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National Security Letter Plaintiff Speaks 185

Posted by kdawson
from the gagged-but-good dept.
Panaqqa writes "On Monday, the US government appealed a September ruling striking down a controversial section of the Patriot Act as unconstitutional. The section permits the FBI to send secret demands to ISPs (called 'National Security Letters') for logs and email without first obtaining a judge's approval. The ACLU has quoted the president of the small Plaintiff ISP, identified only as John Doe because of a gag order under the law, saying that the gag provisions make it 'impossible for people... to discuss their specific concerns with the public, the press and Congress.'"
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National Security Letter Plaintiff Speaks

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  • Anyone appealing anything is hardly newsworthy. We knew it was going to happen. Just like whats-her-name eventually going to appeal the judgment of $222,000 against her for "making available 24 songs". Not meant as trolling; just a simple observation.
  • So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @12:44AM (#21263399) Journal
    "'impossible for people... to discuss their specific concerns with the public, the press and Congress.'"

    So discuss away. Have sock puppets discuss away. Have your wife discuss away. Set up a blog to record all dealings with said 3 letter organizations. So what if they try to gag you. Leak stuff to the press. Hell even DRUDGEREPORT would cover it, if nobody else would. They can't hide if you speak out.

    We have a right to remain silent, and the right to SPEAK.

    The only question left is, what do you stand for? If you don't speak out, neither will the next guy and the guy after that. This is how tyranny wins.
    • Re:So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hnile_jablko (862946) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @12:55AM (#21263457)
      So discuss away. Have sock puppets discuss away. Have your wife discuss away. Set up a blog to record all dealings with said 3 letter organizations. So what if they try to gag you. Leak stuff to the press. Hell even DRUDGEREPORT would cover it, if nobody else would. They can't hide if you speak out.

      You make light of this as if it is easy. When facing legal action, most people will succumb to pressure and retreat. The rare person who does is generally labelled a leftist lunatic who does not value nor deserve the 'freedom' and security of a 'democratic' nation.

      We have a right to remain silent, and the right to SPEAK.

      It seems from the article and the provisions of the patriot act, this person does not have the right to speak under threat of prosecution or jail.

      The only question left is, what do you stand for? If you don't speak out, neither will the next guy and the guy after that. This is how tyranny wins.

      You are telling the person to speak out, but the person can be prosecuted for doing it. Most people don't stand up to well in the face of tyranny which is why there are so many in the world and in history. I wonder how you would act in a similar circumstance.
      • Re:So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:03AM (#21263511) Journal
        Some 210 years ago, a bunch of guys under threat of death decided not to take it any more. Tossed some tea in the sea, and thus you have the rights today. Doing the "right thing" isn't always easy, its still the right thing to do.

        That's the problem with Tyranny. It makes doing what is RIGHT, hard. That's how it wins.
        • Re:So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Elemenope (905108) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:37AM (#21263711)

          It is a little different when most of your neighbors and friends sympathize, and "the man" is a three week ocean trip away. And, if I recall correctly, the tea party gang did their bit in disguise so as to prevent reprisals and maintain plausible deniability who were willing to "do the right thing" so long as the right thing didn't tarnish their good name.

          I certainly agree that "doing the right thing" is right even when it is not easy, but speaking as a person who has been arrested and charged for leading a protest, even winning a minor beat like a disorderly conduct charge can really toss a wrecking ball through an otherwise orderly life. The six of us involved won the case, but still failed nearly every class that semester just from missing class to be in court all the damn time. Now, instead of class, imagine it was work (supporting your family) and instead of disorderly conduct, it was some serious federal charges. Suddenly, doing the right thing isn't such a "no brainer" that you make it out to be; it's a hard choice I wouldn't expect even very principled people to make very often.

          • You should see what happened to the guys that signed the DoI. The Tea Party was just the warning shot.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by DaedalusHKX (660194)
              Actually, that's the fun part. Most of them lost either "everything" or "close to".

              Guess that's what happens when you go against Caesar... and the worst part was that they reinstated an easily exploited, very strong central government with "checks and balances" which were only seen as such by those promoting them.

              Hell they had to EMBARGO and blockade Rhode Island to force them to ratify it, after RI shot it down in civil referendum, 11 to 1.

