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EFF Sues To Overturn Telecom Immunity 369

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the not-that-it-will-do-much-good dept.
Mike writes "The title says it all — The EFF is suing to have the unconstitutional telecom immunity overturned. 'In a brief filed in the US District Court [PDF] in San Francisco, the EFF argues that the flawed FISA Amendments Act (FAA) violates the federal government's separation of powers as established in the Constitution and robs innocent telecom customers of their rights without due process of law. [...] "We have overwhelming record evidence that the domestic spying program is operating far outside the bounds of the law," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Intelligence agencies, telecoms, and the Administration want to sweep this case under the rug, but the Constitution won't permit it."'"
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EFF Sues To Overturn Telecom Immunity

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  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:42PM (#25415867)

    Intelligence agencies, telecoms, and the Administration want to sweep this case under the rug, but the Constitution won't permit it.

    This administration does what it wants, without repercussions. They've already done several things that go against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They don't care, won't care, and have never cared about trifles like the founding documents of the country.

    What will happen? W will claim executive privilege, file papers blocking the motion, then make looking at the papers illegal again citing executive privilege.

    It's Orwellian, but that - or something equally bizarre - is what will happen. Count on it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:44PM (#25415885)

      If it happens, it happens, but at least they're trying.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bendodge (998616)

      And so we get to a elect a new administration. One choice will trample our freedom from unauthorized search, the other will trample our freedom to own guns. Pick the lesser of two evils.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:51PM (#25415963)

        What makes you think that either side is going to stop unauthorized search/surveillance? Governments aren't well-known for giving up power unless forced into it. The guns are a completely separate issue. The national guard does not fear my shotgun.

        • by mweather (1089505) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:22PM (#25416351)
          The national guard doesn't fear your shotgun because they have much more to fear from the guardsmen who defected when they ordered them to take your shotgun. Don't denigrate our men and women in uniform by suggesting they would willingly trample on the rights of the American people.
          • by SiriusRegalis (470623) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:35PM (#25416589)

            Have you experienced the training that a person gets these days. My cousin, a "Take my guns when you pry them from my cold dead hands" bumper sticker type, joined up. A year later, he came back for a brief visit, and he has completely fallen into the "Civilians should not have more than small bolt action hunting rifles" thing. I have seen this with all three freinds/family that have joined.

            There is a trained contempt for the civilian population, we are not smart enough, caring enough, or involved enough to really understand. They, and their commanders, understand.

            It is the same attitude you see in police officers. Civilians are second class cattle to be herded.

            If you really think that in 10-20 years those troops, or police, or whatever we have will not shoot when ordered, then you are in for a big surprise. Though, most likely, by that time, we will have "nickled and dimed" our rights away, and those still defending them will be seen as fringe crazies, so shooting will be "justified".

            • by dwillden (521345) on Friday October 17, 2008 @04:04PM (#25417089) Homepage
              Having spent the last 15 years in the Army, most of it in the National Guard, I call BS on your claims. I'm not saying someone didn't express such sentiments to him but they are not part of any organized or approved training and or indoctrination.

              I dare say you'll find more gun enthusiasts and 2nd Amendment supporters in the Military than in any other significant grouping of American Citizens gathered from across the nation.
              • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:35PM (#25418667) Homepage Journal

                LOL

                I was just about to post a "hear, hear" reply when I noticed the name on the post.

                We're counting down the days until you get home on leave!

            • Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

              From Wikipedia: "The essential problem was posed by Plato in the Republic, his work on government and morality. The perfect society as described by Socrates, the main character of the work (see Socratic dialogue), relies on laborers, slaves and tradesmen. The guardian class is to protect the city. The question is put to Socrates, "Who will guard the guardians?" or, "Who will protect us against the protectors?" Plato's answer to this is that they will guard themselves against t

          • by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@@@yahoo...com> on Friday October 17, 2008 @04:19PM (#25417391) Journal

            Don't denigrate our men and women in uniform by suggesting they would willingly trample on the rights of the American people.

            I'm gonna go ahead and assume you never served in the military. Because if you had, you'd know that there are some seriously crazy mofos running loose in today's military.

