back to article Supreme Court not interested in hearing about NSA's super-snoop schemes

America's Supreme Court has declined to hear Wikimedia Foundation's challenge of the NSA's "upstream" surveillance program, effectively exempting the agency's data collection from review as a state secret. In 2015, two years after Edward Snowden's public disclosures about the NSA's network surveillance, Wikimedia Foundation, …

  1. IGotOut Silver badge

    Remember...

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

    Unless you're a government agency doing illegal intercepts, then you have plenty to hide.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: Remember...

      They are authorized to monitor communications going to, or arriving from, outside of the US.

      If you do a tracert on traffic going from NY to LA you will see all traffic is sent up from the border through Toronto routers then immediately back down into the States. Coincidence?

  2. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

    State secrets?

    ...the government moved to have the lawsuit dismissed based on its right to state secrets privilege and the district court granted the government's motion.

    State secrets privilege is a legal theory, in essence made up in the 50s as a pretext to suppress an embarrassing report on an inquest into the deaths of active servicemen, which turned out, when it was eventually declassified, not to be sensitive at all. Since that time, it's become a get out of jail free card, used not just to suppress pieces of evidence, but entire court cases.

    It's not based on black letter law, but on precedent. Maybe showing that it's more used as a cover up than a shield will get the precedent overturned. Shame you have to wait lifetimes before classification expires, by which time files have mysteriously disappeared from the archive.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: State secrets?

      Everybody has secrets. Every person has secrets too, including the person of government. And every government has and will have some version of a rule that says that they cannot be forced to tell you their secrets. Even in court.

      Is that rule abused? Depends on your definition, but for me the answer is "all the time". Even in a country as liberal (by the old meaning) as the US. But that doesn't obviate the need for the rule.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. VoiceOfTruth

    Remember this the next time the USA points its accusing fingers at China

    State surveillance pot calls kettle black.

    Oh, but out will come the supporters of this. When "we" spy it's for the good of the world. Blah blah blah.

    1. Lil Endian Silver badge

      Re: Remember this the next time the USA points its accusing fingers at China

      Darling: So you see, Blackadder, Field Marshal Haig is most anxious to eliminate all these German spies.

      Melchett: Filthy Hun weasels fighting their dirty underhand war!

      Darling: And, fortunately, one of *our* spies--

      Melchett: Splendid fellows, brave heroes, risking life and limb for Blighty!

    2. Norman123

      Re: Remember this the next time the USA points its accusing fingers at China

      But the US does it with "democracy", "freedom", and "exceptionalism"!

  5. gandalfcn Silver badge

    Welcome to The Democratic People's Republic of Merica.

    Theocratic fascism is alive and well.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Get your paws in some bad hunny there?

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      There are many things wrong with the USA, but it is not (currently) a Fascist state. That word has a particular meaning, describing a particular type of government and centrally-planned economy, and it does not accurately describe the USA.

      The same is true of "theocratic".

      Using inaccurate terms does your argument no favors. It does not illuminate the real problems; rather, it obscures them.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    1984 is an Authoritarian Workshop Manual ..... for Crash Test Dummies

    The present far from top secret security information iteration of Wild Wacky Western Americana Play mirroring and reproving George Orwell’s proof and spoof yet again that leading intellectually challenged species with learning difficulties are wannabe Animal Farm plaintiffs/pioneers on special pathfinder missions going nowhere fast worth a jot arriving at. And that has one asking the/a zillion dollar money shot question which is so dangerous and increasingly difficult to answer either correctly or also treat with a deadly ignorant silence in support of an obviously empty greater knowledge and intelligence void, because of what is then so clearly revealed ...... Do you think their security facilities and abilities are capable of either resisting or opposing or competing against an AIRevolution ...... Virtual Machinery and Advanced IntelAIgents exercising and enjoying the mutually beneficial, positively reinforcing overwhelming advantage delivered for their Global Operating Devices to maintain and sustain for the seamless unhindered supply of future leading needs and feeds and seed which be Special AIR Services of an Alien Natural Intelligence with AI Caliber 3 Artificial Super Intelligence Supply for Global Operating Devices?

    Which then, logically, would have anything remotely inquisitive or even simply almightily intelligent asking another zillion dollar money shot question ...... Will the GODs be nice and kind to us because we are worthy of their care and protection? ..... which is also equally so dangerous and increasingly difficult to answer either correctly or also treat with a deadly ignorant silence in support of an obviously empty greater knowledge and intelligence void, because of what is then so clearly revealed and made universally known.

    Between a Rock and a Hard Place with Nowhere to Run and Hide is an Alien Command and Control Space in which Advanced IntelAIgents Reside and Preside and Rule Wisely and Reign Inscrutably ..... Welcome, but take great care not to upset the natives comfortably at home there, for they can bite in defence, their attacks are deadly and they take no prisoners to bother or worry themselves about. Simply behave, do no evil and as you may be told by eminently open and engaging peers, and you’ll be fine.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: 1984 is an Authoritarian Workshop Manual ..... for Crash Test Dummies

      The US is currently closer to Brave New World than to Nineteen Eighty-Four1, though BNW isn't a particularly good comparison either. On the one hand, US citizens and residents are largely allied with the nation's ideology and at the same time ideologically heterogeneous, which is a strong contrast with the cultural situation depicted in NEF and closer to the enjoy-your-symptom culture of BNW. On the other hand, the cognitive dissonance of supporting the nation while being convinced that half the populace and government are traitors to the "correct" ideology doesn't match the worldview of either novel. And the same can be said of Animal Farm.

