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House Approves Warrantless Wiretapping Extension

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the a-big-thank-you-to-congress dept.

Privacy 342

An anonymous reader writes "The House of Representatives voted 227-183 to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to allow warrantless wiretapping of telephone and electronic communications. The vote extends the FISA amendment for six months. 'The administration said the measure is needed to speed the National Security Agency's ability to intercept phone calls, e-mails and other communications involving foreign nationals "reasonably believed to be outside the United States." Civil liberties groups and many Democrats said it goes too far, possibly enabling the government to wiretap U.S. residents communicating with overseas parties without adequate oversight from courts or Congres.'"

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342 comments

Question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20119973)

How does this article get to "the red" end of the spectrum on the firehose, and posted on the front page, within two minutes of it being posted on the firehose?

Where the FUCK is iLife '07??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120155)

Come ON you homosexual deviants in Cupertino. QUIT FUCKING AROUND and update your fucking software every so often. You mincing faggots are worse than Debian...

Reeeeal cute (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20119979)

It's obvious Lucas injectd some of his pervert habits in this film just like a few of his others. Lea in her sexy panties? Yep thats Lucas the prev. Lea having a sexual arise with a duck. Yep thats Lucas. Lea rubbing the duck in a sexual manner and showing the ducks featured head go up and then down. Yep that Lucas the perv. I'm sure Lucas was getting extremely fidgeted with himself on the set. The duck is Lucas and Lea is arosing the *beep* out of him. Just like Lucas the prev did in Return of the Jedi. Lea isn't that funny, Lea in a sexy bikini, chained next to a slimy slug, like a sex slave. Yep thats Lucas the prev. The slug trying to seduce Lea with his tongue. Yep thats Lucas the perv. The slug is really Lucas trying with all his might to get Lea in the sack. Man, is the guy a perv or what. A duck and a slug trying to get the babe. Lucas also trys to inject some of his horny *beep* in the Indiana Jones films. In Temple of Doom where Indy grabs the womans tits on the statue and then pushes the statue forward. Yep thats Lucas the perv. That's really Lucas grabbing those titties and then pushing real hard. Lets also not forget Last Crusade. Where we see Elsa sucking on Indy's ear. Yep that Lucas the prev. Her sucking performance, is also how she does head. Yep thats Lucas the perv. The guy just can't let go of his sexual fantasies, and always displays his extreme prevertness on the screen. He really needs to leave this *beep* at home and needs to seriously grow up. The prev he is.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20119997)

'The administration said the measure is needed to speed the National Security Agency's ability to intercept phone calls, e-mails and other communications involving foreign nationals "reasonably believed to be outside the United States."

If they're trying to spy on foreign nationals, how come they're wiretapping pretty much any and all domestic citizens inside the United States?

Re:huh? (4, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120683)

Wow, it's a good thing that the Congress majority is Democrat so this won't happen.

Oh wait ....

Re:huh? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120883)

Yeah, thanks Democrats. Bush threatens to take away your summer vacation and you just completely cave. I'm so glad you were elected.

poster...post right (2, Informative)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120007)

You put in your story

"The House of Representatives voted 227-183 to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to allow warrantless wiretapping of telephone and electronic communications."

But the first Sentence of the story you linked to reads

"The House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government's abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States."

That last part about "warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States" is SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT!!!

You made it read as if the pres got full permission to wiretap anybody without a warrant which is completely wrong. Instead of omitting the parts that you don't like, be honest and include them.

mod parent down (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120081)

This -does- give full permission to wiretap anybody without a warrent. Anyone can be wiretapped without oversight as long as the claim is made that they are suspected of communicating with said foreign suspects.

Re:mod parent down (-1, Troll)

br14n420 (1111329) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120423)

Oh well, you better stop telling your overseas friends about your illegal activities then, right?

It's lovely to see all the posts about how our rights are getting shit on, when what? 52% of you americans voted this baboon into office again. Simply put, if you didn't want to eat turds for dinner, you shouldn't have ordered the flaming poo poo platter.

Let this be a long-lasting lesson about those patriotic feelings and letting fear fuel voting habits.

Re:mod parent down (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120475)

Uhm... many people contend that he wasn't elected at all. There were so many questionable aspects in the election itself and the final decision made in federal court is also very questionable. Gore should have won.

Re:mod parent down (3, Insightful)

br14n420 (1111329) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120551)

I believe the issue in the 2004 elections was just a media-blast with little basis in reality. Well, unless you just wanted to see a mark in history changed on who got the popular vote. Gore still would not have won the presidency regardless of what the popular vote count was. The folks you guys chose to vote for you made the ultimate decision. Fact is, the US has plenty of opportunity to change-up the electorals, but since people appear to be generally ignorant of how the system works, they clung to what CNN/Fox/WSB had to say and didn't take any action what-so-ever.

The election of the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States is indirect. Presidential electors are selected on a state by state basis as determined by the laws of each state. Currently each state uses the popular vote on Election Day to elect electors. Although ballots list the names of the presidential candidates, voters within the 50 states and the District of Columbia are actually choosing Electors from their state when they vote for President and Vice President. These Presidential Electors in turn cast the official (electoral) votes for those two offices. Although the nationwide popular vote is calculated by official and media organizations, it does not determine the winner of the election.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Elector al_College [wikipedia.org]

Re:mod parent down (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120945)

selected on a state by state basis as determined by the laws of each state.

Of the states that were in contention or had highly strange disparities between exit polls and actual counts, did you bother to check what the state policies are in regard to popular votes equating to electoral votes? If I'm not mistaken, both Ohio and Florida laws directly link the electoral vote result to the collective popular vote results. In that case, Gore should have won.

It's one thing to state general rules, but to see where those rule fit in and what applies specifically to the situation requires a little more thought and work than most people are prepared to do.

Re:mod parent down (3, Informative)

Arainach (906420) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121333)

Actually, although the media didn't report on it much, there were many suspicious things going on in the Ohio counting and voting in the 2004 election - a state that would have given Kerry the victory. This is made all the more unusual by the fact that in violation of federal law almost 2/3 of Ohio's counties have destroyed records from that election. http://www.alternet.org/story/58328/ [alternet.org]

Re:mod parent down (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120631)

52% of you americans voted this baboon into office again.
So they say. And that's "President" Baboon to you, frenchie.

Actually, it was 52% of the people who voted, which came to about 20-something percent of the population. Factor in the religious looneys who thought Bush was gonna outlaw abortion and you're left with about 16% of the population over 18. Remember all those long lines for polling places in Black neighborhoods? Now we're down to about 12%.

Given that in 2004 the Attorney General was pushing the US Attorneys (and just about every other employee of the executive branch) to "deliver" the election to the GOP, I'm comfortable saying that this President is illegitimate.

But, to be fair, the Dems did much the same thing back in the 60s, so it could be seen as turnabout between two corrupt organizations.

