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ACLU and EFF Endorse Weaker USA Freedom Act Passed By Committee

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the dialing-it-back dept.

United States 107

First time accepted submitter sumakor (3571543) writes "The House Judiciary Committee has advanced a weakened version of the USA Freedom Act (HR3361). The amended compromise version allows collection of phone call records up to two hops away from a target, potentially including millions of customer records, and allows for collection without a judge's order in emergency cases. The amended bill also drops the requirement for a privacy advocate who can appeal the rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and extends the controversial Section 215 of the Patriot Act from 2015 through 2017.

Despite these significant changes the amended bill has been endorsed by the ACLU and the EFF as a first step and the most promising path towards reigning in government surveillance. The two organizations called for further Congressional measures to tighten control of surveillance authorities including an explicit definition of the term 'selector,' a reduction in the number of hops from 2 to 1 under most circumstances and the closing the loophole that allows searches of Americans' data inadvertently collected thru Section 702.

The bill now proceeds to the House Intelligence Committee, who has advanced its competing bill, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act (HR 4291). The committee will mark up both bills on the same day, beginning at 10am Thursday, behind closed doors."

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Two things... (5, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#46947943)

1) This bill basically changes nothing - they can do whatever they want by declaring an "emergency", and there is no effective oversight.

2) "Reining in", NOT "reigning in". The expression refers to slowing horses down, not kings at home.

Re:Two things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948007)

Do not vote for incumbents.

Re:Two things... (1)

CeasedCaring (1527717) | about 3 months ago | (#46948097)

Won't help. It's the unelected civil service running things, not your elected figurehead/scapegoat.

Re:Two things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948169)

Sure it would. We need another "Church Committee" but this time with the NSA's powers permanently/b> neutered.

Re:Two things... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948351)

The problem is that generally voters HATE congress, but LOVE their congressman.

Re:Two things... (2)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 3 months ago | (#46948461)

My senator Bill Nelson is shit. When the spying scandals broke last summer, I wrote to urge him to oppose the general warrants being issued by the NSA. Nelson sent me back some letter about how it's all legal and has oversight but that he "understand my concerns."

On the other hand, my congressman, Ted Yoho, wrote back agreeing with me and was one of the people voting to defund the NSA's collection operations.

Since he's actually doing the things I want, do I like my congressman? Yes. Would you rather have me vote for someone who doesn't oppose the NSA's activities? Why shouldn't I like my incumbent congressman?

Re:Two things... (2)

Kilo Kilo (2837521) | about 3 months ago | (#46950493)

He was making a generalization, but there is a valid point in there. Most people will blindly reelect their congressman because they bring home pork for their district even if they voted for the Kill Puppies, Spy on Americans and Piss in the Drinking Water Act. Your congressman seems to be an exception because he actually cares about stuff like this.

Re:Two things... (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 3 months ago | (#46953759)

Mine voted for the Kill Puppies act, so I support him. I'm a cat person.

Re:Two things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948073)

1) This bill basically changes nothing - they can do whatever they want by declaring an "emergency", and there is no effective oversight.

I find this extremely sketchy. If there is an emergency there is a need to resolve the problem immediately. There is no plausible scenario where there is a need for secrecy after an emergency situation has occurred.
I'm OK with going ahead without a judges approval in emergency cases with the requirement that the entire situation is documented and disclosed to the public within a few days. It should also be mandatory that a judge looks into every declared emergency case afterwards to decide if it really was warranted to act so hastily.

It is possible to have both surveillance and public oversight. Even when it comes to intelligence agencies with the purpose to spy on people in secrecy you can still have full disclosure with a twenty year delay or so to make sure that resources aren't wasted on blow and hookers.

Re:Two things... (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 3 months ago | (#46948115)

But they already have this "emergency" power. They can get backdated warrants from the FISA court now in emergencies. If they couldn't possibly obtain the after-the-fact rubber stamp then they clearly shouldn't be doing the survellience. This bill is a joke and so are these groups endorsing it.

Re:Two things... (4, Interesting)

GargamelSpaceman (992546) | about 3 months ago | (#46948531)

Bill is a joke

Yeah, even though the bill doesn't seem to grant more power to the government than it has already grabbed for itself, having a law around what was illegally done, legitimizes it after the fact, and puts the onus to create new law forbidding the abuses on those who would end them.
and so are the groups that endorse it

Except that the bill at least defines what can and can not be done. The status quo is no definition which means it's free to slide anywhere, by not being prosecuted crimes become norms.

