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US Congressman Announces Plans To Probe Wikileaks 311

Posted by kdawson
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
eldavojohn writes "Congressman Peter King (R-NY) is calling for a probe into Wikileaks with regard to the recent publication of half a million 9/11 pager messages. He has announced that he plans to have his Washington staff begin a preliminary investigation because Wikileaks' action 'raises security issues.' A word of caution: Congressman King has been known to make inflammatory and unpopular statements."
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US Congressman Announces Plans To Probe Wikileaks

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  • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @09:19AM (#30282142) Journal

    As pager traffic is totally unencrypted, it's not a surprise that someone might be intercepting them. Especially on Wall Street, like the article states, because it's high valued information. Of course, pagers are pretty much used only in USA... phone/sms traffic elsewhere is better encrypted.

    So will government understand that all communications over the Internet too (browsing, email, im) have to be changed over SSL? Or will they do the normal thing; ignore the problem and just arrest and sue the guy who was intercepting that traffic and/or wikileaks because they're supposedly risk to security, along with demanding more government regulation on the Internet?

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @09:26AM (#30282180) Journal
      The realities of the issue don't make one iota of difference. King is a right-wing demagogue... he'll say whatever he thinks will appeal to his blue-collar Irish Catholic base.

      The fact that pager signals are easily intercepted and are typically sent in plain text means nothing, nor does the concept of a free press to this man. He, like many career politicians, only cares for what serves his purposes.

      Maybe I'm a bit overly cynical this morning, since I've only had one cup of coffee so far... but it's men like Peter King who would gladly usher in fascism if they stood to gain from it.
      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @09:40AM (#30282324) Journal
        I think you are being a little unfair.

        Men like Peter King would gladly usher in fascism just for the warm and fuzzies it would give them. The gains would just be gravy.
        • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @10:42AM (#30282992) Journal

          Men like Peter King would gladly usher in fascism just for the warm and fuzzies it would give them.

          He's already working on that. He recently introduced legislation [foxnews.com] that would grant the Attorney General the right to infringe on your constitutional rights without due process. He thinks the Federal Government should have the right to put your name on a list and take away your right to keep and bear arms without any burden of proof whatsoever.

          What's wrong with that picture?

          • What's wrong with that picture?

            Uhh, the Dems are in charge so he should be whining like the rest of his party about unchecked socialistic power? Seriously, this:

            He recently introduced legislation that would grant the Attorney General the right to infringe on your constitutional rights without due process.

            would have made sense 2 years ago, but now? He's committing career suicide enabling the Dems in this fashion. Weird.
            • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:04AM (#30283344) Journal

              Advocating for gun control measures in New York State is anything but "political suicide" I'm afraid. He'll sell this crap to his constituents as being "tough on terror" and the morons will eat it up hook, line and sinker. In the end the only thing that will suffer is our Constitution and civil liberties.

              • by baKanale (830108)

                The only reason it's not political suicide is because he's in New York's 3rd Congressional District, which is on Long Island. Long Island and New York City are much more liberal than most of the state. New York is only a "blue state" because the city vastly outnumbers everyone else, a fact that many people up in Central and Western NY generally resent. Nearly anywhere north of the city and he'd be tarred and feathered in about five minutes.

                • by Shakrai (717556)

                  a fact that many people up in Central and Western NY generally resent.

                  Yeah, I live in Binghamton, so I know all about it.

                  I don't know as if you can claim it's only a blue state because of the city though. Schemer and Spitzer won virtually every county (the former all but one, the latter all but two) in the last statewide elections. It would definitely be a more moderate state without the city though.

          • Well, unless they show they're part of a well regulated Militia, of course. It's necessary to the security of a free State, y'know!
            • by Nadaka (224565)

              the militia during the revolutionary period (the militia referenced in the constitution) consisted of all able bodied adult white male citizens.

              • by FatSean (18753)

                So it's less of a stretch to just ignore the militia phrase rather then re-think what militia means today?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Sylver Dragon (445237)
              US CODE: Title 10, Subtitle A, Part I, Chapter 13, SubSection 311:[1 [cornell.edu]]

              (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

              (b) The classes of the militia are—

              (1) the organized militia, which consists of the
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Tawnos (1030370)

              I'm sure you're just trolling, because this issue was recently decided in Heller.

      • by furball (2853)

        he'll say whatever he thinks will appeal to his blue-collar Irish Catholic base.

        Why are we blaming him then? His voters put him in office. It's their discretion if they should not vote for him again if his actions don't meet their requirements. Political corruption and ineptness will always rise to meet society's acceptable level of corruption and ineptness.

