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Privacy United States Government

Privacy Oversight Board Gives NSA Surveillance a Pass 170

An anonymous reader writes There's an independent agency within the U.S. government called the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Their job is to weigh the benefits of government actions — like stopping terrorist threats — against violations of citizens' rights that may result from those actions. As you might expect, the NSA scandal landed squarely in their laps, and they've compiled a report evaluating the surveillance methods. As the cynical among you might also expect, the Oversight Board gave the NSA a pass, saying that while their methods were "close to the line of constitutional reasonableness," they were used for good reason. In the completely non-binding 191-page report (PDF), they said, "With regard to the NSA's acquisition of 'about' communications [metadata], the Board concludes that the practice is largely an inevitable byproduct of the government's efforts to comprehensively acquire communications that are sent to or from its targets. Because of the manner in which the NSA conducts upstream collection, and the limits of its current technology, the NSA cannot completely eliminate 'about' communications from its collection without also eliminating a significant portion of the 'to/from' communications that it seeks."
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Privacy Oversight Board Gives NSA Surveillance a Pass

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  • Not surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @06:32PM (#47372559)
    "Yeah, they broke the law, but they had good reasons!" Another useless government agency.
  • Justice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @06:39PM (#47372605)

    Executive branch investigates executive branch actions and finds no wrongdoing.

  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @06:40PM (#47372609) Homepage Journal

    Not only is it in violation of the US Constitution, but also the Canadian Constitution, and the EU-US Data Treaty that the Senate affirmed, making it more Law than Laws of Congress.

    But, hey, keep up this stuff and don't be surprised when the Guillotines start working non-stop.

  • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @07:16PM (#47372769)

    right after we convict and behead the traitors, sure

    let's handle the primary needs first before getting around to secure comm

  • Re:Not surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @11:19PM (#47373769)

    Why do you think it is sudden? Congress, with the courts approval, have been infringing on Constitutional rights since the Constitution was written. They make exceptions all the time: when you can speak (no "fire" in a crowded theater); when you can assemble (Sorry "Occupy", move along... move along...); which guns you're allowed to buy (all without infringing on your right to keep & bear!); and when a warrant is required to execute you (Drone, zooooom, boom!).

    The ends justify the means in each of those cases, so it does now too, and will again in the future.

    All that shows is that we're not the 'land of the free and the home of the brave,' and never have been. Of course, things like slavery made that obvious anyway. Our government is and always was full of freedom-hating scumbags.

    Nothing is ever perfect. The US Constitution sets the standard, or the bar against which the government must constantly be measured against and corrected when government strays/errs.

    Through the history of the US, it has been both closer to that ideal and farther away, and in different areas and in different ways to different people at different times. Since government size has expanded so greatly since the 1920s, likewise so has its' power and control over ever more aspects of our lives and control of ever more US business, health, resource, & economic infrastructure. That expands the severity and scope of such bad government behavior.

    We are in yet another moment in US history where we must decide how far we allow government power to reach, how many of our choices it can eliminate/control, and how much monitoring & control over our speech and communications it can be allowed to achieve.

    Remember; If the capability exists, it will be misused regardless of any laws or oversight put in place. It's human nature, and especially human political nature.


In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle