back to article Uncle Sam snooping on US folks? Not without a warrant, lawmakers agree

The White House is already trying to sink a bipartisan law bill introduced on Tuesday that would rein in the Feds' powers to snoop on US persons without a warrant under the infamous FISA Section 702. This controversial surveillance tool is set to expire at the end of the year unless Congress reauthorizes it. This is causing …

  1. Sora2566 Bronze badge

    Finding out that Biden opposes banning warrentless searches made me respect him just that little bit less.

    I mean, I'm sure the other guy's even worse on this, but still.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Really ? Surprised the most hardcore Law & Order, Death Penalty Doubling, War on Drugs Warrior, Cold War Warrior, who built most of the last few decade's American Prison policy, statesman wouldn't object to any legal tool to lock people up ?

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      The administration in power always supports this sorts of stuff. If Trump was president he'd want basically the same thing in place. Not "section 702" since he's railed against it because he believes it was used against him, but he'd support something even worse that he could target against his enemies.

      Though the way he thinks now he probably doesn't care what laws are passed, he is planning to install yes-men in all leadership and oversight roles in the executive branch and just break laws whenever he wants. It takes time for the courts to catch up since by design they move slowly, and anyway if he doesn't obey the rulings the courts have no power to enforce them with a Trump yes-man like Eastman as head of the DOJ.

      So he will probably view the legislature and courts as irrelevant since the other two branches rely on a functioning and independent DOJ to be able to act as a check on the executive branch and insure the constitution is obeyed. He takes that away, he's basically emperor.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "he believes it was used against him"

        No believe about it, it WAS used against him.

        "he is planning to install yes-men in all leadership and oversight roles in the executive branch and just break laws whenever he wants"

        Hmm.. isn't this what both 44 and 46 did? And 43, 42, 41...

        1. Casca Silver badge

          lol, sure MAGA troll

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        @DS999

        "Not "section 702" since he's railed against it because he believes it was used against him, but he'd support something even worse that he could target against his enemies."

        It was used against him. Not just for the sick purpose of attacking a private individual, not just to try and ruin his reputation and standing, but also to violate the election system and try to interfere with the election process. There is a very visible lawfare effort going on against Trump using the various tools of the state and violations of rights and constitution to do so. I cant say I have seen anything from Trump to suggest he would do the same (I may be wrong). I suggest he would be more likely to try and dismantle this huge violation of America's rights.

        Your post seems to be particularly anti-Trump for some reason when what you have described seems to be whoever is running the current president and the president himself.

        Regardless such tools of mass violation without any real oversight (and there have been cases of oversight being lied to) are a tempting weapon ripe for abuse by whoever can use them. Even a police officer having access to a database of his ex's information.

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: @DS999

          So how is life in Q land going? How was that 'storm' then, or is it still just about to come? I get confused.

          Still, at least Trump will be back to battle the deep state lizard people real soon now right?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @DS999

            GP presented facts; you attack his character.

            You know someone has run out of ideas to defend their position when they resort to ad hominem attacks.

            1. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: @DS999

              Eh, I must have missed those facts, all I read were assertions like "Section 702 was used against Trump" with no evidence whatsoever.

              (Also, replying to a post as AC, and then replying again using your account is a bit gauche don't you think?)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @DS999

                Different AC to the previous one.

                https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/23/politics/fisa-carter-page-warrants/index.html

                https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/doj-inspector-general-found-all-four-carter-page-fisa-warrants-were-illegally-obtained-joe-digenova-says

                In response to the other AC, Ad Hom is all they have left.

          2. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @DS999

            @phuzz

            "So how is life in Q land going"

            Guessing you dont mean Queensland Aus (I am in the UK btw) I dunno what you are talking about.

            "How was that 'storm' then"

            Friggin sucked but was worse for other parts of the country. Although again I doubt you are talking about the actual storms so what are you on about?

            "Still, at least Trump will be back to battle the deep state lizard people real soon now right?"

            Someone needs to as per this article.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @DS999

              I dunno what you are talking about.

              "There's no such thing as QAnon." Hmm?

              It's funny when the 'pilled deny being pilled.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: @DS999

                @AC

                ""There's no such thing as QAnon." Hmm?"

                While I have heard of it that is about the extent of my knowledge of it (see it used as an insult but thats about it). How was I supposed to know thats what he was rambling on about?

                "It's funny when the 'pilled deny being pilled."

                While I get the reference of red pilled my first thoughts jumped to the jokes about Biden

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @DS999

                  "While I get the reference of red pilled my first thoughts jumped to the jokes about Biden"

                  Another reason why commenters assume you're red-pilled?

