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Even the Author of the Patriot Act Is Trying To Stop the NSA 322

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the clinging-to-power dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner will introduce an anti-NSA bill tomorrow in the House, and if it makes its winding way to becoming law, it will be a big step towards curtailing the NSA's bulk metadata collection. Wisconsin Rep. Sensenbrenner, along with 60 co-sponsors, aims to amend one section of the Patriot Act, Section 215, in a bill known as the United and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet Collection, and Online Monitoring Act — also known by its less-clunky acronym version, the USA Freedom Act."
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Even the Author of the Patriot Act Is Trying To Stop the NSA

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  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:11PM (#45264375)

    Just like CEOs who take the credit for the $ savings of outsourcing, then take the credit for improved service by bringing the work back, but somehow keep their jobs. Or the dorks who think centralizing IT assets (hello Mainframe) is good, then later decide that distributing all the computing (hello desktop) is good, claiming credit for being revolutionary twice.

    Do people really fall for this?

    • by causality (777677) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:37PM (#45264583)

      Do people really fall for this?

      To the ones pulling the strings, such an incredibly short memory and inability to draw contrasts is not a bug, it's a strongly encouraged feature.

      Most people are passive mentally and believe thinking to be a burden that should be avoided whenever possible. Therefore, if the TV news doesn't specifically highlight something in a nice ADD-friendly 10-second sound bite, it won't be widely known. If this sounds incredible or alien to you, it's because the Slashdot crowd doesn't represent mainstream America (though the way people keep arguing from emotion, that's changing).

      There is no one in power who wants a well-informed, smart, savvy, thinking population that has a long memory, is familiar with dialectic and able to easily perform critical thinking. No one running the show wants that at all. It's no surprise that within the little feudal system of a corporation that no one is forced to do business with, this goes unnoticed. It goes unnoticed with huge political changes that affect daily life.

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:37PM (#45264585)

      There was a time when mainframes were better, then there was a time when desktops were better, then there was a time when thin clients were better, then there was a time when BYOD was better... I'm not sure what you point is there other than "shit changes"

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bigstrat2003 (1058574)

        ...then there was a time when BYOD was better...

        The utopian future, where users won't be crying "fix my random device you have never seen one of before, I need it to work" to IT?

        • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday October 28, 2013 @09:13PM (#45264795)

          The utopian future, where users won't be crying "fix my random device you have never seen one of before, I need it to work" to IT?

          Jesus. Don't blame the users. The CEOs are 98% at fault.

          When they don't have to buy desktops or cell phones, they count that as a plus. Sure, it shifts a huge burden to IT, but don't forget who is really the driving force behind this.

          I have a different take on it: if management wants to save money by "letting" me BYOD, rather than buying their own, fine. They can lease it from me during the workday, in addition to my pay. If they think they're going to get it for free, they can suck eggs.

          • Oh, I don't blame the users, despite how it might sound. But that doesn't mean I enjoy the support nightmare that BYOD entails (unless management is going to say "you bring it, you support it", which isn't likely at most companies).
            • "Oh, I don't blame the users, despite how it might sound. But that doesn't mean I enjoy the support nightmare that BYOD entails (unless management is going to say "you bring it, you support it", which isn't likely at most companies)."

              I can appreciate that.

          • by AK Marc (707885)

            Jesus. Don't blame the users. The CEOs are 98% at fault.

            The entire management team CEO, COO, CFO, all use iPads and Macbooks (pro or air, depending on the person). And the standard build does not include those options. They realize their rules are silly, as they don't follow it. But they enforce them on everyone else anyway.

            For my BYOD, I put the company SIM in my phone. They support it that way, and I have a device better than they'd let me have.

          • Well that isn't the only issue. BYOD also allows your company to avoid liability if the employee does anything illegal with it that you didn't authorize, such as using pirated software. Since you don't need to avoid that problem, you don't need to lock down their system either, therefore they can install their own copy of vlc without having to bother the help desk people.

            If your company saves money when you work from home instead of leasing more office space, you may as well argue that they're now responsib

            • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday October 28, 2013 @10:51PM (#45265347)

              "Well that isn't the only issue. BYOD also allows your company to avoid liability if the employee does anything illegal with it that you didn't authorize, such as using pirated software."

              Well, I can nip that rumor in the bud. First, if you have an agreement stating that you, rather than the company, are liable or your own transgressions, in most cases it would be binding. Second, do you mean downloaded apps? Downloading is not piracy, which is a legal term meaning something else. Despite the fact that the RIAA and MPAA have spent millions trying to get you to think it is. You do their work for them when you call it that. Simply downloading a copied app is not a crime. Piracy is. They are legally two very different things.