              Makes one wonder if the American Revolution wasn't merely a power
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Elemenope (905108)

                And Rhode Island still almost didn't. The ratification convention, I shit you not, happened about a hundred yards from where I'm sitting now, in a surprisingly tiny meeting house in Kingston. The story goes that the federalists did not have the numbers to force the issue, and the convention was deadlocked, so they recessed the session, and took the anti-ratification contingent for a round of heavy drinking. While many of their opponents were heavily inebriated, the federalists rushed back to the meeting

          • Actually, how hard would it be for the ISP to store digital copies of said files?

            Then how hard would it be for some unknown "hacker" to randomly hack the ISP, deface their website with the said documents, slander the ISP, etc as "cowards" and then forward a copy of this to every 2600, world net news and drudge style publishers out there... cat would be out of the bag, and ISP would simply have to "reinstall a server due to possible rootkit installation" or some such. And if everyone at the ISP has alibis,
        • by ls -la (937805)
          210 years ago? You're showing your age. It's been over 230 now.
        • Re:So What? (Score:4, Funny)

          by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @04:01AM (#21264339) Homepage
          Well you revolt first. They will run out of bullets after the first wave. :)
        • by xeoron (639412)
          What's interesting about the Boston Tea Party is that it was not a revolt against taxes, but against the strength of economy. Assuming the source is valid, it's documented here how Benjamin Franklin-made New England prosperous [wordpress.com].
      • I fear living under this kind of fascist government more than I fear their jackbooted thugs, guns and threats of imprisonment.
      • It seems from the article and the provisions of the patriot act, this person does not have the right to speak under threat of prosecution or jail.

        Huh-uh. According to the 1st Amendment to the Constitution:

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

        Did you catch that? "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..." Regardless of what the so-called "Patriot Act

        • by Shakrai (717556) *

          Did you catch that? "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..." Regardless of what the so-called "Patriot Act" says, we do have the right to speak out unless we choose to keep silent and let the government sacrifice the Constitution on the altar of "National Security".

          I hate to break it to you, but this is nothing new. For better or worse Congress and the various states have made laws that abridge the freedom of speech. And I'm not even talking about the tired old "fire!" in the crowded theater example. Ever served on a Grand Jury? You are sworn to secrecy and can't discuss ANYTHING about the proceedings.

          I don't see a problem with a gag order that's imposed that prevents you from talking about an ongoing criminal investigation. Society has an interest in making

          • Point taken. However, I'm not entirely sure that this is an apples to apples comparison. Does the gag order in the Grand Jury example you mention above prevent you from discussing matters in the case at hand with your attorney (not that I can think of a likely reason why you would want or need to, but that's irrelevant)? Somehow, I don't think it does, but as I understand, the Patriot Act prohibits discussing or revealing the contents of an NSL with anyone for any reason at all.

            You are correct that fo
    • Re:So What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by adrianmonk (890071) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:05AM (#21263525)

      So discuss away. Have sock puppets discuss away. Have your wife discuss away.

      The stupid Patriot act makes it illegal for the person to tell their wife! So, that's not really a work-around. It'd be better for them to just say whatever they're going to say.

      For what it's worth, I think the ISP owner has done the right thing. They've done everything they can without getting arrested. They haven't said, "Ah, it's too much trouble to fight this." Instead, they've called in the ACLU and taken the government to court. The government, so far, is losing. There's not much point in risking what the ISP owner would risk by giving up their identity. The ACLU has already drawn a lot of attention to it, and it doesn't seem like they'd get that much publicity by shedding their anonymity.

      By the way, if you appreciate the fact that the ACLU provided free lawyers and made it way easier for the guy to fight the government on this (thus decreasing the chances he'd blow it off), you might consider donating a little cash [aclu.org] to help them provide more lawyers in future situations like this.

      • Actually (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @03:10AM (#21264125)
        You probably can talk about it with your wife. Spousal privilege is rather powerful. Your spouse can't testify about what you said to them in confidence (as in when no 3rd party is around), even if incriminating. Also, your spouse cannot be forced to be a witness against you in a trial. They can choose to, if they wish, but they cannot be subpoenaed or compelled by any party.

