Sen. Feinstein Calls For Section 702 Reforms, No 'Forever' Reauthorization

from the also-applying-for-an-advisory-position-at-the-EFF dept

I don't want to view this as a disingenuous move prompted by partisanship. I also don't want to view this as the belated realization that broad surveillance powers aren't exactly something you want to hand over to your political enemies. But, given the circumstances, it's hard to believe these statements by longtime surveillance statist Dianne Feinstein are anything but politically-motivated:

Lost in this week’s outcry over the latest presidential controversy was a very important hearing on the future of a key intelligence program: Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This program, which involves the collection of the content of internet and phone communications of foreigners outside the United States, is a vital intelligence tool.

Section 702 has been a valuable part of our counterterrorism efforts and I support its continuation, but I believe a sunset provision and key reforms should be considered.

This comes in response to (Republican) Senator Tom Cotton's legislative proposal to give Section 702 a clean re-auth FOREVER. Would this have been handled differently if someone more politically-aligned with Feinstein had proposed it? We can only speculate.

But that's not all Feinstein is proposing. She also wants to codify the NSA's voluntary shutdown of its "about" collection. As was noted here when the announcement was made, there's nothing stopping the NSA from deciding it wants to start incidentally collecting US persons communications on a mass scale, and I'm sure it has plenty of vague national security reasons for doing so. Amending the FISA Amendments Act before re-auth would hit the NSA with a federal "no backsies" stipulation that would ensure greater privacy protections for Americans' internet communications.

What's difficult to track down is any sort of Road to Damascus conversion point for Sen. Feinstein. Even dealing with the CIA's intrusiveness/abusiveness during the compiling of the Torture Report failed to cool her enthusiasm for maximum spying and minimal oversight. I'm happy to see someone who pulls this much IC weight calling for these reforms, but also suspicious these would not have materialized with Clinton in the Oval Office or the Democrats holding a majority in Congress.

But, we'll take what we can get. The downside is, of course, the current president's desire to push through a 702 re-auth with zero discussion and a hearty enthusiasm for any form of spying that isn't directed at him or his inner circle.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 10:58am

    but of course!

    "I don't want to view this as a disingenuous move prompted by partisanship. I also don't want to view this as the belated realization that broad surveillance powers aren't exactly something you want to hand over to your political enemies. But, given the circumstances, it's hard to believe these statements by longtime surveillance statist Dianne Feinstein are anything but politically-motivated:"

    Both parties are complete hypocrites right now. The people that continue to vote for any candidates in them have no standing to complain about either party and their antics in politics.

    It must be said, and repeatedly so, that when it comes to government, before you give your best friend power, consider the fact that the same power is going to grace the hands of your enemy. A lesson that has never been learned except at just about one point in history around 1776 but forgotten about a century later.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 11:11am

      Re: but of course!

      >"The people that continue to vote for any candidates in them have no standing to complain about either party and their antics in politics."

      That's a ridiculous B&W reading of the situation. There are many people who are in districts where they effectively have no power. I could vote and have my entirely family vote for a candidate and we will be a drop in the bucket against the in-power incumbent because of where we live.

      Other times we have to choose shades of grey. There is no prefect candidate. There is no candidate who agrees with all of my major desires. I have to pick and choose candidates based on specific goals I want to get done. So I may choose someone who is strong on environment knowing that also means it comes with heavy baggage on political bickering or a ridiculous view on the security of personal information.

      Basically - just because I voted someone into office, it does not mean I take away all rights to say anything on politics. I means I made an informed choice that was the best of what I was given.

      The idea that "X candidate is not everything I want in a candidate so I can't (or you should not) vote for them" is exactly how we got into this mess in the first place.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:17pm

        Re: Re: but of course!

        "That's a ridiculous B&W reading of the situation."

        no it is not, your retort is also a strawman argument. My aversion to the party system in politics has nothing to do with "not finding the perfect candidate".

        "Basically - just because I voted someone into office, it does not mean I take away all rights to say anything on politics."

        Eh... just because you have the "legal right" to do this does not mean that your "moral right" remains untarnished. These lying cheating and hypocritical politicians are plain as day. I am telling you that you deserve everything you get from them!

