits the FBI to compel production of business records, medical records, educational records and library records without a showing of "probable cause" (the existence of specific facts to support the belief that a crime has been committed or that the items sought are evidence of a crime). Instead, the government only needs to claim that the records may be related to an ongoing investigation related to terrorism or intelligence activities. Individuals served with a search warrant issued under FISA rules may not disclose, under penalty of law, the existance of the warrant or the facts that records were provided to the government. The final version of this provision contains an important clause -- which was not in the Administration's original bill -- restricting the potential misuse of the law. Although the USA PATRIOT Act deleted the requirement that any records requested pertain to an agent of a foreign power (or a foreign power), the Act prohibits investigation of a United States person solely on the basis of activities protected by the First Amendment. A second change from the ATA was the infusion of judicial involvement into the process. The ATA's proposed amendment would have allowed access to such records under a subpoena issued by investigators. The USA PATRIOT Act retains the requirement of pre-existing law, permitting access to records only upon court order.
Sunset Provision

The USA PATRIOT Act contains a sunset provision, terminating several of the amendments enhancing electronic surveillance authority on December 31, 2005. Because the law gives government much increased surveillance capability, a sunset is crucial to determine how well the tools work, how effective they havebeen, and how responsibly they have been applied. Of the provisions outlined above, the sunset provision does not apply to the expansion of pen register/trap and trace authority to the Internet; authority to share grand jury information; expansion of law enforcement authority over cable providers; expanded scope of subpoenas for electronic evidence; authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant; and expansion of jurisdictional authority of search warrants for terrorism investigations.
Additional Amendments Providing Government the Authority to Combat Terrorism

Section 205 of the Act provides for increased employment of translators by the FBI and designated five more judges to sit on the FISA Court (raising the number from seven to eleven seats on the court). These provisions are intended to increase the human intelligence capacities of the FBI and to provide additional judicial oversight of the enhanced FISA authority. Both amendments are commendable in their efforts to aid the government in preventing terrorist acts while maintaining a system checking intrusion onto citizens' civil liberties. In addition, Section 223 provides civil liability for unauthorized disclosure of information obtained through surveillance, which serves to limit misuse of communications captured through lawful surveillance.

Amendments to Immigration Laws

The Act contains significant amendments to immigration and other laws. These sections are not discussed here. For further information on such provisions, see:

* The ACLU's analysis of the immigration provisions
* The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act Immigration Provisions (Oct. 26, 2001)

Re:Bullshit. From EPIC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430824)

Obviously you couldn't have written that in the last few minutes. Next time try reading and understanding the subject yourself rather than just cut and paste regurgitation what someone else tells you.

Re:Short-term memory loss (4, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430809)

I'm not sure if your post is supposed to be flamebait, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Your description of the Patriot Act is fairly accurate. There are some sections that are newer, but the biggest reason why the PA is a "bad thing" is that it largely removes the process of checks and balances for certain things. The recently overturned portion of the Act involved a nearly 30-year-old law dealing with requests for confidential information. The change from that old law was that the FBI no longer needed a court order/warrant/notification of the parties involved. So the FBI was, as the judge put it, performing "self-certification" in order to get this information. No cause, no court, no preponderance of evidence, nothing. The FBI could want it and grant it all in-house. Yes, it's faster. But it gives them more unchecked power.

Not all of the Patriot Act is bad. But that careful reading you suggest will reveal a lot more than a compilation of existing law.

Re:Short-term memory loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430883)

Which section number are you talking about? The only one I'm aware of that's iffy is the delayed notification of a warrant as long as only information is collected and no property or individuals seized. Even in that case, the warrant must be issued by a judge with probable cause and there must be a time limit on notification.

Do not call list DOES NOT WORK (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430752)

Why would a system that exposes people's identity can possibly prevent them from harrasment from telemarketers? That whole idea is complete flawed, and it will only attract more telemarketing scams for the suckers who sign up to the DNC list! Obviously these brueaucrats learn nothing from e-mail spams. What FTC should have done is to have a DO CALL LIST, in which telemarketer can only contact those on the list, and must delete every info for the client who are not in the list.

