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EFF Sues NSA, President Bush, and VP Cheney 267

Posted by timothy
from the aw-heck-why-not dept.
VisualE writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will file a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies today on behalf of AT&T customers to stop the illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. The five individual plaintiffs are also suing President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless domestic surveillance."
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EFF Sues NSA, President Bush, and VP Cheney

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  • Big (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yvanhoe (564877)
    Wow, that's... big.
    How many trial did the EFF lose ? IIRC, they are usually fierce and study their cases carefully before going to court, am I wrong ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lwap0 (866326)
      Is this lawsuit any different from the ACLU one though? They seem to be covering the same ground.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by nomadic (141991)
      How many trial did the EFF lose ?

      Plenty.
      • Re:Big (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:30PM (#25057825) Homepage Journal

        That's just what they want you to think.

        Either way, they're pretty tenacious and well known, they may even have as much or more public recognition by now than the ACLU.

        Even if they lose this one (or don't entirely get their case), they'll still win. They've backed up some significant cases and have become well known for it, and this will only make them more popular.

        In some eyes, the EFF, for what they stand for, may never be wrong, and they could quickly turn into a religion of legal sorts. Especially considering that the targets, the "general unpopular undoers of society", have already had sights set on them many times and even though the law assumes they're in the right or not so in the wrong, they're pariahs and nothing they can do can prove to the people they're not bad guys.

        There's a lot of 'little guys' that have gotten hurt by the unfairness of the law when they're weighed against corporations, and it's really building up. The EFF could be one of many outlets for a meta-ideology when people really do start fighting back.

        Anyways, I'm just saying this so I can say "Holy shit, I was right?!" later if it really turns out that way.

        • Re:Big (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gfxguy (98788) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:34PM (#25057901)

          They don't have anywhere near the recognition outside of the IT industry that the ACLU has.

          Most of what you wrote about the EFF applies to the ACLU, also.

          If they are redundantly making a case, they ought to be careful about it - the ACLU and EFF should certainly be cooperative towards each other, IMO.

          • Re:Big (Score:5, Funny)

            by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:41PM (#25058053) Homepage Journal

            It'll be SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! Check out this tag team battle of the century as the EFF and the ACLU take on the NSA and The Bush Administration in this BATTLE TO THE DEATHHHHHHHHH! EXTREME action! Blood, violence, lawyers TO THE MAX!

            ONLY ON PAY PER VIEW!

          • Re:Big (Score:5, Insightful)

            by moderatorrater (1095745) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:55PM (#25059453)

            They don't have anywhere near the recognition outside of the IT industry that the ACLU has.

            No they don't, but have they started to get a reputation in the legal industry? The reason I ask (and hope that somebody can answer) is because the ACLU has become publicly known more because of how long it's been around than its recent cases. I imagine that the EFF could be in the position that the ACLU was in a few decades ago. I imagine that the legal professionals, who watch cases more closely and see patterns much sooner than the public would, might see the EFF as an up and coming organization.

            Either way, I sincerely hope that they win this case. Our civil liberties have been eroded enough since 9/11, thank you very much, and I for one wouldn't mind a few legal cases putting the fear of constitutional restrictions into the heart of our next president.

        • Re:Big (Score:5, Informative)

          by KGIII (973947) * on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:55PM (#25058271) Journal

          Either way, they're pretty tenacious and well known, they may even have as much or more public recognition by now than the ACLU.

          Hint: Go OUTSIDE into the light son. Outside... Just once in a while. Ask people (real people, not people on /. or IRC) if they even know who the EFF is. Ask them if they know who the ACLU is. Seeing as you'll be doing this you might want to bring along a flyer or someting so you can explain what Linux is, what open source is, and then explain what the word freedom means to those people. It'll be good for you. You might even get a tan.

      • Re:Big (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:34PM (#25057903) Journal
        Oh look, someone who reads Andrew Orlowski articles. There are two things you should be aware of when you read one of his pieces:
        1. He almost never checks his 'facts'.
        2. You are wasting time that could be more productively spent banging your head against your desk.

