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Patriot Act Author Introduces Bill To Limit Use of Patriot Act 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the isn't-politics-grand dept.
wjcofkc writes "In an ironic but welcome twist, the author of the Patriot Act, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), is introducing the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill specifically aimed at countering the portions of the Patriot Act that were interpreted to let the NSA collect telephone metadata in bulk. The congressman has been a vocal opponent of the NSA's interpretation and misuse of the Patriot Act since Edward Snowden first leaked evidence of the program in June. On Wednesday, he wrote (PDF) to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that the 'collection of a wide array of data on innocent Americans has led to serious questions about how government will use — or misuse — such information.'"
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Patriot Act Author Introduces Bill To Limit Use of Patriot Act

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  • by themushroom (197365) on Friday October 11, 2013 @06:45PM (#45105425) Homepage

    Here's betting that it will take much longer to get the anti-PATRIOT passed than the eyeblink it took to get the PATRIOT passed. I wonder what the opposite of a 9/11 is to get government to act so swiftly?

    • by characterZer0 (138196) on Friday October 11, 2013 @07:00PM (#45105505)

      I wonder what the opposite of a 9/11 is to get government to act so swiftly?

      Voting out all the incumbents.

      • by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Friday October 11, 2013 @07:15PM (#45105597)
        Agreed, You know the only reason this is being introduced now is because the republican approval rating is circling the drain. Funny how they're all for freedom and following the constitution to the letter when there's a good chance the'll be unelectable in the next election, but they're willing to sell privacy and public rights to the highest bidder when they're the ones in power. The patriot act should have never been a law in the first place and should have been revoked long ago, one of Obama's biggest public disappointments was that it should have been the first thing he had done when he took over presidency when he actually had a majority in the house.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Mod parent +1 Delusional for ever thinking Obama didn't love the Patriot Act. The man jerks off to it.

          • by ron_ivi (607351)

            The author of this bill loves it too.

            >>> countering the portions of the Patriot Act that were interpreted to let the NSA collect telephone metadata in bulk

            Way to distract people by focusing on some archaic legacy communication tool.

            Now if his new bill would ban them from mining Google and Tor, you'd be getting somewhere.

            • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Saturday October 12, 2013 @01:41PM (#45109395) Homepage

              This is a third party doctrine issue. The 3PD conflates "perfect secrecy" with "reasonable expectation of privacy". The 3PD is the rule that if you share info w/ a third party, even if that party promises you confidentiality, and even if they never actually breach your confidence, then the Feds can just have the data because the 4th Amendment doesn't apply at all (you have no reasonable expectation of privacy). Even Justice Sotomayer is starting to think that the 3PD is outdated. See her concurrence, specifically, the paragraph starting at PDF page 19: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/pdf/10-1259.pdf [cornell.edu]

              If the 3PD disappeared, all of this stuff would have to go through a 4th amendment analysis and a third grader could demonstrate it fails to comply. The only reason Section 215 of PATRIOT Act has the effect it has, and all of these programs are "legal" -- is the 3PD. Take that away, and it's all unconstitutional. Fail to address the 3PD, and any proposed reform is fig leaf.

              As for Irony, the Feds are hell bent on getting Snowden, but if the rules that apply to people applied to it, it would have no reasonable expectation of privacy in the documents he released because the Feds shared that info with a third party, namely, Booz Allen Hamilton.

          • by Jawnn (445279)

            Mod parent +1 Delusional for ever thinking Obama didn't love the Patriot Act. The man jerks off to it.

            How inconvenient for you must be that fact that in 2005 then-Senator Obama was one of the few who voted against extending the wiretap provisions of The Patriot Act. This, shortly after the abuses of those provisions had first come to light.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cold fjord (826450)

          Funny how they're all for freedom and following the constitution to the letter when there's a good chance the'll be unelectable in the next election, but they're willing to sell privacy and public rights to the highest bidder when they're the ones in power.

          What do you think Obamacare is? Intrusive? Massive power grab? Enforced by the IRS? Plenty of other bad things?

          • by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Saturday October 12, 2013 @12:43AM (#45106959) Journal

            What do you think Social Security is? Intrusive? Massive power grab? Enforced by the SSA? Plenty of other bad things?

            Seriously, the biggest complaint Republicans seem to have is they (1) offered Obamacare as an alterative to Universal Health Care, (2) figured Democrats would never support, and (3) are finally upset that Obamacare passed because (a) they can't claim they made it, (b) can't get behind it working because it goes against their "government can't do anything right" mantra, and (c) never really wanted people to have any sort of decent health care coverage because to actually deliver on anything good would basically cut off their ability to whine about it.

