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Senate Bill Would Ban Most Bulk Surveillance

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the assuming-they-can-pass-anything dept.

Government 176

An anonymous reader writes: Today Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a bill that would ban bulk collection of telephone records and internet data for U.S. citizens. This is a stronger version of the legislation that passed the U.S. House in May, and it has support from the executive branch as well. "The bill, called the USA Freedom Act, would prohibit the government from collecting all information from a particular service provider or a broad geographic area, such as a city or area code, according to a release from Leahy's office. It would expand government and company reporting to the public and reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reviews NSA intelligence activities. Both House and Senate measures would keep information out of NSA computers, but the Senate bill would impose stricter limits on how much data the spy agency could seek."

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Alright! Go Senate bill (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47559751)

I will cheer for you all the way until the first anonymous hold prevents you from advancing to a vote!

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (3, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47559797)

Well, since the party whose member is placing the hold has to at least make that known, if there's bipartisan support in the House and the Executive Branch is on board, I don't expect such a hold to go over very well. This might be one of the few things that both parties agree on and that neither party could really use as leverage against the other in an election year, as the public is starting to get upset across the board about it too.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47559819)

As someone who is generally an Obama supporter, the executive hasn't been on board the last few times this question came up.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (2)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47559895)

Of course not! Would you voluntarily give up a tool that was handed to you when you started your job, without a replacement provided?

That's the entire point of having separate branches of government.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559901)

I was wondering that too.
So now the question becomes, is this only for show or is there a loophole in the fine print?

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560121)

Fine print? No, it's in the invisible ink.

Not Congress's fault you didn't get a UV bulb to read it.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (5, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47560195)

TFS notes that Obama is behind this bill.

I find this interesting, since as head of the Executive Branch, he can order the NSA to do what this bill requires without bothering with a law, since no law exists requiring the NSA to collect telephone records on everyone.

And if such a law existed, it would be pretty clearly unconstitutional, and thus null and void....

Senate bill will get watered down like House bill (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 months ago | (#47560267)

The House bill started out as a strong pro-privacy bill that made a few concessions to NSA spying. By the time it was done with amendments, all that was left were the concessions to NSA spying and a bunch of nice but useless speechmaking. Obama may be talking positively now, but the pro-surveillance folks in the Senate will try to gut the bill, and anything that makes it past them will get trashed in the House-Senate joint resolution process.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (1)

Dins (2538550) | about 3 months ago | (#47560277)

I find this interesting, since as head of the Executive Branch, he can order the NSA to do what this bill requires without bothering with a law, since no law exists requiring the NSA to collect telephone records on everyone.

Yeah, but it's an election year. This way Congress con vote on something obviously popular to get credit for it. Not much, but it's something - and more than if Obama just exeuctive ordered it. Just a thought...

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 3 months ago | (#47560279)

I find this interesting, since as head of the Executive Branch, he can order the NSA to do what this bill requires without bothering with a law, since no law exists requiring the NSA to collect telephone records on everyone.

However, he can't order the next President to continue his policies. There's a lot to be said for pinning these things down so that they can't be changed on a whim.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 3 months ago | (#47560303)

I'm fairly sure we have secret laws to do with National Security; those are a post-WTC innovation, so it's entirely possible that there is in fact a law requiring same that Obama can't do much about.

Mind you, I don't think he cares much about civil liberties either.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560429)

The constitution is the law you dumbass. No other law is needed or is superior.
The fourth amendment and other [un/en]umerated rights prohibits search and seizure upon your life without reasonable suspicion and backed by warrant.
Bulk metadata includes YOU, therefore it is illegal.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#47560489)

I find it interesting that ALL OF THIS is covered by the Fourth Amendment. WE shouldn't need new legislation to uphold it.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560273)

There's not much to support with Obama. The man is a cardboard cut-out.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47560387)

Do you even know what you're trying to say, exactly?

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47560521)

As someone who's seen a cardboard cutout, I understand completely. Hell, it's pretty obvious what he means.

