You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Patriot Act’ category.
You may have awakened this morning to news that the bill to curb the NSA failed to win its filibuster margin of 60 and proceed forward…
Do not be dissuaded. This is probably a good thing. It was watered down considerably to get enough Republican votes to pass.
The good news, is that without renewal, in the next Republican Congress, it will expire if nothing is done to re-pass it. And everyone knows, it is far easier for Republicans to vote “no” against weakening our defense against terrorism, than it is to vote “yes” to putting every American’s deepest private thoughts and spoken words on speaker phone.
The parts of the reauthorized Patriot Act which were interpreted to allow for the mass surveillance revealed by Snowden last year, expire midnight of June 1st of next year, if no action to reauthorize them is taken….
Had this bill been passed last night, they would have remained intact far longer. As it is, next Spring there will not be enough votes in the House or Senate to pass a new Patriot Act based on the shake up that occurred in both houses this past election.
The document in question was an 86-page opinion the FISA court had issued on October 3, 2011.
In it the FISA court states that the action requested by the NSA was unconstitutional. The FISA court was of the opinion this information needed to be disseminated to the public.
The Justice Department was due to file a court motion in June in its effort to keep secret an 86-page court opinion that determined that the government had violated the spirit of federal surveillance laws and engaged in unconstitutional spying.
So in a nutshell, we have the NSA committing an unconstitutional action. We have the secret Federal court which incidentally only hears the NSA’s side of the argument, decide such action was NOT under the scope of the law, and was actually unconstitutional. The court felt the public should know about this Constitutional violation, apparently because even they were shocked at its danger for democracy.
The Justice Department then filed suit to block the dissemination of knowledge to the American people, that the secret FISA court had determined that the NSA was going over and beyond its powers invested by the Fourth Amendment, and that it is therefore acting unconstitutionally.
So when our government does something unconstitutional and covers it up… what do we do?
Ironically, in East Germany, we have more privacy rights today than in the United States of America.
Where did we go wrong? It’s all Patrick Leahy’s fault. He got soft after standing up to the Joker in The Dark Knight and so now he isn’t standing up for Americans. Guess he figured he’s done his share.
The Daily Kos puts together a great list. This was the first time I’d seen everything on one page, some of which I’d missed over the weekend, and it deserves wide spread viewer ship. Some excerpts:
1. The NSA lost a huge court battle, and was found to be acting unconstitutionally by the Secret FISA Court. The Obama administration is keeping this judgement secret, even though the secret court said, secretly, that it should be public and produced to all America. Even Congress has been denied the secret decision from the secret court, keeping this judgment secret about how the secretive NSA violated your and my rights…
2. The NSA not only gathers and keeps data on your web and emails, it also tracks every single phone call of every single American.
3. The Obama mistreatment of whistleblowers far exceeds anything that the Cheney Bush administration ever did. Snowden’s fear of returning to this country doesn’t seem all that farfetched, given how Bradley Manning was tortured.
4. The Obama administration continues to lie to the American public, insisting that congress is fully informed about FISA and the NSA, despite every congressman and senator who answers the question, denies that they are getting any information from them.
5. Cloud computing providers report that their international business is crashing. Various bar associations must examine whether lawyers can even use cloud computing for their offices, because of the great probability that their data is being access and scrutinized by the feds – which causes every cloud computing attorney to be violating their oath to keep the attorney client privilege intact.
6. Those intimately involved with FISA, repeatedly allege that daily, constant, and comprehensive domestic spying on 320,000,000 Americans has resulted in absolutely no actionable data that could catch terrorists or prevent terrorism.
7. Remember the original Patriot Act Color Coded Threat Alert? It took 8 months, but even conservative critics began to notice that any rise on color assessment board (which looked like it was designed by a TV game show producer) had nothing to do with actual, viable threats, but rather, it was raised anytime and every time that the Cheney Bush Administration faced a potential political nightmare.
And so today… Sunday August 4th, Embassy closings galore in every Muslim country.
Hmmmm. (I bet the absence of any attempt will be touted as being the result of secret phone tappings by the NSA that were disallowed by the FISA court but were done anyways… ) Let’s see how the spin comes out on Monday.
Silicon Valley’s role in US government surveillance has triggered public anxiety about the internet, but it turns out there is at least one tech company you can trust with your data.
Xmission, Utah’s first independent and oldest internet service provider, has spent the past 15 years resolutely shielding customers’ privacy from government snoops in a way that larger rivals appear to have not.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation called it a model for the industry….
And speaking of the EFF, yesterday a Federal judge allows the case Jewel Vrs NSA to go forward into a real court. There is nothing secret about the Constitution the judge said. Either this practice is legal or it isn’t. A court will decided.
Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA. The case is supported by declarations from three NSA whistleblowers along with a mountain of other evidence. The recent blockbuster revelations about the extent of the NSA spying on telecommunications and Internet activities also bolster EFF’s case.
It appears Edward Snowden tipped the balance. This has been held up 5 years because it supposedly was too secret for trial.
It is clearer now that the biggest benefactors for the NSA spying were commercial enterprises. The Obama administration went along with the Bush plan and accelerated it, primarily to give American companies a heads up, and keep jobs here. It worked too.
