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back to article US secret court renews government telephone snooping

The US's surveillance court has okayed the government's continued bulk interception and collection of telephony metadata. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) announced late Friday that it had rubber stamped renewed the government's authority to collect metadata in bulk. Publication of the renewal comes after …

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Useless fucking cowards.

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Happy

Re: Don Jefe

"Useless fucking cowards." OK, just for the amusement of others, please do explain how they are either useless or cowards? If you are simply slapping those labels on them because they did not simply and unquestioningly do what you wish, then surely to have done what you thuggishly demanded would actually indeed make them both useless and cowards?

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Re: Matt

"... then surely to have done what you thuggishly demanded would actually indeed make them both useless and cowards?" Or, just possibly, it might have shown some respect for the notion of democracy - you know, that little idea that government is for the people, not the other way around?

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Unhappy

"in order to provide the public with a more thorough and balanced understanding of that program,"

In a similar vein.

"Mass flogging of staff will continue until morale improves."

"It's called ass rape, but you may not have known that. Now you do. We're going to keep doing it."

Yeah. Thanks for the information.

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Paris Hilton

Warning - about to make clichéd BB reference

Now that they are openly acknowledging that 'big brother is watching you', all we need are the FISA-approved billboard posters & TV spots, and then we can cosplay as Winston Smith for realsies.

Paris, cos she might look prettier with a rat on her face.

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Re: Warning - about to make clichéd BB reference

You will get arrested for causing "public disturbance"

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Anonymous Coward

Seems the yanks are suckers for punishment.

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America is heading down the same path Germany was on before the second world war.. only the Wall ST Untouchables will make the Nazis look tame in comparison...

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...And much of the world is following.

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Anonymous Coward

The UK is the CCTV capital of the world.

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Anonymous Coward

Secret courts + Secret laws + Secret budgets = Tyranny

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Have an upvote, but it's not exactly secret, is it? Anyone with a clue could have guessed years (if not decades) ago that every government has maintained a back door into its own national telecoms network. Now even those without a clue may have seen something about it on the news.

No, the current problem is more like: No court (oversight) + No Laws (for spooks) + Unlimited Budget = Tyranny.

Which is odd, in a country that has so many vocal opponents of Big Government. Where's Sarah Palin and her delightful Tea Party when we (quite unexpectedly, for this wishy washy liberal) really need it?

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GOP Absent?

The GOP really isn't for smaller government, they're for government that doesn't affect them.

They're all for government being in charge of vaguely religious social issues like abortion or anything to do vaginas or boobs or education or drugs but completely against any kind of government involvement in things they don't support. Things like anything to do with the poor, taxation, environment or science. They actually approve of more government to ensure things they don't approve of do not get traction.

We made a regulatory proposal chart at work once to see if policies from either party had an impact on overall size (by head count or financially) of government. They do not. Granted they were rough figures but both parties just move things around to give the appearance of growth management.

The total amount of regulation and dollars spent remained the same but the focus of regulatory pressure was moved to the wealthy and large business with the Democrats and to the poor with the GOP with the middle class crushed regardless of policies political leanings.

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Stop

Re: Ken Hagan

Whilst I want to up vote you for seeing through the melodramatic "secret court" mumbojumbo, I would have to point out that you have all yet to show any of this "tyranny" that you all insist is happening or well on the way to happening.

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FAIL

Re: Matt Bryant

Oh look, that bus has lost control and is speeding right towards me. Meh, it hasn't hit me yet so I've nothing to worry about.

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Re: Don Jefe Re: Matt Bryant

"Oh look, that bus has lost control and is speeding right towards me. Meh, it hasn't hit me yet so I've nothing to worry about." You have yet to show any bus, that it is out of control, or that you or any of the other sheeple are in its likely path.

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Anonymous Coward

"The court order for that data slurp had been due to expire on July 19, 2013. It has now been renewed, allowing the continued collection by the government of data such as a mobile user's originating and terminating telephone number, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, International Mobile station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, trunk identifier, telephone calling card numbers, and time and duration of call."

All while the FCC and FTC declare that there is nothing they can do about telemarketers. If they have the trunk information and the time stamp, then they have all they need to find where they are. If they are going to data slurp all that information, they might as well as put it good use.

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We're not supposed to know they have that information. Ssshhhh.

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Anonymous Coward

A significant shift, possibly?

Perhaps one down side of them telling us (admitting) that they have this information is that they'll now be less afraid of blowing their cover. So they'll be free to use that information for more purposes, perhaps presenting evidence in open court - at last free to say how they came by it.