        There's a nice long list of cases they won [eff.org], but somehow the fact that Orlowski cited half a dozen where they'd lost (including at least one where they'd dropped the case because they'd won a victory in a related case that made it irrelevant) started the meme that they always lose.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by nomadic (141991)
          Oh look, someone who reads Andrew Orlowski articles.

          Oh look, someone who jumps to conclusions. You seem to be disagreeing with my simple factual statement that the EFF has lost a lot of cases. Any evidence to back this up?

          There's a nice long list of cases they won

          First of all, that nice long list of cases does not disprove my assertion, that they lost plenty of cases. That list doesn't have their losses I notice.

          Secondly, in several of those cases the EFF's role was to file an amicus curiae br
          • Re:Big (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:00PM (#25058391)

            First of all, that nice long list of cases does not disprove my assertion, that they lost plenty of cases.

            Don't be throwin stones from your glass house - your assertion of the unnumbered 'plenty' aint shit without a cite.
            At least he did better in one post than you have in two.

            That list doesn't have their losses I notice.

            Ah, so it is up to him to prove your point too? No wonder lawyers have such a piss poor rep.

    • DONUT??? (Score:5, Informative)

      by BPPG (1181851) <bppg1986@gmail.com> on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:21PM (#25057623)

      If you were ever planning to donate to the EFF at all, now might be a good time.

      http://www.eff.org/support/ [eff.org]

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by geekoid (135745)

        Hey, you trick me! You said Donut in the title.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Note to Moderators: Posts relatating to donuts of any type are always on topic. Please adjust your crullers accordingly.
        • by KGIII (973947) *

          Off topic, sure... But if you'd just said "MARGE!!!" at the end you'd have been funnier. I, at least, immediately thought of Homer when I read that.

      • Mod Parent Up (Score:4, Interesting)

        by colonslashslash (762464) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:51PM (#25058211) Homepage
        We have an ever increasing need for a reputable organisation such as the EFF fighting our corner. Governments and corporations have woken up to the digital revolution, and they all want their piece of the pie - often at our expense. They are one of the few organisations I donate monthly to, and I'm not even a US citizen / resident. They really do try and make a difference online and as evidenced by this story, there are no opponents too rich or powerful for them to take a stand against.

        ... Also, they gave me a "free" t-shirt. \o/
      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Why?
        They didn't include every senator that voted for the Patriot Act?

        This is just a lovely bit of politics that means nothing.

    • Didn't congress aprove a law that actually give the dictators in place immunity for this sort of things?

      • by Hyppy (74366) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:39PM (#25058001)
        No, they gave the telcos (AT&T, etc.) immunity.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by megamerican (1073936)

          No, they gave the telcos (AT&T, etc.) immunity.

          However, the Constitution [wikipedia.org] specifically forbids Congress from writing any ex-post-facto [wikipedia.org] laws, which includes retroactive immunity.

          That means anyone who voted for the telecon (no typo) immunity bill [slashdot.org] has broken their oath of office to defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic.

          I'm sure plenty of people will still vote for Obama even though he willfully voted for an unconstitutional bill (not that McCain is any better). It just shows you that neither party is a true opposition party when it co

          • by Hyppy (74366)
            I didn't know that. I was not previously aware that the immunity bill was unconstitutional, on top of being morally bankrupt.

            Learn something new every day!
          • by russotto (537200) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:27PM (#25058897) Journal

            However, the Constitution specifically forbids Congress from writing any ex-post-facto laws, which includes retroactive immunity.

            No, it does not include retroactive immunity.

            These are the ex post facto laws, according to the Supreme Court in Calder v. Bull :

            -----
            1st. Every law that makes an action , done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action.

            2nd. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed.

            3rd. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than the law annexed to the crime, when committed.

