back to article Senate approves FISA makeover and telco wiretap immunity

The Senate today passed the revised Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), offering blanket immunity to the telecoms giants for whatever spying activities they conspired in, smothering ongoing litigation against the companies and for all intents and purposes burying forever whatever unconstitutional surveillance …


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  1. heystoopid


    Thus ends the first democracy first created in in the yankee lands some two hundred plus years ago in the new lands of those imprisoned within their own fear and paranoia and the rise of self created warlords with "Oppenheimer's Toys" is now coming !

  2. Turbojerry

    The moral of the story is

    Don't ever communicate with Americans as you're probably being spied on, unless you want that free trip to Gitmo, afterall, you're not American, and therefore a terrorist. God these people are psychopaths.

  3. John F***ing Stepp

    Oh it was kind of fun.

    On usenet a few years back to spike a post with enough trigger words to call up ECHELON (that was probably a trigger word).

    But that was then and the mainframes of the time couldn't keep up.

    They can now.

    I wonder just what electron blooded cthulu struggles towards Washington awaiting to be born; and if it will be Colossus or P1 (neither one has the attitude problem of SkyNet; kids these days.)

    Ah well.


    Heh, made you look.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Democrats (Joke right?)

    I thought some party called the Democrats controlled congress? Just goes to prove that all politicians are the same power hungry dicatators at heart. Wankers the lot of em. Errr, can they trace this????

  5. Colonel Panic

    4th Amendment, RIP

    Since our American cousins clearly aren't using their constitution anymore, can we have it ? We could do with a bit of judicial oversight...

  6. amanfromMars Silver badge

    How Not to make friends and influence People ....Burning Bush Style

    Wow, that dumb-ass decision .... ... is a global media coup for terrorists and probably the greatest recruiting sergeant for them ever.

    And all the conspirators responsible are so neatly identified in the PNAC Illiterature .... which is conveniently stashed/cached in any number of servers.

    This is something which they can kiss goodbye to though..... "Control the new 'international commons' of space and 'cyberspace,' and pave the way for the creation of a new military service--U.S. Space Forces--with the mission of space control." ...... ..... for they just are not presently made of/led by the Right Stuff. And that Virtual Space is already filled with IT XXXXPerts who Play an entirely different Great Game which they are Careful to Share with All who Dare 42 Win Win....... for there is No National/International Bar to Intelligence because of Skin Colour or Geographic/Time Zone Location.

    Ah well ....... the Sun rises in the East so I suppose that is where the Light comes from and so that is where NeuReal World Order will Migrate to and Begin. Certainly they are all in Positive Equity territory whilst Uncle Sam is digging a Deep hole in increasingly Desperate Decline....... and that is all due to the Boozed up Bozos sat at the top, scratching their fundamentals.

  7. Carolyn Clarke

    the nice thing about bullying... that the victims soon learn to cringe and capitulate even when you don't threaten them. Clearly, the Republicans now need only sneeze and the Democrats will cave in.

  8. shaun
    Thumb Up

    RE: Oh it was kind of fun.

    Superb, me sides have just split. Ded funny.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Verizon and Sweden

    If you do a trace route from Sweden to Russia, it goes through, a Verizon company. Odd that. I wonder if the US insisted on Verizon spying on the Swedisg traffic whether they would?

    A swedish traceroute from this website to

    1 ( 22.524 ms 20.896 ms 20.897 ms

    2 ( 21.125 ms 41.220 ms 21.666 ms


    9 ( 59.622 ms 55.704 ms 55.629 ms

    10 ge5-2.BR1.LND18.ALTER.NET ( 57.761 ms 56.267 ms 56.115 ms


    14 POS2-0.GW7.STK3.ALTER.NET ( 87.263 ms 85.130 ms 84.837 ms

    15 ( 90.323 ms 88.477 ms 88.80 ms

    16 ( 105.315 ms 103.443 ms 103.358 ms


    Note that the story on Slashdot of Sweden's internet snooping law targetting Russia is bollocks, doing a traceroute from the UK, the route went through Germany, from France it went through Germany too. The only traffic I found that goes through Sweden originated in Sweden.

    Someone's telling porkies.

  10. Jon Teda
    Paris Hilton

    Is everyone here on medication?

