Utah Moves Forward On Plans To Let Attorney General Have All Sorts Of Info On Internet Users With No Judicial Oversight

from the and-this-won't-be-abused? dept

Tim writes in to let us know of a proposal in the state legislature in Utah (known for passing some bizarre internet related legislation in the past) that would grant prosecutors stunning freedom to spy on internet users without much oversight. Specifically, the bill would let prosecutors in the Attorney General’s office demand names, addresses, phone numbers, and bank information from mobile phone operators and ISPs — without a judge reviewing the request. Last year, apparently, the legislature passed a similar law that was just limited to sex-related crimes — and prosecutors are now requesting info under that law approximately once per day, which seems like a pretty high number. The new law was originally intended to cover all crimes, but was limited to felonies as well as cyberstalking and cyberharassment claims (which, again, seem broad). It seems quite likely that such a law would be greatly abused.

Of course, the politicians supporting this claim that it’s necessary to keep people safe:

“If we charge our law-enforcement folks with trying to protect us and trying to catch these people,” [sponsor of the bill, Rep. Brad] Daw said, “we need to always be trying to review the capabilities these criminals have and the tools technology gives to them and make sure we have adequate tools in place.”

Except that makes no sense. Prosecutors could get a judge to grant a subpoena already. Why do they need to do this with no judicial review? This isn’t about protecting people and catching criminals. You already had a process to do that. It’s just that it had oversight. So what’s the excuse for taking away the oversight?

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Comments on “Utah Moves Forward On Plans To Let Attorney General Have All Sorts Of Info On Internet Users With No Judicial Oversight”

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TwoWords (profile) says:

revolution is brewing

They are afraid of what is coming. They are coming up with ways to keep the sheeple in line and this is how it begins as they take more and more ways to take liberty away and say it is for your own protection. It is just another part that can get added onto the patriot act that just got renewed again. Those in power are and will do anything to stay there.

Anonymous Coward says:

You can read the full bill at: http://le.utah.gov/~2010/htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0150S01.htm . It’s already passed the house and is in the senate.

It gets worse than what Mike described (It’s been amended since the article was published):

* It provides that “There is no cause of action against any provider or wire or electronic communication service,” who complies with these subpoenas.

* The only oversight is that the have to report how many of these subpoenas they used the previous year. No report on how many led to locking up criminals. No report on which crimes were being investigated, etc.

* They’ve played some weird wording that makes it so can use these subpoenas for any online crime investigation as long as someone in their agency is also investigating a serious crime:
When a law enforcement agency is investigating a sexual offense against a minor, an offense of stalking under Section 76-5-106.5 , or an offense of child kidnapping under Section 76-5-301.1 , and has reasonable suspicion that an electronic communications system or service or remote computing service has been used in the commission of a criminal offense. [They crossed out “the criminal offense and changed it to “a criminal offense”]

You’d think that with the recent news of how the NSLs were abused, legislatures would think twice about giving state police the same privilege.

Laurel L. Russwurm (profile) says:

Judicial Oversight

The world’s legal system has evolved over hundreds of years which is why there are checks and balances to the state’s power.

What is it about computer crime that makes legislatures so free with throwing away human rights wholesale?

Who’d a thought that Malevolent Mouse would become the poster boy for an Orwellian future?

(*sign of the times… I’m being cautious about saying what I mean.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Judicial Oversight

“What is it about computer crime that makes legislatures so free with throwing away human rights wholesale? “

It’s still new, duh (I already thought of this). Hence, we still haven’t developed equitable laws to govern it and a reasonable public consensus of what those laws should be, that is, a consensus that transcends the influence of a corrupt mainstream media. That’s also why cableco/telco monopoly have prevailed under the nonsense natural monopoly pretext and it’s why the FCC laws get to go against the public interest, it’s still relatively new and so we as a society haven’t really experienced the harm caused by such systematic tyranny to be able to develop a culture that will sufficiently resist the laws governing these new technologies from getting worse and worse.

