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Obama Wants Broader Internet Wiretap Authority 646

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tap-this-way dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The White House plans to deliver a bill to Congress next year that will require Internet-based communication services that use encryption to be capable of decrypting messages to comply with federal wiretap orders. The bill will go beyond CALEA to apply to services such as Blackberry email. Even though RIM has stated that it does not currently have an ability to decrypt messages via a master key or back door, the bill may require them to. Regarding this development, James Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology commented on the proposal, saying, 'They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.'"
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Obama Wants Broader Internet Wiretap Authority

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  • Bad timing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elucido (870205) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:50AM (#33709906)

    Just a few days ago they raid the anti war movement and now right before the election they want to discuss this? This is a politically stupid time to talk about broader wiretap authority!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:51AM (#33709910)

    the more they stay the same (or get worse).

  • by stoat (125788) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:51AM (#33709918)
    At least they are trying to make it legal. I'm sure the TURRISTS won't just use standalone encryption.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:53AM (#33709930) Journal
    While they're submitting the new legislation next year, a congressional hearing recently heard arguments in favor of this [slashdot.org] and the original NYTimes article notes that it's:

    Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

    Of course, the New York Times article is way better than the Faux News article but my submission this morning turned into a paywall.

    Bad, bad, very bad idea. Every academic says this is stupid, again from the original article:

    Steven M. Bellovin, a Columbia University computer science professor, pointed to an episode in Greece: In 2005, it was discovered that hackers had taken advantage of a legally mandated wiretap function to spy on top officials’ phones, including the prime minister’s.

    The government is trying to protect us by forcing us to be less secure and more vulnerable. That logic simply does not follow. I'm not against responsible internet wiretaps but this is the opposite of responsible.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CarpetShark (865376) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:55AM (#33709936)

    Seriously? The average voter has NO clue about stuff like this. In fact, they'll probably vote FOR it, if someone calls it anti-terrorist.

  • Squash Patriots (Score:2, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:55AM (#33709942) Journal

    The Union government (in general not the current admin) wants to squash Patriots trying to protect the Constitution from "domestic enemies" i.e. the leaders. It's really no different than how a Communist government acts.

    I wonder if the central government is required to obtain a warrant first, or if they can simply demand "unencrypt that google email" without any kind of oversight by the judges. The police have that power now, in regards to searching homes, thanks to the unconstitutional Patriot Act.

  • by gslavik (1015381) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:55AM (#33709944)

    the same shit happens. Disagree with the government, you end up in jail/raided/etc. ... WTF? At least Soviet Union had a law about disagreeing with the government, so at least you'd get a day in court.

  • by EaglemanBSA (950534) on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:56AM (#33709954)
    FTF (NYT) A:

    No one should be promising their customers that they will thumb their nose at a U.S. court order," Ms. Caproni said. "They can promise strong encryption. They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text.

    What hey're trying to legalize is rather heinous on the part of our government. Just because it's been made legal doesn't mean it's right or good. Seriously, between the ability to declare even American citizens terrorists because of what they've said (not necessarily what they've done), the ability to try anyone classified as a terrorist outside a civilian court, and now the "needed" capability to decrypt encrypted messages over the internet...what's to stop whoever is in the White House from 'disappearing' outspoken people they disagree with, without breaking the law?

    I'm an American, and I value my freedom over a false sense of security. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps America isn't for you.

  • by elucido (870205) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:58AM (#33709962)

    The terrorists will develop their own encryption schemes so using wiretaps would be completely worthless anyway. The mafia is smart enough to outsmart this, street gangs are smart enough, terrorists are smart enough. This is to watch the civilian population like you and me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @08:59AM (#33709980)

    What I don't get about all this Blackberry-encryption-fuss: if Terrorists really care about encrypting their communications, there are free tools on the interwebs that will let them do so. These tools can not in any way be breached by the government or the service provider. The fact that this is so, is also well-known.

    Thus I am forced to conclude that any terrorist that understands the need for encryption, also understands the need for encryption that he himself has total control over, and thus would not be relying on RIM to secure his communications.

    In conclusion: this will not prevent terrorists from communicating securely. Now, Obama, go back to your health care reform and struggling economy.

  • by martas (1439879) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:00AM (#33709988)
    plus, as an added goodie, this will create a vulnerability in all compliant encrypted internet services - now a hacker just has to figure out one master key to break the security of the service. and, once that happens, the service provider will have to incur the probably huge cost of switching to a new master key.
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:00AM (#33709992) Journal

    Put another way:

    If you outlaw guns.... I mean secure keyless encryption, then only the criminals will have encrypted messages. (And the rest of us will be defenseless sheep.)

  • by elucido (870205) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:01AM (#33709996)

    To follow along similar path. Who is our government protecting us against?

    The government protecting itself from people like you.

