Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Could Slashdot (Or Other Private Entity) Sue a Spy Agency Like GCHQ Or NSA?

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the oh-you-meant-sue-and-actually-win? dept.

Communications 188

Nerval's Lobster writes "When the GCHQ agency (Britain's equivalent of the National Security Agency) reportedly decided to infiltrate the IT network of Belgian telecommunications firm Belgacom, it relied on a sophisticated version of a man-in-the-middle attack, in which it directed its targets' computers to fake, malware-riddled versions of Slashdot and LinkedIn. If the attack could be proven without a doubt, would the GCHQ—or any similar spy agency engaging in the same sort of behavior—be liable for violating trademarks or copyrights, since a key part of its attack would necessitate the appropriation of intellectual property such as logos and content? We asked someone from the Electronic Frontier Foundation about that, and received a somewhat dispiriting answer. "From a trademark perspective, if a company uses another company's marks/logos to deceive, there may be a trademark claim," said Corynne McSherry, the EFF's Intellectual Property Director. "But it's complicated a bit by two problems: (1) the fact that while there may be confusion, it's not necessarily related to the actual purchase of any goods and services; and (2) multiple TM laws are in play here—for example UK trademark law may have different exceptions and limitations." McSherry also addressed other issues, including governments' doctrine of sovereign immunity."

cancel ×

188 comments

Sue them... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45422933)

And magically drugs appear inside your house plus pictures of you fondling kids.

Re:Sue them... (5, Insightful)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 8 months ago | (#45422949)

if you're lucky. the other choice being ending up dead inside a padlocked suitcase which you locked yourself into. Your death will be an Accident!

Re:Sue them... (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 8 months ago | (#45423411)

It was a gym bag, not a suitcase..

This was made famous by Salvador Allende when he committed suicide by airstrike and shooting himself 37 times.

Re:Sue them... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45422993)

I thought it would be more like a robbery and the robbers kill you.

Or, you slipped and fell in your bathtub and hit your head.

Or, you were cleaning your flintlock and accidentally shot yourself 5 times - in the back of the head.

Re:Sue them... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423057)

FYI ciderbrew is referring to an actual event, albeit speculatively.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Gareth_Williams

Re:Sue them... (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 8 months ago | (#45423155)

And magically drugs appear inside your house plus pictures of you fondling kids.

These days, no such trouble is necessary. They'll just come get you and haul you off indefinitely with no explanation. At least, that's the case in the US. Maybe the Brits are better protected from their government.

Re:Sue them... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423235)

Better protected? We are worse off.. :(

Like trying to sue toe mafia (5, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 8 months ago | (#45423257)

I think it is obvious to all following the Snowden revelations that these spy agencies do not play by the law, anyones law - as can be seen with all the data sharing agreements to circumvent their respective nations laws. Any small group of individuals causing the spy agencies grief will have their life investigated inside out exactly like what happened to the engineers in this Belgacom case. Small step from there to "neutralize" or coerce the threat though many different means. The only way that these agencies will be reined in and subjected to national laws is if there is a massive public outrage forcing a lot of politicians to put a leash on the rabid attack dog (without getting bitten themselves for trying to do it). So far none of that looks to be happening or that it even will happen... police states here we come.

Re:Like trying to sue toe mafia (1)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45423397)

Not likely that politicians will even come close enough to touch that leash, they're well aware that the intel agencies have pretty much unlimited access to any mercenary group they want in exchange for some minor favor. "Wink, wink, nudge, nudge" and your kid disappears for a week and comes back a heroin junkie.

Re:Sue them... (5, Informative)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 8 months ago | (#45423265)

Well, you have a lot of faith in British law enforcement and security.

No, you'll suddenly decide to kill yourself just before you're going to present important information, like David Kelly. Or you'll commit a minor infraction like jumping a ticket barrier and be shot a few times for "oh he was totally about to set off a bomb", a la Jean Charles de Menezes. Or you'll have a heart attack after being lightly handled by a police officer during a protest, like Ian Tomlinson.

Re:Sue them... (2)

jythie (914043) | about 8 months ago | (#45423313)

Luckily, I suspect the only real outcome would be they laugh at you and then go out for a light lunch. Threatening to sue the NSA is about as likely to frighten them as threatening to drink all the water.

Re:Sue them... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#45423456)

Add the fact that you can not sue the government unless you get permission from the government to sue them.

