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Surveillance Watchdog Concludes Metadata Program Is Illegal, "Should End"

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been dept.

Government 138

An anonymous reader writes "Three out of five PCLOB board members are in agreement: The NSA spy programs are illegal.. Unfortunately, these lawyers are not in a position to act or make any changes, only to advise congress and the president. Could this be the start of change to come? 'According to leaked copies of a forthcoming report by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), the government's metadata collection program "lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215, implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value As a result, the board recommends that the government end the program.'" Not surprisingly, the Obama administration disagrees.

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first submission (4, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 9 months ago | (#46048105)

Also submitted by me 4 hours earlier... but who's keeping track :)
http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]

Re:first submission (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 9 months ago | (#46048265)

I like yours better. Yours has better punctuation.

Re:first submission (4, Insightful)

Professr3 (670356) | about 9 months ago | (#46048369)

That's probably why they picked this one instead...

Re:first submission (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048655)

I was the one that submitted the story. Seems some minor changes were made by the editor. Among those changes are the inclusion of a double period in the first line.

Re:first submission (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 9 months ago | (#46049543)

Somehow this has stopped being surprising.

Way too optimistic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048141)

The only time the government has ever shut something down is if it is costing it too much money. And no one has attacked the NSA's finances.

like dust bowl agriculture programs? (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46048867)

You mean like the programs set up to deal with the drought in the 1930s which continue to cost billions of dollars in excessive food prices and waste farmer's resources?

I WISH government programs that were too expensive would be shut down.

I can't think of ANY significant federal programs that have been shut down.

Re:Way too optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46049777)

You are mistaken. The NSA program to capture and store global internet traffic was ended over 4 years ago. Data overload and infrastructure costs needed to support such a system was prohibitively expensive.I am relatively disappointed that no one in the IT sphere has bothered to look into and document the actual infrastructure and the software systems that would be required to do even half of things that are being attributed to the NSA. They could start with the technology needed to capture, store, and process all global e-mails and text messages. It is estimated the e-mails and text messages generate over 4 billion transactions a day. .

Re:Way too optimistic (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about 9 months ago | (#46051297)

Since when does the government shut down a program? They just borrow and print more money and keep adding new programs.

Duh (5, Insightful)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 9 months ago | (#46048147)

Surveillance Watchdog Concludes Metadata Program Is Illegal, "Should End"

Any rational person with half a brain would come to the same conclusion.

Re:Duh (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#46048241)

Surveillance Watchdog Concludes Metadata Program Is Illegal, "Should End"

  Any rational person with half a brain would come to the same conclusion.

Sadly, more people are spending the morning texting each other over last night's arrest of a rich kid with poor self discipline.

Re:Duh (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 9 months ago | (#46048681)

...arrest of a rich kid with poor self discipline.

clicky clicky! [arstechnica.net]

Re:Duh (5, Insightful)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 9 months ago | (#46048365)

"Any rational person with half a brain would come to the same conclusion."

The real question is, how did people like that manage to get onto an oversight board?

Re:Duh (2)

Wootery (1087023) | about 9 months ago | (#46048393)

Good question. This oversight board clearly wasn't subject to the proper oversight.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048733)

Clearly it's been arranged in advance that the oversight board cannot have any actual impact.

Re:Duh (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 9 months ago | (#46050159)

What we need is better oversight of the oversight of oversight boards!

And who will oversee that? Eventually, after enough layers of oversight, Congress.

We need a better Congress! :-)

Re:Duh (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46051379)

>The real question is, how did people like that manage to get onto an oversight board?

"We apologise again for the fault in the overseeing. Those responsible for overseeing the oversight board will now be overseen by a double-meta-oversight board"

("A Cøngressman once bit my sister... No realli!")

Re:Duh (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048395)

Surveillance Watchdog Concludes Metadata Program Is Illegal, "Should End"

Surveillance Watchdog has no authority to determine what is legal or illegal.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048713)

Try reading a bit.
This is a group of 5 lawyers tasked with overseeing privacy and civil liberties. I'm pretty sure they know what is or isn't legal. In addition to that, it is covered directly in the article that they do not have the authority to make changes, only suggestions towards congress and the president. Your post is, at the very least, off-topic.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048939)

This is a group of 5 lawyers tasked with overseeing privacy and civil liberties.

Lawyers do not have the authority to deem something legal or illegal. Only the court system has that authority. So what ever this watch do group says means jack shit in a court of law.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46049047)

So, you ignored the story, you ignored the article, and you ignored the above post.
I'll repeat it once more: They are not claiming to have any authority to deem it legal or illegal. They specifically state they do not. They simply are reporting their findings.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46049585)

So, you ignored the story, you ignored the article, and you ignored the above post.

