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Government Crime Privacy United States

US DOJ Say They Don't Need Warrants For E-Mail, Chats 457

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
gannebraemorr writes "The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI believe they don't need a search warrant to review Americans' e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files, internal documents reveal. Government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they're not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail."
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US DOJ Say They Don't Need Warrants For E-Mail, Chats

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  • "split" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @02:53PM (#43667507)

    Keep knock'n back that cool-aid

  • Land of the free (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @02:54PM (#43667515)

    to be watched by the Government.

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:41PM (#43667999) Homepage

      Why isn't all email encrypted yet?

      All we need is email programs that perform a Diffie-Hellman key exchange during the first few emails you exchange with anybody (add an attachment the the email which the user never sees). After two or three emails exchanged, you're encrypted. Why isn't it being done?

      I'm guessing the men in black SUVs pay visits to anybody who attempts it. What's the explanation if not...?

      • by netwarerip (2221204) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:53PM (#43668145)

        ....... What's the explanation if not...?

        Likely because 99.86% of the people that use email can't even pronounce Diffie-Hellman, let alone know what it is.

        • Re:Land of the free (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:22PM (#43668457)

          They don't need to be able to pronounce Diffie-Hellman. GP said that the attachment would even be hidden.

          All of us know the reason why S/MIME, GnuPG, and GP's scheme will never be implemented is because of Outlook and other proprietary clients that make dealing with those technologies a royal pain in the ass even for technical users. I remember Outlook 2003 had an implementation of S/MIME, but it failed the "just works" test badly.

          Now, I remember using KMail when KDE used to be good in the 3.x days. Integration with S/MIME and GnuPG were practically seamless. The question to ask is not whether end users should need to know what Diffie-Hellman even is, but why major vendors like Microsoft and Google have absolutely no interest in supporting these technologies in a seamless, under-the-hood way.

          Hell, at work, we have a proprietary software package that handles outbound email. The only encryption it supports looks like some piss-poor ROT13 with XOR implementation, and you need to install a desktop Windows-only program to decrypt the mail. This vendor knows that businesses like the one I work for not only have to deal with HIPAA ePHI, but we're now regulated by the HITECH act. Where's any initiative from them to even offer S/MIME or some kind of web-based message center that isn't a complete joke? There is none.

          Fortunately, TLS is becoming more common for server-to-server relay, but there seems to be no big business interest in enabling the encryption to happen on the end user's desktop. I'd get my tinfoil hat out, but I have a feeling that the answer is that it just isn't a big priority for these vendors because the end user isn't even aware of the problem. We can get our green URL bars for Verisign-approved shopping carts, but there's no interest in that green bar I used to see in KMail that told me that an email had been encrypted and signature verified as having been sent by who I thought sent it.

          Maybe most folks think that as long as they don't send credit card info over email, it's good enough. Who knows.

      • by defaria (741527) <Andrew@DeFaria.com> on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:09PM (#43668343) Homepage
        Because it's difficult to understand and difficult to use and most people don't know and don't care about encryption. You don't need to put on your beany hat and start conspiracy theories with men in black SUVs - I tried to use encryption and by and large the people I tried it with were nothing but confused and couldn't see the value in it.
        • by amiga3D (567632)

          It's not difficult to use but it is more effort than it's worth. The fact is that most e-mail is innocuous BS that is important only to the people communicating. I genuinely don't care enough to bother and if Big Brother wants to read all my boring correspondence he can have at it. I can't really understand anyone being so stupid as to do anything incriminating in writing anyway. What's up with that? Who is out there that is under the illusion that their correspondence is actually private?

          • by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @06:32PM (#43669863) Journal
            People who have read the Constitution, thats who.
            • by Xaedalus (1192463)
              I have read the Constitution, and I still side with Amiga. Why do you think you're THAT important?
              • by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @07:39PM (#43670499) Journal
                Did you somehow skip this part? "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.[1]"

                Considering all email as searchable is certainly an unreasonable overstepping of authority.
                • by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @09:56PM (#43671393) Homepage Journal

                  Did you somehow skip this part? "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.[1]"

                  Ah, but you forgot the extension to all US laws that applies in this case: "... except when a computer is involved."

                  A well-established principle in US (and most other) law is that if there's a computer involved, all precedent is forgotten, and the lessons of centuries of legal progress must be learned all over again.

