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Senator Slaps Down FISA Telecom Immunity

CowboyNeal posted about 7 years ago | from the not-so-fast dept.

Privacy 206

cleetus writes "Today Senator Chris Dodd decided to put a hold on the FISA bill, one of the provisions of which would have granted immunity to any telecom which, if found to have acted in good faith, violated U.S. laws in turning over customer data to the government. According to TPM Election Central, "By doing this, Dodd can effectively hold up the telecom immunity bill, because bills are supposed to have unanimous consent in the Senate before going forward. One Senator can make it very difficult to bring a bill to the floor by objecting to allowing it to go to a vote." This throws a fairly big roadblock in front of this bill, covered by Slashdot earlier today."

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Nice to know... (4, Insightful)

Eric Smith (4379) | about 7 years ago | (#21034325)

that out of 100 Senators, there is ONE that thinks that telecom carriers should not be above the law.

Re:Nice to know... (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 7 years ago | (#21034371)

Maybe he is the first politician who has realised he is under the microscope himself.

Re:Nice to know... (5, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 7 years ago | (#21034509)

No, he just cares about the Constitution and the Rule of Law. He is running for President, but even if he does not make it, he still wants the Constitution and the Rule of Law to be front and center in the world of political discussion.

Link [salon.com]

Re:Nice to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034575)

> No, he just cares about the Constitution and the Rule of Law. He is running for President,

Assert.senator failed - core dumped

Re:Nice to know... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034637)

if he favors the constitution, why does he support s.1257 (District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2007), which is unambiguously unconstitutional?

Re:Nice to know... (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | about 7 years ago | (#21034739)

It's not unconstitutional because the vote that DC would have isn't counted.

Re:Nice to know... (5, Informative)

liquidpele (663430) | about 7 years ago | (#21034921)

You can submit a thank you message to him here [chrisdodd.com] to let him know you support his hold on this bill...

Re:Nice to know... (2)

Heem (448667) | about 7 years ago | (#21035079)

you must not be from Connecticut...

Re:Nice to know... (0)

StikyPad (445176) | about 7 years ago | (#21035831)

Sorry, but Ron Paul is not a viable candidate, and even if he was, he's a fruit loop. I wanted to back him, honestly, but he just wants to disestablish too much of government. No FBI, no CIA, no standing military, and on and on. That situation might have cut it in 1792, when the greatest threats to national security were traditional wars and the biggest crimes were bank robbery, but life today without many of the Federal agencies we take for granted (or get upset with when they go too far) would be much worse. An overly weak central government is what we had with the Articles of Confederation. Take a look at the UN to see how ineffective a government can be when it has no real power.

Granted, he probably wouldn't be successful in his efforts without the consent of Congress, but that's all the more reason not to waste a vote on him.

Re:Nice to know... (1)

Bottlemaster (449635) | about 7 years ago | (#21035943)

Granted, he probably wouldn't be successful in his efforts without the consent of Congress, but that's all the more reason not to waste a vote on him.
I think our leadership of the past several years has been a bit too successful.

Re:Nice to know... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21036091)

he just wants to disestablish too much of government. No FBI, no CIA, no standing military, and on and on
Wow - I didn't like him because (like all libertarians) he believes in the "invisible-hand-of-the-market fairy", and hence that the free market can solve all problems.

But if he's really in favour of dismantling the FBI and CIA, maybe I'll have to rethink - because I had no idea he was smart enough to realize that the whole 'national security' sham is just a money sink to keep the populace in a state of fear.

Re:Nice to know... (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | about 7 years ago | (#21036177)

Since when is the U.N. a government?

Re:Nice to know... (0, Flamebait)

MBraynard (653724) | about 7 years ago | (#21034459)

Recently the FBI came to my shop and asked if I had sold a large quantity of fertilizer to a few white guys who were talking about killing all the n*ggers and k*kes. I told the FBI those guys came in on Tuesday and that I had a credit card reciepts from that day - but I'm not sure which of the dozen receipts from that day belonged to these two guys.

So I told the cops I'd just make a copy of all twelve and they could take them and follow up themselves.

Unfortunately, my effort to keep my neighborhood, family, and country safe has backfired. Some of the other customers whom the FBI followed up with because their's were among the receipts I shared with the FBI have decided to sue for violating their privacy.

I'd really rather not have to go bankrupt defending myself so I think that, since I was clearly acting in good faith, I need to get immunity. The juries around here are played easily by the slick lawyers and right now I'm really hesitant to help the FBI again.

Re:Nice to know... (1)

MBraynard (653724) | about 7 years ago | (#21034507)

Ah - and to clearify - I wouldn't have sold the fertalizer, but my new employee didn't know any better and I only saw the guys as they left, unaware they had placed the order for delivery.

Re:Nice to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034937)

You couldn't narrow it down by knowing what they ordered, the approximate time they ordered, and that they had ordered it for delivery? Your story seems fishy.

Re:Nice to know... (2, Insightful)

Nikker (749551) | about 7 years ago | (#21035179)

You must sell allot of fertilizer, 12 people place orders that day all for large quantities of fertilizer? Maybe if you were servicing farming community but then you would likely know them cause they would buy every year. Again most farmers wouldn't order a quantity that they would carry out by hand, they would get a shipment. So you could likely figure out who placed an order for fertilizer but not enough to cover the type of farm land in the area, that should narrow it down, unless you sell like this all the time.

I guess the theme here is pass the buck, you are apparently a small business owner who has access to very large amounts of farming supply how could you know? Right? Well you mentioned that after the first time you realized that it might be a good idea to tread lightly next time confronted. Lets take a look at the telecom industry, they are likely at least 100 fold larger then your business and have that much more 'fertilizer', which is a lot more fertilizer to lose. You think if they were in your shoes they wouldn't have their legal department involved? Don't you think its funny that they never gave the 'FBI'(judges) any information? Remember now that these are judges not customers, if they came to you being an honest person wouldn't you do the right thing and give them the information of who made them do what? Isn't it funny that they clammed up from the beginning? It's not like one company spilled the beans and got their hand caught like you apparently did. They have armies of lawyers, you don't, they deal with legal problems daily, you likely not as much. You think they don't really try to cover their asses.

Re:Nice to know... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034639)

It's one thing to help the FBI track down people you know are up to no good, it's another thing to just willfully comply with a program that has no oversight so no one knows exactly who is being spied on and for what purpose. Best of luck to you.

Re:Nice to know... (2, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | about 7 years ago | (#21034703)

And I'd really rather you hadn't given them my receipt, if I was among the customers. Just because you meant well doesn't mean you did the right thing. (On the flip side, our legal system is rather screwed up, and it seems entirely possible you'll get hit with far more than you deserve. Well intentioned minor problems should get minor punishments, and you certainly don't deserve to face the potential for complete financial ruin that any lawsuit carries these days.)

You've got multiple different trusts to society you need to keep in mind -- both your customer's privacy and your nation's security are part of that. Asking the cops for a warrant, or at least asking them which names they were looking for, would have been entirely reasonable. Open-ended fishing expeditions are just bad all around.

Re:Nice to know... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034741)

You should have told them you would be happy to help them, but they will need to get a warrant first. It's that simple.

Bad analogy (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 7 years ago | (#21034743)

I think the better analogy would've been if the FBI came into your store and you gave them all receipts and all customer information from the last couple of years... regardless of whether it had anything to do with fertilizer or not. Also, your promised the FBI that you'd ensure that every camera you sold in your store, had a direct uplink to the FBI, so they could observe any and all pictures and video taken by your customers.

Re:Bad analogy (2, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | about 7 years ago | (#21035353)

Aw, what kind of an analogy is that? I didn't see mention of a car anywhere.

Re:Bad analogy (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 7 years ago | (#21035635)

Aw, what kind of an analogy is that? I didn't see mention of a car anywhere.

Didn't it get driven off a bridge?

Re:Bad analogy (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 7 years ago | (#21036051)

Didn't it get driven off a bridge?

That was a very long time ago, and rumor has it that she was driving because he was so drunk.

Re:Nice to know... (1)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | about 7 years ago | (#21034803)

So, what the FBI didn't have any names to check the receipts against? No address? You didn't know the rough time they came in so you could check "large fertilizer sale around 3:00" or anything? That's so open-ended it's kind of hard to believe. This, honestly, doesn't sound like a plausible scenario to me.

Assuming what you say actually happened, next time ask for a warrant. It's not hard for them to get it, and remember that protecting your customer's privacy is important.