One of the biggest things they should hash out in the courts IMHO is the idea that copying data to a hard drive and not having humans look at it is somehow not unreasonable search. A machine you operate needs to be considered your agent, as machines will only get more intelligent. Indexing is understanding and machines do this. If your agents understand the information gleaned, then the information has been effectively searched. To obtain a copy of information your machine agents have had to handle every bit of the information and save it. Having a copy is the most basic version of understanding information. It equals search. Indexing just compounds the crime.

Re:Two things... (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 3 months ago | (#46948661)

Yeah, even though the bill doesn't seem to grant more power to the government than it has already grabbed for itself, having a law around what was illegally done, legitimizes it after the fact

It's the old "try to get 10X and then 'compromise' on 5X' scenario. We've seen it with the RIAA when they lobby for draconian copyright laws and then "compromise" on less-restrictive (but still very pro-big-business/anti-consumer) copyright laws. The NSA did a huge thing that is legally sketchy at best. So they "generously" offer to scale back in exchange for the scaled back program being declared legal. After people accept that as the new normal, they go back to pushing the boundaries of what they can do and, if caught, will just forge a new "compromise" that still advances their operations.

Re:Two things... (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 months ago | (#46950281)

Except the law ALREADY defines what can and cannot be done, and seems to have been completely ignored, or rather "we went from lawyer to lawyer until somebody wrote an opinion saying what we wanted to do was legal".

There is no reason to believe that their behaviour will be any different after the law has been enacted than it is right now.

Re:Two things... (5, Insightful)

Andrewkov (140579) | about 3 months ago | (#46948165)

We are in a constant state of emergency due to the war on terror.

Re:Two things... (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 3 months ago | (#46949683)

We've always been at war with East Anglia.

Re:Two things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46950489)

And the Korean war still hasn't ended.

Re: Two things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949705)

And the war on terror has lasted longer than any war in us history. In fact, the amount of time we have been at war times Iraq, Afghanistan, north Pakistan an so on is cumulatively greater than the amount of time we have been at war in every war COMBINED in our nation's entire existence.

Also, it is fucking repulsive that were calling a bill toro ote erosion of liberties the "freedom" act. Fucking grotesque.

Re: Two things... (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 3 months ago | (#46953793)

Pakistan isn't a war. We weren't at war with Iraq all that long. If you look, you'll find that there were a lot of military operations in the history of the US that weren't wars.

Re:Two things... (5, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#46948167)

The whole "emergency" thing is just an excuse that exploits the widespread belief that the CIA/NSA frequently face scenarios where the clock is ticking and Jack Bauer/James Bond MUST get someone's phone data RIGHT NOW or PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DIE IN 20 MINUTES!!!! The fact that such scenarios almost never occur in real life is irrelevant, since the public doesn't know that.

Re:Two things... (3, Insightful)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 3 months ago | (#46948597)

Precisely. In fact, blame Hollywood at least as much as Washington. There's way more fictional terrorists and serial killers and so on than real ones. And they need the public to be much more afraid than is actually warranted, or they might push back against some of this madness.

I reserve a dedicated level of contempt especially for their fusion: the military-entertainment complex. Pentagon sponsoring series and films -- with strings attached of course so effectively outsourced propaganda -- has a much broader effect than just those productions. Companies might keep their content government-friendly for fear of missing out on future projects' funding.

Fear is the mind killer.

Re:Two things... (3, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#46948101)

I would add:

3) It doesn't fucking matter what they pass anyway, since neither Congress nor the President has any real oversight of the CIA or NSA, or any way of knowing if they're breaking the law or stopping them if they are.

The oversight doesn't care (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 3 months ago | (#46948197)

since neither Congress nor the President has any real oversight of the CIA or NSA

I think the President has a very good idea what the NSA is up to since the reports they generate ultimately come to him and his direct reports. I'm pretty sure the Congressional leadership also has a fairly good idea what is going on. However I do not think their interests align with those of the citizenry and so they have little to no incentive to exercise what you or I would consider proper oversight. They benefit from the violation of our civil rights.

