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Obama Wants Computer Privacy Ruling Overturned 670

schwit1 writes "The Obama administration is seeking to reverse a federal appeals court decision that dramatically narrows the government’s search-and-seizure powers in the digital age. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Justice Department officials are asking the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its August ruling that federal prosecutors went too far when seizing 104 professional baseball players’ drug results when they had a warrant for just 10. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
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Obama Wants Computer Privacy Ruling Overturned

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  • I am shocked! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:09PM (#30232042)

    That it's taking people this long to realize nothing ever changes.

  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) < minus caffeine> on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:18PM (#30232098) Homepage

    Can't believe you got modded Troll instead of insightful.

  • Okay, that's enough. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adpe ( 805723 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:22PM (#30232146)
    I liked him when he ran for president. Then he failed closing gitmo, didn't manage to push healthcare through, and I kinda attribted that to "circumstances", like FOX "News". But now he doesn't sign this landmine treaty thingie, he doesn't promise any kind of CO2 reduction goals, he extends the PATRIOT Act and now this. I'm utterly disappointed.
  • Set Aside? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:27PM (#30232192)

    "The government is asking the court to review the case with all of its 27 judges, which it has never done. If the court agrees to a rehearing, a new decision is not expected for years, and the August decision would be set aside pending a new ruling. Either way, the U.S. Supreme Court has the final say. "

    So if they agree to re-evaluate the ruling, the current ruling is "set aside", meaning as if it never happened? Ain't that about a bitch.

  • Re:I am shocked! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:27PM (#30232196)

    i am pretty sure we are all potential criminals, no such thing as a citizen anymore

  • by east coast ( 590680 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:39PM (#30232324)
    I want an honest answer to this from the Obama supporters: Why do you think it's really that big of a deal if he closes Gitmo but just transfers the same people elsewhere? I don't understand the gains of this.

    Aside from that, and not to feed the troll who responded to you but, the government health plan really isn't a gain (as in freedom). We've had enough dickering with the rights of the private sectors and the more the government gets their fingers into the mix the worse it gets. And with the economy in the tank it's not a good time to start a new unproven social program. Not that I agree with them under a good economy but it's a serious case of high risk to bring this out when we're already riding the edge hard.

    And how can you blame Fox? Those who pay attention to Fox news, according to the common stereotype that goes on around here, are powerless according to what I heard last November. What's changed?

    And did you HONESTLY think the Federal government was going to give up on a power grab like the PATRIOT act? Please don't tell me that you fell for this myth that the Democrats are somehow freedom lovers and the Republicans are Nazis just waiting for the right time to put on their brown shirts and hip boots. It's a disgusting bit of rhetoric that only keeps one side in power just like the myth from the other side that states the same but with the Republicans being the great defenders of freedom and the Dems being a bunch of Nazis. Why is it when one "side" says it half of you how like banshees that it's God's truth but when the other "side" says it you dismiss it as utter nonsense?

    When are you people going to take the blinders off?
  • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:46PM (#30232372) Homepage
    I voted McCain. Palin's a bit of a goofball and McCain's ... even more so, but at least he's been in the legislature. But Obama is a thug. Sure, he's done a few decent things, and a few partisan things which you'll either love or hate, but I can't respect an administration that thinks that they're "speaking truth to power" when they diss their political opponents in the media (Fox). Sorry, you are the power, and you're speaking power, even if Fox is a bunch of doofuses. Honestly, what is this, the Ministry of Truth? Then there's the GM bondholders who got screwed in favor of the auto unions because of the administration's strongarming -- you know, a lot of other people had retirement funds with GM bonds too.

    I don't care about the policies half so much as about the Chicago-style politics. Don't tell me this was the "change" America was looking for.

  • from TFA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dnwq ( 910646 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:46PM (#30232374)

    The circuit’s ruling came in a case that dates to 2004, when federal prosecutors probing a Northern California steroid ring obtained warrants to seize the results of urine samples of 10 pro baseball players at a Long Beach, California drug-testing facility. The players had been tested as part of a voluntary drug-deterrence program implemented by Major League Baseball.

    Federal agents serving the search warrant on the Comprehensive Drug Testing lab wound up making a copy of a directory containing a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with results of every player that was tested in the program. Then, back in the office, they scrolled freely through the spreadsheet, ultimately noting the names of all 104 players who tested positive.

    The government argued that the information was lawfully found in “plain sight,” just like marijuana being discovered on a dining room table during a court-authorized weapons search of a home. But the court noted that the agents actively scrolled to the right side of the spreadsheet to peek at all the players test results, when they could easily have selected, copied and pasted only the rows listing the players named in the search warrant.

    This... doesn't actually sound that objectionable. Scrolling to the right breaks the Fourth Amendment?