  • by martas (1439879) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:02AM (#33710012)

    I'm an American, and I value my freedom over a false sense of security. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps America isn't for you.

    Given recent trends, I'd say the opposite - since you value your freedom over a false sense of security, perhaps America isn't for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:04AM (#33710024)

    .. except for a specific and clear "antisurveillance" ideology which really only exists among small groups of idealists.

    'Greenism'? Surveillance would be brilliant to monitor emails for emissions regulation avoidance. Republicans? Hey, gotta catch those crooks who threaten the property rights of honest people. Democrats? Human society can only be nice if we can detect and catch those who might harm it or escape their responsibilities to their fellow man.

    So whoever you vote for: Surveillance is what you're going to get, because it is found to be useful.

  • Natural tendency (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:07AM (#33710056)

    It is the natural tendency of political power to expand and consolidate over time. History has confirmed this over and over again. Like a mega-corporation hungry for more control over the market, government will keep pushing to expand their revenue and power over the people, like clockwork, year after year.

    There's a reason why the elite at the top of the pyramid are swimming in wealth, and it's not because they're satisfied with the amount of control they have over the populace. Government is a business, and like any business, their primary objective is profit. The difference, of course, is that government holds the special right to generate market share through coercion, rather than persuasion.

  • Hahah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdmV0rl0n (98366) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:08AM (#33710060) Homepage Journal

    Hope. Was not that the so called banner from 'Democrats' during their endless waa waa about Bush. Not much needs to be said. Gitmo? Ha. Iraq? Ha. Afganistan, Ha.

    Obama is gone after 4 years, and will be hated by both sides.

  • by elucido (870205) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:08AM (#33710062)

    If it's a national security concern the NSA already can crack the encryption

    I would not bet on that one. Maybe the NSA has a quantum computer sitting in a basement in Ft. Meade, but I doubt that too. The NSA is advanced, but they are not deities.

    It doesn't take a quantum computer to crack 99% of the encryption out there. Most people aren't using 256bit AES. SSL can be cracked rather easily, most algorithms have weaknesses, even AES in certain forms may contain weaknesses. The encryption is good but it's definitely crackable by the NSA, and even if it weren't the NSA has other ways to get what they want without a wiretap. Wiretaps are to help the local police, not the NSA or national security.

    National security if it really is about national security, they'd use drones, satellites, all kinds of means, not to mention they can just hack into the computers in question or plant bugs, keyloggers etc. Wiretaps are so they can basically watch everybody in the entire country,. This is more political than anything else.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:08AM (#33710066)
    Never! There's no precedent [slashdot.org] for this.
  • So (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:11AM (#33710098)

    how is all this "Change" working out for you?

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:12AM (#33710100) Homepage

    I, like so many others, had the audacity of hope that Obama was a good man and interested in a better America... a second coming of JFK. (Yeah, I know there are people who will say JFK was the anti-christ.) But, instead of his promised removal of Bush administrations attacks on our freedoms and privacy, he persisted in it and defended it. Some people said "but this is normal! He is probably reviewing it before he makes changes!" How about now? No? Illegal wiretapping program is still running. And now he wants MORE.

    So, Obama and other players in government HATE our freedom and HATE our privacy and will stop at nothing until both are gone. They make claims of defending and protecting our freedoms while they take them away. They make claims of "terrorists" hating our freedoms, yet the only ones who are attacking them are our own government. ... and still no one cares. We are all too busy trying to figure out how and why we are all getting obese and getting diabetes to concern ourselves with where the government and big business is taking our country.

  • by chill (34294) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:13AM (#33710112) Journal

    When (if?) conservatives say "the government should not have that power", what they mean is "the liberals currently in government should not have that power, but it is okay for our side".

    When (if?) liberals say "the government should not have that power", what they mean is "the conservatives currently in government should not have that power, but it is okay for our side".

    Both conveniently forget the problem of not whether YOU will not abuse the power when asking for it, but once granted whether or not those elected AFTER you are gone will abuse the power. For those playing at home, the answer is invariably "YES".

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:15AM (#33710138)
    If the white house and the rest of the government want to continue to litigate our freedoms away, the least they could do is show how these programs actually have caught real terrorists. Because, quite frankly if they can't even show that, they are eroding our rights away for nothing other than more control. There are several reasons why we haven't had a terrorist attack since 9/11 and none of those are thanks to the government.

    A) Natural stupidity. Terrorists aren't exactly smart, remember the "times square bomber" who used as his detonation device.... firecrackers? Yeah, it takes planning to pull off an attack and quite honestly the terrorists don't have that ability.

    B) Passengers in public transit. If you look like you are going to blow up or hijack a plane, the passengers will take you down. Ever since 9/11 people associate hijacking = run into a building rather than the pre-9/11 mindset of "do nothing, wind up in Cuba, get on a plane back home".

