FBI: Customers Might Sue If They Knew Companies Were Helping With Wiretaps

from the uh...-isn't-that-the-point? dept

It's really quite stunning to see how the government justifies its overreaching efforts into citizens' privacy. The latest example comes from the ACLU, which found a gem in the heavily redacted documents it retrieved via the Freedom of Information Act in seeking info about the warrantless wiretapping program. One bit of information they found has the FBI saying it thinks the public should not know about companies that are helping the feds with warrantless wiretapping because (*gasp*) people might sue about their rights being violated:
"Specifically, these businesses would be substantially harmed if their customers knew that they were furnishing information to the FBI. The stigma of working with the FBI would cause customers to cancel the companies' services and file civil actions to prevent further disclosure of subscriber info."
Yes, that's the FBI saying that it shouldn't be forced to say who's violating their rights, because people might get upset that their rights are being violated and sue. And that's bad for business. This is a justification for secretly spying on people without a warrant? That people would get upset and sue? Once again, the feds seem to be arguing that the law should be whatever is most convenient for them, rather than about what most protects the rights of citizens against over-intrusive behavior by the government.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    CAPTAIN OBVIOUS TO THE RESCUE!

    I mean, puh-leeze! IF you're going to harm big business, you might at least do it more subtly, like making it impossible for competition to even remotely stand a chance!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Nice.

    You're a master of subtlety there...

    ;-P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    pixelpusher220 (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Check Part 2 of this story posted today.

    http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/fbi-if-we-told-you-part-ii

    paraphrasing - "If people knew these companies were helping us, the companies would sue the government to not have to provide this info."

    So they also know the companies would challenge this in court - and likely win since they'd have big biz money behind them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 3:32pm

    So in other words, the goverment knows it's involved on illegal and is basically admitting it? Good jerb dumbasses.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    Re:

    In, not on.

    DURRR

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 3:35pm

    Re:

    "involved in illegal activity"

    Kids, this is why you should proofread your comments before posting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Re:

    Or an edit button?

    Jerb made me laugh though, which given the obscenity of this post was helpful. Thank You.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Thomas (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 3:45pm

    No big surprise.

    The FBI knows they are breaking the law via warrantless wiretapping and they don't want to have to deal with anyone finding out about it.

    The spooks do whatever they d*** well please, and they do not care one bit about any such silly things as the Constitution or enacted laws.

    I'm not sure what's worse; the government or the criminals; the line is fast blurring.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Check Part 2 of this story posted today.

    So, transparency is bad because it encourages lawsuits?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 4:33pm

    The stigma of working with the FBI would cause customers to cancel the companies' services and file civil actions to prevent further disclosure of subscriber info.

    You know, if the people at the FBI had just a tiny bit of self-awareness and empathy, it might occur to them that if people would freak out and start lawsuits if they knew what the FBI were doing, maybe the FBI shouldn't be doing those things.
    Of course, the fact that the FBI doesn't show any concern for the people they're supposed to be protecting is in itself one of the reasons people distrust them to the point where, as the FBI themselves said, any company known to be working with them gets abandoned and sued by their customers.

    Between the FBI and the ICE, the US government seems to be doing its darndest to make the US a bad place to run a business. That's not going to help the economy, y'know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    as much as i thought i would like an edit button (ya know, cuze i make some doozies too) i actually changed my mind.

    its nice to know that once someone breaks out with the super-tard and posts, its there and cant be altered which often leads to many entertaining hours of watching them twist in the wind trying to explain and defend their comments.

    the edit button would make all that a thing of the past...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    Re: No big surprise.

    What line?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    "..If They Knew Companies Were Helping With Wiretaps"

    This is why we don't store our data in the "cloud" boys and girls! Most of the time the Gov does'nt even need an official document. Go heavy on the encryption schemes. ;P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Jughead's Hat, May 11th, 2011 @ 5:40pm

    Re: For shame, FBI!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Dave, May 11th, 2011 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Easy fix. Just make edits look like this:

    Dumb comment!

    **EDIT May-11-11 6:56pm**
    I meant to say "Really dumb comment!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

    National security Letters

    So our government is morally bankrupt.

    It's high time we bankrupt them for our freedom from NSLs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    catchxxii, May 11th, 2011 @ 7:03pm

    Didn't bush already grant these companies immunity?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 7:08pm

    Re: Check Part 2 of this story posted today.

    Didn't bush already grant these companies immunity?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Mike Markovich, May 11th, 2011 @ 7:23pm

    Re: No big surprise.

    Speaking of blurry lines, it seems that distinguishing between corporate objectives and government policy is becoming more difficult and less meaningful all the time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Hans, May 11th, 2011 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Immunity

    "Didn't bush already grant these companies immunity?"

    No, Obama granted the telecoms immunity. One reason he doesn't get my vote next time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, it would be a programming nightmare, but posts can always be like a wikki where people have the option to go back and view what the post previously said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2011 @ 10:52pm

    How can you write about privacy?

    Like this site okay, but how can you write about privacy when you're allowing google.com and quantserve.com (which is Quantcast) to collect data on your site's visitors?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Re: No big surprise.

    Welcome to Shadowrun, where there is only one Megacorp, and runners steal information for a living.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 11th, 2011 @ 11:47pm

    Re: How can you write about privacy?

    NoScript is your friend.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2011 @ 2:34am

    Re: How can you write about privacy?

    Apples and oranges. Don't be riciculous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    abc gum, May 12th, 2011 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re: Check Part 2 of this story posted today.

    "Didn't bush already grant these companies immunity?"

    Clearly, that is what Ex Post Facto is for.
    The constitution, suitable for framing or wiping your ass.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    abc gum, May 12th, 2011 @ 5:23am

    Re: Re: Immunity

    "No, Obama granted the telecoms immunity. One reason he doesn't get my vote next time"

    AFAIK, the president does not have this sort of authority.
    In this case, as in most, congress passes a law, the president signs it and the courts attempt to sort it all out.
    btw, Bush also approved of passing such legislation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2011 @ 5:54am

    Welcome to Amerika!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Hans, May 12th, 2011 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Immunity

    Well, US Presidents sign executive orders for all sorts of things some say they don't have the authority for...

    But on the subject of Obama and immunity: Bush asked Congress for retroactive immunity, Congress put it in a bill. Senator Obama said he would filibuster any bill with retroactive immunity, but when given the chance did not, and voted in favor of the bill.

    Once President, his Attorney General successfully ended law suits, using the new law, because the Attorney General's role is to defend the laws passed by Congress. You decide.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2011 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: Immunity

    But...but.. he killed Osama! you HAVE to vote for him now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2011 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re:

    Derp

    Not durr

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 12th, 2011 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There are forums that do it that way, it would not be a nightmare. There's probably off the shelf forum software that does it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    revolutionary, May 12th, 2011 @ 12:22pm

    I wonder what type of advice our forefathers would give if they were alive today.
    How much of our constitution is gonna be trampled on before people get pissed?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2011 @ 9:26pm

    Re: Re: How can you write about privacy?

    Not apples and oranges. The article is about the govt. using private companies. This site is a private company, as are google and quantcast. And it's been well documented that both google and quantcast will and do sell their data to the govt.--as do yahoo, Microsoft, et. al., all of whom admit the practice. Privacy is privacy. Either you believe in it or you don't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Michael, May 12th, 2011 @ 10:39pm

    Repressive Gov't

    Well Gents, it's like this, if you don't do something to change it, the US will be just like all the other middle eastern countries living under repression, we are all most there, Maybe it is time for Paul Revere to ride again, only this time he will be saying, " the US Gov't is Comming"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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