back to article Crafty plan to give FBI warrantless access to browser histories axed

A sly attempt to grant the FBI warrantless access to people's browser histories in the US has been shot down by politicians. Unfortunately, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act of 2015, which would have brought in some privacy safeguards for Americans, was cut down in the crossfire. The ECPA …

  1. Justin S.

    I can't understand Senator Cornyn. Perhaps he should remove Comey's d**k from his mouth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good ole Texass

      It could be a lot worse. He could be the other Texas senator. Still considering him and Mike Lee are usually birds of a feather sadly he might actually even be more progressive on this issue than Cornyn. Ouch.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    <string of expletives deleted> Stupid, stupid, stupid <expletive deleted>. Of all the idiocy out of Texas and certain other states, this one takes the cake. In one stroke this ass broke what seems to be a good bill. For a bit there, I thought the Congress might work together and across party lines to solve problems... I was obviously deluded.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why not let the confederate states have independence? Then they can do crazy stuff on their own.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm still trying to map out how many states we carve California into. Definitely multiple personality disorder here and I'm a native!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Why not let the confederate states have independence??

        I guess the thinking was we didn't need yet another 3rd world country to the south of us bleeding unskilled economic refugees.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          good entertainment

          The entertainment value of following the unbridled mis-steps and misfires of a CSA that could have been might be high.

          For example, they would almost certainly have tried to conquer Mexico, and probably have been beaten badly when the British, Spain and others intervened.

          A CSA without the North's industrial power would have been long on colonial ambition but laughably short on means.

          No doubt the Texas senator would enjoy his alternate life as a corrupt landlord remanded to prison for trying to evade taxes imposed by a postwar government of the Mexican territory of Texas.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: good entertainment

            For example, they would almost certainly have tried to conquer Mexico, and probably have been beaten badly when the British, Spain and others intervened.

            I don't think the British would have intervened as they were silent supporters and continuing to buy all the cotton they could get from the South.

            A CSA without the North's industrial power would have been long on colonial ambition but laughably short on means.

            That was one of the problems. The South was actually paying more in taxes than the industrial north and every time someone down there tried to set up a steel mill, factory of any sort, it simply failed. Many reasons for the failing, but usually because the expertise for these was in the north and there was a "boycott" (if you want to call it that) on workers, managers who knew the processes, etc. to keep them from heading south.

            1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

              Re: good entertainment

              and there was a "boycott"

              Simpler than that.

              Every time someone tried to set it up in the South, they tried to set it up using slave labor. Even if the new mill owners wanted to use free labor they still resorted to slaves because there was no qualified free labor available locally. Enticing the necessary amount of free labor to relocate from the North was failing on economical grounds - too expensive.

              So the industrial failure of the CSA is a natural result of the rule of thumb that slave labor does not go well with industrial processes. Working in a factory != picking cotton.

              1. Sherrie Ludwig

                Re: good entertainment

                Simpler than that.

                Every time someone tried to set it up in the South, they tried to set it up using slave labor. Even if the new mill owners wanted to use free labor they still resorted to slaves because there was no qualified free labor available locally. Enticing the necessary amount of free labor to relocate from the North was failing on economical grounds - too expensive.

                Even simpler than that: The South cannot feed itself. There is simply not enough land and climate suitable for growing staples like wheat and corn to support the population. One strong contributing factor to the victory of the North was that the North was encouraging European immigrants to come and homestead the Great Plains area in which both land and climate is good for wheat.

  3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    A very dim Congress critter

    Cronyn is trying prove Czar Reed's dictum; the average Congress critter can only subtract from the sum total of human knowledge. Czar Reed was the Speaker of the US House of Representatives in the 1890's.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: A very dim Congress critter

      These apply as well: http://www.twainquotes.com/Congress.html

      1. Fatman

        Re: A very dim Congress critter

        This one struck me:

        <quote>Whiskey is carried into committee rooms in demijohns and carried out in demagogues.