Unfortunately, the mind boggles at the less legitimate uses that might also open up because of this.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A significant shift, possibly?

They would never use it in an open court. If they did, the court will toss it because it was illegally obtained thus deflate the assurances from the government what they are doing is legal. They have everything to lose and nothing to gain. They do not want their collection practices put to the legal test.

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On a lighter note:

http://xkcd.com/525/

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So the secret court that approved the mass warrants is now approving them using the mass warrants. So basically the court is approving their own decision. Now who is appointed to oversee the secret court?

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Let's be honest

The majority of people in the world are clueless. They have no idea that their very security has depended on national and world surveillance since the world wars. If these clueless masses had any idea of what the security people do to protect them from harm every day, they might understand the necessity to monitor all forms of communication. Alas, most people are simply too dumb to appreciate the efforts of their own governments and allies. It won't matter how much you try to educate them because they have no understanding of how the world really operates because others have protected them for decades.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Let's be honest

Is this the Upstanding Citizen Message of the week?

Have a thumbs up. I always vote Blockleiter.

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FAIL

Re: Let's be honest

Those shows you've been seeing on TV aren't documentaries you know.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's be honest

Ah, yes. We must all be grateful that the nanny state looks after us.

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Re: Let's be honest

Yes the US surveillance of NORAID kept us safe from IRA terrorism for decades - thanks NSA

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Damage Limitation

It's clear that the technology to track everyone is now in place, and governments/TLA organisations are reluctance to put any restraints on what they do, so unless the great unwashed can tear themselves away from Eastenders or Coronation Street (don't know what the equivalent is in the states) there isn't a lot we can do about that.

However, having all this information is one thing, having _access_ to this information is another.

The access to such data should be compartmentalised so that it requires a court order to view it, and the search criteria must be clear and precise, i.e. no fishing trips just because some bloke you thought was a terrorist is just a curious scholar so you start trawling his internet feed for fetishist porn sites and get him on some spurious charge just so you don't look like an agency drunk on power and out of control.

You have one organisation that holds the data, with no access to it.

You have a public organisation (such as the judiciary) issue the warrants.

You have one organisation that can access the data with that approval.

Organisations 1 and 3 can be as secret as they like, as long as organistation 2 is publicly accountable for the cock-ups (and if they're bad (like shooting an innocent man for an expired visa) then it means jail time).

This is nowhere near likely at the moment, but it is something I would support. As much as I dislike all this spying on citizens I am a pragmatist, and I believe such an approach could appease both sides whilst not giving both sides everything they want.

The public want no spying, or total oversight of any spying

The agencies want total spying with no oversight

At the moment we are in a situation closely resembling the latter. We need a middle ground to aim for or we'll get nowhere.

I'm not political in the sense I support one party over another, but I do believe in the common good. However, this needs to be tempered with controls on the power that the people mandate their 'masters' with. Otherwise we should just accept that we are living in a false democracy and get on with ratting out the neighbours for letting their cat shit where it likes.

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Re: Damage Limitation

Not a bad idea. I noted that one of the reports last week said that although the government had collected all that phone data, they had only searched it about 300 times last year. That is perfectly manageable with warrants. So, your idea of requiring a warrant to access the data scales perfectly well.

Although I am still keen on my suggestion for limiting the damage: dramatically CUT both police and spy budgets. As technology now means they can "tail" people while sitting at a desk (and even after the fact) all that money previously spent on people to follow and watch suspects should be returned to the public purse. Seriously cutting budgets would force senior management to make some hard decisions about what they REALLY need -- not just collecting everything in case it might be useful one day. And it would be appropriate in these times of austerity.

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Please adopt this notation

This week in press freedoms and privacy rights by Glenn Greenwald:

The kangaroo tribunal calling itself "the FISA court" yesterday approved another government request (please excuse the redundancy of that phrase: "the FISA court approved the government's request"). Specifically, the "court" approved the Obama administration's request for renewal of the order compelling Verizon to turn over to the NSA all phone records of all Americans, the disclosure of which on June 6 in this space began the series of NSA revelations. This ruling was proudly announced by the office of the Director of National Intelligence, which declassified parts of that program only after we published the court ruling. In response, the ACLU's privacy expert Chris Soghoian sarcastically observed: "good thing the totally not a rubberstamp FISA court is on the job, or we might turn into a surveillance state"; the Wall Street Journal's Tom Gara noted: "Reminder: The style guide for mentioning the FISA court is that it's written 'court' with scare quotes."