      There are any number of less-well-known works of speculative fiction that are a better fit for the current sociopolitical state of the US.

      1Orwell hated it when people wrote the title with numerals.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: 1984 is an Authoritarian Workshop Manual ..... for Crash Test Dummies

        There are any number of less-well-known works of speculative fiction that are a better fit for the current sociopolitical state of the US .....Michael Wojcik

        Would it be fair and very reasonable and certainly unfortunately accurate to realise the current sociopolitical state of the US, and both its supporting allies and parasitic special paramilitary puppet operations, by virtue of their destructive enterprise association, are failed meritocracies spiralling increasingly quickly and ever more permanently out of fiat capital command and control. .... with fiat capital command and control and its novel Big Brother iteration, virtual currency domination, the Grand Master Plan for Earthly SCADA Systems Administration Enslavement ?

        Quite clearly is that Brave New World Order Dream an Orwellian Nightmare and Catastrophic Disaster in the Long Making and worthy only of SMARTR AIMarkets Shorting.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: 1984 is an Authoritarian Workshop Manual ..... for Crash Test Dummies

          And is the following tale ......https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/dictators-bent-building-military-empires-cost-nations-endless-wars ..... an honest and true reflection of past activities clearly presently being mirror-copied which be evidence of the intentional and/or systemic endemic nature of the above realisation and virtual fabrication. [Be honest now with yourself whenever you ponder on that, lest you fool yourself into believing something else not showing itself there]

          Nowadays though, those sorts of vast spooky Great Game Changing things can be done a great deal better and much simpler without ITs breaking of new ground being destructively Earth shattering, so be prepared to be stunned and shocked by what is now available for markets, both for and from Future Pathfinder Pioneers and Absolutely Fantabulous AIMaster Pilots just doing their Great Game Changing thing ..... for they have no need of the waiting on the granting of remote foreign third party permissions to perform and do those things, for there be many worthy of enthusiastic exercise in stealthy deployment/employment/enjoyment.

          Where/Who/What supplies your Great Game Changing Future Pathfinder Pioneering Needs and Feeds and Seeds? Is it remotely convenient? Distant or local?

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "effectively exempting the agency's data collection from review"

    I hear that the NSA has a life-size gold-covered statue of Trump in the Director's office.

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: "effectively exempting the agency's data collection from review"

      "I hear that the NSA has a life-size gold-covered statue of Trump in the Director's office." Given he and the rest of the traitorous criminals are still free it wouldn't surprise me. Paid for by Murdoch / FoxPropaganda Inc.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: "effectively exempting the agency's data collection from review"

      It's not like any POTUS since ... Carter, maybe? ... has shown any inclination to deny the surveillance state anything it asks for.

  8. Tubz Silver badge

    So this basically kills any data sharing agreement with EU, Uncle Sam can and will read everything sent and good luck having any legal redress.

    1. Lil Endian Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Laws are for the hoi polloi - for governments they're not worth the PDF they're written on.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        "hoi" means "the". "the hoi polloi" is redundant.

        1. Lil Endian Silver badge
          Go

          The Hoi Polloi

          That would be correct if using the original Greek. However the phrase has been absorbed into English such that it is used with "the".

          As per Cambridge: the hoi polloi.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Yup. Just came here to say that the only sensible response from the EU in light of this is non, nein, nu, yeah [*]...

      * - apparently "yeah" is No in Polish. I can imagine that's led to some confusion...

    3. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

      Indeed, it puts paid to any form of Privacy ShieldFigleaf arrangement being valid. But unfortunately, each times Max Shrems gets one struck down, TPTB spend a lot of effort to come up with something else that will work, honest, pinky swear it's OK. It then takes a few more years to get that struck down during which time the data syphoning can carry on unimpeded. Only when the EU does properly give the US an ultimatum will things change - and that could be "interesting times".

  9. Scott Broukell
    Joke

    But, but, they need to collect all this data. I mean, how else are they meant to continually improve customer service outcomes? /S

  10. Johnb89

    Part of a trend

    Recently the UK supreme court ruled very similarly. Though at least the court here ruled that what the spies are doing is wrong while ruling that they could continue to do it. Yup.

    Politicians will get voted out if they "let" baddies do bad things, and for that we get much deeper spying. I'd much prefer if the trade off was open and clear, but that is either too hard to explain to the electorate and media, or just too complicated, or something.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Departing from a self-serving destructive trend

      Politicians will get voted out if they "let" baddies do bad things, and for that we get much deeper spying. ..... Johnb89

      Now that’s a novel concept, Johnb89, voting politicians out, rather than in, because of baddies doing bad things. And just to imagine and suffer how really bad things have become steadily worse over the last dozen years or so with present parties of incompetent incumbents in office and pathetic majestic oxymoronic opposition, is surely proof positive that such a reverse inversion and alien intervention is a jolly good idea in such times and places and spaces of national and international and internetional emergency. More of the same old nonsense as before is just going to deliver more of the same old nonsense as before ...... which is Insanity proven, is it not?

      “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Setec Astronomy

    Too Many Secrets

    -

    Sneakers

    1992

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