            When I was first in the Navy, from '88 to '92, we used to shoot the shit on quiet midwatches, and one of the topics was what would happen if the officers staged a coup? The universal answer was always "We'd have some dead officers." And the JOs who would shoot the shit with us on those lonely vigils would universally agree, they'd be too busy shooting senior officers and admirals to worry whether or not Petty Officer Jones should be arrested for disobeying orders.

            I went back into the Naval Reserve after 9/11, and it was a different world. Some of the folks I worked with still had the same mindset ("Country and Constitution first, orders second"), but not all. A lot of them looked down on civilians as people who were not worthy of the rights they provided. Seriously, there are nutjobs in the military who think our Constitutional rights come from them! Not that these are natural rights that we have just because we're human.

            I don't know what the future holds, but I wouldn't bet my life, or the lives of my family, on some private not shooting into a crowd when ordered to do so. 20 years ago I would've, but things are just too different now.

            • by happyslayer (750738) <david@isisltd.com> on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:18PM (#25418407)

              I was a flight instructor in the Navy during 9/11. Out at the smoke pit, just after, I was talking to some of my JO staff and students, and I told them (basically) the following:

              What you guys are going to have to realize is that it's now a different world. For the first 4-5 years of my military career, it was all Cold War mentality. That affected the every decision made.

              From about 1990 on, the US had a different mentality: We were the biggest, toughest ones on the block, but there wasn't any real strategic direction. That affected the decisions of our politicians and military, and we've been living with the effects ever since.

              You guys, however, are only 1-2 years in your career, and you're going to have an entirely different way of looking at things. It'll be a lot easier to see things in an Us vs. Them mentality, but it'll also be a lot easier to take the shortcuts. You'll find people telling themselves that "it's okay...it's for the good of the country."

              Sad to say, this thread justifies some of my concerns. It's not that the Guard or any other force fears (or doesn't) armed civilians...it's that they may think it's easier to just shoot the bastich than worry over constitutionality vs. some platoon leader yelling to fire.

        • by R2.0 (532027) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:26PM (#25416419)

          "The national guard does not fear my shotgun."

          Sure about that? If Obama were to order the Army to go in and pacify Central PA, there would at least be desertions and possibly mutiny.

          Or as a friend of mine says, when some smartypants pulls out the "what is your shotgun going to do against a tank?" question:

          "They have to get out to take a piss sooner or later."

          • by Relic of the Future (118669) <dales@nOsPaM.digitalfreaks.org> on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:43PM (#25416735)
            I prefer the answer: "So you think a rag-tag band of locals defending their homes and equipped with only small arms would be no match for the U.S. Army? How's Iraq going?"
            • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Friday October 17, 2008 @04:05PM (#25417117)

              How's Iraq going?

              Just fine. Mission accomplished.

          • by schwaang (667808) on Friday October 17, 2008 @04:10PM (#25417219)

            If Waco or Iraq is any model (*everyone* has an AK), then no, your shotgun isn't going to cut it ever. Your roadside bomb would be a different story. But I'm not going to learn how to make one "just in case".

            The possibility of tyranny, however small, is why we should all support the EFF here. You fight the tyranny *before* it happens, through political means, so that you don't have to use that shotgun.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by svnt (697929)

              Bingo. I'd never given money to a cause within America before. I donate more to support specific endangered species than any form of human.

              When EFF announced this, they gained a member (and I gained a sweet t-shirt). Thank god someone is not taking this lying down.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by westlake (615356)
            Sure about that? If Obama were to order the Army to go in and pacify Central PA, there would at least be desertions and possibly mutiny.
            .

            That is what western Pennsylvanians thought before Washington ordered in 12,000 troops during the Whiskey Rebellion.

            It didn't take long for the Old South to discover that Lincoln was not Buchanan - that whatever the costs and whatever the difficulties he would find the forces he needed to get the job done.

            In 1957 Eisenhower nationalized the Arkansas National Guard and

        • by Dare nMc (468959) on Friday October 17, 2008 @04:11PM (#25417245)

          The national guard does not fear my shotgun.

          no, but they would fear a million people all with shotguns.