Re:Do not call list DOES NOT WORK (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430810)


Why don't you try it first and find out for yourself rather than jumping to conclusions. We've had this in the UK for a while now, and it reduced my nuisance telemarketing calls from 3/day to about 3/year.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating !!

Re:Short-term memory loss (2, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430837)

but please don't try to rewrite history.

What does a judge saying the government has an interest in protecting privacy have to do with rewriting history? He's not commenting on what they've done--and certainly not on any particular piece of legislation with the possible exception of the one (Do-Not-Call) before him--he's merely stating that the government has an interest in protecting privacy and this bill does so. He's making a legal argument. That's what judges do.

Actually, if you'd put emphasis one word earlier--that is, "advances the government's...," it would have been even clearer. The government (not *ADMINISTRATION* or *CURRENT CONGRESS*) has an interest and this advances it; it helps it. Even if other things osetensibly hurt it.

Oy. The political posturing around here is really becoming too much.

Whereas in Canada... (2, Informative)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430839)

We have PIPEDA [privcom.gc.ca] that says that my home phone number, name, etc. is protected information. Thus calling me at home in this type of situation can be considered a violation of this act. I'm currently in discussions with a car dealership and a bank over violations of both my privacy and my wife's. (We applied for a car loan and got a call from a mortgage specialist - who had our credit history - offering to help transfer our mortgage).

Re:Short-term memory loss (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430908)

The government is interested in having the private sector safeguard privacy - see HIPAA and GLB for banking.

Don't think for a moment that any of that pertains to the government, though.

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430511)

Hi everyone!

Re:FP! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430533)

You are in a dark place. Everyone is laughing at your FP failure. You are likely to be eaten a grue.

Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it... (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430512)

The telemarketers argued that the list violated their commercial free-speech rights, that it unfairly did not apply to political and charitable solicitations, and that less restrictive regulations already allow consumers to block unwanted calls.

Well, before the list I was getting several calls a week and now I get none except "personalized messages from the President of the United States"... What regulations existed before that let me get off their list? Telling them I wanted on or off their list (whichever they interpreted as the correct way) or allowing me to have caller ID so that I could see "Unknown" show up and choose not to answer only to have them fill up my answering machine with a partial message?

I do agree that political messages should be disallowed. It would be different if the political messages were from non-profit groups representing a candidate that wasn't using tax dollars to campaign and wasn't bringing in MILLIONS of dollars of donated money to spread his name... I do NOT appreciate a 6pm phone call from "President Bush" where he tells me more of what I don't care to hear. I especially don't appreciate when it runs onto my answering machine messages too. I want to declare all the area outside of my phone line a Free Speech Zone. He's free to spread his message there where I don't have to listen to it.

How about next we ban companies from asking for your phone number every single chance they get? Buffalo Wild Wings asks when you order, Best Buy now asks when you buy something, we all know and love Shit Shack for what they used to do and probably still do, etc. They are asking for one reason and one reason only... To get your number so that they (and their subsidiaries) can call you even though you're on a DNC list. It's a fucking scam plain and simple. There's no reason to even bother with DNC legislation if we are going to allow gaping holes to exist to trick the population into handing over the information the scam artists need. If our government is really concerned with "protecting us from evil" they can start right fucking there.

Keep the god damn phone lines for opt-in calls only after all that's REALLY protecting my privacy right?

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430622)

"How about next we ban companies from asking for your phone number every single chance they get?"

People can ask whatever they want. You have the right not to answer. I have never had anyone refuse to do business with me because I wouldn't give them my phone number.

n4

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (3, Informative)

karmatic (776420) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430708)

I had GameStop refuse to do business with me if I wouldn't provide a phone number.

I walked out the door.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430786)

Is that where you rent a game? I can see why they would want it. Folks who don't return games are a major source of loss. That would be one of the few times I would give out my phone numer (pizza place other time).

Otherwise, I say "NO".