                  That clause in the US constitution was there because so many previous governments had done exactly what the US government is now doing with "computerized" communication. The folks who wrote that constitution wanted to prevent the abuses that governments had always foisted on their citizens. But modern people seem to accept the "except when there's a computer involved" qualification, so all those old abuses are being re-implemented online, and we'll have to fight all those old battles again before such safeguards are extended to the digital parts of our modern world.

              • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @11:54PM (#43671897)

                you have it backwards.

                why do the 'watchers' think THEY are so important that they get to violate our privacy?

                yes, right to have your papers and posessions secure from undue seizure and search. its written. go look it up!

      • Key management (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:35PM (#43668593)

        All we need is email programs that perform a Diffie-Hellman key exchange during the first few emails you exchange with anybody

        As always, the hardest part of practical cryptography is key management. What you are talking about is opportunistic encryption [wikipedia.org]. It won't actually prevent decryption but it will force the attacker to do an active Man-In-The-Middle attack, which can be detected after the fact.

        This should be the default mode of operation for PGP mail. Whenever you send an email it should append your public key into the headers. As soon as your interlocutor responds, he can encrypt his reply and sign with his own public key, so all messages but the first one are encrypted. It should just work, nothing should be exposed to the user except a small keylock, which he can click if he's so inclined and verify things like key thumbprint etc. to detect tampering and/or explore full PGP functionality.

        For an environment such as webmail, this still offers zero security: you either keep the private key on the server, or you do the encryption operations on the clients's side. Since Javascript run-time a href=http://www.matasano.com/articles/javascript-cryptography/>is malleable it's very easy to retrieve the private key or the plain text back from the user when the government asks you.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:43PM (#43668681)

        Why isn't all email encrypted yet?

        Because its useless for most people. If the encryption is truly end to end, then the common web mail providers can't read it, and thus can't use it for targeting ads, so there is no reason for them to provide email at all. If the web mail provider holds the keys, then the government can just ask them for the email.

        For this to have any hope, we need everyone to stop using free web mail. Note that this reasoning regarding ad targeting is invalid for paid services (and personal mail servers obviously)

        Hey Google: I'll gladly pay a subscription to have my g-mail client side encrypted and decrypted. Problem solved.

        Ok, I likely could use a third party mail client, and overlay the encryption, but wouldn't it be nice if g-mail offered (on by default) encrypted email, and if you were willing to pay, only you held the keys? They could well integrate it, and with their user base, g-mail to g-mail would be common enough to get it started and supported elsewhere.

      • by quarrelinastraw (771952) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:44PM (#43668691)

        Because many email providers -- such as gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc -- want to read your email to serve you ads. Encryption runs counter to the profit motive.

      • by dinfinity (2300094) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:45PM (#43668695)

        Because major webmail providers don't really want email to be encrypted.
        Google/Gmail could easily push it and make it happen, but they would just be throwing money away by not being able to profile their users anymore.

        If everybody were still using Outlook Express and/or Thunderbird and ISP provided email accounts, there would have been loads of easy install plugins that would allow cross-client encryption.

  • Fourth Amendment (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @02:55PM (#43667521)

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    • by zlives (2009072) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @02:58PM (#43667555)

      when the government does it, that means that it is not unreasonable.

      • by funwithBSD (245349) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:09PM (#43667655)

        I think you got that backwards, or forgot the /sarcasm tag:

        Searches by government are by definition unreasonable, thus they need a warrent.

      • by pollarda (632730) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:49PM (#43668743)

        The gun issue not withstanding, the Government's attack on the Second Amendment is horrific and sets up really bad precidence for the Fourth Amendment, First Amendment, as well as others.

        FOURTH AMENDMENT
        Just think: In order to exercise your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, the Government needs to perform a background check on you to ensure that you are an upstanding citizen.

        FIRST AMENDMENT
        In order to exercise your First Amendment rights, you are subject to a three day waiting period. You may only use media types approved by the Government. Discourses conducted through media not sanctioned is a felony.

        etc.

        • Gun Clutchers... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Uberbah (647458) on Thursday May 09, 2013 @12:29AM (#43672063)

          The gun issue not withstanding, the Government's attack on the Second Amendment is horrific

          ...need to get the hell over themselves and come back to reality. What attack on the Second Amendment. The Senate can't even expand background checks FFS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by amiga3D (567632)

        That is the solution to the entire Constitution. Just redefine all the words in it. Define reasonable as whatever the government wants and you are good to go. Hell, Clinton redefined the word "is." Gotta love it.

