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Electronic Surveillance By US Law Enforcement Agencies Rising Steeply 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the eye-in-the-sky dept.
hypnosec writes "According to data obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), surveillance of emails and other forms of Internet communications without warrants has increased substantially over the last two years. Documents, obtained by the ACLU, reveal that there has been a 361% increase in 'pen register' and 'trap-and-trace' orders between 2009 and 2011. The ACLU has appealed to Congress to bring in more judicial oversight in these warrantless orders."
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Electronic Surveillance By US Law Enforcement Agencies Rising Steeply

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  • by JustOK (667959)

    First tap

  • My two cents (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:14AM (#41486639)

    There is no excuse for such warantless searches. All searches need a warrant. If we're talking about a search sometime shortly before obtaining a warrant (with the risk of not getting one afterwards), that's a gray area, but no warrant afterwards means the evidence should not be used. But in no situation should there be any sort of search without said warrant.

    • Re:My two cents (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:38AM (#41486759)
      It's always (sadly) amusing to me how the Constitution thumpers are all about the Founders Intent and Strict Interpretations and all that - right up until it's time to dispense with all that shit so we can have Yet More authoritarian "law enforcement".
      • by csumpi (2258986)
        Not sure what you mean. Last I checked, the current prez is no "Constitution thumper". Or am I missing something?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It's always (sadly) amusing to me how the Constitution thumpers are all about the Founders Intent and Strict Interpretations and all that - right up until it's time to dispense with all that shit so we can have Yet More authoritarian "law enforcement".

        Ah, spoken like a true soft-on-crime liberal who fails to understand the deep intellectual nuances of stricterprertationalism!

        It is really quite a simple matter: Just pretend that the Founding Fathers were a bunch of nit-picking, crabbed, legal technicians(just as you probably are, if you are a promising candidate for a deeper understanding of stricterprertationalism), and that their Intent in writing the bill of rights was not to address contemporary and recent past abuses of state power in light of that '

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Even Google doesn't understand stricterprertationalism [google.com] -- its only hit on that word is your comment. Is that a typo, or did you deliberately make the word up for purposes of obfuscation?

          • To be honest, I made it up and used it mostly because I liked the way it sounded, and didn't want to use one of the names of an actual school of loony-toons constitutionalism, lest a devotee of the same be triggered into attack mode.

            (At least I'm honest about my self-indulgent laziness, right?)

      • [citation needed]
    • Re:My two cents (Score:5, Informative)

      by captainpanic (1173915) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:40AM (#41486777)

      I'll summarize the defense of these searches. Btw, I disagree with all of them... but I thought we can just get this over with quickly.

      Choose:
      - What if it was your child?
      - Don't you want to catch terrorists?
      - Prevention is better than cure.
      - I have nothing to hide.
      - I trust my government.
      - (I probably forgot some...)

      They're either logical fallacies, or just besides the point. Or both.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:16AM (#41486661) Journal

    .
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    Ahhha haha hahaha ha hahahahahahaha hahahaha hahahahah!

    Just kidding! Of course it won't. These things only go in one direction!

    • by na1led (1030470) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:20AM (#41486675)
      Obama is just the idiot puppet on stage. It's the ones behind the curtain controlling things.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why beat around the bush?
        Let's call them out!

        Damn... I tried to make a list... but I gave up, since it would be easier to list those who are not in on it.
        - The CIA and their constant propping up of evil dictators, arming of enemies, and the like, in foreign countries as well as in the USA itself. (Basically at least the entire Arabic and north-African world.)
        - The banking conspiracy (unrelated to the "conspiracy theorists", since it's an actual real conspiracy. [Cue the "there are zero conspiracies in the h

        • Assange's actions place him in the category of narcissistic sociopath. He performs his actions not for the actions themselves, but for the accolades and reputation boost.

      • "It's the ones behind the curtain controlling things."

        Indeed. The ones behind the curtain controlling things, the ones whose bodies are composed of delicious, delicious 'power behind the throne' flesh. Pity they're so hard to catch.

      • It's the ones behind the curtain controlling things.

        That would be us. Try voting for somebody completely different, that's not aligned with any particular political party, and see if anything changes. At the very least don't vote for the person the TV tells you to vote for. If you vote along party lines, you'll get no sympathy or attention from me.

    • By the way...I do remember hearing an interview with Pres. Carter a couple years ago about presidential power, and most presidents, before they take office, have all intents of being open and respecting the limits of power. Once they get in - no matter their stripe - they realize how frustrating the process of Washington DC is, and take every opportunity to short cut the red tape that exists. It's not unlike what a business executive would do, except that as President you really don't have the kind of power

      • This is bullshit. Carter, like Obama (and Bush, and Clinton, and Bush) were elected to LEAD. If any of them got on TV (with or without teleprompter) and started enumerating the issues with these things, and causing the deserved outrage, the congress would follow. It isn't that hard to change things for a true leader. But we don't have any such beast and thus we don't have the results we were promised.

