back to article Senate votes to continue FISA domestic spying through 2017

The US Senate has voted by overwhelming majority to extend the provisions of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 – the controversial law that grants intelligence agencies broad authority to spy on US citizens – for another five years. The law, which was first passed in the wake of the Bush-era warrantless wiretapping scandal, …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Decline.

    One chip at a time, the statue of Fascism reveals itself. It is always a slow enough process as to make as little waves as possible.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Decline.

      I'll believe that when they can make the trains run on time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Decline.

        Mussolini only made one train run on time.

    2. BillG
      FAIL

      Re: Decline.

      You do realize that the U.S. Senate is controlled by the Democratic party, right?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Decline.

        Ah, yes. Democracy, we deliver. Suitable moto. Worked eons ago, in city states. Today, not so much. Military industrialists sleeping with banksters and big CEOs. Choose one of two puppets, both being their bitches. Solutions? Beats me. Correctly assessing the growth of fascism at the cost of freedom, will be scoffed at. The blunt reality in this case is unsuitable for most people whose mind cannot stand by itself without the crutch of mainstream media, itself the pawn of those who own you. Therefore will be discounted by koolaid drinkers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Decline.

        Quote: You do realize that the U.S. Senate is controlled by the Democratic party, right?

        And you do realize that this passed the house of reps first with a similarly overwhelming majority, do you?

        Pot, please meet kettle, kettle please meet pot, oh, I forgot you are already acquaintances, I do not need to introduce you.

        1. BillG
          WTF?

          Re: Decline.

          And you do realize that this passed the house of reps first with a similarly overwhelming majority, do you?

          Yes. You do realize, A-Coward, that the Republicans supported this bill all along. No surprise it passed the House, right?

          If the Democrats have been aggressively voicing their disapproval for FISA for the past 4 years, why did the Democrat-controlled Senate pass it? Why? Isn't the Democratic party supposed to to be the party of individual freedoms? Aren't they the party against warrentless wiretaps? Why was it wrong when Bush did it, but it's O.K. when Obama expands it?

          You do realize that Obama and the Democrats campaigned against FISA and promised to overturn it, right?

          Please downvote this if you think it's unfair that I pointed out Obama's hypocrisy.

      3. Bryan Hall

        Re: Decline.

        You do realize that Congress is full of progressives? Both parties are sinking the ship - just one blows bigger holes in the floor than the other.

        Here is the record on votes against an amendment to recognize the protections of the 4th amendment over electronic communications. Let them know you are displeased with how they vote!

        http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=2&vote=00234

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Decline.

          "progressives" ?

          This word - I do not think it means what you think it means !

    3. LarsG
      Meh

      The slippery slope

      The slippery slope, just what they are doing in the UK.

      Drip feed the legislation, nothing too controversial, drip by drip by drip.

      However just to make sure, it is always important for the Government to introduce something that will scare the population out of all proportion to the problem. Keep the population in fear and you can pass just about any law you want.

      1. Christoph Silver badge

        Re: The slippery slope

        "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

        -- Goering

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: The slippery slope

          But only pedophile terrorist criminals could oppose this bill

          - May

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The slippery slope

        We're probably buying the technology in from the USA. Can't even make our own spy kit.

  2. Captain DaFt

    It figures...

    To busy arguing about who gets to turn the wheel to keep the bus from going over the fiscal cliff, but plenty of time to snoop on the passengers as it hurtles over. [sigh]

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: It figures...

      I suggest renaming it to the USL. The United Sates of Lemmings.

      1. ShadowedOne
        Joke

        Re: It figures...

        USSA - United Surveillance States (of) America

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: It figures...

          So is the USSA a democratic irony or an ironic republic?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It figures...

      But for a country so into god you would think that US leader would assume that god is snooping on them all and so they will behave or be judged.

      1. ShadowedOne
        Boffin

        Re: It figures...

        "But for a country so into god you would think that US leader would assume that god is snooping on them all and so they will behave or be judged."

        Well, much like how the smartest dealers never sample/get hooked on their merchandise, I'd say most of the bible-thumping politicians don't believe the religious/pseudo-religious crap they spew. It's mainly to con the hard-of-thinking and easily led into voting for said politicians.

  3. nuked
    Holmes

    So, this makes legal and regulates that which they have been doing illegally for decades. And this is a bad thing?

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Legitimising systematic abuse of your population through legislation does not make it good.

    2. LarsG

      Of course

      If you have NOTHING TO HIDE then why should you fear the Government legislation?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Of course

        Tell that to Jews who had to report their existence to Hitler's government ...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A bad thing?

      Yes, it is. At least when it was illegitimate, this sort of behaviour was limited in extent by the agencies' desire not to be caught out. Legitimising it removes any constraints and potentially allows for extension of the activities to other agencies that have no excuse at all. The UK's RIPA is a fine example of that effect in action.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now you know ..

    .. why we do not collaborate with US businesses. It's not that we don't want to, but it's far too easy to co-opt those businesses with some creative lawyering in becoming an espionage arm. All it takes is the magic word "terrorist" and suddenly, judicial oversight is at best optional. No thanks.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blasphemy!!!

    the Obama administration has argued that the law "is necessary to keep the American people safe."

    How dare you criticise! Don't you know that Obama is Jesus?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blasphemy!!!

      How dare you criticise! Don't you know that our president is Jesus?