About 1/4 of Americans have any faith at all in the current government. If I was Bush, I'd be thinking about bringing some of those National Guardsmen home. Just in case.

Re:mod parent down (1)

alisson (1040324) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120875)

It's not terribly hard to get a wire-tap warrant in the first place. Since the idea is to gather evidence, you really only need potential evidence.

Cost-benefit (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120901)

Anyone can be wiretapped without oversight as long as the claim is made that they are suspected of communicating with said foreign suspects.

That's true. So, what's the cost of it? Possible violation of privacy... And the benefit? The government will be able to learn of foreign threats faster. You see, snooping on the two people abroad was and remains legal (Echelon, anyone?). It is just when one of the suspects is in the US, that the government runs into problems.

Is the benefit worth the cost? Not sure — but the majority of Congress have decided, that it is... The current (imperfect) law was extended for six months — until a better-designed one (all laws are software) can be produced...

Oh, and before anyone goes screaming about America sliding into BigBrother/Nazi Germany/whatever, just remember, that Frank Delano Roosevelt — the war-President respected even by the French today — has authorized illegal wiretaps (in the 1939 or thereabouts) with the argument, that went something like this: "I don't believe, an American court will interfere with the President fighting German saboteurs". Just who is a saboteur was up to the Executive to decide, of course... Or, sometimes, even up to the foreigners — the British agents, who were allowed to operate in the US.

No, border searches (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121151)

No, it only applies to "reasonably believed to be outside the US". In essence, these are border searches needing no warrent. The language is probably to cover roaming and the email equivalents.

Like it or not, the US (and most nations) have always exerted strong jurisdiction over what crosses their borders. Information isn't exempt.

Re:poster...post right (1)

TheMongelloid (1059350) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120281)

How every much you might want to read between the lines and come up with some government conspiracy the article clearly states "The House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government's abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States."

Re:poster...post right (2, Insightful)

Karl0Erik (1138443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120289)

From TFA:

"This bill would grant the attorney general the ability to wiretap anybody, any place, any time without court review, without any checks and balances," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., during the debate preceding the vote.
From your post:

Instead of omitting the parts that you don't like, be honest and include them.

Re:poster...post right (4, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120469)

That's not *entirely* true, though. The bill requires that the AG submit to the FISA court a set of procedures for determining whether a wiretap concerns people located outside the US, and those procedures have to be "in place" when the AG orders surveillance. In addition, if you happen to receive a directive from the AG ordering you to perform some action that fulfills such a surveillance order, you can file a petition with the FISA court to challenge the legality of the directive.

The opportunity for judicial review is minimal, but Lofgren overstates the matter by saying that there are no checks and balances at all.

Re:poster...post right (1)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120765)

The opportunity for judicial review is minimal, but Lofgren overstates the matter by saying that there are no checks and balances at all.

Currently President SFB is threatening to veto the act in any case because it does not meet his crietria for lack of accountability.

It seems unlikely that he will follow through. But in any case the ammendment times out in six months. By which time we will in all likelihood be deep into the Gonzalez constitutional crisis. It would be nice if Congress would deal with Gonzalez in the terms he deserves:

Mr Gonzalez, you are incompetent, you are a fool, you are a liar. You have committed and you have commissioned high crimes against the constitution and the citizens of this country. You have facilitated torture, you have obstructed justice, you have committed perjury. Your name will be a byword for dishonorable conduct in high office for generations to come.

Re:poster...post right (2, Informative)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120879)

My sources inside the Department of Justice have revealed a rough draft of these procedures written by Al Gonzonles:

FISA court proceedures, draft 1
1. If, the suspect ever said anything bad about me, President Bush or "tricky" Dick Cheney,
2. Or, the suspect has ever filed a petition to challenge the legality of the warrentless surveillance,
3. Or, I, President Bush, "tricky" Dick Cheney, or the editorial board at Fox News really want the warrentless serveillance to be approved,
4. Then, approval for warrentless surveillance on the suspect is to be approved.
It's a surprisingly low bar.

If you want to be taken seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120993)

Don't quote left wing moon bats like Zoe. She'll tell you ferries are flying out of her butt if it means she can give a hand to the terrorists.

Jeeze..What's next? Quoting Hamaas?

Re:poster...post right (4, Insightful)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120343)

If warrants are no longer necessary to wiretap, where exactly is the check to see if the people being wiretapped are foreign nationals? The whole point of a warrant is to make sure that a requested invasive measure is being applied properly.

Re:poster...post right (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120603)

Also, when using skype, how can one check if it is from a foreign country or not. Easy way out is to assume anyone using skype is likely to be a foreign national, with dangerous ideas anyway. In the tags it said 'communication' but I read 'communism' as this scheme seems to be destined to scare the US people from talking to foreigners and hearing their ideas from the free world.

But, I have a better solution. Just let all foreign nationals get the message that is made here and stop communicating to and via the US. The US want to be isolated? Let them have it! It is not like one needs to go to the US to get a job there, as most jobs for foreign nationals are by now already outsourced to those countries themselves. The US dollar as a currency is not so important anymore nowadays either. The economic and technological downfall that will follow will hopefully put the US politics in a course where it's supposed to be, to lead their people into progress as a democratic and open country. Sweet dreams, unfortunately.

Re:poster...post right (1)

gb506 (738638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121091)

But, I have a better solution. Just let all foreign nationals get the message that is made here and stop communicating to and via the US. The US want to be isolated?

So, you promote halting all communication with and travel to the United States in order to send a political message...

But you then go on to say you can still work for US companies...

It is not like one needs to go to the US to get a job there, as most jobs for foreign nationals are by now already outsourced to those countries themselves.

Let me get this straight. You'll take a job with a US company, but you say you won't communicate via the US, which I assume means never making a call through or to the US, never sending an email to anyone in the US, nor surfing a web site hosted in the US? Allow me to clue you in, shortbus: unless you're trimming the hedges or sweeping a floor in Bangalore for IBM, you will be in frequent contact via various communications vehicles with people in the US. So, unless you're willing to bite the bullet and swear off working for any US company or its foreign subsidiaries, or working for non-US companies with US clients, you're going to have to communicate with and through the US.

It is highly likely that eliminating communications with the US will hurt YOU more than it will hurt the US.

Re:poster...post right (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120779)

So, by that logic, all foreign signals intelligence should require a warrant?

If your goal is to cripple US foreign intelligence capability and put us at a marked and distinct disadvantage in countless respects to the intelligence services of the rest of the modern world, then we should put that suggestion on the top of our list.

Or Gonzales should SWEAR ON OATH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120835)

"So, by that logic, all foreign signals intelligence should require a warrant?"

Under the previous wording, Gonzales only had to swear under oath that they were foreign. Now he only has to swear under oath that he thinks they are probably foreign.
To a liar like Gonzales that is a free ticket to domestic spying.

Re:poster...post right (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120523)

You put in your story

"The House of Representatives voted 227-183 to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to allow warrantless wiretapping of telephone and electronic communications."