Re:The oversight doesn't care (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 3 months ago | (#46948993)

I'm sure people whisper in their ears, "Ya know, if there's a terrorist attack and the biggest thiing you and your party did recently was make it harder for the NSA, well, what will the voters think?"

Re: The oversight doesn't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949983)

Which is wh it doesn't even matter. Fighting for your civil liberties is a waste of fucking time. It is inevitable that there will be a second terrorist attack, eventually. Maybe not today, but down the line. Once that happens, Americans will demand to have their anal cavities searched upon entrance to their local 7-11.

This will happen. It is inevitable.

Re: The oversight doesn't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46950043)

Ahhh, can't we just have the mandatory anal cavity searches NOW?

Re:Two things... (2)

Unknown1337 (2697703) | about 3 months ago | (#46948133)

Sadly your 1) is correct. If they tried to introduce this today as a new idea, the people would never have it. Allowing an easy bypass (not even a loophole yet to be exploited) to anything guarantees that it will become the norm and not the exception it was intended to be. We already have examples such as the NSA denial of FOIA requests simply because what they have (or don't have) on you /could/ be useful to someone or anyone with the slightest of misguided thoughts.

Re:Two things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948201)

We are at war. It is a permenant state of emergency.

Re:Two things... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948347)

In that case, I would say that "reigning in" is perfectly valid.

Or do you honestly think our so-called "representatives" do not think of themselves as royalty?

Section 215 is the problem (3, Informative)

bigpat (158134) | about 3 months ago | (#46949727)

The real problem is section 215 or anything like it. Which is what the government has been using to confiscate all sorts of records that companies that you do business with might keep. Limiting just phone calls misses 99.9999% of what the government might want to collect moving forward.

Section 215 is the provision which they have interpreted to mean every and all records collected by a business... server logs, router logs, email logs, credit card transactions, cable tv viewing data, car transponder data, car location data (as now collected by private companies and bought by the police), bank records, facebook friends lists, pictures you upload, library records etc etc etc. Basically everything that any company you do business with or knows about you could possibly think of putting in a database.

So on the face of this Congress really needs to enumerate the things that can be collected instead of leaving in a provision that seems to allow them to collect everything and then only restrict one particularly type of record

Maybe the ACLU and EFF are just trying to make a career out of this law. Because in another couple years we are going to hear about how they are collecting another type of data under section 215 and then the ACLU and EFF are going to be up in arms over it and fundraising to stop it. Guys, just hold the line and oppose section 215 or any insidious replacement of it. You can still support the two-hop limitation, but oppose the bill.

Re:Two things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46950163)

Also: "thru"

the EFF are losers who lose every case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947975)

one has to wonder if they are bankrolled by the intellectual property industry.

Not a solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947981)

The solution is simple. Reclassify the net under title 2

Hmmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948015)

The ACLU and EFF have been two of the most ineffectual groups of the last decade or more. Its arguable that most of the staff are CIA anyway.

Re:Hmmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948263)

Are they ineffectual, or is the anti-freedom group simply too large, powerful, and rich? I suppose there isn't much of a difference.

More Doublespeak (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948045)

Please note that the Orwellian title of this bill, as opposed to what is really in it.

Re:More Doublespeak (2)

ComputersKai (3499237) | about 3 months ago | (#46949785)

And the whole "War on Terror", noticeably. The people are in a constant state of "fear", which the government uses to control the populace.

"Freedom Act" (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 months ago | (#46948061)

Holy hell look at that name...this bill must be full of draconian nightmare laws!

Re:"Freedom Act" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948127)

Yoo haff learn much, young asshopper.
Soon will haff no left to teach you.

Brace yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948191)

Freedom is coming.

http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3thcpi

Re:"Freedom Act" (5, Funny)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 3 months ago | (#46948223)

I've always said that when the bill to re-institute slavery comes, it will be called the "Full Employment and Housing for Minorities Act."

Re:"Freedom Act" (4, Funny)

Hillgiant (916436) | about 3 months ago | (#46948759)

Finally a jobs bill that republicans can get behind.

Re: "Freedom Act" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949327)

Don't worry, dems already got them on a leash. Public housing assistance. EBT cards. Never ending wellfare. Prison industrial complex. Destroyed all sense of family values. Eliminated will and means to move up in the world for most.