Of course, if Obama is a cardboard cutout because he takes orders rather than issues them, then it's a reasonable assumption that the same personality defect exists in most of our elected officials.

Probably a lot of the appointed ones, too.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47560611)

Oh, so he's impotent this week, not a tyrant. Thanks for the clarification.

Re:Alright! Go Senate bill (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#47560403)

Maybe this is all a strategy to get a republican in office in 2016, screw things up even worse; so that Cory Booker can run on a reform platform and win in a landslide. I swear he's being groomed even more than Obama was.

That's Great (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559775)

Really.

Golly, the "USA Freedom Ac" - it must be good! (5, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 3 months ago | (#47559779)

Golly gee, with a name like the "USA Freedom Act," it must be good!

I wonder if anyone's every thought of writing up a "Patriot Act" - that would be doubleplus awesome!

Re:Golly, the "USA Freedom Ac" - it must be good! (3, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | about 3 months ago | (#47559965)

If I had written the bill, I would have named it "USA #1 Freedom Bald Eagle Star Spangled Flag Waving Democracy Rah Rah Rah Act"

Re:Golly, the "USA Freedom Ac" - it must be good! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560041)

I don't know. It's a good bullshit name and all so it's got that going for it but the acronym "U#FBESSFWDRRRA" needs a little work.

Re:Golly, the "USA Freedom Ac" - it must be good! (1)

genner (694963) | about 3 months ago | (#47560055)

If I had written the bill, I would have named it "USA #1 Freedom Bald Eagle Star Spangled Flag Waving Democracy Rah Rah Rah Act"

Vote yes on FBESSFWDRRRA!

Re:Golly, the "USA Freedom Ac" - it must be good! (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47560525)

If I had written the bill, I would have named it "USA #1 Freedom Bald Eagle Star Spangled Flag Waving Democracy Rah Rah Rah For The Children Act"

There, FTFY.

Now it stands a reasonable chance of being passed, regardless of what's in it.

Re:Golly, the "USA Freedom Ac" - it must be good! (3, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#47560663)

Hey now! Did we even read the bill? We don't know that it will be bad, I mean the Senate has stood up against ... wait

and it has support from the executive branch as well

Never mind. We're doomed.

bunch of mind controlled slaves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559791)

first you were a "patriot"

but now you are "free"

The american people are so easy to mind control, I be their handlers are constantly laughing at them.

For domestic use only (3, Insightful)

xfizik (3491039) | about 3 months ago | (#47559801)

As a non-American I couldn't care less how much the U.S. government is spying on its citizens. What I'm concerned about is the absence of effort to curb the U.S. spying on non-Americans. I haven't heard my government even acknowledging the fact that the U.S. is going through all our communications. Decentralized Internet is badly needed and nothing seems to be in works...

Re:For domestic use only (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559881)

That's because of the little known "pay me back now" clause attached to all of the foreign aid packages the US has sent out over the decades.

If your government complains about our foreign policy, your government is instantly bankrupted.

Re:For domestic use only (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47559923)

Trust me, most of us don't want them spying on you either. But if you think we can do anything about that, before we stop them from spying on US, you're nutz.

Re:For domestic use only (4, Interesting)

xfizik (3491039) | about 3 months ago | (#47560037)

No, I'm not nutz and I understand the realities of all this, but the fact is that while you at least get the talk about how "bulk surveillance on U.S. citizens" is bad and a chance that it may one day be stopped or limited, spying on the rest of the world is not being discussed at all. It's not as you say:
1. make them stop spying on US citizens
2. make them stop spying on everyone else
2 will never happen from within the U.S. Our own governments are the ones who have to protect our communications and, as I said, they have not expressed any willingness to do anything in that direction, which is sad.

