reply to Kearnstd
Re: Exactly how it should be Um, no. This is wrongheaded on three counts.
a) There is clearly security value in the contents of the NSLs. Why would you insist that they be made public, therefore warning the terrorists and others that they are trying to catch? Makes no sense. Plain old wiretap warrants are not made public for exactly the same reason. Kind of defeats the purpose, that you want to intercept communications that the target doesn't know are being intercepted.
b) This has absolutely zero to do with innocent until proven guilty. I have no idea what you are talking about here. The operators who receive the NSLs are not being accused of any crime, far from it.
c) Leak the info secretly and blame it on hackers. Yeah, that's the ticket. That way the terrorist/criminal groups they are targeting get warned about the government's interest in them and find out exactly how they are looking and what they are looking for, thus enabling them to simply change their communication methods. That seems like a good goal. Not.
Your A and B arguments are just silly.
A.) Let them obtain a fully reviewed warrant to obtain the information as they should. Not a single organization or entity should have unaccountable and unreviewable access to anything. They should be accountable to the court system just like they are if they want a wiretap as you say.
B.) Your statement is simply dumb. Sure they (operators) are not accused of a crime, but one of their customers are suspected of it and they should not have to turn anything over until they get a valid warrant requesting it.
A). The NSLs are reviewed by the FISA court and signed off by a judge. Do your homework. Don't believe all the crap "reported" here.
Also your point has absolutely nothing do do with the question, which was about making the NSLs public, not about the review process.
B). NSLs ARE valid warrants. And, a warrant is NOT an accusation of a crime. Much less the arrest and prosecution of a criminal charge, which is where innocent until proven guilty applies.
Your assumption is that they are reviewed and valid, which you nor I can confirm nor deny. Especially when they want to do it super secret and put NDA's on everything.
However, being it is the US government I highly doubt they follow any procedures that interfere with what they want and skirt the requirements when they deem it necessary.
The government has very few things they do that should be secret and 99.9% of those things are military based. Justice, should not be one of those things EVER regardless of the good they or you claim it brings.
They are reviewed and valid BY DEFINITION. The judge's signature makes it valid.
By starting off your arguments with words like "illegal, unconstitutional, unreviewed..." you are simply engaging in a rhetorical device of assuming the conclusion. The popularized version of this is the completely un-PC joke: "When did you stop beating your wife?"
If you want to argue that the review process is not working, go ahead. But don't spew dark conspiratorial phrases like "I doubt there's any review at all! Because this is the Government!". That is just lame.
Oh can't resist this one: this is the same Government you put your trust in to take over the ISPs because it's SO MUCH BETTER than those evil corporations.
Correct me if I am wrong, but there have been "reviews" of their procedures that show they dont follow them or have bastardized them to their liking to make it more convenient for them.
Sure, I'll do your research for you.
the Wikipedia article seems out of date, but has some information.
The only recent thing I find is this article from the Cato Institute which has some useful links to source material. It is chock full of the usual blustering otherwise.
This guy seems to be shocked, SHOCKED, that (by his conjecture) source data is collected and stored and THEN reduced and filtered before going to the NSL requester. (How the hell else are you supposed to do it? Pretty tough to do a real-time filter like that.)
Bottom line IMO is, yes there have been reviews, yes they have found problems, matter of opinion how severe, one can only assume that the judges on the court are aware of these issues and are dealing with them. That's what judges are for, to judge.
Case in point of how they like to "bastardize" things to get what they want....
Read the article twice and there's nothing in there related to your point. Care to amplify?
As far as I can tell all it says is that there are a lot of warrants for data from wireless carriers and ISPs, and that sometimes this data includes information about people who are not suspects, because it's for things like "need all cellphones near a certain tower at a certain time" so that the police/FBI can try to track suspected criminals/terrorists, or maybe to prove/disprove an alibi. Match up the records vs. the known cellphone IDs, and presto, you know where someone was (or wasn't) at a certain time.
Sounds like a valid investigative tool to me.
From a Constitutional point of view, the story affirms that data held by third parties is not subject to the 4th amendment against unreasonable search and seizure. Which makes sense to me.
The analogy would be, you're driving your car in public, someone happens to be shooting a video with their cellphone, or maybe a traffic camera or security camera catches you on tape, and later you rob a bank then claim you were elsewhere. Is it now prohibited to introduce this evidence from a third party that proves that you (or at least your car) was there at a certain time?
Same thing with cellphones. You're revealing your location to the wireless carrier all the time. This information is saved and subject to retrieval by the authorities given a warrant. It's not like they are searching your person or house. The data is held by the wireless carrier, not you.
Given all that... this has nothing to do with the question, which is are the NSLs being misused. In this case it's a perfectly valid use affirmed by the courts. There is no accusation in this story of misusing the process, only that they think the process is wrong.