              "If your company saves money when you work from home instead of leasing more office space, you may as well argue that they're now responsible for your mortgage payment as well."

              Nonsense. That is a different situation. There are definite perks to living at home, which offset any lost revenue from "renting" the space to the company. Using YOUR equipment, however, is a different story. If they did it themselves, they'd have to buy or lease the equipment. If they hired a contractor, the contractor would buy or lease the equipment (and pass the cost on to them). In contrast, you're trying to say they can require an employee to buy or lease the equipment themselves, with no compensation.

              Just plain bullshit.

      • by s.petry (762400) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:46PM (#45264647)

        The point was that the systems were only invented once, but every CEO (and some politicians) have claimed to have invent these concepts over and over again, and people are stupid enough to believe them.

        Mainframe = many users and departments on a system. Great invention

        Desktop = single user system. Great invention

        Grid/Cloud = many users and departments on a system. Not a new invention at all, it's using various components to mimic the Mainframe. The "system" is using different components and Operating systems now vs. then, but they are still trying to mimic the original system.

        BYOD fits into either the "single device" or "connected to something" architecture just like today's PC.

        If you try and nitpick the system, you will of course miss the analogy. The analogy is not about what is better, it's that it's not new.

    • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:42PM (#45264615)

      Would you prefer that they stick to their guns and continue doing harm? I prefer politicians who are willing to change their minds based on public opinion, thank you very much.

      I don't even care if he really believes in what he's doing now. Maybe he still thinks the Patriot Act is good and he's only doing this to attract more votes. But what difference does it make?

      • by causality (777677) on Monday October 28, 2013 @10:38PM (#45265279)

        Would you prefer that they stick to their guns and continue doing harm? I prefer politicians who are willing to change their minds based on public opinion, thank you very much.

        If we had politicians who didn't give a fuck about public opinion and perhaps even had contempt for the way it was openly swayed and outright engineered by all the fearmongering, we'd have never had a Patriot Act to begin with.

        Amending the Constitution to make every Senator an elected official was a huge mistake. It's one of those things that sounds nice until you realize what it actually causes. You really do need state-appointed Senators who can and will halt rash and badly-written laws because they aren't vulnerable to "Senator X voted to make us less safe!" rhetoric at election time. It would also go a long way to curtailing the federal practice of bullying the States by withholding their own damned money if they don't do as they're told.

        • by fnj (64210) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @12:13AM (#45265705)

          That's exactly the reason for the 17th. The Senate was not a malleable enough rubber stamp for tyranny. It was brilliant how the Senate damped the stupidity of the House until the 17th turned the Senate into a half-assed extension of the House.

          The 16th, 17th, and 18th. Three shitty amendments that did devastating damage to the nation, passed in a span of six years. The exact same six year span which also saw the corrupt Federal Reserve come into existence.

          And we were doing so well with the first fifteen.

        • by thrich81 (1357561)

          No and I'll tell you why, I read it somewhere else -- no one has figured out how to gerrymander a whole state yet. Currently the Republicans hold the majority of the seats in the House even though they overall received fewer votes in House elections in 2012 than the Democrats. This is mostly due to the very effective (or horrific, if you believe in equal representation) gerrymandering of the House seats done after the 2010. Party representation in the Senate is much closer to the popular vote of the peop

          • Party representation in the Senate is much closer to the popular vote of the people

            Really? Two senators from California (pop. 38 million), two from Wyoming (pop. 500K)? By the way if the fact that a party has more seats than its share of total vote is evidence of gerrymandering (it isn't) then what can be said about Democrats who except for very recent past have always had more seats than votes - http://www.realclearpolitics.com/images/wysiwyg_images/chart10-10.gif [realclearpolitics.com] , By your logic Democrats are ger

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by artor3 (1344997)

          This, ladies and gents, is a stealth-Republican. Not a conservative, but a party-line-toeing, card-carrying Republican. They've already gerrymandered the House so that they can win with a minority of votes. After Obama's reelection, they started planning to change the way states assign electoral college votes so that they could effectively gerrymander the presidency. And recently, they've started talking about repealing the 17th amendment, with the obvious goal of gerrymandering the Senate.

          Keep an eye o

          • You're confused on some points. House electoral districts are decided at the state level, and every state has its own procedures. When those procedures are political, you generally have to have control of some key part of the state government to make decisions about the state's legislative districts. You are effectively complaining that the Republicans are winning at the national level because they are winning at the state level. Each district election is it's own race. Any so-called "national tally" o

      • by Gothmolly (148874)

        Because it was never good in the first place.

      • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @01:47AM (#45266117)

        I prefer politicians who are willing to change their minds based on public opinion, thank you very much.
         
        I prefer politicians who are willing to change their minds based on facts and new information, not based on public opinion. Public opinion is subject to all kinds of superficial things because majority of people don't have time to understand all the issues and therefore pick up their opinions from a few soundbites. Public opinion does not depend on reality but on the agenda of those who are the best at shaping it, and should never be trusted.

        • The US Congress has both approaches. The House elections run every two years with the idea that it will be a closer representation of the voters views, and to some extent their passions. The Senate elections are for six years, and are staggered. The Senate is supposed to be the more deliberative body.

    • by mspohr (589790)

      Sounds like they finally realized that they were wrong and are trying to fix the worst abuses of the law.
      I think we should allow people to admit they were wrong and try to make amends.
      (Not that I expect any long term fundamental improvement from these sleazy bastards.)

  • Herpaderp (Score:4, Informative)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:11PM (#45264381)

    ... In other news, senators stopped short of repealing the Patriot Act, likely aware that without deleting the entire act, all they're accomplishing is switching the data collection activities to another agency, which will then perform the role the NSA currently has.

  • We also need... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:12PM (#45264383)

    We also need a law prohibiting all these fucking acronym law names... fucking seriously...

  • Sheesh. How many interns did it take to come up with that acronym?

  • by harvey the nerd (582806) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:14PM (#45264413)
    Wait until Merkel, Kristina and half a billion women find out about any upskirt pics...
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:17PM (#45264431) Homepage

    Just repeal the damned PATRIOT act. IT was supposed to be a temporary measure and it needs to go away now.

    Why dont these senators have any backbone or honestly left in them and just repeal it?

    • by sI4shd0rk (3402769) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:21PM (#45264459)

      IT was supposed to be a temporary measure

      Temporary or not, it was awful and it should never have passed.

      • by fatphil (181876)
        And the fact that it was is evidence enough that it will never be revoked. Yes, they are that corrupt. (Sorry, not writing off such malice as stupidity in this case.)
        • by artor3 (1344997)

          Who's "they"? Everyone who ever will be a politician? All of the hundreds of congressmen, and the thousands more who will be congressmen? How about the tens of thousands who will try to be congressmen? And the hundreds of thousands who work for and support them?

          It's really easy to hate "them" when "they" are just an amorphous, shadowy conspiracy. But in the real world, they're people, not comic book villains. They do what they do because they think it's the right thing.

          • But in the real world, they're people

            They're human garbage, so I suppose they are kind of human.

          • They do what they do because they think it's the right thing.

            Now that is an interesting take on things.

          • by fnj (64210)

            Who's "they"? Everyone who ever will be a politician? All of the hundreds of congressmen, and the thousands more who will be congressmen? How about the tens of thousands who will try to be congressmen? And the hundreds of thousands who work for and support them?

            Everyone who gets assimilated by the corrupt federal politics System. At the very least 95% of Congressmen. It is the cancerous blob that assimilates all life and turns it to its sinister purpose.

    • by FridayBob (619244) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:55PM (#45264693) Homepage

      Just repeal the damned PATRIOT act. IT was supposed to be a temporary measure and it needs to go away now. Why dont these senators have any backbone or honestly left in them and just repeal it?

      Completely agree, but I fear that won't happen (not even the USA Freedom Act) because Congress doesn't work for us anymore: they work for rich folks and for the corporations. That's because bribery is legal these days and those in Congress have found that 94-95% of the time the candidate with the most money wins. Consequently, fundraising is what they do 60% of the time; "following the green," as they call it. So, if companies like Booz Allen Hamilton start instructing their stooges in Congress on both sides of the isle about what they want, the PATRIOT Act will remain and the USA Freedom Act will fail.

      To fix that and many other things, we first need to get money out of politics.

      If that makes sense to you, I would suggest signing this petition: WOLF-PAC [wolf-pac.com]. Launched in October 2011 for the purpose of passing a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will end corporate personhood* and publicly finance all elections**. Since Congress won't pass such an Amendment on its own, the plan is to instead have the State Legislators propose it via an Article V Convention. At least 34 States need to cooperate for this to work, but already many have reacted with enthusiasm, most notably Texas. If successful, we should see a much more respectable group of politicians emerge within one or two election cycles.

      .

      *) The aim is not to end legal personhood for corporations, but natural personhood. The latter became a problem following the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, which grated some of the rights of natural persons to corporations and makes it easier for them to lend financial support to political campaigns.