    • by Bugler412 (2610815) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:04PM (#43667605)
      And the entirety of the 4th amendment is eliminated by storing your data on somebody else's system since it's no longer considered part of YOUR "persons, houses, papers, and effects" Still like "the cloud"?
      • Re:Fourth Amendment (Score:4, Informative)

        by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:06PM (#43667625) Homepage Journal

        And the entirety of the 4th amendment is eliminated by storing your data on somebody else's system since it's no longer considered part of YOUR "persons, houses, papers, and effects"

        Still like "the cloud"?

        Bullshit - my papers and effects are my papers and effects, regardless of where I keep them.

        Could you imagine how hard it would be for banks to sell safety deposit space, if there was no guarantee other people weren't able to rifle through your shit?

        • Not talking about how it should, talking about how it is currently being interpreted by the courts and the DOJ
        • by Zcar (756484) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:20PM (#43667729)

          Safety deposit boxes are different since you have a lock on it.

          If I simply give you an unsealed packet of papers, I am assuming the risk you'll had those over to the government if they ask you for them even if I ask you not to. There's no 4th amendment protection under those circumstances. This is analogous to using a web mail provider like gmail, hotmail, etc. where you're asking them to store plain text emails. You've arguably lost the 4th amendment protections in this case. Any protections are statutory, not constitutional.

          • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:24PM (#43667771) Homepage Journal

            Safety deposit boxes are different since you have a lock on it.

            If I simply give you an unsealed packet of papers, I am assuming the risk you'll had those over to the government if they ask you for them even if I ask you not to. There's no 4th amendment protection under those circumstances. This is analogous to using a web mail provider like gmail, hotmail, etc. where you're asking them to store plain text emails.

            OK, then go access my gmail account and post all the content therein online.

            Oh, wait, you can't, because that account has a fucking lock on it, that only I (and Google, supposedly) have a key to.

            • by ewieling (90662) <eric&fnords,org> on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:25PM (#43668489)
              Wouldn't the solution to "the e-mail problem" be to store your e-mail in a country with decent privacy protections and access it using SSL/TLS? It won't won't prevent the US government from accessing your e-mail if they really want to, but it is a start.
            • by Zcar (756484) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:51PM (#43668757)

              OK, then go access my gmail account and post all the content therein online.

              Oh, wait, you can't, because that account has a fucking lock on it, that only I (and Google, supposedly) have a key to.

              But Google has access to them. And the Third Party Doctrine, endorsed by the US Supreme Court, doesn't extend your 4th Amendment rights to information of yours held and accessible by others.

              If you give me something which would incriminate you in the clear and I put it in a safe (say a letter in an unsealed envelope), all that's needed to require me (under the 4th) to turn that letter over to the government is a subpoena, not a search warrant. If it was in your safe, it would require a search warrant. Having an email in plain text sitting on someone else's hard drive is analogous.

              I'm not saying I agree with this doctrine (I don't), but that's the current state of the law in the US: once your information leaves your possession you've pretty much lost 4th Amendment protections to it from anyone else who obtains it turning it over.

        • by thoth (7907)

          Bullshit - my papers and effects are my papers and effects, regardless of where I keep them.

          Could you imagine how hard it would be for banks to sell safety deposit space, if there was no guarantee other people weren't able to rifle through your shit?

          It comes down to the legal argument over an expectation of privacy. You expect a bank to keep the contents of a safety deposit box private. Arguing unencrypted emails, facebook posts, tweets, etc. You expect your home to be private. Claiming you expect email (especially unencrypted ones), facebook posts and twitter messages to be treated with the same privacy is a stretch of varying degrees. Some of the methods are 100% opposite the "expectation of privacy", e.g. people participating want to reach as many o

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:40PM (#43667993)

            The Sarah Palin email hack occurred on September 16, 2008.... The incident was ultimately prosecuted in a U.S. federal court as four felony crimes punishable by up to 50 years in federal prison.[3][4] The charges were three felonies: identity theft, wire fraud, and anticipatory obstruction of justice; and one optional as felony or misdemeanor: intentionally accessing an account without authorization.

            If emails etc are not expected to be private, why is it a felony crime to access someone else's email?

          • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:53PM (#43668143) Homepage Journal

            Bullshit - my papers and effects are my papers and effects, regardless of where I keep them.

            Could you imagine how hard it would be for banks to sell safety deposit space, if there was no guarantee other people weren't able to rifle through your shit?

            It comes down to the legal argument over an expectation of privacy. You expect a bank to keep the contents of a safety deposit box private. Arguing unencrypted emails, facebook posts, tweets, etc.

            False equivalence - An email is a direct communication between two parties, whereas facebook posts and tweets are publicly posted.

        • Re:Fourth Amendment (Score:5, Informative)

          by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:53PM (#43668155) Homepage

          Bullshit - my papers and effects are my papers and effects, regardless of where I keep them.

          This should not be labeled informative because it is likely to get people into serious shit.

          Under the third-party records doctrine, a person cannot assert a Fourth Amendment interest in information knowingly provided to a third party. If strict application of the doctrine ever served us well, it no longer does, leading to absurd results. This is particularly true in an age where so much more information is communicated through intermediaries. ....

          http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/the_data_question_should_the_third-party_records_doctrine_be_revisited/ [abajournal.com]

          The doctrine holds that law enforcement does not need a warrant to search and seize information lawfully held by third parties, such as online file hosting services like Dropbox or online email providers like Gmail. Nojeim argues that the third-party records doctrine is outdated and an ill-suited legal standard for today's digital world. For example, people can use physical storage lockers rented out to them by a third party -- that is, a locker rental company -- and retain a warrant protection for their property stored in the lockers. However, if people use an online storage service provided by a third party, their warrant protection is lost.

          https://www.cdt.org/blogs/suchismita-pahi/0108whats-wrong-third-party-doctrine-and-einstein-30 [cdt.org]

          • Re:Fourth Amendment (Score:4, Interesting)

            by suutar (1860506) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:57PM (#43668815)
            I wonder what would happen if I used the "use own key" provision for CrashPlan and kept the key on a piece of paper in a safety deposit box. Under this doctrine they can get to the encrypted form, but with "use own key", CrashPlan (in theory) can't decrypt the data, so they need the key... which is somewhere that requires a warrant. (Or at least is going to require a judge to tell me that it doesn't, which I would tend to count as close enough to a court order for jazz.) Seems like that could get me something reasonably close to warrant protection. The downside of course is that switching to "use own key" is going to mean re-uploading all the backed up data.
      • by fatalwall (873645)

        Technically incorrect. If what you said is true then anything you placed inside a bank locker would be subject to the same searches. The manner you pay a company for services matters not.

        People so readily try to throw out amendments because technology has changed when in reality an email would fall under the class of papers because papers are documents emails are electronic documents and your computer or cloud service is the filing cabinet or vault you store them in.

        That being said, I do not like the servic

        • by Meeni (1815694) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:39PM (#43667953)

          Voice over phone line is in "clear", and ATT could listen to it. Yet it is still required to have warrant to bug the line. I fail to see what is different with my emails. They are traveling "the infrastructure" in clear, that doesn't mean they are intended to be read by every bystander. As a matter of fact, somebody got a very harsh sentence for intruding onto S. Palin's mailboxes and revealing the content of these emails, so it seems to be quite clear and settled that emails are not to be considered public by default.

      • by Feyshtey (1523799)
        Bullshit argument. If I store my bag in a locker at the gym it does not give right to the govt to search that simply because the locker is technically owned by the gym. I have procured the authority to use that locker as my personal space. The same could be said of a storage unit. Now there may be a grey area in the case of the owner of the storage location (whether that is a locker, a storage unit or Gmail) allowing govt access without a warrant. But that's where contracts and contract law come into play.
        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          Bullshit argument. If I store my bag in a locker at the gym it does not give right to the govt to search that simply because the locker is technically owned by the gym. I have procured the authority to use that locker as my personal space.

          So you know that you've rented that locked space with the expectation of privacy and extension of your personal space. Storage lockers, ditto. When you rent an apartment, ditto.

          But if you simply give your stuff to someone else, you lose that protection. I pay nothing to Google for their gmail. It's on their servers.

          And now IEEE has announced that they will be moving their mail alias services to Google and giving members free access to Google Stuff (I forget all the details.) So, here's another example of

          • I pay nothing to Google for their gmail.

            Ooooh, yes you do. Perhaps not with dollars and cents, but you definitely pay for it.