But the first Sentence of the story you linked to reads

"The House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government's abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States."

That last part about "warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States" is SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT!!!

You made it read as if the pres got full permission to wiretap anybody without a warrant which is completely wrong. Instead of omitting the parts that you don't like, be honest and include them.
What I don't understand is what organized criminal, in this age of easy cryptography, would actually talk about their criminal activities over the phone? Even using Skype you can communicate with someone without real fear of eavesdroppers, and using GPG Osama himself could speak easy.

Are criminals really still communicating over the phone?

Re:poster...post right (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120823)

You're so naive.

I don't know how many times I've said this, and people still don't get it. When deciding whether a law is good or bad, you should always assume that the worst scum of the earth are going to be exploiting it for their own evil agendas, and then decide if you can live with its consequences.

Let's see what the Republican who defended the law says about it:

Republicans disputed [Democrat Zoe Lofgren's] description. "It does nothing to tear up the Constitution," said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif. If an American's communications are swept up in surveillance of a foreigner, he said, "we go through a process called minimization" and get rid of the records unless there is reason to suspect the American is a threat.

So everything--including eavesdropping on domestic calls--is fair game if there is a reason to suspect that the American is a threat. Who gets to decide if the American is a threat? Why, the President and Attorney General, of course! And who do they have to tell? No one! And they have to be a threat of committing some sort of terrorist act, right? Of course not, they can be deemed a threat for any ol' reason they damned well please! "Wow, that person may get me voted out of office. I deem them a threat to national security." Don't think it could happen? You're not thinking hard enough, and you're still not assuming that the worst scum of the earth are in charge.

If you can't see the potential for abuse of this law, then you're beyond naive, you're an idiot. And if you think that George Bush would never abuse it in this way because he's such a nice man who is looking out for our safety, then imagine it in the hands of Hillary Clinton, because you're also giving it to whoever takes office after Bush, and whoever takes office after that, and whoever takes office after that. Do you trust whoever will be president in 20 years, even though you have no freakin' clue who that will be?

At the risk of going all Godwin in this thread, imagine that 20 years from now, a new Adolph Hitler manages to win the election. Do you trust him not to abuse the law too? Don't ever ask if you think the people in charge now will abuse the law, ask if Adolph Hitler would. Government is supposed to be designed in such a way that if a branch of government does become corrupted by a Hitler-like person, we'd be okay in the end because the other two branches would compensate for it with their checks and balances. Laws like this are specifically designed, though, to take those checks and balances away from other branches and concentrate the power in one branch (in this case, the executive branch). No matter how much you think it will only be used with good intentions, it will be abused at some point.

By passing this bill, Congress has failed us miserably yet again, and the biggest reason why is because of naive little Bush cheerleaders who are too stupid to know how government works.

Re:poster...post right (1)

Lysol (11150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121275)

You said it! The founding fathers have been rolling in their grave for the last decade or so, no doubt about it. These guys in power are simply the worst in history, the f*cking worst! So blatantly corrupt, so ideological, so twisted insofar as calling the bill of rights 'quaint'.

Ben Franklin said:
Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Sad but true. If people really think that this is gonna just be used for the big, bad, terrorists (who seem to lurk around every corner) then they are deluding themselves. Like the poster said, there is no oversight, so a foreign suspect can be anyone according to the pResident and ag. And when the judiciary is stacked with conservative appointees, then who's going to rule these clearly unconstitutional laws illegal?! That's the problem, absolute power which is absolutely what these guys are after. I really hope people wake up and impeach these guys because if ANYONE'S deserved it, it's them.

Oh and after that glorious day, let's get a third party in there too because the democrats and republicans are two sides of the same coin: government by the wealthy, for the wealthy.

Posted Right (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120935)

Most of Earth's telecom passes through the US. Your distinction is meaningless. Also, dropping the FISA restrictions means Bush/Cheney/Gonzales can spy on Americans who are "incidentally" part of the communications.

Communications with anyone. There is practically no need for any evidence that anyone being spied on has commited any crime, is a terrorist, or is of any value in getting any evidence of crime or terrorism. Our human rights to protection from unreasonable searches, to presumption of innocence, to due process, are out the window.

So Cheney/Bush can spy on us. On you. Feel safer? Feel American? Or do you feel more like an East German under their Stasi police state?

Re:poster...post right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20121027)

It looks like you, the poster I am responding to, is one of those that are getting paid to patrol the boards, and keep the discussion to a minimum.

Please fuck off.

Re:poster...post right (1)

emptech (1138571) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121125)

Robert Mueller has testified before congress that the government has already eavesdropped on innocent Americans, who were only communicating with fellow innocent Americans. There has also been congressional testimony from the Administration that they have not even gone to the FISA court to seek approval for wire-tapping. The Bushie's claim they don't need such approval. The only reason the Bushie's come to congress for FISA extensions is so they have some legislative cover when this tactic blows up in their face.

From personal experience: I have a relative who is a low level, government bureaucrat. That relatives personal contact information was stored on both hotmail and yahoo servers. That information disappeared from those servers last December. This lack of regard for Americans privacy goes back to 9-11. This same relative warned us that October; "just be aware that no internet communication is private".

And The Reason Is (1, Insightful)

dammy (131759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120013)

"The administration began pressing for changes to the law after a recent ruling by the FISA court. That decision barred the government from eavesdropping without warrants on foreign suspects whose messages were being routed through U.S. communications carriers, including Internet sites."

The Bill seems reasonable enough. IMO, anything going out or in the US should be exempt from FISA. FISA should only apply to internal US wired calls.

Re:And The Reason Is (4, Insightful)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120057)

The entire point of FISA is to provide oversight of surveillance involving foreign parties. Internal US wired calls is entirely outside the scope of FISA, for a very good reason: They are already covered elsewhere.

Re:And The Reason Is (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120193)

The entire point of FISA is to provide oversight of surveillance involving foreign parties. Internal US wired calls is entirely outside the scope of FISA, for a very good reason: They are already covered elsewhere.

The purpose of FISA is to provide oversight to wiretapping of communications between *known and suspected enemy foreign nationals outside the country* and US citizens. If a foreign terrorist is calling someone in the US, it would be stupid to *not* be listening.

This bill is to bring an old law up to date. What it concerns is eavesdropping on the communications between two suspected enemy foreign nationals, whose communications *happen* to be routed over wires that *pass through* the US.

The way the law was worded before, required a warrant to listen to two foreign parties because it didn't make any distinction on *who* the parties were, or *where* they were, only the fact that the communication occurred on wires that were inside the US.

I agree with other posters that are of the opinion that this is really a non-issue as far as the rights of US citizens are concerned. US citizens never had the right to expect that communications to/from parties *outside* the country would *not* be monitored. This has been the status quo for decades.

Cheers!

