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Senate Passes USA Freedom Act 294

schwit1 points out that the U.S. Senate has passed the USA Freedom Act by a vote of 67-32, sending it on to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. The bill removes mass metadata collection powers from the NSA, but also grants a new set of surveillance powers to replace them. Telecoms now hang on to that data, and the government can access it if they suspect the target is part of a terrorism investigation and one of the call's participants is overseas. "The second provision revived Tuesday concerns roving wiretaps. Spies may tap a terror suspect's communications without getting a renewed FISA Court warrant, even as a suspect jumps from one device to the next. The FISA Court need not be told who is being targeted when issuing a warrant. The third spy tool renewed is called "lone wolf" in spy jargon. It allows for roving wiretaps. However, the target of wiretaps does not have to be linked to a foreign power or terrorism."
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Senate Passes USA Freedom Act

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  • Meet the New Act (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @05:42PM (#49826397)

    Same as the Old Act.
    I wanna get fooled again!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Same as the Old Act.
      I wanna get fooled again!

      Now tell me again why is it that we don't need a third party in this country ?
      It's a real pity we can't drop a couple of bombs on Congress. Fucking traitors that they are.

      • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @06:41PM (#49826837)

        >Now tell me again why is it that we don't need a third party in this country ?

        Because so long as we have first-past-the-post voting rules, game theory tends to render third parties irrelevant. Example: the several "third" parties that currently *do* exist in the US, but rarely if ever win elections.

        So lets support Bernie Sander with money and time, probably the best chance we've got at weakening the strangle-hold the wealthy have on this country.

        • Re:Meet the New Act (Score:5, Informative)

          by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @06:55PM (#49826911)

          My favorite explanation for those interested to learn more about what you are talking about.

          http://www.cgpgrey.com/politic... [cgpgrey.com]

          (I post this pretty much every time the subject of third parties comes up, but I feel that it's really worth getting people to understand why we as a society can't get what we actually want despite society being built on the principles of democracy.)

        • Runoff elections are what we need.
          • by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @08:14PM (#49827277)

            Or any of the many instant-runoff or proportional representation methods. Unfortunately, as hard as the established parties will fight against limits on their wealthy gravy-train, I suspect they'll fight *much* harder against any fundamental changes to the election system they've currently captured. And considering that it would take a constitutional amendment to change the rules, I'd say it' a non-starter until we've managed to take back a measure of control over both congress and the state legislatures.

            • by dryeo ( 100693 )

              Australia has experimented with various alternate voting methods including compulsory voting, still get the authoritarian right wing types in government. Here in Canada (and the UK) where we also have first past the post elections, having more parties has also resulted in the authoritarian right wingers getting in leading to the tyranny of the minority situation.

              • by Burz ( 138833 )

                The trend probably has more to do with Rupert Murdoch being allowed to create an international, Anglophone echo chamber (and the USA being the source of the narratives) than it has with any particular form of voting. The countries that comprise the "Five Eyes" of global mass-surveillance appear to be under the influence of a common social contagion.

              • by tburkhol ( 121842 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2015 @05:47AM (#49828895)

                Australia has experimented with various alternate voting methods including compulsory voting, still get the authoritarian right wing types in government.

                People like authoritarian, protective governments. They like for someone to focus their fear on a particular movement or group. They like to think that something is being done about that threat. They know they're not doing anything wrong and will be untouched by those protective measures. Even if there is some small consequence, the security is worth it.

                These people don't speak, so you don't know they exist. They're part of the 95% of slashdot readers who have never posted a comment. They don't have strong opinions. They are good people, always ready with a smile and a wave, always ready to help a neighbor in need, and never asking for anything in return. They just want to go about their life, and a strong, protective government with visible police and pro-active defense is very comforting.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  The kind of people who are willing to trade security for liberty, correct?

                  We can still do things to lessen the damages being done.
                  1. 12 year term limit for members of Congress.
                  2. Require congressional districts to be compact. See: Iowa. Perhaps even drawn by middle school students.
                  3. The top six vote-getters of the previous presidential election automatically getting ballot access to the following. This includes independent candidates.

                  As nice as it would be to have IRV or other voting methods, I feel that s

                • Australia has experimented with various alternate voting methods including compulsory voting, still get the authoritarian right wing types in government.

