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Government Privacy Republicans United States Politics

Lawmakers Threaten Legal Basis of NSA Surveillance 206

Posted by Soulskill
from the please-don't-be-grandstanding dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "The author of the Patriot Act has warned that the legal justification for the NSA's wholesale domestic surveillance program will disappear next summer if the White House doesn't restrict the way the NSA uses its power. Section 215 of the Patriot Act will expire during the summer of 2015 and will not be renewed unless the White House changes the shocking scale of the surveillance programs for which the National Security Administration uses the authorization, according to James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), an original author of the Patriot Act and its two reauthorizations, stated Washington insider-news source The Hill. 'Unless Section 215 gets fixed, you, Mr. Cole, and the intelligence community will get absolutely nothing, because I am confident there are not the votes in this Congress to reauthorize it,' Sensenbrenner warned Deputy Attorney General James Cole during the Feb. 4 hearing. Provisions of Section 215, which allows the NSA to collect metadata about phone calls made within the U.S., give the government a 'very useful tool' to track connections among Americans that might be relevant to counterterrorism investigations, Cole told the House Judiciary Committee. The scale of the surveillance and lengths to which the NSA has pushed its limits was a "shock" according to Sensenbrenner, who also wrote the USA Freedom Act, a bill to restrict the scope of both Section 215 and the NSA programs, which has attracted 130 co-sponsors. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has sponsored a similar bill in the Senate."
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Lawmakers Threaten Legal Basis of NSA Surveillance

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  • Fuck the beta (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:12PM (#46168337)

    "MOVIN’ ON UP" my ass

  • by Laxori666 (748529) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:12PM (#46168341) Homepage
    Yesterday, I had a child. My dear son. Today I found him dead. He left a suicide note: "The only reason for my death is Slashdot Beta."

    Also I had a daughter a few days ago. But then I also found her dead. This time she had been murdered. The autopsy came back: She had been mauled by Slashdot Beta.

    This must end!! Think of the children! Kill the Beta!
  • Re:first (Score:2, Insightful)

    by buswolley (591500) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:13PM (#46168343) Journal
    Screw Beta Slashdot. Stupid dumb asses.
  • Re:Fuck the beta (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buswolley (591500) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:14PM (#46168351) Journal
    http://slashdot.org/recent [slashdot.org] Vote up the Fuck Beta stories
  • And this is why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:14PM (#46168357) Journal
    And this is why it can be smart to put time limits on bills, even if you think they are a good idea at the time. In that sense, the original authors of the Patriot Act were smart.
  • by richlv (778496) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:21PM (#46168429)

    well, slashdot... this is now up to the "funny" level - i mean, 90% of comments being about suckiness of beta :)

    get a geek to tell designers and coders how it should be. and give him/her the right to kill... ok, throw out of the building anybody suggesting stuff like the "beta".

  • One can only hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:33PM (#46168547)

    Section 215 of the Patriot Act will expire during the summer of 2015 and will not be renewed

    Its time to put this experiment to bed. Like prohibition, which lasted 13 years, the Patriot act (now 13 years old), and damage it has caused needs to be rolled back. Not just Section 215, but other major portions of the act as well.

    We are not safer now. We are simply less free now. It has not prevented terrorist attacks, either here or abroad. Boarder security continues to be a utter joke, and secrecy provisions are the antithesis of our supposed freedoms.

    Its probably time to start yanking your congressman's chain. Its time to point out that the simple fact we are not asleep any more is basically all that is needed, and all that was ever needed. Its time to point out that 13 years of lies and secrecy is enough. Its time for them to stop carrying the governments message to their constituents, and start carrying their constituents message to the government.

    Do I expect this to be successful? No. Not as long as a single one of those congressmen were in office for the initial passing, or the prior re-authorizations. They are too heavily invested in the act, and the administration has too much control over them.

    Time to clean house. Stop fearing your district's loss of seniority by electing new people. Vote them all out. If we do it piece meal, career bureaucrats and career politicians will just co-opt the new members. Remove the leverage.