    Why is anyone blaming GWB when this bill was shepherded by Democrats? At anytime it could have been tabled or placed in committee hell if Democrats were so inclined. Democrats are now the majority in both legislative branches, after all.

    There is currently a fuel bill that the Republican minority wish to pass committee. It seeks to allow drilling in the continental US. The bill is held up in committee by the Democrat chair and won't be released for a full vote because Democrats don't like drilling in the US. That is the power of one party being in control of the legislature.

    Does anyone teach civics classes anymore? One can dislike GWB for a variety of reasons but the passage of this bill into law lies firmly in the hands of Democrats.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @medication - Divided Democrats

    "it was supported almost unanimously by House Republicans and opposed by a majority of Democrats."

    You need to lose a few of the Democrats and a lot of the Republicans to restore your judicial protections. Nancy Pelosi strikes me as particular weak willed and easily manipulated by the Republicans. I remember her feeble 'no impeachment' thing. When the Republicans wanted impeachment for the bj they didn't hesitate.

  12. amanfromMars Silver badge

    re ...Is everyone here on medication?

    "Does anyone teach civics classes anymore? One can dislike GWB for a variety of reasons but the passage of this bill into law lies firmly in the hands of Democrats." ... By Jon Teda Posted Thursday 10th July 2008 10:36 GMT


    The passage of this bill into law lies firmly in the minds of Demagogues. And whether that is to remain defining for the hotch potch mix that is America remains to be seen.

  13. Garth

    Makes me sick.

    I heard this on the news last night and I howled in rage and wanted to break things. I'd like to know why the hell Obama caved.

    I am so angry at my elective representatives right now but feel so helpless to affect any change for the utter ridiculous crap passed into legislation.

    Flames for white hot anger.

  14. Aodhhan

    The issue isn't partisan

    The original law is more than 30 years old. It has been used on both sides of the fence. Bush just pushed the envelope of it a bit more than others due to the WOT. You think Clinton didn't do any wire tapping and dancing before getting a court order... think again!

    Fact is, you still need a court order to "spy" on the public in America. In an "emergency" (yeah, this can be debated), you get a week to petition for the warrant. Which is really what the friction point is.

    Still... it is better than most countries which have no laws against the government spying on their citizens. Not only do most countries allow it, but there isn't any judical oversight. So don't be so quick to bash the American system. You are probably being spied on this moment if you aren't in the US... and cannot do anything about it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Question from a US citizen

    Does anyone have any good suggestions for another country to move to?

    Canada? Norway? NZ?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    "Since our American cousins clearly aren't using their constitution anymore"

    Not entirely true.

    The second amendment just got strengthened by the Supreme Court. No prizes for guessing what rights that amendment enshrines.

    The rest of it has been cut into convenient 6" squares and hung on a hook in the Oval Office's en-suite toilet. :(

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Ex post facto apply?

    Lets hope that the US courts throw out the immunity prior to this... law on the grounds of them falling under ex post facto.

    I'm betting against them having the guts to do that.

  18. cybersaur


    This law will be over turned.

    Any program that spies on American citizens without warrants is an inarguable violation of the Fourth Amendment. The ACLU has vowed to file suit as soon as the FISA amendment is signed into law.

    This amendment also violates American citizens' First Amendment right to "petition the courts for redress of grievances" against the conspiring telecoms. Congress cannot by fiat terminate ongoing litigation simply because they don't like the likely outcome-- the telecoms will be found guilty of illegally spying on their customers. The EFF has vowed to file suit challenging the constitutionality of the FISA amendment on those grounds.

    As much as our American government is determined to march mindlessly into fascism, we still have hope that the Constitution will prevail in the end and democracy will be protected.

    Stop sign because fascism is unAmerican.

  19. Chris C

    re: The issue isn't partisan

    "Still... it is better than most countries which have no laws against the government spying on their citizens. Not only do most countries allow it, but there isn't any judical oversight."

    The Bush administration illegally allowing the NSA (and $deity knows who else) do blanket warrant-less wiretapping of US citizens on domestic land is proof that there is no judicial oversight here, either. Yes, we have the ILLUSION of oversight, but that's all it is -- an illusion. This retroactive immunity for the telecoms companies is yet more proof (as if more was needed).