          When most people have small arms, invading forces have a few choices no matter how good of armor or weapons the invaders:
          1) take out the leader, and politically convince the followers
          2) convince the leader, and hope the followers follow
          3) Kill everyone
          4) Lose
          We see (again) in IRAQ that prolific small arms cannot be overcome be force alone, unless you decide to just kill everyone, and destroy most everything in the process.
          IE technically we can kill everyone with superior fire power, but most of the things of value goes with them. Having a government over no people means no government.
          It doesn't matter, if everyone has a shotgun, or a sub machine gun. If you can't take them alive one by one, then your going to need majority support. Without a decent projectile weapon, all they would need to enforce a entire population is a means of keeping a separation.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Pearson (953531)
            I think you've missed one point on #3, which is that you don't have to kill everyone, you simply have to scare everyone sufficiently.

            Simply outlaw all weapons and set up a deadline to have them all turned in. After that date, anyone found with a weapon will be killed, along with their family and their neighbors. You have to get the people scared enough to rat out those who still want to resist. Rome was pretty good at using brutality to pacify conquered people, which is why they were so successful.
      • by FireStormZ (1315639) on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:51PM (#25415973)

        Gross oversimplification:

        Both will restrict our rights across huge swaths of areas just in a proportionally different manner. The lesser of two evils increasingly looks like a third party vote or vote one party into the white house and the other into congress in the hopes that they spend more time bickering than doing anything..

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:06PM (#25416159)

          The lesser of two evils increasingly looks like Cthulhu

          Fixed that for you.

        • by snl2587 (1177409) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:09PM (#25416203)

          ... or vote one party into the white house and the other into congress in the hopes that they spend more time bickering than doing anything..

          Like how it is now? Yeah, that's working out really well at the moment.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by nomadic (141991)
          The lesser of two evils increasingly looks like a third party vote or vote one party into the white house and the other into congress in the hopes that they spend more time bickering than doing anything..

          Yes, because when bad laws are already on the books and being enforced, the best option is inaction rather than electing people who will change those laws.
        • ...vote one party into the white house and the other into congress in the hopes that they spend more time bickering than doing anything..

          Get with the program; I've been doing this since 1982! (when I could vote)

        • by zehaeva (1136559)

          vote one party into the white house and the other into congress in the hopes that they spend more time bickering than doing anything..

          Sounds like something that Heinlien thought of in the Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Weaselmancer (533834)

        If we're even that lucky. I'd give 1 in 10 odds that if Obama wins the election W doesn't step down.

        Sound ridiculous? I hope it is. But with all the other crazy non-American stuff W has done...I can't discount it. He's proven time and again that he thinks he's immune to precedent and proper procedure. And that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are more hindrances than blessings.

        I'll bet it's been discussed as an option at least. I really don't put anything past this administration. W scares

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Doubtful that anything so catastrophic would happen. Even in the unlikely event that President Bush decides to become Emperor George the First, his republican cronies would get the heebie-jeebies so fast that they'd scatter in the cracks like cockroaches, leaving their king to rot. This isn't simple cronyism or mere abuse of power - that's outright high treason, and the hanging noose is going to scare everyone into realizing just how epicly BAD an idea that would be. Then the emperor would be left alone to
          • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:23PM (#25416375)

            The difference is that people are, for whatever reason, absolutely terrified of W. A Democratic congress refused to even censure him for anything he's done. And he's done a lot that's wrong - just ask Dennis Kucinich. [washingtonpost.com] You'd think after the whole Bill Clinton impeachment fiasco they'd be dying for some payback. But they didn't go for it. Why?

            Dick Cheney can shoot someone in the face, and what happens? The victim goes on TV and makes a public apology. [msn.com] For being shot in the face.

            This administration is absolutely terrifying. And everyone is afraid of them. That makes a coup possible. Improbable, sure. But not impossible.

            Again, I'm pretty certain I'm worrying over nothing, as you suggest. However I'm not 100% certain. I just want 1/20 to come and go as quickly as possible so I don't have to worry about it anymore.

            • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Friday October 17, 2008 @05:00PM (#25418141)

              You'd think after the whole Bill Clinton impeachment fiasco they'd be dying for some payback. But they didn't go for it. Why?

              Because it backfired. Not only did it not succeed in removing him from office, the majority of Americans found it to be petty. Increasingly so as time wore on. Many Republicans these days will even admit it was a mistake. (Not the talking heads on the radio, to be sure; their job is to rile people up.)

