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Senator Dianne Feinstein: NSA Metadata Program Here To Stay 510

Posted by samzenpus
from the settle-in dept.
cold fjord writes "The Hill reports, 'Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) predicted Sunday that lawmakers who favored shutting down the bulk collection of telephone metadata would not be successful in their efforts as Congress weighs potential reforms to the nation's controversial intelligence programs. "I don't believe so," Feinstein said during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press (video). "The president has very clearly said that he wants to keep the capability So I think we would agree with him. I know a dominant majority of the — everybody, virtually, except two or three, on the Senate Intelligence Committee would agree with that." ... "A lot of the privacy people, perhaps, don't understand that we still occupy the role of the Great Satan. New bombs are being devised. New terrorists are emerging, new groups, actually, a new level of viciousness," Feinstein said. "We need to be prepared. I think we need to do it in a way that respects people's privacy rights."'"
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Senator Dianne Feinstein: NSA Metadata Program Here To Stay

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  • The unseen enemy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:22AM (#46013565)

    will never go away citizen, we need to spy on you to keep you safe. Now pick up that can.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:31AM (#46013717)

      I wonder why this person even lives in the land of the 'free' when she so clearly despises freedom. She's obviously not brave, either. What is her purpose here, other than to sacrifice all of our principles in order to make idiots feel safe?

      The only people convinced by idiots like her are those who believe the government is composed of perfect angels and would never abuse this information. In other words, people willing to sacrifice fundamental liberties for security; people who have forgotten the millions upon millions of people throughout history who have been murdered or abused by governments around the world, including the US government.

      She makes me want to vomit.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:42AM (#46013859)
        A better question is why do people in California keep re-electing her over and over. She's been there for over 20 years.
        • by mrbluze (1034940)

          A better question is why do people in California keep re-electing her over and over. She's been there for over 20 years.

          Because it doesn't matter who you vote for.

        • Because... (Score:5, Informative)

          by PortHaven (242123) on Monday January 20, 2014 @03:39PM (#46016747) Homepage

          Elections are rigged....that should be obvious after the California GMO labeling vote where the results were polled as 70% in favor of, and then amazingly and unexpectedly the actual vote tally was reversed with 70% voting against the labeling.

          That was when I knew that Californians DO NOT VOTE.

          Why?

          Because you have a reversal of the poll, on a indifference based issue. What does that mean? Most people either care about having GMO products labeled or they do not give a damn. Almost no percentage of the population except for a few die hard folks on the right that still 3 DDT are actually concerned about preventing GMO labeling.

          So you had grass roots vs the weeds of indifference. With zero affect on the weeds. Those who don't care about GMO labelling, have not horse in the race. Adding it doesn't affect them. They don't care. That was an IMPOSSIBLE vote, blamed on a spending and advertising fee but clearly a result of the electronic voting fabrication system.

        • by dpidcoe (2606549)
          As a resident of california, I'm deeply sorry for the crap we're inflicting on the rest of the country due to constantly re-electing her.

          Though in our defense, the districts are so jerrymandered and the politicians have special interest and underhanded politics (redistricting bill has a hope of passing? quick! introduce a fake one that lets us control the redistricting and confuse people with it!) down to such a science that most people have just given up.
    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:35AM (#46013761)

      "A lot of the privacy people, perhaps, don't understand that we still occupy the role of the Great Satan. New bombs are being devised. New terrorists are emerging, new groups, actually, a new level of viciousness," Feinstein said. "We need to be prepared."

      No, you evil totalitarian bitch, we understand perfectly well. We just don't care because we're not sniveling cowards and realize that civil liberties are worth being "less safe" for!

      • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya.gmail@com> on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:46AM (#46013923)

        civil liberties are worth being "less safe" for!

        They are, but this is besides the point. We are not even "more safe" in any way. I think the best they could actually show is one guy convicted for sending $8.5K to some terrorist organization (that's after years and years of surveillance).
        Other dozens (or is it hundreds?) of terrorist operations are stopped by regular police work or are made up.

        • by akinliat (1771190) on Monday January 20, 2014 @02:38PM (#46015977)

          civil liberties are worth being "less safe" for!

          They are, but this is besides the point. We are not even "more safe" in any way. I think the best they could actually show is one guy convicted for sending $8.5K to some terrorist organization (that's after years and years of surveillance). Other dozens (or is it hundreds?) of terrorist operations are stopped by regular police work or are made up.

          More importantly, the whole point of terrorism is not to make the victims more or less safe, but to acheive a poltical goal. In this case, the goal (well, at least one of the goals) was to prove that the U.S. doesn't actually support freedom. Giving up those freedoms is essentially surrendering without even putting up a fight. It's also simple cowardice.