You're ignoring the law. If they have no authority then there is no point in reading the article, listening to their option or reading any of the above comments. All it is people blowing hot air.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46049647)

The point is, idiot, that the people in "authority" are probably some combination of wrong/corrupt/evil.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46049809)

What law am I ignoring? Please, do explain.

Last I checked, infringing on the first and fourth amendment was illegal in this country. These lawyers release a statement saying, "Yup. That's illegal." Your response to that is whining, "NO! They can't decide that it is illegal to violate the constitution!"

Are you a dunce or what?

Re:Duh (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#46048725)

This, so very much.

It may be a high-ranking opinion, but it's still just an opinion. Until the courts weigh in with their opinions, this is little more than a show to make the case that the administration sympathizes with the public. Another, even higher-ranking opinion will still land on the President's desk saying that the program is legal, but the public won't rally around that one, of course. Then the President can cite conflicting opinions, and defer any action to the Supreme Court, which can't act without a lawsuit (of which several are in progress already).

As usual, Sarten-X concludes Slashdot story is flamebait for the hivemind, "should not have been posted"

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46049321)

Even if the Supreme Court weighs in against the surveillance, it may still be little more than show. Though rare, it's not unheard of for the executive branch to ignore Supreme Court rulings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonacquiescence [wikipedia.org] , http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lyle-denniston/gingrich-supreme-court_b_1017418.html [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:Duh (1, Insightful)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 9 months ago | (#46048453)

But it wont.

Because this has always been more about control than effectiveness.

At some point they will (if not already) start using this information for nefarious purposes such as squashing dissent, manipulation and blackmail and corporate gain. Most likely to tell the police robots which citizen to arrest and torture next.

And when that joyous time comes the NSA will be ready and waiting...

Re:Duh (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 9 months ago | (#46049129)

They've already stated that they've used it for squashing dissent and blackmail against "extremists" of some sort haven't they? The term "extremists" can be very flexible as well.

Re:Duh (5, Informative)

metlin (258108) | about 9 months ago | (#46050149)

It's even worse than you know.

I posted this on another thread [slashdot.org] , but I quote below:

The worst travesty to date is the Supreme Court decision in Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project. It was brought to court by the Obama administration and argued by Elena Kagan says that even talking to terrorist groups for "strategies of nonviolence" can be considered advice, which should be considered material support. And they won. So, if you tried to talk a terrorist out of their terrorist acts and move to a path of peace, you would be providing material support. Heck, if you proselytized to a terrorist, you'd be treated the same way. These are executive decisions -- without review, without recourse, which is what makes them worse.

With draconian laws like this, all you need to do is have a chat on the dietary benefits of celery with a suspected terrorist and you could get be held without charge on the grounds of "national security".

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46050649)

Why, after all with a vegan diet, the terrorists can live longer!!!

Re:Duh (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 9 months ago | (#46050425)

Well there you go then.

And those robots...they are already in development.

And as always this is what we know about. Snowden would not have been privy to all of it as he only had access to the communal NSA system.

For example Cheney was well known for his large "safe full of documents" in his office - I doubt anything in there was on the NSA system...

Re:Duh (1)

memnock (466995) | about 9 months ago | (#46051449)

Do you mean something like this [slashdot.org] ? On the one hand, the government blatantly tips its hand about being able to track people and the protestors shouldn't be surprised. On the other, I bet it was still a bit of a shock nonetheless to be one of the people receiving the text, realizing that the govt knows your steps.

Perhaps it would be better to just use walkie talkies and leave the phone somewhere "safe" if one is planning on going to a protest. This way, a mass movement can still be kind of coordinated without revealing participants individual IDs and locations? I realize it's not a perfect solution, but it solves the anonymity conundrum.

Not sure what would be a "safe" place for one's phone, except at home, but that's not gonna help when the cops suspect you're at the protest and bust down your door while you're getting your strike on.

Re:Duh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048567)

Indeed. I think the debate over the legality is over. It's illegal.

The debate is how many lifetimes the responsible generals and Obama should spend in prison.

Re:Duh (2)

subanark (937286) | about 9 months ago | (#46048901)

I don't see how this is "obvious".

You people (as I see much of slashdot agreeing on this issue) have grown up under conditions where privacy is expected, and the more someone knows about you, the more they can use it against you. This all comes about due to the individualism nature of western culture and the overall selfish nature that we are heading towards (mostly due to a move towards an oligarchy form of government). Places in the world that haven't moved towards these directions don't have any issue with the government watching over us.

Re:Duh (3, Insightful)

allaunjsiIverfox2 (3506701) | about 9 months ago | (#46049217)

Places in the world that haven't moved towards these directions don't have any issue with the government watching over us.