        It is a privilege nearly as powerful as attorney client privilege. Since spouses are considered to in many ways legally be the same person, they are granted the right to free and open communication, without fear that it will be used against them in trial, civil or criminal.
        • by db32 (862117)
          Except this is state secret stuff. You can't discuss classified information with a spouse. Still shenanagins, but I don't think they would have any trouble nailing him for it.
          • You are right that you can't discuss classified information with your wife, but in that case there's a whole separate process for getting cleared. You don't have clearance to access classified information until you've been vetted by the FBI and issued a security clearance. This is just a normal gag order from a court.
            • by db32 (862117)
              Good luck explaining that to anyone who matters. They fell for all of Cheney's lines. "I can't talk about that, Executive privlidge!" then turning around saying "Well, that doesn't really apply to me, I'm not part of the executive".

              Remember, every citizen is a terrorist in waiting! To question the government is unpatriotic. That means if you don't do exactly what they told you you are a terrorist. Never forget. You are either with us or against us! Only a vast and powerful government with lots of
              • You don't have to explain it to anyone. They tell your wife "Tell us what your husband said," your lawyer says "She can't, it's privileged." Discussion over. They can haul it in front of a judge who will rule that yes, spousal privilege applies. It's the same King of thing as attorney client privilege.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Randyj70999 (322677)
      ...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long establishe
  • freedom (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hnile_jablko (862946) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @12:45AM (#21263403)
    free-est nation in the world my ass. the country is slowly turning into totalitarian soviet rule under the guise of democracy.
    • Right... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NEOtaku17 (679902)
      Being the freest doesn't make one free. Haven't been to Europe lately I take it?
      • Re:Right... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by hnile_jablko (862946) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @02:37AM (#21264005)
        In fact I have. I have spent the last 3 years living in and working in Spain and the UK. I would say there are much freer(sp?) states in Europe than the US. Many more.

        I am missing your point about Europe and its relevance to my comment about the US slowly becoming a totalitarian state. That I know of, the number of totalitarian states in Europe has gone from about 50% in all of europe down to near 0% in the last 15-20 years. Sorry to ask and please forgive me, but can you please clarify because I am assuming I am completely missing something.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by networkBoy (774728)
          freererer...er, yeah, you got me on that one...

          As a red-blood yank I have to agree though. Europe (as a whole) is rapidly becoming the role-model that the USA once was.
          Sad really. I still love my country, just my governments breaks have melted and if you thought a run-away semi down hill was bad, try a trillion dollar ball of red tape, pencil pushers, and self-important lawyers (as most congress critters are).
          • Europe (as a whole) is rapidly becoming the role-model that the USA once was.

            I'd be inclined to point to Eastern Europe specifically, rather than Europe as a whole. UK and Germany, for example, only seem to be better in customer protection compared to the US. Meanwhile, the new European nations, such as the Baltic countries and Poland, manage to strike a good balance between personal freedom and nanny-state. It seems a few dozen years of tyranny enforced from the outside help to reinforce the idea that fre

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by 4D6963 (933028)

        Being the freest doesn't make one free. Haven't been to Europe lately I take it?

        I live in France. Can you tell me how France is "not freer" than the USA? Or any other European country for that matter? Are you sure the USA are freer than Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and every country of Europe (not put together)?

        My point is, if the USA have ever been "the freest country in the world", it had to be a long time ago, if ever (for example, a few countries [wikipedia.org] had abolished slavery before the

    • The total amount of totalitarianism in Europe seems to be constant. It just moves around from country to country.
    • Nah ... totalitarian PRC rule. We aren't buying all of our Christmas tree bulbs from Russia, you know.
  • Systemic problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @12:45AM (#21263405)
    The idea is that once these clowns are out of office, these attempts to remove procedural constraints on law enforcement will end, right? Bushies are evil and want to eat your babies and all that. But the pressure to create these laws comes from law enforcement itself. The DHS wants these limits removed so that it can more effectively combat crime and, as its name implies, keep the homeland secure.

    So even after GWB leaves office, the DHS and all the subdepartments under it will still be there demanding to have more access with less oversight. Will the next President have the balls to dismantle DHS into its constituent parts? Hell, will the next President have balls at all?

    The growth of government into a huge self-sustaining entity is the root cause of this type of abuse. Only by returning to a smaller government with a more focused raison detre can we expect to have the people running it rather than it running the people.