Re:For domestic use only (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560389)

... and I suppose this bill won't stop NSA's overseas friends like GCHQ from spying on US citicens in the US - on NSA's behalf; just like the NSA is doing in Europe. We are all f''**d

Re:For domestic use only (1)

Kookus (653170) | about 3 months ago | (#47560427)

2 is all you get.
Same as why U.S. citizens aren't asking other countries to stop spying on them. It's up to their government to prevent it. You know, sanctions and whatnot.

Spying is fun, tons of people are doing it. You ever open up outlook and view someone else's calendar? ohhh yeah, spying! It's all in the game.

Re:For domestic use only (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 months ago | (#47559977)

Maybe your own spy agencies need to man up.

Re:For domestic use only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560071)

Too fucking bad. As an American, I'm quite comfortable with our intelligence agencies keeping tabs on the rest of the world. I want them watching you. Nothing personal, and I have no ill will toward you, whoever you are.

I assume that your nation's intelligence agencies, if they're competent, are watching us too.

Re:For domestic use only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560169)

Too bad Im hope they will be like secret policemen the world over LAZY. When they get so busy bending you lot over and fucking you domestically they wont be quite so enthusiastic about trying it on with the rest of the world,

Re:For domestic use only (2, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47560543)

Too fucking bad. As an American, I'm quite comfortable with our intelligence agencies keeping tabs on the rest of the world. I want them watching you.

Yea, well, as an American who gives a fuck about both fiscal responsibility and how Americans are perceived abroad, I respectfully disagree with your idiotic position.

There's no point spending money watching people who don't do anything worth watching.

For domestic use only (0)

slashdice (3722985) | about 3 months ago | (#47560083)

That's ok, as an American I don't give a shit about you.

Re:For domestic use only (1)

xfizik (3491039) | about 3 months ago | (#47560161)

If you didn't give a shit, you wouldn't be spying.

Re:For domestic use only (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47560603)

He's not, the government is.

I.e., the same paranoid meth-head that's spying on you is spying on him.

Re:For domestic use only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560147)

You remind me of the Frasier Valley Press. They claimed that a new power plant in Sumas, WA would be harmful for the Frasier Valley. For example, the economic impact could be quite severe. It's almost as if the mayor doesn't care about the needs and the desires of Frasier Valley.
Well, yup. That's right. The Frasier Valley Press is distributed among some cities in British Columbia, Canada. Sumas is in WA state. That means that those Canadians did not help one bit vote the Sumas mayor into power, because they aren't part of the people that mayor represents. If those Canadians think that the actions of Sumas will make life harder on the Canadians, that's not the primary concern for the Sumas mayor.

Your post is slightly better: a careful reading indicates you're complaining that your government isn't responding to American spying. A slightly less careful reading makes it think you're just complaining about the Americans spying on you. Well, the Americans are likely to do what the Americans want to do, looking primarily after what they believe to be the interests of their nation, not yours. If you are trying mainly to express concerns about how your own government is responding to this, it might be helpful to mention just which government you're even talking about.

Re:For domestic use only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560469)

Fraser Valley.

Re:For domestic use only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560159)

Sure once you have your country end it's spying programs. What's tat you say, your wonderful country would never dare do such a thing? Well guess what dumb ass, all countries military groups spy. End of story.

Re:For domestic use only (3, Informative)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 3 months ago | (#47560163)

Decentralized Internet is badly needed

Very true, that is the only real solution to this problem. Whether corporations, governments, or criminals, the value in surveillance is too great to be resisted. The only solution is increasing the cost and detecting it when it happens. Decentralization will both make it more expensive to do generalized surveillance, and make it harder to do it without getting caught.

and nothing seems to be in works...

Not as true.

OwnCloud [wikipedia.org] lets you host your own dropbox, mobile-to-desktop sync, etc.
MediaGoblin [mediagoblin.org] lets you host your own replacement for YouTube.
Asterisk [wikipedia.org] lets you host an end-to-end encrypted replacement for Skype.
Tor [wikipedia.org] and I2P [wikipedia.org] let you slip past your ISP's surveillance net.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. Learn more at Stop-Prism.org [stop-prism.org] .