Yes this is a real thing.

Sovereign immunity is a real bitch.

Re:Sue them... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 8 months ago | (#45423369)

Naw you will just go broke trying to win.

No. (5, Insightful)

SenorPez (840621) | about 8 months ago | (#45422945)

Laws only apply to little people. Go back to shoveling dirt you peasants, and leave your governmental overlords in peace.

Re:No. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#45423355)

Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

Re:No. (2)

BSAtHome (455370) | about 8 months ago | (#45423472)

Surely, there is a very simple method to do something about it.

When the state oversteps its boundary, it is time to replace the state. If not in orderly fashion, then with force. It is called revolution.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423608)

Exactly, only a matter of time now.
It might not get a lot of television coverage at first.

Re:No. (1)

jamiesan (715069) | about 8 months ago | (#45423706)

Just make sure you don't work for a company named "Sirius Cybernetics Corporation".

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423640)

Or, in the end, they will simply run out of money by bankrupting the entire country.
Look at what the Roman empire did.

Enough with these histrionics (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45422965)

If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about

Re:Enough with these histrionics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423007)

Disclamer: Definition of "wrong" may vary depending on source, target and objectives in between.

Re:Enough with these histrionics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423093)

Then why do NSA, GCHQ, etc. try to hide their activities from the people who fund them?

Re:Enough with these histrionics (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 8 months ago | (#45423303)

Plausible deniability.

Re:Enough with these histrionics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423407)

Because they have something to worry about.

The answer is no. (2)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about 8 months ago | (#45422973)

Betteridge's law wins again!

Re:The answer is no. (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#45423051)

No, you can definitely sue them.

Winning...? That's another question.

Re:The answer is no. (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 8 months ago | (#45423435)

There are other questions to be considered as well, like "What is your goal?". If you file with the intention of drawing attention to the issue then you may achieve that goal even if it is never heard in any court the case could still be tried in public opinion with the help of the media.

Re:The answer is no. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#45423578)

...with the help of the media.

I think I see a flaw in your cunning plan.

Re:The answer is no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423450)

Winning? You'll be hard pressed to find a court that will even accept jurisdiction over the case.

A trademark claim might not be the best (5, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 8 months ago | (#45422975)

I really think you will get a better answer from your attorney than you will get from Slashdot. But for the sake of discussion -- why is a trademark claim the first thing that comes to mind? To my non-lawyer mind, impersonating someone's business sounds like fraud, which I believe is actionable in civil court.

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (2)

larry bagina (561269) | about 8 months ago | (#45423047)

Right. No different than If you bought a Crown Victoria, painted it up to look like the po po, then pulled over people and molested them.

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423295)

You can do that and get paid for it (in fact, then you don't even have to pay for the Crown Victoria).

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (3, Interesting)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#45423417)

Funny you would bring that up because, the opposite is actually a great example of the point in question.

http://barkgrowlbite.blogspot.com/2012/07/dea-stole-big-semi-in-sting-operation.html [blogspot.com]

thought his Truck 793 - a big red Kenworth T600 semi â" was being repaired in Houston. Unknown to Craig Patty, the owner of the $90,000 rig, the DEA was using it to transport a load of marijuana in a sting operation.

The DEA had paid Lawrence Chapa, one of Pattyâ(TM)s drivers, to haul a load of marijuana from the Mexican border

So far so good. DEA bribed one of his own drivers to steal the truck from his employer to be used in the operation..... long story short, truck gets shot up, driver killed. Insurance company and DEA both refuse to pay for any damages.

Now this isn't over, I assume there will be court battles but, his case is different. This case involves physical evidence and facts that can't be just denied out of hand....and they are still refusing to do anything and making him sue. This is how they act when caught red handed and unable to deny the facts.... there is no chance of getting anything from a secretive org that can declare the facts national security interests.