This slavemaster only asks for their vote.

Re: "Freedom Act" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949747)

Eliminated means to move up in the world for most.

Capitalism did that all on its own. Unless you live in sparkly rainbow unicorn land where most people can be CEOs.

Re:"Freedom Act" (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#46950065)

Interestingly enough, it was the Republicans who freed the slaves...or did you think Lincoln was a Democrat?

Re:"Freedom Act" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46952919)

"Finally a jobs bill that republicans can get behind."

Repubs are the ones always saying how moral and ethical it is to work for free? Repubs are the ones who call people sociopaths when those people dont want to hand over their money to the govt?

Riiiight

Re:"Freedom Act" (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46948885)

Slavery? Are you fucking nuts? You have to house and feed slaves, did you look recently at the housing cost in most areas? Wages are way cheaper!

Re:"Freedom Act" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46950843)

Oh you're taking the bill's name too literally.

When they say housing, they really don't mean what normal people consider housing. The wording of the bill would be vague and the law full of loopholes that letting your slaves sleep on the street with a just cardboard box overhead would pass for giving them "housing"

Then some people will still forget to give them the cardboard box, because the fine for not doing so would cost less than paying for a cardboard box!

But first (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 3 months ago | (#46950895)

I've always said that when the bill to re-institute slavery comes, it will be called the "Full Employment and Housing for Minorities Act."

But first will be the "Women's Total Control Over Their Own Bodies Act", right after Roberts/Scalia/Thomas overturn Roe v. Wade, which at their present rate of terrorism, will be within the year.

Re:But first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46951609)

No, they would call it the "Dignity, Welfare, and Human Rights For the Fetus Act."

Re:"Freedom Act" (1)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about 3 months ago | (#46948385)

It really is stunning how the asses in Congress will name a surveillance law "Freedom Act"

Re:"Freedom Act" (2)

GargamelSpaceman (992546) | about 3 months ago | (#46948403)

Yeah, you can tell what the bill does by the title: it's generally the opposite.

Re:"Freedom Act" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948427)

Just like the "Affordable Care Act" will be not be affordable or provide good medical care.

Re:"Freedom Act" (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 months ago | (#46948537)

I won't argue. It was an attempt to make a compromise between a decently working system (Canadian-style health care, which would kill off a whole industry in the US) and a total clusterfuck (the status quo of US-style health care). So it's still kind of a total clusterfuck.

Re:"Freedom Act" (2)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about 3 months ago | (#46948511)

Holy hell look at that name...this bill must be full of draconian nightmare laws!

Bingo. We name our laws using the same methods that communists use to name their totalitarian hell-holes.

Re:"Freedom Act" (1)

AbrasiveCat (999190) | about 3 months ago | (#46948709)

"Freedom Act", well you know free to do what we want.

Re:"Freedom Act" (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46948907)

My first thought was "If Orwell was alive, he'd probably complain that he wants royalties, that name of the law sounds like it's straight from 1984".

Re:"Freedom Act" (1)

Grow Old Timber (1071718) | about 3 months ago | (#46948915)

Freedom from oversight...

freedom of reunion and politic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948077)

Any law restricting theses freedoms and fundamentals rights are bad for the democracy. Unfortunately, EFF is taking a significant drop in my opinion.

Doesn't do a thing really (4, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | about 3 months ago | (#46948107)

The only way to stop this mess is to completly outlaw ANY logging or surveillance by ANY agency (FBI, CIA, NSA, DEA, Homeland Security or whoever else) or by ANY private company on behalf of the government except where the surveillance or logging is being done on a specific identifiable entity (e.g. a Facebook account or a Google account or an ISP account or a cellphone number/account or whatever) AND a judge has granted a warrant.

Even the worst possible hypothetical attack (e.g. a terrorist with a nuclear bomb powerful enough to turn the entire eastern seaboard into a smoking crater) is not bad enough to justify any kind of monitoring, surveillance or logging of the communications of people who have not been classified as a threat by an independent judge.

Re:Doesn't do a thing really (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 3 months ago | (#46949253)

I think it's called the Constitution.

Except SCOTUS is MIA. When the justices are seen bloviating on the news networks, you know it's game over for us.

Lipstick on a pig (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 3 months ago | (#46948111)

This is legislation designed to limit surveillance, data collection, and data storage beyond what is presently allowed.