Re:Nice to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034935)

it's a hypothetical and with the /. readers you need to eliminate hypotheticals or it is all they will dwell on.

Re:Nice to know... (1)

thule (9041) | about 7 years ago | (#21034851)

Do you own the receipts or do the customers? This is similar to law about Call Detail Records. My understanding is that only a few states have laws that explicitly state that CDR's are private customer data. Traditionally CDR's are owned by the company and they can do whatever they want with them. They can sell the data or give it to the government to help in investigations. It is only more recently that CDR's have become an issue of privacy.

If you go to a web site, who owns the log of the access? You or the web site owner?

Re:Nice to know... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034987)

I told the FBI those guys came in on Tuesday and that I had a credit card reciepts from that day - but I'm not sure which of the dozen receipts from that day belonged to these two guys.

Hint: the receipt that has a large quantity of fertilizer on it. Extra hint: If the police already knew about the guys, they likely already had their names and you could have just given them the receipt with the matching name. Extra-extra hint: the police could have gotten a warrant for the receipts.

Why are you coming up with absurd analogies that don't work in order to justify warrantless spying on American citizens?

You must be new here (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21035235)

Why are you coming up with absurd analogies that don't work in order to justify warrantless spying on American citizens?
Just consider yourself lucky it wasn't a car analogy.

Re:Nice to know... (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#21035017)

If you were truly a concerned citizen why didn't you put a copy of the receipt aside in case any authorities came to you? Why didn't you call the police or FBI yourself? This has the sound of fiction to me.

Regardless I would always allow the police access to my house to search it without a warrant to help them in an investigation. However if I had the keys to me neighbor's house I wouldn't give the police access to that house as it would infringe on someone else's privacy. Perhaps you shouldn't be so willing to give up the constitutionally protected privacy of others.

Re:Nice to know... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 7 years ago | (#21035691)

Regardless I would always allow the police access to my house to search it without a warrant to help them in an investigation. However if I had the keys to me neighbor's house I wouldn't give the police access to that house as it would infringe on someone else's privacy. Perhaps you shouldn't be so willing to give up the constitutionally protected privacy of others.

Personally, I wanna see that warrant first. Show me the warrant, signed by the judge, examined by my lawyer, and I have no probs with it. No warrant? So sorry.

I'm just curious when refusing to allow a search of my property without a warrant will get me arrested for obstruction of 'justice'...

Re:Nice to know... (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 years ago | (#21035923)

I'd really rather not have to go bankrupt defending myself so I think that, since I was clearly acting in good faith, I need to get immunity.
"Good faith" IS NOT SUFFICIENT. The phrase that comes to mind is, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

All kinds of people do dangerous things because they don't know any better. That doesn't make what they did any less dangerous. This attitude of giving the government anything it asks for because of it's own self-justifiying fear-mongering is probably the most dangerous thing to happen in the US since 9/11.

How many fertilizer bombings of any significance has there been in this country? What, two over the last 20 years?

Do you really think that such a small number of actual cases deserves the massive level of invasion of privacy that has been committed since then? Aren't there better things to be spending our resources on than undermining the founding principles of our country to try to stop such rare events? 40,000 people die each year in car accidents. Averaged out over the last two decades, less than 10 people have died per year because of fertilizer bombings.

One man's stand (1)

phorm (591458) | about 7 years ago | (#21034601)

Sometimes it takes one man to stand up, before others will support him. My hopes are that the rest of the senate will wake up and take this as an opportunity to take action and stand for what is right.

Re:Nice to know... (4, Funny)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 7 years ago | (#21034777)

Well at least 1 democrat is actually doing something in the senate.

Note to republicans: Dont get a boner over this comment, your band of idiots suck too.

Re:Nice to know... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034969)

The rest of them are busy trying to censure a private citizen [ebay.com] for a line taken out of context and then deliberately distorted from there. Oh, wait, Chris Dodd signed that too.

Re:Nice to know... (1, Insightful)

chriso11 (254041) | about 7 years ago | (#21035903)

Poor Rush. He got caught with his big mouth flapping. And I'll bet you were incensed about the disrespect to General Betray-Us. But hey, that's different. Sorry, I have no respect or compassion for the fat windbag. He is now trapped by his own hypocrisy.