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: @DS999

                    @AC

                    "Another reason why commenters assume you're red-pilled?"

                    Because my opinion of the current sitting president isnt flattering? Thats not a high bar.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @DS999

          codejunky "I cant say I have seen anything from Trump"

          Are you an expert in cant ?

        3. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: @DS999

          Trump's legal problems are nothing to do with Section 702 -- his 'potentially illegal' actions were/are so blatant that they're effectively in the public domain (!).

          He's obviously against 702 unless/until it can be co-opted in his favor. In that sense he's just like any other politician.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @DS999

            His 'legal' problems have been concocted from the fever dreams of some people with a very serious case of TDS. The FISA warrant fraud in 2016 was just the start as the establishment swamp could not cope with the prospect of an outsider gaining access to their club.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: @DS999

              Even if you want to give him a total pass on everything that happened before he was president due to some irregularities about how a few of the warrants were issued, but there is SO MUCH EVIDENCE of his crimes after he lost (and yes despite what you want to believe he DID LOSE!) the election, and also his crimes with the classified material he stole and illegally retained after being "asked nicely" for it for over a year, then subpoenaed for it, with the perfectly legal and 100% justified search warrant finally executed.

              He will spend the rest of his life behind bars, quite justifiably. The fact that right wing media is lying to you about what evidence exists making you unaware of it is too bad. I'm sure you will be shocked when he is convicted (probably next spring since the first criminal trial starts in early March) and is taken into custody awaiting sentencing. They really need to televise the trial, so his MAGA crazies who might otherwise be inclined to violence when that happens will have been prepared for it by seeing for the first time the mountains of evidence against him.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @DS999

                "some irregularities" Really? They fabricated evidence! We're in the 'some people did some thing' energy here.

                I'm still awaiting this 'SO MUCH EVIDENCE' to show up. So far it has all been feelings and 'he told a bank he was worth more than we think he was worth but the bank still loaned him money and he paid it back and the bank was happy but we desperately need to try ANYTHING cos we are desperate and if we don't distract people with this show trial they might notice how awful life is under democrat rule'.

                It was perfectly fine to blather on about stolen elections in 2016 destroy and loot and also kill a few people along the way. Hillary even wrote a book about how she was robbed of the win. They are setting a very dangerous precedent with a very low bar.

                1. DS999 Silver badge

                  Re: @DS999

                  So far it has all been feelings and 'he told a bank

                  That's a civil case, it will just cost him money not his freedom. Its irrelevant. What matters are the criminal cases he'll stand trial for next year, which will cost him his freedom.

                  There was plenty of evidence presented by the Jan. 6 committee, but I'm guessing you didn't see any of it because you only had the slanted Faux News version to go by. You probably think all the rioters who were beating and pepper spraying police officers, breaking windows, defecating in congressional offices, etc. were "peaceful protesters" who have been unfairly prosecuted. You live in an alternate, fact free universe, carefully created by Karl Rove and his allies because he didn't like that his hero Dick Nixon was forced to resign rather than be indicted for his role in covering up the Watergate break-in 50 years ago. You are going to get a big wake up call when the evidence is put in front of your face and you won't have Sean Hannity telling you "don't look there look at this shiny object instead...Hunter Biden!"

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @DS999

                    Ah yes, the Jan 6th committee.

                    There is zero evidence of the pooping. The ONLY source of this is 'a source close to incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer'. No photos, no other people mentioned it, nothing. Only one mention in the summary of the Jan 6th report (yes I've read it) but again no actual evidence presented to back up the claim. I'd bet almost every member of congress and their staffers have phones with cameras. Someone would have taken a picture. No?

                    As for the evidence given at the committee, they were all very well coached, the questions very carefully crafted and all done to ensure only one outcome. You probably still believe that Trump grabbed the wheel of the beast and tried to drive back to the capitol. Again the person who testified that this event happened was not a first hand witness, nor a second hand witness, but had been told by someone who had been told by someone else. And lets not forget that Trump rides in the back seat of the beast and there is a sheet of bullet resistant glass between him and the driver... but we won't let actual facts get in the way. This whole saga that the media made sooo much from is rather absent from the Jan 6th report. Probably as they know it has no merit so could not actually commit it to writing.

                    As I've said before, if the Jan 6th protesters were serious about overthrowing the govt they would have. If it hadn't been for the large number of agitators and other govt people in the crowd (Ray Epps 'we are here to storm the capitol') then it would not have turned ugly. Video shows the capitol police opening doors for them to enter the building. Unlike the various riots in 2016, 2020 and many other years where entire buildings were razed to the ground, people dragged out of their cars and beaten and thousands of businesses looted. All encouraged by the dems and funded by actblue.