    C) Terrorists aren't common. This idea that there are millions of terrorists trying to kill you all the time is laughable and has no basis in fact.

    Granted, these laws are pure BS no matter how many "terrorists" they've caught, but if the government can't even show a single terrorist caught using these, and a real terrorist that could actually cause serious harm, the citizens should strike these laws down even faster.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:15AM (#33710144)
    "Hope and change" my freckled ass.
  • CHANGE!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TrisexualPuppy (976893) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:18AM (#33710166)
    Hey Obama, spare any change?

    Oh, right, America's attention span is so low that they forgot that they were holding hands in a circle chanting all the slogans and catch-phrases spewed by his campaigners.

    Meet the new boss
    Same as the old boss
    America, you'll get fooled again

    As long as they have their Sunday Night Football, we won't have anything to worry about.
  • Plain fact (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grandpa-geek (981017) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:20AM (#33710176)

    If a user wants unbreakable encryption, it is easy to do. There is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

    Unbreakable encryption predates the modern computer by about a half century. It was invented by the US Army Signal Service for use in World War I. It is commonly called the "one time pad".

    It has to be used correctly, or it becomes breakable. It also has logistics issues. The key material has to be physically transported and physically protected.

    However, the technology is well known and has been for nearly a century.

    Somebody ought to tell our technology-challenged public officials about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:20AM (#33710180)

    "I, like so many others, had the audacity of hope that Obama was a good man and interested in a better America"

    Why did you think this? Because he said so? Anybody with half a neuron saw through his bullshit. He is a lifelong professional politician. Professional politicians ONLY serve the Almighty State, not the people.

    People like you have destroyed this nation. Gullible, useful idiots like you are more complicit in bringing about fascism than any ACTUAL fascist.

    And many of us will never forget this.

  • by mark72005 (1233572) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:20AM (#33710184)
    The point you're missing is that the Obama administraiton is more worried about potential "domestic terrorists", i.e., people whose political ideology varies most widely with their own, than they are about international terrorists.
  • by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:23AM (#33710216) Journal

    They just need to figure out how they can provide us plain text.

    What they're trying to legalize is rather heinous...

    I'd call it ridiculous.

    When I read the Caproni quote, I hear: "US Intelligence services aren't intelligent enough to figure this stuff out. You need to do the work for us and spell it out in big block letters. We need it to be as clear as purple crayon."

    So, now might be a good time to really promote PGP and teach people to use it. If the service providers aren't providing the encryption service, they cannot provide the plain text. Anyone who is sufficiently concerned about their privacy can take responsibility for it.

  • by Dragon Bait (997809) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:27AM (#33710244)
    Both major parties want to invade your personal life:
    • Democrats want you to smoke weed, but not tobacco (flip for Republicans)
    • Democrats want to censure you from saying "hurtful" words, but want flag burning (flip for Repubs)
    • Democrats want to control what you eat, no more fast food for you (I'm sure Repubs don't want you to eat something)
    • Democrats don't want you to drink soda, but alcohol is a-okay (flip for Repubs).
    • Democrats want you to speak out against the government [unless they're in power] (same for the Repubs)

    The list can go on. Thinking that the Democrats are for personal freedom is outdated thinking. Both major parties are led by totalitarian control freaks.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:30AM (#33710278)
    The point of these, and other laws isn't to catch "terrorists" but to put the US in control of the 99.9% of US people who follow the law. Just like gun control isn't going to stop Bob over there from shooting up the neighborhood but does stop Joe from purchasing a handgun to protect himself against people like Bob and also to protect himself against the government.
  • by jgtg32a (1173373) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:38AM (#33710352)
    You're making this too easy.

    http://xkcd.com/538/
  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:39AM (#33710362)

    It warms my heart to all these comments. I'm glad I'm not the only one who realizes that Americans (us) are fat, sloppy and feeble minded. If we have time, we might glance at a ballot and pencil in the oval next to the name we've seen the most on the national news (all of which spin the news to fit their own political bent). Our rights and freedoms are being swallowed right and left in a beautiful, bi-partisan orchestration, of elected (read: purchased) officials who believe more laws are better.

    We need smaller government.

  • by EaglemanBSA (950534) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:46AM (#33710434)
    Well, if it's the last piece of the pie, it's not much of a 'slippery slope' argument, now is it? In quite a real sense, we'd be giving the power to decrypt general internet communications to people who have a LOT to gain by using it against their political opponents.

    Seriously, this has little use except to spy on the general public, while proposing encryption law that has been suggested and shot down in the past (think Clipper Chips?). It makes corporate/private encryption weaker, the entirety of our internet communications more vulnerable to attack, and could quite possibly restrict our ability, in the future, (yes, slippery slope) to encrypt our own data, as has already been done in the UK. This essentially serves all internet communications providers with the same order as the UK served their entire citizenry: you encrypt something, you have to give us the keys to decrypt it.

