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Senator Seeks More Info On DOJ Location Tracking Practices 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the he-knows-when-you've-been-bad-or-good dept.
Gunkerty Jeb writes "Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is demanding answers to questions about the U.S. Department of Justice practice of gathering data from wireless providers in order to monitor individuals' movements using mobile phone location data. In a letter (PDF) to Attorney General Eric Holder, Franken said, 'I was further concerned to learn that in many cases, these agencies appear to be obtaining precise records of individuals' past and current movements from carriers without first obtaining a warrant for this information. I think that these actions may violate the spirit if not the letter of the Jones decision.'"
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Senator Seeks More Info On DOJ Location Tracking Practices

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  • government (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday May 11, 2012 @06:58PM (#39974261)

    The only "decision" these government agencies respect is their own decision that they are more important than everyone else, and therefore completely justified in breaking laws.

    Afterall, those laws are meant for those other people, not for them.

  • by flaming error (1041742) on Friday May 11, 2012 @06:58PM (#39974265) Journal

    The government is huge and opaque and one congressman represents so many people, that most of us have near-zero access to say a thing about it. Sure we can write letters and they'll tally them up and pile them with the rest. Won't change much.

    I'd really like to have my congress critters sit and discuss with me why they don't see this as the problem Franken and Paul do.

    Because to me, the Constitution is crystal clear, and the feds are breaking the law.

    • by Fjandr (66656) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:15PM (#39974889) Homepage Journal

      One of many reasons I believe we should have far more Representatives. The total sum paid to all Reps should not increase, however.

    • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:31PM (#39974999)

      Midterm congressional elections, nationwide, get around 80-85 million votes. There are 435 representatives. That's around 190k votes per representative. The results turn on a few percentage points. The 2010 midterms, by all accounts a blow-out, had only a 6.5% difference between the major parties. That's around six thousand voters per district, making the difference between a huge Democratic majority and a huge Republican one. And that's before you get into primaries, where turnout is even lower.

      Representatives do pay attention to letters and phone calls. They hold town meetings where you can ask them questions. You can make a difference. Not a big one, by yourself, but if people in this country would stop being so defeatist, they could make a big difference in aggregate.

      • by EdIII (1114411) on Friday May 11, 2012 @09:28PM (#39975351)

        Not a big one, by yourself, but if people in this country would stop being so defeatist, they could make a big difference in aggregate.

        The problem are the choices. On one hand you have a big shaved ape that is going to take you in the corner and buttfuck you. On the other hand, you have a big shaved ape that is going to rape you in the face.

        Geeee.... I wonder why so many people are just burned out and disillusioned about even making the choice?

        With partisan politics being so damned bad, even the moderates that at least gave you a reach around are leaving.

      • The only way people could make a big difference is if the people were different. We're not held back by defeatism as much as polarization. It's, about ignorance and dogma vs gullibility and simple-mindedness.

        The masses are in a huge tug-of-war - sometimes one side manages to drag the knot to their side, but nobody really goes anywhere.

      • by Mitreya (579078)

        The results turn on a few percentage points. The 2010 midterms, by all accounts a blow-out, had only a 6.5% difference between the major parties.

        You mean the results in a minority of districts turn on a few percentage points. While the rest are completely un-competitive.
        Quoth wikipedia: "In the 2000 Congressional Elections, out of the 435 Congressional districts in which there were elections, 359 were listed as "safe" by Congressional Quarterly. [4] In all of these 359, there was no uncertainty as to who would win."

  • Al Franken (Score:5, Funny)

    by ToadProphet (1148333) on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:20PM (#39974469)

    Hi, Canada here...

    When you're done with Al could you please send him our way? He seems to be one of the few decent politicians left.

    Thanks.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      I don't think former presidents tend to run for office in foreign countries.

      Yeah, I know, I'm dreaming.... but seriously, every time I see Franken's name in the news, it's attached to something refreshingly principled. I could probably count the congressmen that's true for on one hand.

  • To little to late? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s.petry (762400) on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:21PM (#39974481)

    Al Franken is correct in questioning. This is exactly what a person that represents the "People" should be doing. Sadly, Rand Paul, Al Franken, Ron Paul, and a couple others are in such a minority that we won't hear much about this. Mega Media corps will make sure this does not reach Network News in any form to boot, so what ever Al uncovers will be quickly muted by what ever nonsense they feel will cover up the 5 minute news spot.

    We really are at a point where the house needs to be cleaned completely. I think if it started to happen, we'd quickly have a police state. The Government has been gearing up for it at least. We can hope the Military prevents it from happening.

    • by Ironchew (1069966) on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:26PM (#39974525)

      We really are at a point where the house needs to be cleaned completely. I think if it started to happen, we'd quickly have a police state. The Government has been gearing up for it at least. We can hope the Military prevents it from happening.

      The military has a vested interest in operating in a police state. Given the chance, they would usurp it, not prevent it.