                  People like authoritarian, protective governments. They like for someone to focus their fear on a particular movement or group. They like to think that something is being done about that threat. They know they're not doing anything wrong and will be untouched by those protective measures. Even if there is some small consequence, the security is worth it.

                  These people don't speak, so you don't know they exist. They're part of the 95% of slashdot readers who have never posted a comment. They don't have strong opinions. They are good people, always ready with a smile and a wave, always ready to help a neighbor in need, and never asking for anything in return. They just want to go about their life, and a strong, protective government with visible police and pro-active defense is very comforting.

                  "You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons."

                  -Blazing Saddles

      • Re:Meet the New Act (Score:5, Informative)

        by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @06:48PM (#49826877)

        I am totally, completely in favor of building up a third party to rival these two.

        Speaking of parties, here is the count:

        YEAs: 67 (D = 43, R = 23, I = 1)
        NAYs: 32 (D = 1, R = 30, I = 1)
        Not voting: 1 (R)

        Republicans were slightly more against the bill, Democrats were overwhelmingly in favor of it, and the two Independents were mostly split.

        • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

          Heh... "mostly split"... my bad, meant to edit that.

          Speaking of... can Slashdot hire someone to add an Edit feature?

          • They could, but if you edited your comment, this comment would cease to make sense. Unless I quoted you, but sometimes I'm lazy (I'm still using the older UI without the auto-quote button). I suppose showing all edit history might be a good compromise.
        • by jdavidb ( 449077 )

          I am totally, completely in favor of building up a third party to rival these two.

          Then there can be three sets of clowns pretending to have substantively different views while all favoring the expansion of government power.

          • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

            As N grows larger, controlling N parties or factions becomes more difficult.

            So, 3 parties is better than 2. If you are suggesting we not stop at 3, then I'm with you. If for some reason you are suggesting that we give up, that we might as well give all control to one party, all I can do is completely disagree.

            • There are two parties... the government and the public. It's like a match where one party wants to be told what to do and the other party is more than willing to comply.
              • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

                What's your solution then? We've tried the government truly being separate from the people. We've tried having the government made up of the people and elected by the people. What else is there?

                (Well, besides "no government at all"... because anyone who actually thinks anarchy will work smoothly without eventually standing up some type of authoritative stabilizing body is a bit too crazy for my taste.)

                • What's your solution then?

                  In the current environment, the more money you have the more access you have to influence political discussion. Money has quite effectively replaced speech. If you eliminate the role of large money "contributions" from politics, representatives will have to act in the best interest of all their constituents, not just the wealthiest, to get reelected. It's a start, anyway.

  • Shell Game (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @05:44PM (#49826413)

    Watch the Law Closely as i cover it and mix the shells up....

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @05:46PM (#49826433)

    Because most of the public's concern could have been ended with some tight language that said that under no circumstances can the NSA intelligence products or systems be used to support an ordinary criminal investigation and any such use by law enforcement constitutes a severe felony offense. Right or wrong, most of the public wouldn't care if the target was literally in the law, only those accused of espionage or terrorism. The public really lost its shit when it came out that ordinary drug dealers were being busted with NSA resources and the cops were lying their asses off to the courts.

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @05:54PM (#49826499) Journal

      The public really lost its shit when it came out that ordinary drug dealers were being busted with NSA resources and the cops were lying their asses off to the courts.

      From the polls I've seen, the public hasn't "lost its shit" yet. The majority is kind of ok with this, which is why it continues.

      See also: TSA. Last time I had to go through security, I complained about the inane procedures, and the person behind me said, "yeah, but it's keeping us safe." I ended the conversation there, didn't even try to argue.

      • From the polls I've seen, the public hasn't "lost its shit" yet. The majority is kind of ok with this, which is why it continues.

        The media regularly conducts polls to obtain feedback measuring effectiveness of their professional trolling, fear mongering and propaganda campaigns.

      • I ended the conversation there, didn't even try to argue.

        Did you at least laugh right in their face?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That statute would be the freedom version of Security Theater.

      There is no way to prevent Agents of the Executive Branch from giving tips to law enforcement. It's called the First Amendment, and it applies to everyone. You could prevent them from sending actual data files from work over, but a simple phone call saying "Mr. FBI Man, you really should get a warrant to look at this phone number for drug smuggling," or "Mr. FBI Man, this guy is talking to some terrorists" cannot be prevented by statute. It's sim

  • huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @05:46PM (#49826439)

    "The FISA Court need not be told who is being targeted when issuing a warrant."

    why the fuck not!