    Of course, since that will never happen, I hope they provide lube.
    • by Eskarel (565631) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:16AM (#21263587)
      There's nothing wrong with biggish government. The world is both bigger and smaller than it was in 1776 and we need a bigger and more complex government to deal with it. It's also expected that certain parts of government will attempt to change things in order to make their lives easier at the expense of private citizens. The US and most western democracies have checks and balances in place for that.

      We even have checks and balances for when the people who are supposed to keep the three letter organizations in check get out of control. It's called voting. We even have the ability for third parties to run when everyone sucks. The problem we have is that the people on average don't care. They buy the line about how doing all this will save them from the terrorist threat which doesn't exist. They buy the idea that the terrorists hate American freedoms and the only way to save our freedoms is to let the government take them away.

      Democracy is about getting the government you vote for, and when the people who vote are apathetic, ignorant, greedy, fearful, and bigotted, you get apathetic, ignorant, fearful, and bigotted government. In other words crap government.

      Is this current state of affairs George Bush(or more accurately Dick Cheney)'s fault? Yes. Dick Cheney is an evil bastard and Bush seems for the most part to just do what he's told. We've established that, we've paid for it now comes the new question?

      Why are none of the feebs running for the next election being held accountable for fixing it? Why are we letting both parties and most of the third party candidates get away with not promising to dismantle this crap?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tftp (111690)
        The problem we have is that the people on average don't care.

        I think this is exactly the reason why democracy just can not exist as a stable state; it can be seen briefly in popular revolts, for example, but after things settle down people abandon their duty to the state. There are very few countries in the world that can be even called democratic, for a certain, watered down meaning of democracy.

        Most countries are ruled by people who came to power because of who they are themselves or who they know. If

        • by h4rm0ny (722443)

          I think this is exactly the reason why democracy just can not exist as a stable state;

          But this isn't a given. (Please note that I'm only disagreeing with your conclusion, not your argument.) The degree to which the people care is heavily influenced by factors of general education levels, wealth distribution and culture. The republic of Rome, whilst a republic having the subtle distinction of being a republic rather than a democracy and lacking universal suffrage, is still a valid example of a democracy

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tftp (111690)
            There is no intrinsic reason why a democracy must fail sooner than any other form of government.

            I think I can easily offer you such a reason. It is called motivation. Take two opposing examples - democratic Athens and tyrannical Iraq (under Saddam.) What drives the rulers (the collective ruler in Athens' case) to rule?

            I think it can be universally postulated that people are lazy, and won't do things that do not seem to be necessary. If we take this issue and think of our examples, a Greek voter is only

      • by stony3k (709718)
        I would advice you and anyone else who thinks big governments are good to read some Thoreau [wikipedia.org], specifically his essay Civil Disobedience [wikipedia.org]. It's in the public domain even, so you can get it for free from many places.
      • by fractoid (1076465)

        It's called voting. We even have the ability for third parties to run when everyone sucks. The problem we have is that the people on average don't care. They buy the line about how doing all this will save them from the terrorist threat which doesn't exist.

        The problem, to my mind, and the reason that people don't care, is that voting in a two-party system doesn't change policy a bit. There's no way for the populous to support their own views because politicians toe the party line, and the major parties run on a couple of headline issues while being otherwise very similar.

        Even if the incumbent government IS thrown out, the network of advisors and upper-upper-middle management that actually runs the country tends to stay pretty much put, and the cogs keep tu

      • Sorry but big government is bad, its horribly bad. Why? Because it puts forward the belief in people that its futile to challenge it. Simply put the government is so large as to be monolithic. They have created so many laws and rules that no one can really challenge it.

        Voting? Are you kidding? Democrats and Republicans have engineered the system to ensure that you only can choose amongst them. They constantly redraw districts to split the vote between themselves! Then they put forward ridiculous req
      • by jefu (53450)

        We've established that, we've paid for it

        I suspect we've far from paid for it. It seems all too likely that we'll be paying for the current administration for many years in fairly painful ways. I hope I'm wrong.

    • by BobMcD (601576)

      Will the next President have the balls to dismantle DHS into its constituent parts? Hell, will the next President have balls at all?