      **) At the State level, more than half of all political campaigns are already publicly financed in some way, so there's nothing strange about doing the same for political campaigns for federal office.

      • by Teppy (105859)
        If elections are publicly financed, then how does a candidate without name recognition bootstrap? And if the answer is "everyone gets equal financial support," then what prevents 1000 candidates from running?
        • by FridayBob (619244)

          If elections are publicly financed, then how does a candidate without name recognition bootstrap? And if the answer is "everyone gets equal financial support," then what prevents 1000 candidates from running?

          As I was saying, more than half of all political campaigns at the State level are already publicly financed in some way and they don't have such problems. Moreover, political campaigns in most other western democracies are also publicly funded and they seem to get by, so I wouldn't worry about it. At any rate, it would certainly be better than the mess we have now.

          • It was fascism, the way the English refused funding to Screaming Lord Sutch.

            Based on their free hosting web presence I'd guess the USA MRLP isn't getting it's fair share of the tit ether. ref http://usloonyparty.tripod.com/ [tripod.com]

            • by FridayBob (619244)
              Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm under the impression that, in many (if not most) publicly financed campaign systems, the idiots get filtered out in the first stage of the election cycle because they never receive enough votes, or signatures. Consequently, they never receive very much (if anything) in the way of public funding.
        • by game kid (805301)

          And if the answer is "everyone gets equal financial support," then what prevents 1000 candidates from running?

          And if the answer to that is "Nothing", have we really been harmed?

      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        The latter became a problem following the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, which grated some of the rights of natural persons to corporations and makes it easier for them to lend financial support to political campaigns.

        Citizens United was a CORPORATION FORMED FOR THE EXPLICIT PURPOSE OF SPENDING MONEY ON A CAMPAIGN. All of those people who formed that corporation did so voluntarily and with the purpose of spending THEIR MONEY to pay for FREE SPEECH. It's nothing like when Warren Buffet or Bill Gates uses their corporate money to buy the media. Everyone involved in CU was there for a reason.

        It is NOT A PROBLEM when free citizens band together to spend THEIR MONEY paying for political speech. It is only a problem when peo

        • by s.petry (762400)

          You are not even close on this one. Until CU campaign gifts were limited to people, and there were limits on those donations. CU gave a simple way to dismiss donation limits and made bribery perfectly legal. Look how Sarah Palin traveled with her family on millions of dollars of "campaign donations" and didn't even run for an office! It's not free speech and has nothing to do with free speech, it's called bribery!

          Lets also look at some historical context. George Washington did not want to be the Presid

    • You seem to have trouble parsing political language.

      Temporary means permanent. Once you remeber this, you will be amazed how often you hear this word.

      For some further fun, notice how many of their plans and speeches become crystal clear once you interpret 'terrorist' the way they do: 'a person'.

      Do I even need to remind anyone that freedom = slavery?

    • 2 things: fear and fear.

      fear of being called 'the guy who let the terrorists back in' should anything happen.

      fear (from the powerful to us, the powerless) also keeps people in line and following orders.

      so, its fear and fear that keeps the motor running.

  • This isn't new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:20PM (#45264451)

    This isn't new. The author of the Patriot Act (Jim Sensenbrenner) has been campaigning against Surveillance State since the beginning of the Snowden fiasco.

    He probably decided he doesn't want to go down in history as the man who turned America into a Dystopia.

    • by sconeu (64226)

      He probably decided he doesn't want to go down in history as the man who turned America into a Dystopia.

      Too late.

    • He probably noticed that the opposing party now controls the executive branch. As soon as the other party controls the executive branch, each party naturally changes its stance on whether whether letting the executive branch abuse its power is a good thing.
  • USA Freedom Act (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:22PM (#45264475)

    Isn't that what the Constitution is supposed to be?

    We don't need another Law. The Laws that made this garbage legal are unconstitutional and criminal.

    We don't need another Law. We need to hunt down and incarcerate the criminals who created this mess.

    We don't need another Law. We need to hold government officials personally accountable for their flagrant and criminal violations of the Constitution.

    We don't need another Law. We already have a USA Freedom Act. It is called "The Constitution of the United States."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cold fjord (826450)

      USA Freedom Act .... Isn't that what the Constitution is supposed to be?

      No. The Constitution is exactly that, a constitution. It is a base governing document that lays out the form of government and various rights and responsibilities. It is silent on many things. It says nothing about how much money Social Security is getting next year, or the Marines, or if section 205 of the Patriot Act even exists.

      We don't need another Law. The Laws that made this garbage legal are unconstitutional and criminal.