                    You are the one living in the fact free universe. Sorry.

        4. veti Silver badge

          Re: @DS999

          I cant say I have seen anything from Trump to suggest he would do the same (I may be wrong). I suggest he would be more likely to try and dismantle this huge violation of America's rights.

          Considering he's the one who signed the present iteration into law (the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017), I think you're being unreasonably generous there.

          Looking down this thread, it looks like the trolls are back in force. Starting to feel like summer 2016 all over again.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @DS999

            @veti

            "Considering he's the one who signed the present iteration into law (the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017), I think you're being unreasonably generous there."

            Fair catch

            "Looking down this thread, it looks like the trolls are back in force. Starting to feel like summer 2016 all over again."

            For some he seems to be the devil and others the messiah but both seem to forget he was a guy trying to run the country. I am not sure 2016 ever left, the events seem to have caused a lot of damage on both sides

  2. veti Silver badge

    This is what you get for trying to violate the rights of foreigners. The authors of the 14th amendment were wise, when they said that the same legal rights apply to every person "within its jurisdiction".

    Then lawmakers make these laws on the basis that they're meant to be used against foreigners. Quietly ignoring the fact that it would be blatantly unconstitutional to discriminate between subjects on the basis of nationality, even if there were some technically feasible means of doing it, which there isn't.

    Always remember, when lawmakers say they want to do something to foreigners, what they're really demanding is the right to do it to anyone. This includes you.

    1. OhForF' Silver badge

      lawfully collected?

      >"One of those red lines is the operationally unworkable and fundamentally inept requirement to go to a court before accessing already lawfully collected information,"<

      They implement a law that allows them to ignore anyones right to privacy saying it will only apply to foreigners outside the US. Next step they claim it is too hard to filter out any by-catch of data about US citizens or communications inside the US from their mass surveilance drag net but storing that data doesn't matter as they pinky promise not to look at it. Looks like the current administration doesn't remember those promises.

  3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    If the American courts are anything like the British ones, the judges will just sign everything without question or oversight, so making the whole process pointless.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Perhaps the US should get some judges that are 'enemies of the people'?

  4. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Prevention?

    The rationale is being spun to make it seem like if the spies come into possession of information without a warrant that points to a cyber attack, assassination attempt or other major crime, they would be prevented from acting to prevent it. That's utter tripe. What's being proposed is they can't purposefully gather information that is expected to have some margin of privacy and that if they "accidentally" do get some, it's not going to be admissible in a court at trial nor be able to be used as the basis for proper warrants or permission to conduct evidence gathering raids.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Prevention?

      You're describing what should happen. In practice -- and borne out by history -- is that once a person ceases to be a no account, unimportant generic citizen and starts supporting -- say-- Civil Rights then they become a 'person of interest' and they're subject to surveillance.

      Random people have only had nothing to fear because they've got nothing of interest for the security services. However, if you collect enough data you can use the patterning to predict future behaviors and both guide the population and preempt any troublemakers. How that affects you personally depends on the definition of 'troublemaker'.

  5. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    So, the authorities argument is better having thousands of innocent people under surveillance and their privacy annihilated if it could maybe stop one criminal?

    Why not putting every one in jail then, so all criminals would be locked up too?

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Why not putting every one in jail then, so all criminals would be locked up too?

      Not too far from that already.

      Natch, if you're one of the latter-day brown shirts, you're exempted...for the time being, anyway.

  6. Tubz Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I'm sure one of the 3 letter agencies will be opening their bag of dirty tricks and dodgy digital dossiers on the Senate and House of Representatives, to ensure they toe the line and vote for renewal.

  7. Rol

    This is all a distraction. The US has been snooping on the rest of the world and its own citizens using friendly proxies such as Saudi Arabia, who will never be held accountable.

    They can continue to do as they like, no matter congress's opinion on the matter, so this is nothing more than a charade to keep the masses thinking there is some form of oversight on mass snooping, when it's actually no holds barred.

  8. Tron Silver badge

    Keep 702.

    Why should Americans have protections that they are happy to strip from foreign citizens?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keep 702.

      WTH is a "foreign citizen"?

      Do you mean "Citizens of other countries"? Or just regular "Foreigners", also referred to a "Aliens". None of which are a constituent of the elected representatives, and are therefore irrelevant.

  9. j2f8j8j2fj

    Oh no! With all this infighting the government might be forced to respect citizens' privacy!

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