Print 16 comment(s) - last by MrBlastman.. on Jan 27 at 12:13 PM

A law for the FBI may have opened Pandora's box for the NSA's bulk collection of data

While the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is in hot water for many aspects of its surveillance programs, one hot button topic is the bulk collection of phone records, and a new watchdog report said it's illegal and should be shut down.
According to The New York Times, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board -- a federal privacy watchdog consisting of five members -- submitted a 238-page report on the NSA's spy programs, specifically focusing on a law that could have opened the doors to the NSA's bulk collection of records. 
The report highlighted that a law -- Section 215 of the Patriot Act -- which allows the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to collect business records as long as they're relevant to an investigation, could be interpreted as authorization for the NSA to collect all phone records in the U.S.
"[The program] lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215, implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value,” said the report. “As a result, the board recommends that the government end the program.”

Three of the five-member board agreed that the program was illegal. The other two said, "the board should have focused exclusively on policy and left legal analysis to the courts."
But the board agreed unanimously on 10 other recommendations, including stricter access to search results, deleting raw phone records after three years instead of five and limiting analysts’ access to the call records of people no further than two links removed from a suspect instead of three. 
The board was unanimous in recommending a series of immediate changes to the NSA program, where three the changes as part of a "brief wind-down period," and the other two wanted them to be structural and allow the program to continue.
Just last week, U.S. President Barack Obama announced changes to be made in the NSA after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked the agency's far-reaching spy programs throughout 2013. Obama discussed solutions like making a judicial finding required before looking to the database as a way of scaling back spying on American devices and finding a comfortable balance between the use of the bulk collection program -- which he said could be necessary for countering terrorist attacks -- and the privacy of American citizens. But many worry that these are empty promises meant to make people feel secure when behind the scenes, nothing really changes at all. 

Source: The New York Times

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By bitmover461 on 1/23/2014 1:21:47 PM , Rating: 5
... and the website fails basic security scans. This government is incompetent, out of control, $17 trillion dollars in debt (and counting), and destroying our society. Yet the sheep hang on to this notion that giving up money (taxes) and freedoms somehow results in a greater sense of security. For me it only results in the desire to retire an expat.

By choirbass on 1/23/2014 2:04:24 PM , Rating: 2
Along the lines of constitionality, wouldn't it be only fair then, to adapt applicable portions of the constution as always intended?

As far as debt, it's necessary.. as long as we have any ties to the outside world. However, if everything is severed, even debt could be as well.

By Shig on 1/23/2014 2:32:05 PM , Rating: 1
As long as Citizen's United stands and Corporations count as people, expect things to get worse, not better.

From the perspective of Corporations and the top earners in the United States, things have NEVER been better.

By choirbass on 1/23/2014 2:48:55 PM , Rating: 2

By ClownPuncher on 1/23/2014 5:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
Because government regulation usually only benefits those willing to scratch the back of politicians.

By Jeffk464 on 1/25/2014 11:02:10 AM , Rating: 2
yup, politicians go for the highest bidder.

By MrBlastman on 1/23/2014 9:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
Our Government (and the press) completely and continually ignore what the majority of the people want. They cram down our throats what THEY want us to get and we have no choice but to accept it or we face consequences...

Things like...

If we disagree with the LGBT agenda (I wholeheartedly disagree with it and I don't care if I catch hell for saying this. This particular issue disgusts me to no end.), we get death threats, lawsuits, injunctions and civil fines by our State. Our Attorney Generals also swear to not uphold the written laws (See Virginia today).

If we disagree with the NSA we end up in secret prisons or are served secret warrants we don't know about and are violated constantly.

If we disagree with the government, the IRS comes after us and audits us with impunity for taking a stand against the current tyrants in power.

End result of this panels finding: The Government shuts them down, every member is audited and if they're lucky, they won't end up dead in some accidental way in the future.

By Piiman on 1/25/2014 12:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
"I wholeheartedly disagree with it and I don't care if I catch hell for saying this. This particular issue disgusts me to no end.), "
Why do you think you'll turn gay if they are allowed the same rights as you?

By MrBlastman on 1/27/2014 12:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
It isn't a matter of rights, it is a matter of it all being done wrong.

1. It should be a Civil Union--for everyone! Straight, Gay, whatever. Everyone should only be allowed to apply for a Civil Union under the tax code and law.

2. The title "Marriage" should only be granted by a Church and nowhere else.

You do this, both sides win.

Now, for those Gays who argue otherwise and "want it all," well, consider this:

When was the last time two men (or women) got together, copulated and impregnated each other with their own DNA and produced a child, naturally?

The answer is never. It cannot biologically happen.

By marvdmartian on 1/27/2014 9:35:49 AM , Rating: 2
Agree with you, except for one point. This administration is incompetent. The government is just wasteful and bloated.

"Investigation purpose" does not follow
By KFZ on 1/23/2014 4:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
Traditional investigation: Search for suspicious activity, draw upon resources to find evidence when justified.

Modern "investigation": Grab all data, encrypted or not. Hoard, breach and database the mammoth trove for anything and everything.

This is the crusade to end privacy.

RE: "Investigation purpose" does not follow
By JediJeb on 1/24/2014 4:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
When I read about this whole NSA thing it reminds me of the revelation that came out of East Germany when the wall came down. There it was discovered that the East German government had huge warehouses which contained thousands upon thousands of what looked like Mason Jars with cloth patches inside. What these turned out to be were clothing samples that had been somehow taken from the people of East Germany, the purpose for them was to be able to have a scent for tracking dogs to follow if that person were ever to be expected of trying to defect so they could track them as they tried to cross the border.

Honestly, is that any more an invasion of privacy than what the NSA is doing today?

By Jeffk464 on 1/25/2014 11:04:15 AM , Rating: 2
The fact is it has just become easier, East Germany wasn't able to collect anywhere near what our government is collecting on us.

By Motoman on 1/23/2014 12:38:26 PM , Rating: 5
NSA Bulk Collection Program Illegal, Should be Shut Down

File that under "No sh1t, Sherlock."

Haven't they been doing this for years?
By 195 on 1/23/2014 3:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
When I worked at a former uunet "megahub" there was a walled off corner of the datacenter that was for the US government only. This facility routed all telecommunications traffic from various regions of the Pacific rim into the US. That was over 10 years ago.
What confounds me is why this is all of a sudden news and the world is acting shocked by the spying revelations when it was generally common knowledge among anybody who worked as an engineer for any private organization involved with data (think Verizon, Comcast, Google, etc). It's not like anybody with half a brain couldn't connect the dots when there are doors makes with 'Department of Homeland Security' inside the facilities of private corporations.
I guess all I'm suggesting is that there's a feeling of sensationalism surrounding these revelations when in fact it was already understood that this has been going on.

It Will Be Shut Down...
By Tuor on 1/25/2014 1:12:27 AM , Rating: 2
... in the future, they'll call it something else. Problem solved.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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