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (1)

sexylicious (679192) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430894)

Nope. That's a store where you can buy games and some computer and gaming console items.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430930)

You could have said "555-1212" :)

I'd have done the same in that situation.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430623)

While this is off topic, Radioshack has not (at least in the last ten years) asked for your phone number during the course of a regular sale. The name and address were for receipt lookup and mailers. Phone numbers were only needed for repair service, cell phone service, etc.

Radioshack no longer asks for your personal information. Of course, now people bitch and moan about you not being able to look up their receipt when they want to return something or get in serviced in warranty.

Also, remember... you can always say no.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430688)

Also, remember... you can always say no.

And currently they can deny you the sale as well (which has happened to me at Radio Shack and at restaurants).

When I am asked for my phone number I politely tell them "No thank you." This usually gets a negative response of "sir, I need your phone number to complete the sale." I then again tell them politely that I am not interested in giving out my phone number. Sometimes this will work and they will just cancel it or whatever but at other times it must receive managerial attention which includes them explaining why they need it, etc.

Why don't we just ban the practice outright for the reasons I stated above and be done with it. There is absolutely no fucking reason that Best Buy needs my phone number when I buy something. There is no reason that BW3 needs to know my phone number when I order 12 wings.

Maybe I'm missing something here?

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430746)

Because I do not want the gov't micromanaging my life. If I want to give my phone number out for a legitimate reason, I will do so. If I do not want to give it out, I won't.

In all my years of doing this, NO ONE has denied me a sale. In fact, the few times I do get a manager instead of the clerk, he generally apologizes with me and agrees that this is more a marketing thing than a legitimate request.

Beware of asking the gov't to solve all of our problems for you.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430940)

In all my years of doing this, NO ONE has denied me a sale.

Me neither. I'm thinking Garcia is just a wussy. They probably think "I'm not gonna let this little wussy tell ME no."

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (4, Insightful)

XorNand (517466) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430820)

Ever thought that B-dubs is asking you for your phone number in case you forget to pickup your takeout order? They certainly don't ask for it when you place an order in the resturaent. Come on people... pizza joints have been doing this for decades. Take off the tin foil hat.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430917)

And currently they can deny you the sale as well

Of course, it's their business and they can deny you the sale for almost any reason (besides being in a protected class). You could come in wearing Nike's and they like Adidas, so they tell you to take a hike. There's nothing illegal about that, and there shouldn't be.

When I am asked for my phone number I politely tell them "No thank you."

Why bother going through all that? Just give them a random number. I'm doubting all that though. Maybe you just look like a big pussy. Try giving them a "I'm gonna bite your ear off" look when you say that.

When I tell them no, they see that I mean no. Usually the clerk is so shocked they don't what to do, so they enter their own telephone number.

n4

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (2, Funny)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430939)

Not everyone has a phone number. Would they understand a reply of "Mu"?

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (1)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430648)

It appears that Radio Shack has learned their lesson. Last time I was in there the 'manager' (or that's what it said on his name tag) didn't ask me for anything other than method of payment. It was the best experience I've ever had in one of their stores.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (1)

The Slashdot Guy (793685) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430658)

You were only getting several calls a week? We were getting like 15 to 20 a day. The DNC list may not be the greatest thing ever, but it's up there.

If a company asks for your phone number, just say no. If they have no need for it, I'm not giving it up. Hell, I lie when they just ask me for my zip code. Screw them, it's none of their bisiness.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (2, Interesting)

Senzei (791599) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430847)

Although it does not constitute much of a "need to know" most targeted advertising is handled via either phone messages or junk snailmail. Each requires your phone number or zip code to target you specifically. Usually I am ok with the zip code, as I see a benefit from it (coupons), and recieving excess mail is much less annoying than getting unwanted phone messages. Guess my point is that zip codes are one of the "nicer" options for targeted advertising.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430665)

>>How about next we ban companies from asking for your phone number every single chance they get?

Simple. Don't give it to them. I don't need a law to tell them that they do not need it. I do this with almost any request for private info (Why does my dentist need my driver's license number?)

I don't need the gov't to protect me all the time. It gives them to much power.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (5, Funny)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430694)

How about next we ban companies from asking for your phone number every single chance they get?

