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Sorry, Wrong Wiretap

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the saying-oops-makes-it-ok dept.

Privacy 166

Rick Zeman writes "CNN is covering a little-mentioned Inspector General's report which mentions that the FBI 'sometimes gets the wrong number when it intercepts conversations in terrorism investigations' due to various reasons, and that 'The FBI could not say Friday whether people are notified that their conversations were mistakenly intercepted or whether wrongly tapped telephone numbers were deleted from bureau records.'"

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166 comments

sounds like... (1, Insightful)

KillShill (877105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13694990)

the perfect excuse.

Re:sounds like... (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695000)

Don't ya love FISA and the USAPATRIOT act?

Re:sounds like... (0)

mboverload (657893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695069)

Last time I checked they had these magical things called wiretaps before 2001.

Re:sounds like... (5, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695087)

Last time I checked they had these magical things called wiretaps before 2001.

Right. The problem really is that there USED to be judicial oversight. No more. Supporters of PATRIOT claim it's never been abused, thus it's not a problem.

Re:sounds like... (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695095)

Oh yes, forgot about that part.

Doh! I thought it was awful before =(

Supporters of PATRIOT claim it's never been abused (2, Interesting)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695147)

thus it's not a problem.

Who's to say it's not being abused, as they work in secrecy? "Just trust us." Not as far as I can throw you!!!

Falcon

Re:sounds like... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695285)

The problem really is that there USED to be judicial oversight.

Regular wiretaps must still be approved by the local federal district judge.

National security wiretaps must be approved by the The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [fjc.gov] . I don't see anywhere where one can get by without any judicial oversight, with the possible exception of short-term emergency taps. As far as I know, those still have to be reviewed by the judiciary.

Re:sounds like... (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695450)

National security wiretaps must be approved by the The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Yeah, the rubberstamp court. How many times have they turned down any requests, versus how many they've approved? Some judicial oversight there.

Re:sounds like... (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695525)

Why don't you back your rant up with links? Perhaps you're talking out your ass with that "how many times" stuff? Most likely, you have zero idea.

Re:sounds like... (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695575)

If you actually gave a damn about what I said, you could Google for that info yourself & prove that I was just trolling.

Since you didn't, I can assume only that you don't actually give a damn, or couldn't find enough supporting information for your argument & and are therefore playing the talking asshole part.

Re:sounds like... (3, Informative)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695612)

Analysis of the USA PATRIOT act [eff.org]

Section I, subsection A. Paragraph 5.

Second, FISA allows a secret court to authorize U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct surveillance using each of the four basic mechanisms listed above....The secret court's role here, however, is quite limited: it is not supposed to "second-guess" the government's certifications or representations. (Unsurprisingly, the secret FISA court has only denied one application in its over twenty-year existence.)

Third party information, but the EFF is pretty much the ACLU for digital information. I've seen it other places, but don't have the links anymore.

RTFA? (2, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695946)

I read the wire article in the local newspaper and can tell you that the "Court" is a secret court that hands out the permission to do the taps. This is set up under the PATRIOT Act that gives permission for wiretaps based on suspicion that the suspect is a "terrorist".

Most people don't have to worry until they "accidentally" ask for a tap on your phone, e-mail address, and wireless phone. Even a payphone you might just use! The problem here is FBI "error", which makes me think that the court isn't asking enough questions.

Re:sounds like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695883)

Supporters of PATRIOT are self-indicted word-evil. Evil stewardship government is CUBIC STUPID.

Re:Supporters of the imPatriot Act... (2, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#13696215)


Very simple. Read some history. Read about Hoover's direction of the FBI, McCarthy, COINTELPRO, and REALIZE, that one of the primary roles of the FBI (at least within the past 50 years) has been to trample all over people and freedom in general. Not terrorists, PEOPLE...American citizens...supposedly living in a 'free' country.

Re:sounds like... (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695090)

Hence the FISA (1978) reference.

Re:sounds like... (1)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695415)

Don't forget CALEA! (1994)

Don't ya love FISA and the USAPATRIOT act? (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695135)

They remind me of the Gestapo and KGB!

