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Electronic Frontier Foundation Government Privacy Your Rights Online

Why No Executive Order To Stop NSA Metadata Collection? 312

Posted by timothy
from the if-the-president-does-it-it's-legal dept.
An anonymous reader links to this editorial at Ars Technica which argues that "As chief executive, Obama has the power to reform the NSA on his own with the stroke of a pen. By not putting this initiative into an executive order, he punted to Congress on an issue that affects the civil liberties of most anybody who picks up a phone. Every day Congress waits on the issue is another day Americans' calling records are being collected by the government without suspicion that any crime was committed. 'He does not need congressional approval for this,' said Mark Jaycoxx, an Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney."
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Why No Executive Order To Stop NSA Metadata Collection?

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  • Why would he? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:06PM (#46678439)

    Obama is part of the system that created the problem in the first place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:08PM (#46678451)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAQlsS9diBs

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:09PM (#46678467) Homepage Journal
    Or maybe he just doesn't want it to stop.
  • by bazmail (764941) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:11PM (#46678475)
    He's still got Obama's election slogans ringing in his ears "Yes we can!" and "Change!!" lol. Obama is a political animal, just like all the others in DC. Do not expect anything different from him. As another commenter pointed out, he is part of the system that created and supports the military surveillance complex.
  • by sasparillascott (1267058) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:12PM (#46678483)
    There is serious political downside to doing this.

    Consider for example what would have happened had he walked back all these subversions to our liberties 6 months before the Boston Bombing and then what would have happened in the political sphere thereafter. In the end Obama is not a courageous leader who does what is right because its right - he's a very cautious politician and makes decisions that seem to reflect just that. His administration has made "cover all the bases" types of political decisions from the beginning...unfortunately right after what happened to our civil liberties after the previous administration that is not what we, as a country, probably needed (and he campaigned as if he was something else). Is it possible they have dirt on him, possibly, but I think the political danger angle is the more likely and is also why this will have to be forced on by congress (and Republicans in particular as they would be the one's to pounce him were anything to happen after a rollback). This is also why its going to be very hard for these things to be rolled back.
  • Hope and change... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fhic (214533) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:18PM (#46678525)

    Once again, this isn't it.

    He's had several opportunities to do something about this. He keeps making weaselly attempts to talk about it like he's doing something without actually making any changes. It seems obvious to me that he wants this to continue, much like his equally weasel-ish approach to medical cannabis. And this way, he can blame it on a do-nothing Congress, thus giving his potential successor a talking point.

  • ...was every bit against domestic spying as he was against gay marriage.

    Maybe he should have said "If you like your civil liberties, you can keep your civil liberties."

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:31PM (#46678609)
    NO, you're making the assumption that because he's on your side on some things, he's on your side on everything.

    Alas, there's not much evidence of that.

  • Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ZeroSerenity (923363) <gormac05@ya h o o.com> on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:34PM (#46678621) Homepage Journal
    He wants Republicans to vote no on such a change so it can make them look bad. If he just did it by EO it would make him look bad in eyes of Republicans for abusing Executive power.
  • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:38PM (#46678647)

    No, you're just easily duped. Obama is, like Bush, a statist who supports the government's "right" to imprison, torture, and kill whoever they want for whatever reason they decide.

  • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:39PM (#46678657)

    Bullshit. These are his programs. He wants them to continue.

  • by FridayBob (619244) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:46PM (#46678697) Homepage

    This is typical of our current President. If pressed on the issue, he might say that he would "prefer" the NSA not to collect phone records on all Americans, but that so far the opponents of the system just haven't been vocal enough about it for him to take any action on the subject. "Hey, Mr. President, where's all that _change_ you promised us?" I'm sure he would prefer to to do all those things, except that his donors would not be too happy about that.

    To think that I voted for this guy... twice. Not that the alternatives were any better, but sometimes I wonder if this administration really is any better than the previous one. And I seriously doubt the next one will be any better. Why? Because today the donors are the ones who are actually running the country (with the recent McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission [wikipedia.org] ruling only adding insult to injury). The only solution I can think of is to attack this evil at its source by getting money out of politics [wolf-pac.com].

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:47PM (#46678707) Homepage
    if you can still have any trust in obama you are wrong here my friend. He has proven time and time again that he is full of shit and every move he makes is political in nature.
  • by ganjadude (952775) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @03:49PM (#46678725) Homepage
    or they were blinded by the fact that they were voting for a black president, instead of doing some (any) research on the actual man, if they did they would have seen that he was nothing more than a political hack
  • Re (Score:5, Insightful)

    by srichard25 (221590) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @04:13PM (#46678851)

    I am constantly amazed at how naive the average American voter is. Obama was a guy who could give a good speech, but he had ZERO leadership accomplishments to his name. The most basic research into Obama's background should have given anyone pause that he could actually accomplish any of what he promised. He was a Senator, but couldn't point to a single legislative accomplishment. He was in the state senate, but had a record of just voting present on key bills and had no major bills to his name. He was a community organizer, but once again couldn't point to any significant accomplishments. He claims to be a legal scholar, but locked his school records.

    For those of you who voted for Obama and are currently disappointed, I have a suggestion for you: next time do some background research on the person instead of just relying on campaign speeches and 30-second ads.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @04:18PM (#46678881)

    What motivation does Obama have to stop this? His liberal base doesn't seem to care. It actually helps him in the center, where many people value security over privacy. The only organized political opposition is from the Paulite faction of the Republican Party, that is not going to support him, no matter what. So he has nothing to gain by changing the status quo.