Though it sounds like a step in the right direction, for it's implementation to have any real teeth, the agencies it deigns to rein in would have to be rules-followers.

Observable evidence seems to run contrary to this conclusion.

Re:Lipstick on a pig (1)

anagama (611277) | about 3 months ago | (#46949509)

This legislation is a way to legitimize the ongoing illegal activity. It implicitly suggests that what was going on before was legal and now is being scaled back. This is worse than nothing -- it is a victory for the NSA, plus it's such weak tea, it's a double victory for those assholes.

No limits at all really... (3, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 3 months ago | (#46948113)

The amended compromise version allows collection of phone call records up to two hops away from a target, potentially including millions of customer records, and allows for collection without a judge's order in emergency cases. The amended bill also drops the requirement for a privacy advocate who can appeal the rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and extends the controversial Section 215 of the Patriot Act from 2015 through 2017.

This is the "weaker" version? This basically is a bill with no limits.

Two hops? That just means if you ever called the phone company, a utility, UPS/Fedex etc then they can "hop" to you. It's no real limitation at all. It also means that they can just declare something an emergency whenever they want. No real oversight. No advocate for the citizenry.

Re:No limits at all really... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 3 months ago | (#46948257)

This is the "weaker" version?

That's what I was wondering. The article makes this sound like the "strengthened" version, what with it dropping the privacy advocate.

But perhaps the original version wanted six-hop call tracking...

Re:No limits at all really... (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 3 months ago | (#46953835)

Realistically, what would the privacy advocate add? After a few weeks, he or she would be background noise.

Re:No limits at all really... (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 3 months ago | (#46948379)

Its one more step to a new domestic parallel construction becoming legal.
Telcos get retroactive immunity.
2 hops with no real court support is now not illegal.
A lot of color of law to out pace the Fourth Amendment.
Thats the fun legal aspect to been to told to think back to some 'event' and watch your laws get altered.
With every generation of legal staff seeing or been told about emergency cases, all protections are reduced for decades until the next emergency.
The laws still stand just some cases will not exist in the same legal setting.
You enter a secret court where it has been decided that you won't get a Fourth Amendment, have to pay for a security cleared lawyer and that lawyers conversation with you will be recorded.
Evidence is something your cleared lawyer can see but never mention in public, tell you about or contest in any court setting.
The Fourth Amendment still exists, just not in court set up for you :)

Government surveillance (1)

Triv (181010) | about 3 months ago | (#46948153)

Long may it reign.

If Jefferson were smart he'dve made a Declaration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948157)

of Covenants. Condo boards have really proven the Constitution archaic.

well (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#46948221)

This bill sucks... and I wondered "Why would the ACLU support this?" But when you really think about it, if your neighbor had a vicious attack dog and you wanted him to take it to the pound, and he came to you and said "Well, I got this $4 leash and tied him to a tree..." are you going to say "Absolutely not!" No, you're going to thank him, wait a few days and then continue to pester him to get rid of the dog. Some restraint is better than none. I suspect the NSA will completely ignore this legislation and the ACLU will use it as legal leverage to file lawsuits and try to reveal more evidence of what they're up to.

Re:well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949753)

My neighbor has a right to protect his house with a vicious attack dog. I would not bug him to get rid of it.

If the thing barked so much it kept me up at night I might bug him to get the dog some training to put a stop to that. Or if the dog was liable to hop the fence into my yard, I might bug him to take measures to prevent that. But other than direct harmful impact to me I would no more expect my neighbor to get rid of his dog than he should expect me to get rid of my gun.

If that dog stops a thief, the whole neighborhood (including me) benefits. If I am concerned that the presence of the dog makes my own house a more attractive target, I will get an ADT sign to put out font (or maybe my own dog).

If I face a threat, I will strengthen myself against it. I will never expect that my neighbors should make themselves more vulnerable in order to give me a misguided sense of safety.

The US government... Give a micron... (3, Informative)

Chas (5144) | about 3 months ago | (#46948265)

Take whatever the fuck they want.

They can basically operate however they want until someone snitches on them.

At that point, there's a big kerfuffle in DC as people dive out of the line of fire. Then...nothing.

Shortly afterwards, the informant is renditioned or flees and is declared an enemy of the state.