Falcon

No Knock (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695336)

The government has established that police can collect evidence against people without a warrant (or other due process) when they "mistakenly" violate the security of people's persons, houses, papers and effects [findlaw.com] , if the police make the mistake "in good faith". Here in NYC, the cops go to apartment buildings where known offenders (like drug dealers) live, then break in neighbors' doors (on different floors, sometimes), look around, and score a bust without a warrant when they find something. Fourth Amendment? [findlaw.com] That's as quaint as the Geneva Conventions [msn.com] .

How will Chief Justice Roberts rule on torture [nwsource.com] of "mistakenly" captured people? The Supreme Court Chief Justice controls the secret FISA court [hiwaay.net] which governs domestic spying. Not to mention the Chief Justice's control of whether foreign rulings have legal standing in American courts. When the government tortures to death Harry Buttle instead of Harry Tuttle [wikipedia.org] , will Mrs. Buttle even be entitled to a refund?

Oops, wrong line... (4, Insightful)

elwin_windleaf (643442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13694994)

I wonder if anything picked up on a unintentional wiretap is still admissable in court - could provide for a nasty loop hole...

Err... nevermind. (1)

elwin_windleaf (643442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695009)

Or perhaps I should have read the first paragraph in the article...

Oops, wrong door... (2, Funny)

Afecks (899057) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695017)

*smash* Sorry about that...you might want to fix your door...

Re:Oops, wrong line... (1)

freidog (706941) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695111)

generally if it's the result of a 'good faith mistake,' ie a clerical error, or improperly labled addresses, evidance obtained in search warrant is admissible even when they end up searching the wrong house / building.
I'd believe the same train of thought would be applicable to this, a good faith effort to tap the right phone and end up with the wrong one would probably still be admissable in court.

Re:Oops, wrong line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695119)

bullshit. MAJOR bullshit. Any lawyer would tear that to shreds.

Re:Oops, wrong line... (2, Insightful)

Kiaser Wilhelm II (902309) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695239)

Do you have any clue what you are talking about?

Wiretaps are only given with permission of a court to a specific person (or specific people). Being permitted by a judge to wiretap a suspected bomb plotter and then accidentily tapping the wrong line and overhearing someone doing a drug deal is not a "good faith" effort. You were not making an effort to tap the WRONG phone (how can it be a "good faith" effort to admit into evidence of a phone line you didn't mean to tap?). You were not given permission to tap that phone so the evidence is not admissable in any court. Anything less would mean that the police would have carte blanche to use the order to wiretap one person's phone lines as an excuse to tap EVERYONE's phone lines and then finding whatever illegal information they can and using that to arrest totally unrelated people.

See the exclusionary rule [findlaw.com] .

Re:Oops, wrong line... (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 8 years ago | (#13696265)

I'm pretty sure that just means if a mistake is made filling out the warrant, police can still use it. Like, if the judge approves it but accidentally writes the wrong address, the police can still use it to search the address they requested the warrant for. This is just what I remember from Law & Justice class last year though, so I could be wrong.

Re:Oops, wrong line... (5, Insightful)

wirehead_rick (308391) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695126)

Really. Especially if for X reason you are decided to be a terrorist and get shipped off to Gitmo.

No notice to family. No procedures. They just come in grab you and send you off. No phone call to a lawyer. No reasons. Just get hauled off into the gulag for no reason (except to the FBI's whims - say you have a contrarian political view and are deemed a _political_ threat).

The long slope into a blatent facist state we have embarked on.

Re:Oops, wrong line... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695187)

it's only bad if you're a raghead

Not admissable (0, Flamebait)

SPYvSPY (166790) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695019)

The good news is that even if they hear it, they likely can't use it against you in court. Does anyone expect privacy on the phone lines anyway? If you do, and you're up to no good, you're an idiot.

Re:Not admissable (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695045)

Does anyone expect privacy on the phone lines anyway? If you do, and you're up to no good, you're an idiot.

Now that's a fucking lame excuse for breaking my rights.

Re:Not admissable (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695320)

No, they already can't use it against you in court, I understand. But that may not be good enough. A more important question is whether or not they may begin additional investigation of people based upon what they accidentally pick up during an erroneous tap. That would be a real problem.

And that's the real problem. (1)

abulafia (7826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695603)

A more important question is whether or not they may begin additional investigation of people based upon what they accidentally pick up during an erroneous tap. That would be a real problem.

They "may" not do so legally, due to the exclusionary rule and various other bits of case law.