        Obama, for all the promise and hype, could have done something with this, and played golf and went on the vi

        • You obviously missed the part where the party out of power is actively trying to thwart the party in power in order to try and take over in the next cycle. Whoever is out of power will lie - whether with numbers or without - to dissuade the public of the President's points. And since most of what they do is not grounded in fact or certainty (Was Keyens right? Does trickle-down work?) - there is no algebraic, closed form solution tot he problems they face. And to top it all off, there are 24 hours "news" out

    • by reboot246 (623534)
      Of course it won't go down if you get rid of Obama. He's just a symptom of the disease. The start of the cure is to get rid of all of them every election. We should be the ones to implement term limits. Holding office should not be a career. For those who don't keep up with current politics, try this method --- if you recognize a name on the ballot, vote for the other one.

      Then, maybe, we can start getting at the root of the cancer - the unelected and overpaid bureaucracy that holds way too much power over o
  • Get used to it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:29AM (#41486719)
    Let's face it: we now live in a surveillance society. If it's not the government (FBI, NSA, CIA, DHS, etc.), it's a corporation trying to make money (Google (DoubleClick), Microsoft, Apple, etc.) or an IP troll (RIAA, MPAA, Sony, EMI, etc.). We drive down the street, and we're under almost constant video surveillance. Walk into a store, bank, restaurant, dry cleaners, expect to be photographed. Soon we'll have drones overhead. Big Brother is watching. Their excuse is "We're just trying to make money/keep you safe", and their justification is "If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.". Get used to it, because there's nothing you can do about it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It wasn't too long ago that this kind of 'we're all being watched, everywhere!' attitude some people have seemed a bit ridiculous to me, but I'm starting to see that that's not really true anymore. How sad :(

      • by Sloppy (14984)

        Agreed. I remember when all this stuff was just "paranoid" ravings, theoretical risk, etc. You had to be some kind of weird cypherpunk nerd to want to have a PGP keysigning meeting.

        But now it definitely happens for sure, it's mainstream knowledge, and .. you have to be some kind of weird cypherpunk nerd to want to have a PGP keysigning meeting.

        WTF? Situation changed, our perception and knowledge of it changed, but our attitude and behavior didn't.

        We're stupid.

        • by mlts (1038732) *

          Bingo. I have been wanting to get people interested in a keysigning party. First, if done right, no computers need to be brought -- just a piece of paper with everyone's key IDs and fingerprints and a writing instrument to sign off.

          It really is a combination of factors. The first is that E-mail for anything other than formal communications has essentially been replaced by texts, iMessages, and FB messages. No SMS client supports PGP [1]. iMessages, neither. I have read that FB sometimes flags encrypte

    • Re:Get used to it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fustakrakich (1673220) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:40AM (#41486781) Journal

      Let's face it: we now live in a surveillance society.

      Only because the majority of the voters want it that way.

      Get used to it, because there's nothing you can do about it.

      Ah, learned helplessness... The door is open yet nobody steps through.

      • by mhajicek (1582795)

        Only because the majority of the voters want it that way.

        Or perhaps that's simply what's reported.

        • The voting results are self explanatory. Media reports mean nothing.

          • by mhajicek (1582795)
            You could have 55% of people voting against something, but if the media tells you only 45% voted against, how are you going to know otherwise? In this day and age the Media means everything. They tell you what issues are important, which two people you will choose between (remember they wouldn't even mention Ron Paul even when he was ahead in the polls) and they tell you the results of the election. The Media defines the political world.
      • by ATMAvatar (648864)

        Let's face it: we now live in a surveillance society.

        Only because the majority of the voters want it that way.

        Do not mistake apathy for intent. We have insufficient data to suggest that people want it this way. They just don't care enough to enforce change with political action. I caught myself before saying votes, though, as there are no candidates which have any meaningful chance to affect change in this regard whom anyone could vote for. The only hope at this point is for a new, grass-roots party to form and win elections by landslides.

        • The only hope at this point is for a new, grass-roots party to form...

          They don't come to being by themselves. And besides, why is a political 'party' needed? Vote for non-aligned candidates that aren't beholden to any particular party. Try voting for individuals. The problem is not the government. I will take apathy as consent. If people don't care, that only means they approve of the situation. If they don't, they have to show it.. with action. Their words of complaint mean nothing otherwise.

        • Re:Get used to it (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ibsteve2u (1184603) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:13PM (#41491077)

          Let's face it: we now live in a surveillance society.

          Only because the majority of the voters want it that way.

