General Keith Alexander, who is in charge of the NSA, has asked Congress to pass legislation immunizing companies from liability if they break the law following NSA spying orders. While on its face this seems reasonable -- if the government orders you to do something, it seems unfair for its judicial branch to prosecute you -- it's really a tacit admission of NSA lawbreaking. Much more reassuring would be a promise from Alexander that his agency will limits its requests of companies to strictly lawful behavior, and a Congressional law immunizing companies that turn down NSA requests if they have a good faith basis for believing that the NSA is asking them to break the law.
Otherwise, as Mike Masnick points out, this is an invitation for companies and the NSA to conspire together for a campaign of lawless, criminal spying:
And, of course, rather than narrowly target this immunity, it appears that Alexander would like it as broad as possible.
One former White House aide told POLITICO that Alexander has been asking members of Congress for some time to adopt bill language on countermeasures that’s “as ill-defined as possible” — with the goal of giving the Pentagon great flexibility in taking action alongside Internet providers. Telecom companies, the former aide said, also have been asking Alexander for those very legal protections.
Given the revelations of the past few weeks, this seems like the exact wrong direction for Congress to be heading. We should want companies to push back against overaggressive demands from the government for information. Giving them blanket immunity would be a huge mistake and only enable greater privacy violations.
NSA Boss Asks Congress For Blanket Immunity For Companies That Help NSA Spy On Everyone
Remember Lynndie England, the 21-year-old low-ranking Army Specialist who, along with ten other low-ranking Army personnel, was determined to be responsible for years of systematic torture in Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison, thus letting the entire Army chain of command off the hook for any wrongdoing in one of the worst scandals of the unbelievably […]
The families of prisoners in the U.S. often have to pay rates as high as $12.95 for 15 minutes of phone time to stay in touch with an incarcerated spouse, child, or parent. Global Tel-Link Corp. and Securus Technologies are the two main prison phone service providers, and they make a fortune charging poor people […]
Kim Davis isn’t doing her job again. Michael from Muckrock writes, “This time, she’s falling short on responding to public records requests, particularly one relating to her controversial visit with Pope Francis.”
It’s time for a power upgrade — throw out that tired-out power strip and swap in this family-size USB charger, packed with 6 high-speed ports. With a built-in control chip, Kinkoo optimizes each port to ensure the fastest charging possible for all your devices. The Kinkoo is made from high-grade and durable materials so you […]
Watching Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services can unfortunately be difficult while traveling outside the US. Rather than bypass these restrictions with the help of a complex and slow VPN, choose a faster and simpler solution with Getflix. Instead of rerouting all your Internet traffic through a different server, this handy service only routes the […]
Shake, stir, and muddle your way to delicious homemade cocktails with this must-have bar set. Expect only the finest quality tools from MakersKit — enabling you to unleash your inner mixologist.Top 12 Favorite Things of 2014, Sunset MagazineQuart-size vintage-style Mason jar shakerRetro double jigger for accurate measurementsStrainer & spouts for a mixologist-style smooth pourHardwood muddler […]