However, even though this isn't "supposed" to happen, if a cop who accidentally gains information passes that along to someone else informally, especially someone in a different LEA branch, who then acts on a hunch and starts watching the target, well, there are very few avenues for proving something improper happened.

Even if one is improperly targetted, actually getting anywhere is pretty rare. At best, you may have a tort claim, get some of your fellow tax-payer's cash for your hassle, the crooked cop gets a slap on the wrist, and they're going to have a grudge against you now, so it is time to move. And that's the best case.

The 4th amendment has been mostly made redundant, aside from cases where you don't need it, or some very narrow and (compared with the otherwise prevailing cases) strange decisions. It is of course much more complex than this, but a good rule of thumb: if you're in a car, the 4th doesn't apply. If you're not, but in a public space and not obviously doing something illegal, the rules are more complicated, and vary by locale. General lessons are stay calmer than a catatonic potato, realize that innocent actions like reaching for your wallet can be construed as threatening, don't talk to them other than to ask if you're being detained or arrested, and get out of the area as soon as possible. Your home is very different, but that gets even more complicated, and I'm going to stop babbling now.

None of this is legal advice, I am not a lawyer, and giving any of this more credence then you do your spam is stupid. Get your own advice.

Re:And that's the real problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13696171)

Actually, the 4th Amendment does apply if you're in a car. It really doesn't matter if it's you, your car, your house, your bag, whatever, they can't search it without your consent, a warrant, or probable cause.

Re:Not admissable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13696241)

IANAL and it has been a long time since my law classes covered this but there is an obscure situation that can occur where 4th amendment rights can be circumvented.

You cannot claim your 4th amendment rights for another person. Imagine the following:

Law enforcement officers have X reason to wiretap my phone (and assume for discussion it's a valid reason). While my phone is being monitored, a friend uses my telephone and sets up a drug buy (and for simplicity's sake, assume they are not tapping my phone for drug related purposes).

They *can* in that instance act upon the data collected on my friend. *His* 4th amendment rights were not abused because they had a valid reason to tap that phone at that time. I cannot claim unlawful tap, or that that information is inadmissable because I cannot claim *my* rights were circumvented.

Now conspiracy types are free to discuss if they're "accidently" hitting wrong targets in hopes of picking up an intended target and therefore claiming that it is admissable, but that's a legal mess that makes my brain hurt. Common sense dictates that an "accidental" intercept should never contain admissable data, but look where common sense gets us.

This is just one more reason... (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695031)

To put the tinfoil hats away, or throw them out. Some want us to believe that the government is capable of all this conspiracy crap.... Hell, they can't even use the toilet by themselves if you look at stories like this one. Carnivore was supposed to be scary... the only real thing scary about it was the shortage of harddrives that it promised to create storing all those email messages... and I KNOW they weren't going to get away with using Exchange to store them!

The government might be ominous, but its run by humans, and they are too busy tripping on their own resume's to do anything truthfully scary. Its only individuals who are left without oversight that can be scary... groups of people.. pfft! Hitler and Mousolini were individuals... groups of people just don't manage to get it together fast enough or hard enough... self regulating so to speak...

Now, if individuals are doing wiretaps... could be different

Re:This is just one more reason... (5, Funny)

mpontes (878663) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695047)

Hey, why does your IP resolve to a .gov hostname? *ducks*

Re:This is just one more reason... (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695057)

Just want to endorse the parent. I'd like to see the FBI tap and sort my 400 kb/s bittorrent traffic that goes on 24/7. Then try and find an AIM message which looks corrupted because it's encrypted anyway.

Re:This is just one more reason... (4, Funny)

secolactico (519805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695167)

Just want to endorse the parent. I'd like to see the FBI tap and sort my 400 kb/s bittorrent traffic that goes on 24/7. Then try and find an AIM message which looks corrupted because it's encrypted anyway.

Good evening citizen, and thanks for granting explicit permission for us to wiretap your internet connection. Now if you'd be so kind as to provide us with your IP address, we can proceed at once.

Yours in freedom,
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Re:This is just one more reason... (3, Interesting)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695295)

Governments are often incompetent, yet they are quite capable of "conspiracy crap". See COINTELPRO [wikipedia.org] and ECHELON [wikipedia.org] for example. The fact that conspiracy crap sounds like conspiracy crap, counts in their favour.