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (5, Informative)

Ed Johnson (2881561) | about 8 months ago | (#45423073)

BUT - governments are special; essentially you can't sue them unless they agree to allow it. Neither US nor UK governments would allow such a suit to proceed, even if all the facts were publicly known, they would invoke "state secrets" and quash any civil action. The only hope of proceeding in court is to show they violated a law, and even then you'll have a long drawn out battle to prove that you have standing to sue, and to find a judge who would allow the suit to proceed. Lots of people with much stronger cases demonstrating actual harm have had, so far, little or no success in getting the NSA into court and I doubt very much that the UK government is any less skilled at this sort of manipulation of the courts. In then end I doubt anything short of a revolution, or at least the credible threat of one will get any noticeable reform. There are a handful of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic trying to reign these agencies in, sadly they are a minority and unlikely to succeed unless a large wave of public outrage forces a majority of the political class to care about this issue. The best hope is that brave whistle blowers like Snowden will continue to expose the shenanigans of these agencies and that the reporting will be honest enough to get the public to wake up to the profound dangers they pose to all our freedom.

The Complete Perversion of the Law (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 8 months ago | (#45423345)

But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.

How has this perversion of the law been accomplished? And what have been the results?

The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely different causes: stupid greed and false philanthropy. Let us speak of the first. [bastiat.org]

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (2)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 8 months ago | (#45423075)

To be fair, a trademark claim is a type of fraud.

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (3, Interesting)

sanchom (1681398) | about 8 months ago | (#45423229)

Trademark infringment is not a subset of fraud. Trademark law came out of the tort of passing off, which originally was a descendant of fraud/deceit, but they're now different in that fraud happens between the lier and the listener; trademark infringement happens between the lier and the owner of the mark that they co-opt. It isn't a subset-superset relationship anymore.

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423091)

The Germans also have the term "Vorspiegelung falscher Tatsachen" (mirroring of false facts), which sounds amusing contradictory. Perhaps this could be used in court to get some free "I Love NSA" T-shirt?

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (1)

sanchom (1681398) | about 8 months ago | (#45423117)

Trademark law originated as the common law tort of passing off. Passing off is *like* fraud, but differs in that fraud requires proof of damages, while passing off/trademark infringement does not require proof of damages. Passing off/trademark infringement is what the intellectual property owners could sue for. Fraud is what the end-users could sue for.

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423173)

I really think you will get a better answer from your attorney than you will get from Slashdot.

They're not asking Slashdot, they asked EFF who may not be Slashdot's attorneys but are very knowledgeable about such laws.

That aside, my pet peeve is when someone asks for legal advice on the net and some douche replies with "don't ask us, ask your lawyer." Well duh! Although only a fool would completely rely on legal answers off the net, only an even bigger fool would not seek some type of answer and/or opinion from others if only to make an educated decision on whether it's worth contacting their lawyer and if they do, whether their lawyer is not fooling them / being incompetent.

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (1)

Xest (935314) | about 8 months ago | (#45423209)

Fraud, damage to reputation, loss of business.

These all sound like more fruitful avenues than pursuing a trademark violation.

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#45423289)

To my non-lawyer mind, impersonating someone's business sounds like fraud

Except when you do it for national security, then they give themselves an exemption.

You could try, but I suspect the judge would get told that, due to national security reasons, the trial may not proceed and you have no standing to sue.

Suing a government is tough when it's about matters they can control so tightly. And damned near impossible when it's something like the NSA or GCHQ.

Hell, I suspect they'd just charge you as a terrorist if it made it easier for them. Because, you know, clearly what you're doing would be against national security interests.

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (2)

redneckmother (1664119) | about 8 months ago | (#45423494)

REDACTED Court of REDACTED

Judgement in re: REDACTED v REDACTED:

The Court finds that REDACTED has no standing to sue REDACTED because REDACTED

Signed this REDACTED day of REDACTED, REDACTED

REDACTED

Re:A trademark claim might not be the best (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#45423564)

If the goal was to infect you, you have a much better standing using the laws on breaching private IT networks, since have lots of teeth and over-broad reach given who sponsored them...

The hacked you? Get a judge to hand out hackers minimum sentences!

[/dreaming]

THIS WOULDN'T HAPPEN WITH A HOSTS FILE! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45422977)

I hate to say it, but APK was right. I'm sorry I called you deranged kook. I hope the public indecency charges get dropped, although it was your own damn fault. Be more discreet, dude!

Re:THIS WOULDN'T HAPPEN WITH A HOSTS FILE! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423067)

LOL, hosts file wouldn't save you, the national-intelligence-level threats are tapping straight into the wire so you continue to access the same IP address everyone else does, but only in your case does it go to their server.

I thought it was quiet here lately... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 8 months ago | (#45423191)

has anyone heard from APK lately?
Just sayin'...