Nonsense. If your government is made up of imperfect humans--and all of them are, obviously--then it is a serious issue when the government collects private information of this nature on almost all of its citizens. The fact that some people have no problem with it just means they're naive. "It can't happen here!" Oh, yes it can. Your government is just as human as anyone else's. If you're doing something the government doesn't like, and they have this type of surveillance, then you will likely become a target, and be in trouble.

Privacy is always relevant.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46049549)

Places in the world that haven't moved towards these directions don't have any issue with the government watching over us.

Nonsense. If your government is made up of imperfect humans--and all of them are, obviously--then it is a serious issue when the government collects private information of this nature on almost all of its citizens. The fact that some people have no problem with it just means they're naive. "It can't happen here!" Oh, yes it can. Your government is just as human as anyone else's. If you're doing something the government doesn't like, and they have this type of surveillance, then you will likely become a target, and be in trouble.

Privacy is always relevant.

No actually the fact that it is possible to use private information to harm typical citizens is a sign that we need to clean up out legal and social system because we obviously don't actually like our laws and customs.

If you aren't doing anything wrong but still have something to fear obviously the laws are broken, and should therefore be amended/repealed so you have nothing to fear again.

Re:Duh (3, Insightful)

allaunjsiIverfox2 (3506701) | about 9 months ago | (#46049863)

No actually the fact that it is possible to use private information to harm typical citizens is a sign that we need to clean up out legal and social system because we obviously don't actually like our laws and customs.

It will *always* be possible, because it is *always* possible for the government to be corrupt. It doesn't matter how much you change your legal and social systems; human corruption will always be with us.

Re:Duh (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 9 months ago | (#46049025)

My thoughts exactly.

People who do not like what X is doing. Doesn't like the fact that X is doing it.

Tomorrows headline.
Republican Groups has serious issues, about the policy goals of the Democrats.

Re:Duh (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 9 months ago | (#46049411)

The Government doesn't see it that way. Guess whose view wins.

Re:Duh (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#46049485)

errrrrrrrrr... They are the government. Just not the part that's doing the spying.

Re:Duh (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#46049467)

That doesn't explain why a government watchdog would, then.

Illegal eh? (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 9 months ago | (#46048155)

So it's illegal. So I guess someone's going to go to prison for the crime then.

Uh...

ba-dum-tschhh....?

It's really sad that the idea of widespread illegalactivities by the government yielding prison sentences for those involved is a joke. But that half ounce of pot you got caught with...

Re:Illegal eh? (1)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 9 months ago | (#46048275)

So it's illegal. So I guess someone's going to go to prison for the crime then.

They have become above the law. Everyone in the world should be afraid.

Re:Illegal eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048419)

Re:Illegal eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048715)

>allegedly judge dredd

>shows his face

in the trash it goes

Re:Illegal eh? (3, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | about 9 months ago | (#46048347)

This.

What is the point of saying it is illegal at all?

So to be perfectly honest, and in all practicality, it might as well just be perfectly legal, since they are just going to do it anyways... and telling them it's illegal won't make them stop.

Re:Illegal eh? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#46048381)

This.

What is the point of saying it is illegal at all?

So to be perfectly honest, and in all practicality, it might as well just be perfectly legal, since they are just going to do it anyways... and telling them it's illegal won't make them stop.

The phrase: fait accompli comes to mind.

The worst of it is, it has been coming for over 20 years, beginning in the Reagan administration, when the groundwork was laid - the technology has evolved to the point it is considered a bummer of sufficient magnitude for people to raise a fuss over.

Re:Illegal eh? (1)

lazarith (2649605) | about 9 months ago | (#46048473)

If you're going to start pointing fingers at an administration, at least cite your source/provide evidence. What groundwork was laid during the Reagan administration?

Re:Illegal eh? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#46048781)

If you're going to start pointing fingers at an administration, at least cite your source/provide evidence. What groundwork was laid during the Reagan administration?

It's been mentioned many times, but I guess you didn't see it. Executive Order 12333, signed by Ronnie in 1981. 9/11 simply gave Bush Jr. enough national fear of enemies who may walk among us to broaden it. [fas.org] Despite a stated goal of preserving civil rights and right to privacy, Section 1.4 (a), (b), (g) & (i) are sufficiently vague to cover what has been going on.

Re:Illegal eh? (0)

rea1l1 (903073) | about 9 months ago | (#46051491)

The real problem is the fact that we have things like the "executive order". The executive order did not exist pre-civil war, which was not about ending slavery, but about ensuring the presence of a central banking authority.