Not true (4, Insightful)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695371)

The Cambodians had an evil machine run by groups of people that killed millions. So did Stalin, In the last 100 years think of all the evil that "groups" of people have carried out.

Governments dont have to be efficient, in fact the incompetence is what is scary. Innocent people will get screwed and the guilty will go free. The commies failed because even though they killed a lot of people, it was not necessarily the people they wanted to get. That's what the lack of oversight brings. The reason oversight is frowned upon is so that mistakes can be covered up.

If you are innocent, beware of inefficient groups of people.

Sadly there are those who dont care if there are innocent people getting screwed, as long as it's not them and they feel safe.

It's cheaper to "sacrifice" some innocents than to find out if their punishment is deserved.

Why do you think people support the idea of not finding out whether a non citizen is guilty before locking them up for life in Gitmo?

I'm keeping my tinfoil hat on. Tight.

Hah. (1)

Captain Scurvy (818996) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695433)

That is just what they want you to think!

Re:This is just one more reason... (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695440)

Now, if individuals are doing wiretaps... could be different

Yeah, as long as it's the government itself, and not some human being listening in on you, there's no problem.

Re:This is just one more reason... (1)

0x336699 (865470) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695748)

I agree with the spirit of skepticism behind your comments but not the reasoning. Besides evoking Godwin's Law [wikipedia.org] you failed to address the fact that groups are made up of individuals. The ebil, scawy men you mentioned would have been about as dangerous as a bed fart had it not been for the mass of people behind them.

I too think that the government, even when its being really deceitful and amoral, is a threat primarily to itself. These are all people with government jobs after all. ;) I also tend to cast serious doubt on any conspiracy theory I run up against. But I do I think that it's sometimes possible for powerful people to get together and do some serious scheming [wikipedia.org] . I don't fear the unambitious, bureaucratic, scabs. What worries me is the kind of people who are attracted to the oversight-free environment within certain corners of our government.

Re:This is just one more reason... (1)

bigpat (158134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695889)

Now, if individuals are doing wiretaps... could be different

There is no such thing as "they".

Everything that is done in our names through government is done by individuals who sometimes act in concert but always act alone. Individuals act and pursue their own values sometimes righteous, sometimes not. Referring to a "government" as doing anything is always just a generalized abstraction for the individuals who are bestowed with power and responsibilities.

Individuals are vindictive, self absorbed, self righteous, ignorant and petty. Nobody is perfect, and certainly nobody is perfect enough to be trusted to act with such arbitrary and summary powers as is being assumed necessary to prevent criminal acts. I don't worry about the beaurocrat or high agent of government that is given the power to order a wiretap of my communications, I worry about the random guy that I accidentally cut off on the road that is the low level technician that actually has the access to tap my communications and decides to do so for petty reasons of spite and decides to meddle with my life by rerouting a pesonal email or intercepting it before it gets someplace important.

Re:This is just one more reason... (1)

Coldglow (846952) | more than 8 years ago | (#13696054)

"To put the tinfoil hats away,"
No way. I am going to Double foil now!

Re:This is just one more reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13696224)

Oh my god that's so true, I mean, it's not like COINTELPRO ever existed or anything...right? Oh wait...

What a load... (0, Troll)

T_ConXI (919259) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695034)

What a load. The government dumps so much money into the groups in the effort of making the US safer, and they can't even get the right number...

Part of the blame .... (2, Insightful)

Karma_fucker_sucker (898393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695106)

is on the phone company clerks for tapping the wrong line - See FA

But, you do bring up a point that a lot of folks have been asking- especially after Katrina.
There was advanced warning of a disaster, and there still was a lack of coordination and a delayed response. If TSA and local authorities couldn't get their act together with advanced warning, what are they going to do if we get attacked? And you're exactly right: How is it that these billions of dollars are being spent just to get what we saw these last few weeks?!?

Who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695037)

So what? My number may get tapped once in a while.

I'm not doing anything illegal or something someone could extort me with. For all I care, FBI may tape all may phone conversations. Who gives a shit?

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695046)

Shut up, troll.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695059)

Well... I guess if you have NEVER broken ANY laws EVER in your life... then I guess you wouldn't. It would be real interesting to know the percentage of americans who have never broken ANY law before in their lifetimes - regardless of how trivial or common the breaking of that law is.

Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695133)

Show me a man that has never broken the law and I'll show you a man that has never driven a car.

Such Big Budget... (1)

monkaduck (902823) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695040)

... can't the gov't afford phonebooks?!

Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695048)

With the rules in place now, it doesn't really matter what they do/don't do/f' up on the old antiquated telephone system. That is on its way out anyway. What does matter is that thanks to Carnivore style systems, everything is being copied and any email, VoIP, frist post, etc. is on file and one warrant away from a court of law.

Shock on the Wire (1)

Brent Spiner (919505) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695064)

FBI: "So long, and thanks for all the free phone sex."

They're just making excuses... (3, Funny)

marsperson (909862) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695066)



For all those times they "accidentally intercept" 1-900 sex lines...

"We had reason to believe Ossama Bin Ladin calls this number frequently."

OSSama?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695082)

So, using open source software really is an act of terrorism.

I KNEW IT!!!

Premium rate (1)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695094)

"Yes sir, the month-long wiretap on the 1-900 chatline was definitely an accident. It won't happen again. Really."

-Stephen

Shocking!! The Government Ain't Perfect (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695113)

In other news:
Police sometimes arrest the wrong people who haven't committed any crime.
Juries someimte convict the wrong person.
The FBI isn't perfect.

This is not exactly earth-shattering news here, unless you believe the government is some evil,perfect conspiracy out to get you. There's very little news value in this story.

Scuttlemonkey, why'd you have to make that dig about saying oops makes it ok? Nobody would say that, so why'd you have to flamebait like a troll? The editors just get worse and worse.

Re:Shocking!! The Government Ain't Perfect (3, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695215)

Police sometimes arrest the wrong people who haven't committed any crime. Juries someimte convict the wrong person. The FBI isn't perfect.

No! Next you'll be telling me that moderators sometimes label "informative" posts "insightful"

Re:Shocking!! The Government Ain't Perfect (2, Informative)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695419)

Police sometimes arrest the wrong people who haven't committed any crime.

Yes, but they need either a warrant or a very good reason such as witnessing you committing the crime, finding you covered in blood near a murder scene, etc.. That's the way it used to be with wiretaps. Thanks to the inappropriately named patriot act, they can do it to anyone at any time, without notification.

Re:Shocking!! The Government Ain't Perfect (1)

kerohazel (913211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695909)

Wrongfully arrested people tend to be released from custody. Wrongly imprisoned people, upon being found innocent, tend to be released. All we are asking is that the FBI be held accountable for mistakes. Maybe that means firing people who mess up too much, or it could be as simple as just erasing all recordings if they suspected the wrong person.

You missed the point, idiot... (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13696083)

I think you missed the main point: "The FBI could not say Friday whether people are notified that their conversations were mistakenly intercepted or whether wrongly tapped telephone numbers were deleted from bureau records."

Inspector General? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695120)

More like Inspector Gadget!

Sorry, Wrong Wiretap (4, Informative)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695127)

The FBI could not say Friday whether people are notified that their conversations were mistakenly intercepted or whether wrongly tapped telephone numbers were deleted from bureau records.

Why should they tell people their phones were tapped and conversations recorded? I'd bet that the people involved would get vocal about wiretaps.

use of warrants issued by a court that operates in secret under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

They use secret courts so they aren't accountable to the people who pay their salary, the taxpayers.

Falcon

Re: Sorry, Wrong Wiretap (1)

ornil (33732) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695758)

Quite right, they shouldn't. If they accidentally overheard my conversation without intending to, they need not tell me so as long as they destroy the data. Why? Beacuse I was not harmed in any way and I do not need to know that FBI is performing wiretaps somewhere in my area. Maybe they meant to wiretap my neighbor (and they have the warrants and believe he is, say, a serial killer), but telling me about their accidental wiretapping would make me tell my neighbor about this, just as something interesting that happenned to me, and that would tip him off.

More to the point, suppose they told me, what good does that do me? Oh, I guess, I could try sueing the FBI. Yes, that would really help to restore my privacy.

Re: Sorry, Wrong Wiretap (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13696394)

>they need not tell me so as long as they destroy the data.

That's nice, in theory.

