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ACLU Joins Fight Against Internet Surveillance

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the don't-tread-on-us dept.

Privacy 158

aychamo writes "The American Civil Liberties Union today joined an expanding group of organizations filing lawsuits against a new rule that increases the FBI's power to conduct surveillance on the Internet. The rule being challenged is one the Federal Communications Commission adopted in September, granting an FBI request to expand wiretapping authority to online communications.he ACLU charged in a petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the ruling goes beyond the authority of CALEA, which specifically exempted information services. "The ACLU seeks review of the CALEA order on the grounds that it exceeds the FCC's statutory authority and is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, unsupported by substantial evidence, or otherwise contrary to law," the organization charged in its petition."

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Colleges' costs for CALEA compliance (4, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168196)


From TFA:
Separately, The American Council on Education filed a court challenge arguing that compliance with the rules would require colleges and universities to spend $7 billion in upgrading switches and routers.

Here's [educause.edu] a good reference on just what will be required for universities to comply with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA),and the resultant costs involved.

Re:Colleges' costs for CALEA compliance (3, Insightful)

rhyskegtapper (912684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168228)

At this point the only people monitoring my University's network traffic are bored CS students. However, if that kind of deal came into effect I don't think the already cash strapped department could handle the added weight. Hell, half their staff or more at this point are student oncampus work-study jobs.

Re:Colleges' costs for CALEA compliance (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168279)

It looks like educause.edu needs equipment upgrades as it is.

TMM is up to his normal antics again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14169112)

*Sigh*

Once again, TripMaster KarmaWhore does a quote from the article with a link to a different web site that (somehow always) provides "more information" or a better "reference". We're all obviously incapable of using Google for ourselves.

And once again TMM uses his subscription for the sole purpose of getting first post. It must be a Slashdot version of "Has to be the first one on the block to have it" syndrome.

And once again the TMM ass-kissing mods just mod him up, following like the mindless groupies that they continually prove themselves to be. If anyone else had posted the article, they'd get slammed by the masses for karma whoring, but not TMM. Oh, no.

I suppose that I should be grateful that he didn't find an excuse to once again use that f**king anime smile of his that makes me want to commit acts of physical violence when I see it.

And once again I'm sure that I'll get accused of jealousy by his groupies. Don't bother. My non-AC account has had excellent karma for a year now. But that doesn't mean that I can't call a spade a spade. He's a damned karma whore, yet he's allowed to do it.

I don't know what's worse. The fact that he keeps karma whoring or that the Slashdot mods let him get away with it while others who do the same are modded down.

Un-f**king-believable.

ACLU (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168215)

wow, doing something useful for once

Re:ACLU (2, Interesting)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168383)

wow, doing something useful for once

Better than arguing a Muslim woman should be able to have her face covered in her driver's license photo. Society has an interest in having a drivers license photo accurately picture the individual that overrides religious freedom.

Before you argue that no societal interest overrides religious freedom, please note that all of the following "crimes" have tried to use the religious freedom defense:

  • Prostitution
  • Possession and distribution of drugs
  • Child Molestation
  • Child Abuse
  • Letting children die of treatable ailments

In all of those cases, courts (up to the Supreme Court) said society's interest in prohibiting those crimes outweighed the First Amendment rights of the individuals.

The First Amendment is not absolute. You can't incite people to riot without punishment. You can't publish libelous accusations without punishment. You can't do anything you want and get away with it on the claim "God Says So".

While I admire the ACLU for taking on some contentious issues which are nasty, but have to be defended, most of their stuff seems to be things like forcing a nativity scene out of a city park or trying to make it possible for someone to mask their face in a driver's license photo.

Re:ACLU (5, Insightful)

scheming daemons (101928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168473)

While I admire the ACLU for taking on some contentious issues which are nasty, but have to be defended, most of their stuff seems to be things like forcing a nativity scene out of a city park or trying to make it possible for someone to mask their face in a driver's license photo.

No.. most of their stuff does not. Just most of the stuff that jokers like O'Reilly and Limbaugh like to focus on.

Almost all of their cases are about protecting the civil rights of the individual against the "man". You don't hear about most of those, because Fox News won't highlight them.

Re:ACLU (2, Insightful)

TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169020)

Well said... You can always peg a Rushbot/O'Reillybot inside of 5 seconds when they unleash an uninformed and simplistic statement about the ACLU. O'Reilly and his ilk are successful because they manipulate the uninformed. The best way to do this is through the creation of "enemies"... the ACLU... George Soros and his "War on Christmas" [mediamatters.org] ...etc.

Uninformed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14169771)

What I know of the ACLU's cases, I learned from their own website. I don't watch Rush Limbaugh (he strikes me as just a loudmouth), and I don't recall ever watching O'Reilly, although it's possible I've seen him on CNN and not recognized him--I certainly don't watch his show(s).

That said, most of the sides the ACLU has taken, when I read them, strike me as idiotic. It's like they always take what they think is the contrarian position, common sense be damned.

This is one of the few times, however, I would tend to agree with them. But it's the EFF I'd prefer to support--they actually make sense most of the time, rather than doing so rarely, as if by accident.

I don't want to live in a police state, as someone else suggested, I just don't think that the ACLU will do anything to prevent that. They're too busy worrying about crap like (and I'm choosing a deliberately fictitious and unreasonable example which I find entirely too plausible) whether Pagan Acluviast Natureists should have to wear clothing to school because it violates their religion (which was founded yesterday, by the ACLU...).

