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Panel Urges Major NSA Spying Overhaul 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the clean-it-up dept.
wiredmikey writes "A board set up to review the NSA's vast surveillance programs has called for a wide-ranging overhaul of National Security Agency practices while preserving 'robust' intelligence capabilities. The panel, set up by President Obama, issued 46 recommendations, including reforms at a secret national security court and an end to retention of telephone 'metadata' by the spy agency. The 308-page report (PDF) submitted last week to the White House and released publicly Wednesday says the US government needs to balance the interests of national security and intelligence gathering with privacy and 'protecting democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law.' Panel members said the recommendations would not necessarily mean a rolling back of intelligence gathering, including on foreign leaders, but that surveillance must be guided by standards and by high-level policymakers."
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Panel Urges Major NSA Spying Overhaul

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  • Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2013 @01:40AM (#45733469)
    Thank you Edward Snowden. Without your courage and patriotism we would not even have this level of change in effect.
    • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

      by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @02:00AM (#45733551)

      Plus 1.

      With an honest president, this guy would get a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
      This president will give him 3 hots and a cot.

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        With an honest president, this crap would have been stopped long before a Snowden would have appeared.

        What we have is an untold amount of information being collected and disiminated to foreign organizations with a reporter and internet salesman in possession of it to start their newest money making venture and the guy eho initially took the information it is offering to help other countries defeat the US inteligence gathering that is likely constitutional. What a mess we have

        • Re:Thank you (Score:5, Interesting)

          by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @05:56AM (#45734357) Journal

          You forget to mention just how inept NSA turned out to be, both in its internal security procedures, and in their dealing with personnel.

          I would be extremely surprised if, with that attitude, they didn't have swarms of bona fide foreign spies, Russian and Chinese and who knows what else. What better place to infiltrate than the one that does data mining on the entire country, yet cannot properly secure its own data banks? You don't even need to tap anything, just join and get the collected data out on USB sticks, like Snowden apparently did for years before he dropped the bomb.

      • by Krishnoid (984597)

        With an honest president, this guy would get a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

        I thoroughly believe this, but it's too bad none of us will live to see that happen. On hearing the election results, most of us would have dropped dead from heart attacks.

      • With an honest president, this guy would get a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

        With an honest president the programs would have been shut down upon his taking office like he promised. Snowden even cited the president's lack of follow-through (to put it delicately) as a major motivation for his decision to take action.

    • It does f-all to the NSA spying outside the USA, which includes me. So I will continue to do my damndest to make things difficult for them. There is no law that commands a foreigner to submit to foreign gubmint spying.
    • by anarkhos (209172)

      You do realize this is whitewash

  • by BrookHarty (9119) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @01:48AM (#45733497) Homepage Journal

    They only make recommendations, nobody has to implement them.

    Police chiefs do this all the time for police corruption. Look I'm putting a panel together to look into these problems and make recommendations. See! I'm doing something about it! Oh, the Union/Mayor/DA/etc wont agree, sad panda, I tried, vote for me again....

    Playing the public like fools.

    SSDD

  • 4th amendment? (Score:4, Informative)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy@nOSpam.tpno-co.org> on Thursday December 19, 2013 @01:49AM (#45733505) Homepage

    I notice it says the goal is to "protect democracy*", but doesn't seem to mention the Bill of Rights or, specifically, the 4th amendment.

    Telling, although not surprising.

    * - It's possibly worth noting here that the United States is a republic, not a democracy.

    • "I notice it says the goal is to "protect democracy*", but doesn't seem to mention the Bill of Rights or, specifically, the 4th amendment."

      The following really isn't a troll. It is a sincere and serious comment.

      After some discussion with others about this issue, it appears to me that Mr. Obama genuinely thinks anything HE does is "democracy".

    • It's possibly worth noting here that the United States is a republic, not a democracy.

      It's both, get over it. Specifically it's a representative democracy, as opposed to a direct democracy.

    • by dave420 (699308)
      Why do so many people seem to have difficulty with the words "republic" and "democracy"? They're not mutually exclusive. The US is both - it is a republic with democracy. The fact you're banging on about the Bill of Rights and don't seem to even understand what sort of government you have speaks volumes about your education and arrogance.
      • Why do so many people seem to have difficulty with the words "republic" and "democracy"? They're not mutually exclusive. The US is both - it is a republic with democracy. The fact you're banging on about the Bill of Rights and don't seem to even understand what sort of government you have speaks volumes about your education and arrogance.

        Because to some True Believers, "democracy" reminds them too much of the word "Democrat", and to them Democraps (sic) are the Spawn of Satan.

        Plus, the idea of the smelly rabble running things is offensive. Much better that we simply submit to our aristocratic masters. The select few (I started to say "elite", but that too is a political duckword). Who know how to run things properly if we'd just let them double down on their ideology.

  • by Darkk (1296127) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @01:50AM (#45733511)

    Let them revamp NSA. It won't make a difference. What they will do is spill off some new top secret division that only top brass knows about. This won't change a thing.