Strat

Re:And The Reason Is (3, Insightful)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120275)

What, do you think these foreign nationals go around, wearing t-shirts, saying, "Hi, I'm a foreign national engaged in terrorism against America!"? How does one differentiate between someone who is a terrorist and someone who is not?

Legislation like this makes me terribly uncomfortable for reasons I shouldn't have to explain, and anyone who believes that we should be jumping at every shadow needs their head examined. The biggest problem is how accepting of idiotic legislation that erodes basic freedoms the average American has become.

Re:And The Reason Is (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120625)

What, do you think these foreign nationals go around, wearing t-shirts, saying, "Hi, I'm a foreign national engaged in terrorism against America!"?

Oh, I don't know...maybe the fact that the call is originating in a foreign country, and that it terminates in the same or a different foreign country?

Also, just to be clear...the "suspected enemy/terrorist" qualifier tag is just to save the NSA time and narrow things down. *All* countries have *always* reserved the right to eavesdrop at their discretion, to the extent they are able, on foreigners outside their country for whatever reason suits them.

Even countries that are our allies eavesdrop on our communications for a multitude of reasons, from military intel to industrial and tech espionage and identification/suppression of dissenters in their home country..sometimes directly from their embassies in this country. This has always been true.

Cheers!

Strat

Re:And The Reason Is (3, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120727)

What, do you think these foreign nationals go around, wearing t-shirts, saying, "Hi, I'm a foreign national engaged in terrorism against America!"? How does one differentiate between someone who is a terrorist and someone who is not?

It doesn't matter.

A warrant is not required to listen to communications between foreign nationals outside of the United States, regardless of what kind of activity they are involved in. This is communication the United States has always been free to monitor at will.

The problem is that now some communication, even between foreigners outside of the United States, gets routed through networking or switching equipment inside the United States, which, under the outdated FISA rules, would require a warrant.

This fixes that problem, and for you to suggest the United States shouldn't be engaged in aggressive global foreign intelligence gathering and threat monitoring is ridiculous. And yes, you should have to explain why this update to an antiquated law makes you uncomfortable. It has NOTHING to do with jumping at shadows. This idea that people only support things like this out of fear is incorrect. This is fair-game surveillance of foreign communication which is perfectly legitimate on the global stage and has gone on for decades. Pretending the United States shouldn't be doing it is sticking your head in the sand to unprecedented depths.

Let them have their wiretapping (1)

selfdiscipline (317559) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120861)

I think this legislation is a good thing, and I'll tell you why:

Encryption should be ubiquitous in modern communication, and this is just another argument for it. Privacy and freedom aren't things we should take for granted. They need to be actively maintained, because there will always be nefarious elements working to undermine them. The day that encryption becomes illegal, or the day that we are required to give encryption keys to law enforcement upon request is the day that I leave this country.

Re:And The Reason Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20121137)

And, more to the point, a lot of would-be terrorists are actually US citizens.

Stop with the FUD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120487)

This bill is to bring an old law up to date. What it concerns is eavesdropping on the communications between two suspected enemy foreign nationals, whose communications *happen* to be routed over wires that *pass through* the US.

The way the law was worded before, required a warrant to listen to two foreign parties because it didn't make any distinction on *who* the parties were, or *where* they were, only the fact that the communication occurred on wires that were inside the US.


Um, no. The old law, while it does require a warrant, DOES NOT require that the warrant be obtained before the wiretap. There is a 48 hour window AFTER THE WIRETAP HAS OCCURRED to request the warrant. And from what is released, those warrants are issued over 99% of the time. We don't need to update the law, we need to teach the administration how to read the law.

Re:Stop with the FUD! (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120723)

Um, no. The old law, while it does require a warrant, DOES NOT require that the warrant be obtained before the wiretap. There is a 48 hour window AFTER THE WIRETAP HAS OCCURRED to request the warrant.

Um, yes. You're referring to a different part of the law, concerned with a different scenario. It has different requirements for intercepts that are carried on physical wire within the US borders, and was written without consideration that the participants could *both* be foreign nationals, and *both* be located outside the country. It assumed that communications carried on wires within our borders would only contain communications where at least one party was likely to be a US resident/citizen, and/or originate or terminate within the US.

There should be no warrant needed to intercept communications occurring between two parties outside US borders, whose signal path just *happens* to pass through the US on its' way. It should be no different than current intelligence monitoring done on worldwide communications outside the US.

Cheers!

Strat

exactly (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120447)

grandparent is wrong. The "F" in "FISA" stands for "Foreign"; the claim that FISA should only apply to domestic calls is ridiculous.

Re:And The Reason Is (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120143)

You seem confused. FISA stands for (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) in case you weren't aware. Internal communications are covered by a seperate set of laws. You are saying laws on foreign intelligence gathering shouldn't apply to foreign intelligence gathering but instead for internal?

Re:And The Reason Is (2, Informative)

crake07 (1085589) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120405)

First off, FISA=Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, so the idea that FISA should regulate "internal US wired calls" doesn't really make sense. Those calls fall under the purview of the regular courts.

The reason that this bill is so insidious is that it appears reasonable at a glance, but it greatly expands the power of the executive and allows for the surveillance of almost anyone. In section 105A of the statute, it redefines "electronic surveillance," and allows for any surveillance which is "directed" against a person overseas. It does not require that one of the parties in the email/phone call actually be overseas, merely that the surveillance be directed against someone overseas. Here, from the actual text of the Orwellian-named "Protect America Act of 2007":

"`Sec. 105B. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, may for periods of up to one year authorize the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States if the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General determine, based on the information provided to them. . ."

The key point is that the information need only concern persons reasonably believed to be outside the US. For example, if I were to send you an email from Rhode Island to Massachusetts, in which I discussed Osama Bin Laden, my email would be fair game under the act because it concerns a person (OBL) reasonably believed to be overseas. This would still violate the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 because it is obviously a domestic wiretap. But Bush & Co. thought of this, so they inserted section 105(A) right in the beginning of the Protect America Act of 2007! It reads as follows:

"Sec. 105A. Nothing in the definition of electronic surveillance under section 101(f) shall be construed to encompass surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States."

You may notice that further down in the PAA of 2007, the following:

"SECT5: (b) Table of Contents- The table of contents in the first section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 105 the following:

105A. Clarification of electronic surveillance of persons outside the United States."


The above merely points out the obvious modification of FISA--section 105A already technically modified it. So FISA has been modified by the act (obviously) and "electronic surveillance" is redefined to mean any surveillance directed against someone overseas. Think about that for a few minutes. The language change is substantial.

The statute effectively repeals the 4th Amendment (although this is not possible; a statute cannot repeal an amendment to the Constitution) because it provides for secret violation of the 4th Amendment. The government is not required to notify the person under surveillance; combined with the Military Commissions Act of last year, this statute gives the government carte blanche to secretly wiretap any person in the United States, even two citizens, and to secretly disappear them to Gitmo or anywhere else. The act is unconstitutional, but it can never be challenged; by the time someone is notified that they are under surveillance, they are already in an orange jumpsuit being tortured in an overseas concentration camp.