            Best to never forget that.

        • by anagama (611277)

          It is bullshit ... but ....you might be quite stunned by the reach of the third party doctrine, i.e., you give up your rights to privacy when you entrust stuff to a third party.

          At Linux Fest NW, the ACLU and EFF put on a presentation and one of the topics was the third party doctrine. The consensus was that the doctrine might not apply if you bought a server and collocated it. It would likely apply to virtual private servers, almost certainly to shared hosting accounts, and definitely for any service prov

    • by sycodon (149926)

      So...according to the Government, the second Amendment only protects Muskets and the 4th only protects snail mail.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:51PM (#43668131)

      Corporations are people, humans aren't.
      Money is speech, writing isn't.
      Democracy has sold out.

      Didn't you get the memo?

      movetoamend.org if you don't like it.

  • FOI Requests? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @02:57PM (#43667543) Journal
    Does the same logic mean that the government can not reject FOI requests for emails and can not redact anything in emails?
  • Oh wait! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:00PM (#43667565)

    Maybe we should create an amendment to the constitution that makes this issue more clear regarding illegal search.

    Oh, wait... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

    well then maybe we should create a law that clarifies the position a bit further

    Oh, wait.. http://www.justice.gov/opcl/privstat.htm

    ok, well maybe we will have courts decide that emails are personal property

    Oh, wait... http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Are_emails_personal_property

    when/where does it end?

    • Re:Oh wait! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:05PM (#43667617)

      It ends when you start sending prosecutors to jail for misconduct.

      • Re:Oh wait! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:26PM (#43667801) Homepage Journal

        It ends when prosecutors start sending prosecutors to jail for misconduct.

        FTFY, and identified the real problem at the same time.

        If self-policing worked, we wouldn't have need for police, you know?

      • It ends when you start sending prosecutors to jail for misconduct.

        Who prosecutes the prosecutors? I'm not really disagreeing with you, just pointing out that reform has to start a little higher up.

      • by Zcar (756484)

        It's not misconduct to follow procedures ruled constitutional by the US Supreme Court, e.g. United States v. Miller (1976) and Smith v. Maryland (1979).

        To be clear, I think they should be protected, but as far as I can tell, that's not the current state.

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Give them a fair trial, take them out back and then shoot them for treason.

        That is what they are doing when they violate the pledge they swore as a government servant to protect and defend the constitution.

        The death penalty should be reserved for multiple-murderers and people who misuse their government position to infringe on the rights of people.

    • Yes, but... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zcar (756484) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:25PM (#43667789)

      Yes, those all apply to email in your possession. But, not necessarily to those stored with third parties. It's called the Third Party Doctrine.

      http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/the_data_question_should_the_third-party_records_doctrine_be_revisited/ [abajournal.com]

      In essence, the doctrine holds that information lawfully held by many third parties is treated differently from information held by the suspect himself. It can be obtained by subpoenaing the third party, by securing the third party’s consent or by any other means of legal discovery; the suspect has no role in the matter, and no search warrant is required.

  • Depends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:01PM (#43667575)
    If you can sniff the network and easily read what I sent then fine. If I secure my emails so they don't appear in plain text then I think you do. If you secure your communication then you should require a warrant, because otherwise anyone could read what I send and I should have no expectation of privacy with my communications.
    • Re:Depends (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:08PM (#43667645) Homepage Journal

      If you can sniff the network and easily read what I sent then fine. If I secure my emails so they don't appear in plain text then I think you do.

      So basically your stance is - if you mail a letter in a sealed envelope, it's fair game, but if the letter is written in code, it's not.

      Strange philosophy you have there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lakitu (136170)

        It's not strange at all. Isn't this a technical site?

        Email is sent plaintext over the wire. There's no envelope.

        It's like complaining about someone being able to hear your radio broadcasts in plain language. Or overhear your conversation in a restaurant.

  • Second Amendment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:01PM (#43667579) Homepage Journal

    People keep claiming that they want to keep their guns because they need to protect themselves if their rights are taken away by the government...

    HELLO???? At what point do you start defending yourselves? Your rights are being slowly stripped away and have been over the course of the last 30 years, and nobody does anything?

    Even when the Stormtroopers are patrolling the streets, and curfew after dark is in place and people are afraid to speak against the government, or talk on their phones, with your neighbors turning each other in for 'treason'... you'll all still be sitting on your guns waiting for the government to take away your rights.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      People keep claiming that they want to keep their guns because they need to protect themselves if their rights are taken away by the government...