     

  • Yup.

    Viva la Revolución!

  • Without looking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @01:56AM (#45733541)

    The report is slashdotted, at the moment, but I would be willing to bet this is pretty much a white-wash, with no meaningful
    changes, by insiders giving up stuff they don't need, or which no one could prove they have anyway, while protecting
    everything they really want to keep, and largely ending up with the status quo.

    I have no faith in an internal review in general and certainly not from this administration (the self proclaimed most transparent administration in history).

    Regardless of what they say, you know this won't change till someone goes to jail. We need Judges impeached for violating their oath of office, we need career NSA brass fired 5 levels deep, we need bulldozers and wrecking balls to converge on Bluffdale Utah. We need every single request for corporations to turn over records to have a warrant issued by a non-secret court and the company empowered to notify each affected individual no later than 6 months after the request. If you can't build a case for arrest in 6 months its probably becaus they haven't done anything wrong.

    This report deserves an immediate trip to the waste basket, and a "Warren Committee" empowered in its place.

    • Amen!

      The people should build a statue of Snowden next to Lincoln's with those words on a plaque underneath.

      And then...

      General Alexander: 'Guantanamo? That seems like a demotion!'

      Prosecutor: 'You won't be on that side of the fence, asshole!'

    • Yeah, you only need to read the full sentence (abbreviated in the summary) to see how things will 'change':

      ....an end to bulk retention of telephone "metadata" by the spy agency, by keeping those records in private hands subject to specific queries from the NSA or law enforcement.

    • You're wrong it's not a white wash, it says that rather than the NSA or other government organizations gather and index the information, AT&T, Verizon, and all those other upright and accountable to tax payers organizations should hold the information instead, and respond to court orders... I feel so much better knowing that information is kept in private hands.
  • by Brendan_Jones (3452957) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @02:01AM (#45733557)
    > privacy and 'protecting democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law.'

    LOL. As if they give a damn about any of those things!

    Obama has set the dogs on Snowden (forcing down Evo Morales's plane like a Bond villain to try and catch him), but Obama has also violated the US Constitution itself. How much more serious can you get?

    On the campaign trail Obama referred to himself as "a constitutional law professor" so he can't claim ignorance. Yet there is no penalty for him violating it; After years of accumulated abuse it'll eventually weave it's way to the US Supreme Court who will say "So don't do that then." What sort of a deterrent is that?

    So what does happens when you give a left-leaning spokesmodel unfettered power and no accountability? SCOTUS J Brandeis on Absolute Power: "The objections to despotism and monopoly are fundamental in human nature. They rest upon the innate and ineradicable selfishness of man. They rest upon the fact that absolute power inevitably leads to abuse."

    When the US founding fathers wrote the Constitution they wisely recognised the dangers of a despotic government, having just fought a war with one. The problem the US faces today is that despots ignore the law, and face no penalty for doing so.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Thursday December 19, 2013 @03:48AM (#45733943) Journal

    This organization has proven that they have no regard at all for the law. One of the fuckers actually told a reporter a few days ago that he thinks the first amendment should be "revised" to make the NSA's job easier.

    NSA apparatchiki have committed billions of felonies, and continue to do so as we speak. The only remedy that will make them stop is to disband them altogether.

    -jcr

  • by ExecutorElassus (1202245) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @05:24AM (#45734233)

    "surveillance must be guided by standards and by high-level policymakers"

    So, if I'm reading this summary correctly, the only real problem is that our chickenshit congress never tripped over its own feet in a rush to hand the executive branch these exact powers in some most-assuredly extra-patriotic piece of legislation? All the issues with this law will go away if it gets a stamp of approval?
    On a second note, why is it that nobody seems to mind (or make laws against) treating the inhabitants of other countries to police-state surveillance, including the heads of sovereign states?

  • I find it extremely interesting that Appendix E of that report does not discuss the NSA's role (or not) in twiddling with Dual EC DRBG. It's the only crypto component that they've been explicitly called out on, and it's not discussed.
  • by TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @08:36AM (#45734899)

    I vote we skip directly to Chapter 7 of the United States Moral Bankruptcy Code [wikipedia.org].

    The backbone tapping mechanisms that make large scale surveillance on Americans must be completely disclosed and dismantled. An egregious capital crime has been committed by NSA for which no clemency or 're-structuring' is possible.

    If a new spy agency is built, it must be from pieces of the smoking wreckage of NSA.

    If we can execute the Rosenbergs [wikipedia.org] we can try and execute the NSA, which has done more to put us in harm's way than the Soviet's possession (and ultimate non-use) of nuclear weapons.

    Building turn-key mechanisms for a Police State is a capital crime. It provides aid and comfort to our enemies. All of them at once.

    Full dissolution, full dismantling of taps, dark fiber and facilities.
    That is how the Balance is kept.
    Our move.

  • What they're talking about is continuing to mass collected data on all Americans but doing it via the private sector which has even LESS transparecny.

"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.

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