    Hope that satisfied you logically.
  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:48AM (#33710450)

    "Write your congressman, let them know how you feel, and vote!"

    If I was a mod, I'd mod you funny. That's simply hilarious beyond all words. It is likely that all politicians are merely corporate tools out for power and money, so I don't think that our petty little opinions and votes will do much, especially when the government is able to pass any laws/bills without the consent of the people. Voting in other politicians will just allow for more of the same (this). I fear that it won't get better until the government is completely overthrown (unlikely), but I hope that is not the case.

  • by Chelloveck (14643) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:50AM (#33710474) Homepage

    Wish I could mod you up. This kind of infraction by the government on its own people is inexcusable. Write your congressman, let them know how you feel, and vote!

    I'd follow your advice, but I can't seem to find any politicians running on a platform of looser security / tighter privacy. At least, no one with a snowball's chance in hell of actually getting elected. (And yes, I do tend to vote for the unelectable minor-party candidates. For all the good that does.)

  • Re:Yes we can (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anarke_Incarnate (733529) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:51AM (#33710492)
    Who says there are only 2 parties? Usually.......it's the same 2 who keep saying there are only 2.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:54AM (#33710514) Homepage Journal

    The United Arab Emirates, followed by their huge cousin Saudi Arabia, are shutting down Blackberry until RIM lets them spy on its data [guardian.co.uk] in realtime. RIM has been able to argue it doesn't have such a backdoor feature. Obama has the clout to force this Canadian company to create one. And then the Saudis and the rest of their medieval tyranny neighbors will spy on us. They don't need no steenkin' warrants. And neither does Obama, if he personally decides it's a "state secret".

  • by mangu (126918) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:56AM (#33710530)

    I, like so many others, had the audacity of hope that Obama was a good man and interested in a better America... a second coming of JFK. (Yeah, I know there are people who will say JFK was the anti-christ.)

    Politics is like that. The great advantage JFK has over others today is that he was assassinated. Had he not been killed, people would be criticizing him for escalating the US intervention in Vietnam, for starting/bungling the Bay of Pigs incident, for nearly triggering WWIII or for not going far enough in the Cuban missile crisis, and so on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:56AM (#33710538)

    >>>I value my freedom over a false sense of security. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps America isn't for you.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety [until the next tyrant comes along and uses his power to imprison you] deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

    Way to take that WAY out-of-context.

    Franklin was referring to settlers who refused to use firearms to defend themselves from raids by French-allied native tribes during the French and Indian War (US name)/Seven-Year's War (IIRC the European name).

    That quote is nothing more than part of an anti-pacifism rant. Given that Franklin would later be a leader of an armed rebellion, it's not surprising he vehemently disagreed with the philosophy unarmed pacifists.

    Besides that, you're misusing the quote anyway. Franklin's "essential liberty" was the keeping and bearing of arms by individuals. The "temporary safety" was the settler's false hope that by being unarmed they wouldn't be attacked. Franklin was not referring to tyrants or governments relationship to their own citizens - he was referring to isolated individuals' self-defense ability/responsibility during a war.

    The fact that your two-hundred-fifty-year-old completely out-of-context sound bite get modded +5 is more a reflection of the ignorance of the moderators than anything else.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:57AM (#33710548)
    Actually he *is* a lot like JFK. He's a vastly overrated politician who is ramping up the spying of the CIA/NSA, while being deified by a party that supposedly stands for civil liberties. He's also ambivalent on civil rights issues, sucks up to big corporations, is continuing an unwinnable war, and couldn't give a shit less about the plight of the common citizen. If he were any more like JFK, Marylin Monroe would blow him.
  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CrazyDuke (529195) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:58AM (#33710552)

    Really, who are you going to vote for? Who do you think gave this government the ability to abuse it's power indiscriminately? Who do you think gave the prior government it's abusive power? Who do you think this government will give it's power to?

    Vote any way you want. You'll still get basically the same result, just different posturing.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Monday September 27, 2010 @09:59AM (#33710554) Journal

    Republican politicians advocate smaller government...except when it comes to invading your personal life.

    Actually, conservatives, not necessarily "Republicans" simply want the federal government to follow the Constitution, limited by the 10th Amendment. That means less government when dealing with stuff like farm subsidies and corporate bailouts, and could mean more government with things specifically spelled out in the Constitution, like national security.

    Anything not spelled out in the Constitution as a federal government power is a power belonging to the states... period!

  • by dyfet (154716) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:02AM (#33710594) Homepage

    The government is trying to protect us by forcing us to be less secure and more vulnerable. That logic simply does not follow. I'm not against responsible internet wiretaps but this is the opposite of responsible.

