back to article Court to Wikimedia: Your NSA spying evidence is inadmissable, so you can't prove NSA spying

The Wikimedia Foundation's attempt to stop the National Security Agency (NSA) from spying on its users has foundered because it's impossible to offer court-acceptable evidence of the NSA's activities. Wikimedia and its co-plaintiffs, a who's-who of human rights organisations, announced their lawsuit back in March. However, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lyrical quality

    "“For example, one trillion dollars are of enormous value, whereas one trillion grains of sand are but a small patch of beach.”

    And they the law is an ass, this is almost poetry.

    1. fajensen

      Re: lyrical quality

      ... and each grain of sand is really a bugging device with a networked one-pixel camera. So the NSA can get some Brazilian Tit & Bum photos with a resolution all the way up to and exceeding the available server space.

    2. g e

      Whereas one trillion politicians

      As the old joke goes...

      Would be a 'start'

  2. Your alien overlord - fear me

    I think you'll find the beeetch is owned by the NSA and like any good doggy rolls over on command.

  3. Graham Marsden

    "one trillion dollars are of enormous value"

    And our Freedoms and Rights and Liberties are of *incalculable* value and should not be dismissed in such a cavalier fashion.

    Ask Ben Franklin for details...

    1. Preston Munchensonton
      Thumb Up

      Re: "one trillion dollars are of enormous value"

      Anyone asking Ben Franklin probably would consider him a libertarian lunatic based on the responses that Mr. Franklin would provide.

      Of course, I suppose that's to be expected of a traitor to King and Country. It's the subversive among us that are so villified, now more than ever but back in the 18th century too.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: "one trillion dollars are of enormous value"

      Or his good friend, Thomas Jefferson...

      “We need a revolution every 200 years, because all governments become stale and corrupt after 200 years.” – Ben Franklin

      “What country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson

  4. westlake

    A lawsuit isn't the answer to every problem.

    In an American courtroom, you need to allege some clearly definable injury which you can prove to the satisfaction of a judge and jury was caused by the defendant --- a vague statistical argument that someone, somewhere, was out there watching you will never be good enough.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: A lawsuit isn't the answer to every problem.

      That people aren't reading or editing certain pages because of a fear that the visit will be monitored and you will go on some government list ?

      If the secret police were photographing everyone entering a store and making a list of what they bought - would the store have to prove that some people had stayed away ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just United States courts

      (American is a tad egotistical)

      but UK ones to. Any claim through a court *has* to be rendered into financial terms. Although this seems unfair (how much is a dead child worth ?) it has the civilising effect of ensuring courts don't go around mandating blindness as restitution for rape (or whatever that barbaric court ruling was recently).

      The problem here is your "privacy" is actually worth fuck all. As is your time.

  5. Captain DaFt

    Get a big broom, judge!

    “For example, one trillion dollars are of enormous value, whereas one trillion grains of sand are but a small patch of beach.”

    Someone doesn't comprehend big numbers without a dollar sign attached.

    size of grain of sand, "Particles of sand range in size from 2 to 0.05 mm in diameter", so say 1mm on average. times a trillion, one billion meters in diameter, one grain deep... I'm getting math anxiety here, so I'll let someone else do all the "one meter deep, 25% air volume" calculations, but even this shows that's a fucking big patch of sand this judge is trying to sweep under the carpet!

    (If you'll pardon me segueing into a metaphor)

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: Get a big broom, judge!

      I did the same maths as you when I read that, and translated it into real-world terms: it comes out to about 15 20' shipping containers' worth of sand, so a fair sized convoy of semi-trailers and a bloody big hole in the beach that a great many beachgoers, not to mention the shire council responsible for its upkeep, would definitely notice!

      For the maths geeks:

      20' shipping container = 12.051 m x 2.34 m x 2.38 m = 67.11 m3

      Assuming 1 mm3 per sand grain, 1000 mm x 1000 mm x 1000 mm = 1 m3 = 1 billion grains of sand, so 1 trillion grains of sand = 1000 m3.

      1000 m3 / 67.11 m3 = 14.9 shipping containers.

      Assuming a density of about 1600 kgm-3 for dry packed sand, that's about 1600 metric tonnes of sand (for our American friends, 1764 short tons.)


      Volume of a shipping container

      Density of sand

      1. ratfox

        Re: Get a big broom, judge!

        1000 mm3 of sand is a square patch of 30 meters by 30 meters, and one meter deep. On most beaches, that's a pretty small patch.

        Numbers of cubic meters always sound more impressive than they are.

        Oh, and grains of sand are much less than 1mm3.

        1. Smudger 1

          Re: Get a big broom, judge!

          @ratfox Er, no

          10 mm x 10 mm x 10 mm = 1000 mm^3.

          1000 mm^3 of sand is the size of a sugar cube.

          1. ratfox

            Re: Get a big broom, judge!

            Sorry, copy-paste failure. I meant 1000 m3 of course.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get a big broom, judge!

        At 0.5 mm size, it's closer to 125 cubic metres (by my quick estimate)

        apparently there's a specification for professional beach volleyball sand and its 0.2 to 1.0 mm, hence I used 0.5.