          Every week, we sacrifice several times the number of lives lost to terrorism for the convenience of driving large boxes of metal at ridiculous speeds, but we run and hide under the bed and call in the drones the second anyone breathes the word "terrorist."

      • by pr0fessor (1940368) on Monday January 20, 2014 @12:44PM (#46014713)

        Doesn't it feel kind of like fear is winning when people are willing to give up liberties for the illusion of safety.

        It kind of makes me think of a bully going "look I made you flinch". Until one day he's trying to make the kid flinch and the kid says "You know what? Win or loose if you want fight, I'll make you wish you never tried."

        Only when it's policies and laws it's a lot harder to go back from the scared kid to being the kid that doesn't flinch.

      • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Monday January 20, 2014 @01:27PM (#46015239) Journal

        That condescension is standard Feinstein bullshit. Anytime someone objects to her desire to usurp ever more power, the cunt will claim that we "don't understand" what she and her cronies are trying to do.

        -jcr

    • solution? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal @ g m a i l.com> on Monday January 20, 2014 @01:00PM (#46014919) Homepage Journal

      "government spying" is loaded language...everyone is against "government spying" on its citizens like in the book 1984

      what I want to see from this AC is actual policy solutions.

      the government's job, per the constitution, is partly to use law enforcement & the military. the people have a right for their personal effect to be secure from that *unless* probable cause...etc

      virtually everyone would agree that the above statements are accurate and true & reprsents how our system works

      digital communications exist. we on /. understand how it all works.

      digital communications, such as a routing table, IP address, MAC address, list of SMS's from a certain number, this is ALL personal data, covered by the US citizen's right to privacy

      you, AC, and every critic of this policy must either be criticizing the very *existence* of government OR the debate is about when/how not if the government can access your personal data

      the debate is about WHEN and HOW...the government has the right to access your personal data with proper warrant

      what is proper warrant for the different kinds of digital communication?

      THATS THE QUESTION that none of the privacy trolls here on slashdot want to discuss.

      everyone wants to pop off fiery bon-mots about how X politician is just as bad as Bush & reference a work of fiction that critiques totalitarian regimes

      its bullshit...it hurts our industry & makes our jobs harder

      stop bitching and start typing policy solutions

      • Re:solution? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Monday January 20, 2014 @01:17PM (#46015135) Homepage Journal

        the debate is about WHEN and HOW...the government has the right to access your personal data with proper warrant

        what is proper warrant for the different kinds of digital communication?

        THATS THE QUESTION that none of the privacy trolls here on slashdot want to discuss.

        I think the issue is rather that the anti-privacy advocates do everything in their power to avoid that question, since the answer is pretty cut-and-dried - warrants shall be issued describing the particular place to be searched, and the particular thin to be seized, pursuant to Amendment IV of the United States Constitution.

        Don't like it? Amend the Constitution, or deal with it and operate within existing law. Feigned ignorance is no excuse.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by WhatHump (951645)

        The government can collect and store digital information about me. But it must be stored in an secured and encrypted repository with access controls that are fully auditable (e.g., who looked at it, when and why), and every piece of data is tagged with its source and collection method (e.g., intercepted in transit between client and server, scraped from a web page, provided by an ISP). Then when the government wants to search my digital information for signs of criminal activity, they go before a judge an

        • by celle (906675)

          "The government can collect and store digital information about me."

                No the government can't. The constitution makes it quite clear on that. It the gov. suspects something they can make it clear to a judge with the accused being there to challenge it.

      • Here's a solution I figure just about every "privacy troll" can probably agree with:

        The NSA needs to stop collecting data on US citizens. If a US citizen needs to be investigated, it's the FBI's job to do that investigation.
        If the FBI wants to collect data on a US citizen, they should get a warrant the normal way. None of this secret court nonsense.

  • by allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:22AM (#46013567) Homepage Journal
    Anyone that thinks this wouldn't stay around in some form isn't dealing with reality. It's far to useful to someone somewhere.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @12:36PM (#46014621)

      It should be far more useful than it has been. So far, it's been useless, according to all of the Snowden documents. No benefit has been gained from it. Zero. Nada. Zilch. It's worthless.

      Riddle me this, Batman: Why didn't the NSA stop the Target data breach? They surely could've seen it coming. They surely should've seen its traffic while it was in action. Why haven't they tracked down the perpetrator and thrown his ass in Gitmo? He's cost the economy something far more than a few billion dollars. He cost it confidence. That's a threat to national security and stability. Where is the NSA? Somewhere in a datacenter, doing fuck-all about the real security issues facing the nation, that's where.

      "Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein" needs to address that before she starts parroting back crap the Ayatollah said 35 years ago. He's an old fart, and obviously incapable of rational thought. He's also been ineffective in reaching most of his goals for the last 35 years. Unfortunately, those same things can be said about Sen. Feinstein. It seems the old adage "physician, heal thyself" applies here.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:22AM (#46013573) Homepage Journal

    Seriously, what federal government program has ever been rolled back?

