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US Supreme Court Says Wiretapping Immunity Will Stand 203

wiredmikey writes "The U.S. Supreme Court said this week it will let stand an immunity law on wiretapping viewed by government as a useful anti-terror tool but criticized by privacy advocates. The top U.S. court declined to review a December 2011 appeals court decision that rejected a lawsuit against AT&T for helping the NSA monitor its customers' phone calls and Internet traffic. Plaintiffs argue that the law allows the executive branch to conduct 'warrantless and suspicionless domestic surveillance' without fear of review by the courts and at the sole discretion of the attorney general. The Obama administration has argued to keep the immunity law in place, saying it would imperil national security to end such cooperation between the intelligence agencies and telecom companies. The Supreme Court is set to hear a separate case later this month in which civil liberties' group are suing NSA officials for authorizing unconstitutional wiretapping."
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US Supreme Court Says Wiretapping Immunity Will Stand

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  • "Justce is blind." (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:30PM (#41612911)
    To the law.
  • by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:35PM (#41612969)
    I've been saying this for years, the REAL issues aren't brought up in the debates.

    They are queitly mumbled under the breath of canidates, and dissenters are put on "lists", and harrassed.
  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:36PM (#41612981)

    So essentially, they have openly stated that because the practice is useful to the government ut should not be subjected to judiciary review, despite clear concerns from privacy advocates, and seemingly legitimate legal challenges to the validity of the practice?

    Since when did the judiciary stop doing its job and become rubber stampers?

  • ... and dissenters are put on "lists", and harrassed.

    Or worse [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:45PM (#41613087)

    The Spanish Inquisition was also useful in preventing the spread of heretical doctrines. Doesn't mean it was a good idea.

  • by SirAstral ( 1349985 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:54PM (#41613165)

    If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
              Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.
              The loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad.
    â" James Madison (father of the US Constitution)

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:55PM (#41613191) Homepage Journal

    This wiretaping rule is no problem to John Q. Public. As far as they're concerned this only affects people who are doing wong.

    The only way to get the Obama Admin off of this is maybe make it a Tea Party issues - "Hey Teapartiers! That Socialist Obama has all these powers to spy on you God fearing Christians so he knows whose guns to take away!"

    Really, I'm not joking. It WILL work!

    No, it won't - I know, I spend a good portion of every day surrounded by that particular group of mental midgets, and lord know I've tried to convince them of such. See, those groups (ultra-right Tea Baggers, ultra-left Uber-Socialists) don't care what happens in the world, unless it's relayed to them by one of their self-appointed Minstries of Truth - in the case of RWNs, it's Newscorp and Rush Limbaugh; for the LWNs, you have Bill Maher and NBC.

    The only way you'll get the nutjobs to actually listen to reason is to have their personal media messiah's express it in a way that convinces said nutjobs will accept reality; for example, call in to Limbaugh's program posing as a member of his audience base, and posit the idea in a way that makes Rush think he thought of it himself.

  • SCOTUS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:56PM (#41613193) Homepage Journal

    "Breaking the Law is useful in enforcing the Law that is illegal under the foundation of Law."

    Wonderful little police state you got there.

  • by bjwest ( 14070 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @05:58PM (#41613219)

    Why would it come up in the debates when both parties feel they have the right to warrantless wiretapping. Kinda hard to debate something when there's no difference in viewpoint.

  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:02PM (#41613259)

    So essentially, they have openly stated that because the practice is useful to the government ut should not be subjected to judiciary review, despite clear concerns from privacy advocates, and seemingly legitimate legal challenges to the validity of the practice?

    At issue isn't the wiretaps themselves are kosher but whether you can punish the telecom for doing what the people at whatever government agency ordered them to do. This is pitting the telecoms and the people against each other while the real culprit, the government agents, just snicker. The entire private sector needs to take up the protest together.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:20PM (#41613441)
    You would? I think it's pretty obvious how it would go. If the moderator asked about it, Obama or Romney would make the same argument the administration made already. And the voters would continue to ignore the loss of civil rights. If pressed further, feet held to the fire as it were, they would repeat the argument the administration already made and the voters would continue to ignore the loss of civil rights. The media and voters would wonder what the stick up the moderator's butt was. The line "If you aren't doing anything wrong, then you don't need to hide" would be brought up in some form or another, and the two would pat themselves on the back for wisely not caring about wiretapping when there are terrorists out there.

    The voters swallowed the fear mongering from politicians, pundits, and people selling books and articles on how the world is out to get you. They cowered in fear and offered their rights up to a police state as payment for perceived security. Both parties are guilty, but they're giving the customers what they want. There's not a politician alive of any party who could get through to the voters and get them to stop sacrificing their rights in exchange for security. Ben Franklin would be completely ignored by the media today, aside from being the occasional punchline.
  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:23PM (#41613481)

    Romney is even more authoritarian.