      That depends. How many people can we convince to vote for Ron Paul in the upcoming primaries?

      Whether or not you agree with all of Dr Paul's politics, you have to agree that he would both exercise his executive powers to reorganize departments like DHS AND veto any bills that fund them. Looking at his voting record, you can plainly see that he never supported this kind of federal abuse. Listening to him speak, it is plain to see he would do everything within his Constitutional authority to stop it from c

  • by GrEp (89884) <<crb002> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:04AM (#21263513) Homepage Journal
    Sharing one of these letters with your congressman is fine. The executive is supposed to keep them abreast of all matters anyway. I don't remember reading anywhere in the "patriot" act that congress asked to be left in the dark...
  • absurd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drDugan (219551) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:07AM (#21263533) Homepage
    At what point does the story become so absurd that people will rise up with some energy and stop this insanity.

    This is one of a long list now that together paints absurdity:

    gag orders from the state like TFA

    fake government news conferences

    secret rules for companies offering travel

    warrentless searches, warrentless wiretaps without oversight

    executive officials declaring they aren't part of the executive branch

    former AG and AG in the approval process both who think simulating death by drowing is OK

    overt torture of dissidents by the state

    political litmus tests for federal prosecutors

    taking water and degrading people with "security theatre" before they can fly

    secret prisons

    history rewritten with medals of freedom

    CIA IG hamstrung by OMB red tape preventing the investigation of illegal activity

    police that require papers on demand, without reason

    overtly funding terrorist dictators, then attacking them

    being tazed and arrested for asking tough questions to Senators and acting up

    the lead opposition party candidate supporting the war through 2012

    somehow "not finding" the Saudi prince who was "responsible" for the 9/11 attack

    spending fully 60% of the global military expenditures ($623 Billion, not counting Iraq)

    a looming awful choice: a draft -or- mid-east civil war. Pick one.

    a president beating war drums about WW III

    an endless war on fear that causes fear

    This is the United States today. Any memory or idealism of some other "land of the free" is completely gone.

  • George Christian (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kmarek (860953)
    His name is George Christian. I met him a few months ago when he came to my town for a speech about this very issue. He told us his story from his perspective. This was the day after the September ruling. I even have his card somewhere here on my desk. Boing Boing was all over this 9 months ago. Old news. Here's a few videos about this case: PBS (RealPlayer) (June 2, 2006), YouTube (September 5th, 2007).
    • Could you repost the links? Either something went horribly wrong with your HTML or my browser is on the fritz(very possible).
  • by PHAEDRU5 (213667) <instascreed@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:22AM (#21263617) Homepage
    It should actually read that

    The Executive Branch of the US government appealed a September ruling by the Judicial Branch of the US government, striking down as unconstitutional an act approved by the Legislative Branch of the US Government.
    Got that?
  • Consider carefully what has happened. The U.S. government has established that it can break the law, and demand that those who know about it keep silent.

    That means that EVERY product and service from the U.S. could be compromised. Those who don't want to risk U.S. surveillance and control won't want to risk buying from manufacturers in the United States.

    If you are a U.S. citizen, are you ready to be poor? Are you ready to live in a poor country?
    • The U.S. doesn't sell much of any products anymore. All production is done over seas, you know China, Taiwan, Korea, etc.

      All we sell is services and IP (culture).
    • Because most of the products in it are from American companies, and a good deal are made in America. Unless you've got a Via processor, your processor is American. Intel, AMD, Motorola and IBM are all American companies. A good deal of their fabs are American as well. Your harddrive, while not manufactured in America is likely from an American company. Seagate (and by extension Maxtor) and Western Digital are both American and that is by far the largest share right there. How about video? Both nVidia and AT
    • by mrbluze (1034940)

      That means that EVERY product and service from the U.S. could be compromised. Those who don't want to risk U.S. surveillance and control won't want to risk buying from manufacturers in the United States.
      We already treat anything that is US owned as probably compromised. But then, anything running closed source can be assumed to be compromised. Easy solution: just don't trust anything important to the yanks.
      • But then, anything running closed source can be assumed to be compromised. Easy solution: just don't trust anything important to the yanks.
        Even suppose you use opensource software and that said software was compiled with an uncomprimised compiler the hardware could still be comprimised.