Re:I thought it was quiet here lately... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 8 months ago | (#45423447)

He finally realized that the HOSTS file wasn't going to go far enough to protect him.

He then went to the next stage - ifconfig eth0 down

Why trademarks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45422985)

Isn't it just illegal for an organisation to hack another and serve malware to its customers?

Why do we need to look at the technicalities of trademarks to make this behaviour illegal?

Yes - No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45422989)

Sure, they could try to sue and there are lots of lawyers that would gladly take the money. Err, I mean case.

But, no. On top of all sorts of protections that specifically protect governments and their agencies. there is also the matter of secrecy for purposes of "national security". This blanket will be the final line of defense against any suit the makes it through the other defenses. When left with no other option, the government will simply say; 'it's a matter of national security(national secrets act) and it's not open for discussion at all. In fact, simply discussing it makes you a felon subject to prosecution and imprisonment or even death!'.

So, yes, you can sue. But you WILL lose. You CANNOT win.

A better question is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423005)

Can the courts (especially the supreme court) be trusted to do the right thing?

There's only one way to find out! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423017)

RIAA + Vs NSA

Let the battle commence!

Yes? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423019)

You can bring suit against anyone you want for anything you want.
But you'd never win.

Any progress you made in court would immediately be crushed under a shroud of "National Security".

You'd have to prove that not only was your traffic modified by a third party, but that third party was the GCHQ/NSA/etc and not a rogue ISP, or bug in the web server.
Good luck with that.

when a site asks a question: answered it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423023)

Duh,

You can sue anyone. Anyone can sue in the western world. The real question is can /. win a lawsuit?

Re:when a site asks a question: answered it (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 8 months ago | (#45423069)

When AC makes a statement, dont trust it.

No, you cannot sue the US government without its permission due to sovereign immunity [wikipedia.org] .

And in the future if you dont know, its best not to speak authoritatively.

Yes you could.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423035)

.. But it would go nowhere. Some suit would show up and speak the magic words "state secrets" and the case would go away.

No Standing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423043)

In the US, you need to show that you have been harmed - by having your trademarks infringed, or whatever. Whether you have been harmed by the GHCQ/NSA is secret and may not be revealed. If you or someone else happens to find out about it, you may not reveal it. So you are out of luck and the government is outside the reach of the law.

Re:No Standing (1)

sanchom (1681398) | about 8 months ago | (#45423153)

Ya, without proof, the website owners are in the same situation as Amnesty International et al. in Amnesty International v. Clapper. You'd have to wait until the US tried to use such evidence in court.

You know that means suing a foreign government? (5, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | about 8 months ago | (#45423053)

Hmmm... "Good luck with that" is the first answer that comes to mind.

On the other hand, one potential legal solution who go something like this:

- Get Belgacom on your side ;
- Find the person(s) at Belgacom who have been infected through the fake /. site by GCHQ ;
- Sue GCHQ and the UK government in Belgian and UK courts - yes, I think there are some jurisdictions that will hear cases even if their protagonists are out-of-country and Belgium may be one (some Rwanda genocide cases were tried in Belgium if I remember correctly) ;
- Get the case thrown out of court repeatedly all the way to the local equivalent of the Supreme Court ;
- Appeal all the way to the European Court of Human Rights (which is, according to the EU Charter, one step above local Supreme Court);
- Profit! Well, only if the European Court of Human Rights decide that, yes, there is a clear violation of due process and invasion of privacy, etc... Which, in that particular case, seems pretty much open-and-shut at this point.

In other words: this is definitely a case the European EFF should take on immediately, on behalf of /. and the person (and corporations! Belgacom was, after all, the subjectaffected - it will take years and stupendous amounts of money, but, heck that's why Kickstarter is for (I would send money immediately to such a project!).

Try suing in different jurisdictions at the same time - the French governement - in that particular case, is begging for someone to come and kick its butt, Germany also sounds like a prime candidate, as well as some of the Scandinavian countries.

The interesting side of this case is that it could result in a binding ECHR court decision that would force all European governements - not just the UK - to rein in and place GCHQ and others (DGSE anyone?). It would probably take years and a lot more money and a lot more suing to make them all apply this ruliong in their respective jurisdictions, but it would be money well spent (IMHO).