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:24AM (#46013613)

    ...perhaps, don't understand that we still occupy the role of the Great Satan."

    On the contrary, I think they understand that very well.

  • Relevant Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macromorgan (2020426) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:28AM (#46013661)
    "A matter of [internal] security... the age old cry of the oppressor!" - Captain Picard
  • Great Satan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:29AM (#46013689)

    "We" are not the Great Satan, Dianne. That would be you and the rest of your despicable brood of self-righteous overbearing pax americana terrorists.

    • Re:Great Satan (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Randym (25779) on Monday January 20, 2014 @06:58PM (#46018949)
      ' "New terrorists are emerging, new groups, actually, a new level of viciousness," Feinstein said.'

      Ah, yes -- that small vicious group that call themselves "The Congress". Vile bastards, those... Claiming to 'represent the people', yet imposing insult after insult upon the very people they claim to represent.

  • For reals??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stink_eye (1582461) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:37AM (#46013785)
    Is this woman for real? She seems very protective of our Great Satan role. There are new vicious terrorists popping up everywhere, especially right here in our own back yard she seems to infer... And what the hell, the president thinks it's a good idea, so those of us in the congressional branch ought to jump right behind him on that, because, you know, he's a politician, we're politicians and we all just roll like that... Everyone knows that the American people don't need/want privacy anyhow... They will all feel so much better once we remove those annoying constitutional freedoms that are such a distraction in their day to day lives. Just like castrating a dog! How does that silly putz stay in office anyhow?
  • Stop that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scotts13 (1371443) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:37AM (#46013789)

    "A lot of the privacy people, perhaps, don't understand that we still occupy the role of the Great Satan."

    Maybe we shouldn't occupy that role?

    • It's designated, not occupied.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So the actual headline should have been "US government finally recognizes own evilness, joins Iran, North Korea in Axis of Evil."?

      • Puh-lease, like the US would ever join an "Axis of Evil."

        We have way too many marketroids for that. We'd refuse to sign the charter unless they agreed to change the name to something suitably badass, like "The Bad Wolfpack."

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:37AM (#46013797)

    Good thing that the Legislative and Executive branches of government are set up to balance each other.

  • Feinstein to go (Score:5, Insightful)

    by king neckbeard (1801738) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:38AM (#46013813)
    If she says the metadata program needs to stay, then she needs to go. It's as simple as that.
  • by pablo_max (626328) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:39AM (#46013823)

    What she is really saying is, "Fuck you Citizen! We are the Government and will do as we like. We are not concerned that nearly all Americans and 100% of foreign nationals are appalled by our actions. Go back to playing with your iPhones while us grownups take care of business".
     

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee wants to keep the program that lets them collect information on everybody, and legality be damned. Which would only be a problem if anybody actually stood up and said it was illegal, admittedly.

    In other news, water continues to be wet, the sky continues to be blue, and people in the Middle East continue to kill each other.

  • Thanks for confirming that, Diane!

  • by Stormwatch (703920) <<rodrigogirao> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:45AM (#46013901) Homepage

    Indeed, there is a very dangerous terrorist on the loose: her name is Dianne Feinstein.

  • The people that keep voting her into office are nuts. Give California back to Mexico.

  • "A lot of the privacy people, perhaps, don't understand that we still occupy the role of the Great Satan. New bombs are being devised. New terrorists are emerging, new groups, actually, a new level of viciousness," Feinstein said. "We need to be prepared. I think we need to do it in a way that respects people's privacy rights."

    A critical requirement of preparation is evidence of the effectiveness of your preparation. Where's the evidence that dragnet surveillance is effective?

  • They don't give a shit what we, the people, their boss, want. They're going to continue doing it anyway.

  • by Bruce66423 (1678196) on Monday January 20, 2014 @11:53AM (#46014007)
    It's really really hard to avoid the conclusion that they've got some killer blackmail data that's keeping her dancing this oppressors' line. The alternative is that she really believes these lies. Given that the GOP isn't winning California in the foreseeable future, the only realistic prospect for her removal is a primary challenge, which, of course, is the easiest thing to pre-empt with convenient revelations. Sadly however, given that she was reelected in 2012, we're not getting rid of her soon unless the grim reaper gets her - she is 80.
  • Textbook Catch-22 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oneiron (716313) on Monday January 20, 2014 @12:15PM (#46014363)
    "A lot of the privacy people, perhaps, don't understand that we still occupy the role of the Great Satan..."

    The senate intelligence committee behaves as if we've already lost our national identity to the "war on terror." Surely Feinstein understands that "privacy people" aren't going to be placated by such a statement and that their continuing discontent will only serve to perpetuate the perception of our formerly great nation as "the Great Satan." It's a vicious circle, and the only way out is to enact policies that live up to the two key tenets outlined in the last line of our national anthem.