    Responsible wiretap is not trolling through arbitrary communications simply because it can be done, and this statement I fully agree with. Similarly, the U.S. 4th amendment came into practice not because it was at the time impractical to spy on everyone directly, nor does it end simply because technical means to do so have now become available. A government that lives in fear of it's own population is by definition illegitimate.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:04AM (#33710614)
    There are very few modern block ciphers which are vulnerable to ciphertext only attacks or known plaintext attacks. The publicly known weaknesses in AES are chosen ciphertext attacks and side channel attacks; likewise with other currently used block ciphers and public key schemes. Many of these attacks are still infeasible to mount using any currently known technology.

    It is true, if the NSA encountered someone using cryptography, they would probably use their signals intelligence capabilities to discover the plaintext. This does not mean they can break the encryption; it means they can sidestep the encryption. It is as much a "break" as planting a video camera above someone's keyboard and watching what they type is a "break."

    Wiretaps are so they can basically watch everybody in the entire country,. This is more political than anything else.

    Agree completely -- this is just a rehashing of the same arguments that were used to try to push the clipper chip on us.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:07AM (#33710636) Journal

    The difference between guns and encryption is that a modern economy can function without guns (at least on the inside), while it can't function without encryption. Banks could not work without secure communication, no trade secrets could be kept, and so on. If you mandate that every form of encryption must have a government back door, then you are making it easy for an underpaid civil servant (or someone who blackmails a civil servant) to cause massive damage to the economy and make a large profit in the process. You also have the problem that it can't possibly work. You can get secure encryption software from a variety of sources, including some textbooks that include code listings.

    The end result is that terrorists and other people who actually understand cryptography (at least, in broad terms) will use secure encryption, while the average person using Internet Banking won't.

  • by Thagg (9904) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:10AM (#33710654) Journal

    First things first: the encryption horse has left the barn so long ago that all traces of the barn's foundation have turned to dust. Any reasonably competent adversary will have unbreakable encryption. The US government has helped with standards like AES, even. A large potion of the 'net traffic is already encrypted - every SSL session is encrypted at the ends of the chain, untappable once it's in the network. Changing that mechanism now into something that can be tapped will recreate the whole key escrow debates of the early nineties. The infrastructure required then was enormous, it would be exponentially harder now.

    The only thing that makes sense is forcing large scale commercial communications companies to escrow keys, so that casual terrorists can have their communications hoovered up with everybody elses, and then analyzed by NSA in their spare cycles. This will catch a few proto-terrorists, I presume.

    With this proposal I have crossed two lines, the first is questioning the governments motives, and the second now questioning their competence

  • by operagost (62405) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:11AM (#33710678) Homepage Journal

    I'm not backing any party in particular, but Prohibition was essentially a non-partisan progressive movement-- it wasn't a Republican amendment. The GOP recognizes that regulation of the manufacture and sale of alcohol is currently a state right.* Plus, I don't think the Republicans are actually against anyone eating anything. Heck, half of registered Republicans will basically eat anything as long as you either deep-fry or put barbecue sauce on it.

    * I would like to know exactly what part of the Constitution authorizes the bureau of ALCOHOL, tobacco, and firearms.

  • by osgeek (239988) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:17AM (#33710754) Homepage Journal

    I, like so many others, had the audacity of hope that Obama was a good man and interested in a better America..

    The clues were all there before the election. You, "like so many others", just didn't want to listen. You wanted your rock star and you didn't care that he had no experience, ties to some pretty unsavory characters, and no real plusses besides that he was well spoken. The pass that the mainstream media gave him meant that you needed to seek out contrary opinions and journalists if you didn't want to make a poor decision.

    Instead of looking for the next JFK next time, try for someone more straightforward and ethical. I don't care if he's from the left or right of the political spectrum, just elect someone who is smart and has a track record for fairness and following through on his/her campaign promises.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:19AM (#33710780)

    Wasn't the previous slashdot post about "Man gets 10 years for VOIP hacking [slashdot.org]" ? But when the gov does it it's all dandy and fine and necessary and indeed obligatory ?!?

    In our current environment, it is fine and dandy.

    That is the danger of ignoring the Constitution for things that just happen to jive with your goals, and then getting upset when someone else ignores the constitution for something you oppose.

    It's why a liberal or elastic interpretation of our Constitution is a damned dangerous thing. Not because any individual goal is wrong, but our Constitution simply breaks down when you allow it to be interpreted in a flexible manner. It simply wasn't designed to be able to withstand such interpretations. The result is a bit like cutting a hole through a fence that surrounds your yard. It certainly makes it easier for you to go in and out, but it also means that you lose control over who else will use that hole.

    The limitations on power in our Constitution simply fail if it is interpreted as a flexible document. Power should only be granted in very specific and limited ways. Especially when you are granting it to an entity that claims to be sovereign and universal.