Re:For domestic use only (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47560625)

Isn't self-hosting a violation of most ISP EULAs?

Ever wonder if maybe that rule has less to do with bandwidth and more to do with preventing the creation of a peer-to-peer, decentralized internet?

Maybe I'm paranoid... but I became this way for a reason.

Re:For domestic use only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560301)

As an American, my government spying on foreign governments or you does not concern me (at all). In fact, foreign intelligence gathering should be the primary purpose of these agencies. They cross the line when these practices are being used domestically. Your governments are doing the same thing although they may not have the resources or capability of doing it at the same scale as the U.S. That however, is not my problem.

For domestic use only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560441)

That's because your government and peoples lick the balls of the US for their very existance.
Grow some nuts, then you won't care about the US.

Re:For domestic use only (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47560585)

Spying on other nations is Constitutional; spying on Americans, without an explicit warrant, is not.

In other words, it's perfectly legal for my nation's government to spy on you, but not on me. I understand your concern, but do not share it; rather, my concern is that the people in charge of our system of law don't seem to think the same laws apply to them, and that's a scary road to go down.

Regardless, I do agree that if you're not worth spying on, then it's a phenomenal waste of resources to do so.

meeting our maker(s) not as scary as thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559803)

the softer gentler side of us all, momkind the ultimate in selflessness never abandons us despite being abusively shuffled into obscurity again & again. creation prefers our tears & innocence feature much more than our WMD on credit violence mandate? just guessing...

Good progress, still needs more work (5, Interesting)

stewsters (1406737) | about 3 months ago | (#47559827)

While the changes are good, I do not think they go far enough.

Allowing full monitoring from someone two hops away from a suspect still can involve a lot of people. What if a suspect were to call Time Warner, then I was to call the same number later that day? It could potentially be a very large number. Also what qualifies as being a suspect? It may be that there are a half million suspects, and a majority of the earth's population is two hops away.

It also doesn't remove the First Amendment violations on the National Security Letters.

Re:Good progress, still needs more work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560235)

you forgot the in the national security clause bullshit that will be added, sides what does it matter as the DOJ will 'interpret' the physical implementation however it suits their interest to

Re:Good progress, still needs more work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560689)

Kevin Bacon is really screwed.

This is bullshit (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 3 months ago | (#47559849)

This is bullshit, what does the stinking government need beyond the information they force US citizens to fill out under penalty of law, out every 10 years its called the Census. We must start FORCING out elected officials to vote and act as we want them too. Not to do as there party dictates.

What's the point? (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 3 months ago | (#47559853)

It's pretty clear at this point that the executive branch can get away with completely ignoring any law they want, without actual repercussion.

Congress fiddles while our separated-powers republic burns. I can't find words for how much I hate Congress and the President for this.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559925)

and the media for not taking an issue of this over the last 20 years.
they play patsy

becasue there's no money in it. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560101)

and the media for not taking an issue of this over the last 20 years.
they play patsy

They make money by getting viewer to watch ads.

What gets viewers?

Bullshit issues. Issues that anger people.

Is the TV media covering this bill, the ramifications and past abuses by our government?

Fuck no!

When Snowden was caught it wasn't so much what he uncovered but about him personally and whether or not he is a traitor.

distraction.

Currently, the big news is what?

Russia, Gaza, and Fox News is all worried about something about In god we trust on money.

More distraction.

Now, when Bengazi or whatever it was called - don't give a shit - happened, the Republicans and Fox News beat the shit out of and it's still going on. But for something as serious as spying on us Americans? They bitched and moaned a bit but they went after some other distraction bullshit.

Or could it be that it would shine a bit too much light on the W. Bush administration and their power grab for the Executive branch - the biggest ever?

In the meantime, Obama took ALL those powers that the Bush administration grabbed and ran with it!