    Unfortunately, in a two party system, you are bound to pick the lesser of two evils, and a vote for a third party is a vote for the incumbent.

    In b4 shitstorm of people who don't know how the system is deliberately broken.


  • Re:SCOTUS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:23PM (#41613487) Journal

    I think it's bad when either break the law. However, I consider it a lot more egregious when the government breaks the law because they are the ones who made the law and enforce it. I'm not fond of a do as I say not as I do mentality.

  • by NinjaTekNeeks ( 817385 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:39PM (#41613567)
    What the hell is wrong with the Judiciary? Why not require a warrant like any other search, because it's digital? If it REALLY is a matter of national security a judge would sign a warrant in a second. This whole thing is just horse shit so the NSA can spend billions of tax dollars spying on its OWN citizens because they have been grasping at straws in the war against terror, which frankly has accomplished jack shit in my opinion.

    Imagine if we took 100% of the NSA dollars and spent it on teachers and education, science programs, social programs like healthcare, college tuition forgiveness and urban development..... ahh to dream, guess I won't be using ATT anytime soon.
  • by Bigby ( 659157 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @07:01PM (#41613771)

    First, a vote for 3rd party is not a vote for the incumbent.
    Second, even along that line of thought, it is only a half vote for the one opposite who you would have voted for.
    Third, it is not a wasted vote when voting against the ruining of the country.

    A vote for Obama or Mitt is VERY VERY BAD for this country. Like 50 years from now people will be looking in their history books studying why people were so stupid.

  • by scot4875 ( 542869 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @07:04PM (#41613795) Homepage

    Maher is a comedian. Kind of like Jon Stewart, except with less rigorous fact-checking. Their audiences know this.

    Limbaugh is also a comedian. The difference is, neither he nor his audience know it.


  • Re:SCOTUS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @07:58PM (#41614257)

    And therein lies the problem. The US government derives its power from its people. Well, it's supposed to anyway. To quote the film entitled "V For Vendetta":

    People should not be afraid of their governments.

    Governments should be afraid of their people.

    While a radical viewpoint, it is in essence what the "founding fathers" intended in writing the Constitution of the United States of America: the government exists solely for its people, but it would not exist without their consent. The government is supposed to be limited by its people. Sadly, this has not been the case. Laws are passed that grant power to the government with too few of its people ever knowing about it until it is already done. And as long as it isn't unconstitutional, the Supreme Court technically does not need to say that it should not be passed. In other words, it works to the benefit of the government, not the benefit of its people. I love this police (NOT).

  • Re:SCOTUS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Genda ( 560240 ) < minus cat> on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:57PM (#41614655) Journal

    You sir are mistaken. You're correct in your statement that the purpose of the government is to serve "The People". Your mistake is presuming you are one of "Those People". "The People" in question have the wealth and power to pay for this government which protects their interests with incredible force and velocity. You may have at one time been one of "The People", but that time has pretty much passed and the only way I can see fit now to drag this festering dung heap back to something even vaguely resembling the intent of the founding fathers, would be to;

    1. Eliminate both offending parties and their minions.
    2. Eliminate the Federal Reserve Bank.
    3. Tell the monied interests of England and its hegemony to eat feces and die.
    4. Separate Corporation and State.
    5. Reenact Glass-Steagall.
    6. Enforce the separation of Church and State.
    7. Reconstitute government checks and balances.
    8. Prune the Executive Branch right back to the President's eyebrows.
    9. Take the profit motive out of government, and teach our children why its important that they do a hitch as a representative.
    10. Bury the military industrial complex, it is a dead end and threatens the integrity of the future of the human race.
    11. Pay whistle blowers and celebrate them as heroes.

    Sorry if I missed anything, I realize this is at best a pipe dream, but a person can dream. We are quick running out of time to take back what is rightfully ours. I'm certain y'all have your own to-do lists. I don't see this as a conservative/liberal problem. I see this as a problem between a vanishingly small plutocracy and the rest of humanity. These are not wise people and they are making knee-jerk decisions that start with culling the herd. I'm not volunteering for a species wide down sizing thanks. /p

  • Re:SCOTUS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @10:13AM (#41618955)

    Separation of church/state has always been about keeping either as an institution from controlling the other

    Exactly, if churches weren't tax-exempt, the state couldn't influence the church by threatening to remove the tax-exempt status.

    Sadly, many people take this to somehow mean that politicians can't be part of the church

    Huh, that's funny. I must have missed all those atheist candidates...

    (Also, they're facing the loss of their tax-exempt status not for preaching bigotry, but for preaching to their masses to vote for the guy that supports bigotry. Once they enter that political ring, they lose their tax-exempt status. Same goes for all non-profit [])

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.