History should tell us that secret surveillance of an entire population, combined with extraordinary rendition and overseas camps run by government intelligence services which openly use torture to extract confessions is a recipe for disaster. But both parties in Congress are motivated only by Realpolitik considerations of re-election and fund raising. The state of the Union is secondary to their personal considerations and the American people are too stupid to comprehend a language change deep down in a subsection of a 30 year old statute. I expect half the posts on here will continue reporting the administration meme, "the act only concerns targets located overseas, so it's not unreasonable." Anyone who makes such a statement has not read the act; that is not what it says, that is what FISA originally said, and that is why Bush wanted this modification so badly.

Bush did 9/11 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120021)

> possibly enabling the government to wiretap U.S. residents communicating
> with overseas parties without adequate oversight from courts or Congres.

Bush and his cronies are responsible for 9/11 whichever way you look at it. If anybody should be wiretapped for the public good, it's those in government.

hihi, you said FISA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120027)

.. which is "FART" (verb) in Swedish :-)

Sheepocrats (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120085)

The Democrats are totally useless. They get control of both Houses of Congress in part because the American public is tired of Bush and his blatant power grabs. Then they go and authorize the very programs that have been found illegal. They are gutless chicken shits and I am ashamed to have voted for them.

Re:Sheepocrats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120803)

Oh, right. I get it. You thought there was actually a dimes worth of difference between the Rep and the Dem's. lol. Sorry.

It's like this: it's like professional wrestling, those two parties. One is the bad guy, the other is the good guy. See, the thing is, it's all a gimmick. Sure, the rubes buy tickets, and cheer for "the good guy" or "the bad guy" but anyone who is not a sucker knows the fix is in.

You'll catch on, and stop believing the matches the promoter puts on the card... some day. lol. But until then, keep cheering for "the good guy" and keep booing "the bad guy". We're counting on it.

FISA allows permission three days later already (4, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120105)

FISA allows them to do the wiretapping, and then get permission up to 72 hours later. How frivolous are their reasons that they can't even be arsed to get a retroactive warrant?

Re:FISA allows permission three days later already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120181)

Probably its scope...FISA was not setup to handle the sheer numbers of requests. What happens if the retro warrant as you put it is denied? Oops.

Re:FISA allows permission three days later already (5, Informative)

NessunoImp (1138559) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120321)

There seems to be a lot of ignorance and hyperbole on slashdot regarding FISA.

First, the basics of "FISA". FISA is a statue meant to govern how and when government agencies may gather FOREIGN intelligence. FISA warrants are warrants issued by FISA-established courts authorizing the government to wiretap or survey individuals or phone numbers. A FISA warrant cannot be issued on domestic communications, since American residents and citizens are (yes, still) covered by the United States Constitution's protection against unreasonable search and seizure. So, to boil it down,

Second, warrantless wiretaps are and will always be legal (and constitutional) when both ends of the communication are outside the United States, not American citizens, and no part of the communication is routed electronically through the territorial US. Why? Because such people and communications are utterly outside the jurisdiction of the US Constitution. Think of it this way, should the US have to get a warrant (FISA or otherwise) to intercept a satellite phone conversation between Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri in Pakistan? What jurisdiction does a US court have to rule on that matter? Answer: None.

Third, the legislation in question was needed and rushed in before Congress goes on vacation because of a new ruling by a FISA judge, which had the effect of overruling the NSA's previously established powers under FISA. In other words, a judge decided in a new ruling to overturn the way things had been previously been done. This had the effect of placing our intelligence community in <a panic because it effectively crippled our ability to intercept foreign communications. See this Newsweek article for more info. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20075751/site/newsweek /

Fourth, the legal issue at hand. The brand new FISA judge ruling concerned the issue of when you know one end of the conversation is foreign, but you don't know where the other one is. In other words, should an unknown second party be assumed to be American or in the US for purposes of foreign intelligence? The new ruling said yes, but previous rulings had said no. For more info on this, see the LA Times. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la- na-spying2aug02,0,5813563.story?coll=la-home-cente r

The concern of the intelligence community was that given the current advanced state of technology and the ability to mask identities, the ruling effectively destroyed the ability of the US to wiretap ANY communication where one side was anonymous.

Maybe that's what some people here on Slashdot want, which is fine to argue. But I hope the discussion is at least conducted soberly and with some attachment to the actual difficult legal and national defense questions at hand.

Re:FISA allows permission three days later already (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120397)

How, exactly, would having to get a warrant for wiretapping anonymous communications "effectively destroy" the ability to do said wiretaps? Seeing as, as GP pointed out, you can get the warrant retroactively.

Re:FISA allows permission three days later already (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120753)

Monitoring traffic outside of the United States does not require a warrant, never has, and never should.

This fixes FISA so that communication between persons exclusively outside of the United States without a warrant, even if a portion of the communication is physically routed through the US, which, under the current law, would require a warrant.

It's a much-needed update to an antiquated law. The fact that you think monitoring communications between foreigners outside of the United States should require any kind of warrant - and that you got modded up for it - speaks volumes.

See this Newsweek story for the issue at hand. [msn.com]

foreigner are "people" too...! (3, Interesting)

majid_aldo (812530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120891)

Why? Because such people and communications are utterly outside the jurisdiction of the US Constitution. Think of it this way, should the US have to get a warrant (FISA or otherwise) to intercept a satellite phone conversation between Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri in Pakistan? What jurisdiction does a US court have to rule on that matter? Answer: None.

remember, the constitution was supposed to be self-evident! why is wiretapping US citizens NOT OK while tapping foreigners OK?!?!?! what a great example of practicing your ideals.

Re:FISA allows permission three days later already (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121029)

Third, the legislation in question was needed and rushed in before Congress goes on vacation because of a new ruling by a FISA judge, which had the effect of overruling the NSA's previously established powers under FISA. In other words, a judge decided in a new ruling to overturn the way things had been previously been done.
My understanding is that they had only "previously been done" that way by the current administration since FISA was passed. That is, the judge didn't change precedent, he just ruled that Bush's surveillance program was illegal.

The brand new FISA judge ruling concerned the issue of when you know one end of the conversation is foreign, but you don't know where the other one is. In other words, should an unknown second party be assumed to be American or in the US for purposes of foreign intelligence? The new ruling said yes, but previous rulings had said no.
What, exactly, is so bad about assuming they're American? All it means is you need to get a warrant, right? Which is something you could do easily and retroactively under the existing law.

The concern of the intelligence community was that given the current advanced state of technology and the ability to mask identities, the ruling effectively destroyed the ability of the US to wiretap ANY communication where one side was anonymous.

Maybe that's what some people here on Slashdot want, which is fine to argue.
You have failed to show how the existing law would prevent the US from tapping foreign communications. Before you go supposing that anyone here wants that outcome, start by showing that it's actually a likely one.