              The article you linked verifies my point (if you actually followed the conclusion). Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment. The Republicans all voted FOR them; they desperately wanted them to come to a vote so that they could paint the Democrats as vindictive morons more concerned with taking their revenge on a president they don't like than governing the nation. Who cast them into oblivion? Democrats. Because they knew it. When the party that SHOULD support something opposes it and the one that should do everything they can to kill it wants it to proceed, you know there's some nasty politics going on. From the Democrats' perspective, it is much more important to get a democratic president elected now than it was to try to impeach Bush then.

              Personally I wish he had been removed from office, because I think Bush has clearly done illegal things that warrant it. I also realize that he would never have been removed; that it would have been an entirely symbolic gesture that would have ground the congress to a halt, further politicized the nation and even introduced renewed uncertainty into the outcome of this presidential election. Symbols can be important, but I tend to prefer results.

              Dick Cheney can shoot someone in the face, and what happens? The victim goes on TV and makes a public apology. For being shot in the face.

              Sorry, but that is one of the stupidest things I have ever read on Slashdot.

              If I went hunting with somebody I had been friends with for years and got shot in the face, I damn sure wouldn't assume it was malice on my friend's part. And if some asshats tried to make political hay out of it as if it was somehow anything more than an accident, I too would defend my friend. It has nothing to do with being terrified of him or his "boss," it has to do with not being a shitty friend.

              He SHOULD feel bad that the accident that he obviously thinks nothing of turned into some sort of controversy and maligned his friend, and if he felt that calling a press conference to tell people to shut up about it would help in the least he's right to do it. I would. If you wouldn't, well, I certainly wouldn't want to be your friend.

              There are plenty of problems with Bush, Cheney, Republicans and even government in general. Let's focus on them instead of trying to invent more on stupid bases.

          • Nixon (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Irvu (248207) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:32PM (#25416525)

            I'll just invoke the American Politics version of Goodwin's Law here (hereafter the Nixon-Goodwin Law) and note that this kind of thinking was what prompted Nixon to push directly or indirectly (it is never quite clear how much he knew in advance) for the Watergate break-in and it's subsequent coverup. For Nixon the idea of losing the election was too much to bear.

            Now W may not be so far gone as to think he can just refuse to leave but the idea that he or overzealous supporters (of the type Nixon had) might go to great lengths to see McCain in, the man Bush said would lead his legacy in Iraq, well that is different.

            Note that I am not claiming McCain would do this or that it is being done. Nor am I claiming that other Republicans might not be horrified by it, There were Republicans who were, arguably, more angry with Nixon than others. Some of them such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had to wait a long time to get back into the Whitehouse (Cheney was then an aide and Rumsfeld a Deputy Secretary of Defense).

            However When Nixon did it, angry as people were no mobs formed and noone swung from trees. Indeed some of the key players such as G. Gordon Liddy [wikipedia.org] are out today and practicing politics once more.

            More likely if nasty things occur and are discovered then some heads will roll but for those at the top they will, like Nixon, merely go home to be pardoned by their successor so that the nation "can heal".

            Lets be honest. Steal small and you go to a supermax. Steal big and you merely go home to live off your ill-gotten gains as Nixon did.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by R2.0 (532027)

          Aside from the fact that I think you've been reading too much Kos, let's assume what you are saying is true, and there is a 10% chance of a coup d'etat? What are you doing to prepare for it? Arming yourself? Making ACTUAL preparations to leave the country? Or is the extent of your patriotism confined to whining "Help! Help! I'm being oppressed" on the internet?

          Hell, I'm a republican and if I thought GWB was planning a coup I'd be preparing right now for the civil war that would inevitably follow. Excep

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ahodgson (74077)

            You can't have a functioning democracy where significant numbers of people are scared of any serious candidate being elected. Down that path leads coups and civil war.

            I don't get the fear about Obama, though. So he'll raise taxes on a few hundred thousand people. You have an 800 billion dollar deficit, ffs. You either need to cut spending or raise taxes a whole lot, and fast. Neither of them is gonna do that.

            Both want to keep fighting in Iraq. Both will likely invade either Iran or Pakistan next year. I jus

      • by TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) <thelazyscifiauthor@gmail.com> on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:03PM (#25416113) Homepage Journal

        In a revolution is it better to have guns, or to have the knowledge to make guns?