      Fixed that for you - it applies across both colours of the political spectrum

      Ac due to "no fly list" existing.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Blasphemy!!!

        >Don't you know that our president is Jesus?

        Although one half of the country would then claim he wasn't born in America

  6. David 45

    Snoopers

    I sometimes wonder, from my UK viewpoint, if all the world's governments are in collusion with their obvious hatred of the internet. They all seem to be going down the same path, giving the excuse that a little snooping here and a little legislation there will miraculously stop terrorism and crime in its tracks, which (like the shambolic American TSA) it certainly does not. It's just a excuse for a government to keep tabs on its own citizens. My MP seemed less than enthusiastic when I urged him to oppose the UK "snoopers' charter", saying that there must be a balance struck between privacy and detecting terrorism, etc; "but it was kind of you to let me know your opinion". Total twaddle, I call it. I read elsewhere that any government spying will probably make out-and-out villains even more difficult to have their collars felt (something I've been saying for ages!), driving them underground, as they go for encryption or use a VPN - something I am looking at now - and I'm no terrorist or crime baron! This gradual erosion and chipping away of civil liberties, privacy and free speech has got to stop. My opinion? .......Despicable.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it interesting..

    .. how increasing income always seems to unleash the inner dictator with some people?

    Gates, Schmidt, Zuckerberg - very single one deems themselves above the law and know what's best for us.

    If we do get space flights to work, can we give these guys a single ticket?

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Isn't it interesting..

      "If we do get space flights to work, can we give these guys a single ticket?"

      On the B Ark

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Isn't it interesting..

      Do we have to wait until it works?

  8. JCB
    WTF?

    WTF ...

    ... does FISA stand for? If you told me in the article, then I'd know what you are getting so aerated about.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: WTF ...

      To save you the google it's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that for the most part legalizes spying on everyone else in the world but not within U.S. borders. The amendments passed in 2008 essentially redact the word Foreign and allow the U.S. gubbermint to spy domestically and unleash the full-on "we'll send your ass to Gitmo, take everything you own and then have the IRS crawl sideways through your colon while wearing crampons if you don't comply" intimidation power to anyone who doesn't give them every little byte they ask for.

  9. Boris S.

    Naive sheeple

    Those who don't know about technology and security should educate themselves. The general public is "spied on daily" with security cameras and internet/phone traffic monitoring all the time. Thankfully these and other legitimate security techniques have resulted in the arrest of many criminals and eliminated a number of international security threats. We live in a much different world today so get use to reality that it is changing for the worse when it comes to crime and terrorism.

    If you want to have a cellphone, expect to be tracked via GPS. If you want a modern car with all the electronic toys, expect to get tracked by GPS. If you want to go into any public area on foot, car, train, bicycle, etc. expect to be photographed. Despite the knee-jerk reactions of the clueless these security techniques are quite useful. If you find these security measures unacceptableto you then you'll need to never leave your home, give up your cellphone, never use a PC or mobile device, etc. You have the choice so don't complain or be led like sheeple by the instigators who are out of touch with reality.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Naive sheeple

      I think you are looking for useful idiots in the wrong place. It isn't about security and has as much to do with it as the security theater that the TSA performs at the airport, none. Ultimately it's about having leverage on as many people as possible because we all know the data can be lost or misplaced when it becomes convenient for the puppet masters.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here in Canada is MUCH worse....

    MUCH worse. And the government here is 200 times more fascist than the US one. We are permanently monitored here. ALL THE TIME, not only for a week. And ISPs are forced to keep 6 months of data from their customers. No warranty is required by the police to get your data, personal information or browsing history.

    All governments are moving in the same direction, but here in Canada, we are under a dictatorship already. And there is no way out.

    1. ShadowedOne
      Stop

      Re: Here in Canada is MUCH worse....

      I know Harper is a cold fascist bastard, but no it's not that bad up here yet. We are not permanently monitored and the police still require a warrant to get access to your data.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Here in Canada is MUCH worse....

      Yes but fortunately we are under the oppressive boot of Canadian government bureaucrats.

      The Canadian government oppressing you from 10am-3pm, closed for lunch, monday to wednesday, except holidays or until we run out of donuts.

      1. Swarthy
        Joke

        Re: Here in Canada is MUCH worse....

        Dawn raid on Tim Hortons?

  11. pierce
    Holmes

    a wise man once said, "The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is, the Democrats will hang you from a lower branch of the tree". that was Bruce "Utah" Phillips.

  12. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Signed, sealed and delivered

    Update: the FISA renewal was indeed signed into law today.

  13. mhenriday
    Unhappy

    Governments have been doing this for years and years ; cf, e g,

    Hermann Wilhelm Göring's well-known remark from his prison cell («Naturlich das einfache Volk ... in jedem Land») on how to get a balking people to accept a war of aggresion or Arthur Hendrick Vandenberg's famous advice to Harry Truman that the latter would have to «scare the hell out of the American people»to get the US Congress to pass military aid packages to the Greek and Turkish governments, in order to prevent them from being toppled by their own people. Nothing new under the sun....

    Henri

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Governments have been doing this for years and years ; cf, e g,

      In 150BC the Roman politician Cato held up a bunch of fresh figs in the senate and said "these came from Carthage within 3days , therefore Carthage could attack within 3days, therefore we must invade now"

      The only difference between that and the 45min Iraqi WMD is that Cato was telling the truth, had a somewhat logical argument - and he got to eat the Figs.

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