    2. Chris 244
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Get a big broom, judge!

      Regardless, it is enough sand that, poured directly on top of the judges, they would quickly change their tune with regards to the insignificance of a trillion grains of sand.

      Wait, what's that noise I hear overhead? -->

  6. a_yank_lurker

    Dumb Shysters and Other Criminals

    Another idiot ruling for America's Shyster and other assorted Idiots and Criminals ruling class by an idiot shyster. I await the SWAT team raid in the middle of the night with guns blazing.

    1. Gregory Kohs

      Re: Dumb Shysters and Other Criminals

      You figure the government is going to send a SWAT team to "get you back" for editing a Wikipedia article about an obscure Pokemon character?

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Vapourware is as Vapourware does ISIS

    Whenever one considers all of the many major growing problems which are increasingly quickly destroying the notion of the land of the free and the brave and the United States dollar, does it not make you wonder and ponder on the distinct evident lack of intelligence in its exclusive executive administrative and SCADA and military industrial operating systems, even with all of the supposed ubiquitous intrusive snooping firmware delivering Upstream Base MetaData.

    ITs virtual effect in realisation is akin to a contagious infection for allies of virile viral plague and certain lingering death without ...... well, I suppose and presume, the Advent of a Quite Magical Novel Technology with Advanced IntelAIgent Antidote in the Rabid Rapacious XSSXXXXual Phorm of a Red, Green and Blue Virtual Machine Pill.

    Do you know any of ITs Pushers, Man :-) ........ The Pusher .... Steppenwolf

  8. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Alternative approach

    If only there was a way to get the NRA to protest against the snooping done by the NSA...

    1. Warm Braw

      Re: Alternative approach

      I think you tell them that "dark forces" are taking over their country: they'll immediately assume you mean Obama and the Mexicans and they'll be off like Yosemite Sam.

  9. Mystic Megabyte


    Is it now the case that the documents released by Mr. Snowden are in fact false?

    If so he must be innocent of any perceived crime.

    </Rumpole voice>

    1. elDog

      Re: M'lud,

      Excellent counter-point there, MM. However this presupposes that the prosecuting country in question (the fine U.S. of A.) has any such things as M'luds. These creatures would presumably be above the petty connections to money and power (although not sex, it appears.) The M'luds would understand your cogent argument.

      The PTB in this fine country have no such restrictions on corruption by money and power. So I wish Mr. Snowden well!

  10. theOtherJT Silver badge


    This court does not want to touch this issue with a really, really long pole because the NSA scare the hell out of us.

    We dismiss with as little consideration as possible so as to get this particular ticking bomb out of our jurisdiction as quickly as possible.

    1. Martin 47

      Re: Translation:

      .......and of course the NSA has all the judges browsing history

  11. Wommit

    Did anyone actually think that the judge would do anything else?

    If so I have a nice bridge for sale, only a few, careful owners.

  12. Stevie


    One trillion brain cells would be nice.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Just two communicating ones would be at leas 100% improvement.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's quite easy to prove really in a logical sense.

    Rent a house, get an internet connection then visit nefarious websites and record the NSA turning up.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Catch 22 back at you

    Population to NSA: You can't show us you're trustworthy so we won't believe a word you say.

    1. fearnothing

      Re: Catch 22 back at you

      Unfortunately for that argument, I think you'll find that it's not the accuracy that the population takes issue with, but the means.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all pointless

    Unless you have something to hide, in which case you don't want authorities reading your communications.

  16. Gregory Kohs

    Another Jimbo failure

    We'll mark this down in Jimmy Wales' little book of failures. -- went out of business. Three Apes search engine -- went out of business. -- went out of business. Wikimedia Foundation -- yay, a success! -- still running on venture capital, never went public, haven't heard any of the investors ever mark it as a financially successful venture. Wikia Search -- closed down without warning. -- on life support, its director takes 80% of its funding as a personal salary. -- launched to great fanfare in May 2013, got as high as 230,000th in site popularity, but since The Register discovered that it had been funded with taxpayer money, has fallen to 460,000th most popular site. Jimmy Wales Foundation -- seeded with $500,000 in Arab capital, hired one manager, who posts tweets on Twitter, no other visible accomplishments. And, The People's Operator, which was on an upward trajectory when Jimmy Wales was hired by his Labour Party crony, who then suddenly died, and now the company loses 7x more than it draws in revenue. Hard to imagine how this case against the NSA ever failed, what with the Great Jimbo on track.

    1. dorsetknob

      Re: Another Jimbo failure

      Meanwhile Back in wilkifantsyland the cash begging pop up starts to spew

      We need your Support give us $ 10 ( inflation you know ) and we will fight this on your behalf

      I'll just get some spare change out of my coat pocket ( like hell i'm doing a runner )

  17. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Alternative Translation

    We are determined to support our mates er business partners er

    The American Way

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Asterix the Gaul

    So,logically,if Wiki has NSA data aquired from Edward Snowden,it (Wiki)must be free to publish without fear of prosecution,because any such published 'evidence' is 'inadmissable' in a court of law.

    Being 'inadmissable' means that no 'evidence' of 'substance' can be used against Wiki.

    It's funny how 'immunity' from prosecution can come about 'accidentally' by the very law's that the state uses against those that are a threat to the state's impunity'.

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