Re:FISA allows permission three days later already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20121157)

Pearls before leftists my friend, pearls before leftists.

Re:FISA allows permission three days later already (1)

hcjiv (870737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121281)

Wish I had a bundle of mod points to give... This is a great post and so much more informative than the "They've burned the constitution, stolen our freedom and the sky is falling!" posts. Well done.

This traffic doesn't need a warrant (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120679)

It's because listening to foreign communications (communications between two parties outside of the US) doesn't require a warrant, never has, nor should it.

The problem this addresses is that sometimes, foreign communications (including communications exclusively between individuals outside of the United States) now travels through switching or network equipment within the United States, which would require a warrant under the current antiquated rules.

See this Newsweek article [msn.com] for a basic overview of the issue. Some excerpts:

The post-Watergate Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) required a warrant for eavesdropping on people in the U.S. But after 9/11, the administration asserted that warrants weren't needed to surveil communications involving suspected terrorists even inside the U.S. The controversy over "warrantless wiretapping" made intel officials gun-shy about eavesdropping even on messages they would have regarded as fair game before 9/11.

According to both administration and congressional officials (anonymous when discussing such issues), the White House and intelligence czar's office are now urgently trying to negotiate a legal fix with Congress that would make it easier for NSA to eavesdrop on e-mails and phone calls where all parties are located outside the U.S., even if at some point the message signal crosses into U.S. territory.


[...]

Much of the electronic communications NSA once pored over, between two parties communicating with each other outside the U.S., used to travel via satellite or radiolike signal, leaving NSA free to pluck the messages out of the air. Technological innovations, however, have shifted more and more traffic--both e-mail and telephone calls--to hard-wired or fiberoptic networks, many of which have critical switching or transit facilities inside the U.S. Therefore, intel-collection officials concluded that FISA court authorizations should be obtained to eavesdrop not just on messages where at least one party is inside the country, but also for eavesdropping on messages between two parties overseas that pass through U.S. communications gear.

Good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120125)

How are we ever supposed to fight terrorism abroad without first fighting terrorism at home? This is most definitely a good thing.

Imagined responses to this (4, Insightful)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120147)

I can hear the Al Quaeda operatives now: "Oh shit, habibi! Talk quieter!"

Yeah, right. We had their communications shut down. Whenever a legislative lemming wants to pass more laws, you should ask whether the existing laws were inadequate, or the people that were supposed to be enforcing them. We had FBI alerts on the 9/11 hijackers and a briefing on President Bush's desk. We've had FISA for years and its restrictions are so lax - allowing even for warrants after the fact - that any protest of it can't be for good reason. Instead the incompetent and corrupt are getting more power to abuse, while making sure their buddies make money off the taxpayer.

I don't want to hear "Proud to be an American" from one more person who buys into this. Sit down and shut it up. I'm fed up with people who think it's patriotic to abandon the most basic, essential reasons this country exists. Not only should we listen to old Ben Franklin about giving up freedom for security, we should realize that freedom *is* our security. Bush and his crew have killed the last of our existing safeguards. They have paved the way for full-on oligarchic tyrrany here. We not only need to stop voting in people who do this, or supposed opposition parties that enable it, we need to re-establish the law of this land.

I was excited at last November's election, but I've repented of it now. I'm neither Libertarian nor Constitutionalist, but I wouldn't hesitate to work with them to fix this. We need Greens in on this because nothing's safe when the whims of the rich trump the law. Most Americans are convinced that something's really wrong with this country, we're just not agreed on what exactly, but this is should be clear to everyone - we need the rule of law back.

Bin Laden was never a good excuse for destroying our country from within in the first place!

Well said! (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120411)

Bin Laden was never a good excuse for destroying our country from within in the first place!

That sentence alone is worth a +5 Insightful. I wish I had points.

Re:Imagined responses to this (1, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120413)

I was excited at last November's election, but I've repented of it now. I'm neither Libertarian nor Constitutionalist, but I wouldn't hesitate to work with them to fix this. We need Greens in on this because nothing's safe when the whims of the rich trump the law. Most Americans are convinced that something's really wrong with this country, we're just not agreed on what exactly, but this is should be clear to everyone - we need the rule of law back.

If you really want change, hack the 2008 election by registering republican and vote Ron Paul [wikipedia.org] in your state primaries regardless of your political affiliation. He's the only 2008 candidate that has voted against the war Iraq and the Patriot Act. I don't agree with all his views, but after hearing him speak out against Giuliani during the debates I realized he knew what many of us had been thinking all along about what is happening in Washington and overseas for the past several decades.

Personally, I don't think he's got a chance in hell at this point, but its worth trying I figured... And even if he looses its better to have him running as the republican candidate and loose than rather than have Rudy or the others win. If he wins so much the better.

If you don't know who this guy is you should see the video of him at Google HQ [youtube.com] where they invited him to speak. He's quite against wire tapings, Patriot Act, and knows the real reason behind terrorism isn't because they hate our freedoms but rather our government foreign policy for the past 50 years.

(To be fair, he didn't vote in this particular bill for or against since he wasn't in DC because of the campaign but in 2001 he was one of the handful of people to actually vote against the original update)

Re:Imagined responses to this (1)

AoT (107216) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121353)

He also has [blogspot.com] longtime ties to racist groups and other far right nut bags. But, it's ok to elect a racist, as long as the white people aren't wire-tapped.

Re:Imagined responses to this (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121011)

I was excited at last November's election, but I've repented of it now.

Here is a story.

It's the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do.

They even had a Congress. And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big, fat, black cats.

Now I'm not saying anything against the cats. They were nice fellows. They conducted their government with dignity. They passed good laws--that is, laws that were good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren't very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouseholes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds--so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much effort.

All the laws were good laws. For cats. But, oh, they were hard on the mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn't put up with it any more, they decided something had to be done about it. So they went en masse to the polls. They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats.

Now the white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said: "All that Mouseland needs is more vision." They said:"The trouble with Mouseland is those round mouseholes we got. If you put us in we'll establish square mouseholes." And they did. And the square mouseholes were twice as big as the round mouseholes, and now the cat could get both his paws in. And life was tougher than ever.

And when they couldn't take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. Then they went back to the white cats. Then to the black cats. They even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them: they were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate like a cat.

You see, my friends, the trouble wasn't with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice.

With apologies to Clare Gillis [saskndp.com] .

When the Democrats swept into power in Congress I listened to all the liberal commentators talking about how it was Good News and how Things Would Be Different Now and how the Bad Guys were out and the Good Guys were in. And I shook my head and thought of Mouseland.

Repeat afer me: (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120153)

"I will encrypt all my communications"

Email is easy, but are there any of the current crop of 'giveaway' cell phones that support it?