      HELLO???? At what point do you start defending yourselves? Your rights are being slowly stripped away and have been over the course of the last 30 years, and nobody does anything?

      Even when the Stormtroopers are patrolling the streets, and curfew after dark is in place and people are afraid to speak against the government, or talk on their phones, with your neighbors turning each other in for 'treason'... you'll all still be sitting on your guns waiting for the government to take away your rights.

      Until they actually do something with those newfound "powers" there won't be much uproar. As long as the searches/seizures are discrete, everyone is happy because "it wont happen to them".

      • Re:Second Amendment (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:13PM (#43667689) Homepage Journal

        So... as long as the government comes after dissidents, one at a time, it's OK. As long as your rights are taken away, one at a time, it's OK. As long as you are oppressed SLOWLY, that's fine. Face it. America is sheeple. No one is ever going to take up arms against the government, and if someone does, he's easily dismissed as a kook by the media, and killed in a hail of gunfire and we all cheer on TV that we've been "saved" from this guy by the long arm of oppression.

        • Let's not be too harsh on Americans. Most people are sheeple, no matter where they live. We'd have a lot more revolutions otherwise. Few people want to be the 1st to die on the front line, even if success in the long run were assured. May be one reason a giant army of the unemployed haven't risen up against a govt here that clearly doesn't care if they live or die.
    • by judoguy (534886) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:07PM (#43667641) Homepage
      "And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more - we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward."

      Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Fantastic book, terrifying too.

        Hopefully no one needed to look at the name to know who wrote it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Even when the Stormtroopers are patrolling the streets, and curfew after dark is in place and people are afraid to speak against the government, or talk on their phones, with your neighbors turning each other in for 'treason'... you'll all still be sitting on your guns waiting for the government to take away your rights.

      Or, as Boston proved, they'll be cheering in the streets.

      Hell, Boston proved that the Fourth Amendment is no obstacle to searching people's houses without a warrant. Not only did the people there let them do it, but they were happy to let them do it.

      Of course, Boston is a disarmed population, so maybe it would be different if the populace was armed - but I doubt it. All you have to do is cry "terrorist!" and the people will be happy to shut down a city to catch an unarmed injured teenager.

      If you ever needed

      • The marathon bombings were nothing compared to the police action that followed.

        I must've missed some of the news. How many people had their limbs blown off by the police during the search? How many children were killed during the optional curfew?
        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          I must've missed some of the news. How many people had their limbs blown off by the police during the search? How many children were killed during the optional curfew?

          Is it your argument that as long as the government is not dismembering children whatever else they do is ok?

          What "optional curfew"? There was a mandatory lockdown. People could not go to work, they could not earn their paychecks, they could not leave home. Buses and trains were shut down. They spent a good part of the day that way. And the suspect was found after people were allowed to go outside and someone saw bloody footprints around his boat. A member of the public, who had been prevented from leaving

      • by Zcar (756484) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:29PM (#43667831)

        Hell, Boston proved that the Fourth Amendment is no obstacle to searching people's houses without a warrant. Not only did the people there let them do it, but they were happy to let them do it.

        Yes. And there's no violation of the 4th Amendment if you willingly wave that right and say, "Come right on in and look around!" The 4th is only about coerced searches.

        • Re:Second Amendment (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:26PM (#43668497)

          Yes. And there's no violation of the 4th Amendment if you willingly wave that right and say, "Come right on in and look around!" The 4th is only about coerced searches.

          This was modded up?

          The searches in Boston weren't "consensual" by any definition of the word. Luckily, people took videos of the police, even if in their disarmed state they couldn't stand up to them. The police were showing up with a SWAT team, banging on the door, holding the person who answered outside at gunpoint, and searching the houses. On the street even more SWAT team members waited in a tank with guns aimed at people visible through windows - including the person taking the video.

          But go ahead, explain to me how that's not a "coerced" search.

          And then the people cheered the police over this behavior - literally, there were people in the streets thanking the police for stripping them of their Constitutional rights. It's absolutely sickening and a perfect example of why the OP is absolutely right. People need to stand up for their rights against a police force that does not hesitate to use excessive force against their own population.