I'll bet if Rush were caught molesting a 3 year-old his defense would be it was taken out of context.

Re:Nice to know... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21036161)

SlashKos, where the facts have a well known liberal bias... unless they favor a conservative. Then it's -1, flamebait.

Is there anything untrue with what I posted? Nah... but we can't have the party that questions the patriotism of a sitting general be criticized by a guy who called someone a "phony soldier" lying about his military experience.

You want beholden to special interests? Not one Democratic Presidential candidate criticized the ad smearing a general who was installed with unanimous consent. They all found time to smear Rush in an effort to deflect the negative attention though.

Re:Nice to know... (2, Interesting)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 7 years ago | (#21035787)

Interesting that said Democratic senator is running for president in '08.

He's got an interesting record. First votes for the Iraq War, then against it ever since. Voted against the Vitter Amendment [wikipedia.org] which, if I'm reading it right, says you cannot confiscate legally-owned firearms in a disaster area and leave the lawful inhabitants helpless. Wants marijuana decriminalised. Took lots of money from Enron, among others.

Not the greatest candidate in the race, but by far not the worst either. I'm wondering about his motivation here.

Chrisdodd.com/fisa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034947)

Don't know what else to say except go there if ya care about the Constitution.
http://chrisdodd.com/fisa [chrisdodd.com]

Re:Nice to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21035625)

Write him and tell him you give him your support on this issue!

Reid may bring the bill up anyways (1, Informative)

jfern (115937) | about 7 years ago | (#21034339)

Tim Starks of Congressional Quarterly reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to bring the Senate's surveillance bill up for floor debate in mid-November. That's despite the hold that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) plans to place on the measure....


See here [dailykos.com] for more information.

We need to put a lot of pressure on Senator Reid to do the right thing here.....

DailyKOS != Right Anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21035889)

The DailyKOS is a rancid, maggot infested group of ultra leftists that would just as soon see something else in America blown all to hell than to agree with anything Bush or Republicans say or do.

Good as far as it goes (5, Informative)

Zeinfeld (263942) | about 7 years ago | (#21034343)

The hold is quite likely to stick because Dodd is also backed by Arlen Specter and Leahey.

Talk of the 'Senate' caving is somewhat overstated. Only the intelligence committee has cut a deal. Judiciary is still holding out for details of the crimes that the telcos are alleged to have committed.

That said, it is probably nothing to get too excited about. I don't think that the Bush administration is going to giveup the information demanded, and I think the telcos will eventually get immunity but only after the information has been released under another administration.

I expect some sort of truth and reconciliation commission in the end up.

Re:Good as far as it goes (2, Interesting)

Scudsucker (17617) | about 7 years ago | (#21034681)

The hold is quite likely to stick because Dodd is also backed by Arlen Specter and Leahey.

Unfortunatly it it's not likely to stick because it doesn't look like he has Harry Reid. [tpmmuckraker.com]

Re:Good as far as it goes (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 7 years ago | (#21036009)

I wouldn't be surprised if he got Russ Feingold (Mr no-PATRIOT-Act) on board as well.

One Senator Can Stop a Bill? (2, Insightful)

GlitchCog (1016986) | about 7 years ago | (#21034381)

It seems to me that if that were really the case, it would mean no bill would ever work unless it had 100% support.

Re:One Senator Can Stop a Bill? (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 7 years ago | (#21034525)

If I understand correctly, any Senator can stop a bill from coming to a vote by informing his the leadership of his party. Although there is no legal reason why this would be the case, it is a curtesy. In return, senators use holds infrequently. I thought the holds were supposed to be confidental and used primarily for the benefit of large contributors.

Re:One Senator Can Stop a Bill? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 7 years ago | (#21034683)

it's a senate rule, like 60 votes needed to end a filibuster. They can be modified by a senate vote.

Re:One Senator Can Stop a Bill? (5, Informative)

mr_mischief (456295) | about 7 years ago | (#21034629)

The Daily Kos [dailykos.com] link in TFS explains how it works. Bills generally get unanimous consent to be voted upon, even when people intend to vote against them. Dodd isn't giving his consent for this to come to vote. Since there's no unanimous consent to vote on the bill, someone needs to motion for a vote over it if they want to hold the vote.