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Re: Destroyed All Braincells Re: Please adopt this notation

".....Glenn Greenwald...." That old melodrama merchant wins no credibility when he rushes to his trypewriter (sic) without even doing enough basic research to know it's the FISC, not "FISA court".

".....the Wall Street Journal's Tom Gara noted: "Reminder: The style guide for mentioning the FISA court is that it's written 'court' with scare quotes."....." It seems Tom Gara is also too keen to milk the story to stop and do a bit of background reading. As noted on Wikipedia (surely you can manage even that, Tom?), the FISC goes right back to 1978, when it was a panel of seven Federal judges (please do try arguing they don't know the law, Glenn), and was expanded to a panel of ELEVEN Federal judges under the Patriot Act. It sits in the Justice Department and the list of the current eleven judges on the panel are publicly available. It seems the use of scare quotes and the term "kangaroo" are just there to drive the sheeple in the direction of more subscriptions.

The problem it seems is that Destroyed is - just like so many of the sheeple - too quick to take the word of those bleating the line he likes to ever think of doing his own, independent research. Sorry, gonna have slap the Fail icon for that blinkered lack of effort. Enjoy!

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Re: Destroyed All Braincells Please adopt this notation

It appears that the FISC court is also known as the FISA court, and has been since 1978 when it was created, so the distinction you have made in calling it solely the FISC court is incorrect.

Also, whilst mr. Greenwald may not be a legal expert, let's listen to the findings of the 2003 Senate Judiciary Committee Interim Report on FBI Oversight in the 107th Congress by the Senate Judiciary Committee: FISA Implementation Failures, who most certainly do know the law, and reported;

"The secrecy of individual FISA cases is certainly necessary, but this secrecy has been extended to the most basic legal and procedural aspects of the FISA, which should not be secret. This unnecessary secrecy contributed to the deficiencies that have hamstrung the implementation of the FISA. Much more information, including all unclassified opinions and operating rules of the FISA Court and Court of Review, should be made public and/or provided to the Congress."

Or to former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice who called it a "kangaroo court with a rubber stamp"

Furthermore, On May 17, 2002, the court rebuffed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, releasing an opinion that alleged that FBI and Justice Department officials had "supplied erroneous information to the court in more than 75 applications for search warrants and wiretaps, including one signed by then-FBI Director Louis J. Freeh." Whether this rebuke is related to the court starting to require modification of significantly more requests in 2003 is unknown.

On December 16, 2005, The New York Times reported that the Bush administration had been conducting surveillance against U.S. citizens without the knowledge of the court since 2002. On December 20, 2005, Judge James Robertson resigned his position with the court, apparently in protest of the secret surveillance.

Elizabeth Gotein, a co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, has criticized the court as being too compromised to be an impartial tribunal that oversees the work of the NSA and other U.S. intelligence activities. Since the court meets in secret, hears only the arguments of the government prior to deciding a case and its rulings cannot be appealed or even reviewed by the public, she has argued that: "Like any other group that meets in secret behind closed doors with only one constituency appearing before them, they're subject to capture and bias."

A related bias of the court results from what critics such as Julian Sanchez, a scholar at the Cato Institute, have described as the near certainty of the polarization or group think of the judges of the court. Since all of the judges are appointed by the same person (the Chief Justice of the United States), nearly all currently serving judges are of the same political party (the Republican Party), hear no opposing testimony and feel no pressure from colleagues or the public to moderate their rulings, group polarization is almost a certainty. "There's the real possibility that these judges become more extreme over time, even when they had only a mild bias to begin with," Sanchez said.

Or, how about a quote from someone who was actually ON the FISC? James Robertson – a former judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who, in 2004, ruled against the Bush administration in the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, and also served on the FISC for three years between 2002 and 2005 – said he was "frankly stunned" by the newspaper reports that court rulings had created a new body of law broadening the ability of the NSA to use its surveillance programs to target not only terrorists but suspects in cases involving espionage, cyberattacks and weapons of mass destruction.

I think it's safe to call those persons quoted experts, and it is therefore reasonable to entertain their criticisms.

All of these points come from the same Wikipedia article as the one you have quoted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Court

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Re: Destroyed All Braincells Please adopt this notation

It looks as if your bluff has been called, Matt!! Thanks, Mr Orwell :-)

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Trollface

Re: Destroyed All Braincells Please adopt this notation

You do realise, of course, that I am sat here waiting for him to come back with cheap name-calling, more trollish nonsense and a little more selective copypasta than usual.

I'm assuming he will remain true to form; or perhaps, it occurs to me, that if he cannot tackle the items *I* copypasta'd from his own source, he will attack *this* post instead?!