            4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offence, in order to convict the offender.
            ----
            A law making something NOT a crime when it was a crime when committed is not covered.

            (incidentally, the Supreme Court has pretty much chipped the 3rd one away to nothing since Calder v. Bull)

            • by TubeSteak (669689)

              These are the ex post facto laws, according to the Supreme Court in Calder v. Bull :
              ...
              4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offence, in order to convict the offender.
              ----
              A law making something NOT a crime when it was a crime when committed is not covered.

              The telecom law that was passed allows the Administration to give the Courts a letter affirming that the Administration told [Company] that they were not breaking the law.

              How does that not set the stage for "different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offence, in order to convict the offender"? And it plainly alters the legal rules of evidence required to convict.

              • by russotto (537200) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:48PM (#25059295) Journal

                How does that not set the stage for "different, testimony, than the law required at the time of the commission of the offence, in order to convict the offender"? And it plainly alters the legal rules of evidence required to convict.

                Because the ex-post-facto thing is one way. If the law made it easier to convict, it would be ex post facto. Since it makes it harder to convict -- that is, you still need all the same evidence that you needed before to convict, PLUS you need the lack of this letter -- it is not covered.

            • by megamerican (1073936) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @03:10PM (#25059709)

              You are incorrect. Calder V. Bull deals with Article 1 Section 10 which deals with STATES. Article 1 Section 9 deals with CONGRESS of the US.

              Of course that doesn't stop any court, including the supreme from changing the meaning of words in the constitution.

              Don't you remember when Scalia recently went on ABC [bbc.co.uk] saying that not all torture is cruel and unusual punishment?

              If you don't think that giving retroactive immunity to corporations who spied on American citizens wasn't what the framers had in mind when they wrote in Article 1 Section 9, "No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." you must be smoking something.

              Please go read what Thomas Jefferson had to say about the judicial branch and maybe you'll be able to get a somewhat clearer picture.

              Also remember that the supreme court has ruled that how much wheat you can grow on your own land is "interstate commerce" and can be regulated by congress.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn [wikipedia.org]

          • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:38PM (#25059121)

            However, the Constitution [wikipedia.org] specifically forbids Congress from writing any ex-post-facto [wikipedia.org] laws, which includes retroactive immunity.

            WRONG!!! the ex-post-facto clause means that you can not create a law and then charge people for what are now crimes that were committed prior to the passage of the law. It does not address the decriminalization of an act in the past. If that were the case, a presidential pardon would be unconstitutional.

    • Re:Big (Score:5, Informative)

      by btempleton (149110) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:53PM (#25058245) Homepage

      The EFF does not of course always win, but it does frequently and has effected quite a bit of change to bad law as a result.

      http://www.eff.org/victories/ [eff.org]

      Outlines just some of the major victories.

      The EFF also sometimes engages in cases where probability of victory is lower, but we judge that the case must be fought, and that public benefit will come just from the fighting, and the hearing of evidence in open court. Of course we hope to win, but we also know that even if we don't win, there are other upsides.

      This case (and the case vs. AT&T) get much of their benefit simply by having a court examine this illegal wiretapping program. Part of our message is that this program has not been subject to review by the courts, and that in of itself is bad.

      The ACLU won early victory but fell down due to standing. We have well established evidence of massive interception of traffic. While some might think there is only an illegal wiretap if the government listens to you, it is unlawful for them to even intercept your communications, even if they toss them away later. Warrants must name specific targets, and it is the job of phone companies to isolate the traffic of targets and hand it over under lawful warrants. The government does not get to just intercept all the traffic and pull out what it desires.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by russotto (537200)

      They lost the 2600 case, and the Blizzard v. bnetd case -- so hypertext links are not free speech, the DMCA interoperability exception applies only to "program to program" interoperability and not "program to data", software which violates protection mechanisms are not free speech, and reverse-engineering a product by examining its output is copyright infringement.