Re:ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14169037)

Simply stating that with an aside attack on the popular scapegoats does not make it true.

Re:ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168504)

You think that prostitution and drug use can be comperedto child abuse? Doing something to yourself and something to someone else are same things? Man, you are fucked up in the head. Thank God most people aren't like you ... do'h!

Re:ACLU (1)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168557)

You think that prostitution and drug use can be comperedto child abuse? Doing something to yourself and something to someone else are same things? Man, you are fucked up in the head. Thank God most people aren't like you ... do'h!

I just said they're all crimes people have tried to say God told them to commit and where the courts said the "God told me to" defense didn't wash. I never made any statement equating them in severity.

Re:ACLU (2, Insightful)

sneakers563 (759525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168806)

While I admire the ACLU for taking on some contentious issues which are nasty, but have to be defended, most of their stuff seems to be things like forcing a nativity scene out of a city park or trying to make it possible for someone to mask their face in a driver's license photo.

Isn't there value in a debate over the limits of religious freedom? I don't agree that someone should be allowed to cover their face in a driver's license photo either, but I don't begrudge the ACLU for bringing the case. One of the biggest dangers we face as a society, hell, as humans, is that we tend to believe that certain ideas like "religious freedom" are unchanging and self-evident; they're not. In fact, they're sources of constant contestation and both shape and are shaped by society. Insofar as the ACLU's driver's license lawsuit forces us to think about the limits of religious freedom, and furthermore just what we mean by "religious freedom", I say it's worthwhile; we certainly wouldn't be having this conversation otherwise. The idea that it's wrong to even ask those questions is, in my opinion, a much bigger threat than any possible outcome of the lawsuit.

Drugs and Prostition? Where do I sign up? (1)

directorx (935574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168856)

What's wrong with drugs and prostitution. Cigarettes are more lethal than marijuana and alcoholism causes more fatal care accidents than marijuana use. What's wrong with prostitution. If I get laid by a hooker, as long as we are two consenting adults, then what does it matter that I pay her afterward. If I get high on drugs, how does it harm you? In fact, all victimless crimes, ie crimes in which I commit which does not take away from another individual's freedom or prosperity, IS the government forcing one person's morality on another. Child abuse is another thing entirely. There you hurt an innocent nonconsenting minor for sadistic pleasure. Comparing that to drug use is nauseating.

OT:Letting children die of treatable ailments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14169439)

We had a recent case of this in Miami. The parents fed thier children vegetables, roots, herbs, and the like. Their father went out and had steak (from time to time) and had other foods. This was of course based upon some obscure religion.

One of the children died.

Due to a high priced lawyer and a high priced defense witness that questioned the death (due to _very_ obscure medical condition, which could never be proven) the parents got off on the manslaughter charges. I expect they will get off eventually on the child endangerment charges on their other children.

Let's just hope that the other children don't die as well.

Folks, it happens here in America. Amazing!

Encryption (5, Funny)

jimmyhat3939 (931746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168218)

I avoid this problem altogether by encrypting my phone conversations with AES-256 grade encryption. It took a few months for me and all of my friends to learn to do the encryption on our voices in real-time, but now it works great and we have no fear of the FBI whatsoever!

Re:Encryption (1)

knightinshiningarmor (653332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168356)

Yes, but do you run linux?

Re:Encryption (1)

sparr0w (902739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168999)

Good luck when they start a brute force attack! :)

Re:Encryption (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169080)

NRF-256? Un! Gung'f crnahgf! Jnaanorr! JNAANORR!!

Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (4, Insightful)

thekel (909848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168223)

After all, how long can we maintain the 1st with out it?

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (1)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168398)

Unfortunately, aiming your 2nd protected piece at an FBI agent or other government official wiretapping your email/phone conversations will pretty much strip you of all 10 - including that fair trial one.

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (1)

pwackerly (697142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168513)

Well, according to the text of the amendment, only as long as we find it neccessary to the security of a free state to maintain a a well regulated militia. Which would be, what, 1865?

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168640)

your forgot the rest. it goes - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.".

notice that part about "the right of the people". if you read the constitution you will notice that the framers mentioned "people" everytime they were refering to 'the general public'. also when reading the revision history of the 2nd you get a beter idea of what is intended by it. it was very long originaly and sepereated out each of those sentance parts into full sentances, but was later shortend to what it is now. many of the founding fathers later clairified its meaning in letters and speaches to mean that you and i should own weapons for the case we should ever have to defend ourselves from invaders, our governemnt, or just criminals.

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (1)

thekel (909848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168643)

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." It is stating it is necessary. What law school did you go to?

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (1)

pwackerly (697142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168929)

I go to good one. That doesn't matter, though.

Isn't it pretty well estbalished that the federal government can abridge our rights to gun ownership, provided that it does not relate to the use or estbalishment of a well-regulated milita. Check out U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 at 178 ("In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of [a shotgun] at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.")

So, the government can restrict your gun ownership if it doesn't relate to milita use, right? And what well0-regulated milita do you belong too?

