NSA boss wants companies to be immunized from liability if they follow illegal orders from the NSA


31 Responses to “NSA boss wants companies to be immunized from liability if they follow illegal orders from the NSA”

  1. austinhamman says:

    of course they do, because corporations are people…THE PEOPLE, the only people the government cares about. and if they come under fire well they might be upset with the government.
    instead let’s make the corporations immune to all laws as long as the NSA says it’s ok.
    hey while were at it, let’s just get rid of those pesky laws altogether and we wont need to keep passing legislation, that would sure speed things up, let’s just say “the law is whatever the NSA and FBI say it is, even if they don’t say what it is to you”

  2. Portrait says:

    Rule of law anyone or did the entire united states govt forget about that commitment?

  3. MrScience says:

    How soon we forget… of course NSA & Congress considers this a good idea. After all, didn’t we just go through this with the whole Room 641A “scandal”?

    Section 404 (Continuance Procedures) allows for continued authorizations and directives to be renewed under same circumstances indefinitely; It also allowed for continuance of Immunities for persons and corporations (including but not limited to telecoms) under FISA 2008 Amendments. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protect_America_Act

  4. cellocgw says:

    Or we could just save time and cancel ALL laws.

  5. llamaspit says:

    I would love to hear the excuses on this from all of the authoritarians who were so anxious to condemn Edward Snowden for failing to live up to his contract. Apparently relatively powerless individuals are to be held accountable, but not the agencies which violate the law wholesale.

    Now we have the NSA and corporate America setting the rules so that they are both immune from blame. But if they are following the law as they have claimed, why do they need to be immunized?

    You can’t make this shit up.

  6. Rindan says:

    I am sure that our representatives will push back against this absurd request that rule of law be ignored.  lol j/k

  7. Sarge Misfit says:

    Has anyone started one of those White House petitions to have this dingbat fired?

  8. Finnagain says:

    And this, the most disfunctional Congress in decades, will pass this with no trouble whatsoever.  And our Constitutional Scholar President will ignore that ‘goddam piece of paper’ and sign it.

    • Cowicide says:

      I does seem like we’ve gone from slippery slope to downward spiral.

      Ever since GW Bush, they don’t even bother to hide their absoulte indifference to the will and well-being of average Americans (who don’t own super mega yachts).

      I think they’re still going with a theory that even if they blatantly do things that are wrong right in our faces, they can simply tell us it’s ok through mass media and manufacture consent.

      I’ll love the day when that stops working so well…  There are signs that people are getting fed up and the corporatists do seem more nervous than usual, but we’ll see.. we’ll see…

      Personally, I think some more patriotic whistleblower leaks are in order…

      • elix says:

        In Snowden’s recent Guardian Q&A, he said (paraphrased), more leaks are coming and the US government can’t stop it even by jailing or killing him.

        The elite’s constant panic about the great unwashed commoner uprising barely being held in check is just a self-fulfilling prophecy if they’re going to act like the bourgeousie. I’m not wishing for it to happen, but they’re sure steering the world towards the ice for all their screaming that they don’t want the Titanic to go down under them.

        • awjt says:

           It begs the question:  what would the elite have to do to make the bourgeoisie NOT want to leak their secrets to bring them down?  Play nicely? Fair wages? Decent benefits and fair working conditions? Keep privacy intact? Keep freedom ringing?  And yet the elite canNOT bring themselves to do it.  It makes you think how pathological they are, how sick, twisted and psycho they are, thinking that it will go on indefinitely with their dirty, spiked boot heel on our necks…  Rude awakenings are wonderful, aren’t they?  They have one coming…

        • blissfulight says:

          What ice?  It’s going to be melted by the time we get there.  

      • bombblastlightningwaltz says:

        “… things that are wrong right…”
        Wonderful use of opposing contrast. Although, this proposal to congress sounds like something Mr. J. Taggert would emplore his cronies too enact a la Ayn Rayn’s Atlas Shrugged.

  9. Marc45 says:

    If we the people,  really want “constitutionally compliant” security, then NSA requests should also carry some liability for the cooperating organization.  This way everyone needs to actually think about what they’re doing and if it’s really legal or not.

    This attempt at providing immunity is like saying “You’ll be in trouble if you don’t honor our request but you will never be in trouble for honoring our request”. What would any corporate lawyer say to that?

  10. Daemonworks says:

    It wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable if it was possible to sue the NSA for handing out illegal orders.

    • L_Mariachi says:

      And if the companies and their employees were also immunized from prosecution for leaks/whistleblowing.

  11. BradBell says:

    Two thoughts: 
    1. This reminds me of Nuremberg, the main principle of which is you can’t say you were just following orders. You are obliged under international law to report war crimes for example, ala Manning. So if an ISP breaks the law to help the NSA break the law – perhaps involving kidnapping, torture and murder – they are immune from prosecution? Of course, under international law, this is meaningless, and the ISP would potentially be complicit with murder.

    2. It won’t be long before corporations have all this valuable data, if they don’t already. This means no more data protection. It can become a kind of free for all. We might as well make everything about everyone public. If we can’t seriously contemplate that option, then the alternative is a kind of totalitarian, digital fascism. Perhaps we best get busy making programs to dissemble life stream data. There are countermeasures. Create conflicting data. Introduce uncertainty. Flood them with data. Etc. 

    Anecdote: In Canada we once had a very positive attitude to demographic data. Pre-PC era. It was used as a method of smart government. It was good. It was futuristic. Participation was a kind of duty. It was a public trust for public benefit. Then some fucks sold the lot to marketers for $1 and that was that. Zero trust. Zero cooperation. 

    • Ronald Pottol says:

       We no longer follow the Nuremberg principals, we dropped that an administration or two ago. In the view of Washinton, there is no such thing as an illegal order.

    • foobird says:

      We might as well make everything about every corporation public.  - FTFY

  12. SpeedRacer says:

    The first counter argument is obvious. If they have done nothing wrong, then they have nothing to fear.

    And I will give the corporations immunity under one condition. Every government official, judge, NSA agent(? are they agents?) and NSA contractor who ordered these corporations to break the law serves time in jail for every request they made or approved.

  13. wrybread says:

    I just want to say thank you BoingBoing for such awesome and consistent reporting on all this craziness.

  14. pjcamp says:

    So let’s see. Companies can’t be prosecuted for violating the law if the government asked them to. The government can’t be prosecuted because of sovereign immunity and because the fact that the law has been broken is a state secret.


    Apparently, there are laws that can be broken with no one responsible for breaking them.

    Who would have thought having a constitutional lawyer as president could lead to such innovations? It’s another breakthrough for openness, transparency and the rule of law.

  15. mickcollins says:

    Sure, it’s fine, as long as “General” Alexander IS liable for asking, suggesting, or ordering them to do something illegal as ARE any of his minions at NSA or those people (that are or are not really people, we know who you are) that make up their own illegal requirements and they all go to jail because of it.

  16. kartwaffles says:

    Meanwhile, the ex-CEO of Qwest is in Club Fed on trumped-up charges, because he dared to say no.

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