Meta-Trolling; because I'm worth it.

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Facepalm

Re: Boring Bernie Re: Destroyed All Braincells Please adopt this notation

"..... Judge James Robertson resigned his position with the court, apparently in protest of the secret surveillance....." Robertson reisgned becasue he thought the position had turned into administrative agency. He at no time questioned or protested the actual surveillance activity, and indeed did state in Obambi's recent investigation that he thought the FISC is independent and NOT a rubber-stamping body.

"......Since the court meets in secret, hears only the arguments of the government prior to deciding a case and its rulings cannot be appealed or even reviewed by the public, she has argued that: "Like any other group that meets in secret behind closed doors with only one constituency appearing before them, they're subject to capture and bias."...." Ms Gotein sounds simply to precious for words! Seriously, what did she expect, that the court would summon the target of the proposed surveillance, let them lawyer-up, and only then look at the case? "Afternoon, Mr Jihadi, we suspect you may be planning a bombing campaign in the Continental US, would you please turn up at the Justice Department in Washington DC so the NSA and FBA can present their case for intercepting your email and gaining evidence against your co-conspirators?" Yeah, like that would really help with protecting the public! Of course some of the measures of the security services have to take place in public, and it is very obvious (though it seems a stretch for Ms Gotein) that eleven Federal judges should be able to look at the warrant and evidence presented and make a decision.

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Happy

Re; Pottyhead Re: Destroyed All Braincells Please adopt this notation

"It looks as if your bluff has been called, Matt!! Thanks, Mr Orwell :-)" Patience, Grasshopper.

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FAIL

Re: Boring Bernie Re: Destroyed All Braincells Please adopt this notation

"You do realise, of course, that I am sat here waiting for him to come back with cheap name-calling, more trollish nonsense and a little more selective copypasta than usual......" Bernie, you really do need to learn how to not declare victory too early. I could point out that you have neatly tried to ignore the question of how eleven, independent and Federal judges could be descibed as a "kangaroo court" or somehow otherwise unqualified to look at issuing a warrant?

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Re: Boring Bernie Destroyed All Braincells Please adopt this notation

I wasn't so much declaring victory as predicting your response. I think I won that one.

Now, I am going to ignore you sidestepping the very, very many points, with supporting citations that I made in response to your various excellently researched arguments and proceed with the only valid one you left me; wherein you call the 11 judges "independant"...

....they're not. Of the 11, 10 are republicans, appointed by an unelected republican senior. That's about as far from independant as you can get.

(PS, so you don't feel the need to decry me as a democrat, I'm not an Obama fan either.)

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FAIL

Re: Still Boring Bernie Re: Boring Bernie Destroyed All Braincells Please....

"I wasn't so much declaring victory as predicting your response. I think I won that one....." No, you insisted I would merely post insults in response to your childish attempts, whereas I not only posted arguments but also summarized both your failings and the misfortunes of the sheeple in general. So, you still have not won anything, and your desperate attempts to avoid the issues just show you are not going to.

".....Now, I am going to ignore you sidestepping the very, very many points, with supporting citations....." What points with what citations? You claimed Judge Robertson said the FISC was a rubber stamping body, I proved otherwise. Please do show how Robertson praising the courts independence and the number of warrants it refused somehow does not destroy your point?

".........they're not. Of the 11, 10 are republicans, appointed by an unelected republican senior. That's about as far from independant as you can get....." But Robertson points out the WERE independent and DID refuse warrants. All you have proven is your mindless assumption that Republican = mindless drone and that your are failing again.

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Re: Still Boring Bernie Boring Bernie Destroyed All Braincells Please....

Here you go then MB....

"It is also rare for FISA warrant requests to be turned down by the court. During the 25 years from 1979 to 2004, 18,742 warrants were granted, while just four were rejected. Fewer than 200 requests had to be modified before being accepted, almost all of them in 2003 and 2004. The four rejected requests were all from 2003, and all four were partially granted after being submitted for reconsideration by the government. Of the requests that had to be modified, few if any were before the year 2000. During the next eight years, from 2004 to 2012, there were over 15,100 additional warrants granted, with an additional seven being rejected. In all, over the entire 33-year period, the FISA court has granted 33,942 warrants, with only 11 denials – a rejection rate of 0.03% of the total request."

Wow! Yeah! they turned down LOTS didn't they? Ah, wait, no....well perhaps they made sure lots were CHANGED before they approved them? Ah wait...no...not that either....

Oh, and you need a citation.... Again, this is from the SAME article you initially quoted your argument from. You know, the one where you said people should do some reading and independant research? Yeah....