        Once they go over the level accepted by society, the politicians are removed in an appropriate manner.

        • by Shakrai (717556)

          Why are we blaming him then? His voters put him in office.

          You mean the 'voters that his political party picked to ensure that a Republican would win that seat' picked him, right?

          Link [wikipedia.org] for people who have no idea what I'm talking about.

        • Why are we blaming him then? His voters put him in office. It's their discretion if they should not vote for him again if his actions don't meet their requirements. Political corruption and ineptness will always rise to meet society's acceptable level of corruption and ineptness.

          No, his voters were given the choice of voting for him or for his opponent. The political machine and wealthy connections gave him the money to run his campaign, gave him the support to run, and most importantly, ensured he runs un

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        No, you're not being cynical. People who think that *is* being cynical are the masses who allow these Machiavellian scumbags to rise to power in the first place. To paraphrase what a political science prof. of mine once said: "Of course a politician cares about more than getting elected. He also cares about getting reelected too."
      • by Culture20 (968837)

        King is a right-wing demagogue... he'll say whatever he thinks will appeal to his blue-collar Irish Catholic base.

        Aren't blue-collar Irish Catholics generally union members (D)?

        • by Shakrai (717556)

          Aren't blue-collar Irish Catholics generally union members (D)?

          If you want to paint with a broad brush they are usually the so-called "Reagan Democrats", i.e: socially conservative democrats.

        • Not on Long Island. Not in NJ, either, not for a long time. Today Irish Catholics tend to be Republicans, because of the wedge issues of abortion and other "family values" (not to mention race) the Republican party used to split that demographic away from the Democratic Party in the 90s.

          Note that King's fiscal base is wealthy Irish Catholics and Jews (both tend to be conservative Republicans), but his voting base is blue-collar. That's how the Republican party works, especially in suburban areas.
      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        While it is easy to just dismiss this man is it really fair?
        Yes pager traffic is unencrypted but you could make a claim that the uses have a valid assumption of privacy. Email is also not encrypted, how you like all your email published on the net?
        For the most part I find Wikileaks to be nothing but tabloid press at it's worst. They have a right to freedom of the press but they are not knight in shinning armor that many people on slashdot hold them up to be. Frankly they seem to miss the difference between

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          >Email is also not encrypted, how you like all your email published on the net?

          Actually, I assume that all of my email is discoverable and could wind up being published somewhere. For that reason, I am careful what I write, and I use PGP for the more sensitive things.

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            I do also but we are in the minority. Most people will assume that pages and emails are private. I for one do not need to see pages sent between parents wondering if there children are safe or between husbands and wives wondering if the spouse got out of the tower alive.
            Yes I know technically that emails are as public as post cards and that pages are not encrypted but most people don't. In this as is many cases Wikileaks is just being a tabloid.

      • by pablo_max (626328)

        whoa whoa whoa...
        I am Irish Catholic and I think the man is an ass. Not all religious folks are bigoted morons who use fear for control.

    • You are asking someone in government to understand something slightly technical.

      YOU FAIL. Try again.

    • by sribe (304414)

      As pager traffic is totally unencrypted...

      It is however illegal to snoop other people's pager traffic. Why, I'll bet most of your phone calls are unencrypted...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Red Flayer (890720)

        It is however illegal to snoop other people's pager traffic.

        Source, please. Pagers use a radio broadcast, IIRC it is not illegal to snoop them, especially considering there is no security barrier to break. Plus no warrant is required for law enforcement to snoop them either, which lends credence to the idea that they are public broadcasts.

        Why, I'll bet most of your phone calls are unencrypted...

        Landline calls are privileged correspondence, not a broadcast (unlike pager signals). I have Verizon as a wirel

  • by siddesu (698447) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @09:35AM (#30282282)
    What will his staff do, read the Wikipedia page about Wikileaks and report back? With senators having so much free time and resources, it is little wonder that US is facing a deficit in the small trillions.
    • by purpledinoz (573045) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @09:43AM (#30282354)
      Wikileaks is hosted by a Swedish company. The US can't do shit about it.
      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @09:47AM (#30282388) Journal
        How many decades of our foreign policy have you slept through?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Grygus (1143095)
        Isn't that what we said about Pirate Bay? Didn't those guys end up in jail without breaking any laws in their country?
        • Nobody knows yet, whether or not the three founders of TPB and their financer will do prison time: the first court did indeed sentence them to prison, but the verdict was appealed. The next court has yet to start proceedings. Once that court is done we still have to wait for the Swedish Supreme court to have it's say (I have no doubt the verdict will be appealed by the loosing side...). We might even have to wait for the European Court to say something in the matter, before anybody actually has to do any ti
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Wikileaks is hosted by a Swedish company. The US can't do shit about it

        Saddam Hussein is dictator of Iraq. The US can't do shit about him.