The DNC list definitely makes it possible to opt-in by giving your phone number out and signing a contract (read the fine print). So what I do is give out real numbers that do not belong to me. For example, the police department in Lakewood, Ohio, 44107, is 216-521-1234. Stores all over the east coast have that number in their databases. I list it publically in my Yahoo profile and I think on my web site. I had an old high school friend IM me asking why a policeman picked up the phone when he called me. I am evil :-)

Anyway, as long as companies try to take away my freedom not to be interrupted with spam email, spam paper mail, and spam phone calls, I will exercise my freedom to fuck with their databases.

So long as the police don't catch up to you... (3, Interesting)

SeanDuggan (732224) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430860)

Eh... I'd be careful on the listing the police department number as your own. Too many phone calls to their number asking for John Gaughan and you may up for charges ranging from "false representation as an officer" to "obstruction of justice" to "being a public nuisance." Sure, the charges may not be too terribly applicable, but how many courts are going to argue for you forwarding all business calls to a target, thereby tying up phone lines that are needed for the work of justice?

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (1)

The Slashdot Guy (793685) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430701)

Business, that is. What's that preview button for, anyway?

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (1)

kooshvt (86122) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430886)

How about next we ban companies from asking for your phone number every single chance they get? Buffalo Wild Wings asks when you order, Best Buy now asks when you buy something, we all know and love Shit Shack for what they used to do and probably still do, etc.

My father works at prison so I would amuse myself by always giving out the phone number of the prison to anyone who asked me for my number without purpose. As long as I am in their database under a number I know it all works out. They can retrieve my pertinant infomation and I don't have to be harassed by them.

Re:Let's end the other bullshit while we're at it. (1)

StM.Rawder (813111) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430897)

This happened to me in a Comp USA store:

[CompUSA]"That'll be 120.00, may I have your phone number please?"
[Rawder]"What for?" *smiles*

[CompUSA]"Its part of the checkout."
[Rawder]"You mean you wont sell me this without me giving you my phone number?"

[CompUSA]"Well....no...you dont have to."
[Rawder]"Then the answer is no."

[CompUSA]"Would you like 100,000 free AOL minutes?"
[Rawder]"Id rather be killed, lady..."

September, CompUSA, Somewhere in Central California

*unplugs phone* (5, Funny)

Kumorigoe (816912) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430527)

Violation of free speech? Excuse me? They think that they have a RIGHT to interrupt my dinner, sex life, or gaming? Or, even more importantly, Slashdotting? I THINK NOT

Re:*unplugs phone* (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430605)

I agree with you, but I also like to add that while they *do* have a right to free speech, I also have the right to not listen (or not want to listen) and not place myself somewhere where their "free speech" is going on. This is even before we get into the topic of a telemarketer calling me on *my* phone to interrupt whatever I'm doing.

Re:*unplugs phone* (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430650)

A slashdot poster that has a sex life or eats dinner? Amazing!

Re:*unplugs phone* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430840)

They think that they have a RIGHT to interrupt my dinner, sex life, or gaming?

If you're snarfing down a package of Ramen noodles while playing UT with the naked chick skin mods, you can get all three activities interrupted by a single phone call.

Re:*unplugs phone* (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430875)

Funny thing is, people PUBLICALLY list their phone numbers and then wonder why random people call. People spew out their email on the internet and wonder why they get spam.

The truth is, AS INDEVIDUALS we could do a lot more for ourselves to reduce telemarketing and spam. But most of us don't.

Re:*unplugs phone* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430892)

They think that they have a RIGHT to interrupt my dinner, sex life

Yeah. No one has a right to interrupt your tentacle rape masturbation session.

Victory, for now (4, Insightful)

H_Fisher (808597) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430537)

Excellent move on the part of the Supreme Court - this decision, moreso than a lot of recent ones, seems to reflect the wishes of the majority of the American people.

Now I wonder how long it will take before the majority of Americans have as well-formed an opinion, or as loud a collective voice, on issues like copyright and fair use of music, movies, software, etc. I fear it'll take as much in-your-face annoyance as telemarketers produced before anything really gets done (and maybe not even then, if corporate greed has anything to say about it...)