Please don't quote me on this - IANAL even though I play one on /. ;-)

Re:You know that means suing a foreign government? (1)

kko (472548) | about 8 months ago | (#45423179)

Belgium? Did you mean The Netherlands? The Hague in particular? Because of the International Criminal Court, maybe?

Re:You know that means suing a foreign government? (1)

Noryungi (70322) | about 8 months ago | (#45423528)

No, Belgium. ICC is based in the Netherlands, which is right next door to Belgium, so to speak.

The ICC has no particular jurisdiction over European affairs - and it only deals with "serious" criminality, such as genocide, torture, ethnic cleansing, etc.

(Don't misunderstand me: it is a valid court of justice and it definitely has a role to play - but its area of expertise is murder on a grand scale, not spying on a grand scale).

Belgian courts, from Belgium - again, this is if I remember well (I may be totally wrong!) - can hear valid criminal cases brought before them even if said acts were committed outside of Belgium frontiers by foreign nationals. I think they have done just that in case of the genocide in Rwanda - but . See the following for more information:

http://www.english.rfi.fr/africa/20110420-belgium-arrests-rwandan-genocide-suspect [english.rfi.fr]

In any case, even if the above is not true, the company that was the target of GCHQ - Belgacom - is a Belgium telecom company. And, supposedly, so are the individuals that were targeted within the company itself. Courts in Belgium should therefore be perfectly competent to hear a case brought before them by these plaintiffs.

Make of that what you will.

Re:You know that means suing a foreign government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423762)

IMHO, you need to focus on individuals proven guilty of criminal behaviour. It will be nearly impossible to prove they work for the british governement.

Principle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423055)

If you have the means, then you should act out of principle. Anything else and you'll hate yourself for it and lose credibility with your readers.
It's a bit hard to get your readers to believe in your causes, if you don't believe in them enough to do anything about them.

Of Course (2)

edibobb (113989) | about 8 months ago | (#45423071)

In the United States, anybody can sue anybody else for anything, regardless of merit, and have a reasonable chance of winning. It only takes time and money.

Re:Of Course (4, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | about 8 months ago | (#45423105)

In the United States, anybody can sue anybody else for anything, regardless of merit, and have a reasonable chance of winning. It only takes time and money.

Not if the second "anybody" is the government. Unless the government consents to being sued (in othe words, there is a law allowing citzens to sue the government over that particular injury) the government will merely plead sovereign immunity and the suit will the thrown out of court.

Re:Of Course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423199)

This. Pretty impossible to sue the NSA.

Not sure what laws apply if you're trying to sue GCHQ, though I suspect you're far more likely to end up as a corpse in a padlocked suitcase.

Re:Of Course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423221)

... in this case though, you also need the willingness of the government to not have one of their attorneys run around a court room and scream "national security! national security! national security!" as they give the judge a handful of pages filled with thin black stripes, while another whispers in judge's ear, "there's a cushy appointment in it for you if you see things our way".

Perhaps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423089)

... it could be accomplished by suing, say the GCHQ (for at least Trademark infringement, if nothing else) in not the UK, but another country. This could be accomplished if one could show that those in another country accessed Slashdot and received the honey trap instead. For this purpose, it is even possible that the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man would suffice (as these are technically not within the UK, but instead Crown Dependencies). Instead, another country (such as Iceland or the Faroe Islands) that would likely to have traffic routed via the UK could be used.

This would allow for one to sidestep the issue of sovereign immunity. However, in order to collect on the judgement, it would be necessary to determine that the UK Government owned assets within that country. However, it is my recollection that the UK Government does have a number of foreign assets.

Sovereign Immunity does not apply in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423097)

For the very simply fact that the federal government is not the sovereign of the US. The federal government derives its power from the Constitution which is a social contract between the people of the US. Therefore it is the people which are sovereign; and we throw them in jail all the time.

Not slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423111)

However, Google, M$, Yahoo they all have the resources to sue a government agency.

Functionally, No. (5, Informative)

argStyopa (232550) | about 8 months ago | (#45423115)

"In the United States, the federal government has sovereign immunity and may not be sued unless it has waived its immunity or consented to suit. The United States has waived sovereign immunity to a limited extent, mainly through the Federal Tort Claims Act, which waives the immunity if a tortious act of a federal employee causes damage, and the Tucker Act, which waives the immunity over claims arising out of contracts to which the federal government is a party."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_immunity#United_States)\

Did you REALLY think there would be another answer?