  • Re:I am shocked! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @08:58PM (#30232484) Homepage

    I hate to say it but I was hopeful too. Maybe not enough to vote for him, but I knew my candidate wasn't going to win anyway... still voted for him though.

    Obama is a historical icon, however. He was the first non-white president of the United States of America. And while some might say he is starting out "well enough" I can't say that he is. He has definitely reversed himself on many of his promises and intentions without so much as any sort of explanation on the matter. What he is doing will likely result in a big change in government in the next major election cycle and he may not even be the next Democratic presidential candidate if the Democrats hope to remain significant. I doubt people will be so quick to forget the reasons they moved away from the Republicans the last go around and so I think third parties will really make an emergence in the NEXT election cycle.

  • by gujo-odori ( 473191 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @09:02PM (#30232510)

    When Obama was running for president, I looked at (but did not agree with most of) what he was saying he was going to do, and I thought, "Yeah, right. That's what he says now, and I believe he probably wants to do most of what he says he will do, and some of it is largely BS to satisfy the wingnuts at, but after he's elected, a lot of his suporters - especially the ones in the wingnut gallery - are going to find themselves rather disappointed."

    Setting aside the BS factor of stuff he probably never intended to do, or reasonably believed he would be unable to do, there's a lot that he did intend to do that hasn't happened. Mostly, that's a good thing. He'll probably get his way on healthcare reform, but unfortunately, the health care reform we're going to get is going to be at least as screwed up as what we have now. Probably worse, and certainly more expensive. Start with the fact that the biggest problem in health care is the need for tort reform. It doesn't do that. It does contain (if it doesn't get squished in committee) the idea that people will be compelled to buy health insurance whether they want it or not, and could be jailed if they don't.

    And then there are things like the topic of TFA. Jailing people for not buying health insurance and trying to keep over-broad search powers goes against one area where - because I'm a conservative - I did agree with Obama: more open and transparent government. I didn't believe he'd follow through on that. To some extent he has, to his credit, but not nearly enough. Government needs to be transparent, open, strictly limited in its powers, and _small_.

    There's a reason why the 10th Amendment states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The authors knew perfectly well that not only is government not the answer, but that it tends to be the problem and that the problem will always try to make itself grow larger and to accumulate more power.

    I think we'll find, after four years, that Obama has done what most other predidents - especially recent ones - have done: failed to do much of the good he intended to do, failed to do much of the good that he didn't plan but could have done opportunistically, and failed to avoid doing much of the harm that he should have avoided doing. The measure of success of a president today is largely whether he harmed the country less than his predecessor harmed it.

    We're screwed.

    P.S. Why shouldn't you discuss those things in detail? Do you think he's somehow beneath you because you disagree with each other? That's one of the reasons the country is so screwed up today - people on all sides refusing to even talk with people on other sides because they believe that no one else could possibly be right, or even have valid opinions, or even be entitled to a voice in the debate. So many people - whether left, right, or whatever, want absolutely no dissent from their ideas to be tolerated.

    I'll say something that may be unusual for a conservative: I didn't vote for Obama, wouldn't if he were running today, and oppose his positions on a lot of issues. However, now that he's president, for the good of the nation, I want him to be the best president he can be, and do a good job. Compare that to the left-threaded wingnuts who so wanted Bush to fail at everything he attempted that they didn't care if it harmed the entire nation, just so long as it harmed Bush, or the right-threaded wingnuts who are exactly the same about Obama. Sadly, my perception is that most people on both sides tend to be of the (left|right)-threaded wingnut variety rather than of the loyal-opposition-who-can-reasonably-respectfully-disagree variety.

  • by adpe ( 805723 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @09:14PM (#30232590)
    Well yes, I did bother to read why. It's just completely wrong. Every other country competing with China has signed it, only the US thinks it would put them in some kind of disadvantage. In fact, if the US set some CO2 goals, the entire international pressure would be on china, forcing them to act. But still, this is more or less a matter of opinions. I can see why people think a CO2 reduction promise would be a huge mistake, but I don't agree.

    The healtcare bill that is now underway (well, somewhat at least) isn't even *close* to what was promised. It's a watered-down bill, just good enough that republicans can say they stopped the worst and Obama can say he passed a bill.

    The rest of the issues I mention you seem to agree with me. I know it's partisanship that's stopping the gitmo closing, but still, he didn't deliver, even with all kinds of majorities in all kinds of houses. Not a word about landmines from you, you agree on thr PATRIOT Act and the computer privacy thing. And you still accuse me of complaining all the time and being ignorant. You might want to check what you're getting so worked up about. We agree on most things, have minor differences on healthcare and some different opinions on CO2, that's really not that bad.
  • Re:I am shocked! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @10:47PM (#30233262) Homepage Journal

    They may not get all that much credit. If GDP improves but the unemployment rate is still high, angry eyes will still be upon them. Recent government forecasts of reasonably strong increases in GDP next year have also said that unemployment rates would probably remain flat, and that has caused a great deal of consternation. People are willing to have a little less recovery if it means a little better employment, as it's hard to be happy with where the country will be in two or three years when it's not certain where your meals will come from next week.

