Government rules it's legal for government to spy on those not in government


Assholes. The whole lot. Mike Masnick reports on the American congress' failure to not only penalize telco giants who allowed warrantless spying on American citizens, but to provide retroactive immunity for any previous crimes. A few hundred corrupt, pissloaf schemers have just made it totally legal for the government to spy on you without any oversight whatsoever.

However, under this new law, Congress has basically given the President (who ordered the wiretaps in the first place, and doesn't want these trials to go forward since they may reveal that he broke the law too) "get out of jail free" cards he can hand to each telco, saying that since he told them that the wiretaps were legal, the lawsuits no longer can proceed. Basically, this puts the President above the law, lets him avoid trials that might prove that his activities broke the law and to reward telcos who broke the law at his command.

Our Congress Has Failed Us: Gives In On Telecom Immunity [Techdirt]

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  1. So the USA is ruled by an apparrently dimwitted man who’s in power because his father was, who has just declared that he’s above the law and can do what he likes to his subjects.

    I thought the USA didn’t _like_ kings?

  2. In the past whenever a friend would tell me there’s no difference between the two major political parties, I’d go off on them about Iraq and Halliburton and blah blah blah. Yesterday I was proven wrong. They really are all the same.

  3. oh for fuck’s sake, scuse the bad language. when do we get to ride congress out on rails for treason? barring that, anyone know of a good traffic anonymizer that doesn’t suck resources? time to encrypt every last bit of traffic whether it’s a phone call to your mother or a torrent of hot pr0n.

  4. It’s not legal yet. It’s passed the House (anyone have the roll call?) but it still has to get through the Senate, and Reid, despite all his faults, has indicated he opposes this.

    There’s a lot of game left to play.

  5. Damn the Dems for caving and Damn the GOP for siding with their party over doing the right thing. I really f#$%ing hate the GOP right now…

  6. No real surprise. Dems are as powerhungry as the Reps. They already see themselves with one foot in the White house, and they want all that special presidential power that Bush has secured for himself while being in office.

    Here’s the real question: Will this change the way you behave?
    If there’s a good chance that your government is monitoring your behaviour, will this change your behaviour?
    If so, one could consider the possibility that this could be a goal onto itself. This threatning, glooming prospect of having your every digital move monitored could just be the right tool for mass behaviour manipulation your government is looking for.
    Will you still watch porn?
    Will you bash your government in a phone call or in a comment or a blog or e-mail? Would you feel completely free to fly off the handle and say anything you feel like?
    Will your thoughts be haunted by the fact that they have records of your exact behaviour from years in the past, and that you could get confronted by some stupid comment you gave when you were drunk or stoned one time 5 years ago?
    Will you still give stupid comments drunk and/or stoned?

    I wanna be free.

  7. I thought the USA didn’t _like_ kings?

    Dynastic Democracy is the new black. Pakistan? India? Argentina?

  8. For those who are curious, it was roll call 437 (link). Double check on your rep. Mine voted against, so I’ll be voting for her again next time around (Barbara Lee), but a lot of democrats voted for it.

    I’ll be glad to see the republicans go down hard this November, I’m sick of their hubris. I hold out zero hope that the democrats will save us. They are just lying, useless politicians.

  9. Thank you for the roll call link. I see that my Congressman (Mitchell, Dem, 5th District Arizona) has failed me, even though he had been opposed in earlier hearings of the FISA bills.

    His staff heard from me a day prior to the vote, as have Senators Kyl and McCain now that the Senate will vote on this.

    I urge everyone to do the same – call your Senator, and log your call on EFF’s website. Play a part in the process, please.

  10. then by definition this is no longer a country of freedom. though if they can retrospectively change the law, i doubt it will be hard to change the definition of freedom in the dictionary: “civil liberty, as opposed to subjection to an arbitrary or despotic government.”

    or at least change “as opposed to” to “in addition of”

  11. +5 for having the only Republican congressman (Johnson – IL) that voted against.

    -100000000 for this bull

  12. It’s not through the Senate yet and likely won’t be till Tuesday, CALL YOUR SENATORS!

  13. As an outsider looking in from my own little police state here in the UK, I can only watch and marvel as your once proud democracy goes the way of ours. Down an adjacent shitter.

    What the hell is wrong with us all, why are we not rising up? Why are our governments not afraid of us anymore? Because we have these conversations basically in private with like minded souls?

    Oh and I love the words asshats and jackwads. It’s the perfect pithy description for publicly hired officials who protect their own jobs by trampling roughshod over the rights and futures of those who hired them. I feel the same way about Gordon Brown. H s Scttsh ssht.

  14. I hate to be a one issue voter, but this says to me that the incumbents need a lesson in who they represent. Kick them out.

  15. My representative didn’t vote, even though he’s a Republican. He represents a redneck ultra-right county, so I think he probably forgot to come in rather than chose not to vote.

  16. Hooray, my rep (Baron Hill) voted against it, like he should. Now if only the other 293 anti-citizen, corporate-sponsored representatives had done their nominal jobs for “We, The People,” I’d be a lot happier.

  17. Letter to Mr Ron Kind (D) WI [my home state]

    I can’t even begin to elaborate how disappointed I am that you voted in favor of the H.R. 6304 FISA Amendment Act (Most specifically sections 201 and 202)
    My anger is almost preventing me from articulating at the moment. I have completely lost respect for you and will not be voting for you in the future.

    I had thought that you were above the foolishness of sacrificing civil liberties in the name of “Security Theater”. Apparently not.

    The terrorists have won. Even the once stalwart defenders of sense and reason have cowed to the bogey man of terrorism.

    After the events of September 11, 2001 our pathetic excuse for a president went on record saying “they hate us because we are a free society” and “they hate us for our freedoms”. Well apparently you have now subscribed to the fascist ideal that the people will be safe once the government has taken all of those freedoms away.

    Several years ago I sent you a letter about my complete disenchantment with the political system in the U.S. and that I began to feel as though we were sliding down the slippery slope to an unchecked and rampant plutocracy. The response I got had soothed some of that discontent. But no more. Not only have you failed to represent your constituents, you’ve proven my original assertions dead on; You are no leader, you sir are a “politician”, and that is no complement.

    Its a sad day when I agree more with Dick Armey than you. Well done Mr. Kind.

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