That motion to hold the vote then has to be debated and voted upon. A senator could filibuster [wikipedia.org] that debate, and it takes 60% of all current Senators (not just 60% of those present to vote) to break the filibuster (referred to as cloture [wikipedia.org] ). Then the vote over the motion to vote on the bill can proceed if there's no filibuster or if the filibuster is broken. Only if a majority vote to hold the vote on the bill will the bill actually be voted upon.

Once the bill itself is up for a vote, there's still the chance it could be defeated.

Re:One Senator Can Stop a Bill? (2, Insightful)

VeteranNoob (1160115) | about 7 years ago | (#21034877)

Okay, haha! That was actually pretty funny.

You almost had me for a second there.

Oh ....... OH!

Re:One Senator Can Stop a Bill? (3, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about 7 years ago | (#21035219)

For once I'd like to see a Filibuster threat actually called.

Right now nobody actually opens a bill for debate if a filibuster is threatened and there isn't a sufficient majority to invoke cloture. I'd like to see the filibuster bluff actually called. Make the minority actually stand up and talk 24x7 straight for a few weeks until they're all carted off to the hospital, and then call for a vote. My understanding is that a sentor only gets one opportunity to speak in a debate, so while they can speak for as long as they'd like they can't take a break (other than adjournments, which the majority can in theory not grant - and the majority doesn't have to all be in the room at the same time). You'd see a lot fewer filibuster threats if people actually had to lose their voices to accomplish them.

Personally I find the whole concept repugnant. Essentially we're watching a bunch of well-paid elected officials act like little children manipulating the rules to avoid the democratic process (ie the majority actually getting what it wants). I don't understand why limited debate wasn't put in place one hundred years ago in the Senate. Ditto for all the parliamentary games that get played with rules and committees. I'm not a big fan of direct democracy but at least it looks like democracy...

Re:One Senator Can Stop a Bill? (4, Insightful)

Bottlemaster (449635) | about 7 years ago | (#21035983)

Personally I find the whole concept repugnant. Essentially we're watching a bunch of well-paid elected officials act like little children manipulating the rules to avoid the democratic process (ie the majority actually getting what it wants).
A democratic government is as dangerous as any other government, and the majority shouldn't always get what it wants. Filibustering is an important check on the not-always-righteous majority.

Re:One Senator Can Stop a Bill? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 years ago | (#21035993)

Essentially we're watching a bunch of well-paid elected officials act like little children manipulating the rules to avoid the democratic process (ie the majority actually getting what it wants).
Huh? Since when is the senate supposed to be an embodiment of majority rule? And don't even try to say that the USA is "majority rule" democracy - I think that particular line has been debunked oh, a million times give or take, here on slashdot already.

Re:One Senator Can Stop a Bill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21035917)

On a side note, did Slashdot have to use the DailyKos story (enforcing the SlashKos mentality) instead of a more neutral source? What's next, linking to the Freepers' site for a gun control article? Oh wait, they would link to DK or Media Matters for that too.

and for the rest of us there are the... (-1, Offtopic)

buswolley (591500) | about 7 years ago | (#21034393)

Robo-Cannon overlords.

See? (0, Offtopic)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 7 years ago | (#21034407)

The good guys can play that game too.

Re:See? (3, Insightful)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | about 7 years ago | (#21035049)

Don't fool yourself. There are no good guys in politics.

Well It's About Frakin time (1)

kraka40 (99918) | about 7 years ago | (#21036019)

These guys have spent the last 8 years protecting each other and the damn bureaucracy that justifies their existence.

Though don't read too much into this Dodd isn't sticking up for the American people or the People of Connecticut .. I guarantee (ok maybe not guarantee) that his motivation is PURELY political.

Nevertheless .. It's About Frakin' Time!!!

Proxy war... (4, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | about 7 years ago | (#21034465)

This whole thing seems to be a proxy war between the Legislative and Executive branches over the entire concept of FISA and illegality. It kind of puts the telco's in a bind. What do you do when first the Executive branch tells you to do something which is probably illegal, and which if you don't do you'll likely lose money (see QWEST), and if you do do you will face Congressional hearings, and possibly be punished for illegal activity. While I don't agree with what the telco's did, they are not the real law breakers here.

Re:Proxy war... (4, Insightful)

shawnmchorse (442605) | about 7 years ago | (#21034627)

Well first you talk to your lawyer if you have one (I suspect the telcos do). And then you don't do it.