  • Re:I am shocked! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:34PM (#30233530)

    Barack Obama has done precisely squat to reverse Bush's mistakes.

    In fact, he has done something to reverse the mistakes of him who sucked the dvil's cock. And swallowed.

    In the Reno DoJ, the principle was, "In the case of a FOIA request, absent a national security issue, disgorge the information."

    Following the orders of Bush, the lickspittle Ashcroft (he who couldn't win a political race against a dead man) turned that policy on his head and changed it to, "In the case of a FOIA request, absent a court order, withhold the information."

    On his first day in office, Obama reversed the policy back to the Clinton interpretation. Almost that far, but not quite.

    Bush and his cronies spat directly into the face of the American citizen in nearly all their re-interpretations of Constitutional rights. It may take a while, but I believe Obama will eventually restore a lot of it to its intended effect, instead of using the document as nothing beyond asswipe.

  • Re:Asinine example (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:44PM (#30233576) Homepage

    There needs to be some method of having a firewall where you can have an independent group of investigators go through the siezed evidence and produce a report. Then a judge screens that report before it is handed to the primary team prosecuting the crime. The two groups otherwise don't communicate.

    Then if they get a warrant for more info from the original source they can go back and ask for more data. There would be no "fruit of the poisoned tree" or anything like that since nobody on the team requesting the warrant was able to see the original evidence.

    Kind of like the approach used to reverse engineer an interface without fear of some kind of trade secrets claim - the group taking apart the product doesn't have any interaction with the group building an interface to it, aside from a few well-written sets of specifications that are carefully preserved in case there is a lawsuit to show that they are above board.

    Companies do this sort of thing when suing each other all the time. Company A wants to look at company B's files to show they're doing something wrong. Since they're competitors they just agree on a 3rd party who looks at everything and reports on whether the claim has merit. They're otherwise sworn to secrecy.

  • Re:I am shocked! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Wednesday November 25, 2009 @11:46PM (#30233584)
    Nice strawman. There is a lot of things Obama is getting wrong. Mostly he's not doing enough to reverse a lot of stupid shit that Bush put in place. I just get sick of ignorant people calling the man a socialist, when it's obvious they don't even know what the word means. Half of these dolts use the terms socialism and communism as if they meant the same thing.

    I never called you un-American, I just gave you an example of the countries that actually have a flat tax. In the market place of countries, you have options.

    As for my 'day of reckoning', is that the day that all of you libertarian hacks are going to abandon all supposed principles and vote for a bunch of Republicans yet again? Or maybe you'll support some 3rd party candidates like Doug Hoffman. Good luck.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, 2009 @01:21AM (#30234066)

    Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They're
                  nothing but hideous space reptiles. [unmasks them]
                    [audience gasps in terror]
    Kodos: It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about
                  it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us.
      Man1: He's right, this is a two-party system.
      Man2: Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate.
      Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.
                    [Kang and Kodos laugh out loud]
                    [Ross Perot smashes his "Perot 96" hat]

    The next day, Kodos announces the result: "All hail, President Kang."

    Marge: I don't understand why we have to build a ray gun to aim at a
                  planet I never even heard of.
    Homer: Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.
    -- "Treehouse of Horror VII"

    I always found this episode too depressing to be funny.

  • Re:Misleading Story (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, 2009 @05:05AM (#30234964)

    Killers also just do their job. There can be a big difference between doing your job and whether this job works against certain or most people. Not to mention no matter how criminal the activity of any government is it always hides behind "good will" and other bullshit.
    And in case you didn't know, often people don't just do their job, but execute orders so they don't have control over their own actions.

  • Re:I am shocked! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Thursday November 26, 2009 @07:27AM (#30235720)

    If it's such good advice then why does it matter who said it?

    The desire to have no standing army (and even opposition to a full time police force) contributed largely to support of the 2nd amendment, this is no longer relevant. I'm not saying i'm for/against gun control just that the 2nd amendment was written in completely different circumstances. Concepts such as, social security, workers rights, a standing army, a full time police force, universal education, an agency to control use of highways, etc, were all unneeded back in the 18th century but clearly need government involvement in the 21st.

    To cling to the founding fathers as gods is to ignore 200 years of rational debate, history is the past and applies no more to the present as examples from other countries.

BLISS is ignorance.