Re:Victory, for now (5, Insightful)

servognome (738846) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430633)

Excellent move on the part of the Supreme Court - this decision, moreso than a lot of recent ones, seems to reflect the wishes of the majority of the American people
The Supreme court isn't supposed to reflect the wishes of the majority of the American people. That is what the legislative and executive branches are for. The Supreme court is charged with ensuring the other branches remain within the boundaries of the law. Historically, it has also served to resist "mobocracy" by protecting the minority from the wishes of the majority.

Re:Victory, for now (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430715)

More specifically the Supreme Court is charged with ensuring the other branches remain within the boundaries of the Constitution.

Whilst the free speech argument works for a while- (5, Insightful)

ProudClod (752352) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430538)

Cold calling is, in my mind, the equivalent of trespassing onto my property in order to say what I may or may not find useful (mostly the latter). It's an invasion of privacy rather than a free speech issue.

Frankly, I welcome this addition to the US law - we've had a similar system to it over here in the UK for some time, and it really does work.

Re:Whilst the free speech argument works for a whi (3, Interesting)

karmatic (776420) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430735)

Actually, having a front door is considered an invitation to tresspass, long enough to state your business (unless there is a sign saying no tresspassing).

This is just the equivilant of a No Tresspassing sign, only actually enforced. If only No Tresspassing signs carried as harsh a penalty.

Free speech? (4, Insightful)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430549)

The telemarketers argued that the list violated their commercial free-speech rights, that it unfairly did not apply to political and charitable solicitations, and that less restrictive regulations already allow consumers to block unwanted calls.

Right to make money through badgering salespeople desparate for commission. Honestly, it's sad how abusive corporate America will be to earn that extra dollar. No consideration whatsoever.

-- n

Re:Free speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430790)

That problem is the "corporate America earning that extra dollar" is what enabled individuals to earn those extra dollars. There's this bizarro world concept that there's a few people building up a pile of cash somewhere so they can roll in it and laugh evilly.

Exactly where... (3, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430554)

... does the US Constitution give corporations the right to force people to listen to sales pitches against their will?!

We have a right to speak, but NO one has any obligation to listen!

Re:Exactly where... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430775)

Exactly where between choosing to answer the phone and choosing to hang up did you get forced to listen to anything?

Corporate Free Speech (4, Interesting)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430569)

Score 1 for the good guys! I don't know where the First Amendment guaranteed advertising and intrusive solicitation to corporations, and I'm glad the Supreme Court didn't find it buried in fine print either.

Perhaps this will start a trend of defining (and more importantly, further limiting) this "Corporate Free Speech" assumed and abused by those who believe it is their right to harass us for the sake of profits.

government is actually helping telemarketers (4, Interesting)

lawngnome (573912) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430575)

I think the do not call list is a great start - it dosent hurt telemarketers because guess what? If I want to get on the list I clearly dont want to hear from them, thus Im not a good prospect. Telemarketers should be thanking the government for putting all the people that dont give a crap about their calls together.

Re:government is actually helping telemarketers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430689)

Amen to that! If they have ten thousand numbers to call, and they already know that nine thousand of those will be unreceptive, they've just increased their chance of making a productive call by 1000%. And yet they say it's a bad thing. Go figure.

Re:government is actually helping telemarketers (1)

karmatic (776420) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430764)

The reason they care is because some of their best customers are elderly people who quite literally will buy anything that people try to sell to them. It's sad, but they are out there.

This list lets people remove themselves, without having to stand up to a pushy solicitor.

Freedom of Quiet Rights (1)

Ralman (103115) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430588)

You can have your free speech all you want, I don't care.

However, I also have the right to not have to listen to what you say, or in this case, are trying to sell.

My choice is to tell you I don't want to hear it. Here I am using my Freedom of Speech (in a nice way) to say "SHUT IT!" by adding my number to the Do Not Call list.

Reuters article (3, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430589)

Here is the Reuters link for the entire article: link [reuters.com] .

At least this time there is a valid reason for my story being rejected.

from TFA: (5, Funny)

antimatt (782015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430592)

The telemarketers argued that ... less restrictive regulations already allow consumers to block unwanted calls.