        Freedom of speech is everything.

        • by cawpin (875453) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:16PM (#25416283)
          Wrong. In the end, it comes to force. If you have no arms, they can outlaw what they want. Your freedom of speech is worthless without arms to back it up. The 2nd Amendment is America's 1st freedom.
          • by TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) <thelazyscifiauthor@gmail.com> on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:44PM (#25416747) Homepage Journal

            Valid point.

            I guess my point attempted to say that guns can't create knowledge, but knowledge can create guns.

            In a revolution knowledge is easier to distribute too, and harder to take away.

            Consider today's world, where knowledge has become weaponry of itself; where now is the difference between the two?

            The suppression of one means the suppression of the other, does it not?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Jesus_666 (702802)
              Knowledge is also the recipe for homemade explosives. Knowledge is also instructions for building a nailbomb. Knowledge is also what tells you which overland lines to destroy to take down the electrical or telecommunications grid.

              With nothing but knowledge and a population to hide in you can ensure that a region will never see peace for decades. If there ever will be large-scale armed resistance against the US government all the nukes and Joint Strike Fighters in the world won't help them maintain public
          • by corbettw (214229)

            I think you missed the GP's point. Without the knowledge of how to make arms (or ammunition), your revolution would only last a few weeks at best. But with the ability to resupply your arms and munitions, you could theoretically continue the fight indefinitely.

            Amateurs think tactics, professionals think logistics.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by R2.0 (532027)

          "In a revolution is it better to have guns, or to have the knowledge to make guns?

          Freedom of speech is everything."

          You can't speak if you are dead or imprisoned.

          A gun allows a person to maintain his individual and collective life and liberty against those who would try to take them. The knowledge of how to make guns, or encrypt data, or make bombs if irrelevant if those who have that knowledge can be eliminated by force.

          There's a reason the audience laughs at the scene in Holy Grail where the guy groveling

        • by Tom (822)

          And your gun will do what, exactly, against tanks and choppers?

          The constitution was written in a time when a well-armed group of citizens had a chance in a firefight against the official army. But since then, we've invented machine guns, kevlar, tanks, planes and helicopters. Not to mention unmanned drones, spy satellites and missiles.

          If the NRA goes toe to toe with the marines, or even any random division, I know where my bets are.

          • If the NRA goes toe to toe with the marines, or even any random division, I know where my bets are.

            With whom are your bets in Iraq?

          • by jmorris42 (1458) *

            > And your gun will do what, exactly, against tanks and choppers?

            You might want to ask a veteran of the Russian adventure in Afganistan how he feels about it. Yes, small arms vs a modern mechanized army will be a very asmetrical affair but as others have posted ya can't sit in a tank forever. And with a few small arms you have a much better chance of getting yer hands on some more fun toys.

            But more important is the mental attitude. Armed men are citizens, disarmed ones are subjects. There is a reason

          • Against tanks and choppers? Nothing. You are a fool to go up against a tank with a .38 Special. But it's hell on the people that operate them. In any case, this is a sick argument. I don't like the idea of US civilians having to take on US military. It's why I find a volunteer force more worrying than a conscription force. And, now that I am fully off-topic, I will stop.
        • by Hasai (131313)

          "In a revolution is it better to have guns, or to have the knowledge to make guns?"

          It depends upon whether or not you have access to a machine shop.
          ];)

          • "In a revolution is it better to have guns, or to have the knowledge to make guns?"

            It depends upon whether or not you have access to a machine shop.
            ];)

            Good point!

            I guess we should include machine shop blueprints in the package ;)

      • by mweather (1089505) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:18PM (#25416301)
        What good is the right to own guns if the gun owners let the government take away all their other rights?
      • close but wrong (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kohath (38547)

        McCain voted for the FISA bill. And Barack also voted for the FISA bill.

        Meanwhile, McCain supports your 2nd Amendment rights. Barack says he supports them but has voted and advocated against them several times in the past.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bennomatic (691188)
          With you on FISA, but that 2nd amendment stuff is a misread. 2A guarantees the right to bear arms *as part of a well organized militia*. It does not guarantee individuals the right to own guns for whatever purposes they want.