    As an aside, I don't think there's anyone left in this country who doesn't understand that we occupy the role of "the Great Satan." Republican constituents meet the idea with doggedly obstinate belligerence. Democratic constituents snivel the truism to comfort themselves while their two-faced ideologues advance the security state agenda after being elected to do the opposite. We all see it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The senate intelligence committee behaves as if we've already lost our national identity to the "war on terror."

      Well, we have, unfortunately.

      The other interesting tidbit here involves Mike Rogers, the guy who's still reiterating the debunked talking point about Snowden not having the "capability" to do what he did, and accusing him of having Russian help [theguardian.com] without citing any evidence.

      Surely Feinstein understands that "privacy people" aren't going to be placated by such a statement and that their continui

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday January 20, 2014 @12:19PM (#46014421)

    A lot of the privacy people, perhaps, don't understand that we still occupy the role of the Great Satan.

    That is classic...

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Monday January 20, 2014 @12:32PM (#46014575)

    "A lot of the privacy people, perhaps, don't understand that we still occupy the role of the Great Satan. New bombs are being devised. New terrorists are emerging, new groups, actually, a new level of viciousness," Feinstein said. "We need to be prepared. I think we need to do it in a way that respects people's privacy rights."

    Feinstein's falling victim to what I like to call "The Information Fallacy." Let's say that we knew that terrorists were going to blow something up at some time. It would be hard to thwart this based on this information, right? But if we obtained more information and learned their names, their target, and the exact date they planned to attack, thwarting them gets a lot easier. So far so good, but it can lead people to figure that getting even more information would lead to finding even more terrorist plots (perhaps even ones we don't know about yet).

    In an ideal world, albeit one where privacy isn't a concern, this might be true. In the real world, though, gathering tons of information from everyone just leads to a signal-to-noise problem. For every one "Let's blow this up" terrorist phone record there will be millions (if not more) of "How's dad doing?", "When should we meet for dinner?", and other mundane phone records. There might even be some that tick off the right keyword boxes but for the wrong reasons. "That backpack is da bomb" might refer to explosives in a carry-on or it might be the use of slang to indicate that the person's backpack is really nice.

    Sadly, too many politicians are worried that reducing the information we gather is just going to let terrorist messages slip by. It might, but we should be doing more focused information gathering (with proper checks and balances to prevent abuse) to improve signal-to-noise, not general information gathering hoping that some signal pokes out from all of the surrounding noise.

  • by jxander (2605655) on Monday January 20, 2014 @12:36PM (#46014627)

    "New bombs are being devised. New terrorists are emerging, new groups, actually, a new level of viciousness," Feinstein said. "We need to be prepared."

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

    We keep hearing about the boogeyman terrorists who are coming for us .. these terrible people with these terrible plans. But really, we've done orders of magnitude more damage to ourselves than anyone external possibly could have done. And we continue to bludgeon ourselves about the head and shoulders, deflecting any semblance of reasoning with "because terrorism"

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Monday January 20, 2014 @01:18PM (#46015141)

    Go through the list... she's always said yes to expansions in executive power.

  • by Maltheus (248271) on Monday January 20, 2014 @01:51PM (#46015509)

    So which is it? Is our police state so incomptent that it can't stop disturbed teens from shooting up schools, or are the terrorists so incompetent that they can't manage similar (or worse) carnage? And other than 9/11, it's not like we were swimming in attacks before they went all Stasi on us.

    The Constitution is the law here, and the only criminals we need to be focused on are the ones in our own government. They gave away the freedoms that Al Qaeda could never take from us and that makes them worse in my book.

  • Easy Solution (Score:4, Informative)

    by trongey (21550) on Monday January 20, 2014 @02:04PM (#46015627) Homepage

    Nobody ever seems to remember that the NSA falls under the Executive Branch. Congress doesn't have to do squat. There's this one guy who has the authority to tell the NSA "Don't do that," and they're required to stop.
    Clue: He lives in a really big house with a boring paint job.

  • by carrier lost (222597) on Monday January 20, 2014 @02:15PM (#46015737) Homepage

    "'..."I don't believe so," Feinstein said during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press. "The president has very clearly said that he wants to continue to recieve the funding provided by the contractors who supply the equipment, software and bodies involved in this billion-dollar operation. So I think we would agree with him. I know a dominant majority of the - everybody, virtually, except two or three, on the Senate Intelligence Committee would agree with that." ... "A lot of the privacy people, perhaps, don't understand that we still need massive amounts of campaign funds going into this next election cycle", Feinstein said. "We need to be prepared. Television spots and Youtube ads are frickin' expensive!"'"

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