In related headlines, robbers worldwide have begun arguing that they don't like it when their victims carry guns.

...

This really seems like an argument from desparation.

Re:from TFA: (1)

filtur (724994) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430672)

In related headlines, robbers worldwide have begun arguing that they don't like it when their victims carry guns.

hmmm... I could imagine telemarketers saying the same thing.

Re:from TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430745)

But robbers do like when you have a gone in the house in an obvious place like bedstand drawer. This way they don't have to bring in a weapon. They can just shoot you with your own.

They're blocking intrusive advertising (1)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430602)

This is nothing more than the federal government creating telecom equivalent to the state and local laws that let you tell advertisers and sales people to get off your property and to stop bothering you. It's a no brainer that the SCotUS would uphold it.

I'll take my victories where I can, but personally I'd rather be harassed by solicitors than have to live under the USA PATRIOT Act.

Silver lining... (1)

SunPin (596554) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430880)

Now you can declare salespeople to be terrorists.

See? It isn't that bad.

Thank God. . . (3, Interesting)

twbecker (315312) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430620)

I've really become spoiled by the lack of telephone solicitations. I have to say that this is one law the government really did right.

Spoiled? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430838)

I've really become spoiled by the lack of telephone solicitations.

Spoiled implies a luxury. This is a right. In these parts it's called "the right to quiet enjoyment".

Remember: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

So? (2, Insightful)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430630)

How does this help me, with the 5 phone calls a day while I'm waiting to hear back from places I've sent resumes in to?

They start with a recording, often asking me to call a 800 number based offshore. Sometimes a "press 1" to speak to a CSR... which connects me to some sleazy outfit that contracts out the telemarketing, or so they claim. "Sir, we did not call you!". I have an idea. Make telemarketing, for anything (charities too) a crime punishable by prison time. Make it illegal for phone companies to not provide true caller id... not this shit they pass off as the same.

Keep in Mind... (5, Informative)

Biotech Nerd (812071) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430642)

The CNN article is a little misleading. All the Supreme Court did is choose not to review the ruling of the Tenth Circuit. It chooses not to review literally hundreds of circuit court cases each year. The scope of the actual ruling (the Tenth Circuit) is limited to the Tenth Circuit's jurisdiction. The Tenth Circuit covers Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. There are 12 other Circuit Courts in the Country (rest of the country), and they can come up with different rulings than the Tenth Circuit, although they will likely consider the Tenth Circuit's holdings in reaching their decisions. If they come up with different results (referred to as a split circuit), then (and only then) would the Supreme Court would likely review the cases (and even that is not certain). So, don't read too much into this.

Re:Keep in Mind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430861)

By allowing the lower court's decision to stand, the Supreme Court has settled the issue. Any other court would be going against settled law if they make a contrary ruling on this issue, so while it is possible it is not probable. Of course the telemarkets would probably try to make a slightly different argument any way.

Profit through annoying people (4, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430674)

I know I can't be the only one who is simply amazed at the success people have gained through activities that simply annoy most people.

After giving this some careful thought I have been developing a marketting plan that will exploit other things that annoy people as a means of marketting.

Given that many of the most popular foods served in the U.S. often result in halitosis and/or flatulation (which are both annoyances) I have decided to develop this as a marketting scheme that not only benefits the hungry and homeless out there (an important public service) but also spreads the word about any given human consumable food or drink on the market, present and future.

My scheme, known as "Fartketting," consists of hiring low-cost employees and volunteers to consume only the food or drink of any given campaign and then either talk to people about it in close-in, poorly ventilated areas or simply emitting the natural effects of said products either in the form of flatulation or other gastric anomoly. This can be thought of as serving samples to the unsoliciting public.

I believe that if current marketting trends are effective, then this too should be an effective way of spreading the word about products and services to the public.

This method of marketting is currently patent pending, so don't get any wise ideas! This baby is ALL MINE!

Sounds like the RIAA (1)

jmanforever (603829) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430678)

From Article: "The telemarketers argued that the list violated their commercial free-speech rights, that it unfairly did not apply to political and charitable solicitations, and that less restrictive regulations already allow consumers to block unwanted calls."