Our United States is not the same as the one in the original Constitution, composed of voluntary States, but is founded upon General Orders 100 (a.k.a The Lieber Code), and most especially upon General Orders 100 Article 2:

"Martial Law does not cease during the hostile occupation, except by special proclamation, ordered by the commander in chief; or by special mention in the treaty of peace concluding the war, when the occupation of a place or territory continues beyond the conclusion of peace as one of the conditions of the same. "

There has never been a "special proclamation, ordered by the commander in chief" or a "treaty of peace concluding the war", and all laws since then have been based upon this form of "martial law", and not the Constitution we have been taught about.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19t... [yale.edu]

Re:Illegal eh? (1)

memnock (466995) | about 9 months ago | (#46051529)

While one or two people on the committee were probably lawyers, I don't know if it's really up to them to declare the program illegal. They can give an opinion saying they think it's illegal, but really, it can only be declared illegal, or in other words, struck down, by a court. It'd be nice if the article made that distinction. It leads one to think that this committee has just done all the heavy lifting for the libertarians protesting the NSA's activities.

Since this was a committee appointed by government, the appointees' opinions should carry weight, but like all the other commissions, it can only present findings and recommendations. And besides, Barry is too concerned with our safety to entertain the idea that our civil liberties and laws should take precedence in making policy.

And nothing will change ... (5, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#46048161)

Those who run this will continue to say it's legal, and even if it isn't legal, it's Too Important to stop doing it.

And then they'll just have to find more creative ways to hide that people are being charged on the basis of illegal spying -- why no your honor, this was a routine traffic stop, and his laptop fell open.

Because, I'm pretty sure I've seen stories about how the spy agencies have been briefing law enforcement in how to cover up the involvement of the three-letter-agencies.

So, they'll continue to break the law, and then they'll just lie about where the information came from.

The comparisons to the Stasi get more relevant every day, and many of us are old enough to remember the old "papers please, comrade" jokes.

Sadly, we're heading there, to the applause of some, and horror of others.

Re:And nothing will change ... (5, Informative)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 9 months ago | (#46048251)

Because, I'm pretty sure I've seen stories about how the spy agencies have been briefing law enforcement in how to cover up the involvement of the three-letter-agencies.

Here's one [arstechnica.com] .

And here's a Wikipedia starting point [wikipedia.org] .

Re:And nothing will change ... (4, Informative)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 9 months ago | (#46048349)

It's called "parallel construction", the three letter agency drops a clue to the more direct enforcement people about who to watch and where to look, then the direct enforcement types build a case that does not use the original evidence provided by the three letter agency. Denying you your due process rights since you cannot confront or dispute the original evidence that clued them in.

Re:And nothing will change ... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#46048433)

Which means sooner or later they will be doing this for people who disagree politically, or who oppose funding increases, or just because they can.

When your state security can put anybody on the radar of law enforcement and conceal their involvement, then it will be abused, and possibly for personal gain (your ex's new husband needs some closer scrutiny maybe?)

This just smacks of some of the worst of McCarthyism where lives can be ruined because someone decides it's convenient.

You don't have a free society when you can be subject to trumped up charges used to mask the real reasons. But increasingly, 'free' is irrelevant under the program of "appearing safe".

Oh, we see you criticized our agency ... let's see what we can dig up, oooh, says here you're having an affair, that should be enough to discredit you and draw attention away from us.

Re:And nothing will change ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46049931)

I hate to break it to you- but they are already doing it. You don't even have to be connected to a high profile individual to end up on the radar of law enforcement agencies either (ie “homeland security”, border agents, local law enforcement, and the FBI). My significant other and I have been repeatedly harassed. We're politically active in the free software realm. Unsurprisingly an individual my significant other worked for doing free software development (and a-political stuff at that) got caught up in a high profile politically motivated case. The phone number of his boss was in the phone of the high profile individual. That high profile individual was involved in privacy related matters (think Tor, wikileaks, etc). Even though they had no case on anybody (including the highest high profile individual) they started harassing him. Fortunately (or unfortunately) we don't talk to law enforcement period which makes us even more susceptible to harassment. We know the law (generally speaking) and call their bluff every time. Remember that law enforcement can and will lie to you. They will threaten to arrest you and more. They will detain you for an hour, etc. as often as they possibly can.

Re:And nothing will change ... (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 months ago | (#46048637)

even if it isn't legal, it's Too Important to stop doing it.

I am sick and tired of hearing the Government say this. Usefulness is not a valid criterium for arguing the Constitutionality of a law!

Even the board's statement (quoted in the summary" that the spying "has shown only limited value" is a non-sequitur and should not have been mentioned because doing so lends credibility to the false premise that usefulness is relevant.

value of it critical to the Constitutional balance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46049719)

I understand where you're coming from. However, consider the following.