Re:Proxy war... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 7 years ago | (#21034849)

And if their lawyers tell them to go ahead, then what?

I'm not saying they did or didn't. But I agree with the parent in that the Telco's are getting fucked sideways by our government. And remember, these are civilian corporate intuitions. It's not like this is a politically motivated game for them. They're trying to run a business to make a profit, not partake in legislature!

Sideways fucking! Whee! (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | about 7 years ago | (#21035433)

...the Telco's are getting fucked sideways by our government.

The phrase "fair's fair" comes to mind, given how they've been fucking the government sideways for a while regarding subsidies and extra charges allowed for new infrastructure that mysteriously never materialized. So I guess this is just a big orgy of sorts. Only somehow it's not one I really want to watch.

Re:Proxy war... (2, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | about 7 years ago | (#21036189)

Then you quit your job and get one that won't require you to commit a crime. This whole idea that just because these CEOs are stinking rich and making tons of money, they shouldn't have to obey the law is ridiculous.

Re:Proxy war... (1)

evanbd (210358) | about 7 years ago | (#21034731)

they are not the only real law breakers here.

There, fixed that for you. There's plenty of blame to go around on this one.

Re:Proxy war... (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#21034991)

What do you do when first the Executive branch tells you to do something which is probably illegal, and which if you don't do you'll likely lose money (see QWEST), and if you do do you will face Congressional hearings, and possibly be punished for illegal activity.

      You're supposed to do what's RIGHT. That's what people voted you into office for. That's why "I was only following orders" wasn't a valid defense at Nuremburg, and it's not a valid defense today.

Re:Proxy war... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21035425)

I believe he was referring to 'what do you do, when you are a private entity (e.g.: telco) being pushed around in opposite directions by a government'.

Not that the point of doing what is right is not valid, but the factor of being voted into public office is not relevant anymore.
If anything, you may have been voted by your shareholders in order to increase profits as your primary motivation.

Government brought to you by Enron! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21035935)

I'm reading Conspiracy of Fools (actually, not a very good book), but it is very interesting to compare the current ship of fools and crooks running the government with the complete corruption at Enron. Banks were coerced into supporting shady (and lousy) deals with Enron related companies like Fastow's LJM, lest they risk losing future business to Enron.


The sinking of Enron took Arthur Andersen with it.

It is only through great folks like Dodd that we may possibly avoid an utterly catastrophic Enron-like collapse, except instead of one company, and all it's employees, this will have a little bit bigger impact.

Re:Proxy war... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21036179)

What do you do when first the Executive branch tells you to do something which is probably illegal, and which if you don't do you'll likely lose money (see QWEST), and if you do do you will face Congressional hearings, and possibly be punished for illegal activity.

You don't do it. Then you issue a press release telling the world what the President asked you to do and how much of the taxpayer's money he offered.

If You Want the FISA Bill to Fail . . . (5, Insightful)

unamiccia (641291) | about 7 years ago | (#21034475)

. . . consider sending some money [chrisdodd.com] Chris Dodd's way. I just did this afternoon (my first political contribution this election cycle) and it felt good. He's still not my first choice for the Democratic nomination, but the other candidates will be interested to see how bravery is rewarded. I would sure the hell like Chris Dodd's voice to be louder in the next days and weeks.

Re:If You Want the FISA Bill to Fail . . . (1)

vistic (556838) | about 7 years ago | (#21036123)

I gave to John Edwards awhile ago, since he's my first choice. However, he doesn't hold public office right now, so I'll just have to imagine he might have done something like what Dodd did here.

Relevent US CODE (4, Informative)

phantomcircuit (938963) | about 7 years ago | (#21034485)

1802. Electronic surveillance authorization without court order; certification by Attorney General;" (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; and
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode50/usc_sec_50_00001802----000-.html#a_1 [cornell.edu]

Re:Relevent US CODE (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 7 years ago | (#21035047)

The saddest thing here is that you seem to think it's perfectly OK to object to the US spying on its own people, but you have no problem with your government authorising completely open-ended spying on anyone else, for any purpose, regardless of whether they are political allies or otherwise friendly, etc.

I wonder if we'll have another article this week about why letting US-based companies dominate Internet routing and administration is a bad idea.