  • by Raenex (947668) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:20AM (#33710792)

    I don't think it's so black and white. If he didn't care about the plight of the common citizen, why extend unemployment benefits? Why push for health care? If he loved big corporations so much, why did he try to publicly humiliate the Supreme Court justices for their ruling on corporate free speech? Whether Afghanistan is an unwinnable war or not is a matter of debate -- Iraq looked hopeless before the surge.

    As for wiretapping, I won't defend him. This is just the Clipper Chip from the Clinton administration all over again. I wonder if any President ever pulled back from more invasive law enforcement.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbeaupre (752124) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:28AM (#33710878)
    Is it too late to bring back the Whig party? That's meant as a joke, but for those of you who may not have heard of them http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whig_Party_(United_States) [wikipedia.org]
  • by ptbarnett (159784) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:40AM (#33711040)

    How do otherwise intelligent people put themselves into a political fantasy-land?

    You avoid it by looking beyond the cheerleading from the mainstream media. Everyone like to bash Fox News (and justifiably so), but refuses to admit that CNN, (MS)NBC, CBS, ABC, NPR, the NY Times, the Washington Post (and most others) do the same thing for the other side.

    As another poster points out above, the clues were all there. Anyone with access to the Internet could see the warning signs. Even with Obama's extremely abbreviated voting record, you could see exactly what he would do -- and he hasn't strayed from that path.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:43AM (#33711078)

    I, like so many others, had the audacity of hope that Obama was a good man and interested in a better America

    Meanwhile, those of us *more* than six years old knew the new boss would always be the same as the old boss.

    Hope is not a strategy.

    Welcome to Cynicism. It is the only rational philosophy left.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @10:58AM (#33711304)

    Yeah, well the crazy teabaggers seem to be the only ones actually trying to do something as opposed to sitting around and bitching like a bunch of impotent serfs. It's too bad they're easy to manipulate into supporting existing factions.

  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:08AM (#33711506)

    This is what I get for not reading the article first. Faux News. Where's my salt lick?

    This will cause me mod damage, but I'm going to dive in here one more time: numbski, don't be a jerkwad.

    There are several [nytimes.com] other [cdt.org] sources [npr.org] for this same story. And yet, you are going to deny that it is true because the single link above is from 'Faux News'.

    Forget Google, logic, or even a mild interest in the actual article itself, it's FOX BASHING TIME. WHOOOAAAAHHHHH!

    Partisanship is a disease of the mind, and it just made you do something stupid. Reflect on that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:14AM (#33711618)

    This is why there is a tea party. Please note that nearly as many entrenched republicans have been ousted by tea party candidates as will dems. The Tea party scares both sides because the Tea party wants to take those entrenched and in charge and throw them all out.

  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuscata (1406613) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:14AM (#33711620)
    According to everything I've read, this is *not* an attempt to achieve "broader Internet wiretap authority" but rather to force providers to put systems in place so that they can easily and quickly comply with *existing* authority. You can argue that the existing authority is overreaching, but that's a separate matter.
  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:16AM (#33711674)

    You don't want smaller government, you want to fragment the USA.

    Well, dear Coward, you seem to have overlooked a simple fact: the USA is fragmented.

    In fact, it was designed that way. Brilliantly so, I might add. We're the land of the free, with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. How on earth would it be possible to bring together people from all cultures and allow them to coexist without fragmentation? Are we really to decide on a single religion/race/etc, to avoid fragmentation of culture? That's fascism. And yet if we don't how are we to dictate that the minor variations in culture that occur must all adhere to the same rigid standards? Impossible, without simply playing to the majority, and allowing two wolves and a sheep to vote on dinner.

    No, the very tenets of freedom are around 'live and let live'. The notion of one all-powerful authority at the whims of a two-headed-dog is rather the opposite of what we were founded to be. The Second Amendment is supposed to safeguard against this kind of a monopoly occurring, as it provides us with the right of rebellion. Or at the very least, the threat of it.

    And while I do realize that the 'war to free the slaves' has trampled on that part of the Constitution, bear in mind that there aren't any slaves today. The price for that conflict has long-since been paid, and I think it's high time the local people got their power back, thanks.

    The order of the boxes is thus: soap, ballot, ammo.

    Welcome to America.

  • by jonwil (467024) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:17AM (#33711680)

    And get all your friends to do the same. If enough people start writing in and telling the government that they DON'T want their civil liberties violated, maybe the government will start listening. Especially if you put a couple of bits of paper with pictures of presidents on them inside the envelope...

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:25AM (#33711812)

    The fact that your two-hundred-fifty-year-old completely out-of-context sound bite get modded +5 is more a reflection of the ignorance of the moderators than anything else.

    To put that into context, dear Coward, are you purporting that Franklin would disagree with the use of his quote in this manner?