Also, check out United States v. Parker, 362 F.3d 1279, 1283 (10th Cir. 2004) (same), and United States v. Hale, 978 F.2d 1016, 1019 (8th Cir. 1992) (same)

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14169038)

"Isn't it pretty well estbalished that the federal government can abridge our rights to gun ownership"

-The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

it also appears the government can abridge our right to illigal search and seizures even though the constitution is against it. obviously what the constitution says and what the laws are differ sometimes.

"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation , the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of"-James Madison

so, what "people" was madison refering to here when he was refering to "americans"? hes not talking about militias or governments here, hes talking about the people of america vs the people of other countries.

"No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson

and here who is jefferson refering to? the people, or militias?

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (1)

thekel (909848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169075)

Do you misquote US vs. Miller? Do you have something to hide? Could it be that the real quote goes something like "In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a "shotgun having a barrel of less that eighteen inches in length" at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument." Providing inaccurate rulings is no way to prove your point. Miller failed to prove that the specific instrument (A short barreled shotgun) had some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia. Meaning that all instruments that have a reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia are protected under the 2nd amendment as an individual (Miller) right. Starting now I would like full auto and grenades :-)

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (2, Informative)

pwackerly (697142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169204)

the type of gun, while relevant, is only one factor. Or so says the 10th Cir in Parker

"Drawing on Miller, we repeatedly have held that to prevail on a Second Amendment challenge, a party must show that possession of a firearm is in connection with participation in a "well-regulated" "state" "militia." See United States v. Haney, 264 F.3d 1161, 1165 (10th Cir.2001) (holding "that a federal criminal gun-control law does not violate the Second Amendment unless it impairs the state's ability to maintain a well-regulated militia"); Oakes, 564 F.2d at 387 (stating "purpose of the second amendment ... was to preserve the effectiveness and assure the continuation of the state militia"). Applying this principle, in Haney we set out a four-part test a party must satisfy to establish a Second Amendment violation: "As a threshold matter, [a party] must show that (1) he is part of a state militia; (2) the militia, and his participation therein, is 'well regulated' by the state; (3) [guns of the type at issue] are used by that militia; and (4) his possession of the [the gun at issue] was reasonably connected to his militia service." 264 F.3d at 1165. See also United States v. Bayles, 310 F.3d 1302, 1307 (10th Cir.2002) (applying Haney to uphold federal law restricting a person subject to a domestic violence protective order from possessing a firearm); United States v. Graham, 305 F.3d 1094, 1106 (10th Cir.2002) (applying Haney to find law banning sale of explosive devices does not infringe upon person's Second Amendment rights). Unless Parker can satisfy these four criteria, he cannot prevail on his Second Amendment claim. Notably, Parker has presented no evidence tending to show that he meets any of the Haney criteria."
br?

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (1)

thekel (909848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169430)

The 10th circuit does not a supreme court decision make. Unfortunately for both of us, until they rule collective vs. individual this is mostly academic. I still say it's judicial activism and not what the founders meant nor intended for even today's society. Please see: http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/secondamendment2.htm [usdoj.gov] I'd definitely like to continue this further but I am off for the weekend. TGIF!

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (5, Informative)

linuxrunner (225041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168684)

You're kidding right? I hope so, but just in case:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,
the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

Let me break it down:
  "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,"

Basically says, that any country (state, etc) to remain FREE must have a well maintained army (militia).. Ok... Now with that out of the way

"the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."
Means that, just because we have a military, doesn't mean we're safe, so thereofre the right of "the people", that's us, the average person, will not be infringed. Why? Because the Brittish just tried to take our guns away so we couldn't win the war. We wouldn't give them up, and fought back.

Without guns, we could not stand up against our government.

The 2nd Amendment is actually quite simple. If you just read it. This is why they use "the people" in the Second Amendment, to mean everyday people.. you and me... just like they used in the First, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendment too!

Or maybe the right to free speech was only really meant for government officials?

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168985)

That's a comma, not a semicolon.

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169049)

But by that definition, the draft is legal.

A militia is defined as:

1: An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.
2: A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency.
3: The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.

Therefore, if the right to keep and bear arms is because a well regulated militia is necessary, then the gov't can maintain (or raise) an army of citizens.

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169117)

The ratifiers of the Bill of Rights agreed that a militia, not just an "army", is necessary to "the security of a free State". A militia, even in that time, was not a standing army, like the British one that had been quartered in private homes by royal command - an abuse that was addressed specifically elsewhere in the Bill of Rights. They said the US (a free state, unlike the colonies or the parent Britain) needed a militia - fighters both quartered and equipped largely privately, especially in peacetime, as well as posessing private experience in their own weapons. That would provide expertise and materiel without direct government expense - major premise of the limited taxation ratifiers, in contrast to the unlimited taxation of the defeated king. As well as deprive the limited government they specified of a centralized power prone to abuse, as they had so recently lived through under British rule, which justified the war to so many patriots.

But we've obviously chosen a different model for our military. We have a huge, expensive standing army - greater than any other at that time, before, or even now. Various government abuses of the people, usually ultimately enforced by nonmilitia, fulltime government armed forces, might have been avoided by having a militia. And perhaps we might not have defended our nation from various enemies. Those speculations are interesting, but besides the point. We do not have a militia, and unorganized people not enlisted in "state security" are neither a militia nor necessary to the defense of a free state. If you're talking about National Guard needing the right to own their own guns, that might be the case. But buying machineguns at flea markets has no protection from the Constitution, and is in fact damaging the security of our mostly free state.