        - Notebook, 1868</quote>

        IMHO, Cornyn has drunk heavily from the cask of stupidity.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A very dim Congress critter

      Hey anytime a Speaker of the House is not molesting young boys for decades its a win I guess. The best is how that POS and his stupid rule is half the reason Congress is the friggin train wreck it is. Special place in hell reserved for that shit bird.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That 30-year-old act made sense back in the day of 20MB hard drives and when we stored own emails on our own computers

    Some of us still do store emails on our own computers.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      The article's wrong as giving that as the reason. The FBI would have needed a warrant to get into your house to search e-mail on your computer anyway.

      1. Jeffrey Nonken

        I tend to agree. The rule made some sense when we tended to download and store our emails locally, full stop. The rule refers to emails that have been left on the SERVER for more than 180 days, not simply stored for more than 180 days. The cops wouldn't need access to your equipment to get to them. Server space was spendy in those days.

        Though it seems to me it did pretty much screw anybody using IMAP.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Depends how you use IMAP. If you use it for mobile devices to keep abreast of incomings; then have a POP account hoovering everything up when you're back at base it all works OK. If you leave everything on someone else's computer permanently then it's just a matter of time until someone adds you to their trophy wall, I reckon.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What retards

    Vote for these retards

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What retards

      Well sadly the 1%ers give us two shitty choices (who are both usually rich) and tell us how great democracy is. My %1er club is so much better than yours.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: What retards

      A. Tejanos

      Next question?

  6. IT Hack

    Republicans

    Always looking out for the little guy fighting 'big gov'...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Republicans

      And sadly often the other side with tools such as Barbara Boxer only differ in their rhetoric.

  7. Chris G Silver badge

    Double barb

    Anyone think that maybe the late introduction of this amendment on to this particular bill was intended to produce a win win situation?

    If it passed the FBI get the access they want, if it didn't pass, there is still less protection for American citizens from them.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Double barb

      Yeah, that's the bit I don't understand. How can a bill, once past it's first reading, forcibly have an amendment added by someone else. Surely the whole point of the reading is to show the rest of congress what's in it so they can discuss and vote on it and those opposed can propose amendments and discuss them and maybe agree to the amendment(s)

      Based on what I'm seeing here, it appears that anyone in congress can add a rider or amendment such that it could negate, or be unrelated to the original bill thus either sneaking through extra laws or sabotaging something that everyone else actually wants.

      1. Jeffrey Nonken

        Re: Double barb

        Yeah, that's pretty much the kind of thing that makes our country great.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        @ John Brown (no body) -- Re: Double barb

        John, you're clearly not from 'round here.

        "First Reading" is a quaint Parliamentary rule. In case you hadn't noticed, (or even if you had), we don't have a Parliament, nor do we do First Readings in these here parts....

        One of the reasons is that not many of the Congrescritters can read...

  8. Snowy
    Joke

    Or...

    The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Amendments Act of 2015, which would have brought in some privacy safeguards for Americans, was cut down in the from a bullet in the form of a blatant attempt to grant the FBI warrantless access to people's browser histories.

    Fix it for you :D

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah. again that old meta data excuse..

    Again we see someone attempting to label meta data as something less important.

    "It's only IP addresses"

    Well, there is a well published answer to that by someone who I think we can consider authoritative, and I think we should really stop making the distinction when it comes to warrantless access. That ought to stop in full IMHO unless there is sufficient accountability in place to get people thrown into jail for abuse.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I often wonder how the USA manages to function.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I often wonder how the USA manages to function.

      "Exist" < > "Function" ..

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Don't we all, AC. Don't we all.

  11. Bob Dole (tm)
    Facepalm

    Republicans...

    You'd think that after Trump kicked the crap out of all the other Republican candidates that they'd get the message that the American people are sick of this "surveillance for your own good" garbage.

    These guys have gone completely off the reservation. I'm not sure if it's shear stupidity, willful ignorance or an actual god complex. Regardless, it needs to stop.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Republicans...

      Regardless, it needs to stop.

      There's not even a small sign that that is on the cards in the near future. Like the bully with a rich and well armed dad at school, they know there is little that can touch them unless everyone gangs up on them at once. That's why they they have people everywhere ensuring enough strife that that never happens, but that's also why they don't like the EU very much.