            I mean, fuck, the whole Government Shutdown is *precisely* what the Republican mantra is--to cut off non-essential spending. So, why exactly are Republicans bothering with any sort of effort to fix the problem? Because as long as they act upset, they can whine and cry about the big, mean Democrats. Oh, and let's not forget, the very mantra they support if followed through would put said Republicans out of a job, especially if they realized how unnecessary they are. Non-essential, indeed.

            • the whole Government Shutdown is *precisely* what the Republican mantra is--to cut off non-essential spending.

              Which is why I don't understand why one of the first bills they passed (unanimously even) was to guarantee backpay for all of the Federal workers which negates any possible savings.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          "Agreed, You know the only reason this is being introduced now is because the republican approval rating is circling the drain."

          The Republican approval rating? You gotta be kidding!

          According to a poll by Wasingtong Times the other day, all of Congress gets just a 5% approval rating (the lowest I have ever seen), while Obama's approval rating was also at a record low (37%).

          Don't get me wrong; no doubt Republican approval rating IS down. But so is that of the Democrats... and which one is fighting hardest to go down the drain first is pretty much up in the air.

          • I cannot honestly accept that mystery modder's "troll" rating as anything other than somebody being a vindictive asshole.

            I mean SERIOUSLY? "Troll" for saying BOTH the Republicans and Democrats are sucking eggs right now? When polls show it to be true?

            I have deserved a "troll" mod once in a great while, but this ain't one of those times.
            • by Uberbah (647458)

              I cannot honestly accept that mystery modder's "troll" rating as anything other than somebody being a vindictive asshole.

              Yawn. [kicks-ass.net]

              I mean SERIOUSLY? "Troll" for saying BOTH the Republicans and Democrats are sucking eggs right now? When polls show it to be true?

              Maybe it's for claiming that a 5% rating is in the same boat as one seven times higher, or for citing the right wing Republican rag, the Moonie Times. Which is about as credible as citing the right wing Democratic rag, DailyKos.

          • by sjames (1099)

            That makes Congress less popular than cockroaches, the U.S. going communist, BP during the oil spill, Paris Hilton, Nixon, and on and on.

            They can't possibly really think they are doing a good job representing the people.

      • I wonder what the opposite of a 9/11 is to get government to act so swiftly?

        Voting out all the incumbents.

        We could call it 10/12...

    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      Well wonder no more. It would be someone at the NSA using the illegally collected data to embarrass a congresscritter from each party. The most effective release would be adultery particularly if it involves some form of "deviant" sexuality. Think along the lines of propositioning a transsexual for sex. Other big winners are use of illegal drugs or sex with a minor.

      In fact I pray the next "snowden" does just that.

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      Here's betting that it will take much longer to get the anti-PATRIOT passed than the eyeblink it took to get the PATRIOT passed. I wonder what the opposite of a 9/11 is to get government to act so swiftly?

      Put all politicians, lobbyists, banksters, major corporate players in prison (like they did in Iceland) , cancel all debts and start over. Ventura and Stern '16.

    • by flyneye (84093)

      Still yet, if he were in earshot, " Thanks for nothing , fuckbrains, hindsight somewhere around 20/40, eh?"

  • Sanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 11, 2013 @06:46PM (#45105431)

    Government isn't bad. Bad government is bad.

    • by Maudib (223520)

      Government is bad government.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, but we already do, don't we?

    In favor of bigger, "better", more-overweening government.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday October 11, 2013 @06:49PM (#45105453) Journal

    As has been pointed out to us in the last three weeks by the GOP, you can't simply "correct" what's wrong with a law, you have to repeal it ENTIRELY. Nothing short of that is acceptable. Even if there are things that are useful, the whole bathtub must be thrown out because to simply change the parts which are not working would be to admit that the Law isn't the end of civilization as we know it.

    I'm with the GOP - repeal it entirely or I'll hold my breath until I pass out. Or something like that.

    • Re:Can't be done (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) on Friday October 11, 2013 @07:00PM (#45105513)

      Even if there are things that are useful, the whole bathtub must be thrown out because to simply change the parts which are not working would be to admit that the Law isn't the end of civilization as we know it.

      The entire law is actually garbage.