          The only reason that politicians support this misread is that, if anything, they would prefer that people would forget about the constitutional blessing of militias.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:55PM (#25416007)

      The administration has done only what it has been allowed to do. If nobody stops them there can be no other outcome. It is not the administration that has failed; it is us.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:57PM (#25416033) Journal

      This administration does what it wants, without repercussions. They've already done several things that go against the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They don't care, won't care, and have never cared about trifles like the founding documents of the country.

      Pop Quiz:
      Which Presidential aspirant voted for the FISA Amendments Act:
      A) John McCain
      B) Barack Obama
      C) A & B

      • Pop Quiz:
        Which Presidential aspirant voted for the FISA Amendments Act:
        A) John McCain
        B) Barack Obama
        C) A & B

        It is almost like they both broke campaign promises - Obama said he would not support it, but voted for it, McCain said he WOULD support it, but took a pass and did not vote either way.

    • by cats-paw (34890) on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:58PM (#25416049) Homepage

      The real tragedy is that our congresscritters are allowing it to happen.

      The republicans are enthusiastic about law and order at the expense of liberty, and the democrats have yet to become vertebrates.

      Separation of powers isn't just a good idea, it's essential to the proper operation of our system.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Weaselmancer (533834)

        The republicans are enthusiastic about law and order at the expense of liberty, and the democrats have yet to become vertebrates.

        This describes the problem perfectly. I can't mod you up, I can only agree profusely with you.

        Watching the Democrats fold on the telcom issue after they won a congressional majority is one of the single most disappointing things I've seen in my entire life. I've never felt more betrayed by politicians in my life ever.

        • by X0563511 (793323) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:30PM (#25416477) Homepage Journal

          Then don't vote for them. Democrats and Republicans are not the only parties, and it really gets me irritated that people (en masse) seem to think they are.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by The Moof (859402)
            Not entirely the public's fault. When I talk to people, they often have no idea there are more than those two due to the media coverage. Take the presidential debates for example. If they're designed to keep the public truly informed, where's the other 4 candidates?
      • by geekoid (135745)

        nice that the only thing you can say against the dems is an ad hom attack. They must be doing something right.

      • The republicans are enthusiastic about law and order at the expense of liberty, and the democrats have yet to become vertebrates.

        Are you kidding? The democrats' social programs don't hold up to constitutional review either.

        The Congress is almost entirely made up of strong statists. Thar's 'yer problem.

        Both Paulson and Chertof have been granted powers by the congress to operate as dictators. Wanna flip a coin?

    • Noob questions (Score:5, Interesting)

      by philspear (1142299) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:03PM (#25416115)

      Right, I understand that the administration does what it wants ignoring the consitution, and I want to see them jailed for it. And I understand that telecoms were complicit in that. That's about all I know about the case right now.

      It seems a bit different from someone driving the getaway car for a bank heist, if nothing else in scale of the crime. Have any laws been broken by the telecos? Is there a law saying that you must obey the constitution even when ordered not to by the government? There is a law against aiding and abetting someone who robs a bank, but I would imagine there's no law against aiding the president when he urinates on the constitution. Is it that they broke privacy laws without a proper warant?

      It seems to me that if I were the owner of a telecom company, and some government agent or the president was telling me to turn over documents, I'd consult my lawyers, sure, but if they came back with "Uh... we really have no clue as to what you should do, there's not much precedent here..." then what? If this was a case of the executive branch saying "We passed this law that says you have to turn over these documents to us or you're going to jail, we don't need a warrant," what is the teleco supposed to do? Claim powers of judicial review, say the president is being unconstitutional, and no?

    • by bbernard (930130) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:09PM (#25416197)

      It does make me wonder...would they not have been better waiting another 3 weeks--or until late January--to bring this suit so W has less, uh, clout with which to sweep this under the rug?

      • With the rate that these cases tend to progress at, they probably just wanted to make sure they could get a ruling before Obama's term limits were up.

      • by Kohath (38547)

        After January, McCain or Obama will be President. Both of them voted for this bill.

