Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
The Courts Privacy The Internet Wikipedia

Judge Tosses Wikimedia's Anti-NSA Lawsuit Because Wikipedia Isn't Big Enough (arstechnica.com) 213

An anonymous reader writes: A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Wikimedia Foundation, Amnesty International, and others against the NSA and other U.S. intelligence agencies for their surveillance of internet communications. The judge used some odd reasoning in his ruling to absolve the NSA of any constitutional violations. He said that since the plaintiffs couldn't prove that all upstream internet communications were monitored, they didn't have standing to challenge whatever communications were monitored. This is curious, given that tech companies are known to be under gag orders preventing them from discussing certain types of government data collection. The judge also made a strange argument about Wikipedia's size: "For one thing, plaintiffs insist that Wikipedia's over one trillion annual Internet communications is significant in volume. But plaintiffs provide no context for assessing the significance of this figure. One trillion is plainly a large number, but size is always relative. For example, one trillion dollars are of enormous value, whereas one trillion grains of sand are but a small patch of beach."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Judge Tosses Wikimedia's Anti-NSA Lawsuit Because Wikipedia Isn't Big Enough

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, forget the courts. They're completely in the pockets of the politicians and Big Money. Lois Lerner just got off Scot free, and I'm willing to bet money that Clinton will as well. If you want justice in this day and age and you aren't a 1%'er, you'd better dish it out yourself or organize with others, because that's the only way it's going to happen.

    In the meantime, encrypt everything you possibly can. Destroy any data you no longer need. Don't keep logs on anything any longer than YOU need to. Ma

    • by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Saturday October 24, 2015 @06:10PM (#50794889)

      Why didnt slashdot post the judges name?

      They should help publicize the name of this traitor.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 24, 2015 @06:45PM (#50795055)

        US District Judge Richard D Bennet

        It is the second link of the article.

        He is both a sellout and a traitor with this ruling.

        I really hope that later we hear some really dirty shit about him that costs them man everything released from the same channels he just sold us all out to defend.
        Also hope the absurdity of his judgment can be overturned.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Nonsense. If you're going to go that route, slightly alter any data you don't need any more, and THEN encrypt it. When you do the alteration, keep in mind that you don't want it to make you look bad. You should also occasionally encrypt /dev/random for a minute or so. (Don't encrypt /dev/urandom, because you don't want to use up your entropy.)

  • Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RevDisk ( 740008 ) on Saturday October 24, 2015 @06:11PM (#50794895) Journal
    My guess is for whatever reason, the judge did not want to rule against the NSA. So just used whatever barely coherent reason seemed remotely plausible.

    As a federal judge, you're not going to ever get in trouble for protecting the NSA regardless of the gaping holes in your ruling.
    • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Saturday October 24, 2015 @06:14PM (#50794913)
      Either that, or the lawsuit had no merit.
      • Lawsuit may have merits, but that doesn't may the lawyers will have anything to present. Regardless of what law is broken, there needs to be presented some kind of evidence. Otherwise you could open lawsuits to start investigations.

      • No, I don't think that's it. If the suit actually had no merit, the judge could easily have said so and explained why. This looks more like the judge had decided to throw out the suit and was looking for a plausible excuse. It's going to be interesting to see what the Appellate Court has to say about it.
        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          Well, I suspect the Appellate Court will say, "Pound sand."

          It will probably be couched as something like, "The plaintiffs in this case have failed to demonstrate standing." The case will be dismissed with prejudice. A booming voice for the heavens will play, and it will be licensed from Microsoft - "tada.wav."

      • If the lawsuit was badly written, this ruling makes a lot more sense and becomes rather inevitable. If you were filing on behalf of everybody then the judge is perfectly correct--and this is a mistake on the part of the lawyers filing suit. If you are filing only on behalf of the people whom you yourselves represent--which I suspect can be done with an opening for people to join in--then the judge's reasoning for dismissing the lawsuit is flawed and probably can be appealed.

        In each direction there's an im

        • It is highly unlikely that an ACLU lawsuit is "badly written." They employ top-shelf lawyers, and pick out a small number of cases to bring. They have a good track record, too. Expect appeals.

      • Either that, or the lawsuit had no merit.

        The judge is requiring a ridiculous level of proof before allowing the lawsuit to go forward. It's like the concept of discovery didn't exist and a plaintiff would have to have all the necessary evidence before initiating a lawsuit.

        Imagine if every single individual sued the government over spying. According to this judge, every lawsuit would be thrown out because there was insufficient proof that each individual was being spied upon.

    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Saturday October 24, 2015 @06:34PM (#50794997) Homepage

      I wonder what they have on him? Probably looked at something scandalous or illegal online once, or maybe a member of his family did. Or perhaps they know he visited somewhere a federal judge shouldn't visit thanks to phone metadata.

    • My guess is for whatever reason, the judge did not want to rule against the NSA. So just used whatever barely coherent reason seemed remotely plausible.

      As a federal judge, you're not going to ever get in trouble for protecting the NSA regardless of the gaping holes in your ruling.

      Start a doxing campaign against this judge and others who rule completely contrary to the Constitution. Dig up everything possible and make it public.

      Make sure there's a high price to pay to be a lapdog for TPTB.

      Strat

      • by RevDisk ( 740008 )
        Harassing a federal judge. Yeah, no way that'd go badly.
        • Harassing a federal judge. Yeah, no way that'd go badly.

          It's *ALREADY* "going badly" for citizens of the US!