And the next President will do the same fucking thing.

what will Joe Schmoe worry about? Distraction issues. Abortion, gun rights, "entitlement programs", taxes - even we're paying the lowest I think since the Income Tax was implemented.

See, people do NOT know what Freedom is.

And that's why we should be teaching Civics in school and not code monkey skills to supply cheap local labor to Facebook and Silicon Valley parasites.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559975)

I can't find words for how much I hate Congress and the President for this.

Perhaps it should start with "revol" and end with "ution". Oh, no, that's only for serious matters.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 3 months ago | (#47560357)

I can't find words for how much I hate Congress and the President for this.

I can. But I'm afraid that if I use them in public, I could be put on the secret watch list [slashdot.org] and have to face extra scrutiny in every LEO encounter when "possible terrorist, report to FBI" pops up on their computer.

Of course, that chilling effect means that the peaceful feedback mechanism that is supposed to moderate government overreach is being attenuated. When that moderation system is weakened, excesses grow. Fortunately, as The Declaration of Independence notes, "accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." So we have time.

But time grows short; The Declaration does not end with that phrase.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Kookus (653170) | about 3 months ago | (#47560435)

Ok, so let's have them fail this bill. Would that make it better?

Re:What's the point? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47560633)

Congress fiddles while our separated-powers republic burns.

Yea, well, if you little peons wouldn't bitch so goddamn much, we could already be on vacation! Fuckers.

Sincerely (fuck you),
Your "Representatives"

Re:What's the point? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#47560691)

You'd suggest what? Cynicism is warranted with politics, but when it gets into resignation, then it's usually a contributor to the problem. People who would stand against the spying are too busy lamenting how the country is going to hell in a handbasket to actually demand something real. People who like their politics to be like a wrestling match in the meantime cheer on their team and let everything else get trampled.

Hamas Forces Having Sex With Goats (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559865)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2NLQvCZ5zI&feature=youtu.be

So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559871)

If they ban this surveillance, the powers that benefit from it will just stage another 9/11 disaster and everyone will be clamoring for it again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It seems far more likely that 9/11 was an inside job by loyal members of the intelligence community rather than some dumb Muslims. I mean, the official story plays out like some Oceans 11/12/13 movie plot. How likely would it be that any of that would happen in such a perfect storm?

Now loyal members of our intelligence community could definitely pull this off. In fact, most actors wouldn't even need to be privy to the entire plan. And once it's all finished, their loyal handlers just put a bullet in the back of their head.

CIA, etc. hijack some planes, turn off transponders, land them, kill the passengers and crew (bullets in heads), send new planes controlled via remote into the buildings, destroy original planes. 10-20 agents could pull this off. Over half of them (if not all but a couple of them) could be executed afterwards. And none but a couple (if not one person) would need to be privy to the overall plan. In fact, dude that was flying remotely the one that crashed in the middle of nowhere probably grounded the plane as he realized what was happening. No problem. His handler was right behind him and put a bullet in his head. Where were all the bodies in that wreckage?

Seems far more likely that Mohamed Jihad and his brothers in arms pulling off something akin to a movie plot. Who benefited the most? The Muslims or the intelligence community?

But nah... Downmod me. No way would the US government lie to the world about something like this.

Re:So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560053)

If you really paid any attention to the details and facts, from plane to plane and minute by minute report, you might realize how much tinfoil you're wearing. But you never will.

A sad perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559903)

I read this and I think: this is great, sounds like exactly what we need.

All the time I'm thinking that I have a dread feeling in my stomach that despite the words ringing true to what I want I know that it will either never make it through, have some obscure loophole that makes it absolutely moot or will simply be ignored by anyone who it restricts. Criminals have a horrible habit of not obeying the law after all.

It must be nice to have faith in your governmnet. Has that ever happened? Serious question.

Re:A sad perspective (4, Interesting)

Loughla (2531696) | about 3 months ago | (#47560019)

It turns out that spying on Europe is perfectly legal in the US after this law passes, and that spying on the US is perfectly legal in Europe. . . .

