#1 By: Cory Doctorow, July 7th, 2013 15:09
America's 11-judge Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has made more than a dozen classified rulings that vastly expanded the powers of America's spy agencies, operating under an obscure legal doctrine called "special needs." Under this doctrine, established in 1989 in a Supreme Court case over drug testing railway workers, a "minimal intrusion on privacy" is… READ THE REST
#2 By: awjt, July 7th, 2013 15:23
FISC can never be corrected by the real Supreme Court. No case involving it could be brought by a private citizen in regular court, to run it up the chain to the US Supremes. Congress could re-arrange it, but how likely is it that they will when they have a mechanism to end-run the Supreme Court? How would that happen unless a large group of Congresscritters brought it to a vote. And no executive branch can stop it, since it's Congress who made it exist. It's basically Congress doing what it wants to the people. The only way to stop it is to vote out the people in Congress who believe in spying on the population, and get new people to de-fund these programs.
#3 By: Jeremy Erwin, July 7th, 2013 15:42
Are you sure it's Congress? I don't think Congress cares, and pretty much lets the executive do what it wants. Later on, of course, we'll learn that the NSA is given free reign by the White House.
#4 By: awjt, July 7th, 2013 15:57
Executive is supposed to manage it, but Congress funds it and created it. I don't think Executive could scale it back much, except through a budgetary maneuver. But I'd love to hear other opinions.
For example, could the Executive scale back the FBI? I fail to see how. Once the funds have been appropriated, the train has left the station for that year. Those people hired, those investigations in full swing. Could the Executive step in and say, "No, don't investigate that."? I don't think they can. I think it's just the same with the NSA.
Again, other opinions, please.
#5 By: Brendan Bartlett, July 7th, 2013 16:54
Plus once a pool of metadata exists how big of a step is it for law enforcement to have someone peek into it (bypassing any auditing, naturally) just so that they could rule someone out before pursuing a warrant? (Not very, IMHO)
This pool would never be left as just raw data but would be organized and indexed so that it would be easier for authorized law enforcement to query it. That takes DBAs writing queries/code just to manage it which means lots of "test queries". When you organize a bunch of raw data you run across unanticipated trends which you naturally explore further and ask the users if this is data they would find useful.
Nobody would just let this data sit on a shelf...
#6 By: Eric Ferguson III, July 7th, 2013 17:22
I think that THIS news item points out some of the same problems. Once the data has been collected, SOMEONE will misuse it. http://news.yahoo.com/nyc-cases-show-crooked-cops-abuse-fbi-database-162152158.html
#7 By: Eark the Bunny, July 7th, 2013 20:49
How many of us really thought that the government was NOT listening all this time? This just confirms what most of us knew already.
#8 By: Michael, July 7th, 2013 21:58
"We have been blessed with the NSA being out under the microscope YET AGAIN, and people still insist on letting the MSM distract them like they did in 2006.
Perhaps, if the general public were decently educated, they would know the danger of these programs. (It's not just about "I'm ok with it because I have nothing to hide.") The information that they collect, however unimportant it may seem to you, is "gold." They can take your metadata (calls/texts/websites visited/ads clicked/ emails/purchases etc,) feed it through various algorithms, and create a profile of you.
This profile is the essence of your very being. It would tell what kind of person you are, what kinds of marketing strategies would get you to buy certain goods, how likely you are to disagree with federal decisions, etc - this kind of surveillance turns the 1% into the 0.001%. (I won't even get into how these statistics can be compiled into demographics.)" -Candid Centrist
I pulled this from a thread on HP and feel it just hints at the amount of power that will be concentrated within the hands of humans who have shown an inability to me motivated by anything other than self-interest. Unsettling as this may seem, this is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. These primates have 0 accountability. What will keep them from blackmail, stock market tinkering etc?
Say hello to the new .00001%.
#9 By: Donovan Acree, July 8th, 2013 09:28
The naivety of people never ceases to amaze me. These domestic spying operations are a clear and immediate threat to freedom.
If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of
men, I will find something in them which will hang him.
Cardinal Richelieu 1585 - 1642
#10 By: Brendan Bartlett, July 8th, 2013 13:17
Plus this story is about somebody being caught using the auditing controls within this FBI database's application. In other words he was caught because he used access that was auditable.
Imagine how many instances of unauthorized/unaudited entry there have been.
In my experience software vendors make a big deal about auditing user access to a system then they leave the back-end systems with giant gaping security holes allowing anyone with minimal knowledge to do as they wish.
#11 By: Cory Doctorow, July 12th, 2013 15:09
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