        Go ahead, keep voting them it, I am just saying people will not care about your opinions because wait.... they consider themselves a part of a "political group" that YOU/THEM views as an enemy. Get the point?

        Parties are all about creating a divide among the people... the game of chess for the super rich and political elite. And people like you happily march onto the board and offer yourself up as a pawn!

        This is why Trump won... he readily thumbs his nose at the elite and that appeals to a lot of people, even if he burns the place down in the process.

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:03pm

      Re: but of course!

      Vote for no one! The government will be emptied! Or what, 10,000 write-in candidates, most of whom don't know they have been volunteered?

      Haha. 1776. Bullshit. They were mostly the same. The revolution was for the local wealthy to have more control. Pff, lower import duties on tea, will you.

      The parties are hypocrites _now_?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:21pm

        Re: Re: but of course!

        Is your user name a euphemism for what happened when your mom dropped you on your head?

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

      • icon
        William Braunfeld (profile), 12 Jun 2017 @ 3:18pm

        Re: Re: but of course!

        While they are being unnecessarily hyperbolic and aggressive with this, I actually do not strictly disagree with the AC in this case. Your response, however, is pure reductio ad absurdum. Have you so soon forgotten that there ARE more than two names on the ballot every year?
        Where AC is correct here is in the statement that our own self-conviction that non-R and non-D votes are "wasted voted" is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and ignores (as I stated in prior posts) the effect that even a decent minority can have on the parties; if we vote for those who better represent what we want, even knowing they will lose, we can use that pressure to push the "big" parties toward what we want to reclaim their votes. This sort of response is willfully abdicating the power you can wield as a voter.

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

        • icon
          William Braunfeld (profile), 12 Jun 2017 @ 3:36pm

          Re: Re: Re: but of course!

          Bleh. I'm spending too much time typing and not enough thinking; it makes me sound like an idiot. I was thinkin of the presidential race, not house/senate.
          I stand by my assertion that where possible, voting for third parties is worthwhile even knowing they can't win; in places where that's not possible, if you disagree with the options, writing in No Confidence may be a good choice. But for the most part you can disregard my above post as irrelevant.

          "...every year"? The hell is even going on in my brain.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 4:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: but of course!

            Don't worry about criticizing yourself too much. One of the primary points that you pointed out is important to the conversation and that is "defeated" attitude on display in America at large.

            Since it is impossible for me to get the perfect candidate, I might as well vote for a candidate that will win.

            Oddly enough, your vote as a Juror and participate in local politics will affect you life much more than congress or potus. Additionally, states do not even have to allow its citizens to even vote for president, they just do out of habit.

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:12pm

      Re: but of course!

      So your solution is what, exactly?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:19pm

        Re: Re: but of course!

        If you are too stupid to figure it out from the post... I am not telling ya!

        Hint, go and read George Washington's farewell address.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: but of course!

          Wow, I bet you are the life of the party.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 4:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: but of course!

            So you guys think that a solution to a problem this complex can be arrived at with just a post somewhere on the internet?

            Who is asking too much here? Thoughtful and introspective solutions to common problems are only repaired by the people at large actually looking for a solution.

            You are not looking for anything but a person to pick on. Why bother saying anything to people like you? You know who you are based on your "so what's your solution" retorts.

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

            • identicon
              Thad, 12 Jun 2017 @ 4:36pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: but of course!

              Why bother saying anything to people like you?

              And yet here you are, three paragraphs in.

              I don't know if you're new here or a sockpuppet or what, but this is not the first time that this gentleman has weaved drunkenly into a conversation to call people stupid and refer them vaguely to George Washington's farewell address. Neither is it the second time, the third time, or the fourth time.

              No, I was not looking for someone to pick on, but he keeps showing up unbidden anyway.

              If you don't want to "bother saying anything to people like me", that suits me just fine. So why are you still doing it?

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

        • identicon
          Chip, 12 Jun 2017 @ 4:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: but of course!

          I have lots of solutions, I just don't want to say what they are right now, or any time in the past or future!

          Every nation eats the Paint chips it Desrves!!!

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

      • icon
        William Braunfeld (profile), 12 Jun 2017 @ 3:22pm

        Re: Re: but of course!

        "Stand up and be counted." Don't assume that because things are this way, they must always stay this way. Stand for your principles, vote for who you truly believe in even if they will likely lose; the more people willing to do that, the less likely this goverenment duopoly will persist. And if none of the candidates are worh voting for, be willing to write "No Confidence" on your ballot.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 11:32am

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:06pm

    Oh. Seems like she wants the benefit of suggesting maybe consider maybe it should be sunset, maybe, sometime, without it ever happening.

    But geez Tim why are you guys always just kissing the boots of Democrats and Feinstein? @@

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 2:18pm

      Re: Feistein Boot Kissing

      "But geez Tim why are you guys always just kissing the boots of Democrats and Feinstein ?".




      ... because most tech people favor the Democrat-Progressive outlook.

      Smart people want to control & shape the environment they live within -- and have confidence in their ability to do so.
      That ideological desire extends to control of society (and all the people in it) and is the essence of the American Progressive Movement that arose in late 19th Century from Protestant religious roots. The Democratic Party still continues to embody that ideology.


      Data compiled by 'Crowdpac' (nonpartisan group tracking campaign donations) shows that employees at technology companies donated overwhelmingly to Hillary Clinton-- 95% versus 4% Trump. Libertarian & Green Party candidates each got less than 1%.
      Likewise in the Silicon Valley area, nearly 99 percent of the political donations went to Hillary Clinton, and 1 percent to Trump.

      Tech folks just want to build a better world, but fail to see the dark coercive nature of Progressive socialism. In their naivete, they see in Democrat-socialists (like Feinstein) a "pro-active" mindset that gets big things done for the "good of society", as they quite subjectively perceive it.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 4:26pm

        Re: Re: Feistein Boot Kissing

        I do not agree with your summary of the situation.
        It advances the idea that only people in tech are smart.

        I work in Tech, there are more than enough ignorant and stupid people here.
        You also advance the idea that Hillary is a genuine ideologue as opposed to be being just a straight up corrupt political hack willing to say and do anything to obtain power. Hillary is just as bad for America as Trump. I see very little difference between the two other than their implements of destruction.

        Everyone wants to build a better world. The problem is that some people view the better world as you under their boot with a smile and a hug. Nothing is more insidious as the person that wants to be your friend AND lead you.

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

        • identicon
          Thad, 12 Jun 2017 @ 5:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: Feistein Boot Kissing

          I'm no fan of Clinton (and didn't vote for her), but I don't find the idea that there's "very little difference between the two" to be credible. She's a known quantity and a typical politician; he is unstable and unpredictable. She would certainly have had her share of ongoing scandals and investigations, but she doesn't share his ignorance about the basic functions of government or his lack of regard for how the rest of the world sees us.

          I'm not saying she would have been good. But suggesting that she's the same as Trump is like suggesting that hitting your thumb with a hammer is the same as having your arms cut off.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2017 @ 1:41pm

    There ain't no haystack big enough

    Ain't no integrity lacking enough
    To keep me from surveilling you babe!

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

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 12 Jun 2017 @ 2:01pm

    Revoke Your Consent to be Governed by Politicans that Have Forsworn their Oath of Office

    As was noted here when the announcement was made, there's nothing stopping the NSA from deciding it wants to start incidentally collecting US persons communications on a mass scale, and I'm sure it has plenty of vague national security reasons for doing so.

    there's nothing stopping the NSA not even the 4th Amendment to the Constitution which is so conveniently ignored by the government and it's agents in the name of political expediency or when on that rare occasion a person whispers it within the confines of a courthouse the federal/state/county court jester presiding shall pronounce for all laypersons within earshot how it simply does not apply in this instance or that.

    Yes, there's nothing stopping the NSA.

    PS The US governments mass criminal/unconstitutional surveillance is not about catching terrorists or spies it is about government insiders gaining access to industrial trade secrets, insider stock trading tips and blackmailing political opponents.

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


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