Lucky for everyone's citizens, no European country and the US are incredibly close allies.

Re:A sad perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560517)

are you kidding? The U.K., especially, and Germany are both known to have shared data gathered of each others' residents.
i.e. U.K. sharing what it knows about U.S. activity U.S. shares what it knows about U.K. activity.

Who does the NSA report to? (3, Insightful)

Garfong (1815272) | about 3 months ago | (#47559937)

Don't the NSA report, directly or indirectly, to the President? So if executive branch support a measure to limit bulk surveillance, couldn't they, of their own initiative, direct the appropriate agencies to cancel or modify the mass surveillance programs?

Re:Who does the NSA report to? (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 months ago | (#47560399)

Sure but they can write one order that is public and countermand it with the next classified one so you need something from congress since we still can not make secret laws.

In Soviet USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559939)

Too late. No freedom, militarized police, STASI all over the country.
Just bend over even more.

doesn't matter (5, Interesting)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about 3 months ago | (#47559943)

1. The President doesn't support this. He's the executive and is over the NSA. If he really wanted to stop bulk data collection he would simply call the NSA and say "hey, quit doing bulk collection". The law is needed specifically because he doesn't support it.

2. Unless the law will include criminal penalties it's of no value. A cursory glance shows that it simply says "hey, don't do that" instead of "hey, don't do that, and if you do it'll be a class _ felony with a minimum penalty of ___". It's interesting how laws made to limit non-government workers *always* have the criminal penalties, and laws that are made to limit government workers always conveniently forget that part. When we start jailing people who break laws like this we'll start making headway.

Re:doesn't matter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560005)

Not that I disagree with part #2 (that penalties are needed), but a law without penalties isn't necessarily completely useless. Right now, if I went to court to protest the treatment I'm getting, I'd get nowhere because the behavior is legal. At least making it illegal may give people some legs to stand on.

If this is even an increment in the right direction, it might not be enough, but it's more than we've been getting.

Re:doesn't matter (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 months ago | (#47560183)

Not that I disagree with part #2 (that penalties are needed), but a law without penalties isn't necessarily completely useless. Right now, if I went to court to protest the treatment I'm getting, I'd get nowhere because the behavior is legal. At least making it illegal may give people some legs to stand on.

If this is even an increment in the right direction, it might not be enough, but it's more than we've been getting.

The behavior isn't legal at all, it's completely unconstitutional.

unreasonable clause (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560541)

The 4th Amendment protects against "unreasonable searches and seizures", the NSA seems to think their information retrieval is perfectly reasonable, as does the SCOTUS.

And according the the constitution you're fond of citing, the SCOTUS has final word on that.

Re:doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560345)

The President could be against corporate donations to campaigns, yet seek them out while it's legal because he wants the rules of the game changed. The two are not contradictory. In much the same way, if there's an explicit law Obama doesn't take the rap for not doing everything possible should a terrorist attack happen on US soil again.

This is why politicians have been acting so cowardly on the whole surveillance issue. No one wants the blame when something happens and overall the American people aren't *that* mad about domestic spying.

Re:doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560687)

You know how they're going to get around this, right?
Everyone suspected of 'being a terrist' will automatically lose citizenship. Presto! It's legal to spy on anyione they wnat!

We already have a bill... (4, Insightful)

Bartles (1198017) | about 3 months ago | (#47559945)

...it's called the Bill of Rights.

Re:We already have a bill... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560305)

...it's called the Bill of Rights.

Aww... that's really cute.

Re:We already have a bill... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#47560713)

..which empirically is not enough to stop the current situation...

Reciprocal agreements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559947)

So instead of spying on its own citizens directly, now they'll just use the reciprocal agreements with Germany, England, Australia, etc.

"Hey, England...we'll spy on your citizens if you'll spy on ours."