One can’t argue with success. But one can find how American businesses were co-opted to assist the NSA. From the Guardian, the following, allegedly from Snowden himself.
• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;
• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;
• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;
• Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;
• In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;
• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.
it is revealing that the beneficiaries of the Patriot Act and probably one of the reasons it has been intact long after terrorism faded offshore, are the exact same who are suing each other left and right, using the anti-piracy laws as their barrage. It appears that laws are not for people anymore; they are for corporations. It is corporations who want the US to fund listening posts for every American word and sentence.
The only way to fix that, is to divide the corporations Teddy-Roosevelt-style, thereby giving We, the People a little more clout. …
It is time to fight back.
Predatory lawsuits are the next thing corporate America is trying.
You get a call from a lawyer that says you were looking at copyrighted porno on the internet, and you didn’t pay for it.. someway, somehow.
You will be taken to court and it will cost you $10,000 in damages as well as $6-7000 in court costs… However…(there is always a however) if you pay to this lawyer who is calling you right now, a fee of $2,000, he will make this whole thing disappear; he knowing that you have learned your lesson, will no longer partake of illegal activity….
This lawyer is counting on these three things…..
One, the threat of an award of statutory damages and attorney fees
Two, that the plaintiff has no knowledge of their lawful rights.
Three, that the stigma of porn will cause the plaintiffs to settle.
Basically the corporation uses the discovery process to gather IP addresses and then shake down those people behind those addresses.
Incidentally, the court where the discovery takes place, often has no jurisdiction over where the recipient lives…
In an exact case, AH Holdings LLC, filed discovery in Washington DC, and received over a 1000 IP’s… They could have easily paid a service to track down the IP’s for them. But, that would have cost tremendous amounts of court costs to go after 1000 individuals wherever they supposedly committed the crime of watching free porn.
Instead, armed with the IP information(only 28 lived in the jurisdiction filed), their legal arm began to extort those recipients, even though they did not have the jurisdictional authority to do so..
How do we fix this problem long term?
We make the internet a copyright free zone… No lawsuits over copyright infringement if the product is digital in nature…..
The legality comes down to this question. Is the internet a business or is it free speech?
If we decide it should be corporate, then let’s regulate it. But if as a people, we decide it is free speech, then hand off… For over 136 years Americans have used the telephone… We paid our phone bill and what we said over the phone was ours, it was free… If we wanted to spoil the ending of the new upcoming Batman movie, ..”Dad, you gotta see it, here is what happens…” we did not have a lawyer extorting us with attorney’s fees for telling copyrighted information…
I don’t know about you, but…. today all we do is communicate with digital information. We send links, we copy and paste, we click here, we click there, we like, we comment, we post, we twitter, we facebook, we take pictures of the advertisements on Time Square and send to all our friends…
That is what we do….
Voice is no longer our prime means of communication. We have evolved… It is time our laws catch up to the reality of our world.
Everything on the internet needs to be free… Period… Make your damn money elsewhere…..
End of Argument.
ADDENDUM: Elect no political legislator who does not subscribe to a totally free internet.
They didn’t know they were saying it. But if you take the numbers given, 50 million daily users… Total of 1 billion registered….
50 million divided by 7 billion (earth’s population) means 0.7% of the worlds population used MegaUpLoad on a daily basis. This population total includes those with no computer access, such as the rural Chinese, Indonesian peasants, and unknown Indians in the Amazon Rain Forest….
7 out of every 1000 people on this planet who used MegaUpLoad on a daily basis, is a rather large number if you think of it…
Estimates from major servers put around 500 million the number of computers on this planet… that means there were twice more users signed up at MegaUpLoad than there are computers active on the planet. 50 million daily users means one in ten computers on the planet, were involved with the server MegaUpLoad…..
Federal Prosecutors have said they are done with the data they needed. They have turned over the property rights of the items on the servers to those servers contracted to MegaUpLoad to store the information. Since MegaUpLoad’s assets are frozen, the servers will begin deleting the information on Groundhog Day, February 2nd.
Within that deletion will be 0.00002% of those files that may be pirated. Also deleted, will be files by small businesses, job related data people stored at work, digital family pictures stored for safe keeping…
You see, when you have a server with free storage, a lot of people who access the Internet only through the means of a shared computer, … have a need for it.
If piracy is such a “huge” issue, then one would think more than 10 people or 0.00002% of its users, would be arrested… Those 10 who have charges filed against them, and who no doubt will be found innocent when given the chance to a trial before an impartial jury…., aren’t really much of a threat at all.
The 99.99998% of the rest of its users, who are about to have their life’s history erased , deserve to be a little miffed..
Unfortunately, to completely put this into proper perspective … out of the 100% of those who crashed the world’s economy back in 2008…. the heads of Goldman-Sachs, J.P. Morgan, AIG, Bank of America, and other players on Wall Street … 0% have been arrested and charged…
Apparently, destroying the world’s pension funds, bankrupting whole countries, dissolving entire banking empires, all on false information which you knew beforehand to be untrue, is far less a crime than not paying .89 cents for a song you got off of YouTube for free….
The world is a little topsy-turvey, don’t you think?