The way it works is this. New technology comes out and benefits many people. The public hasn’t yet experienced harmful regulation of such technology to know that regulating it in certain ways can be harmful to the public. So eventually governmental laws slowly step in that restrict the free use of such technology in ways that unfairly benefit the top one percent. Eventually, through hardship and experience, the public learns about how harmful such regulation is. Over the years resistance and resentment for such laws build until the resentment reaches a critical mass and the laws are eventually done away with. At this point bringing back laws like this would be very difficult because the public is now more “immune” to such laws and hence the public knows to resist them more strongly at their outset before they go anywhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Judicial Oversight

Same reason why cities get to pass bogus parking laws. Cars are still relatively new and the population as a whole hasn’t had thousands of years to deal and learn how to deal with these laws and to learn to strongly resist them at their outset.

Slavery is something the population has dealt with for thousands of years and now there is a strong resistance against it.

Derek (profile) says:

So long, Utah

Dear Utah,

You have a beautiful state, filled with fun activities, amazing scenery, interesting people, fascinating history.

It makes us sad that you’ve gotten so bizarre. We wish we could continue our nine-year tradition of vacationing both winter and summer in your state, adding tens of thousands of dollars per year to your economy.

We realize our absence will be felt by the small business owners far more than the resource barons and pontifical religionists. We’re sorry if our waning interest accelerates the greed-fueled drilling, mining, deforestation, and paving of your unparalleled natural treasures.

But you’ve become so creepy. All the church/state confusion, the homophobia, the tangled mess of oddly-enforced laws, the pretentious and overwrought hand wringing about dictatorially defined morals — it’s just too much.

Even our kids, who’ve always preferred your outdoor adventures and natural history to the artifice and marketing of theme parks and thrill rides, are balking at your uptight image.

We’ll miss you. Really. It’s just that, like that grumpy old man who’s narrow in his worldview and proud of his ignorance, you’re simply repulsive to be around. Vacations are supposed to be fun, and so many other states, regardless of their politics, are free of the pall of hate you carry.

Thanks for the memories, sorry you couldn’t pull it together,
Four families

BearGriz72 (profile) says:

Re: So long, Utah

“Utah is not a state known for its legislative sanity. This, after all, is a state that recently made headlines for proposing to honor gun manufacturers on Martin Luther King Day and for considering the elimination of 12th grade to cut back on education spending.

Well, it just got a whole lot worse.

Utah just became the first state in the U.S. to criminalize miscarriage and punish women for having or seeking an illegal abortion. Utah’s “Criminal Miscarriage” law:
expands the definition of illegal abortion to include miscarriages
removes immunity protections for women who have or seek illegal abortions
treats women as presumptive criminals and leaves them open to criminal prosecution
But even among states that punish illegal abortions, this “Criminal Miscarriage” law is unique. It not only punishes individuals who perform illegal procedures; it punishes women.”




Any Other Questions?

anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Re: So long, Utah

So long , Utah…..I am sick to death with people like you! You could not think your way out of a wet paper bag. The level of intelligence required to make a statement like the one you just made is somewhere far below mentally challenged. The fact that you vote scares the hell out of me ! In America the right to privacy is far and away one of the most important rights, and widely accepted as such. To monitor registered sex offenders is one thing, but to allow random monitoring of folks who do not subscribe to your particular brand of morality disgusts and offends and angers me. I am a member of an adult dating site. This site is adult, and to enter is not possible if you are not 18yrs of age or older. I practice safe sex. A site such as this provides such a service for those of us who are not sanctimonious religious arbiters of morality. Utah has a ridiculous and unconstitutional law which states that sex out of wedlock is a crime, oral sex is a crime, and mutual masturbation is a crime. Punishable with a conviction of sodomy! Also blatantly unconstitutional. Perhaps you should join the Hitler youth, fool!

JLWalk02 says:

Check and Balance

So who is going to protect us from the AG? That is why the founding fathers built in checks and balances so there was no abuse of the powers that our elected officials have. I think the people of Utah need to wake up and remember that every person needs protection from unlawful things. Their elected officials and using what is “scary” to take away the exact system that keeps them safe.

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