      If you think they are unconstitutional, then can you show where they were struck down by a court as such? If they aren't struck down by a court, then they need to be repealed

      • by houghi (78078)

        An election is coming up. Do your worst.

        Awww. So cute. You still think that first elections are relevant and second that politicians keep their word after the election.

        That might be true if you have a REAL choice. You can select between damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    • by fnj (64210)

      The real problem is that the court system up to and including the supreme court is part of the corruption. When a national government falls into deeply seated corruption, it very seldom gets fixed without a revolution.

  • Ah Sensenbrenner (Score:5, Interesting)

    by contrapunctus (907549) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:25PM (#45264489)

    Isn't this the same guy and attached the Real ID act to some armor for soldiers bill so no one could oppose it?

  • by nytes (231372) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:26PM (#45264501) Homepage

    Several Congressmen were rushed to the hospital after suffering severe cases of acronym overdose.

    Acronym abuse has been on the rise in Washington lately. Many researchers attribute the problem to inflated egos, which most politicians also suffer from.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:27PM (#45264507)
    So they are calling it the "USA Freedom Act" - whatever the actual content that's as much of a lowdown weasel act as the naming of the "Patriot " act. If you question it the weasels will say you oppose freedom.
    How about getting these rat fucking weasels away from the process and give the acts numbers instead, and get rid of the bullshit of riders that have nothing to do with the bill while we are at it.
  • by six025 (714064) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:28PM (#45264519)

    In related news Dianne Feinstein has turned around [theguardian.com] her opinion and stated she is now 'totally opposed' to NSA surveillance of US allies.

    Quite surprised at this, hopefully it is not empty rhetoric and actually goes somewhere. Very interested to see what the two leading goons of the NSA have to say for themselves in front of the House intelligence committee on Tuesday.

    Peace,
    Andy.

    • NSA to Dianne: "But it's about keeping America safe!" Interesting that the canard she tries to use on us isn't good enough when it's applied to her. Oh, you don't like being in the dark? Well neither do we, bitch!
  • by theArtificial (613980) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:29PM (#45264531)
    Something titled USA Freedom Act seems to reek of more BS. This whole situation would be laughable if it wasn't so real and these names seem like something from Metal Gear Solid. Why do they need to pass more laws? Aren't there already laws on the books that cover this abuse? Or is this one of those situations where it's done "on the internet" so we'll need to get together and figure something out with lots of fine print? I think I'll make a script to generate some act names but USA Enduring Patriotic Democracy Internet Freedom Fries Soaring Literacy Majestic Eagle Act does have a nice ring to it...
  • You can't control a pack of dogs after they get a taste of blood.

  • Cant help but read that headline and make Lord Of The Ring references in my head.. the fit.. it is so tight..the shoe..it laces up so well..
  • Using "freedom" or "patriot" in something is a dead giveaway. Anything like that is bound to suck. This extends to the formal name of the government. Anything that is a "democratic republic" is almost always a totalitarian state. God help us if we ever pass a "Glorious Free Democratic Republic Patriot Act".

  • Better stop 'em now before they get so much dirt on us that we can't really stop them anymore without fearing that they'll end our career instantly.

  • ... if the temperature briefly rises too quickly, it may be necessary to let the water cool before resuming the gradual increase in temperature.
  • by abies (607076)

    In other news, Skynet creator have been seen reasoning with T-800 platoon to put down their weapons and shut down the network. "We we have created autonomous, self-learning killing system, we haven't actually planned on it doing any learning, killing or being independent" were his last words to journalists before approaching the robots.
    Funeral rites will be held in Church of Naive Douchebags, Clueless Alley 42.

  • by swb (14022) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @06:48AM (#45267215)

    Is the data they're collecting actually useful, or is it kind of tinfoil-hat paranoid useful where they get confirmation bias patterns out of it and believe it's useful?

    And if so, what makes us think they will actually stop collecting it, especially if what they have is useful to other people (FBI, CIA, military..)? The whole operation is uber top secret and after Snowden I would imagine that they are redoubling their leak containment and secrecy. Sure, they've been able to ask/strongarm some of it and they might be impeded from doing that anymore but much of the principal job is spying -- surreptitiously obtaining and decoding information meant to be secret -- won't they just figure out how to get it through other means anyway?

    Who or what can actually audit what the NSA does and what data they collect anyway? It sounds like a level of intelligence clearance and top-secretness that nobody but an insider can get and it always seems that once even an "agent for change *cough*Obama*cough* gets insight into this stuff they suddenly start being advocates for intelligence, not for change,

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