I support the privilege of Americans who can handle the responsibility to own and use guns: eg. trained hunters and sportsmen, not convicted armed robbers or angry teenagers, much as "freedom of travel" is ensured even with restrictions on those who can't be trusted to drive a powerful vehicle like a car. I support revision of the 2nd Amendment, at very least to make its archaic grammar and vocabulary intelligible to modern Americans who live with it. But unless it's revised to protect a right for any American to own and use a gun without restriction, these contrived versions by 2nd Amendment fetishists are baseless. And dangerous to our security.

Read Federalist 29... (2, Informative)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169328)

>We do not have a militia, and unorganized people not enlisted in
>"state security" are neither a militia nor necessary to the defense
>of a free state.

>But unless it's revised to protect a right for any American to own and use a gun without restriction, these contrived versions by 2nd Amendment fetishists are baseless. And dangerous to our security.

You are correct - today, there is no militia. But there is /supposed/ to be a militia.

What the founding fathers intended, based on other writings of theirs (like the Federalist Papers), was clearly to prevent a strong centralized government from having a strong military which would enable it to act as a tyranny. The way they intended to prevent this was to have no standing Federal army, or, at the most, a small one, countered by militias raised by the states, commanded by officers from those states, and made up of citizens from those states.

The overriding intent is clearly to keep military power in the hands of the citizens of the states, and out of the hands of a centralized federal government. The overriding intent is clearly to retain enough military power outside of the federal government to prevent said federal government from taking military action against the citizens of the states.

This kind of military setup died in the late 19th century. Many like to argue that the National Guard is now the militia of the founding father's vision. It is not. Today's National Guard in no way serves to counterbalance Federal military power. If anything, it serves as an adjunct to it and reinforces it.

Just because state militias have been commandeered by the Federal government does not mean that the founding fathers' intents are not still valid! The militias are gone, but the people are not! Given today's situation, the only way left to preserve the intent of the founding fathers is to keep arms in the hands of the /people/.

There are militias no longer, therefore the /people/ must serve as the counterbalance to federal tyranny.

Steve

Re:Read Federalist 29... (2, Insightful)

RobinH (124750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169555)

While I agree with your logic, your last couple of statements are a bit laughable. Can you imagine a revolt with privately owned guns in this day and age?

"Hey Billy-Bob, we're gonna go overthrow the government. You stand here and when the STEALTH F*CKING BOMBER comes over that hill and tries to drop a 500lb smart bomb on your ass, try to shoot him first with your Vietnam surplus .50 cal machine gun."

I think the point you should be trying to make is that the majority of the military needs to divided up and put under direct *local* civilian control. Therefore, if the federal government wanted to use the military against the people, they would have to convince the local civilian leadership to issue those orders, which would be a much safer situation, until the civilian leadership in New Hampshire decides to bomb New York... but nothing's perfect.

In the event that a particular state attempts to us its military against its own people, then a coalition of other states could get together and liberate that state (hopefully).

Re:Read Federalist 29... (1, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169645)

How come the insane anti-American tyrannists who favor guns also favor Bush's trashing the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents Bush from commandeering National Guards and effectively invading American states, without the required invitation of the state governor?

You try to make a practical argument for private guns, to oppose the Federal military. But the practical reality is that such ragtag opposition would be mowed down - the best we could hope for is an Iraq-style meatgrinder. And I can't compare Americans' will to resist to that of the organized, financed, trained (by Saddam, foreigners and the US) Iraqi insurgents, hardened over generations. In practical terms, such American resistance would just justify more military killing and suppression, and make the government look justified in wiping out "hooligans" as they'd inevitably be represented in the media. Big gangs like the Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings would have superiority - and it's obvious that their keeping and bearing arms is doing a lot more harm than any theoretical good.

The practical role for the people to counterbalance Federal tyranny is long overdue. Questioning the media PR for current tyranny and lies. Resisting the force-backed attacks by unaccountable police and lawyers (like the UnPatriot Act). And organizing to hold politicians accountable for sending our soldiers into corporate wars before sending them back to enforce martial law or other contrived coups on our liberty. All this wasted time, dividing the people on dangerous hobbies, has damaged the unity that is our most important asset in resisting any tyranny. No surprise that the tyranny level has risen so far already. Maybe if we were to regain all that lost ground, we could proceed to crank down our so often abused standing army, and try the militia model. Until then, the actual enemy is proven and obvious.

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (1)

Puf_Almighty (904515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169537)

You're right, I hadn't thought of that. After all, I absolutely trust this government to act with my interests in mind at all times.

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168525)

Don't count on it. ACLU supports random identity checks by Miami police.
Papers Please! ACLU approves of it so it must be good. Think of the terrorists!

The only civil liberties union(s) worth supporting in USA is NRA and Gun Owners of America

As soon as gun owners take their rights seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168636)

and take on government agents trying to infringe on their 1st amendment rights.

Seriously, if all our rights really are reliant on the second amendment, why haven't people overtaken their local Department of Homeland Security offices via force of arms? Why are not federal agents performing these wiretaps taken out by force?


At what point will the firearms be taken out and used against the oppressors?


Or maybe 2nd amendment defenders believe that the force of their heated rhetoric alone will do the job?


Or maybe the whole "our rights are founded on the 2nd amendment" really is a bunch of posturing?

