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Surveillance Watchdog Concludes Metadata Program Is Illegal, "Should End" 138

An anonymous reader writes "Three out of five PCLOB board members are in agreement: The NSA spy programs are illegal.. Unfortunately, these lawyers are not in a position to act or make any changes, only to advise congress and the president. Could this be the start of change to come? 'According to leaked copies of a forthcoming report by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), the government's metadata collection program "lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215, implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value As a result, the board recommends that the government end the program.'" Not surprisingly, the Obama administration disagrees.
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Surveillance Watchdog Concludes Metadata Program Is Illegal, "Should End"

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  • first submission (Score:5, Informative)

    by schneidafunk ( 795759 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @02:16PM (#46048105)

    Also submitted by me 4 hours earlier... but who's keeping track :) []

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @02:23PM (#46048161) Homepage

    Those who run this will continue to say it's legal, and even if it isn't legal, it's Too Important to stop doing it.

    And then they'll just have to find more creative ways to hide that people are being charged on the basis of illegal spying -- why no your honor, this was a routine traffic stop, and his laptop fell open.

    Because, I'm pretty sure I've seen stories about how the spy agencies have been briefing law enforcement in how to cover up the involvement of the three-letter-agencies.

    So, they'll continue to break the law, and then they'll just lie about where the information came from.

    The comparisons to the Stasi get more relevant every day, and many of us are old enough to remember the old "papers please, comrade" jokes.

    Sadly, we're heading there, to the applause of some, and horror of others.

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @02:34PM (#46048251) Homepage

    Because, I'm pretty sure I've seen stories about how the spy agencies have been briefing law enforcement in how to cover up the involvement of the three-letter-agencies.

    Here's one [].

    And here's a Wikipedia starting point [].

  • by Bugler412 ( 2610815 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @02:46PM (#46048349)
    It's called "parallel construction", the three letter agency drops a clue to the more direct enforcement people about who to watch and where to look, then the direct enforcement types build a case that does not use the original evidence provided by the three letter agency. Denying you your due process rights since you cannot confront or dispute the original evidence that clued them in.
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 23, 2014 @02:52PM (#46048395)

    Surveillance Watchdog Concludes Metadata Program Is Illegal, "Should End"

    Surveillance Watchdog has no authority to determine what is legal or illegal.

  • by virtigex ( 323685 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @03:12PM (#46048665)
    Police lying about how they obtained evidence (because they obtained it illegally) is called "parallel construction". Amazingly, US law enforcement treat it as just another tool they can use, rather than a method for committing perjury and circumventing the Fourth Amendment. []
  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @03:23PM (#46048815)

    Yeah, you already know the response White House, Obama isn't agreeing with the finding. []

    Back in 2005 then Senator Obama complained about the Patriot Act, which he's now defending.

    “This is legislation that puts our own Justice Department above the law.If someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document, through the library books that you read, through the phone calls that you made, the emails that you sent, this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law. No judge will hear your plea. No jury will hear your case. This is just plain wrong.Giving law enforcement the tools that they need to investigate suspicious activities is one thing. And it’s the right thing. But doing it without any real oversight seriously jeopardizes the rights of all Americans, and the ideals America stands for.”

    So by his own statements he's jeopardizing the rights and ideals of all Americans.

  • Re:Duh (Score:5, Informative)

    by metlin ( 258108 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @04:53PM (#46050149) Journal

    It's even worse than you know.

    I posted this on another thread [], but I quote below:

    The worst travesty to date is the Supreme Court decision in Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project. It was brought to court by the Obama administration and argued by Elena Kagan says that even talking to terrorist groups for "strategies of nonviolence" can be considered advice, which should be considered material support. And they won. So, if you tried to talk a terrorist out of their terrorist acts and move to a path of peace, you would be providing material support. Heck, if you proselytized to a terrorist, you'd be treated the same way. These are executive decisions -- without review, without recourse, which is what makes them worse.

    With draconian laws like this, all you need to do is have a chat on the dietary benefits of celery with a suspected terrorist and you could get be held without charge on the grounds of "national security".

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.