    And I do not agree that the situation in the US is better than "most countries which have no laws..." In those other countries, you know the score. In the US, you're told that the government isn't allowed to do certain things, so you're given a false sense of security/reality. Other countries admit to what they do. The US does it and lies about it. And you think the US is better?

    re: Unconstitutional

    No, this law will not be overturned. Not any time soon, at least. Yes, it is illegal. But it won't be overturned because it's a matter of "national security" which trumps judicial oversight. With those two little words, the government is allowed to do literally anything.

    "Stop sign because fascism is unAmerican." Silly American. I thought everybody heard, but apparently you didn't get the memo. America 1.0 is history (literally). This is America 2.0 where not agreeing with the hive-mind is unAmerican. Remember in 2003 when we started the war? It was considered (and publicly stated) that protesting (or even simply not showing support for) the war was "unAmerican". Now the hive-mind has changed its opinion, so it's OK to not support the war. In fact, now it's turning so much that supporting the war is starting to be considered "unAmerican". Welcome to America 2.0. Please be so kind as to leave your rights (and your own thoughts) at the border.

  20. Eduard Coli
    Black Helicopters


    Poor fool, you are naive to think that it's just communications to America that gets you put on the list...

    The warrantless surveillance applied to all data traveling crossing equipment with the US borders. The nature of the internet being what it is pretty much guarantees that they can get your packets.

    Smile for the nice man in the green hat

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The US government doesn't necessarily have to follow its own laws. There is plenty of historical rulings to support that the government can discriminate against its own citizenry if it prevents disruption in government services (i.e. blacks, women and gays in the military) or just plain discrimination (i.e. voting laws against blacks, women and non-land owning white males). It's a matter of adjustment in the population for social equality changes. The fact that it's illegal doesn't matter if the downtrodden don't have the means or the desire to correct the situation.

    There really isn't an excuse for an 'emergency' situation, as there will always be a judge to rubber stamp a warrant for the government if needed.

    This law is to make it more difficult to redress government infringment. The current set of politicians have learned quite a bit since the days of Nixon.

  22. Abdul Koroma

    It will only get worse!!!

    What were people expecting from a congress which has got the lowest approval rating in history?This congress does not have the muscle to stand against the president and has been bullied consistently. Wireless surveillance will continue irrespective of the government and it can only get worse according to a former victim : Warrantless Surveillance: The Worst Is Yet to Come(

  23. Unkle Al

    Amerika 2.0

    The people can always be brought to the bidding of their leaders. All you have to do is tell them that they are in danger of being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

    Hermann Goering

  24. Anonymous Coward


    "The only traffic I found that goes through Sweden originated in Sweden.

    Someone's telling porkies."

    And it's you. All of Finland's traffic goes through Sweden.

    Most of Norway's and Denmark's too, as the Nordunet main connection is from Sweden to Germany.


  25. Gary


    Errr, can they trace this????

    I think so. They just kicked my door in! Please excuse the shaky handwriting! Gary

  26. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Of Grey men in Suits ........ and Certifiable Freaks?

    "Errr, can they trace this????

    I think so. They just kicked my door in! Please excuse the shaky handwriting! Gary" .... By Gary Posted Thursday 10th July 2008 22:01 GMT

    :-) Sorry to hear of your troubles, Gary, but they would pale into relative insignificance whenever one considers that such an action, whenever a negative reaction, indicates a lack of leadership in any positive proaction...... and an Administration in Petrified Crisis/Permanent Chaos.

    And there is no such thing as society [Margaret Thatcher ....] only men and/or women who would think to rule society and societies as despots with varying degrees of perceived success/failure.

    And it is a perversity that they would think that their little exclusive "leaders" club excludes them from paying the price for their follies ...... which is why such atrocities as are reported daily by media and which are supported by "governments" are tolerated, rather than stopped, with the simplest of remedies ..... the permanent and immediate removal of the sub-prime movers/drivers/officials........ for setting such a Just Precedent would render them all Liable to Punitive Censure ...... which is probably why there is all this spooky undercover news gathering/covert phishing/oppressive legislation.

    Although we can thank GWB for raising the Stakes and setting the new Precedent for failed Presidents who choose not to improve their Game, with the Treatment of Saddam. ...... although the jury is still out on whether that was a rigged show, which is about the kindest thing that can be said about that particular Media Show/Terror Spectacular.

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