The ACLU Does Not Believe in the Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168664)

"I don't want to dwell on constitutional analysis, because our view has never been that civil liberties are necessarily coextensive with constitutional rights. Conversely, I guess the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn't necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty."

Nadine Strossen
President of the American Civil Liberties Union
"Life, Liberty, and the ACLU [reason.com] "
Reason, October 1994 [reason.com]

The letters in the January 1995 [reason.com] issue are worth reading.

Re:Fantastic, now how about the 2nd? (2, Insightful)

wuice (71668) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169091)

If ONLY the first amendment were as vehemently and stridently defended as the second amendment is defended in the USA... That would be a country I'd be wavin' flags for.

Tough Question (3, Insightful)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168231)

This is always a tough question. The argument goes that the more surveilance power we give law enforcement, the more ability they have to prevent crime. OTOH, I'm probably mangling the quote, but "those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither" makes sense as well. The more power we give the government to invade our lives, the more they'll use it.

Re:Tough Question (1)

flyinwhitey (928430) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168262)

"The more power we give the government to invade our lives, the more they'll use it."

And yet strangely, many want to trust the government with their health care.

Re:Tough Question (2, Insightful)

scheming daemons (101928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168294)

And also strangely, those that don't want to trust the government with health care, are more than willing to trust the government to carry out capital punishment.

Re:Tough Question (1)

thekel (909848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168365)

I don't understand how capital punishment relates to trusting those who mete out punishment in this instance. Juries/judges mete out capital punishment not the .gov.

(giggles) (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168601)

Juries/judges mete out capital punishment not the .gov.

That's got to be one of the funniest dumb things I've read on slashdot this week.

A.) Judges are permanent employess of the government. Jury memebers are, effectively, temporary employees of the governemnt. Perhaps the distinction you meant to draw was between the prosecuting and ruling arms of the legal system. But they're all, still, part of the government. (Just as the defenes lawyer will be, if you're not wealthy enough to employ your own.)

B.) Try being on a jury for a murder (or attempted murder) case sometime, when the judge decides to overrule nearly every objection brought by the defense attorney over improper evidence.

Yes, I know, anecdotal evidence isn't good proof of anything... except for that fact that, at least in one place, punishing somebody for a crime is more important than punishing the right somebody. And do you really want people with that kind of mentality having the power to inflict a punishment they can't take back?

Re:(giggles) (1)

thekel (909848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168714)

"Permanent employees"? Partner, your generalizing. Look around, this is not the case everywhere. "Temporary employees"? This doesn't even need rebuttal but I'll entertain it. The prosecution and defense both have a chance to vet jurors.

Re:(giggles) (1)

IamSaved (905177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168886)

Yes, I know, anecdotal evidence isn't good proof of anything... except for that fact that, at least in one place, punishing somebody for a crime is more important than punishing the right somebody.

while I've never served on a jury, it seems to me that the judge is allowing only that evidence to be admitted which is allowed by law - or at least in the mind of that judge to be legal according to the law. and if there are those that disagree with the judge's opinion on admissible legally / inadmissible evidence, is that not why we have appellate courts, to which these appeals for reconsideration are forwarded?

and No, I don't mind allowing people with that kind of mentality to inflict an irretrievable (sp?) punishment. there are certainly more than adequate appeals processes for those so duly sentenced...

Re:Tough Question (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168376)

> And also strangely, those that don't want to trust the government with health care, are more than willing to trust the government to carry out capital punishment.

In the past century, governments have racke dup 180,000,000 deaths [erols.com] .

Trusting a government with health care is strange. Trusting the government with killing is simply a matter of recognizing a core competency.

Mod funny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168728)

I'm glad this comment got modded up, but seriously guys, I don't think we should see that as funny. That's the fricking truth. Goverment is my definition, the use of force. Using force to administer health care is absolute fricking bizzarre. Using force to administer the death penalty, makes perfect sense. So please people, take this seriously. This is a very valid serious point, even if it does strike you as funny.

Re:Tough Question (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168266)

The more power we give the government to invade our lives, the more they'll use it.

What do you mean "will use it"? Ever been to the US since september 11, 2001?

Re:Tough Question (1, Insightful)

Bingo Foo (179380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168369)

The more power we give the government to invade our lives, the more they'll use it.

What do you mean "will use it"? Ever looked at the withholdings on your paycheck?

Re:Tough Question (1)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168440)

Ever been to the US since september 11, 2001?

No, as a Canadian, I haven't, and, sadly, it's looking unlikely that I will be again.

Yeah, I live here... (1)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169100)

And your statement is complete BS.

Here is why:

there were 16,500 homicides in 2003

"Nearly 71 percent of the 2003 murders involved use of a firearm, with 13 percent involving knives or other cutting instruments. Blunt objects, hands and feet also were used."

there were 42,642 auto fatalities in 2002, 17,013 of which were alcohol related. [driveandstayalive.com]

16,204 murders took place in 2002 [fbi.gov]

according to wiki [wikipedia.org]
there were on 2986 deaths on 9/11.

This means that every year roughly 5.5 times the number are murdered
(most by guns). Care to give up your second amendment rights?

Roughly 14 times the number of people die in auto accidents per year,
(alot of them related to alcohol). Care to outlaw drinking? What about
cars?

I am not willing to give up the second amendment, nor do I think alcohol
or driving should be outlawed. Neither am I willing to let the government
have carte blanche in trampling the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments because of
terrorists.