How many terrorists still use plaintext email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120161)

Except for noob terrorists (recent UK airport attacks), I think it is safe to assume that the real bad guys know all about wiretaps and counter-surveillance. Obviously their techniques are working in Afghanistan/Pakistan, so why wouldn't the same techniques also work on American soil?

I remember reading about how they talk on instant messenger using language such as "Will see you tomorrow at the football semi final game" instead of "Tomorrow is the day we attack {name of building} using our bombs, weapons and Allah!". And their training manuals (parts of them were released by the DoJ) containing information on counter-surveillance, avoiding bugs, avoiding wiretaps, etc.

Apparently not enough Democrats (3, Insightful)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120197)

"Civil liberties groups and many Democrats said it goes too far"

Isn't this one of those things that a lot of people here thought the Democrats would fix once they took congress? Or is it simply OK now that the Democrats support warrant-less wiretaps?

Either way, we're getting a valuable lesson in two-party politics.

They did exactly what they said they would do (2, Insightful)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120301)

The issue here is doing what's right vs doing what's popular. The Democrats always went where the vote is, and the vote just wasn't in "helping terrorists win."

Face it, the American public at large does not care about FISA issues, Free Speech, or Habeas Corpus.

Re:They did exactly what they said they would do (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120367)

Yeah, that's always been the problem with democracy. Damn government does what the people want rather than doing the *right* thing.

Re:They did exactly what they said they would do (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120449)

This is the exact problem the republic is meant to solve. The average person doesn't have the time to learn what they need to know to do their job, and to learn what they need to do to make informed decisions on government policy. The solution is to select a few people to represent you and delegate your decision making to them. These representatives should not be making the choices you would make, they should be making the choices you would make if you sat down and studied the facts of the matter in detail.

At some point, however, we stopped electing representatives, and started electing leaders. From then on, it started to go down hill.

Re:Apparently not enough Democrats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120429)

Actually, most Democrats voted against it.

What should really get your attention is that the Republicans voted nearly unanimously in support of it.

When one party has a hive mentality, it tends to have an overpowering effect. Vote more of those scumbags out and we'll see less of this happening in the future.

Every one of these idiots should be shot... (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120243)

... for the treasonous erosion of our rights. Warrantless wiretapping they say? Sorry, but that goes against the grain of what this country stands for, the right to privacy and the freedom to conduct one's affairs without the worry of someone listening in.

This constant harping on the bugaboo of terrorism as the reason for doing idiotic shit like this is just a cover for being able to conduct the war on drugs and the war on filesharing and the war on our basic rights as free people.

Fuck them all. Next election, vote for anyone but the incumbent. They're all idiots, I know, but at least the idiots that are currently in session shouldn't be allowed to continue to ruin the country.

Re:Every one of these idiots should be shot... (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120471)

Fuck them all. Next election, vote for anyone but the incumbent.
According to TFS, 183 voted against this. If you want to make a difference, then make sure you vote for any member of the 183 and against any member of the 227 who happens to be up for election in your area, and make it clear that this is the reason for your vote. Start now; if your representative is in the 227, then write to them and explain why they have lost any chance of having your vote at the next election. Better yet, write to the local chairman of whichever party he or she stands for, and tell them you will not vote for this candidate, but you would consider voting for one who considered personal freedoms to be important.

Actual Story Title: (3, Insightful)

bryanp (160522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120245)

The actual title of the story is "Bathrooms in Capitol Building run out of toilet paper; Senators forced to use Fourth Amendment instead."

Remember Democrats are the Majority (1, Insightful)

toupsie (88295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120317)

Civil liberties groups and many Democrats said it goes too far, possibly enabling the government to wiretap U.S. residents communicating with overseas parties without adequate oversight from courts or Congres.(sic)

Considering that Democrats are now the majority in Congress, this bill would not have passed without their strong support. Being able to wiretap foreign communications between terrorists without having to rush out and obtain a warrant before the communication is dropped is critical in combating Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has shown time and time again that they have a strong grasp of modern technology and its uses despite wanting to revert the world back to some medieval form of Islam.

This extension is only good for six months allowing Congress and the American people to review its use. If you feel that this will be used against you, refrain from calling foreigners and talking about plots to kill your fellow citizens. I am quite sure that the NSA has higher priorities than garden variety international booty calls to snoop on.

Re:Remember Democrats are the Majority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120513)

Would it change your opinion any if you found out that there is no need to "rush out and obtain a warrant before the communication is dropped"? Seeing as under the old law, you could go out and get the warrant up to 3 days after listening in.
The whole point of having to get a warrant is accountability. It means that you have to at least be able to convince one judge - a judge that is supposed to be favourably disposed to you - that you should (be|have been) allowed to listen in on a conversation. Before, wiretapping without a warrant implied you were doing something you thought even a friendly judge wouldn't let you do. Now, who knows?

Re:Remember Democrats are the Majority (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120517)

Considering that Democrats are now the majority in Congress, this bill would not have passed without their strong support

There are 435 seats in the house of representatives. Of these, 410 voted. To gain a majority from those voting, they required 206 votes. The Republican party controls 202 seats, meaning that if they had voted en bloc, they only needed 4 Democrats to vote with them in order to win. I haven't seen the exact break down of voting for this act, but it's entirely possible that 202 Republicans and 25 Democrats voted for this bill, and 183 Democrats voted against it.

The Democrats only control congress if they all agree. It doesn't take many dissenters to lose that control. We've seen this a few times here in the UK where the party on government has had a very small majority; they've failed to get acts passed because one or two members of their own party decided to abstain, letting the other two parties get the majority vote.

Re:Remember Democrats are the Majority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120587)

Considering that Democrats are now the majority in Congress, this bill would not have passed without their strong support.

You fail basic math. 181 Democrats voted against it. That's not "strong support" in any way. Unfortunately the Democrats had some defections. Results here. [house.gov]

The Republicans gave the bill almost total support. Without so many Republicans in the house, this bill would never have passed.

Unabombers still right even though he's crazy. (-1, Flamebait)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120441)

I wish George Bush was dead and would be delighted if anyone out there sent me scenarios of how it could happen! It's a fundamental human right to have an opinion such as that so let secret service goons pay me a 'visit' if they want to. Fuck 'em. Intimidation for the use of control is the same as spying for control. What they both have in common is that they are forms of control. What I see happening is the rise of newspeak in the good Ol' USA. Just another level of control and when they get around to removing the word 'fuck' from our collective speak then we will have subtly lost the ability to say 'fuck the government'. So seriously, don't play by the goons rules. Make noise. Go to court over your noise if necessary then obtain a gun when you eventually get out of the gulag and I know where I would go from there.

Re:Unabombers still right even though he's crazy. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120499)

would be delighted if anyone out there sent me scenarios

.... Old age?

Nobody here's dumb enough to fall on your sword.