      • by s.petry (762400)

        Leadership perhaps, but even those leaders would be an extreme minority. The majority of the military is made up of people just like you and I. I'm not saying it would not take a revolt at several levels mind you.

        • by Ironchew (1069966) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:03PM (#39974799)

          Leadership perhaps, but even those leaders would be an extreme minority. The majority of the military is made up of people just like you and I.

          The military also has a vested interest in making sure those of lower rank (the majority) obey their superiors, otherwise there really wouldn't be much of a point in having a military. History has shown that things get more authoritarian when a nation is overthrown by its military.

        • "The majority of the military is made up of people just like you and I"

          Well, *like* you and I perhaps, but not *just* like us. Probably their mindset is closer to law enforcement officers than software geeks.

          Sheriff deputies don't really have a problem evicting women and children on behalf of demonstrably corrupt banks. Cops have been known to go along with questionable tactics like racial profiling and beating captives to death and DUI checkpoints and planting evidence. If LEO doesn't put up much of a f

          • by Anonymous Coward

            If anyone doesn't believe you tell them to look up the trail of tears.

          • by EdIII (1114411)

            I don't think it is like that anymore, not by a long shot.

            The military is a closed system strictly separated from any influence on civilians. It takes extraordinary circumstances for the National Guard to be mobilized (Katrina) and especially the main branches of the military on our home soil.

            To say their mindset is like that of regular law enforcement is incorrect. People don't join the military to have control over civilians, unlike many other countries, say.... like Burma or North Korea.

            I might feel th

            • This thread is response to speculation that the military would step in and protect us from more blatantly oppressive feds.

              Who knows what the future holds and what shit will or won't hit the fan. But if worse oppression happens, I wouldn't count on the military to rescue us from our government - soldiers could only give us a regime-change/coup. Not much point in counting on one department of the Executive Branch to save us from another.

              Revolution (hopefully bloodless) is what we'd need, and that's really a

        • by silky1 (1609493)

          Leadership perhaps, but even those leaders would be an extreme minority. The majority of the military is made up of people just like you and I. I'm not saying it would not take a revolt at several levels mind you.

          I feel the same way. This is why we hear stories of DHS stocking up on weapons and ammo. They are full of lackeys and dropouts who will do as they are told. The military is very likely to stand up for the people in the case of a revolt.

          • by Ironchew (1069966)

            The military is very likely to stand up for the people in the case of a revolt.

            As flaming error mentioned above, the excesses of law enforcement suggest otherwise, and those abuses pale in comparison to military abuse overseas. If I had to guess, an Arab settlement full of people doesn't look much different from a U.S. city full of people when you're staring at them from a helicopter gunship.

            The military won't have a problem steamrolling us. A few "bad apples" may ignore orders, sure, but the military has protocol in place to deal with them.

  • by TWX (665546) on Friday May 11, 2012 @07:38PM (#39974611)
    When did it change to where the government could get records from a private company about a private individual without a court-issued Warrant? Didn't the whole "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..." part of the fourth amendment cover private data as effects, or as an electronic version of papers?

    If law enforcement feels they need data on a person's whereabouts, and if there's a log of these whereabouts, they should fairly easily be able to make an argument to a judge that they need this information. If they can't find a judge that will grant them this data, then the checks and balances portion of the three-part government worked. It's not like the data is going anywhere if they don't get to it NOW...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      When did it change to where the government could get records from a private company about a private individual without a court-issued Warrant?

      9/11//2001. Blowing a couple buildings up provided the exploit needed to effectively root the constitution. And now, we're pwned.

    • by Fjandr (66656)

      Government found a route around the 4th a long time ago. It applies to forcibly obtaining information from someone. What the government does now is ask for the information from a 3rd party. Many companies make it their business to give the government whatever it wants, because it greases the wheels of government when they want something done that's in their interest.

    • by KhabaLox (1906148) on Friday May 11, 2012 @08:44PM (#39975089)

      When did it change to where the government could get records from a private company about a private individual without a court-issued Warrant?

      You don't own the data Google has on you (including your emails, etc.) You don't own your Tweets. That's why that protester couldn't challenge the subpoena the DA served on Twitter. If Google wants to fight to protect their data they have about you, they can (maybe). But you can't, and it's not a violation of your rights for Google to turn over that data, or for the government to go after it without a warrant (it might be a violation of Google's rights).

      • by MacDork (560499)

        You don't own your Tweets.

        In the US, you own copyright on any written work you create, automatically. That would include your tweets.

        • That doesn't prohibit you from handing a lot of rights regarding them to someone else. Kinda like when you sign up for Twitter and accept the agreement... not that I know what that agreement entails exactly, but I kinda assume it has lots of fine print which deals with such things.

  • This is why I always leave my cell phone turned off unless I have to make a call. In addition to leaving the phone off I wonder if I also have to remove the battery and SIM card and then wrap the phone in aluminum foil.

  • Al Franken must have a huge pair as he seems to be one of the few people in Washington who will question authority. I wish he was my senator because I'd vote for him.

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.

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