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That Was Fast: Leahy Drops Warrantless E-mail Surveillance Bill 107

Presto Vivace writes "Under the right conditions, online activism can be very effective. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has already abandoned his warrantless e-mail surveillance bill we discussed this morning. 'The Vermont Democrat said today on Twitter that he would "not support such an exception" for warrantless access. ... A vote on the proposal in the Senate Judiciary committee, which Leahy chairs, is scheduled for next Thursday. The amendments were due to be glued onto a substitute (PDF) to H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved. Leahy's about-face comes in response to a deluge of criticism today, including the ACLU saying that warrants should be required, and the conservative group FreedomWorks launching a petition to Congress -- with over 2,300 messages sent so far -- titled: "Tell Congress: Stay Out of My Email!""
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That Was Fast: Leahy Drops Warrantless E-mail Surveillance Bill

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  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @05:50PM (#42047213)
    Translation, "I thought nobody would notice."
  • by hawks5999 ( 588198 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @05:53PM (#42047269)
    Whenever this stuff can't get through Congress it just ends up in a Friday night EO dump. Is this one important enough for Black Friday? We'll know by Monday.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @06:10PM (#42047533) Journal

    No problem! We can just simplify the process by setting up a large number of so called "certificate authorities", who we will trust implicitly and pay yearly fees for little chunks of math! Nothing could possibly go wrong, and we can have a comforting little padlock symbol for noobs...

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @06:18PM (#42047655) Homepage Journal

    The people didn't like it, he changed his stance.

    It's how it's suppose to work.
    I know,it doesn't fit into your lazy ass whiny spoon fed view point.
    But there you are.

  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @06:26PM (#42047777) Homepage Journal

    When the ACLU and a conservative group are loudly on the same side of something, you know whatever it is is bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @06:29PM (#42047821)

    The fact that he even considered it in the first place is disturbing on its own.

  • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @06:41PM (#42047981)
    No, Leahy's stance should never have been pro anything that erodes 4th Amendment protections. Our elected representatives are supposed to protect our rights, not sell them away. This is further proof positive that we need a third party. Both Democrats and Republicans want increasing control over us.
  • by klingers48 ( 968406 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @06:42PM (#42047987)
    This is the key point. They will try again when the heat dies down. Spooks and ignorant senators/congressmen can't actually divorce themselves from the mentality of the intelligence community and really understand where most of the pushback is coming from. It's never been about having something to hide or not... It's a community of informed IT enthusiasts who embrace the technology to a point where it becomes a feeling of violation when their digital privacy is threatened.

    I'm not a behavioral scientist or a psychologist, and this might even be wrong, but I'm sure I've read before that our brain remaps our "personal space bubble" when we drive a car. I also believe that (beyond the obvious) reasons why we get angry at telemarketers/doorknockers, wear clothes, put locks on our doors and curtains on our windows is because we have a deep-down, hard-wired intellectual personal space that has evolved alongside our physical personal space.

    Problem is, every unsolicited knock on the door, phone ring from a stranger or person peeking through the curtains rankles us in our lizard brain because an external force is attempting to wrest some control of our intellectual personal space. It's no different to a perfect stranger standing two inches from our face. It's wrong. Our lower brain connected to our higher brain sees "THREAT!!"

    We feel the same way when the government pries into our communications, movements or histories. It's not about being ashamed of anything or having "something to hide", it's about a feeling of an exterior force violating our intellectual idea of personal space. We are being denied the control we desire over what we show the world. That is in my opinion the core issue governments will never be able to understand. That's the answer to the inevitable "Why are they protesting?" question.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @07:12PM (#42048431)

    Not really. ACLU shares many same beliefs as libertarians. So more correctly, when they do line up on the same side you know its a government versus privacy issue. In this particular case, I think they are correct. But I'll reserve my judgment for their future endorsements, as they both are kind of bizare at times.

  • by Score Whore ( 32328 ) on Tuesday November 20, 2012 @07:28PM (#42048657)

    It does if you'd bother to look at the fingerprint and verify it's the same as last time. Which the browsers should do, but they don't because it cuts into their CA root key inclusion fees.

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