Re:Unabombers still right even though he's crazy. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120617)

Not being willing to fall on a worthwhile sword every once in a while makes you a sheep.
I'm saying I believe I have the freedom to write everything in that above post without fear that the secret police might show up in the middle of the night to take me to an education centre. So when I see people cringing in their expressions whether they be online or in real-life I am saddened because they're conforming to a shape that benefits not themselves but others.
Ballot box, Soap box, Jury box, Ammo box. I think the US is in the soap box right now. Of course as the saying goes 'In order to sustain Freedom use these boxes in this order.'

Re:Unabombers still right even though he's crazy. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120737)

Sadly, its most certainly a nearly impossible task to kill our traitorous president. The main problem is you have to know when and where he will be. Odds are, you will never get close enough, so a sniper shot is the best approach. If you can get close enough, killing anyone is easy, even with your bare hands. Done right, you can snap his neck before the SS can shoot you, but most certainly just barely, meaning you will be shot on the spot, and killed.

Perhaps the most favorable approach would be to use poison, a poison tipped dart is undetectable by metal detectors (assuming its a wooden or bone dart, not a metal one), a firing device dosent need to be that big, it could easily fit in your mouth, unseen until its to late. This would still require you to get within about 10 feet of the president, and have very good aim (the neck is the best location to place a dart, its usually the most exposed area of the body).

For food poison, if you can sneak into the kitchen of where he eats, poisoning shouldent be to hard, perhaps using saminella (err, how is that spelled?) or other raw-food based nasties, they are easy to obtain, and can be blamed upon bad food preparation, tho, they are not nearly as deadly as a toxin.

Re:Unabombers still right even though he's crazy. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120783)

I was more thinking we should build giant-space-based-lasers and fry the whole eastern-seaboard just to make sure. But your ideas are good too! ;) :)

Freedom (2, Insightful)

viking2000 (954894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120515)

New definition: Freedom, the governments right to freely with no obstacles to do as they wish. This typically includes, but is not limited to trampling all over your individual rights.

See also "minilove" and "minitruth"

'Protect America Act' adds a big loophole (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120543)

What is does is change the previous definition where Gonzales would have to swear on oath that it is NOT domestic spying, to Gonzales swearing on oath that he REASONABLY BELIEVES it is not domestic spying based on the evidence given to him.
He had this power before, but he had to swear on oath the truth about the spying, now he can swear a lie on oath and simply claim he was misinformed or the evidence given to him was incomplete.

The new wording is this:
"`Sec. 105B. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, may for periods of up to one year authorize the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States if the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General determine, based on the information provided to them, that--"

The old wording was this:
"(1) Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that--
(A) the electronic surveillance is solely directed at--
(i) the acquisition of the contents of communications transmitted by means of communications used exclusively between or among foreign powers, as defined in section 1801 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title; or
(ii) the acquisition of technical intelligence, other than the spoken communications of individuals, from property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power, as defined in section 1801 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title;
(B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party; "

Re:'Protect America Act' adds a big loophole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20121289)

Anywhere else mention that it's retroactive? Is this an after-the-fact get out of perjury card for Gonzales?

Look on the bright side (1)

desideria (140436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120569)

Passing this bill will allow congress to go on their vacation unabated.

In soviet America ... (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120575)

... the governement watches you.

Hollywood must be so happy. They now can re-use their old scripts and just replace KGB by Homeland Security,

Sheep. (0)

bobbuck (675253) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120671)

Slashdotters howling about losing the 'freedom' to communicate with known terrorists are the first ones to cheer when the government takes away real freedoms like religion, speech, property rights, self defense, business practices, pursuit of happiness, etc. Privacy is an important right, but technology will erode it to nothing with or without the help of government. It doesn't really matter if the government can peg you with terrorist connections if they can just throw you in jail for smoking a f***ing cigarette.

Where were all these privacy advocates when Newt Gingrich's cell phone was being scanned by political operatives or when the Clinton Admin. 'accidentally' dumped confidential FBI files to the press? Oh, right. They're only opposed to snooping IF IT MIGHT SAVE THE LIVES OF INNOCENT AMERICAN CITIZENS. Snooping for politics is fair game, right?

The only American it saves is Gonzales. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120733)

"They're only opposed to snooping IF IT MIGHT SAVE THE LIVES OF INNOCENT AMERICAN CITIZENS."

Bullshit,

FISA always allowed spying on known foreign terrorists. All that had to happen was Gonzales had to swear on oath that it was not domestic spying. If he wanted to do domestic spying he had to go get a FISA warrant. If he wasn't prepared to swear on oath, he could go to the court and they would decide if it was domestic. He could even do this 72 hours after the fact.

With the new wording, he only has to swear that he "REASONABLY BELIEVES, BASED ON THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED TO HIM" that it's not domestic spying.

So now that f*cking liar Gonzales can spy on whoever he wishes and simply claim he BELIEVED they were foreign, or that he wasn't given enough information that they were America. It just created a big loophole into which a liar like Gonzales can walk straight through!

Liars (1)

bobbuck (675253) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120797)

If Gonzales is such an untrustworthy liar, why bother with the law at all? Just spy and say he didn't, or make up the evidence for a retro warrant on the old rules. Don't bother to reply. I don't want to take time from your Jihad duty.

US not different from Zimbabwe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20120909)

Let me see:

Presidential powers unchecked by law: check (have we crossed the 200 yet?)
Abuse of human rights: check, advantage Zimbabwe (although just as illegal, Guantanamo Bay is not *quite* as developed as what is happening in Zimbabwe, US must try harder).
Locking up people disagreeing with regime: check, advantage US (Zimbabwe doesn't quite have the financial clout to try and have Zimbabwean laws applied abroad - DVD Jon anyone?)
Domestic spying: check, see

And this country holds itself up as the shining beacon of democracy and freedom?

Self delusional: check.

Blackmailing Congress (3, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20120963)

The CIA/NSA is using the spying they've already done (illegally, massively for at least 5 years) to blackmail Congress into granting the Unitary Executive [wikipedia.org] ("dictator") any powers he wants, under cover of a "struggle with Congress" that signs over war authorizations, spying authorizations, anything the dictator wants.

Blackmailing not just Democrats. Blackmailing Republicans, too, to enforce their lockstep rubber stamps. But Republicans also get the offer of getting cut in on some power (as long as it doesn't cross Cheney/Bush). Democrats just get cut in on cosmetic power sharing, so they can be the decoy party in our soviet politburo.

Swap your iPhones for Cryptophones (2, Insightful)

xmedar (55856) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121295)

Cryptophone [cryptophone.de] and use PGP and TOR online and be secure.

mod 3own (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20121303)

YOU are an accused terrorist (3, Insightful)

dkarma (985926) | more than 6 years ago | (#20121317)

anytime this corrupt Attorney General or this corrupt administration says so.
Anyone who believes this is limited to "foreign" intercepts is naive and ignorant to say the least.
We will never know who is being spied on because it is "secret".
Just assume it is you because it probably is then go read the fourth amendment to the constitution.
Prepare to be angry if you're not already.
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