          Posting information that's part of the public record and openly available to anyone is not illegal.

          Newsflash! If the US government keeps on this same trajectory the entire world will suffer, not just those in the US. The US has all the makings to be the most horrific and deadly tyranny the Earth has ever known.

          It's gotten to the point where the only way left for the government to "take it to the next level" is to just declare martial law and start filling

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 24, 2015 @06:33PM (#50794993)

    ...whereas the amount it takes to buy a judge is much smaller.

  • ... is only rivaled by the sophisticated thinking that goes on in the 114th United States Congress.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Lets see your argument .. look, a wookie! You failed to make your case. Next!

  • Wikipedia didn't meet the notability requirements.

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      Yip. Someone's run off with the content. Probably Willie on Wheels. (I miss his antics. Wikipedia used to be fun before they figured out security. Now it's just a bunch of mundanes with a chip on their shoulder.)

  • by jcr ( 53032 )

    Dereliction of duty.

    HIs job is to enforce the constitution, not to invent asinine excuses for letting the government violate our rights.

    -jcr

  • They made a point. It's a valid one. Wikipedia is global and this response represents a large amount of people. Respond appropriately.

  • by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) on Saturday October 24, 2015 @07:55PM (#50795319)

    One trillion connections per year is roughly the size of the traffic the Wikipedia gets. Wikipedia is one of the top ten sites [wikipedia.org] on the internet.

    Next up: Judge Bennet tosses out a case because plaintif neglected to provide context for the sky being blue or water being wet. I don't know what bugs me more, this obvious attempt to subvert justice or the lame-ass excuse used for doing so. It is insulting. It's like the judge is telling us the fix is so far in that he doesn't even have to bother to appear to make sense.

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever.

    • One trillion connections per year is roughly the size of the traffic the Wikipedia gets.

      So one trillion is a big number yes. If there are ten trillion connections that make 10%. If there are 100 trillion that make 1 percent. If there are 1 quadrillion that make 0.1%. Do you see how putting the raw number as a percentage of the whole changes the significance of the raw number?

      Wikipedia is one of the top ten sites

      So what? That doesn't mean there are not millions of other sites that collectively get much more traffic than Wikimedia. What if Wikimedia traffic is actually less than 1% of internet traffic? We don't know.

      What the judge

      • by arth1 ( 260657 )

        So one trillion is a big number yes. If there are ten trillion connections that make 10%. If there are 100 trillion that make 1 percent. If there are 1 quadrillion that make 0.1%. Do you see how putting the raw number as a percentage of the whole changes the significance of the raw number?

        No, I really don't. When it comes to rights, like the rights to be secure in one's person and communications, one is a significant number.

  • Future Shock is coming true. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    • They should do a caveman version of that movie.

      The wheel is coming, and with it, changing of the world in ways we have no idea of. Stressing cavemen and no one is able to do anything about it.

      And humans are cross-breeding plants to create suppressants - some think that these plants may take over the world, or poison us.

      Ugh, I forgot that I lasted about two chapters into that book back in the day before declaring it lawn protection fodder.

  • Disgusting. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sardaukar86 ( 850333 ) <cam@todaPOLLOCKystlc.com minus painter> on Saturday October 24, 2015 @09:01PM (#50795539) Homepage
    So this is what passes for the third box in defense of liberty these days?
  • ...before making analogies. A trillion grains of sand is about 150 regular dump trucks' worth.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Which can still be a tiny amount on a decent sized beach beach.
      Assume each truck is 10m x 10m x 10m, that's 1000m^3 per truck or 150000m^3 total.

      Now you're looking at probably 50m+ of sand from the grass/concrete/stones to the furthest most people will be swimming (I've seen some much further when the tide is out).
      The sand can easily be 1m+ deep.
      So that'd only require a 3km long beach to use up the 150 dump trucks. And that's assuming huge trucks, I'd guess 5x5x5 would be closer, meaning a 375m long beach.

  • Proving standing when one is subject to a secret procedure is akin to proving one's innocence: it may be impossible unless the guilty party steps forward and admits guilt. What the judges SHOULD do is modify the rules on determining standing, so that if it regards a secret procedure, the judge does his own discovery, and examines the classified information on his own, in order to determine if the plaintiff has standing. Judges already privately examine classified information in other contexts, so it shouldn

  • A grain of sand might be 1 mm^3, so 10^12 is 1000 m^3, or maybe 3 x 10^6 kg or 3000 tons worth. I would like to see that idiot judge move that amount, say from one end of his courtroom to another. Ideally, he would do that every working day for the rest of his time on the bench; that might teach him the value of a trillion grains of sand.

    Incidentally, 10^12 grains of sand would cover a 10 m x 1 km beach 10 cm deep - sounds like a pretty nice beach to me,

  • This sounds like an application of a de minimis principal -- arguing that the scale of Wikimedia's traffic isn't large enough to give it standing.

    I seem to remember learning this phrase in college in a political science class about some guy who sued the government to get some kind of information on defense appropriations, but was rejected because his individual contribution was so small that it essentially didn't matter.

  • Someone should ask the judge if he'd be happy to have a trillion grains of sand dropped on him.

    Assuming spherical sand grains 1mm across with a density of 2,2g/cm^2, I make that over 1,100 tonnes of sand.

  • by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @02:16PM (#50798145)
    I think the government should be guilty until proven innocent.

"I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs." - H. L. Mencken

Working...