Perfect Solution Fallacy (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 3 months ago | (#46948341)

The perfect solution fallacy is an informal fallacy that occurs when an argument assumes that a perfect solution exists and/or that a solution should be rejected because some part of the problem would still exist after it were implemented. This is an example of black and white thinking, in which a person fails to see the complex interplay between multiple component elements of a situation or problem, and as a result, reduces complex problems to a pair of binary extremes.

It is common for arguments which commit this fallacy to omit any specifics about exactly how, or how badly, a proposed solution is claimed to fall short of acceptability, expressing the rejection in vague terms only. Alternatively, it may be combined with the fallacy of misleading vividness, when a specific example of a solution's failure is described in emotionally powerful detail but base rates are ignored (see availability heuristic).

The fallacy is a type of false dilemma.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948439)

On the other hand, if you have a situation where the 'compromise' involves allowing unacceptable acts to take place, and the acts are unacceptable to such a degree that people believe the entire compromise is intolerable, it is 100% okay and not illogical at all to point this out.

Did you consider that that's what people were doing?

expressing the rejection in vague terms only.

Nothing vague here. It has been discussed many times over.

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948561)

"FREEDOM!!!!!!!" is not a specific term of rejection. The government has a perfectly legitimate purpose in the acts. The Constitution explicitly charges the US Government with providing for the general welfare of the United States, and for defending her against her enemies.

Certainly personal rights are useless if the United States does not exist, so it should be clear even to a 5th grader that protecting the United States takes precedence over individual liberties.

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46948651)

Hopefully you're a troll, but authoritarians who are utterly ignorant of the hundreds of millions of people abused and/or murdered by corrupt governments throughout history seem to be somewhat high in number. Though your post looks to be in the same style of the other authoritarian AC assholes that I've debunked around 50 times.

"FREEDOM!!!!!!!" is not a specific term of rejection.

Go look in the dozens of other articles on Slashdot about the NSA. Specific objections have been given many, many times. You're willfully ignorant.

The government is not, has never been, and will never be comprised of perfect beings; they're as corruptible as anyone, and cannot be trusted with all this data. To trust them is the same as trusting the current government and all future governments to do the right thing, but since they're not perfect beings, you open the door for them to target anyone they please.

The Constitution explicitly charges the US Government with providing for the general welfare of the United States, and for defending her against her enemies.

You seem to be ignoring other parts of the constitution. The government cannot violate people's rights in the name of safety unless the constitution *explicitly* allows it.

Certainly personal rights are useless if the United States does not exist, so it should be clear even to a 5th grader that protecting the United States takes precedence over individual liberties.

Having principles is not useless. Violating the constitution and people's liberties is unacceptable.

The real "land of the free and the home of the brave" would not allow the government to violate the highest law of the land and people's fundamental liberties just to keep the country safe; it'd rather go down fighting. Instead, we're the land of the utterly worthless cowards, and you're one of the worthless cowards that made that happen.

If you want a country that's more to your liking, might I suggest North Korea? I've suggested the same to other authoritarians, but they usually don't like it, despise advocating that the government have powers that they'll use to slowly turn the country into a police state. What strange 'people' you are.

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 3 months ago | (#46949055)

Indeed, nothing any terrorist could do could cause the United States to cease to exist. Mr. Trollheim here is only correct about that point, but is overblowing the threat by several orders of magnitude.

In the face of an existential threat to the United States, her citizens have a proven track record of rising to the cause (WW1, WW2). Of course, there has been no existential threat to the United States since World War 2, except for maybe the Cold War, but that was an existential threat to all of humanity. So, who knows what Americans would do today? If what I see on TV is any indicator how what Americans think about America, it would not surprise me if American Citizens just laid down and allowed an oppressive regime to march right in and take over, for free stuff..

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 3 months ago | (#46953911)

Except that the government does have a legitimate interest in all of this, and currently there are no clear laws preventing it. The Fourth Amendment protects against "unreasonable" searches, and has some criteria for warrants, but it doesn't define reasonableness and doesn't stop judges from being free with warrants. The NSA is interpreting the law in ways I disagree with, but not out of recognition, and they almost certainly have a policy of staying mostly within the limits of the law as they interpret it.