          Do not mistake apathy for intent. We have insufficient data to suggest that people want it this way. They just don't care enough [...]

          I would dispute that, too. My belief is the evolving totalitarian state isn't a matter of voter desire or voter apathy; it is simply misplaced trust; too many Americans project themselves and their own behavior onto their elected officials. I.e., they wouldn't sell their friends and neighbors out, so they cannot envision a scenario wherein their elected officials would, either. Even though it keeps happening.

          On top of which you have to add a lack of awareness of the scope of the systems that are already in place and, further, a lack of the imagination required to conceptualize how those systems might be used to first curtail and then crush individual liberty...which again comes back to the American people's provincialism: They've never seen just how bad it can get...they're not aware of just how far so-called "conservatives"/totalitarians are not just willing but eager to go.

          Ignorance isn't bliss...as anyone who has ever seen a cow contentedly chewing its cud as it walks up the ramp to the slaughterhouse may already have concluded.

          • by fuzznutz (789413)

            [...] it is simply misplaced trust; too many Americans project themselves and their own behavior onto their elected officials.

            Of all the days not to have mod points... You have hit the nail on the head. It's also the reason assholes and con artists are so successful.

      • Want it that way or have simply come to expect it that way? Certainly the TSA, DHS, FBI et al. present a world where we're daily surrounded by bomb-throwing, foaming-at-the-mouth crazies intent on killing soccer moms at the local mall. Our popular fiction (NCIS, NCIS:Los Angeles, CSI: Wherever, Person of Interest etc.) show a surveillance society where "<clickety> I've traced the IP address to a local Internet cafe, <clickety> I hacked the video camera on the ATM in the corner, <clickety
      • by grenadeh (2734161)
        The majority of voters are retarded. ignorant, illiterate self-absorbed jackasses who vote party lines, have no actual identity with their political party that extends beyond taxes and welfare handouts, because they inherited their political identity and perception of government from their parents. They don't research, they don't comprehend, they don't understand the constitution and law and the theories behind them, and the history behind them. People did not vote for Proposition Fuck You and Your Neighbo
    • Re:Get used to it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by usuallylost (2468686) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:43AM (#41486801)
      I agree that, at least in the near term, there is nothing we can do about it. Though I think we still have to try. We still need to complain, sue, protest, put up candidates who are against this etc. If only to slow the spread of this stuff. My problem with the whole "if you're doing doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" bit is that what is defined as wrong has a habit of changing with the political winds. Historically when Government's made unreasonable demands people would find ways to work around it. That is becoming harder and harder to do as we get closer and closer to continuous surveillance of the population. All it takes is for us to elect one real bad player and all of these tools we aren't worrying about become an electronic leash around our necks.
      • Yeah, that would be bad. We could end up with something like the Patriot Act.
      • Re:Get used to it (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mhajicek (1582795) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:23AM (#41487119)
        Unfortunately, omnipresent surveillance is an inevitability. As technology continues to develop it will only get easier and cheaper. The only upside I see is that if it does become so trivial, maybe the watchers can also be watched. And whether you're religious or not, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" is good advice. Societal standards will need to change significantly if we're going to get through this.
    • " If it's not the government (FBI, NSA, CIA, DHS, etc.), it's a corporation..."

      See: Totalitarianism,
      ..something I neither embrace or accept as tolerable. I choose persistent innovation over submission. Futility is only 6' away; I see no reason to crawl and make it closer.

    • Re:Get used to it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:46AM (#41487397)

      Get used to it, because there's nothing you can do about it.

      Precisely. Give in, give up, don't give a single f*ck. That's how we got where we are -- half the the population just said "ah, f*uck it. Nothing I can do about it, so BOHICA"

      "Fighting back" against problem legislation is arduous. For most Americans, they don't want to put in the effort to contact their representatives and voice their opinion. They think someone else will do it. Well, not enough people do and pretty soon we have stuff like military drones in the sky, and some really bat-shit crazy corporate sponsored law makers in office.

      How do you think SOPA/PIPA got beat? Lot's of regular people raising hell about it. Making a big enough deal out of it that the media covered it and it was impossible to pass now because the lawmakers couldn't keep it some clandestine piece of legislation that would get passed quietly.

      Let's face it: There's more everyone could be doing to keep crap like this off the law books.

      • Lot's of regular people raising hell about it.

        Wrong. It wasn't until Google, et al got involved did any of the politicians even notice there was a complaint. The regular people's only option is to vote them out. Which is a fairly powerful option by the way. We shouldn't have to go through a corporation to get the politician to listen.

    • by Xacid (560407)

      You sound like one of those assholes who complain about politics but don't participate under the excuse of "my vote doesn't count". Indifference is why we're in this mess.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        And what exactly is one to do that does count? Vote Obama?

