Democrats covered themselves in shame today, joining with Republicans to pass a bill granting amnesty to the cowardly telephone companies who helped the President's office with its illegal bulk-wiretapping campaign that spied on every American call and email without any judicial oversight. What's more, the bill also allows this to continue going on in the future. Who needs the fourth amendment?
The bill (.pdf) could be voted on as soon as Friday in the House, given its backing by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who in February organized a high-stakes showdown with the president over a substantially similar bill. The Senate would likely also quickly pass the bill, despite already vocal opposition from the ACLU, left-leaning bloggers, as well as Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)...
Additionally, the bill grants amnesty to the nation's telecoms that are being sued for allegedly breaking federal wiretapping laws by turning over billions of Americans' call records to government data-mining programs and giving the government access to internet and phone infrastructure inside the country. The bill strips the right of a federal district court to decide whether the companies violated federal laws prohibiting wiretapping without a court order.
Instead, the attorney general would need only certify to the court either that a sued company did not participate, or that the government provided some sort of written request to the companies that said that the president authorized the program and that his lawyers deemed it to be legal. That would be presented to federal district court Judge Vaughn Walker, who is overseeing the more than 40 consolidated cases against the telecoms. Walker's authority would be limited to judging whether the preponderance of the evidence is that the companies did get a written request, and if he finds that to be true -- as the Senate Intelligence Committee has already publicly stated -- he must dismiss the cases.
Update: Tim from EFF sez, "The Senate vote will probably be sometime next week, could be as early as Tuesday. Folks can contact their Senator here"
Help wanted: Operations Manager (personable, resourceful, and demonstrates outstanding attention to detail); Civil Liberties Legislative Counsel (advocacy, public speaking, blogging and other social media, media appearances and legislative and regulatory matters related to a variety of high technology public interest legal issues); 2017-19 Frank Stanton Fellowship (recent law school graduates or law students who will […]
China’s nightmarish “citizen scores” system uses your online activity, purchases, messages, and social graph to rate your creditworthiness and entitlement to services. One way your score can be plunged into negative territory is for a judge to declare you to be a bad person (mostly this happens to people said to have refused to pay […]
The current pre-clearance rules for Canadians being processed through US immigration at Canadian airports limit the powers of US immigration officials, preventing them from strip-searching Canadians (they can ask Canadian border guards to do it, but if the Canadian guards refuse, they’re out of luck) and giving Canadians the ability to turn around and leave […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]