  • by renegadesx (977007) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:46AM (#21263763)
    The following is a copy of a National Security Letter, the FBI has requested that we remove all contents that would make them look bad

    Dear Plaintif,



















    Sincerly
    Special Agent
    John Smith
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ihlosi (895663)
      The following is a copy of a National Security Letter, the FBI has requested that we remove all contents that would make them look bad

      Dear Plaintif,



      Apparently, misspelling "plaintiff" doesn't make them look bad.

  • by Ambiguous Coward (205751) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @01:51AM (#21263787) Homepage
    There is a simple solution to a significant portion of this bullshit (which will absolutely not become a reality until there is an actual revolution and the current establishment is dissolved): DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, allow the GOVERNMENT to appeal a decision made in the courts. EVER, EVER, EVER. (implied underline, strikethrough, blink, and high-voltage electrical shock)

    The moment "the government" attempts to appeal a court decision, it is PAINFULLY CLEAR that "the government" is serving its own interests, rather than those of the people. If the court has made an incorrect decision, let THE PEOPLE appeal the decision. Let a private citizen (or group thereof) take up the torch and fight the incorrect decision.

    I have a difficult time imagining ANY situation in which "the government" should be allowed to appeal a decision made in the courts. All that really allows is to require only a very small subset of judges be corrupt. The government can simply escalate all the way to the top, past the non-corrupted officials, at which point the case falls under the control of the corrupt party, and "the government" wins.

    -G

    P.S. I absolutely loathe the term "the government." It is only used to make those being abused by "the government" think there is a single, cohesive entity against which one can wage battle. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The only way to fight this creature is to destroy the entire thing at once. A Wish would do it, and maybe a Fireball, but only if you roll really, really high.

    P.P.S Sorry if the paragraphs above are a bit muddled or poorly organized. When I get riled up, I have difficulty organizing my thoughts.
    • by h4rm0ny (722443)

      Now this is why I read /. - in amongst all the bemoaning, I come across the odd interesting idea that had never occurred to me. Banning the government from appealing (not that they're very appealing anyway ;). Would need to think it over, but that could be a good thing and I fully agree with the comments about government not being a single entity. People forget that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        No, I'm afraid it's nuts. A minor ruling by a local court would then outweigh the ability of the US Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of a law itself. The ability to appeal is vital to prevent a badly handled first trial from ruining a person's life, or destroying an otherwise fine institution. And the court hierarchies exist for a reason.

        Mind you, they're badly abused by people who spend their way out of suffering consequences for crimes. But I don't want to see some corrupt judge running for
        • well, i think that was the point of the ambiguous coward, that if it actually made some non-government person or organization angry, that person or organization could perhaps have a way to request an appeal. ie, it requires that some person have an interest in the case. 'the government' would have to at least do something creative like astroturf or whatever to get it appealed, if nobody outside of it disliked the lesser court's opinion.

          again, i don't know how practical that is, but it is a neat idea.
  • Anyone else think it's funny that this news of the appeal comes on the same day that Congress bashed Yahoo for giving in to China's laws against free speech? (Not that the appeal wasn't expected though)
  • by brundlefly (189430) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @03:13AM (#21264143)

    Why We Fight [imdb.com].

    Explains how we got here, what we're facing, and why we are screwed. US Government is FUCKED by private interests, largely because there is no line between the two any more.

    I'm getting my son EU citizenship and teaching him French. Hopefully that's enough to ease his transition to a new continent.

    • I'm getting my son EU citizenship and teaching him French. Hopefully that's enough to ease his transition to a new continent.
      Not to rain on your parade, but you should also teach him how to make smores from the car fires [nytimes.com] as France tries to assimilate its immigrant population.
  • Presumably finding the information requested takes a reasonably amount of effort and it thus costs. There are various financial disclosure/reporting laws ... does the ISP need to say that it has cost it $X complying with NSA requests ?
  • Here [aclu.org] is the ACLU press release on the district court ruling from September.
  • How it works needs to do a section on government.

    1) Make arbitrary law violating existing case law and constitutional ammendments
    2) make said law, and enforcement of, secret
    3) issue gag order making discussion of said law, enforcement, and trial to determine legality ... illegal
    4) ...?
    5) profit!

3500 Calories = 1 Food Pound

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