    Are you in fact saying that he held the right to bear arms, ONLY, as essential? Because I'm just not seeing him turning over in his grave over this one. In fact, I'm not even willing to get on board and say that this is out of context, because the concept applies equally well.

    You're essentially saying that "don't hit your brother" is WAY DIFFERENT than "don't hit your cousin", and I, for one, disagree.

  • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:41AM (#33712102)

    Hmm. Tim McVeigh, yes what an excellent strawman. What objective what he trying to achieve? How did that support his fundamental beliefs? Was he going to topple government with his act?

    If James Jay Lee was classified as an environmentalist and not a crazy then I'd see some of your point, but at least Lee had direct objectives he wanted to achieve with his act. We don't have home grown terrorists groups, we have home grown crazies, and as such the government can't do much about it. Going after political groups because of crazies in them is, well, crazy. If the groups have terrorists objectives then I can side with the government, but right now it's a pretty horrid assault on freedom of speech.

  • by wytcld (179112) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:48AM (#33712232) Homepage

    Everyone like to bash Fox News (and justifiably so), but refuses to admit that CNN, (MS)NBC, CBS, ABC, NPR, the NY Times, the Washington Post (and most others) do the same thing for the other side.

    You're aware that only from the Fox POV are CNN, (MS)NBC, CBS, ABC, NPR, the NY Times, Washington Post on "the other side." Most of us on the continuum of the liberal-progressive-radical left see them as being 2/3rd Fox Lite establishment apologists, and 1/3 real reporting at best, with even that careful to avoid going outside of centrist consensus.

    The only exceptions to that list are Rachel and Keith on MSNBC, but neither of them represents the farther reaches of the left. Neither is Noam Chomsky, by a long shot. Neither represents the far end of the spectrum the way Glenn and Bill do on Fox.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brainboyz (114458) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:57AM (#33712426) Homepage

    Boxes: soap, ballot, JURY, ammo. Don't start the revolution early. ;)

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by notNeilCasey (521896) <NotNeilCasey@yah ... minus physicist> on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:58AM (#33712454) Homepage
    ...or to the people. There's a comma, not a period :)
  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by multi io (640409) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Monday September 27, 2010 @12:36PM (#33713060)

    According to everything I've read, this is *not* an attempt to achieve "broader Internet wiretap authority" but rather to force providers to put systems in place so that they can easily and quickly comply with *existing* authority. You can argue that the existing authority is overreaching, but that's a separate matter.

    Except it doesn't work. The makers of this proposal don't understand that, contrary to the telephone system, encryption on the internet is implemented at the endpoints of a connection, not in the middle. It may well be that that reduces the government's ability to decrypt such communication, but the ISPs are the wrong party to address this bill to, because, generally speaking, they're not the ones who do the encryption. They're just the ones who deliver the bits. The people (the end users) are the ones who do the encryption, so they would be the right addressees for this law, and if this were implemented, it *would* amount to an "attempt to achieve broader wiretap authority" -- of truly Orwellian proportions.

  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FiloEleven (602040) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:13PM (#33713658)

    I voted for Obama, and either he doesn't know what he's saying (very possible), or he's lost his mind.

    These are really the only two options you see? That's pretty naive. Seems more likely to me that like every other president in the past few decades, he promised to do what sounded good to the most people to get in, and now he's doing whatever his handlers tell him to.

  • Re:Bad timing. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:32PM (#33713938) Homepage

    Yes. It's too bad there isn't a party to represent them. The Republican party was hijacked by the neocons.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:34PM (#33713950) Journal

    >>>little Libertarian hamster wheel will... invent some plausible threat of violence that exists only in your blinkered mind

    No need to "invent" anything Mr. Rude and insulting person. In the UK if two people share an encrypted message (or disk drive), and the government decides they want to know what it says, but you and your partner refuse to share the key, both persons can spend upto 5 years in jail. It's assumed guilt even if the encrypted message is just "I'm horny; let's have sex this evening."

    That's the violence/force a government has, and now it appears the same idea is spreading over here. Only difference is the UK demands the key after the fact. The US is demanding the key upfront.

  • by FiloEleven (602040) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:49PM (#33714150)

    The problem is the discrepancy between what the Tea Party claims as its official beliefs (small government, less taxes) and what the Tea Party actually believes (Obama is a Socialist Marxist fascist dictator who worships Hitler and Allah and wants to take all the rich people's money away and give it to all the poor people and sell us all out to the world government).

    That isn't what the Tea Party movement actually believes. That is a minority viewpoint that is overplayed by the media to discredit the movement and neutralize its effectiveness. The conservative news outlets like Fox play up this caricature of the movement while the liberal news outlets use the provided caricature to tear it to shreds--it's kind of like a straw man, only behind the scenes it's the same oligarchy setting it up and tearing it down. The official beliefs are by and large what the Tea Party movement is actually about; you just don't get to see it because that isn't where the cameras are pointed.