      • Even if there are things that are useful, the whole bathtub must be thrown out because to simply change the parts which are not working would be to admit that the Law isn't the end of civilization as we know it.

        The entire law is actually garbage.

        Especially the part getting rid of preexisting conditions. We need those or else insurance will have to actually pay bills.

    • by s.petry (762400) on Friday October 11, 2013 @07:12PM (#45105577)

      This is the mess we have put ourselves in in the last 30 years. Bad laws are not repealed, and due to case law limitations they are nearly impossible to repeal. By our own insane laws, the only way to fix things is to pass laws which modify law.

      If you think this is crazy you are not alone. A Lawyer would probably spit nails at this, but the corruption we see in Government has also been happening in Law. Except that in Law it has been happing for much longer. The corrupted Government could never have become so entrenched in a clean legal system.

      We need to do much more than can the politicians and establish term limits. We also need to get rid of numerous corrupt judges and justices, and start doing what you suggest in repealing laws. One of the first should be the ruling that allowed case law to take precedence over legal matters.

      • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Friday October 11, 2013 @07:56PM (#45105869) Homepage

        One of the first should be the ruling that allowed case law to take precedence over legal matters.

        Case law is what determines the current valid meaning of the written laws, as precedent. Get rid of case law, and all the clarity of modern law disappears. Goodbye, privacy. Free speech? Well that still probably applies to things you say, but nothing written online... or maybe it's just going to cover the use of your wine press. After all, it was Supreme Court cases that established our current interpretations of these basic laws. "Freedom of speech, or of the press", as written, really only covered printed documents and verbal speech, and the "unreasonable searches" in the Fourth Amendment meant physically going through a person's personal effects.

        Without the baseline of case law, the vague written law is no help in determining what's legal or not. You could be arrested for anything, and it must go to court for a judge to decide. Older similar cases can't be used as precedent, so the prosecutor could argue any crazy theory he wants, and know that he'll be able to at least present evidence... but evidence standards are based in case law, too, so the judge has no reason to reject evidence that, for example, showed up at the police station's door with a note saying it came from your car. Let's hope the jury is on your side, but since you're defending yourself against someone who's well-trained in the art of convincing people to believe a story (because, without case law, that's the prosecutor's whole job), your acquittal is unlikely.

        Sure, getting rid of case law would make the written law easier to understand, but practically useless.

        • by s.petry (762400)

          Case law is what determines the current valid meaning of the written laws, as precedent. Get rid of case law, and all the clarity of modern law disappears.

          No it doesn't. Case law allows the presentation of a similar case to make ruling without addressing the merits of the current case. The wording of a law is what defines that Law, or at lest what is supposed to define the law. Case Law allows the courts to not make decisions, it allows them to use similar enough previously decided cases to determine every aspect of a current case (without accountability for previous rulings right or wrong, hearing the current case and evidence, etc..).

          On the surface, this

          • by Sarten-X (1102295)

            cases have been ruled previously that claim "you can't repeal this law".

            [citation needed]

            The legislature handles repealing laws, and the legislative branch isn't subject to precedent from the judicial branch at all.

            What you seem to be confusing it with is a judge finding a law unconstitutional, which is a totally different matter from repeal. A judge may indeed choose to rule on whether a law is itself wrong, but that is a separate matter from the "merits of the case". Depending on the jurisdiction, it sometimes can only happen in the appellate court, which is restricted to mat

      • by icebike (68054)

        By our own insane laws, the only way to fix things is to pass laws which modify law.

        Nothing in our laws prohibits repealing laws, and it is done all the time.
        There is nothing in Case Law that holds any sway over the actions of Congress.

        Of course, if a president who ran on a platform opposing the Patriot act hadn't switched his position once elected it would be a lot easier to get a majority in Congress. Is there even one person who doesn't believe both parties would rush to repeal the Patriot act IN TOTAL the minute the president asked them to?
        Anyone?

      • by guises (2423402)

        We need to do much more than can the politicians and establish term limits.

        The thing is, term limits would make repealing laws much easier. The problem right now is that repealing a law which was passed by someone who is still sitting is tantamount to admitting a mistake, something a politician is loath to do. Once all of the people who passed the law in the first place are out of office it becomes much easier to get rid of it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Considering how much Obama railed against the Patriot act when he was in Congress, you would think he would have made that a priority in his first two years as President. With a solid Democrat majority, he could have amended or done away with it. Yet, he and Democrats did nothing. Which should be the first clue that both Democrats and Republicans are beholden to the very large and very powerful bureaucracy. It is nearly impossible to reduce the size and spending of government.