Give him your support! (5, Informative)

zestyping (928433) | about 7 years ago | (#21034493)

If you care about this issue, show Chris Dodd your thanks RIGHT NOW.

Call him at (202) 224-2823, send him a note [chrisdodd.com] , contribute to his campaign [wiredforchange.com] , or comment on the blog post [chrisdodd.com] . Show him you mean it.

To encourage politicians to stand up for the things we believe in, we have to send a message, loud and clear.

(I do not work for the Dodd campaign. I just believe that if you want to have influence, you've really got to show some reaction when something goes right.)

One of the times... (1)

chubs730 (1095151) | about 7 years ago | (#21034521)

that I've been proud to be from Connecticut. :)

Since most of the Net goes thru the US (3, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 7 years ago | (#21034563)

It isn't just US citizens who are impacted by this - it's the whole world.

Re:Since most of the Net goes thru the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034793)

... the whole world of terrorists who now know that they can communicate with cells in the US without fear of compromise. It's really horrible of the bush administration to spy on suspected foreign terrorists when they call cells in our country.

You've got to be kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034893)

... the whole world of terrorists who now know that they can communicate with cells in the US without fear of compromise. It's really horrible of the bush administration to spy on suspected foreign terrorists when they call cells in our country.


If they aren't US citizens in these "cells", then the law doesn't protect them from monitoring. If they are US citizens, then the law needs to be followed, which allows for 72 hours of monitoring prior to acquiring a warrant. It's really pretty simple.

looks like Reid might ignore the hold (5, Interesting)

Scudsucker (17617) | about 7 years ago | (#21034649)

According to this link [tpmmuckraker.com] , the majority leader has promised to bring the bill up for a vote regardless of Dodd's hold. Which is pathetic on so many fronts - the Republicans even whisper about obstructing a bill, and the Democratic majority buckles like a belt. But when another Democrat tries to stop a bill, he is ignored. Makes you wonder if Reid made a deal for something, and exactly what that deal is.

It is simply unfathomable to be why so many Democrats don't take a firm stand against NSA wiretapping, the Iraq war, etc. If they are principled, they would block it. If they only care about their political skins, they would still block Mr. 25% approval rating to make political points. Instead they buy shares in his messes by voting for them.

Re:looks like Reid might ignore the hold (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 7 years ago | (#21034975)

It is simply unfathomable to be why so many Democrats don't take a firm stand against NSA wiretapping, the Iraq war, etc.

      Unfathomable? No it isn't. Simply put - they are too busy "looking after number one" to deal with petty things like the "United States".

Re:looks like Reid might ignore the hold (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | about 7 years ago | (#21035083)

Number one what? That's what I want to know.

Re:looks like Reid might ignore the hold (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 7 years ago | (#21036183)

The next election, of course. Even though Dodd has told the Elections Committee he's not running for Senate in '10, that's just because he's trying for president in '08. Doesn't have a hope in Hell of getting the nod, though.

A lot of the reason Democratic Party politicians voted for such abominations as the USA PATRIOT Act & the bill to authorise the Iraq War is simple. They vote against it for whatever reason, the Repubican spin machine shithammers them in the next election cycle with "Hey, this guy wants the terrerrerrerrists to win, he voted AGAINST The President and your security. Vote Republican!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Re:looks like Reid might ignore the hold (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21035019)

It is simply unfathomable to be why so many Democrats don't take a firm stand against NSA wiretapping, the Iraq war, etc.
You must be new. All of the so-called "Patriot" Act was proposed (and fought for by) the Clinton administration although in separate smaller pieces.

Birds of a feather flock together and the US Democrats and US Republicans are basically the same party. Same shit, different party. But really not so different.

Re:looks like Reid might ignore the hold (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | about 7 years ago | (#21035149)

You must be new. All of the so-called "Patriot" Act was proposed (and fought for by) the Clinton administration although in separate smaller pieces.

Ah, the old "Clinton did it too" defense. Which is frequently just an attempt as misdirection, like when the right wing excused Bush's sacking of USA's midway into his second term by pointing at Clinton's releasing all the USA's at the start of his first term. So in other words: got links to back that up? From reputable sources? With context?

Birds of a feather flock together and the US Democrats and US Republicans are basically the same party. Same shit, different party. But really not so different.