The government does need the right to search things, which is why the Fourth allows it (in contrast to the Fifth, which is absolute about the right not to incriminate oneself). The question is where we draw the boundaries of this right. This bill doesn't draw them as tight as I would like, but it does provide boundaries.

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 3 months ago | (#46949109)

Certainly personal rights are useless if the United States does not exist, so it should be clear even to a 5th grader that protecting the United States takes precedence over individual liberties.

So in order to protect our freedoms, we have to give them up. Beautiful.

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 3 months ago | (#46952207)

Well similar precedents have already been set:

I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | about 3 months ago | (#46949091)

So what you are saying is that the American population should be happy they are being bent over and raped in the ass with a 10" dick because they could be getting raped with a 14" dick. If you don't want to be fucked in the ass it doesn't matter if it is a 10" or 14" dick you are stilling being ass raped.

The simple truth is that this bill supports the invasion of privacy under the guise of keeping America safe, it doesn't matter how complicated it is, privacy is being invaded.

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 3 months ago | (#46949545)

No, that is not what I am saying at all.

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949639)

So what you are saying is that the American population should be happy they are being bent over and raped in the ass with a 10" dick because they could be getting raped with a 14" dick. If you don't want to be fucked in the ass it doesn't matter if it is a 10" or 14" dick you are stilling being ass raped.

Actually, with technological advances they will likely be collecting more and more data from companies to more than make up for this two hop limitation for just phone call records. To borrow your analogy it is more like they are actually increasing the size of dildo to 20" but now they are going to give you some pills so you forget all about it. Might be sore in the morning, but you won't even know why.

Re:Perfect Solution Fallacy (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 3 months ago | (#46952439)

If you don't want to be fucked in the ass it doesn't matter if it is a 10" or 14" dick you are stilling being ass raped.

As my gay friend, Dennis, said, "Oh, trust me, it makes a big difference. You wouldn't believe the difference..."

99.9999% still unconstitutional (1)

bigpat (158134) | about 3 months ago | (#46949553)

Leaving section 215 in place without limitation means that the government can still order companies to hand over all their records. According to this report the only limitation now is going to be this two hop restriction on phone records which is likely to be narrowly construed to mean just phone calls and not text messages or location data or credit card transaction records or server logs or router logs or facebook friends lists or pictures you have uploaded, or files you store in the cloud, etc etc.

Calling this an "imperfect solution" is being very very misleading. This isn't a solution it is a lie.

The ACLU would have more credibility... (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about 3 months ago | (#46948369)

...if they aggressively pursued all Bill of Rights violations by the government, not just those of the Constitutional Rights that they particularly happen to agree with.

Re:The ACLU would have more credibility... (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46948513)

If you mean the second amendment, there is the NRA for that, though the NRA does a rather poor job of defending it. But that's the organization with most of the resources.

The ACLU seems to get a lot of flak from authoritarians (though in this case I do wish their interpretation of the second amendment were different), but they do some good work.

Re:The ACLU would have more credibility... (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 3 months ago | (#46948877)

The NRA has roughly 10 times the funding that the ACLU does, last I knew. The second amendment doesn't need the help of the ACLU with the NRA around.

Re:The ACLU would have more credibility... (1)

Chowderbags (847952) | about 3 months ago | (#46949015)

Yeah, when was the last time they took up a case about quartering troops in people's houses or made damn sure that suits at common law for $20 would be tried by juries? Oh, wait, you probably mean the second amendment. The one that already has the NRA standing up for it with twice the total budget of the ACLU. But if it makes you feel better, the ACLU has actually defended gun owners before: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04... [nytimes.com]

Re:The ACLU would have more credibility... (2)

imikem (767509) | about 3 months ago | (#46950365)

It would sure be nice to take a few giant whacks at the grotesque manipulation of the interstate commerce clause to allow virtually anything to be federally regulated and mandated. Might need a few $BILLIONS to manage that though.

Dear Congress, (4, Informative)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about 3 months ago | (#46948493)

Unless you provide criminal penalties for those who would break this law, don't bother. You know what I mean - you do this for *every* other prohibitive law which doesn't target government, but always seem to forget that part when you're trying to reign in government.

While you're at it, make a breach of this law also be a civil cause of action.

Seriously.

Otherwise, don't bother. If there's no penalties for breaking this law, it'll be ignored like all the rest of them.