      The system is going to have

      • by johanw (1001493)

        Well, remember how the Soviet Union went down? They went banncrupt due to their enormous military spendings. That hap[ppened to every large empire that has not been conquered by an enemy. The same is happening to the USA now. In a few decades the US empire will probably collapse as well. I hope for the sake of its population that the US remnant will not start another civil war to keep the parts that declare independence under their rule.

        • by Fjandr (66656)

          Unfortunately, it's almost certain they'll declare war on secessionist. At least the first one or two, anyway, until they are so broke they can't pay the military and generals start selling black market weapons on the side.

          • by gmhowell (26755)

            Unfortunately, it's almost certain they'll declare war on secessionist.

            Puhleeze, can you show me precedence for something like that?

        • There were many reasons for that, military spending was just a small part of it.

      • Re:Can't be done (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sumdumass (711423) on Friday October 11, 2013 @08:19PM (#45106005) Journal

        I think you give Obama too much credit. He saw how to exploit this just like he saw how to exploit the IRS [dailycaller.com] and use it against his political enemies. Obama railed against raising the debt limit when he was senator calling it unpatriotic [youtu.be] and now he insists on no negotiations to lower the deficit as a condition to raising the debt limit. (yes, I know that is a political add, but it has Obama's own voice in it).

        Despite amending or doing away with it, Obama could also through legitimate power as the head of the executive, ensure that US agencies used the power the Patriot Act gave the government in ways that we would not be concerned with today. Instead, he used that same power to expand the surveillance and even justify that expansion through the Patriot act.

        He and the democrats did nothing because they saw it as a way to increase their power and objectives. They took the ball and ran because they wanted to. If you look at how Obama was elected to senator, you would see that It has nothing to do with being beholden to anything other then their ideology. The entire Obamacare debacle proves this. Harry Reid himself called the medical device tax a stupid tax [realclearpolitics.com] yet he refuses to consider anything to repeal it or any changes to the Affordable Care Act out of ideological persistence.

        Yet, I have no problems with believing either side will attempt to be against the other side when they are in power. It's all ideology if you ask me.

        • by sjames (1099)

          Republicans complaining about the deficit is rich considering that the last 2 Democratic presidents got it down to zero only to have the succeeding Republican blow it back up again.

          Obama already has the deficit falling again.

          I'm not particularly happy with either party, but The Ds seem marginally better than the Rs, much like the flu is better than west nile.

    • by dAzED1 (33635)
      the problem with your sarcasm is that the entire law, as someone else said, is completely garbage (I'm just being a bit more verbose). There is nothing to salvage in the "patriot" act, nothing at all. The Affordable Care Act, on the other hand...well, the items which were serious process problems have already been worked through or that money has already been spent. If they didn't do something in the ideal way but the non-ideal way is already done, well, fark it - move forward ($635M for the portal and b
    • Re:Can't be done (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nojayuk (567177) on Friday October 11, 2013 @08:00PM (#45105911)

      In June 2013 67 Democratic and 214 Republican Senators and Representatives voted for the most recent reauthorisation of the Patriot Act. The GOP doesn't seem to want it repealed going by those numbers. Maybe you should push to get more Democrats elected instead.

  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Friday October 11, 2013 @06:54PM (#45105479) Journal
    in a sense.

    The retardlicans created the patriot act so they could do "this and that," but now that the dummycrats have been using it, the rerardlicans think its bad.

    Now, sit back and realize the people making all of these decisions are your elected officials.
  • Pandora's Box (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cookYourDog (3030961) on Friday October 11, 2013 @07:12PM (#45105573)
    has been opened. There will be attempts at legislation, but there's no removing the purchased influence, consolidated power, and vested interests that grew as a result of the Patriot act.
  • by Kohath (38547) on Friday October 11, 2013 @07:12PM (#45105575)

    When Obama vetoes this, will it still be Bush's fault?

    • Yes, but if that happens, Obama will suck just as much if not worse.
    • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Friday October 11, 2013 @07:56PM (#45105877)

      When Obama vetoes this, will it still be Bush's fault?

      Yes. Bush was the one who got it passed. He was the one who lied to us about what he would do with it. Obama is simply working with what Bush left him. He wouldn't lie to us the way Bush did. He told us he would end warrantless wiretapping, he told us he would close Gitmo, he told us he would bring the troops home from the Middle East. What? Gitmo is still open and torturing people without due process? The NSA is tapping everything without due process? Troop levels in Afghanistan have more than tripled since he took office? Nevermind.