The Constitution is quite clear that "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". However, you can't bear arms in the White House,
and that's Constitutional. You have a right to bear arms. The government has a duty to protect the president. The usefulness ("furtherance of a
legitimate government interest") is larger than the freedom cost of prohibiting carry in the White House and a limited number of other locations.

As the courts have ruled repeatedly, Constitutional issues often involve balancing two sides that are both "right". The guy who wants to be ready to defend himself and others is "right", the Constitution guarantees that freedom. The Secret Service who wants to protect the president is right, they have a Constitutional interest in doing so. Therefore the court must balance the two sides. In such cases, the court will ask how useful it is and also whether the same degree of usefulness could be achieved via a smaller intrusion on citizen's rights. For example, they wouldn't uphold a law saying you can't have a pistol within 500 miles of the president, because same usefulness could be achieved by prohibiting it only within 500 FEET rather than 500 MILES.

In this case, it is legitimate for the federal government to "raise and support an army and navy" (including the Office of Naval Intelligence), and to "provide for the common defense". It is therefore a legitimate question whether the NSA's is useful enough in "providing for the common defense" that it outweighs the "small" intrusion into "a few" people's privacy. The correct answer is that that the intrusion isn't small, the number of people intruded upon isn't small, but the usefulness is small. Therefore, it's not constitutionally justified.

Re:value of it critical to the Constitutional bala (3, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 months ago | (#46050693)

The Constitution is quite clear that "the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed". However, you can't bear arms in the White House, and that's Constitutional. You have a right to bear arms. The government has a duty to protect the president. The usefulness ("furtherance of a legitimate government interest") is larger than the freedom cost of prohibiting carry in the White House and a limited number of other locations.

IMO, the reason that these things don't conflict is not because you don't have the right to bear arms everywhere you go, but rather because you don't necessarily have the right to go into the White House.

Re:And nothing will change ... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#46050393)

Usefulness is not a valid criterium for arguing the Constitutionality of a law!

That needs some fine tuning.

Compelling-State-Interest-Test Law & Legal Definition [uslegal.com]

Compelling-state-interest-test refers to a method of determining the constitutional validity of a law. Under this test, the government’s interest is balanced against the individual’s constitutional right to be free of law. However, a law will be upheld only if the government’s interest is strong enough.

Tackling the most important topics of law school, Part 6a: Constitutional judicial review and strict scrutiny [thomsonreuters.com]
Tackling the most important topics of law school, Part 6b: Rational basis, “with teeth,” and intermediate scrutiny [thomsonreuters.com]

Re:And nothing will change ... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 months ago | (#46050547)

Yeah, fuck that. That's the same kind of argument the government used to justify the Japanese internment during WWII. It was bullshit then and it's bullshit now.

Re:And nothing will change ... (5, Informative)

virtigex (323685) | about 9 months ago | (#46048665)

Police lying about how they obtained evidence (because they obtained it illegally) is called "parallel construction". Amazingly, US law enforcement treat it as just another tool they can use, rather than a method for committing perjury and circumventing the Fourth Amendment. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/... [eff.org]

Re:And nothing will change ... (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 9 months ago | (#46049261)

The applause is only until they do something the government doesn't like, but they generally don't realize that.

Probably won't have much affect (4, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#46048167)

Since it has already passed muster with the courts, Congress, and President, I doubt there will be much outcome. They are advisors, not "deciders."

Re:Probably won't have much affect (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#46048235)

Correct. Government self-justifies increased power for itself. Nothing new here for millenia. Move along, folks.

The course of action is to vote these people out at the next election. Let the ones even who stand silently by be afraid.

Re:Probably won't have much affect (2)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 9 months ago | (#46048371)

Here's where we hit the next wall. Even if we completely purged every elected official from every level of government via the election process (damned near impossible since they have ballot access rigged in their favor too) then you hit the next level of the unelected all powerful bureaucracy that is the three letter agencies.

Re:Probably won't have much affect (5, Interesting)

SplawnDarts (1405209) | about 9 months ago | (#46048261)

While this opinion is in no way binding, it may still be valuable. The courts have not weighed in on the various NSA activities with any finality. One district judge has indicated it's probably constitutional. One has indicated it's not. Public disapproval can still help sway the outcome when this dispute makes its inevitable way to the supreme court.

No (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 9 months ago | (#46048181)

Could this be the start of change to come?

Betteridge's Law of Headlines says that if a headline ends with a question mark, it can be answered "no." Does this apply to questions asked in summaries too?

In this case, I'm going to guess yes, the answer is no.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46049027)

Betteridge's Law of Headlines says that if a headline ends with a question mark, it can be answered "no." Does this apply to questions asked in summaries too?