        • by Xacid (560407)

          Vote for who you truly believe in instead of buying into the lesser of two evils or that you vote doesnt count at all. Plain and simple.

          • by Hatta (162192)

            I've done that by voting for no one at all. No one who wants that kind of power should have it.

            • by Xacid (560407)

              Which only perpetuates the problem... Not that I necessarily disagree with your sentiment.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Get used to it, because there's nothing you can do about it.

      Sure there is. Tor, AdBlock, NoScript, Ghostery, Jitsi, GPG, etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by grenadeh (2734161)
      Let's face it != "Things are the way they are and we should accept them." No. Not because it's a strict constructionist point of view, not just that. The constitution says this shit isn't ok. Did they foresee predator drones? No they did not. They foresaw that government, like it has always done in the past because government is people and people are flawed, will try to do things it shouldn't be doing - based on governmental theory and based on the philosophys floating around since the Enlightenment and Re
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Judicial oversight be dammed.

    Report every request for data to the person whose data it is.
    If you don't want them to know, ask the court for a delay in reporting for 6 months.
    If they don't keep renewing, then they don't need the data for any criminal investigation and the person can be told.

    The person, themselves will see if that request was fair and legal because they know and have an incentive to pursue misuse and fishing expeditions.

    It's like they got their excuse to remove privacy and now anyone and ever

  • A bit old, but David Brin's Transparent Society is an interesting treatment of this issue.
  • useless number (Score:4, Insightful)

    by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Friday September 28, 2012 @08:38AM (#41486765)
    The summary should have posted the raw number instead. Increasing by 361% doesn't really mean much. 100 to 461 isn't impressive, compared to, say, 100000 to 461000.
    • The summary should have posted the raw number instead. Increasing by 361% doesn't really mean much. 100 to 461 isn't impressive, compared to, say, 100000 to 461000.

      Considering we're talking about the number of people using email (or worse, the number of emails being sent all together!), I'd say that a multiplier of 3.6 will produce a rather significant number.

  • who watches the watchers?

    Orwellian dystopia here we come, welcome to the New World Order.
    • who watches the watchers?

      Orwellian dystopia here we come, welcome to the New World Order.

      New World Order my $$$. The Old World Order is handling the job quite well, thank-you-very-much. Good loyal American legislators and executives who are going to make us all "safe" and "protect" our (corporate) rights wrote and passed this legislation. And we let them. Republicans and Democrats both.

  • Here's the "Change" I believed in...

    • Re:You got it. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ATMAvatar (648864) on Friday September 28, 2012 @09:52AM (#41487461) Journal
      That's a cute way to ignore that the surveillance is completely bipartisan. This is neither strictly Obama's fault nor any meaningful change from the last administration. Were McCain elected, we would not be any better off in this regard. Should Romney be elected, we will be no better off. Both parties want this desperately, because it is a springboard to consolidating even more power in their hands.
    • Here's the "Change" I believed in...

      This pretty much shows that you can't just hope that the guy in charge won't abuse the power. Why aren't the Repubs in control of the House having hearings about this, aren't they concerned the executive is overstepping its bounds? Why weren't the Democrats in control of the Senate during part of the Bush years doing that either?

      It would appear that allowing unchecked executive power is the bipartisan issue of the 21st century. Your vote may matter a little bit regarding gay marriage or who pays how much in

  • by nimbius (983462) on Friday September 28, 2012 @11:43AM (#41489027) Homepage

    that people are beginning to realize just how little their lives are impacted or affected by terrorism. out of sheer desparation, the government drive to catch anything remotely related to the ideas or sentiments of terrorism or terrorists is now becoming apparent.

    if we dont have 'terror,' then an entire industry that employs millions of americans collapses during an intractable recession. Seeing an increase in wiretaps and so forth is merely observing this industrial organism defensively fight for its survival. As for its government custodian, in this case, i suspect its easier to keep up appearances than to face the fact that peanut allergies killed more americans last year than terrorism, and obesity killed more americans than 9/11 by a long shot.

    • by grenadeh (2734161)
      Well said but I fear, as you probably do, not enough people are waking up fast enough. It may be too late very soon.
  • I did not approve of my taxes being spent this way, which can't possibly reduce crime in a reasonable reflection of what it is costing. Not to dismiss misuse of such ... lets call it what it is.... spying on its own citizens.... No why would they want to do that? With media control they have a feed back loop for manipulating the public.

    No taxation without representation.... Is this representation?

  • For emails, setup your own exchange server or what ever alternative there is on linux instead of using gmail, hotmail, etc... Use vpn. Don't save any of your personal data on cloud, create your own cloud server. But what do you expect to happen when the U.S goes around the world meddling in other peoples affairs including installing dictators, taking resources(for corporations to use), etc... The chickens come home to roost.

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