      • Re:Big (Score:5, Insightful)

        by btempleton (149110) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:36PM (#25059089) Homepage

        There is a suggestion in what you write that "reverse engineering ... is infringement" because we lost the case. In cases such as these, there was a plaintiff declaring this to be so. This seems to imply that the defendants might have won had we not gotten involved, which is surely not not true. We may have wasted resources, of course.

        But I hope nobody thinks you can win them all. If you win them all, you are in fact not at the edge, and we try to only take cases on the edge. In spite of that, we win a lot.

        • Re:Big (Score:5, Insightful)

          by btempleton (149110) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:45PM (#25059245) Homepage

          Forgot to add: The Blizzard case did not rule that reverse engineering is infringement. Rather, it hinged on whether they could enforce a "no reverse engineering" cause in the click-to-agree EULA on the games. We're going to see a lot more cases in the future (not just involving EFF) about what clauses in click-to-agree contracts are valid, I think I can predict.

  • About time...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:12PM (#25057467)

    Ray Beckerman!

    *DUCKS* :)

  • . . . a 5% stake in A.I.G. in compensation.

    • by sammy baby (14909)

      . . . a 5% stake in A.I.G. in compensation.

      Take it back! Take it back!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *

      I'd kill for a 5% stake in AIG right now. With the government backing an 85 billion dollar loan to AIG, most of their business still being successful (including a 20-50 billion dollar airline business), there's a good chance that the government is going to make a profit on this transaction. If I had 5% of that pie, I could retire an immeasurably wealthy man once this all blows over!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:14PM (#25057499)

    I was going to get the first post, but the extra surveillance on my connection slowed me down.

  • How can you sue? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by boxless (35756) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:14PM (#25057503)

    when you can't legally get at the evidence?

    The plaintiff's need to prove they were harmed in some way. And proving they were harmed will require divulging state secrets.

    Case dismissed.

    • Re:How can you sue? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Gat0r30y (957941) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:19PM (#25057589) Homepage Journal
      Unfortunately you are probably at least a little right. Hopefully something will come out in discovery though. Often even the most secretive and closed off agencies have poor controls on what they will release during discovery, maybe the EFF gets lucky. Also, we already know what ATT and the NSA were doing, so it isn't exactly a state secret anymore. Although I wouldn't put it by this administration to argue that even though the illegal program is now public knowledge it is still a state secret because they say so.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by PMuse (320639)

        Hopefully something will come out in discovery though. . . . Although I wouldn't put it by this administration to argue that even though the illegal program is now public knowledge it is still a state secret because they say so.

        I'd say that this suit had potential as an election issue that would set people against the administration, except:

        • Sadly, few Americans care much about freedom from surveillance. Even those who care typically rank other issues higher. This issue won't get their vote.
        • The law-and-order crowd, however, will vote for anyone who champions more surveillance. "Catch the terrorists! Get tough on crime! I have nothing to hide! Won't some one think of the children! Why do you hate America!?"
        • Both presidential
      • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:03PM (#25058449) Homepage Journal

        Also, we already know what ATT and the NSA were doing, so it isn't exactly a state secret anymore.

        No, we don't. The details are still pretty shadowy. For example: do you know whether or not you, personally, were spied upon? Did a human end up reading your unencrypted emails? All we really know is that they had a capacity to do so, and were trying like crazy to spy on someone. Who? U.S. Citizens? Foreigners? We don't know.

        • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:16PM (#25058683) Homepage Journal

          Did a human end up reading your unencrypted emails

          This may be the crux of the issue. Does it matter? They most certainly illegally searched, but did a human do it? I cannot answer that definitively. My question is this: is it still an illegal search if a human did not see it but the search was carried out by a program instead? I would posit that indeed it is still illegal. No warrant right? That is illegal. So who broke the law then? I don't quite know that, but the law was broken.

    • I wonder if the plaintiffs even know whether they were spied on, or if they just suspect it. If they do and they have proof, then maybe they got a case.