No. Remember that Betteridge's Law of Headlines only states that it can be answered with "no", not that "no" is the correct answer.
At most it implies that you don't violate grammar and logic when you answer with "no".
With that in mind a headline that ends with a question mark can also be answered with "yes".

The rationale for Betteridge's Law of Headlines goes a bit deeper saying that there is very few reasons for a questioning headline to have the answer "yes" since a provocative headline is more likely to give views.
There are however headlines in the style of "Why did prince Charles not attend the funeral?" that could reel in readers without being a yes/no question.

Three out of five? (4, Insightful)

J'raxis (248192) | about 9 months ago | (#46048189)

Three out of five PCLOB board members are in agreement: The NSA spy programs are illegal. ... Could this be the start of change to come?

Indeed. Expect the government to replace one PCLOB member.

Re:Three out of five? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46050903)

Three out of five PCLOB board members are in agreement: The NSA spy programs are illegal. ... Could this be the start of change to come?

Indeed. Expect the government to replace one PCLOB member.

It doesn't matter what their legal opinion is. The two dissenters are former lawyers, their opinion was that it's a court's job to decide this, not theirs.

Man who wouldn't be king's speech (5, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#46048209)

From a higher level, metadata, who calls whom, and when, would have been used to round up the Founding Fathers. Had they still managed to be successful, they would have forbidden that to government without warrant.

It's really that damned simple, people.

Re:Man who wouldn't be king's speech (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 9 months ago | (#46048545)

Here's what might have been in an intelligence briefing for King George:

http://kieranhealy.org/blog/ar... [kieranhealy.org]

sys cmd 495 auth 11-alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048215)

launch_drone_strike(target::NSA);
execute;

Let me draw the picture for you (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048291)

Somebody in the government ordered that each citizen will have to:

After finishing a phone conversation it must submit a written statement to its 'supervisor' stating to whom he called, for how long and what was the topic of the conversation, such statement will store in a safe vault and the 'supervisor' promises to not to look at it.
After sending an email to somebody (or for that matter any chat in electronic form) will also require to submit such statement along with the full content of the email / chat, again under promises of not peeking at it.
Citizens are recommended to use and carry with them the 'personal tracking device' (aka smartphone) at all times whenever possible, also to constantly submit a report of it's location for proper storing by the 'supervisor'
Failure to do so will automatically add such citizen into a list of suspicious persons and also registered as a dissident of democratic regimes.

The good news is that Obama decided to invest unlimited amounts of money in technology to provide an automated service that does that for every citizen in the planet, alleviating the harrasment that such continuous 'report' causes to us all.

Because in soviet russia...

Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048399)

I rather like the cat and mouse game of eluding surveillance. It's rather fun. Reminds me of the cold war in many ways.

Will any who gathered data illegally go to jail? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 9 months ago | (#46048405)

That is the $6 trillion question.

(yes, that's the cost)

Another brick in the wall (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 9 months ago | (#46048415)

There are many who will despair that reports like this will get ignored. What I think we can learn from history is that big legal and social changes in the United States don't happen overnight. It takes a long time to build the political will to fix a broken system. We saw that with the civil rights movement, we're seeing it now (in my humble opinion) with marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage.

Even though the agency that issued this report has no authority, it's one more source of media coverage, one more expert opinion saying the surveillance programs are un-American. What we need are years, not months, of frequent and critical media coverage. That is what change looks like.

I know the NSA's abuses can't end soon enough. The democratic process makes wise decisions slowly and foolish decisions instantly. Keep the pressure on, and give it time.

I think the outrage is hypocritical. (3, Insightful)

thewebsiteisdown (1397957) | about 9 months ago | (#46048439)

Consider for a moment your standard, run of the mill credit report that is easily obtainable by just about anybody. It contains an actual chronological record of anything you do from a financial standpoint, but the metadata that is able to be gleaned from it tells a much more invasive story about you than just who you called and when. It tells me the kind of car you drive, the amount of money you make, the kind of neighborhood you live in, I know where you work, where your kids go to school. I can even make a pretty good estimate on if you are having marital problems. This data collection has been going on for decades, without your consent, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. You can't even own the data about yourself, and others are both allowed and encouraged to make money off said information, mostly be way of penalizing you if they don't like what it says. Where is the outrage? Where is the oversight? Is it because one dataset is owned by corporate pimps and the other is owned by the government? I personally don't give a shit if the NSA knows who I called. The furniture store down the street can spend $7 and find out all about my medical procedure from 2007, and absolutely anything else about my life they care to look into within about 30 seconds. We conceded privacy for the sake of convenience a long, long time ago.