Someone needs to quit whining, and come up with an alternate business plan.

I also feel that the current "less restrictive regulations" allowing customers to block unwanted calls does NOT work, because the telemarketers always change their calling numbers. When you block one, they will just use another - like spammers.

Next list! (2, Informative)

kkovach (267551) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430681)

This is good to hear. Now, all we need is a do-not-use-IE list.

DO-NOT-USE-IE [donotcall.gov]

The damn form doesn't work unless you use IE. Fools!

- Kevin

Re:Next list! (1)

jmanforever (603829) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430843)

"The damn form doesn't work unless you use IE. Fools!"

Well, I must disagree. I just used the link out of YOUR post to register my phone number, and it worked just fine with Firefox 1.0PR running on Win 2K-Pro. I no longer use IE.

Rights (1)

SocietyoftheFist (316444) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430684)

So why is it even a question about whether or not I have the right to sign up to a list that blocks calls from coming to my house?

"Supreme Court Backs Do-Not-Call List" ... WRONG (4, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430704)

FYI, the Supremes did not "back the do-not-call list". They denied cert in the case, which means that they simply refused to hear the appeal.

The Supreme Court has held in the past that a denial of cert is not in any way an endorsement of the appeals court's ruling. Only a small fraction of applications for cert are actually granted by the Court.

It is still possible that another lower court (outside of the 10th Circuit) could hold the Do-Not-Call List unconstitutional. Hopefully, any other court would find the 10th Circuit's opinion persuasive... but unless such a court is actually in the 10th Circuit, they are not required to follow the ruling.

Any lawyers reading? (3, Funny)

Enlarge Your Penis (781779) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430714)

Start phoning the telemarketers at home at inconvenient hours and asking them if they want to hire you to fight this.

Do-Not-Call List = More harrassment (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430718)

Why would a system that exposes people's identity can possibly prevent them from harrasment from telemarketers? That whole idea is complete flawed, and it will only attract more telemarketing scams for the suckers who sign up to the DNC list! Obviously these brueaucrats learn nothing from e-mail spams. What FTC should have done is to have a DO CALL LIST, in which telemarketer can only contact those on the list, and must delete every info for the client who are off the list.

Another point of interest (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430738)

I wonder how many, if any, telemarketting executives out there appear on the Do-Not-Call lists themselves? I think *THAT* would be an interesting fact to look into. Does anyone have access to the data pertaining to this?

Re:Another point of interest (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430909)

I wonder how many, if any, executives out there answer their own phone.....

Supreme Court retirements? (0, Offtopic)

tji (74570) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430747)

Okay, here is a tangent to a Supreme Court story.. Maybe some court watchers out there will have some good info.

Since the 2000 election, there have been lots of rumors about three Supreme Court justices retiring due to health or age reasons. People "in the know" made it sound like a sure thing. But, it hasn't happened, and it's obviously not happening during this presidential term.

Any clues as to why none have retired? I think two of the three potential retirees were rather conservative, so leaving in a Republican administration was the basis for many of the rumors. With a Bush re-election definitely not a sure thing, it would seem risky for them to wait until the next term.

Do they not want Bush nominating their replacements? Or, were the court watchers just way off base?

Re:Supreme Court retirements? (1)

loco_0wnz (655629) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430796)

What does your "tangent" have to do with the topic?

europe (1)

BlackShirt (690851) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430769)

Is there similar regulation in EU? germany, france, UK, nordic? any plan to adopt it in all EU states?

Links, please

I fixed my unwanted call problem (2, Insightful)

deinol (210478) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430787)

At least for now, they can't call cell phones. So I don't even have a land line anymore. I didn't use it when I had it, and it's not like I can not have a cell phone for my line of work. My old land line only got calls from telemarketers, nobody who knew me used it.

Please GOD (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430793)

Let them start passing legistlation on SPAM and spyware. These are more relevant to myself.

Question on the do-not-call-list (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430804)

How far does it extend? I know non-profits are supposeedly exempt, but can you tell them you are on the DNCL anyway?