        So no. I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. But no.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by godless dave (844089)
      And the "opposition" in Congress will back him up, tugging their forelocks and mumbling "Whatever you command, Mr. President."
    • Sue the government of its action not the Telcos.
      Yes in principal the Telcos were in the wrong. However the government is in the more wrong.
      Try to remember the days when the actions were taken place. GWB had an all time high approval rating. People wanted to do anything to catch terrorists, and if the Telco actually caught a terrorist thew the ease dropping then they would be a hero's. Saying No to the government would almost like saying you are unamerican and your share holders don't want you to be unameric

    • Can't we just shoot the little weasel already? I can guarantee you that's what any of the founders would have done.
  • by ntk (974) * on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:43PM (#25415871) Homepage

    Help us continue this fight: http://secure.eff.org/wiretapping [eff.org]

    We've just opened a new page for student rates: http://www.eff.org/students [eff.org]

    Third-party details on how EFF compares to other non-profit groups: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=7576 [charitynavigator.org]

    (Unlike many groups, the vast majority of EFF's funding comes from individual donations: it's directly due to personal contributions that we can fight these and civil liberty cases.)

    • I will donate to the EFF. Besides $, what else can I do to help?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ntk (974) *

        Read up on the topic, and explain the issues to your friends. Get them to talk to their representative (or even better, their prospective representative if you're in a state that's facing a change of incumbent this election). Wiretapping has had an amazing response among politically-active americans (far more than many other tech civil liberties topics), but it needs to be kept in the limelight for any change to take place.

        This is true whether you're a republican, independent, or democrat. There will be a l

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday October 17, 2008 @02:59PM (#25416063) Homepage

    The problem is 49% of Americans don't understand what we fought for in the revolution, or in the World Wars. They thing that "fighting for freedom" means going to another country. They think freedom means more TV channels. They think it is okay for the government to ignore the constitution if there is a 1 in a billion chance it will stop another 9/11.

    "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance"
    (Unknown - attributed to Thomas Jefferson)

    • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:04PM (#25416131) Homepage Journal

      49%? That's a great overestimate. I'd put it more around 4.9% of American understand those concepts.

    • by FireStormZ (1315639) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:04PM (#25416135)

      And a large chunk of those who can verbalize what we fought for don't care so long as (1) They get sweet tax breaks or (2) The have nanny government take care of them every step along the way. Both sides are equally dangerous to freedom!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I disagree. Most people have nothing to hide. Most people aren't paranoid and believe that if things got too bad, then they would be able to reign them in, whether through voting or through revolution. They also believe that this administration has gone too far, with ridiculously low approval ratings.

      The problem is 49% of Americans don't understand what we fought for in the revolution, or in the World Wars. They thing that "fighting for freedom" means going to another country

      In the world wars fighting for freedom DID mean going to other countries.

      "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" (Unknown - attributed to Thomas Jefferson)

      That could just as well apply to vigilance against tyrants and oppressors in other countries.

      My point is that your post marginalizes

      • I disagree. Most people have nothing to hide.

        Based on what? Your 15 years of living experience?

        Both of us are using weasel words here, but check back with your statement again in 25 years, I pretty sure everyone has something to hide.

  • I don't see how... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nebaz (453974) on Friday October 17, 2008 @03:09PM (#25416191)

    While I have had similar thoughts in the past, I can't necessarily find anything unconstitutional about this. Congress has offered immunity in the past for people who claim the Fifth Amendment while testifying, not to mention States Evidence mob trials. While I don't like it, it seems to kind of the opposite of Ex Post Facto. I am also not a constitutional scholar, and hate the idea that these guys can get off scott free, but there is precident to limitation of liability, which has seemed to be upheld in the past. Can someone please convince me constitutionally that I am wrong? I'd love to be in this case.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, 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.
      - from the American Bill Of Rights

      I live in Canada. Why do I know your constitution better than you?

    • It's not so much the immunity that's the problem, it's that the immunity blocks access to records needed to find out just how extensive (and thus how unconstitutional) the operation was.

  • ...for what the Gov't told them to do is like blameing the gun manufacturer for any misuse by the Police.

  • You better hope they have good luck. They're fighting for YOUR right to privacy and more importantly, that the law should be upheld. Even my conservative friends claim they believe firstly that the law is inviolate, so this is hardly even a partisan issue.

    EVERY American should be indignant that their rights have been, and continue to be, illegally violated, [salon.com] with impunity. I'm even starting to feel sorry for y'all.

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