    • by glassware (195317) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:30PM (#25057815) Homepage Journal

      If there was ever a story destined to get the "goodluckwiththat" tag, this one is it.

      If we can't throw anyone in jail for torturing US citizens in blatant violation of all laws, morals, ethics, and good judgment, how can we possibly hold someone accountable for spying on our phonecalls?

      Sure, we all know it's completely, obviously, 100% illegal for the government to spy on Americans' phonecalls without bothering to get warrants. But this country operates in a reality distortion field. We used to hold our politicians accountable to the law. But now anytime a politician does something illegal, prosecuting them is somehow "political" and some narrowminded partisans will leap to any politician's defense regardless of how much wrong they've done.

      Prosecuting a politician is indeed political. But please punish them in a manner that's appropriate to the crime. Bill Clinton deserved a fine or probation for his perjury. George Bush deserves 25 years to life for ordering innocent people imprisoned and tortured without any due process.

    • Re:How can you sue? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:42PM (#25058073)
      I am not a lawyer, but some evidence is already a little glaring in this case:

      People complain about government surveillance sponsored by telecoms
      Telecoms say "Government made us do it!"
      Everyone looks at government and says "You can't do that."
      Government passes a law that says "Now we can, and we're adding in a provision to say you can't complain about when we did before we passed the law!"

      I've said it before and I'll say it a thousand times if I must: The constitution was written by, for, and in behalf of terrorists, traitors, and criminals of their time. Possible terrorism is not an excuse to violate the constitution, as that is what it was written to protect. The illegal surveillance and retroactive immunity both violate the constitution.

      This is like calling the police about a shooting, and when they get there, they find the dead body burned to ashes. When they ask "Why did you burn the body?" you say "Because if I burn the body, you can't arrest me for shooting him! You have no evidence!"
      • The FISA amendment granted immunity to the phone companies for their civil liability for participating in illegal programs if they had proper assurances from the executive branch.

        It did not, and as far as I know cannot grant immunity to government officials who violated the 4th amendment.

  • NSA? (Score:5, Funny)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:16PM (#25057535)
    NSA Press Conference: We have decided to take over the EFF in hopes that their participation with our goals will aid in furthering the United States' interests in National Security. We have assessed their allegations and decided that they were unwarranted and unfounded. Thank you for all your cooperation and we appreciate all the help from the leaders of the EFF.

    EFF @ Gitmo: Fuck, I don't want a cock-meat sandwich...
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:16PM (#25057543)

    To see exactly how this administration completely blows this off.

    • by Drakin020 (980931) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:35PM (#25057951)

      Easy, they just won't do anything about it, no one will report it, no one will care, and life will continue as it always does.

      We will never hear of the story again, mark my words.

      • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday September 19, 2008 @01:53AM (#25067417)

        Yeah, but the EFF will care, no matter who winds up being President in 09. They will continue to press the matter regardless.

        And GW is going to tell them to stuff it. I know that. I just want to know what perverse reasoning he's going to use to do it. What will he tell the EFF to make them stop? Executive privilege? War on terror? Because I'm emperor in all but title and you can't stop me?

        I know it will be Orwellian and bizarre. I'm certain of that. But *what* will it be?

        Can't wait. I'm sure it will raise my loathing to new heights.

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      It depends on who wins the election and how long this case goes on. If Obama wins, then things might be looking up for the EFF and the ACLU.

      • by rhsanborn (773855)
        Apparently you missed the part where Obama voted [washingtonpost.com] to approve the FISA bill which included telco immunity...

        Note, I support neither major candidate in this election. I tend to lean libertarian.
        • by MobyDisk (75490)

          Apparently you missed the part where Obama voted [votesmart.org] to strike the telecom immunity clause from the FISA bill.