What about companies you deal with? Case in point, my bank calls me *constantly* with BS deals for house loans, car loans, crap like that, can I tell them to FOAD?

Esp. now that the DNCL has been delared valid!

got it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10430806)

the first post

Bravo for the Supreme Court... this time around. (4, Interesting)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430808)

There are those who might argue that the telemarketers are doing nothing more than the equivalent of "phone junk mail" - that these phone calls are no different from the unsolicited ads you get in the mail, and that it's not a long walk between the mailbox and the trash can.

That being said, I'm delighted that the Supreme Court didn't accept that interpretation. Telemarketers demand your time in a more immediate fashion, and with some of them able to stay on the line until you've held the switch hook down for 10 seconds, they are far more capable of interfering with other communications than junk mail does with other correspondence.

I'm glad that the Supreme Court took that view - you see, the purpose of the Supreme Court is not necessarily to bow to the will of the people; its purpose is to see whether the balance of rights is maintained.

So, let's not get too carried away with what this decision means. The telemarketing companies may end up trying other ways to get around the "do-not-call" list.

We know what eternal vigilance pays for, after all.

It doesn't take a genius... (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430845)

Perhaps the biggest mistake was that The American Teleservices Association, Mainstream Marketing Services Inc. and TMG Marketing Inc. all decided to run telemarketing campaigns directed at the Supreme Court judges, their family, and staff to hear the case. Not the smartest move to interrupt Rehnquist while he was having his bologna rye sandwich and thinking about the decision.

you misunderstand (4, Informative)

supernova87a (532540) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430878)

Many people (and corporations) are confusing the meaning of free speech with their belief that they have a so-called "right" to do (something) they want, which they then claim is some form of speech.

I would submit to you that by the term free speech, the constitutional framers (and smart judges) interpreted to mean the free exchange and discourse of intellectual ideas between people and institutions, unrestrained by prior interference by the state.

People calling me to sell products is not exactly the free exchange of intellectual ideas -- they just want to hawk their wares. That's why the no-call list doesn't include political organizations, etc. which *are* in the business of discussing ideas with people.

Whew (0, Troll)

Tyfud (777617) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430890)

Just when you think the world is insane, something sane happens.

Now if we could only get them to stop allowing rediculous lawsuits in the system at all, I would be able to sleep easy at night, instead of curled into a ball wishing I had a jumbo sized teddy bear to hug me...That being said, I feel quite confident my suit against Kerry for causing my ears to bleed during the debate will go through.

This sounds like cert denied (4, Informative)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430933)

The press almost always gets this wrong. The Supreme Court, except in very limited circumatances, gets to choose what cases they accept. What it sounds like happened in this case is that they decided not to hear the appeal. That means the result of the lower court stands--in that circuit.

That is different from the Supreme Court rejecting the appeal--very different. It does NOT mean that the Supreme Court agrees with the lower court. They may, for instance, think that the issue needs more consideration in other lower courts before they take it.

And the rest (4, Interesting)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 9 years ago | (#10430937)

I have subscribed to every possible method of stopping the buggers calling me. I'm on the UK equivalent DNC list, I have also registered my postal address in the same way. I bought a TiVO so I wouldn't have to watch the adverts on telly and I use firefox with adblock to clean up my web browsing. Finally, I run spamassassin and thunderbird which clears out SPAM. I wonder how long it will be before the advertisers realise that I don't actually want anything to do with them. More to the point, those that get through my defenses go onto my "do not ever buy anything from these jerks" list so they really should learn to leave me alone. I suspect many others are of the same opinion.

In the UK there is an interesting get-out for the telemarketers - while they cannot call to sell me something there is a provision that allows them to do market research. Now, every single call I get is from some company asking me if I were to replace my kitchen or bathroom etc, which would it be? This is not market research, it is just a slimey way around the legislation. Thankfully, it is rare that I get these calls compared with before I joined the telephone preference service but it is still annoying. Advertisers need to understand that I am making a definite decision to have nothing to do with them and they should just stay away. I would love to say "or else" but have no idea what the "else" would be.
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