Re:Functionally, No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423165)

That only applies when U.S. government agencies perform the relevant actions in the U.S. When doing the same thing anywhere else, they are just plain criminals. The problem is: you won't get any official extradicted, as the U.S. government would have to approve that, so you would have to do that while they are in the country where the crime was committed, or a country that has an applicable rendition treaty with that country.

Re:Functionally, No. (4, Informative)

bigHairyDog (686475) | about 8 months ago | (#45423273)

Except that GCHQ is a UK government organisation, and in the UK Sovereign Immunity only protects the monarchy. People can and do sue the government for not adhering to the law, in a process called judicial review: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_review_in_English_law [wikipedia.org] That said, I don't think any lawsuit would be successful.

Re:Functionally, No. (1)

sanchom (1681398) | about 8 months ago | (#45423277)

Functionally, this just means you have to sue the department head responsible for the execution of the practice in question. See Clapper v. Amnesty International, for example. They didn't sue the NSA, they sued the director of national intelligence, James Clapper.

Yes, it sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423139)

Its hard to use the law against those who enforce the law, if they say that they cannot legally know about themselves breaking the law.

Using their name and their logos to present their own website is definitely trademark infringement and fraud. It's the definition of it. Giving people virus's is illegal cracking. Domestic surveillance breaks the fourth amendment. Assassinating American citizens with drone strikes and without a trial is murder.

Good luck getting law enforcement to arrest themselves, when they are required by law not to learn anything about the case.

If you have money give it a go, but know you are taking a stand, not that you will win.

Human Rights Act? European Court of Human Rights? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423161)

The government has a duty to respect the privacy of it's citizens, and you can can certainly sue the government under the human rights act to uphold that law (and if need be, take the case to the european court of human rights, and if they rule against the government they can, through treaty, fine the member state.) Actions with respect to the security of the state are traditionally exempt from such protections, and that could be used as a defence by the government, but to do so they'd have to justify their actions and isn't that the point here?

(I'm not a lawyer, but I have glanced at first year UK/European law textbooks from time to time)

Abhilfe Für Deutschsprachige (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423187)

http://scherbius2014.de

+ disconnected from telecom network like ENIGMA
+ Blowfish
+ can't be attacked by quantum computer because only symmetric ciphers used
+ can be used with any means of telecomunication from carrier pigeon to shortwave radio
- no english translation yet

Should Consider Tortious Interference (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423201)

Off the top of my head, instead of intellectual property, tortious interference with business relationships and activity. They are reducing trust in the Slashdot brand and its activities online. See here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortious_interference

Not a chance in hell ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#45423227)

See, they have secret laws which say what they're doing is legal.

The government would essentially have to consent to being sued, which they won't.

As long as the position of the government is "what we do is legal, and even where we might skirt around the law, it's still legal. And we don't care about the rights of citizens of other countries." -- they can do anything they like and call it legal.

I figure your lawsuit would last about 20 minutes before it got tossed out, or the government basically said "we don't care, we're not showing up, too bad". Short of some pretty heavy diplomatic pressure (still likely to do nothing), my guess is you have absolutely zero recourse.

Secondary contributory infringement (1)

sir_eccles (1235902) | about 8 months ago | (#45423243)

A better choice might be to sue those well known private companies that helped the agencies do this, the enablers so to speak. Make it annoying enough and these companies may think twice about co-operating so freely next time.

You're welcome to try (2)

WillgasM (1646719) | about 8 months ago | (#45423255)

but you won't win. That whole "If the attack could be proven without a doubt" assumption doesn't exist. At least in the USA, they'll just claim all evidence falls under the state secrets privilege, and the case will be immediately thrown out.

Think about that for just a moment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423271)

Suing an entity that gets the entirety of it's money from the people.
Where do you think they'll get the money from to pay a loss?

sovereign immunity, no problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423307)

"including governments' doctrine of sovereign immunity."

Just sue the contractors they doubtless used. Keep suing contractors until the governments pool of patsy's and thugs dries up and they are forced to get their own hands dirty. At least it will make them work for their police state.

Re:sovereign immunity, no problem (1)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 8 months ago | (#45423536)

sovereign immunity only applies to civil claims.
Criminal claims against individuals is NOT covered by any privilege.

You have been sewed by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423315)

Anymous Cowards.