Re:Tough Question (4, Insightful)

Prospero's Grue (876407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168327)

The more power we give the government to invade our lives, the more they'll use it.

I'm not really opposed to granting law-enforcement the power to do surveillence on e-mail, traffic, or what-have-you - but it's ridiculous that every proposal that comes forward to expand police powers also involves no oversight or accountability.

If you think I'm a criminal and you want my ISP to disclose my e-mails then call a judge, present your evidence, get a warrant, collect the e-mails, notify me that I'm under investigation, and we're all set. The same as it works with everything else.

The hypocricy that comes with "we need to expand the law so the police have the same powers over this new-fangled technology thing" and "we must not extend the oversight principles while we're at it" is mind-boggling.

Re:Tough Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168957)

it's ridiculous that every proposal that comes forward to expand police powers also involves no oversight or accountability.

That is, of course, assuming police powers need expansion. Ultimately, it's the voters who provide oversight, and there has been doubt that brinbg even this into question. Funny how politicians aren't generally supporting documentable voting.

Re:Tough Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168563)

When you view surveillance as the answer to fighting general crime in society, you are assuming general society is guilt before proven innocent. That is surveillance is warranted to prove their innocence, not to prove their guilt.

So no it's not a tough question, the founding fathers and numerous individuals who first envisioned agencies like the FBI or the NSA addressed these philosophical issue. Sadly now people seem to be operating on statistics and probability alone, not anything related to the law.

Re:Tough Question (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168566)

that the more surveilance power we give law enforcement, the more ability they have to prevent crime.

It also offers a greater opportunity to commit crime. This isn't something that needs a lot of posturing and theorizing, because it has already happened.

Let's also talk about crime prevention. The notion of prevention, taken to extreme, will annihilate certain constitutionally-guaranteed rights. There's no such thing as "too much" prevention, because there's no way you can prove that the absence of a certain measure would have resulted in more of something that never happened. Where does it stop?

First they came for the "T's (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168251)

...and I didn't speak up because I wasn't using alot of 'T's. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me and I had to buy a vowel.

Good for you, ACLU (1, Insightful)

scheming daemons (101928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168257)

I fully expect a lot of comments to come down on the side of the FBI and of more survellience and restriction on our liberties for the simple reason that the "evil" ACLU is on the other side.

Nevermind them. Yay ACLU. Keep up the good work.

Re:Good for you, ACLU (1)

ConvenienceComputers (932844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168340)

Good God! One step closer at the US Government controlling all data transmissions. I do believe that the internet is one way that we all can find out the truth about many goings-on in the world (without any media bias). ...so does this mean if the US Government doesn't like what it reads online, then it will block/change/warn/go after either the data transmission, the originator of the information, or all four?

Sounds like the USA a on the edge of a civil war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168273)

Its Big Brother vs. Joe six pack

Looks like John Titor [wikipedia.org] was right.
Too bad he didn't leave Stock Market tips...

ACLU Joins Fight Against Internet Surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168277)

For a second there I thought they must be suing Sony. They seem to be the only ones left to join in.

Huh? (2, Insightful)

jimktrains (838227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168309)

The ACLU is doing something that isn't going to piss the majority off?

Re:Huh? (0, Troll)

scheming daemons (101928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168330)

The stuff they do only "pisses the majority off" because in most cases, the "majority" is too damn stupid to realize what's in their best interests.

Re:Huh? (1)

the arbiter (696473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168388)

Thank you! At least there's one sane person on Slashdot. The ACLU isn't perfect by any means (their stand on the 2nd amendment causes me much personal grief) but they take on the defense of the Bill of Rights with zeal; something most Americans would never bother to get off their lazy, fat asses to do.

Re:Huh? (1)

PenrosePattern (460197) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168598)

How exactly does the ACLU's stand on the 2nd amendment 'cause you much personal grief'?
Do you think that any regulation of arms is constitutional?
What do the terms 'well regulated' mean to you?
What proposed changes to the current status quo do you propose or do you think it is optimal?

Re:Huh? (1)

Alphabet Pal (895900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168901)

At least there's one sane person on Slashdot.

Doesn't that then imply that you're not?

Re:Huh? (1)

jimktrains (838227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168407)

I was being serious, not a troll. The ACLU, um, doesn't have the best public opinion. They do good work, I'm not disputing that, it's just that they come off wrong...

I was just saying that the ACLU is finanly doing somehting that MOST people will agree with (like I said, I like what they do).

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

the arbiter (696473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168477)

You're right. I don't think it's the quality or nature of the ACLU's work that has earned them such emnity...I honestly think it's just that most Americans would be far happier living under a police state. Seriously.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168928)

*shrug* On the average they would be. Thats the scary part of police states- its usually only a small percentage of the population that gets arrested and severely harassed. The rest get a few slight abridgements here and there added slowly, so they barely notice them. Thats why most people in police states don't mind it- they aren't the ones who have the secret police knocking on their door. And they get that wonderful warm secure feeling. The fact that its an illusion of security doesn't matter.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14169853)

No, they only "think" they would be happier. Since very few Americans have actually lived under a police state they have no idea what that means, and I mean absolutely not even a frame of reference as to what it means to live under a police state. I wonder how many peoples children/wives/husbands/friends will have to be kidnapped by the police before they realize what they are getting themselves into? America is headed towards a war of biblical proportions.