          With that said, I'm as pissed off as anyone about the fact that he did that then voted for the bill, and claimed it was a compromise. That is a lie, and that makes him a liar. But with that said, the Libertarian candidate this time around isn't even getting the support from his own party. And Obama's vote doesn't change the fact that the EFF case has a whole lot more likelihood of success if Obama an

  • Thank god someone's standing up to this BS. Although their mileage with this suite may not end up being what we hope, it's definitely a move in the right direction.
  • woot! (Score:5, Funny)

    by TXG1112 (456055) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:18PM (#25057569) Homepage Journal

    The NSA is EFF'd.

  • by GundamFan (848341) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:20PM (#25057611)

    When everyone in power is such a successful (not necessarily good) lair how can we even have a justice system?

  • Good luck with that one. I hope EFF wins!
    GO EFF!
  • by 3seas (184403) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:22PM (#25057659) Journal

    ...class action suit. /me Raises hand.

    • ...class action suit. /me Raises hand.

      I take it you can prove you were harmed by this? I'm an AT&T customer, and can't begin to think of a way to prove I was listened in on (much less harmed). Without actual harm, you (and I) have no standing in a class action lawsuit.

      • by rmadmin (532701)
        Enjoy the latency added to your connection. You know.. that 1ms on every packet adds up. :D
      • by Hyppy (74366)
        I've called Afghanistan quite a few times. Surely they listened in on that a time or two.
      • by 3seas (184403)

        The invasion of such a massive amount of information for terrorist clues is beyond our processing ability. There was once an underground railroad during teh break from slavery days which used song in the cotton field to pass the word along. Certainly terrorist communications would be at least as wise to hid their communication within common language use, where only the participating parties know what is really meant.

        What the tapping was used for with so the Bush admin. could better know the attitude of Amer

    • You get your wish. It is a class action suit. Based on witness testimony and documents, undisputed in the suit against AT&T, a fiber splitter was put on AT&T's main network conduits, sending a copy of all traffic to a secret room under control of the NSA.

      So indeed, we allege that it is quite likely that typical AT&T customers (and others) had their traffic intercepted, without a warrant, by the NSA.

      In the civil case (still going on, though dealt a blow through the passage of an act of congres

  • Isn't this where... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:24PM (#25057695) Journal
    ...the EFF people start dropping dead after having shot themselves in the back of the head with a shotgun?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Yetihehe (971185)
      In soviet america government shoots you!
    • by jjohnson (62583)

      I long for the good old days of suicide, when a real man killed himself by caving in the back of his skull with a hammer after tying himself up and laying himself across railroad tracks. These EFF pukes don't have the *balls* to really do it right.

  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:27PM (#25057761) Journal
    I'm going to try to sue Nicholas Cage for being such a bad actor
    • by Aphoxema (1088507) *

      In America, you can sue anyone, and you'll probably win! Just imagine how easily you too can win a million dollars with little or no effort at all!

      Call now, we have operators standing by!!

    • by Ngarrang (1023425)

      I'm going to try to sue Nicholas Cage for being such a bad actor

      If only it were that simple...Uwe Bol would have disappeared years ago under such a premise.

      *knock knock*
      "Hi, I am Uwe Bol. Here is $5. I am sorry for having been allowed to make the movies I have. I understand that you will never have that time back in your life, but maybe this money will help you buy a cheeseburger or something."

  • by glindsey (73730) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:33PM (#25057893)

    Friday:

    All Members of EFF Mysteriously Vanish

    • Saturday:

      1- NSA announces missing EFF members taken by terrorists and takes over EFF while increasing Airport security in case terrorists try to smuggle EFF members by 767.
  • What is going on with the other EFF case? The ACLU and the EFF both sued, and I forget - one sued the government and the other sued the telecoms. The AT&T case was thrown out because of the state secrets thing, and the other... I haven't heard anything on. What is the status of that case?

    • An attempt was made to dismiss the case against AT&T due to state secrets. The court ruled in EFF's favour, NOT to throw out the case. This was then appealed, but the court of appeals has yet to rule, and is unlikely to rule for some time due to the passage of the recent FISA bill, which granted immunity to phone companies who participated in illegal wiretaps if they got various assurances from the government.