But how do they know they destroyed the data? For all they know, they could have a rogue agent who takes delight in releasing information to Drudge, or to an identity theft ring, or to his KGB handlers. Shouldn't you have a right to know, even after the fact, of a possible compromise of your personal information?

Oh No! ... (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695138)

... you mean they might have heard my conversations about whether or not cowboy neal wears a cowboy hat! Because I'm always telling everyone I know he does, but I dont' want the government knowing that!

Not just the FBI (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695154)

This is slightly more serious I think... at least from the "Slashdot" perspective:

cough cough [gwu.edu]

Deleted? Yeah, right. (2)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695196)

I get the impression that the FBI looks at everyone as a criminal waiting to happen. They probably keep all the intercepts on file, just like they want to do with records of legal firearm purchases, DNA samples from acquitted persons, and the like.

Re:Deleted? Yeah, right. (2, Funny)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695400)

You forgot the Ark of the Covenant! I'm sure that's in an FBI warehouse too!

The slashdot view (2, Insightful)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695200)

Do you report yourself when you run a red light ?
When you make a mistake on your taxes in your favor ?
When the cable company is accidentally giving you free porn ?

What would be the actual upshot of the FBI reporting these errors ? We'd have another source of employment for lawyers and another way to waste limited law enforcement resources.

The pursuit of criminal and or investigations is both a legitimate and neccesesary function of the government. The prople that complain most about the government doing its job are the same people that get the most upset when something untoward occurs.

Re:The slashdot view (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695261)

This is not a two way street. The government works for the people, not the other way around.

Who's rights are being violated if I run a red light with no intersecting traffic or if I don't report all my income? Who am I to assume the cable company made a mistake if they are giving me free porn? Maybe its a special promotion. Who cares? I do not have power over others in the situations you mention.

In the case of the government, we are talking about a government that is SUPOSEDLY GOVERNING AT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. We also suposedly have a right to privacy and a right against unreasonable searches. If the government is not doing its job properly, why should I not know about it?

Re:The slashdot view (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695315)

In this circumstance the Governments job is to protect the general public from those that would do it harm. Do you really want to make that harder than it needs to be ?

Re:The slashdot view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695330)

That is a subjective definition, however, by your logic, we can have a 1984 esque Orwellian police state that does not worry about silly things like civil rights and privacy issues.

I will always err on the side of our civil rights and the basic tenant of a government that is accountable to the people.

Re:The slashdot view (4, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695746)

Yes, in fact, I do.

Remember that we're all presumed innocent. To take an example of encryption, just because I'm using encryption does not mean that I am plotting nefarious schemes against my fellow citizens. I may be discussing confidential business things, for example. Y'know, dare I say it, I might actually work from home in an effort to not drive my car around and burn gas, hurt the environment, etc., etc.

These sorts of mistakes can be dangerous. Imagine the above example--I'm some bigshot business-guy. I own a publicly traded company. The FBI inadvertently taps my phone and learns that someone at the company I work for has just invented something that will make the company a ton of money. Do you really think those agents aren't going to call up their stock-brokers and say, "BUY! BUY! BUY!" (Or, assume the other direction, if you prefer)

Frankly, yes. I want to make it difficult for the government to wiretap it's citizens. I want somebody to look at the evidence that has been accumulated and act as my representative to say, "Hey, wait. Just because he encrypts his phone calls doesn't mean he's a terrorist." I want somebody to second-guess these guys.

The story of the gutsy cop who goes against procedure to nab the bad guys before they enact their evil deeds is a great movie. But it's not real life--remember, in most cases we get the see the bad guys planning their acts in the movies so we know who the bad guy is. Reality is not that cut-and-dried.

In short, I'm more worried about the government abusing it's power than of the terrorists blowing up a building. That happens alot more often.

Re:The slashdot view (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#13696154)

In this circumstance the Governments job is to protect the general public from those that would do it harm. Do you really want to make that harder than it needs to be ?

Sic transit gloria America.

Re:The slashdot view (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13696129)

the whole point of having the FBI & CIA very seperate was to put up a "chineese wall" of sorts between agencies with little local power and agencies with great local power. The original idea being that the CIA could do whatever they wanted to spy on people, in the name of security, but generally their intel was banned from normal courts. Of course after 911 everybody was all "they should have known" but the people in the know just want a free information grab... that's what it's always been about.