      • by WiiVault (1039946)

        Totally agree with you except for Gitmo. His opponents tried to make it sound like by giving those bastards a trial and bringing them to NYC that somehow everybody was in danger, and they were gonna get off easy (in NYC yeah right). If I recall for whatever reason he doesn't have the authority to force the issue because he can't bring them to the states without congress.

        That said he is a coward who did the base minimum to say he tried when people called him on it. If he had pushed back against the fear mon

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          A quick reminder that most (if not all) of the inmates claim that they are innocent, and we know for a fact that the authorities don't have enough evidence to convict most of them to the normal civil standard (or they would have just convened a court and done so). So, for one, let's remember the doctrine of "innocent until proven guilty". And for two, you've got to think to what will happen if you ship these guys to New York, put them on trial, and they're acquitted and free to live their lives like normal

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          If I recall for whatever reason he doesn't have the authority to force the issue because he can't bring them to the states without congress.

          That was the charade set up when they "blocked" funds for transferring prisoners. Obama can operate vast spy programs outside of Congressional oversight (Senators learn about this stuff from the paper first) but cannot do a prisoner transfer without express legislative approval first? When he didn't need approval to start a war with Libya and claims he can do with S

    • by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Friday October 11, 2013 @08:47PM (#45106165) Homepage

      When Obama vetoes this, will it still be Bush's fault?

      The guy who created it, or the guy who didn't get rid of it? Yes, it's Bush's fault for giving Obama such a nasty toy to play with.

      • When Obama vetoes this, will it still be Bush's fault?

        The guy who created it, or the guy who didn't get rid of it? Yes, it's Bush's fault for giving Obama such a nasty toy to play with.

        It's not mutually exclusive. One is at fault for allowing it in the first place and the other is at fault for allowing it to continue.

      • The guy who created it, or the guy who didn't get rid of it? Yes, it's Bush's fault for giving Obama such a nasty toy to play with.

        The Patriot Act would have gone away if it hadn't been reauthorized, so no. It is all Obama at this point.

      • by Reziac (43301) *

        "You should not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harm it would cause if improperly administered."
          --Lyndon Johnson, 36th President of the U.S.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes. There's a difference betweet Sauron who forged the ring, and Frodo who didn't want to give it back after using it a while...

    • When Obama vetoes this, will it still be Bush's fault?

      It's a moot point. The bill will never make it to Obama, the Republicans in the House will kill it.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      obama and dems(and repbs) already extended patriot act.

      anyhow, if past act names are anything to go by then something named FREEDOM must be laced with some extreme loop holes for cuffing freedom.

      stopping patriot act would have been very easy by not extending it.

  • What a Scam (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 11, 2013 @07:24PM (#45105661)

    First he gets to grandstand for "protecting our freedom", then he gets to grandstand for "protecting our privacy".

    Kind of like Dick Cheney: first he makes millions destroying Iraq then he makes millions rebuilding it. Then repeat.

    Captcha = "bilked"

    • I believe the term is: Demagogue

      The interesting thing is that the people's votes don't actually matter, you'll just get more of the same elected under a different banner. If you want to affect any political process you must be loud and obnoxious and show how foolish and corrupt your opponents are. Sadly the most high minded and rational folk think this behavior beneath them and so make poor Activists; Thus they are effectively cowed.

      Do not toss red and blue tokens into the wishing well of infinite depth,

  • by fnj (64210) on Friday October 11, 2013 @10:21PM (#45106555)

    Simple. Repeal the fucking thing in its entirety. Declare victory, if that's what it takes to float your boat. Then repeal it as the abomination it is. Let the rule of law return as it was. Yeah, the US wasn't a perfect garden of eden even before 9/11, but it was a hell of a lot better starting point than it is now.

  • Jim Sensenbrenner spoke at the Cato Institute on October 9, 2013. Video and podcast here ...
    http://www.cato.org/events/nsa-surveillance-what-we-know-what-do-about-it [cato.org]

  • Yo Dawg, I herd you like freedom, so I put freedom in your patriotism so you can be free while we watch you.
  • builds new killer robot to keep other killer robot in check. News at 11.
  • James Sensenbrenner should introduce legislation to repeal the PATRIOT act and then resign from office and forfeit all pension benefits.

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