Re:Huh? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168521)

We should all count ourselves lucky that we have somebody willing to take on cases that the majority may disagree with. After all, the very theme of the Founding Fathers was that the power of the majority be checked, and that minority rights be protected from the nastier elements of mob rule.

Re:Huh? (1)

PenrosePattern (460197) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168626)

Amen. (in a non-religous way)

Re:Huh? (1)

Guuge (719028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168641)

I was just saying that the ACLU is finanly doing somehting that MOST people will agree with

Here in slashdot most people would agree with it, but in general it's harder to say. About surveillance the government has been rather frank. How would this kind of government stay in power in a country where most people don't believe in unlimited powers of surveillance?

No, the stance held by the ACLU is yet another position that falls along party lines.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

skelly33 (891182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168410)

Bingo. I've personally only seen a handful of cases brought forward by ACLU where my reaction was, "well that's a waste of time, energy & resources". They have had Important Victories [lectlaw.com] longer than most /.'ers parents have been alive.

Re:Huh? (1)

fawlty154 (814393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168555)

Well said, and I'm conflicted, because this almost seems worthwhile.
Whoever modded you as a troll probably doesn't quite know who or what the ACLU is.

I need some sleep (3, Funny)

pavon (30274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168317)

When I read this headline the light-saber ad was displaying at the top, and my mind filled with pictures of jedi ACLU lawyers battling video surveillence droids. Whhhoommm chttzzz clnk.

*waves hand* These are not the geeks you are looking for.

Re:I need some sleep (1)

halltk1983 (855209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168749)

"jedi" + "lawyer" = Div/0.
I thought all force-wielding lawyers were sith...

ACLU == Asswipes (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168404)

end of story

Zonk! You made it! (1)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168406)

I have to say, Im pleasantly suprised today

Hats off to Zonk, really. I've had my fair share of complaints against his 'style' of writing, but now it seems that he has gotten an order of magnitude better at it. I think you may have found your groove and nicely matched it up with the audience of slashdot.

Thank You zonk, you are back on the list of editors that come up on the home page. Just dont blow it! hehe

At least this time it's useful. (2, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168439)

Instead of ignoring the second amendment, or crusading for the rights of Neo-Nazis to march through black neighborhoods the ACLU is doing something that's actually positive. I applaud them for this.

LK

Re:At least this time it's useful. (2, Informative)

CottonEyedJoe (177704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168653)

The ACLU isnt defending Neonazis who march through black neighborhoods. They are defending my (and yours) right to say things the majority dosent agree with. The armed services defends our freedom against foreign threats and the ACLU defends our freedom against domestic ones.

Re:At least this time it's useful. (5, Insightful)

scheming daemons (101928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168758)

Bravo.

seriously, some people don't get it. When the ACLU defends the KKK holding a protest march, they aren't agreeing with the KKK.. they are defending their right to march.

This makes the ACLU even more noble, in my opinion. The ability to defend a person or group that you loathe with every fiber of your being (at sometimes considerable monetary and PR expense to yourself), just to uphold a higher ideal, is downright saint-like.

Some people think it's about "defending the KKK" or "blocking harmless nativity scenes on public buildings" or "keeping the 10 commandments out of courtrooms". It is not... and the failure of a person to "get" the point says more about them than the ACLU.

"defending the KKK's right to protest" is about defending your right to espouse an unpopular idea.

"taking nativity scenes off of the government property" is about defending your right to not have your government endorse a particular religious viewpoint.

"taking the 10 commandments out of the courtroom" is about defending your right to not be pre-judged, even subliminally, because you don't share the religious beliefs of the people who will decide your fate.

"fighting against Intelligent Design in the classroom" is about defending your right, and your childrens' rights, to not be religiously indoctrinated by the state.

The ACLU will defend your civil rights, no matter how loathesome you or your viewpoints are. That makes them noble. Those that can't see that are too simple to get it.

Re:At least this time it's useful. (1)

jmacleod9975 (636205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169088)

That was the best post I have seen on slashdot in a long time.

If I had mod points this post would get them.

Re:At least this time it's useful. (2, Interesting)

Shelled (81123) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169202)

In my youth there was a common sentiment, expressed in Hollywood movies and television as "I don't agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." Interesting how that's not only disappeared as a moral imperative, when present it's treated as simplistic, too idealistic now that 'everything's changed' or against the nation's values (depending on speaker.)

Stop the insanity... (2, Funny)

lbrandy (923907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168464)

First it was a war-waging company using Linux....

Now it's the ACLU vs Internet Surveillance.

How is any slashdotter supposed to karma whore when you keep putting up stories that are conflicting of the slashdot groupthink!

Next up: How Microsoft thinks that the US controls the internet too much...

Re:Stop the insanity... (1)

Alphabet Pal (895900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169708)

Next up: How Microsoft thinks that the US controls the internet too much...

"Linus Torvalds to support offshoring of intellectual property development"

Anyone else feel iffy? (1)

MikeSty (890569) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168487)

Normally I don't like the ACLU - they're too radical. This is an odd exception that I'm willing to agree with them on.

Man. (1)

kirk26 (811030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168503)

The ACLU is one of the worst things to happen to the US next to the Civil Rights Bill.