Re:Reciprocal agreements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560395)

Already happening

What about data collected by foreign governments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47559953)

The US government should be banned from getting data on American citizens that was collected by foreign powers too.
Otherwise, the US could just trade data it gathered on foreigners with other governments who gathered data on Americans.
That loophole needs to be closed.

um (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47559959)

How about instead, we just pass a law clarifying that the constitution does indeed apply to algorithms?

Just because a robot searched your car does not mean your car was not searched.

i.e. A police officers doing:
C:\directory search batch file.bat
is no different than:
C:\dir

and really... that's what this all comes down to.

Too late (0)

aaron4801 (3007881) | about 3 months ago | (#47559963)

The trust is gone (what little there was to begin with). If there's anything we should have all learned in the past 13 months, it's that any bill claiming to curtail surveillance is sure to be so full of loopholes that it will likely only make the situation worse, as proponents will now have yet another law to say supports their activities. "The Senate bill would end the bulk collection authorized by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act." Ask anyone who follows this issue closely: 215 is the least of the abuses. There are countless other programs that are used for bulk collections, and by only outlawing this one (still skeptical about even that), the intelligence community will just spin it to say the rest have broad support. The whole system needs to be torn down.

Re:Too late (1)

aaron4801 (3007881) | about 3 months ago | (#47559987)

The White House supports this version? Then why did they send the goon squad to gut the already weaker House version? https://www.techdirt.com/artic... [techdirt.com] If this bill makes it to the President in tact, it'll be a miracle.

Big fucking deal. (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 3 months ago | (#47560007)

Big fucking deal; it was illegal before* and that sure as hell didn't stop them.

Remember Bush pardoning the telcos for their fascist behavior?

loophole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560045)

they won't, obviously, collect "all data" from any given provider. certain public officials will be excluded thus making it 'legal' for them to collect everything else.

How long did that take? (3, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 3 months ago | (#47560059)

So this would:
> prohibit the government from collecting all information from a particular service provider or a broad geographic
> area, such as a city or area code

Sounds rather specific. My bet is this was very carefully crafted, with help of the NSA to specifically and publically ban a slice of activities so narrow and specific as to stop NOTHING that they are currently doing.

Steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560081)

Step 1: Release meaty bill
Step 2a: Gain lots of political points, as media and population favor meaty bill.
Step 2b: Discuss with other politicians, as their votes will be needed.
Step 3: ????? (Always a pre-requisite for profit.)
Step 4: Get everybody on your side, and enjoy longstanding popularity up to 48 hours before the actual vote.
Step 5: Some sub-committee conveniently makes slight alterations, removing all of the meat.
Step 6: EFF complains. Wouldn't it be nice if congress cared?
Step 7: Meatless bill passes with flying colors
Step 8: Enjoy the fruits of success
Step 9: Notice that the population, annoying as it always is, is starting to grumble again
Step 10: Go back to Step 1

I really pay extremely little attention to politics. But I've seen this (or something awfully close to this) before (about this same issue, about the phone meta-data).

I have wondered what makes politicians think they have half a chance of re-election based on the things they have been doing.
I know about the old joke (well, it was a joke for some people anyway) about voting against all current politicians to try to get them out of office, every time. However, it never happens. At least, it hasn't. Before Snowden, I also haven't ever seen the federal government be so hated, for so long, without any corrective steps taken. It will be very interesting to see what happens during the next major national (American) election.
I'd almost think that Obama won't stand a chance of getting re-elected again, thanks to the 22nd amendment to the American constitution which would limit him to two terms in a row. However, I've also been learning not to be so naive.

AKA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560095)

The bill, called the USA Freedom Act (AKA The "Damn, Snowden!" bill)...

It's a Trap! (2)

rossz (67331) | about 3 months ago | (#47560097)

Given that the executive branch, that being the POTUS, has never seen a surveillance law it didn't like, I seriously doubt this law would actually impede the government's lust for any and all information on the People.