Citation: ^ (subscription required) Evan, Perez (June 9, 2013). "Secret Court's Oversight Gets Scrutiny". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 20, 2013.

I think that settles it matty boy.

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FAIL

Re: Desperate Bernie Re: Still Boring Bernie Boring Bernie Destroyed All Braincells ....

"..... over the entire 33-year period, the FISA court has granted 33,942 warrants.....". Oh Bernie, if your desperation wasn't so tragic it would be funny! Yet again, another one of your posts simply blows a massive hole in another one of the sheeple's staple bleats, in this case the "We're all threatened" myth. Please do explain how the minuscule number of warrants, an average of roughly 1000 a year, manages to threaten the whole US population? At that rate it would take over 316,000 years to go through just today's US population. Even if they just concentrated on US Muslims (as people like CAIR insists they do) it would take over 2,600 years! Gosh, what a threat (yawn). So, I think we can all agree it is a very narrow and targeted surveillance program, thanks.

Then let's get back to your claim that the court was just a "rubberstamping body". It seems an awful lot of warrants got sent back and some even refused, despite the supposed "rubberstamping". So, if the panels of judges, and there were plenty of them over the years (forty federal judges), passed all the other warrants, could it be the surveillance requested was justified? Gosh, no way, right? LOL! So we can now all plainly see it is not only a narrow and targeted program, but that forty different judges (yeah, please do pretend they are all Republicans) thought the warrants were LEGALLY justified in all but eleven cases. And those cases got rejected.

It is so funny that you can read the very article with the facts that expose the silliness of your sheeple paranoia, and yet your poor little brain just can't digest the information and put it in context. Sad, sad, sad fail.

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Thumb Up

Well, that's a slight improvement.

One hundred per cent more than three months ago.

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Why is the court secret ?

I can understand that some evidence might need to be secret, but why does the court itself need to be secret ? Also: where is the order, why cannot we see it (maybe with some parts redacted) ?

This especially so when they are slurping everyone's data, ie it is not a targetted set of naughty boys. The only possible justification would be real, imminent threats ... maybe it has to be secret so that we don't know that there is, in fact, little justification.

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Terrible servants. Fire them.

"the Administration is undertaking a careful and thorough review of whether and to what extent additional information or documents pertaining to this program may be declassified, consistent with the protection of national security."

What the... Fuck the courts, they have been told by us to cut it the fuck out. Now. We should be taking names and vow to prosecute these fuckers in the future.

Think about it ... All they have to do is stealth contraband into your system and then send in the troops to snatch you up. These federal governments need to be declawed and defanged as soon as we can to it.

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Facepalm

Judge Robertson' testimony to the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Board

"......Robertson said that FISA court judges have been scrupulous in pushing back at times against the government, repeatedly sending back flawed warrants. He also said he came away from his FISA experience "deeply impressed by the careful, scrupulous and fastidious work by the Justice Department" in obtaining secret surveillance warrants"......"

http://news.yahoo.com/former-fisa-judge-says-secret-court-flawed-201422173.html

So, definately not a rubber-stamping agency, by the admission of the source you held up to support your argument. Oops! Try again!

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Happy

A bad week for the sheeple.

It's not going to plan, is it? No wonder you want to cling to the vague hope of Obambi's U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Board whitew- I mean, oversight investigation. After all, the UK authorities have already exercised the RIPA Section 8 get-out-of-jail card for GCHQ and proclaimed their activities legal. Then the US not only does much the same, but actually rubs salt in the imaginary wounds of the sheeple by publicly extending the rolling warrants for PRISM!

And poor old Bradley Manning, once the patron saint of the blindly hopeful, seems firmly off the sheeple's radar, even though it looks like he is now going to be royally roasted, having lost his appeal against the charges of aiding the enemy (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23364342). And as for Snowden himself, he apparently lost his appeal to the sheeple when he said he would be crawling under Putin's thumb and accepting Putin's "do no anti-US evil" terms for asylum (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23328074). It looks like the sheeple will need to find some other summer holiday reading as "The Heroic Memoirs of Edward Snowden's Heroic Leaks To Heroicly Save The World" are indefinately postponed.

Meanwhile, desperate to avoid the wrath of his base, Obambi leaps at the chance to play the well-worn race card as a distraction, with his rediculous assertions that he could have been Trayvon Martin. "People locked their car doors" - yeah, was that in the "mean streets" carpark at Punahou School in Honolulu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punahou_School)? What a load of cobblers!

So, I make that wolves 5, sheeple nil! Enjoy!

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