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)

  •  
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    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!

     

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    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.

     

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

      Re: Check Part 2 of this story posted today.

      So, transparency is bad because it encourages lawsuits?

       

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      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?

       

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        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.

         

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

      Re:

      In, not on.

      DURRR

       

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

      Re:

      "involved in illegal activity"

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

       

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        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.

         

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          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...

           

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            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!"

             

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              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.

               

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                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.

                 

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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.

     

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    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.

     

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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

     

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    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.

     

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    catchxxii, May 11th, 2011 @ 7:03pm

    Didn't bush already grant these companies immunity?

     

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      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.

       

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        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.

         

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          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.

           

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

        Re: Re: Immunity

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

         

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    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?

     

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

      Re: How can you write about privacy?

      NoScript is your friend.

       

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

      Re: How can you write about privacy?

      Apples and oranges. Don't be riciculous.

       

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        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.

         

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

    Welcome to Amerika!

     

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    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?

     

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    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"

     

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