Congress passes anti-mass surveillance amendment with overwhelming support

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Correction, the House passed an amendment. They still need to pass the amended bill. As does the Senate. And the Senate needs to pass it without removing the amendment’s language. Start, and continue to call the Senate, otherwise this is meaningless.


What good does any privacy law do when the courts allow bullshit like paralell construction, using foreign intelligence collection agencies, and other wink and nod chainsawing down of the fruit of the poisoned tree philosophy.
The judicial branch has fallen down on its job to restrain the executive and legislature, I blame the university and law school faculty for producing a system populated by lawyers and judges apparently only willing to be activist when it is overcharging or over sentencing cash poor defendants when it creates publicity for reelection campaigns.
There is hope though, the legal system United States is philosophically able to support radical absloutist civil rights, unfortunately it requires brave judges willing to be unpopular to both Faux Nooz conservatives and soft core establishment liberals.


They can amend all they like, it’s not like the NSA gives a stuff about the law.


It’s a pretty big step in the right direction, but the battle sure isn’t over. The Defense Appropriations Bill is pretty much must-pass, and we no longer have Lieberman fighting against freedom. Maybe there’s hope?


You realize that even if this bill gets signed into law with the amendment, the NSA will ignore it and keep doing the same stuff anyway, right?


If it gets all the way through will it mean the businesses that shuttered rather than rat-out their customers get a chance to open again? Will they be compensated for the downtime?

I’m sure the NSA is willing to be criminal, but this still isn’t entirely useless. This restricts what the NSA can ask of organizations that are not the NSA and that are not necessarily cooperative. Over the last year we’ve seen a couple of services very publicly shut down as their only alternative to cooperating, I’m sure these organizations would have been willing to, instead, say publicly, “The NSA asked us to make security backdoors which is a violation of the law.”

This seems like a good step to me.


The amendment would block the NSA from using any of its funding from this Defense Appropriations Bill…

I wonder if they’ll use the old Reaganista tactic of finding other sources of funding for such activities?


NSA will just lie when asked, as they have been doing all along.

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Yes, and you’ll have a tough time proving anything since everything is classified, so judges won’t release it.

My thoughts exactly. Instead of prohibiting the activity, this amendment only seeks to prevent funds from the Defense Appropriations Bill from being used for that purpose.

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Wow, how sad. You know your laws are completely useless when you have to make laws that prevent things that happen by the federal government that are already extremely illegal according to the basic law of the nation that protects any sovereign.

Maybe everyone who wants to fight the corruption of the NSA just read the 4th amendment?

F’ing ridiculous.


I absolutely get the cynicism, especially as it applies to anything the NSA does, but dammit, we have to start somewhere!

This notion that the NSA is simply going to go around any and every law that Congress passes is defeatist and counters the notion that we can ever have any improvement of our current situation.

The law isn’t even technically passed yet, and we’re already declaring it will do no good? WTF!?

The responses below seem like a more rational approach, IMO.

I don’t trust the NSA or Congress, but I’m not yet prepared to give up the notion of the rule of law.


No villain was ever defeated by sneering at them and acting superior.


Iran always needs arms!

Well, Obama’s track record on complying with the will of Congress is deplorable. I’m sure a Finding, Executive Order, or just a clandestine directive will neutralize this nicely. His administration has continued the Bush era abuses at an even higher level…

We need the Patriot Act eradicated, but I will hope for baby steps…


I absolutely agree that this is a step in the right direction. I just believe that the NSA will creatively interpret laws, or bypass them completely, to continue business as usual. Spy agencies have a history of thumbing their noses at laws and lawmakers, and in recent years their end-runs around the Constitution have gotten quite bold. I’m also skeptical of the motives of the lawmakers; what percentage of Congressional voters had good intentions, and what percentage voted “aye” just to make themselves look good, all the while believing that the law would be ineffective.

Change has to start somewhere, but I’m not betting the rent money on THIS change, just yet.

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Why make a step when you have a foundation called the 4th?

You wonder why the 2nd is was written? Not for hunting, I promise you that.

And got those that would like to reply suggesting that a sovereign only has a pea shooter or any BS like that, let me point out a fact; there are more arms in the hands of human beings in America times 25 than the military. It has always been that way. Those Evil law makers and liars are scared.

Why do you think the peace forces have gone through heavy militarization?

Then Obummer signed his little bill that allows him or any president to decree using the military on top of the peace forces in case of civil unrest.

My friends your being herded into a very tight room with shit for food, abusive resource management, and no respect for your dignity.

Not necessarily. We just need to give the law in question some REALLY BIG TEETH so that there is a strong penalty for doing the behavior in question, and combine that with a secondary law that minimizes the ability of using ‘it’s classified’ as a shield to prevent embarrassment/public outrage [as opposed to keeping the really important stuff secret]. Then when the law is circumvented, it can be effectively used as a club rather than just a barrier.