  • A terror suspect not linked to terrorism?

    I think they mean terrorist NGOs like ISIS that aren't "foreign powers?" Or maybe it's for general FISA Court-approved warrants with no link to terror?

  • Crack addicts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @05:56PM (#49826513) Homepage Journal

    You didn't think the government was going to give up their addiction to surveillance crack that easily, did you?

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      You know, even if they hadn't passed this I'd never be stupid enough to believe they weren't spying on me. Only an idiot would think they would stop that. That isn't what pisses me off though. What infuriates me is the fucking cocksucking slut bastards called it the USA Freedom Act. Of all the unmitigated gall! I hope the ass-eaters catch a disease that rots their crotches and grows their assholes shut. Freedom Act my hairy ass. That's like the "People's" Republic of China they seek to emulate.

    • You didn't think the government was going to give up their addiction to surveillance crack that easily, did you?

      Well, you could always turn the crackpipe around on them and let them burn their lips. The equipment is available to anyone. Used/refurbished, even.

      http://www.testequipmentdepot.... [testequipmentdepot.com]

      Stream the data realtime to storage in a non-Five-Eyes nation. Maybe Ecuador? They are not too happy with the US/Airstrip One about now.

      Strat

  • Move along citizen, freedom service has now been restored, no need to sign or even see the EULA.

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @06:06PM (#49826597)

    ... it's the goddam Freedom Act.

    It's like calling it the "Save The Little Kitty Cats Act."

    • by jd2112 ( 1535857 )

      ... it's the goddam Freedom Act.

      It's like calling it the "Save The Little Kitty Cats Act."

      The Terrorists envy our freedom so this law takes what remains and holds it for safekeeping.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      I think the name is doubleplus good. I mean, we have always been at war with terrorism/drugs/childporn. And don't forget:
      War is Peace
      Freedom is Slavery
      Ignorance is Strength

    • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 )

      It gives the NSA the freedom to violate the constitution and do whatever the fuck they want.

  • Now maybe people will actually bother using their email encryption and secure VoIP services and anonymized Tor routers and all of that fun stuff now that you KNOW that they're tracking you. Even moreso now that the telecom companies are in charge of collecting your data, since I trust them less than the NSA.

    • No matter how bad the things the NSA and its lackies do inside the national borders, the worse stuff happens elsewhere.

      How do you think they keep their hands clean? Egypt and even Syria have been client states for rendering prisoners for torture methods the CIA didn't stoop to. Raw recorded phone conversations between US citizens have been handed over to Mossad. They use different governments and nations as shells in their game, and ultimately, place on the hierarchy of power and fear, from bottom to top

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @06:11PM (#49826627)

    If our Congressmen had been in the Bundestag in the 1930s, they would have passed something like the "Freedom for Jews Act".

  • ...they just passed the cost of retaining all that metadata to the telcos. I pity the telcos.

    • I think this is a misconception a lot of people have about the metadata collection programs. I read an article this morning that said the phone companies are and have been keeping metadata saved for 18 months, after which the data is (supposedly) deleted and overwritten. They're not paying any extra costs to do this, other than perhaps having to hire a few more compliance personnel to ensure that they're meeting the standards of the Freedom Act.

      • The metadata (both numbers, start date/time, duration) is basically what is on a phone bill. Yeah, phone companies have always hung on to that for a while.
    • by zlives ( 2009072 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @06:25PM (#49826747)

      yeah cause telco's won't enjoy passing the "service fee" downwards to poor shlubs that think they are the customers.

      • Oh, it gets better.

        Too many forget we've been down this particular road before, and it ended with congress granting immunity to telecos for illegally supplying data without a warrant and woe be onto you if you question it like Quest.

        That was the start of Obama's campaign, which he voted for immunity. Hilary as I recall voted against.

        And now we're here, with everyone's data an open target.

    • ...they just passed the cost of retaining all that metadata to the telcos. I pity the telcos.

      The telcos have *always* done this. Phone number making the call, phone number being called, date/time call made, duration of call ... sound familiar? That's the info on your phone bill. The phone companies have always hung on to this metadata for well over a year.

      The *only* thing new was providing the government direct unrestricted access to this billing data so that the government could build an association graph of phone numbers.