A lot of the problem with law enforcement is like that ocnversation in SW2 when Amidila is describing democracy and the constant throws of neigotion when Anakin steps in and says somebody "wise" should "make" the people get along... Much of our US law enforcement is of the same mentality. they're good people, but they aren't really taught to keep religion, morality, and law seperate in their minds... They tend to view law as religion... which causes trouble when you need to make changes!

Re:The slashdot view (5, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695369)

The people enforcing the laws NEED to be held to a higher standard, because they have more power than a common citizen.

With power comes responsibility. If the FBI could get away with wiretapping the wrong person, how long before they wiretap anyone?

The question shouldn't be why not allow the police to do something, but should they be allowed to do something with the approiate oversight?

Just because I don't have anything to hide doesn't mean I shouldn't hide my life, using encryption and such.

Re:The slashdot view (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695509)

Anyone else thinks this REEKS of COINTELPRO? [wikipedia.org]

Re:The slashdot view (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695617)

Most people that I know consider COINTELPRO a good thing. Groups advocating the violent overthrow of the government need to monitored and disrupted when neccesesay. Most liberals some how forget that it was J. Edgar Hoover that busted the clan and not Bobby Kenedy. While Bobby Kenedy was using the justice dept to settle his fathers scores with the mob, Direcotr Hoover was doing what was neccesesary to keep the country safe.

Do you really think AlQuaeda should be able to hide behind being a religous organization or perhaps the branch davidians or Timothy McVeigh.

Re:The Free Country view (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#13696306)


There's something called the U.S. Constitution (and the accompanying Bill of Rights), and there's something called Due Process. When you combine these you get a certain set of restrictions that detail what the government can and cannot do in order to enforce the law. Amendment IV of the Constitution is very clear about unreasonable search and seizure - the entire premize is founded on the idea that you're *suspected* of *having committed* a crime (thereby giving law enforcement the right to search), whereas much of the current process revolves around the notion, "if I watch you long enough, you're bound to commit a crime of some kind." This is COMPLETELY BACKWARD.

Mistakes?? (1)

pureseth (917220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695217)

How can they just say "sorry, it was a mistake" over and over again. This is the government and they shouldn't be making such careless mistakes repeatedly.. Whether it's wiretaps or something else.

Complete Lack of Surprise (1)

masterpenguin (878744) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695219)

In Other News "Goverment abuses power"

It is said that the only power goverment abuses is power the people give it. I'm glad that soon that the goverment will be able to tap VoIP, since it seems their current powers are so well regulated and audited.

Official Notification (3, Funny)

craXORjack (726120) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695225)

Agent Johnson: Honey, I'm home! By the way, I'm supposed to tell you that your phone was accidently tapped during one of our terrorism investigations. It's all taken care of now though. There is absolutely no trace of your transcripts left. I took care of that myself so you don't worry about it. Oh, and that guy you were talking to about meeting at a hotel while I'm at work next Thursday... He won't be able to make it. He commited suicide.

Less Official Notification (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 8 years ago | (#13696382)

... strangest way for a guy to off himself, though. I mean, why would a guy shoot himself seventeen times and _then_ run himself over with an SUV? Some people.

In Soviet America... (1)

illumina+us (615188) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695263)

...wire taps you!

Squandered Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13695271)

It's sad what the democrats and republicans have done to America. The government is no longer by the people and for the people.

The People need to wake up before it is too late and vote as if the govenment still belonged to them. Or else the American revolution was for nothing.

Unfortunately... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#13696346)

We only get to vote for "politicians", not competent folks.

Maybe we need a constitutional amendment to allow only "draft picks" to appear on ballots?

Groucho Marx said: "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member"

Maybe we'd be better off if we said "I don't want to vote for anyone who wants to run".

Backlog (3, Insightful)

Radicode (898701) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695340)

What scares me most are the 38,514 hours of audio backlog to be translated. That's over 4 years worth of audio! "Hey boss! I've got some intel about a bombing in a city... but it already happened 2 years ago..."

Radicode

Re:Backlog (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695404)

What scares me most are the 38,514 hours of audio backlog to be translated. That's over 4 years worth of audio! "Hey boss! I've got some intel about a bombing in a city... but it already happened 2 years ago..."