Re:I think the outrage is hypocritical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048603)

That is a very good point. If I had ever bothered to make an account and earn mod points I would mod this up.

only if you ask them to give you free stuff (3, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46049367)

Only if you choose to ask the furniture store to give you furniture without you paying for it can they pull your credit. If you ask them to front you some furniture, they can see what happened to other people who loaned you money. My credit report is almost empty, it lists a car loan and that's about it. Nobody sees my report because I don't go around asking people to let me spend money I don't have.

Contrast this with the government. They have thousands of records on me, every phone call I've ever made or received. All of my emails. There's no way to opt out. If I tried hard enough to get away from their prying, they have squadrons of heavily armed men to send after me.

See the difference?

Re:only if you ask them to give you free stuff (1)

thewebsiteisdown (1397957) | about 9 months ago | (#46049697)

No I don't see the difference, its is one of placing personal value on specific instances of privacy. Your opinion that "I don't use credit so there is nothing to see" is no more valid than my "I don't talk about terrorist plots so I have nothing to hide" where phone calls or email are concerned. And I reject the assertion that its "Asking for free stuff". They check your credit to rent an apartment, and then report your new address when you move in. They check your credit during the hiring process, and weirdly enough my credit report has my current employer on it with no intervention on my behalf whatsoever. And if you think that only people you are asking to do business with or work for or rent from can access your CR, you haven't been paying attention.

see the difference between "exists" and "doesn't"? (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46050387)

> "I don't use credit so there is nothing to see" is no more valid than my
> "I don't talk about terrorist plots so I have nothing to hide" where phone calls or email are concerned.

It's entirely different. In the case of the NSA, there are thousands of records for every person. There IS data being stored about your daily activities. Someone might say that there isn't anything INTERESTING to see about them, but there most certainly is a LOT to see - all of their phone calls, for example.

For the credit reporting agency, there simply isn't any data there if you don't go around borrowing money. You can claim the NSA data about you isn't important, but it is collected. The credit data on me does not EXIST. It's literally nothing (beyond maybe a phone book listing). So you're comparing NOTHING, no data being collected, to a vast database of our daily activities. You're saying the NSA spying is equalivent to - literally - nothing.

Re:see the difference between "exists" and "doesn' (2)

thewebsiteisdown (1397957) | about 9 months ago | (#46050749)

For the credit reporting agency, there simply isn't any data there if you don't go around borrowing money.

Not true.

The credit data on me does not EXIST. It's literally nothing (beyond maybe a phone book listing). So you're comparing NOTHING, no data being collected, to a vast database of our daily activities. You're saying the NSA spying is equalivent to - literally - nothing.

If I claimed "I don't use the phone or email" then I am re-framing your own argument. You are saying that one collection is BAD and one is OK based solely on the volume of information.(and since there is nothing of any value or volume, in your case, which is not at all true for the majority of people). You make an allowance for CR agencies because you (incorrectly) believe that its all about you asking for something from someone, or using their service. That same argument could be turned around if the government facilitates any network that your data travels over, then. So what's your problem?!? You want them to give your data a free ride, they just want a quick peek at its content! How is that unfair?!?!? /s

Re:only if you ask them to give you free stuff (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 9 months ago | (#46050441)

I could almost say the same but at some point I wanted to by a house and no credit history meant I couldn't get a mortgage loan. Today I get offers almost every day in the mail for credit cards I could never afford to pay if I maxed them out. That is exactly what they want too, me to max out a credit card and pay the minimum payment until I've payed back the amount 4 or 5 times in interest.

How I got a good mortgage without credit (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 9 months ago | (#46051213)

> I wanted to by a house and no credit history meant I couldn't get a mortgage loan.

If that's still an issue, or may be in the future, message me. I can give you the exact step-by-step plan I used for my mortgage. I even got to write my own mortgage documents, so it's assumable after it's 50% paid, I wrote the terms regarding late fees, etc.

Re:How I got a good mortgage without credit (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about 9 months ago | (#46051481)

I was referring to a couple decades ago after I got out of college and had that first good job when I said "No credit history". Much has changed since then.

Re:I think the outrage is hypocritical. (1)

allaunjsiIverfox2 (3506701) | about 9 months ago | (#46050471)

Consider for a moment your standard, run of the mill credit report that is easily obtainable by just about anybody.

The fact that some people sacrifice some of their privacy (Not everyone uses credit cards, believe it or not. I pay with cash as often as possible.) to corporations doesn't mean that they want additional information in the hands of the government. They are not hypocritical for being outraged.

Where is the outrage? Where is the oversight?

Maybe people do want oversight and regulations on both? That is entirely possible.