  • by exabrial (818005) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @04:49PM (#46679069)
    It was a program he approved and sponsored no matter what ignorance he claims. We need to hold him accountable, but unfortunately, there is an unhealthy celebrity love affair with this president that he is using to cover the usual dirt that comes with this office.
  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @04:58PM (#46679109)

    I don't believe it. Obama never actually showed up for votes when he was in the Senate.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @04:59PM (#46679115) Journal
    Saying there is no 'good' candidate is not an excuse for idolizing your own candidate. If you were blinded into thinking Obama would oppose warrentless wiretapping, you were still blinded.
  • by therealkevinkretz (1585825) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:00PM (#46679121)

    "Doing stuff for a friend" is friendly and altruistic when I *choose* to do it. When something's forcibly confiscated from me to be given to a stranger, it's not me "doing stuff", it's not for a "friend" and it's certainly not altruistic. It's also not altruistic to vote for a bill that does that, or to vote for the guy who votes for that bill.

  • by labnet (457441) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:13PM (#46679199)

    I've read his autobiography. He is a political nobody, with no family of note, who was an average community organiser in Chicago, who happens to have brilliant oratory skills. That means he is bankrolled by someone very powerful, and thus will do what he is told.

  • by Bartles (1198017) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:34PM (#46679347)
    You know what else? In 2011 Barack Obama signed the Patriot Act Extension into law. And most of the yahoos here still voted for him.
  • by thaylin (555395) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @05:40PM (#46679373)
    Umm, no, being libertarian is a choice, the others are not.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @07:25PM (#46679831)

    What motivation does Obama have to stop this? His liberal base doesn't seem to care.

    They do - when Democrats are not in office.

    Which is why you should not vote Democrats into office, because everyone assumes they are doing as they should instead of checking.

    Any other party will do, the Democrats have just become too entrenched and too powerful (as they control Hollywood and the media, or at least most of those organizations will look the other way for many offenses in the case of Democrats).

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @07:28PM (#46679847) Journal

    I don't call people on watch lists, I don't call any known criminals

    Ever ordered a pizza over the phone? Then you may have called a number that is associated with terrorists (who also happen to like pizza).

    Perhaps you don't care about your phone calls and emails being intercepted. Probably, I don't really care about mine, but I do care about interception of the communications of my elected representatives and their staff, and so should you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2014 @08:09PM (#46680041)

    I don't call people on watch lists, I don't call any known criminals, and if they want to see that I called my dentist or my mom last week, yay for them. That's all they will find.

    Actually, turns out your dentist donated money to a charity that was found to be funneling money to 'terrorist' Muslim organizations (one that feeds Muslim children made homeless/parentless by a drone strike or something, y'know, 'terrorist' actitivies), and by being one of his dental customers you have been indirectly implicated in his terrorist activities. Oh, yeah, that and to that friend of your mom that illegally downloads music... damn, you have so many terrorist/criminal ties, they might as well just get that cell ready in Guantanimo for you now!

    Turns out, when you don't stand up for your rights and let them slowly be eroded because 'it doesn't apply to you' or 'you aren't doing anything wrong', eventually every government in history has used this as justification for even more and more power, until you *are* doing something 'wrong' according to some 'law' they've passed, and they can jail anyone they feel like it.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @08:42PM (#46680151) Journal

    If you concerned about you pizza ordering habits being of interest you need professional help. Further more may I remind you that the pizza delivering service has no reason or duty to keep pizza orders confidential.

    Well done at both keeping ignorant of current events and misreading my post.

    The point is that, if you call a pizza place that is also called by a "terror suspect", you become connected to the suspect and all your communications (not just the pizza orders) are more likely to be monitored.

    I notice that you ignored the very important point that we should all be concerned about monitoring of the communications of politicians and their staff.

    You should not post as anonymous coward, more like anonymous idiot, or is it anonymous shill (it is not be beyond the realm of the possible that the intelligence community are posting in /. trying to influence opinions).

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @09:05PM (#46680255)

    It's not that his liberal base doesn't care. It's that they can't really say anything or their anger will be used to help the Republicans. It's one of the side effects of a two-party system. A politician (especially one in power) has to SERIOUSLY screw up to hear it from their own party. This is what makes establishment Republicans so uneasy about the Tea Party.

  • by GuitarNeophyte (636993) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @09:17PM (#46680317) Homepage Journal

    Without going into whether I agree with what you say, it seems to me that whenever people say "Most people...", it is typically to say that most people have opinnions that are close to the speaker's opinnions, even when most people are not really like that at all.

    However, most people spend most of their time with people who think relatively similar to themselves, adding to their own thoughts that "most people" are like them. I'd say that "most people" (and I admit, I fall into the exact same bias that I mentioned before) just want to be left alone to do whatever they want to do. Sure, people like government to do this or that (police, roads, teach kids and stuff), but by in large, I think people just want left alone. I've been doing some travelling to some various cultures, and noticing how, as much as people are different, we're all pretty much the same. People just want to do their thing and not have to be bothered.

  • by MadMartigan2001 (766552) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @10:22PM (#46680543)

    I don't call people on watch lists, I don't call any known criminals

    How you would know? Do you have a copy of the watch list or known criminals? Are those lists published? Being distrustful of government is not "groupthink". It's called paying attention to history.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday April 07, 2014 @03:08AM (#46681553) Journal
    A candidate in the primaries had public speaking coaching?!?! And then had more when he was running for President?!? That's borderline unconstitutional, quick someone alert the press!

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