      At present, it is anticipated that they will come into the courtroom in the future and ask f

  • but to stick the "Proud Member" sticker that EFF sent me after my latest donation to my forehead, and go around living like that. will be a bit hard - its a bit large. but eh ....
  • by Khopesh (112447) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:47PM (#25058147) Homepage Journal

    Recall that the telco immunities in the latest FISA passage only affect the telcos, not the government. If they're bold enough, the telcos may be able to help push this forward (since they're no longer able to be held liable, all this does it make their customers more comfortable by earning back their trust). Telcos likely have tons of documents they could publish (without invading customer privacy), teasing the courts with what must be loads more that could be secured with the appropriate warrants.

    As to suing the government, I believe you actually have to petition for the right to sue ... which may be problematic when there's such obvious intent to keep this under wraps. I'm sticking with my pessimistic intuition that this won't come to light until all the relevant parties have retired or been removed from office (I hope I'm wrong ... heck, there's just barely enough time for an impeachment process, too!). Since this hurdle appears to have already been passed, there must be something resembling support -- hark, did the Dems grow a backbone?

    • by demachina (71715) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:25PM (#25058845)

      The U.S. government tends to be one of the telco's largest customers. Attacking one of your largest customers is usually not a good idea, and is unlikely to happen. I think they know I doubt it will gain them even a perceptible blip in good will with their home and small business customers. Home and small business customers mostly care how much their phone bills are and what kind of service they get for it.

      If you recall Qwest pushed backed on participating in this surveillance program when it first started because of their concerns about its legality. Shortly there after the suddenly lost a huge classified telecommunications deal with the government, it caused a huge miss in their quarterly results and they couldn't talk about why because it was classified, their CEO was accused of misleading shareholders and eventually ended up in Federal prison. He may have been doing so fishy stuff for which he deserved some punishment but there was a huge signal sent from the Bush administration about playing ball.

      Morale of the story is trying to fuck with the Federal government, especially the Bush administration, was and probably still is incredibly dangerous. They are, after all, people who think its OK to thrown black hoods over peoples heads and send them away to be tortured.

      I doubt they will retaliate against the EFF like they did Qwest because they will probably opt to just stone wall the case and will probably succeed. Maybe a President Obama will be different but I doubt he will want all the bad people in the Bush administration perp walked because it sets a dangerous precedent for when he leaves office and a Republican President takes over.

  • by Alaska Jack (679307) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @01:55PM (#25058261) Journal

    News =

    "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will file a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies today on behalf of AT&T customers to stop what they allege to be the illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. The five individual plaintiffs are also suing President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless domestic surveillance."

    - Alaska Jack

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why don't people understand that the bill that granted "telecom immunity" really was a compromise because it added the requirement that the president personally authorize the action? This bill is what opened him up to liability--now the EFF is able to sue the government agencies and officials even if they can't win against AT&T.

  • For all the good it will do you. I expect nothing will come from these suits. Everything will be swept under the national security/state secrets rug.

  • by Alascom (95042) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @02:12PM (#25058613)

    EFF begins fundraising campaign targeted at Bush haters.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Nearly 70% of the US population (200 million) and pretty much everyone else (say, 5 billion).

      Sounds like a good plan to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      When I first read the headline I was about to make a smart ass remark about that. However it would have made me a hypocrite.
      I think the spying was illegal.
      I didn't think it was right to sue the companies.
      However Suing the Government for performing an illegal action should be common. That is what makes America great. If we can successfully sue and win against the President of the Uninted States. Really shows who is working for who.

  • that I donate my $10/month to the EFF.

    And I even got a spiffy EFF hat. =)

    GO (real) FREEDOM!

  • This predates Bush (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @08:10PM (#25064175)

    As much as I don't care for his poor leadership. It is important to point out that the NSA's version of carnivore was in development before Bush took office.

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