Did they get paid for the ads, or did you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423317)

Presumably the fake version of the site had ads on it. Were you denied revenue by their counterfeiting, or were you not? You probably need to have a captured page at the time of the counterfeiting, to check ad tags and see exactly who financially benefitted.

damn i got hella onion farts bro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423323)

shit smells fucking weird

Go Ahead and Sue: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 8 months ago | (#45423337)

Lily Tomlin Said: "We don't care, we don't have to...we're the phone company."

Similarly: "We don't care. We don't have to... we're the GCHQ."

Cisco down 10% (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 8 months ago | (#45423339)

This is due to their complicity with the NSA so it's hard to argue that they should be compensated for losses unless they had complete assurance that "no one would find out." In which case, the NSA failed to live up to their end of the bargain.

I'd like to say "I told you so!" to all those people out there who responded with doubt that the NSA's activities will undermine the value of US products and services, but it's out there now. Cisco is down 10% and falling.

Being sovereign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423361)

... means never having to say you're sorry. Well, at least in theory. When I saw the headline my first reaction was that this would be a classic example of what sovereign immunity was meant to cover. As in many other things the remedy for this kind of conduct won't be found in the law, but in commerce and politics. You may not be able to get a court to direct a government agency to do the right thing, but pressure applied from the right places within the government itself (e.g. from the legislature against the executive) or the economy (anything from consumer boycotts to trade negotiations) is often the best (and only) answer.

They've already been sued...and won. (1)

gizmo2199 (458329) | about 8 months ago | (#45423377)

In 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights sued the federal government asking a federal court for an injunction to stop warrantless wiretapping and naming George W. Bush, the head of the NSA and the heads of other intelligence agencies as defendants. The case was dismissed in June of 2013 when the court agreed with the precedent set in two other cases, which basically said that Americans don’t even have the right to sue their government over its surveillance program, unless they can prove that their communications were intercepted. In other words, you can't sue unless you can demonstrate irreparable personal harm from the spying program. Of course the NSA is never going to hand-over that information voluntarily.

Doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423381)

You'd have a better shot building an asteroid rail gun out past Mars to shoot at the inner solar system with then sue those people like that.

mafia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423443)

Of course you can. But since we have a mafia government, don't be surprised when you get whacked.

"the amount of tyranny you will put up with is the exact amount you will live under" --George Washington

Well... (1)

Identita (1256932) | about 8 months ago | (#45423448)

Yeah sure.. um no

SSL (1)

borcharc (56372) | about 8 months ago | (#45423500)

Isn't it time slashdot implemented ssl? Perhaps a self signed key that is widely publicised ahead of time. Also, sue them in US Federal court for violation of US laws. This type of thing happens all the time.

rally the users (1)

bugi (8479) | about 8 months ago | (#45423514)

While I'm sure the Corporate Parents of slashdot and linked in are in all sorts of rage and feeling dirty and used, think of the users. As a user of both, I'm certainly displeased.

A virtual protest may be asynchronous, but could go on for quite some time. It could be one more thing encouraging the less corrupt elements to help reign in such abuses.

deal with the criminal element first (2)

ihtoit (3393327) | about 8 months ago | (#45423518)

for the law to apply, it must apply to ALL in equal measure.

Just from the summary, I can say that the law certainly has been broken. The Computer Misuse Act specifically forbids unauthorised interception of network signals - as has clearly happened here. It also specifically forbids unauthorised manipulation of computer code - as has clearly happened here. I could write a list, but I'll leave that exercise for the guys and legals at Dice. Hint: write the informations against the Corporate Director at GCHQ and against the Minister responsible (who not only *had* to have knowledge of the activity (IGNORANCE IS NOT AN EXCUSE UNDER THE LAW), he *had* to have authorised it!).

Re:deal with the criminal element first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423734)

There are many good reasons why you cannot write laws that exempt yourself or your favorite agency or people that have the same last name or are in your specific religious sect.
Similar to the principle of not writing secret laws that cannot be obeyed because no one knows they exist.
For the law to function well, it must be first available for all to see and apply to all equally.
These things were learned a long time ago unless we want to go back to the caste system.

Short Answer: No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45423748)

Long answer: hahahhahahahahahhahahahahaah ahahahhahaahahahahhahahah ahahahahaahh,*takes deep breath* hahahahahahaahahahah no.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...