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Government Privacy United States Technology

Senate Renews Warrantless Eavesdropping Act 218

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
New submitter electron sponge writes "On Friday morning, the Senate renewed the FISA Amendments Act (PDF), which allows for warrantless electronic eavesdropping, for an additional five years. The act, which was originally passed by Congress in 2008, allows law enforcement agencies to access private communications as long as one participant in the communications could reasonably be believed to be outside the United States. This law has been the subject of a federal lawsuit, and was argued before the Supreme Court recently. 'The legislation does not require the government to identify the target or facility to be monitored. It can begin surveillance a week before making the request, and the surveillance can continue during the appeals process if, in a rare case, the secret FISA court rejects the surveillance application. The court’s rulings are not public.'" The EFF points out that the Senate was finally forced to debate the bill, but the proposed amendments that would have improved it were rejected.
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Senate Renews Warrantless Eavesdropping Act

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  • Terms of Usage (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sigvatr (1207234) on Friday December 28, 2012 @01:56PM (#42412463)
    Every company needs a "we can do whatever we want" clause in their terms of usage, why not the United States?
  • by petsounds (593538) on Friday December 28, 2012 @02:10PM (#42412631)

    Here's the vote of each Senator [govtrack.us] on this bill. Only 23 voted Nay, only 3 of those Nays were Republicans, and 4 Senators didn't even show up to vote. And President Obama is quite ready to sign it into law.

    This country is broken.

  • Re:Perpetual war (Score:4, Informative)

    by geek (5680) on Friday December 28, 2012 @02:35PM (#42412883) Homepage

    > Indeed. Harry Reid and gang can pass crap like this but not a single budget in going on 5 years.

    That is because both parties support domestic spying, but the Republicans have been actively obstructing any economic legislation that the Democrats have introduced.

    Um no. Harry Reid has never even put a budget up for a vote. He's never even created one for discussion. How can the Republicans obstruct something that doesn't even exist? Quit pointing fingers and start laying the blame on the majority holders that are running the show. You're not doing yourself or this country any favors giving assholes like Reid a free fucking pass.

  • by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Friday December 28, 2012 @02:36PM (#42412897) Homepage

    The Senate has done everything that it can to resolve the upcoming sequestration. The problem is that some Republicans in the House of Representatives are deliberately trying to prevent a deal from happening. The Speaker of the House cannot even marshall enough votes from his own party to pass a piece of legislation that he introduced.

  • Glenn Greenwald has some great analysis on this vote:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/28/fisa-feinstein-obama-democrats-eavesdropping [guardian.co.uk]

    Wyden yesterday had two amendments: one that would simply require the NSA to give a general estimate of how many Americans are having their communications intercepted under this law (information the NSA has steadfastly refused to provide), and another which would state that the NSA is barred from eavesdropping on Americans on US soil without a warrant. Merkley's amendment would compel the public release of secret judicial rulings from the FISA court which purport to interpret the scope of the eavesdropping law on the ground that "secret law is inconsistent with democratic governance"; the Obama administration has refused to release a single such opinion even though the court, "on at least one occasion", found that the government was violating the Fourth Amendment in how it was using the law to eavesdrop on Americans.

    But the Obama White House opposed all amendments, demanding a "clean" renewal of the law without any oversight or transparency reforms. Earlier this month, the GOP-led House complied by passing a reform-free version of the law's renewal, and sent the bill Obama wanted to the Senate, where it was debated yesterday afternoon.

    This is of course in contrast to his pre-election 2008 promise to oppose the original bill (which he didn't do, voting for it instead). Now he loves it so much, he won't countenance any modifications.

    Democrats: The New GOP.

  • Re:Terms of Usage (Score:5, Informative)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday December 28, 2012 @03:48PM (#42413619) Homepage Journal

    Every company needs a "we can do whatever we want" clause in their terms of usage, why not the United States?

    Because the contract [archives.gov] expressly forbids it

  • Re:Perpetual war (Score:5, Informative)

    by Holi (250190) on Friday December 28, 2012 @04:37PM (#42414037)

    It is not the Senates job to introduce a budget. in fact it would be unconstitutional for the budget to be introduced by the Senate. It is the responsibility of the House to introduce budget, it can;t come from the Senate, it can't come from the President. So can we please drop this bullshit about how it's Harry Reid's fault for not coming up with a budget. The blame falls clearly on the House and thus on Boehner's lap.

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