      The EU is presently showing that it cam possibly become a threat (by, for instance, being a bit stubborn about pesky privacy laws that get in the way of US companies making serious money) so the US is not very happy with the UK Possibly bailing on it because that would remove their leverage (it's more or less the only argument I have found *for* a Brexit, being non-UK).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Republicans...

        I would like to assure you personally that, despite what Mr Cameron and Mr Obama would tell you, the UK public doesn't give a flying fuck WHAT the USA thinks about our "relationship" with the EU.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Republicans...

          I would like to assure you personally that, despite what Mr Cameron and Mr Obama would tell you, the UK public doesn't give a flying fuck WHAT the USA thinks about our "relationship" with the EU.

          Yes, but we all know that what happens in the backrooms of what is laughingly referred to as a "democratic" UK is what really matters. IMHO, one T Blair proved that rather comprehensibly a couple of years ago and the UK is still dealing with the fallout of that particular episode of blind robbery.

          Personally, I think the US-UK relationship is currently "special" in an abusive rather than preferential way, with the US in the Jimmy Saville role. Given current political dynamics, that relationship may prove costly when attempting to renegotiate trade agreements and legislative frameworks after a Brexit..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Trump

      What does Trump have to do with it? I haven't heard him come out against the surveillance state - in fact he was on the FBI's side in their recent battle with Apple! Besides, it isn't just republicans supporting this as Obama not only didn't stop the warrantless spying Bush started but expanded it. The government only pulled back when Snowden leaked proof of it and made them look bad.

      1. Bob Dole (tm)

        Re: Trump

        Trumps role isn't that he is for or against a surveillance state. Honestly, it doesn't matter what his stance his.

        His role is that he isn't beholden, and therefore not controlled by, any of the existing parties. Which, quite frankly, is his main draw to more than a few people no matter how much of a pompous ass he might be.

    3. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

      Re: Republicans...

      Bob you are missing an important point. It doesn't matter which way Americans turn, one party has us by the ears and the other has us by the hips. They just trade places when we spin.

      But you did notice that the original bill that safeguarded privacy was bipartisan and had a Republican and a Democrat as co-authors? One d*ckhead that happens to be a Republican trainwrecked it. If he hadn't taken one for the team I'm sure one of his buddies in the Senate would have (D or R) though.

  12. Someone Else Silver badge

    Gotta love those Senators from Vermont.

    Which are in stark contrast to those from Texasistan

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So keen to avoid court oversight

    Recently one of the judges pointed out that its the *courts* that are going dark. Laws are being passed by tricks and lies, that remove court oversight from surveillance laws.

    Without the courts, there is no feedback mechanism to the politicians/voters, it becomes a big self-regulation process. One of the big issues with that, is Charlie in office X dreams up some random interpretation of a law and Bob in office Y follows *that* interpretation, rather than the actual laws. The office splits off into some faction that will no longer follow the laws of the land.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. WatAWorld

    My only question is what the FBI has on Senator John Cornyn?

    My only question is what the FBI has, thanks to past supposedly legal spying, on Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) that would cause the Senator to act against the interest of his constituents and his country?

    I mean, why would the guy just turn against regular American citizens?

    It seems to me, and this is just my opinion, that the bureaucracy must have some hold on him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My only question is what the FBI has on Senator John Cornyn?

      They don't need anything on the people in power. He knows these laws will be applied to the little guy like you and me, not to people that matter like him.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My only question is what the FBI has, thanks to past supposedly legal spying, on Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) that would cause the Senator to act against the interest of his constituents and his country?

    Check his track record. The bureaucracy does not really need any extra grip on him, he strikes me as insane enough all by himself.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fucking Browser Intruders

    Almost as bad as the Collecting Internet Always department and Gotta Collect Hefty Quantities.

    We need a collective acronym I think...

    I suggest Trawling Internet Traffic Secretly or TITS.

    We can then collectively refer to whistle blower antics as TITSUP or Trawling Internet Traffic Secretly Uncovered Publically.

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Fucking Browser Intruders

      ...But I *LIKE* tits...!

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