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The Courts Privacy

US Federal Judge Rules NSA Data Collection Legal 511

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-escalate dept.
New submitter CheezburgerBrown . tips this AP report: "A federal judge on Friday found that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records is legal and a valuable part of the nation's arsenal to counter the threat of terrorism. U.S. District Judge William Pauley said in a written opinion (PDF) that the program 'represents the government's counter-punch' to eliminate al-Qaeda's terror network by connecting fragmented and fleeting communications. In ruling, the judge noted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and how the phone data-collection system could have helped investigators connect the dots before the attacks occurred. 'The government learned from its mistake and adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world. It launched a number of counter-measures, including a bulk telephony metadata collection program — a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data,' he said."
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US Federal Judge Rules NSA Data Collection Legal

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 27, 2013 @03:00PM (#45798601)

    No, he is a threat to our very way of life and our prosperity. He should be executed for high treason.

    "High treason" is overkill. In this country, we have a firm definition of that term. Go look it up.

  • Re:True Terrorism (Score:5, Informative)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Friday December 27, 2013 @03:01PM (#45798611) Homepage Journal
    You should be even more outraged if you live outside USA. This is about if US citizens have any kind of right, but what is not even considered is that foreigners have human rights at all for them, outside borders is free hunting area.
  • Re: Time to appeal (Score:5, Informative)

    by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex&project-retrograde,com> on Friday December 27, 2013 @03:56PM (#45799199) Homepage

    What a nice conspiracy theory you have there.

    COINTELPRO [wikipedia.org] is a conspiracy, but it's not just theoretical; TFS shows it's on its way to becoming Law.

    Counter Intelligence Program does what? Discredit and silence "radical subversives" to control the socio-political space. It's not like that's something foreign to the NSA: Hey, let's use porn habits against the "radical" folks we don't like. [techcrunch.com] The civil rights movement was considered "radical". The privacy rights movement -- Eradication of government secrecy --is considered "radical" too. With secrets the people can never trust their governments to be performing in their best interest. A secret oversight committee just moves the problem around. With covert secret programs we can't even be sure they're telling the truth about 9/11 or the Iraq War -- We shouldn't have to wonder if it was only a threat narrative created to leverage the disaster and manufacture consent. [youtube.com]

    Now, here's something interesting: Heart disease and accidents kill four hundred times more people than a 9/11 scale attack every year. [cdc.gov] The flu claims 6 times more lives than a 9/11 scale attack every year. Why isn't there a War on Cars and Cheeseburgers? Why are the DHS, NSA and other anti-terrorist programs consuming such huge amounts of resources when you're 4 times more likely to be struck by lightning? We could save more lives by mandating foam pads on rails and giving away free traction mats for bathtubs since falling down is a far more dangerous threat to American lives than terrorism. So, the government knows the terrorist threat is laughably inconsequential, yet the scaremongers' message of fear echoed all your mainstream news sources, policy maker statements, and judges opinions. Sounds like a fucking conspiracy to me.

    It's silly to excuse malice as ignorance when the "professionals" who's job it is to quantify the terrorist threat are blatantly misrepresenting the threat. You're aware conspiracy is a real thing, right? I'm a rationalist, I attribute degrees of certainty and am never 100% sure of anything; Like any good scientist. It's far more likely the NSA and other agencies are carrying on the COINTELPRO tradition to keep the military industrial complex funded -- As Eisenhower warned us. [youtube.com] Than to believe that agencies tasked with counter intelligence are not doing so, and that everyone in the media, politics, congress, the executive and judicial branches, etc. just never took a look at the numbers.

    The NSA and DHS should be eliminated. Lives do have a cost that is weighed against freedom and expense. Life is dangerous, and certain risks are acceptable: Thus we don't have a ban on Cars, Cheeseburgers, or Freedom Fries even though since 9/11 these claimed 4000 times more lives than 9/11. If anyone is scared of terrorists then they shouldn't be driving, dining out, or go anywhere without a lightning rod. If you really must fund the NSA, DHS, etc. then give them 1/6th what we spend to prevent the flu, that's the rational thing to do. Anything else in the name of protection reeks of deception for ulterior motives, i.e., Conspiracy.

  • Re: Time to appeal (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bartles (1198017) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:08PM (#45799343)
    Project Gunnrunner commenced in 2006 actually. Operation Fast and Furious, under which the really awkward things happened started in 2009 and ended in 2011 when it became a political liability.
  • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Friday December 27, 2013 @05:10PM (#45800021) Homepage

    Every day, people voluntarily surrender personal and seemingly-private information to transnational corporations, which exploit that data for profit," Pauley wrote in . Few think twice about it, even though it is far more intrusive than bulk telephony metadata collection.

    Thankfully, at least one Supreme Court Justice seems to disagree, because it isn't like people have an actual choice in the matter -- either you live in some manifesto shack in the middle of nowhere, or you participate in modern society by having a phone, a bank account, a doctor, etc. Anyway, this is what Justice Sotomayer had to say about this topic in the Recent Jones v. US case:

    More fundamentally, it may be necessary to reconsider the premise that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed to third parties. E.g., Smith, 442 U. S., at 742; United States v. Miller, 425 U. S. 435, 443 (1976) . This approach is ill suited to the digital age, in which people reveal a great deal of information about themselves to third parties in the course of carrying out mundane tasks. People disclose the phone numbers that they dial or text to their cellu- lar providers; the URLs that they visit and the e-mail addresses with which they correspond to their Internet service providers; and the books, groceries, and medi- cations they purchase to online retailers. Perhaps, as Justice Alito notes, some people may find the "tradeoff " of privacy for convenience "worthwhile," or come to accept this "diminution of privacy" as "inevitable," post, at 10, and perhaps not. I for one doubt that people would accept without complaint the warrantless disclosure to the Government of a list of every Web site they had visited in the last week, or month, or year. But whatever the societal expectations, they can attain constitutionally protected status only if our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence ceases to treat secrecy as a prerequisite for privacy. I would not assume that all information voluntarily disclosed to some member of the public for a limited purpose is, for that reason alone, disentitled to Fourth Amendment protection. See Smith, 442 U. S., at 749 (Marshall, J., dissenting) ("Privacy is not a discrete commodity, possessed absolutely or not at all. Those who disclose certain facts to a bank or phone company for a limited business purpose need not assume that this information will be released to other persons for other purposes"); see also Katz, 389 U. S., at 351--352 ("[W]hat [a person] seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected").

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/10-1259#writing-10-1259_CONCUR_4 [cornell.edu]

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