Terrorism is rare (4, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168580)

"The diverse organizations also warned that the expanded eavesdropping rules represent only the beginning of what will become a broader effort to regulate the Internet."

Is this to fight terrorists or to regulate the internet? or both?

How much privacy are people willing to give up in order to fight a war without a clear enemy?

Re:Terrorism is rare (4, Insightful)

scheming daemons (101928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168629)

I'm not willing to give up any.

But sadly, I find myself in the distinct minority.

It's a tired old canard, but the terrorists really have won. America has changed because of 9/11. For the worse.

We're becoming what we used to despise and fight against during the cold war... a totalitarian police state.

... one tiny step at a time. But unmistakable in the final destination.

Re:Terrorism is rare (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169602)

How much privacy are people willing to give up in order to fight a war without a clear enemy?

I don't know, how much have you spent on the War on Drugs already?

Ahh legal jargon (2, Informative)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14168690)

While CALEA does indeed mention that the act forbids tapping of 'information services', it defines 'information services' as:



        (A) means the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or making available information via telecommunications; and

        (B) includes--

                (i) a service that permits a customer to retrieve stored information from, or file information for storage in, information storage facilities;
                (ii) electronic publishing; and
                (iii) electronic messaging services; but

        (C) does not include any capability for a telecommunications carrier's internal management, control, or operation of its telecommunications network.



Therefore, 'information services' as defined by the law, must be considered services which generate, acquire, store, transform, process, retrieve, utilize or make use of information. This would include such things as Google Mail and web site providers. HOWEVER, an Internet Service Provider does not generate, acquire, store, transform, process, retrieve, utilize or make use of information... it transmits, or transfers.

Therefore, under the law, it is OK to wiretap an ISP, if the information being wire tapped was not destined to be to or from the ISP (but merely a pass-through). Section (c) covers this by saying it does not include command control functionality of the ISP.

At least, that's my interpretation of the law. Obviously this conflicts with the great ACLU, so I'm sure this will be modded down.

Creative reading (2)

hacksoncode (239847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169577)

Wow, that's a really creative reading. However, the law doesn't say "services which generate...", it says "offering a capability for generating...". And it specifically includes "a service that permits a customer to retrieve stored information"... Web pages, for example, are stored information that an ISP permits a customer to retrieve.

freedom again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14168786)

I didn't read TFA.
Seems you always confuse being hidding for freedom.
If you had freedom you could care less if the FBI is listening to whatever.
Why you insist on keep on hidding, it makes no sense to me...

I *LOVE* IT! (2, Interesting)

slightlyspacey (799665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169536)

I'm going to risk a few Karma points but here goes:
You know that anytime the letters A*C*L*U* are used in a Slashdot posting, regardless of the subject at hand, you will get the following within one hour:

1. Swipes at religion
2. Swipes at conservatives (not the same as 1.)
3. Swipes at the United States and its foreign policies.
4. Swipes at the ACLU's position on xxx, where xxx is not related to the subject at hand
5. Counterswipes at 1-4.

To quote Rodney King ... "Can't we all just get along?"

monitoring the wrong people (1)

oddRaisin (139439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169548)

Is it just me, or should the government be focusing on monitoring external threats? This increasing focus on "policing" its own citizens seems:

a) Counter intuitive - These initiatives, especially Homeland Security, stemmed from the September 11th tragedies. None of these were perpetrated by US citizens.

b) Counter productive - People distrust authority. Nobody likes being helpless (which you are when dealing with authority figures), and authority figures have been proven to be corrupt in many occasions. And let's face it, the rampant incestuous relationship between the Bush administration and large corporate concerns makes the information mined from these "infotaps" as likely to be used for marketing and political reasons as for any kind of preventative defense. By relaxing the requirements to get an infotap, you are completely undermining the faith that people have in their governments. And before you get into the argument along the lines of "nothing wrong, nothing to hide", ask yourself if you'd be comfortable with your neighbor finding out your sexual preferences, fetishes, your embarrassing moments, or when you've just gone through a terrible break up with your significant other.

[rant]
More and more the federal government is adopting an adversarial role when it comes to its citizens. Control is valued over freedom, economies are valued over civil liberties, and international relationships are being sacrificed for maintaining private interests.
[/rant]

Anyway, to sum up, why don't you spend your budget and monitor people who have beefs with the US instead of the people who pay their taxes. Or better yet, FIX YOUR FOREIGN POLICY. These people didn't choose the US at random to attack. Figure out what the fuck you're doing wrong when you stomp (not step) on other people's toes, and fix it. If you have to persecute someone, try not to make it people that voted you into power and pay your salaries.

RFID (1)

nanobound (935767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169639)

Seems like a nonissue to me. Physical privacy will be dead soon enough anyway. Walmart and other vendors are moving to RFID tags which means that anything you own will be able to be detected remotely. Other technologies are enabling sourceless tracking with lasers that measure unique textures. MIT recently announced that they track all internet users on campus so one can see where seats are occupied all over campus, meaning they know where everybody is all the time. All of these combined with the internet, will eventually render privacy obsolete. www.nanobound.com

ACLU (0, Troll)

hlrsenet (923910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14169728)

What? I'd rather have the FBI monitoring the internet than the American Communist Lawyers Union bringing America a step closer to communism. It's so easy to block/prevent/disallow the FBI from viewing or interfering with your PC - if only people would get some brains.
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