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @06:22PM (#49826713)

    "The bill removes mass metadata collection powers from the NSA"

    Unanimous 2nd circuit decision says no, original authors of the patriot act say no. Yet media completely ignores the issue and assumes without question patriot act authorized any such thing to begin with.

    Third party doctrine predates the patriot act and Hayden goes around publically gloating Article II powers stemming from Bush era AUMF is the source of his authority.

    Even if patriot act were left to expire wholesale without "USA Freedom Act" resurrection those against this FUD powered insanity were never even in the game.

    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      and he has a document from the White House Council to prove its legitimacy. badges... we don't need no stinkin badges... or laws or authority when righteousness is on our side

  • So... they changed the name? Good, bad, rich, poor, black, white, there just aren't any horses to pull for in this race. As George Carlin said, I am just a spectator in this parade of bullshit. My greatest hopes/fears now hinge on this same sort of BS being shoved into every other corner of the world.

  • Out of scope? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @06:35PM (#49826799)

    the target of wiretaps does not have to be linked to a foreign power or terrorism.

    I thought the point of the NSA was that they were meant to protect domestic communications from external threats. If the target is not linked to external threats, how can it be justified?

    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      God wills it

    • Re:Out of scope? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2015 @04:19AM (#49828643)

      the target of wiretaps does not have to be linked to a foreign power or terrorism.

      I thought the point of the NSA was that they were meant to protect domestic communications from external threats. If the target is not linked to external threats, how can it be justified?

      It doesn't have to be justified. That's the whole point of the Patriot Act and USA Freedom Act. If it were justified, that means they had probable cause and could get a normal warrant and wouldn't need the USA Freedom Act.

  • by Yoik ( 955095 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @06:57PM (#49826919) Journal

    This will be a financial boon to the telecom industry. The black budgets are going to have to come up with money to pay for the storage and retrieval by the telcos. I expect this to be quite profitable for them. There are also going to be some nice contracts for redesigning the systems now that the stakeholders have changed.

    • This will be a financial boon to the telecom industry. The black budgets are going to have to come up with money to pay for the storage and retrieval by the telcos. I expect this to be quite profitable for them. There are also going to be some nice contracts for redesigning the systems now that the stakeholders have changed.

      No. There is nothing new here at all with respect to phone company infrastructure or practices. The metadata is basically what is on your phone bill. The phone companies have always hung on to this data for years. The only new thing that happened was granting the government direct unrestricted access to this data.

  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @07:51PM (#49827177) Homepage Journal

    Team America: World Police.

    Seriously, though, we all know (or those of us with CT experience), that the only programs that have worked are those in the Middle East and nearby countries. Spying on Americans in America has proved very worthless. Traditional police investigations using targetted individual warrants and traditional police interrogation (not torture) have resulted in all the successes to date.

    We need to stop wasting time on promoting Fear to justify wasting taxes on unneeded spying and focus on the true threats, which are not here.

    That said, expect numerous false flag media reports over the next few weeks in a vain attempt to prove we should all live in Fear.

  • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @08:32PM (#49827337)
    Instead of making the names of our laws acronyms, we make the texts of the laws into rap lyrics. That should make everyone realize how important and official they are.
  • by Wild_dog! ( 98536 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @09:28PM (#49827547)

    Nice to force companies to have to spend more money spontaneously to hang on to this data.
    Nice clandestine tax on an entire industry.

  • Rand Paul seems like the best option. Too bad the presidential race is an American Idol contest.

    This is why it needs to be mandatory for all congress people who vote for 'insert bill', how much money was donated by who/what causes... there to be publicly displayed... oh wait there will never be a law for that because it conflicts with their interests.

  • by randalware ( 720317 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @10:32PM (#49827757) Journal

    Now the phone companies can (outragously over) charge the NSA for handling it's customer tracking information service requests.
    And bill for the increase in consultant manpower to handle the new processes.
    Using a surplus government data center in Utah for cheap.

    Wait until the consultants & employees start spying on their wives, husbands, girlfriends, boy friends, coworkers, ex's of all types, children, and any competetion.

    Not just 1984, but totally global corporate warfare !

    Wouldn't you like to play a nice game of chess ?

  • It has to be good.

  • Whoever came up with that title had read 1984 [goodreads.com]
    • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 )

      Whoever came up with that title had read 1984 [goodreads.com]

      Yep, it does appear that 1984 is the manual they're using. That's what that book was for, right? A manual for the government to use?

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