  • MOD UP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anubis350 (772791) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:41PM (#46168621)
    I'm willing to burn my not-inconsiderable karma on this, the beta really destroys the flow of what I actually come here for - the discussion! If it becomes mandatory it'll kill a site that has been my favorite place on the web for a long, long time
  • Re:MOD UP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buswolley (591500) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:48PM (#46168673) Journal
    Exactly. ,p>Who gives a damn about karma if no one is here to enjoy it, Slashdot?

    Listen to your users.

  • Re:And this is why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:48PM (#46168677)

    And this is why it can be smart to put time limits on bills, even if you think they are a good idea at the time. In that sense, the original authors of the Patriot Act were smart.

    This will be something like the third re-authorization [wikipedia.org]. (It expired piecemeal, making it easier to re-authorize it piecemeal).

    We not only need sunset into bills, we need to require an ever increasing majority to re-authorize these laws.
    (As well as (nearly) unanimous consent to lower those requirements.)

    You can bet that at the time grows near, there will be an "incident" that just "happens" to come along which will have the usual useful idiots demanding more protection, and tighter scrutiny. The drumbeat of fear will be revved up again. Someone will put forth minor meaningless tweaks and tell us the problem is solved. Opponents will be vilified and demonized in the press, mistresses will surface. You name it. Its not like we haven't seen this before.

    And we need to enact penalties for judges that fail to uphold their oath of office.

  • Re:first (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:49PM (#46168683)

    Has anyone tried to email the editors directly to see if the can talk some since into their DICE pointy haired boss's or maybe we could find the email of the DICE PHB responsible and we could slashdot his inbox...

  • by cdrudge (68377) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @07:52PM (#46168707) Homepage

    Is this REALLY about the NSA surveillance? Or is it about leverage for Congress critters, particularly Republicans, on the Executive branch?

    "You want your PATRIOT Act renewed? You need to cut back on your surveillance. And my surveillance, we mean repeal Obamacare (or whatever the bill(s) du jour are)."

    Besides, whether or not the NSA surveillance is authorized, do you think the NSA gives a fuck. They are going to do it anyways. They'll just have to be sneakier.

  • by sandbagger (654585) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:01PM (#46168777)

    Actor Maximilian Schell died last week. He played the defence lawyer in Judgement at Nuremberg. It's a film about the trial of judges who were around before Hitler came to power and stayed on rather than resign. It's a great, great, film. Here's a bit of Spenser Tracey's verdict at the end:

    'There are those in our own country, too...who today speak of the protection of country...of survival. A decision must be made in the life of every nation...at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy...to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. The answer to that is: Survival as what? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult.'

    The trouble is, there is no practical existential threat from Al Qaeda. There is no unified command structure amongst the Muslim nations - many of which have the same ethno-linguistic-political-economic divisions that have the western nations bickering all of the time. They have no army. No navy. No air force. They are not a fundamental threat to the west and the overreach of this sector of government needs to be brought back into perspective.

  • Protest Beta (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoRdTAW (99712) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:03PM (#46168797)

    Dice, I am protesting the beta site. I will not follow any links from a beta redirect and I will not participate in any meaningful discussion.

    Your new Slashdot design is hideous. The comment layout is an abomination which is /.'s strong point, its why we come here. This isn't twitter or Facebook, we come here to get away from that. Please abandon your attempts to cash in on this site, you will loose more members then you will ever hope to attract with your new and unimproved design.

    Fellow /.'ers, join me in this protest. Do not post a comment related to a beta redirect article or click any links. Instead, post a comment in protest of the beta design.

  • Re:MOD UP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:09PM (#46168829)
    Dear Slashdot,

    It's never too late to do the right thing. Please reconsider killing classic. It's instantly recognizable as Slashdot. A "trademark" of Slashdot if you will. It is a big reason why people come here to comment and lurk. It is loved. FFS, beta is the New Coke!

  • Indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmdingler (1955220) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:14PM (#46168871)
    There is no good side of the aisle any longer, no matter where on the political spectrum you find yourself.

    Admitting your side is wrong, too, is the first step.

  • by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:35PM (#46169031) Homepage

    Stop fearing your district's loss of seniority by electing new people. Vote them all out. If we do it piece meal, career bureaucrats and career politicians will just co-opt the new members. Remove the leverage.

    All that will do is make the next batch of puppets cheaper to own. Until corporations are muzzled, nothing will change.

  • Re:And this is why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:40PM (#46169083)

    > Mandatory expiration dates for legislation fall into the large category of "ideas that cause more problems than they solve".

    By raw numbers, perhaps. But the problems that they solve are so large and pervasive that they're worth considering. The sheer bulk of existing legal codes, dating back to the Constitution itself, makes sensible analysis of existing law infeasible for even a reasonable legal researcher.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:43PM (#46169109)

    The trouble is, there is no practical existential threat from Al Qaeda.

    This can't be reiterated enough. The response to 9/11 was completely out of proportion to the actual threat posed by the perpetrators. GWB said they hate us for our freedom so what do we do? We turn around and reduce our freedom. What kind of sense does that make?

  • Re:Protest Beta (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:48PM (#46169143) Homepage

    I concur: They should have simply put in the OMG Ponies! design and been done with it.

  • Re:Fuck the beta (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @08:49PM (#46169149) Homepage Journal

    I did before I came here, every single one of the "beta sucks" stories, just posted a "beta sucks" /. journal, and sent them an email informing them that when classic is gone, so will I be.

    I suspect all that will be left after classic is gone is APK, ethanol-fueled, the goatse guy, the GNAA guy, and that guy who wants you to clean his PC, Oh, and don't forget Bert, and the other two trolls Bilbo met.

  • Re:MOD UP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkey-Man2000 (603495) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @09:02PM (#46169235)
    Dear God this thread! DICE is killing a beloved brand if they go to this horrible new format. WE DO NOT WANT AND WILL NOT USE IT!!!
  • by gIobaljustin (3526197) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @09:06PM (#46169263) Homepage

    This can't be reiterated enough.

    It can be. We mustn't make this issue about the efficacy of the programs, but about freedom. Mentioning that the programs are ineffective is fine, but we must make it clear that they would be unacceptable even if they worked.

  • by glavenoid (636808) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @09:08PM (#46169273) Journal

    There is literally *not one single thing* that works in any manner that can even begin to approach what is commonly referred to as "usability". That in and of itself is constructive criticism because it would be impossible to enumerate every problem with the new site.

    But to answer your question, here is the official thread with plenty of detailed criticisms and suggestions [slashdot.org]

  • Re:Fuck the beta (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkey-Man2000 (603495) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @09:13PM (#46169327)
    If you took their survey you'll see they know most long-time /. users are outraged. The first question was something like, "Did you know, you can find the classic slashdot layout at a link at the bottom of the page" Answer: No. Next question, "did you find it?". Answer: No (it's buried in a text box). Next question, "Do you have any suggestions for improving the usability of the beta" Answer: Go back to classic Slashdot by default. Etc., etc., They know the beta's shit and don't care because they are going to use the site to phish irregular users into their "Business Intelligence" BS. They don't care to keep us here, they just want the name for the geek-chique with the managers that may think they're hip because they've heard of /. but never actually visited. I hope Taco made a mint on this and the other "editors" as well because they sold out hard -- I knew something was seriously wrong when he jumped ship after so many previous acquisitions....
  • Re:first (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkey-Man2000 (603495) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @09:20PM (#46169399)
    The editors know... we made it clear in the beta announcement thread and at least one editor said he was going to bubble it to the top of the foodchain. This is a topdown order and going to straight-up KILL slashdot. I don't think DICE even cares, and apparently neither do the editors as their still drawing paychecks. This is some serious shit; I don't know how things went down but I'd like to think Taco had the integrity to leave when he knew which way the ship would be going -- maybe he had family concerns financially. But the others, I feel bad for them, but damn, goddamn indeed, they need to stage a revolt because the users of /. are about to if this shit is forced down our throats....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @09:33PM (#46169507)

    It makes sense if you realize Al Qaeda was never the real enemy. It was just a very convenient excuse for the government to grab more power. And it worked. The majority of people are sheep and took it hook line and sinker. It's all straight from Orwell's 1984. Give them a great war to distract them from their current troubles and the failure of the government to do anything about it so the politicians can keep stuffing their pockets and their friends pockets.

  • by KingOfBLASH (620432) on Wednesday February 05, 2014 @11:16PM (#46170289) Journal

    dude beta sucks big giant hairy goat balls

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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