Two Hops (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 3 months ago | (#46949159)

I hereby request all CostCo, Amazon, and my local power and water utility company customers to please abstain from ever being suspected of anything.

If you're not sure whether or not you might be suspected of a crime, perhaps a good rule of thumb is that you should try to stay two hops away from any actual criminals. So if you're a Bank of America customer, yes, that means I'm asking you to not use my local power utility.

Thank you for your cooperation.

NO, WAIT! NO!!! No, I didn't mean to imply I'm cooperating with those suspected suspects. No. Oh, shit. Shit! *sigh* Sorry, neighbors. Yes, of course, I will immediately cancel my local power utility.

Obvious naming structure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949185)

The 'Patriot' Act, the 'Freedom' Act. It seems the American sounding buzzwords for Acts are the less American Acts in terms of real freedom and constitutional rights.

What is Really Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46949381)

I haven't seen anyone call for it, but what is really needed is a time limit on classifying data collection. Say 5 years. If the data collection goes public after 5 years, there will be more accountability. We want know what they're doing, but we will know what they did. And, if they can't justify it, they could be prosecuted.

Section 215 means they can collect everything (3, Informative)

bigpat (158134) | about 3 months ago | (#46949461)

"extends the controversial Section 215 of the Patriot Act from 2015 through 2017."

Section 215 is the provision which they have interpreted to mean every and all records collected by a business... server logs, router logs, email logs, credit card transactions, cable tv viewing data, car transponder data, car location data (as now collected by private companies and bought by the police), bank records, facebook friends lists, pictures you upload, library records etc etc etc. Basically everything that any company you do business with or knows about you could possibly think of putting in a database.

Putting a 2 hop limitation on phone records misses 99.9% of the types of records government surveillance will be interested in collecting and aggregating moving forward. Might as well put a telegraph limitation in there or a horse and buggy surveillance limitation and call it "restraint".

Freedom act (2)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 3 months ago | (#46950185)

Even the average anesthetized American brain can see the irony in these names. Soon we shall have a ministry of love.

behind closed doors (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 3 months ago | (#46950435)

And the EFF and ACLU approve?? Very sad. That the voters approve is sadder still.

The Waiting Of The Storage Manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46951983)

And behold, I saw the numerous storage manufacturers waiting nervously at the gates to hear more about the coming government spending spree. One for two or two for one, that was the issue. For there lies the wisdom of the old. As long as the media spins, so do the politicians.

No change, then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46953059)

The names for American legislation, are lifted straight out of Orwell's 1984, as are the ruling regime's policies.
Eternal war, anyone?
It is grossly perverse, given all the empty talk of democracy from the US media, and the series of truly awful militaristic/corporate fascist regimes that have ruled over the last few decades.
Someone needs to reign in the endemically corrupt tie-in of the totalitarian security apparatus, lobbyists, corporations, the military, and the shameful excuse for politicians. It has to be done before even more people living in other parts of the world are attacked by this evil regime, either economically, or militarily.
America is by definition, a rogue state. Who cares what they do domestically. It is the detrimental effect they have on the rest of the world that worries me, as they try to impose their 'free trade' agreements (which are anything but, if you actually bother to read them!), their economic policies (which are designed to benefit American corporations), or the expansionist military tendencies (which are designed to further seat American influence, wherever there is something to plunder for the ruling elite).
I feel truly sorry for the ordinary American worker. They are stripped of basic employment rights, have a terrible health care system (even many poor countries have a lower infant mortality rate), and have no real political influence. The dollar's day as a reserve currency are numbered. When foreign powers stop buying US debt, the house of cards will crumble. Let's just hope they are more gradually divorced from the world economic cycle, and they go out with a whimper, rather than a grand implosion.

USA Slavery Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46953331)

Do not get this confused whatsoever, a bunch of dumb old cocksuckers (congress and the president), usually call a bill something where you don't even realize you're being ass-fucked.

Let us call this what it really is the "USA Slavery Act", an extension of the first Patriot, er slavery act.

Fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46953373)

It is just a further expansion of fascism. It solidifies a partnership between government and communication companies. The fascist are attemting to seize control over communications including the Internet.

We can't allow that to happen under ANY circumstances.

I don't condone violence, but I will not shed a single tear for any officers or company board members that get hurt because of these actions. If you don't want it to happen to you, then don't do it to us.

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