Erm, that's 4 years divided by the number of microphones that they have recording stuff. So, it may only be a week old, there's just lots of bandwidth.

It would take 4 years to listen to it all if you only had one person listening to it. How many people do you suppose they have on staff?

Re:Backlog (1)

Radicode (898701) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695422)

That why I wrote "4 years worth". They probably have a lot a people listening to the tapes, but since they admit they have 38000 hours backlog... they probably are really late listening to the recordings.

One day... (2, Interesting)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695346)

One day I was talking to a good friend of mine... Mid-sentence we both heard a "beeeeep" sound (probably 800-1000 Hz). After a few seconds of silence from both of us, I asked, "Was that you?" My friend replied "Nooooo..... Was that you?" To which I replied "Noooo..." So we both hung up and called each other again. No beep after that. To this day we joke about it, but we still wonder if we said something that caught "their" attention.

Oblig. bash.org quote (5, Funny)

eyal (774028) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695493)

#88575 +(4830)- [X]

<Stormrider> I should bomb something
<Stormrider> ...and it's off the cuff remarks like that that are the reason I don't log chats
<Stormrider> Just in case the FBI ever needs anything on me
<Elzie_Ann> I'm sure they can just get it from someone who DOES log chats.
*** FBI has joined #gamecubecafe
<FBI> We saw it anyway.
*** FBI has quit IRC (Quit: )

Re:One day... (1)

maelstrom (638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695860)

Right, cuz the FBI makes sure to beep everytime they tap a phone.

Notification sounds like a great idea (1)

Standfast (36916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695563)

I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't be a good idea to make a law forcing law enforcement officials to fully notify anyone whose phone they tapped or whose email they read mistakenly. The notification could be delayed if it might damage the actual case in progress.

The whole idea, of course, would be to provide a rare incentive for law enforcement to get it right.

What about the Constitution? (3, Informative)

cnerd2025 (903423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695596)

I thought that these were rights that were protected by the Constitution in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments of the US Constitution? One is supposed to be informed of his crime before investigation can begin. The Writ of Habeas Corpus also applies here; since a crime hasn't been committed, there is no way that they can just listen because someone might commit a crime. Someone might talk about committing murder and how they plan to do it, but no one has the right to listen in on the conversation because one of the parties might conspire to commit murder. The Constitution protects rights of "criminals" by saying that a) to run an investigation a crime must be committed (habeas corupus) b) the accused must be told what his or her crime is (5th amendment) c) the person must be informed by the government with a cause and substantiation for search and seizure (4th amendment) d) the person is free from penalty of self-incrimination (5th amendment) e) the person is entitled to trial by jury (7th amendment and article 3) f) the person is granted the right to a fair punishment that fits his or her crime (8th amendment) g) the person has a right to a trial that quickly follows his or her endictment for the crime, as well as reasonable bail (6th amendment). So, wiretapping and using it in court would violate ALL of these. Since there is no proof of a crime that has been committed, the rest of the claims that would even validate a wiretap are false. If people knew that their phones were being tapped, they would clearly invoke the fifth amendment. This is a clear violation of authority and needs to be stopped. I'm sure a good corporate interest group would actually agree with us on this one.

Re:What about the Constitution? (1)

Nomad37 (582970) | more than 8 years ago | (#13696341)

Just a minor correction: habeus corpus is a writ that is issued against the government by a court demanding that they release a person who is wrongly or unjustly imprisoned. Thus if the government locks you up (or attempts to do so), your lawyer can walk into any court, demand that whatever they are doing they stop, and hear a motion for the writ of habeus corpus.

What would more realistically happen is that your lawyer would apply to the court registrar to be the next thing heard by the first available judge in a federal (or state if it's a state government action) court. So no, habeus corpus does not help you if the FBI are just hassling you. That would be a writ of prohibition, demanding the government stop doing something that it does not have a good legislatively mandated reason (itself allowable under the Constitution) to do.

This is a good thing (1)

Ray Yang (135542) | more than 8 years ago | (#13695851)

What would it say about the Feds abilities if they could flawlessly, always, 100%, wiretap exactly the right person? I'd be far more worried if the FBI didn't mess up every once in a while.

The FBI is watching me post this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13696102)

So is the NSA. And the CIA. This is what this country has come to. Deal with it or leave.

Your call.
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