    • Don't be silly, gun owners are a bunch of hicks and don't use email or read ./ ! /sarcasm

  • TFA highlights (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:04PM (#43667607) Homepage
    things like policies on "unopened" email older than 180 days. Are we talking about the 'seen' flag being set? or the file being opened? yeah, of course government law enforcement agencies want the power to snoop on this kind of stuff but it sounds like theyre doing it without a warrant to get around the fact that most judges are completely ignorant about email and electronic communication.
    then again judges have ruled in the past the FBI does not have this kind of broad jurisdiction to warrantlessly read email, so maybe they really are just ignoring the rulings?

    either way, its been proven by multiple school shootings and a recent bombing that spy-on-the-whole-country technology is worthless. it doesnt help anyone prevent or prove crime, it only enables precrime and thoughtcrime to be used as fodder for law enforcement careers and budget proposals.
    • Actually, it is a hyper-technical argument in favor of warrantless searches. The government cannot subpoena your hard drive so long as it is in your house; they have to get a warrant to recover it. But if your hard drive was in someone else's house, the government could conceivably just (according to them) subpoena the hard drive without a warrant because the other person doesn't have a right against seizure of your hard drive.

      Thus, the government arguing that your data is physically in someone else's custo

  • by bignetbuy (1105123) <[r0ck] [at] [operamail.com]> on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:09PM (#43667659) Journal

    Cue the flamebait accusations....

    I'm can't disagree with the U.S. Government's position on this one. If data is sent via the Internet, the world's biggest public network, and isn't encrypted, then why should anybody need anything to read it? Unreasonable search and seizure doesn't apply when one person is talking to another person on a street corner...or on the world's biggest public network.

    Encrypt your messages and then an argument can be made for 4th Amendment violations.

    • If data is sent via the Internet, the world's biggest public network, and isn't encrypted, then why should anybody need anything to read it? . . .

      Encrypt your messages and then an argument can be made for 4th Amendment violations.

      You're not distinguishing between data in transit and data at rest. And it's an important distinction. Using Google's mail service as an example, my gmail is encrypted in transit via SSL. Always. I use HTTPS-Everywhere plugin to ensure that.

      That said, I don't know how Google stores it while it rests on their servers, but it is in that state that the government claims they have a right to inspect it without a warrant. I hope it's encrypted, but it's not under my direct control. And it sounds like go

    • by WillgasM (1646719)
      I assume you encrypt your snailmail too. Don't forget to send little Billy the private key so he can read his birthday card.
    • I'm can't disagree with the U.S. Government's position on this one. If your voice is sent via the phone network, the world's public voice network, and isn't encrypted, then why should anybody need anything to listen in on it? Unreasonable search and seizure doesn't apply when one person is talking to another person on a street corner...or on the world's biggest voice network.

  • Will someone be arrested for obstruction?

  • ...show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they're not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail."

    That implies that Obama really is trying to keep his promise about transparency, but he is fighting his own organization. The article doesn't mention Obama at all though.

    • That implies that Obama really is trying to keep his promise about transparency, but he is fighting his own organization. The article doesn't mention Obama at all though.

      Obama supports Holder completely.

      Until Holder does something REALLY unpopular, then it's "The Buck Never Got Here"....

  • ...the marches and protests on Washington Mall, complete with giant presidential effigies and Hitler mustaches.
  • People aren't encrypting enough...

    Its clearly too easy for them. If we encrypt more then they might have a harder time violating rights.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich AT aol DOT com> on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @03:42PM (#43668025) Journal

    When your government starts telling you that, it is a sign that you are having a crisis and need to swap out your government for a new one before it becomes impossible to do so.

    It may already be too late.

  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday May 08, 2013 @04:17PM (#43668405)

    ... what the DoJ says. What does the court say?

    The DoJ is the logical equivalent of the local cops. They are the 'hired muscle' used to bring suspects before the court system for trial and to prosecute them (represent the public's case in criminal trials). They don't make the law. Nor do they apply it to individual cases.

    Of course, the cops are going to claim as much power as they can get away with.

    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      Well the concern is that they don't necessarily have to bring any of the illegally obtained evidence up in court, but it could still help build a case that wouldn't otherwise exist.

      The point is that they should not be operating in an illegal manner whether or not it would jeopardize a criminal case. What if the DoJ next decides that torture is acceptable. Do you really think that just because it can't be used in court that there wouldn't be any negative outcomes from that stance?

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