I personally don't give a shit if the NSA knows who I called.

Then you're naive and you're part of the problem. The government isn't--and never will be--made up of perfect angels. Hundreds of millions of people throughout history have been abused by governments, and you can damn well be certain that they'll abuse this data in whatever ways they say fit. There are civil rights organizations fighting to stop this at the moment, and you'd do well to support them.

And you may not care if the NSA knows who you called, but *I* do. Don't sacrifice my privacy because you don't care. That's pretty damn selfish.

We conceded privacy for the sake of convenience a long, long time ago.

Who is this "we"? It also varies by degree.

And what does it have to do with government surveillance? Nothing. The government should not be assuming you want all this data in their hands just because you surrender some to certain corporations.

I'm wary of their reasoning (4, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 9 months ago | (#46048451)

lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215, implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value As a result, the board recommends that the government end the program.

A thing like this ought to be legal or illegal regardless of whether it is useful or not... So, though I'm glad they've reached this conclusion, I'm hesitant to rejoice — if these are the standards to apply, we may have something horribly invasive coming in the future, which will survive legal scrutiny because it will be useful, even if otherwise illegal...

FISA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048485)

The FISA court have already ruled it legal. How can it now become illegal unbless FISA is a scam.

Re:FISA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46048745)

unbless FISA

We see what you did there, Citizen. A neurolinguistic programming antipatriot is what you are. You're on our list.

Re:FISA (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 9 months ago | (#46048999)

The FISA court doesn't rule on constitutionality of an issue, that's up to the Supreme Court ultimately and that's what the EFF and the ACLU have been fighting for the past few years. Unfortunately the way the legal system, that third check and balance we're supposed to have, requires vast amounts of time and resources along with legal success to ever ultimately get something to a final decision through the courts. Sure, you can have a lower Federal Judge say "unconstitutional" and then have the Court of Appeals say "No it is constitutional" based on the losing party in the case appealing. If the parties still pursue it there's no guarantee that the SCOTUS will ever here the case and like a lot of times, petitions to SCOTUS aren't granted Certiorari [thefreedictionary.com] which is a nice way of letting what ever the last, highest ruling court's decision stand or for whatever else they don't want to get their grubby hands dirty with. Ultimately the people in this country need to stop voting based upon what the political parties want you to hear and vote for candidates that will step up for our rights and not sell us out.

it's a waiting game (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 9 months ago | (#46048559)

If you're waiting for congress or the president to act, don't hold your breath...unless you can hold it for a few years because anyone who wants to run for congress or the president has 2 options. They can be against surveillance and obamacare or they can lose. The public will not vote for someone who has a differing opinion. They're both surprisingly not party line issues anymore.

Opens the doors to a legal challenge from...? (1)

Jedi Binglebop (204665) | about 9 months ago | (#46048799)

Surely this would mean that there is now grounds for someone (not sure who) to challenge the metadata collection operation in a court? Or sue? Or pursue happyness? *shrug*

Shoe falls, White House rejects findings. (5, Informative)

Virtucon (127420) | about 9 months ago | (#46048815)

Yeah, you already know the response White House, Obama isn't agreeing with the finding. [foxnews.com]

Back in 2005 then Senator Obama complained about the Patriot Act, which he's now defending.

“This is legislation that puts our own Justice Department above the law.If someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document, through the library books that you read, through the phone calls that you made, the emails that you sent, this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law. No judge will hear your plea. No jury will hear your case. This is just plain wrong.Giving law enforcement the tools that they need to investigate suspicious activities is one thing. And it’s the right thing. But doing it without any real oversight seriously jeopardizes the rights of all Americans, and the ideals America stands for.”

So by his own statements he's jeopardizing the rights and ideals of all Americans.

Re:Shoe falls, White House rejects findings. (1)

weilawei (897823) | about 9 months ago | (#46050747)

Politicians lie and you can't believe a word out of their mouth. News at 11.

Same Sex Marriage in Virginia... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 9 months ago | (#46049005)

...and now this?
How in the world will our government keep us pious and safe now?

Re:Same Sex Marriage in Virginia... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 9 months ago | (#46050565)

That's the distraction thingy. While everybody is either going after Same Sex Marriage the rest of the government can continue to overspend and spy on us. Continue about your business as usual, nothing to see here.

Interesting they're saying this now. (1)

JMZero (449047) | about 9 months ago | (#46049269)

Is this a new committee? Or did they just not know about this stuff until Snowden told them?

Isn't that evidence enough that there's a serious problem?

illegal? how about some arrests, then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46050037)

and book Clapper for perjury, too. he's unquestionably guilty.

when government flouts the law, citizens can't be blamed for doing so too.

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