        Oh wait...

      • by V!NCENT (1105021)

        What about the Pirate Bay? Ah yes...

    • by Dunbal (464142)

      it is little wonder that US is facing a deficit in the small trillions.

      Come now. Of course in order to be able to read these messages, his staff will need new computers, blackberries, iPhones and high speed internet connections - both at the office and, because they're so hard-working, at home too. It's only logical that such an undertaking cost at least $10-15 million. But just think, this is money the government is spending to stimulate the private sector, which means that by doing t

    • What will his staff do, read the Wikipedia page about Wikileaks and report back? With senators having so much free time and resources, it is little wonder that US is facing a deficit in the small trillions.

      Not really. You see, by "probe", they mean "skim until the Senator's name comes up".

    • by cgenman (325138)

      it is little wonder that US is facing a deficit in the small trillions.

      To be fair, there is really no such thing as a small trillion.

    • What will his staff do, read the Wikipedia page about Wikileaks and report back?

      No, they will consult with their friendly lobbyists and reprint whatever they provide.

  • 'national security' ... as far as I am concerned, if this is scaring some people in power, it's doing its job. It may not be press in the traditional sense, but it does appear to be something of a resurrection of that old check and balance.
  • by mwilliamson (672411) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @09:57AM (#30282524) Homepage Journal
    So what is the big deal? This data was sent out unencrypted from many transmitters all across the nation. It would have been (and still is) very easy to intercept. There is no data security. Those considering it a secure medium have simply been mislead. Congress, as a whole, is rather ignorant of these technical concepts. There are programs that use a soundcard for data capture, but for best results make sure and use the receiver's discriminator output, not the filtered audio out. Google for "POCSAG and FLEX decoding" for all the goodies and software you need to do your own intercepts. -Michael
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drerwk (695572)
      Just because you can do something does not make it legal to do.
      Or, do you believe that an door is unlocked door is an invitation to enter? I believe what you describe doing falls under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_Communications_Privacy_Act [wikipedia.org]. "ECPA prohibits unlawful access and certain disclosures of communication contents. " See also: John and Alice Martin http://www.nytimes.com/1997/04/24/us/florida-couple-are-charged-in-taping-of-gingrich-ca [nytimes.com]
    • So what is the big deal? This data was sent out unencrypted from many transmitters all across the nation. It would have been (and still is) very easy to intercept. There is no data security.

      The telecommunications privacy act made it illegal to pass on any information recorded that wasn't intended for you to receive (I'm over-simplifying) - this law was a compromise between the telephone companies and everyone else - instead of requiring encryption for over the air stuff, they just made it illegal to do anything with the information intercepted - saving the telcos the cost having to implement encryption. A number of congress droids who thought it was a good idea have been hoisted by their own

  • word of caution? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by horatio (127595)

    A word of caution: Congressman King has been known to make inflammatory and unpopular statements.

    Word of caution my ass. Every congressman says dopey things that someone finds inflammatory and unpopular. Why is it pointed out here so specifically? How about leaving the bullshit sniping behind when posting the summaries there, kdawson?

    • King is more outspoken than most.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
      If I were to compare politians to Christians, King is the equivalent of Westboro' Southern Baptist. Controversial for the sake of getting his agenda in the papers.
      • by pjt33 (739471)

        If I were to compare politians to Christians, King is the equivalent of Westboro' Southern Baptist.

        So he's not really a politician but he likes to think that he is?

  • ... if there really is one (it's more of a privacy issue isn't it?), isn't that Wikileaks got a hold of the pager messages. It's who leaked them to Wikileaks.

    This strongly echoes the Pentagon Papers fracas. Let's not go after the people who leaked the Pentagon Papers information in the first place. Let's go after the people who let the rest of the wolrd see them. That King wants to go after the people who are making the messages available and not so much those who leaked them is yet another example of his

  • THIS STORY IS FALSE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dreadneck (982170) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @12:09PM (#30284214)
    I just spoke with Congressman King's office and they were taken by surprise when I asked them about the Wikileaks probe. They said the congressman is NOT probing wikileaks. I gave them the url to the Newsday article and was told that the Rep. King's office will be working to sort out the matter.

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