Better to work to improve a party that is 50% rotten than 100% rotten.

Re:looks like Reid might ignore the hold (1)

terrymr (316118) | about 7 years ago | (#21035285)

Problem is if you piss off a senator like that - he'll be more than happy to filibuster every one of your bills until the end of time.

Better than your dad (2, Informative)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | about 7 years ago | (#21034805)

Thank you Sen. Dodd, for starting to erase the black spot in my head over the name "Dodd" for your father's use of Nazi Gun laws to create our own.

Seriously, thats not a jab at your dad or changing the subject, I like being able to have heroes instead of a pantheon of banal villains.

Please don't get shot.

Re:Better than your dad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21035057)

Two of your three sentences in a thread about privacy issues are gun-related. When you look at an ink blot, do you always see a gun?

Re:Better than your dad (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 years ago | (#21035315)

When you look at an ink blot, do you always see a gun?
When you look at an ink blot, do you always see Unlikely_Hero (900172)?

Re:Better than your dad (1)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | about 7 years ago | (#21035737)

For me a gun is my last line of defense in protecting my privacy. You choose yours, please let me choose mine.

Thank You! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21034811)

Thank You Chris!

Osama

Re:Thank You! (5, Insightful)

jfern (115937) | about 7 years ago | (#21034939)

This does have a damn thing to do with Osama.

Bush started this illegal spying 6 months [washingtonpost.com] before he ignored the August 6th, 2001 memo titled Bin Laden determined to Strike in US [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Thank You! (1)

jdogalt (961241) | about 7 years ago | (#21035921)

mod this up (washingtonpost link) as informative please

Your Tin Foil Hat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21036001)

Is in the mail. Wear it daily.

What are you gonna do next? Light a fire under some chicken wire and jump up and down on it?

Lets imagine that the public can sue the telecom.. (1)

sysgeek01 (866290) | about 7 years ago | (#21035059)

Let's imagine for a moment that some average schmo can sue the telecom companies for eves-dropping on their phone calls. What's to keep the telecom companies from suing the U.S. Gov. because the gov told them to eves-drop? In the end the tax payers pay the bill.

Re:Lets imagine that the public can sue the teleco (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 7 years ago | (#21035275)

True. But in one case, you have continuing secrecy
and further erosion of your rights, and in the other
the truth will likely come out.

Which one would you rather pay for?

Re:Lets imagine that the public can sue the teleco (1)

Sleepy (4551) | about 7 years ago | (#21035591)

Taxpayer's aren't paying for ANYTHING in the Bush administration.. it's all thank-you loans from China, Debai, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Worried yet?

PS - It's extraordinarily difficult to sue the government. You need not worry about telcos standing up for us at anyone's expense.

Maybe (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 7 years ago | (#21035077)

The reaction was a bit more than they expected. He's just trying to tread on us a bit more softly... for now. We'll take the (boot)lickin' and keep on tickin'. Meanwhile, the fact is, the lines are being tapped anyway. And as we follow the example that these people set, we can only sink deeper.

The beat goes on, the beat goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
La de da de de, la de da de da

immunity needs to be off the table (4, Insightful)

crayz (1056) | about 7 years ago | (#21035203)

Here's the EFF describing what the telcoms were doing [salon.com] :

We have evidence of an NSA-controlled room in the Folsom Street AT&T facilities in San Francisco. We have evidence that AT&T diverted copies of everyone's Internet traffic into that room. And we know that there's very sophisticated equipment in that room that is capable of doing real-time analysis analysis of the Internet traffic that is getting routed into there.

yes, but basket warrants should be off too (2, Interesting)

schwaang (667808) | about 7 years ago | (#21035257)

Basket warrants aren't really warrants at all. They're just a blank check to scoop up lots of data without naming an individual like you normally need to.

I'm not sure if so-called "basket" warrants made it into the Senate version or not. If so, they should go.

Meaning of "Dodd" in ancient Slobbovian (1)

StefanJ (88986) | about 7 years ago | (#21035661)

"He who has rediscovered his testicles."

Good. At least we see a vote (1)

smchris (464899) | about 7 years ago | (#21035871)

My Senator (Klobuchar, MN) has been a dick on both the August FISA bill and voting for the MoveOn.org condemnation. I want to see her vote, not this good-old-boy "unanimous" stuff.
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