Besides, the actual implmentation of any law is always the exact opposite of the bill name. My guess, "The USA Freedom Act" means "freedom for the government to do whatever the fuck they want."

Smells like BS (3, Insightful)

tomkost (944194) | about 3 months ago | (#47560185)

I'd like to see an analysis by EFF or ACLU. Laws these days are named so that people will think they do when thing when the often do something else or even the opposite of what they do. There's no details given. I'm betting there are no criminal penalties for breaking this new either. Without that, it's useless.

Re:Smells like BS (1)

IMightB (533307) | about 3 months ago | (#47560313)

I agree 100%. What they should do is revoke the Patriot Act

Re:Smells like BS (1)

tomkost (944194) | about 3 months ago | (#47560401)

that's why I never voted for Obama in the first race. He said he would vote against Patriot Act re-authorization but in fact voted for it. Luckily that vote came up before the election. That's how I knew all he said before was just talk. Exec branch should be more transparent, we need less war, more freedom. All the things he said and he did the opposite. You can know who to vote for by looking at the record on Patriot Act re-authorization and NDAA 2012 as well.

The Republicans will never let it pass (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 3 months ago | (#47560289)

I can hear old Turtle-face McConnell now saying this is an election-year stunt by the Democrats to get votes. It's the same excuse he's used for filibustering other worthwhile Senate bills; never mind that it's a good idea and would be good for the country, it would make the Democrats look good and that'd cost Republicans elections, so they'll stop it from even coming to a vote.

Re:The Republicans will never let it pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560483)

If the President is for it, the Republicans are against it.

And he's not worried because the spies know who he is and exclude him from the spying.

Redefining the 4th Amendment (2)

yayoubetcha (893774) | about 3 months ago | (#47560299)

Wow! Really? We need a new law that is already covered, pretty fucking clearly, by the US Constitution's 4th Amendment:

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

So, let me get this straight... the 4th Amendment needs additional "refinement" to put teeth in its bite; but the 2nd Amendment is in a league of its own.

God Bless Amerifuckingca!

What on earth would be the purpose for this? (1)

DrPeper (249585) | about 3 months ago | (#47560331)

Ok first off, the agencies in question repeatedly have shown no compunction what-so-ever to following ANY laws. They certainly will not follow this one. On top of that all they have to do is say "National Security" and the point it moot. So someone please tell me why this is anything other than political band-standing, a complete waste of taxpayer money, and completely idiotically pointless.

They should just save some time and call it the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47560383)

US FAP Act.

I mean we all know it's just going to be a giant politcal circlejerk that leaves the citizens with messy faces :)

A good start (1)

LessThanObvious (3671949) | about 3 months ago | (#47560581)

I'll believe they are even remotely serious when some of the other garbage legislation gets repealed. We can go back to the days before 9/11 when we actually had some respect for rights freedoms and American values. Repeal these and pass the USA Freedom act: FISA Amendments Act of 2008 USA Patriot Act

plaster over a gaping wound (2)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 3 months ago | (#47560605)

This bill is entirely superficial. It's nice as a first step but the "two hops" bit makes it essentially meaningless pending further significant reform. It can be twisted to allow the level of surveillance we see today and it can be twisted that way in secret courts and closed meetings by bribed and blackmailed politicians. This is not the real reform that we need.

Ends the secret courts. Ends the closed door meetings. Establishes new definitions, clear ones to be used across all laws to stop the bullshit about "keeping America safe" by abusing its freedom. We need real reform not this lip service for the masses shit.

I would support a bill that

  • Does everything this bill does
  • Eliminates bullshit about hops, replacing it with a laborious per-item review and a per-item declassification requirement.
  • Requires judicial review by judges outside of the political process for every state secret
  • Guts the Patriot act
  • Recognizes metadata as private information when used in certain ways
  • Forces a real human to press the button on every bit of surveillance done eliminating dragnets.

Hailing this as an effective law on its own is a mistake and the freedom of the United States is in serious jeopardy. Let's not step off that cliff.

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