    I am in agreement with the stated goals of the Tea Party, but any group that has Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin as its unofficial spokespeople is not a group I would ever want to associate with.

    Painting Glenn Beck as a Tea Party guy is a brilliant move by our plutocratic overlords. His popularity with the group, if I'm not mistaken, took off when he made a turnabout regarding Ron Paul, someone who really does represent Tea Party ideals--in fact, it was Ron Paul supporters who popularized modern-day tea parties. Fox latched on to and perverted the idea, using Beck and others to push their own agenda and to de-fang the movement from making any changes that would benefit average Americans over corporations and the political class.

    Paul himself has said exactly what you did: that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin ought not to be spokesmen for the movement, and that people who listen to them are being taken for a ride.

    Regardless, the damage is done and the Tea Party movement has very little respect. What may save the movement despite itself is the continued recession despite numerous bailouts. Word has it that Democrats are in trouble come November, and there are lots of Republican candidates running on the Tea Party staple of small government. The fierce primary election infighting between them and the more established Republicans gives me hope that the party may be forcefully reformed from the big-government warmongering monster it's become.

  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by billstewart (78916) on Monday September 27, 2010 @01:49PM (#33714156) Journal

    The liberals are made at Obama, because he hasn't been particularly liberal in office, once he got past the campaign speech stage and actually got into power, and everybody's unhappy because he didn't instantly fix Bush's eight years of economic damage so the economy's still in the pits. And people who actually believe in fiscal responsibility (as opposed to those who suddenly discovered it only after Bush spent eight years spending money like drunken sailors with stolen credit cards) think that Keynesian deficit spending isn't going to fix the damage, but aren't surprised that he's trying it, because that's what Democrats not named Bill Clinton think is supposed to work, and aren't surprised that he's trying it in a massive way, because he's dealing with a massive problem. Also, nobody's been impressed with his competence, and he hasn't been able to provide the leadership that the wimpy scared Congressional Democrats needed to get their bills passed over the filibuster-threatening Republican minority in the Senate.

    However, he's far better than the malicious evil that was the Bush/Cheney/Rove Administration, and nobody with half a clue thinks that the Republican Party's current leadership would take the country in directions that would actually fix anything, as opposed to trying to replicate the damage they did before. Bush and Cheney may be out of the picture, but the Rove/Norquist machine is still there, and the Limbaugh/Beck/FoxNews propaganda circus are cheering on everybody's worst impulses.

  • Re:CHANGE!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NOSPam.gmail.com> on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:12PM (#33714492)

    Of course the mere act of writing that program also makes you a terrorist. They thought of everything!

  • by billstewart (78916) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:16PM (#33714546) Journal
    • Democrats want to censor you for saying words that are mean to people, but Republicans want to censor you for saying words that are impolite, because that's politically incorrect. They don't think it's impolite when Dick Cheney says them to Senators, because the rules don't apply to them, and they don't think the N-word is impolite, but Janet Jackson's covered nipple was way impolite.
    • Democrats think women should have the right to control their own bodies, unless what they want to do with their bodies involves smoking weed or other politically incorrect drugs. Republicans don't think women should have the right to control their own bodies, but believe that interfering with it should be a state job, not a federal one, unlike controlling drugs which requires a massive Federal military infrastructure.

    But yes, the Surveillance State folks have been active under both Democratic and Republican Administrations. They were highly visible under Bill Clinton, when Louis Freeh was heading the FBI and trying to run the Crypto Wars, using Commie spies as an excuse but the Drug War as the major actual user. And big big kudos to the couple of guys at Netscape who put SSL into the browser, and to everybody who told the Clinton Administration that online commerce needed it, and to the Clinton folks who understood that the Internet technology boom was what was making their economic management look good so they shouldn't let the FBI mess with it. And a big Boo Hiss to the apparatchiks who put all the surveillance stuff back into the Patriot Act as soon as the Bush Administration had an excuse to do it.

  • Re:Hope And Change (Score:2, Insightful)

    by forkfail (228161) on Monday September 27, 2010 @02:40PM (#33714832)

    The difference between Obama and Bush is that Bush was everything that he promised to be, and Obama is not. And no, neither of those are good things at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @03:00PM (#33715066)

    According to everything I've read, this is *not* an attempt to achieve "broader Internet wiretap authority" but rather to force providers to put systems in place so that they can easily and quickly comply with *existing* authority.

    Will that be before or after the White House is forced to put systems in place so that they can easily and quickly comply with existing authority (44 U.S.C. 2201–2207 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_Records_Act [wikipedia.org])? The existing authority that both the Bush II and Obama administrations want to ignore http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/report_card_presidential_records/ [brennancenter.org] outright let alone make it easier and quicker for the White House to comply with.

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