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The FBI tracking your browsing history without a warrant might be the beginning (cybernews.com)
252 points by nicedicerice 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 179 comments

If this is true, the silver lining is that it could become an albatross around the Patriot Act; spying on browser history is not a defensible means of preventing terrorism without absurd arguments.

But hold up. Has anyone read the bill?

I haven't read the full text of the bill, but reading the summary [1], parts of the bill actually sound positive to me:

> The Federal Bureau of Investigation may not seek certain FISA-authorized orders to obtain (1) call detail records on an ongoing basis, (2) a tangible thing where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would typically be required, or (3) cellular or GPS location information.

> In applications for certain FISA-authorized orders to obtain information or conduct surveillance, the applicant must certify that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has received any information that might raise doubts about the application. The bill imposes additional requirements on FISA-authorized orders targeting a (1) U.S. person, or (2) federal elected official or candidate.

> The bill increases criminal penalties for violations related to electronic surveillance conducted under color of law or false statements made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court).

> The bill broadens the criteria for when a FISA court decision shall be declassified and requires the declassification review and release of such opinions within 180 days of an opinion being issued.

> The bill broadens the FISA court's authority to appoint an amicus curiae (an outside party that assists in consideration of a case) and expands such amici's powers, such as the power to ask the court to review a decision.

> Each agency that submits applications to the FISA court shall appoint an officer responsible for compliance with FISA requirements.

Looking at the full text of the bill, I can't find where there is authorization for tracking browser history without a warrant. Can anyone pinpoint that in the actual text of the bill?

[1] https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6172

After reviewing the summary, full text, and the article, I also missed the authorization for tracking browser history without a warrant.

After making the claim, the article mostly seems an opinion piece; there doesn't seem to be a substantiation of the lede.

As an aside, Cybernews is a new resource to me; while the author of the article seems a well-established technology writer, Cybernews itself is absent a masthead. All I could discern is that it's governed by the laws of the Republic of Lithuania; not much else to go on wrt their values, opinion stance, etc.

Here's the amendment that was rejected.


> On page 7, strike lines 13 and 14 and insert the following: cell site location or global positioning system information. ``(C) An application under paragraph (1) may not seek an order authorizing or requiring the production of internet website browsing information or internet search history information.''.

From memory of articles surrounding this, it was the failure to add a provision preventing warrantless tracking that was scandalous. It is unclear to me if that implies some court decision that allows it without that preventative measure.

This article[1] does a good job at explaining why many people were pushing for the bill to explicity clarify that browser history was not among the ambiguous "content" that could be surveilled without a warrant.

The undefined scope of “content” along with the expanded scope of power given to the Attorney General (and taken away from the already constitutionally dubious FISA court) was the source of the recent controversy surrounding the reauthorization of Section 215.


It's because the amendment was never to authorize spying on browser history, it was an amendment to BLOCK it which was voted down for being a distraction and potentially limit FISA spying in other ways.

It's clear that the government(s) haven't had people's interest for quite a while now. It's nice for us to vote and protest but we need to take things into our own hands as those forms have yielded little results.

We need to build things and use software that are privacy first.

Such as:

  Signal (actually secure messaging unlike whatsApp)  
  Linux OS  
  Librem 5, is a great open sourced secure phone example
What are some additional things we should be building or looking to build?

Many upvotes on this, please.

Political and moral aspects aside - the sooner we can start reasonably and effectively counteracting this stuff (if only on an individual basis, to start) - the better.

BTW the sister comment to this one also seems helpful:



P2p internet

Brave ? https://brave.com/

(I'm asking, not endorsing)

Thanks for sharing. First I've heard of this company. It's definitely an interesting position as they look to be providing the browser (viewer) as well as the ad platform. It's unclear if they are hiding/replacing website ads with their own and how the websites are getting their revenue otherwise.

> If you want to support sites in Brave without earning tokens through ads then you’ll have to use your own money.

I think this is their monetization path that allows you to opt out of ad supported internet.

> law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and CIA can continue to look through the browsing history of American citizens without the need for a warrant.

I'm always curious what the heck does this mean exactly.

- Do they seize your computer and literally copy the browser history from any/all installed browsers?

- Do they ask your ISP to pipe DNS requests from your IP to them?

- Do they wiretap your line or cellular connection and basically do a `tshark $SUSPECT_WAN_IFACE | grep HTTP > browsing-history.txt`?

- Is this really a request to Google or other FAANG company for activity history on those platforms?

What does "look through browsing history" even mean?

In the case of the laws discussed in this article, the FBI can gain access to the logs of one's ISP (or VPN provider) without a warrant. So they can trace a suspect's TCP traffic without any duty to notify anyone they're doing so.

So why would my ISP be logging every or even any TCP packet coming out of my modem? I watch Netflix at full 4K and that consumes about 3GB an hour. Multiplied by the 50,000 in my neighborhood and it seems pricey.

Some things I would be expecting them to log are DNS requests, DHCP leases, and access to ISP sites.

initial TCP connection. obviously they wouldn't log every TCP packet in an established connection.

They could though. Data storage is cheap and consumers can't generate enough fluff to cause an overflow. They probably don't for 95% of internet traffic. It's the outliers that get the most scrutiny.

Sure, but reputable (from a privacy sense, anyway) VPN providers don't even retain any logs. Some providers just run everything in RAM, so no data ever touches disk. And there may not even be a disk.

And then you can route through Tor, I2P, Orchid or Lokinet. For any of those, getting logs from enough nodes to figure out browsing history would be nontrivial.

I suppose you could then be charged with "evasion" or whatever. If we get to that, it's time for a rootkit/botnet that spreads like WannaCry, and communicates via covert channels. Everyone will be running it, because it spreads so aggressively, and anyone who wants can use it, without leaving any traces.

Edit: spelling

> Everyone will be running it, because it spreads so aggressively, and anyone who wants can use it, without leaving any traces.

This reminds me of 90s era cypherpunk optimism. If recent history teaches us anything, it is that surveillance wins the cat and mouse game.

There is no technical solution. We have to work through the legislature. That means convincing people that this apparatus is a threat to middle class professionals, not just "information activists" or whatever.

The abundance of throwaway accounts on this thread is a testament to the chilling effect these policies have.

Privacy is a losing frame. We need new ideas.

Yeah, I guess. I suspect that authorities are planning ahead. As we get further into the jackpot (see Gibson's Peripheral and Agency) there'll be more and more disorder and chaos. And so there'll be a need for more surveillance and control.

That's my reading of it, too. If there are no logs, though the FBI can't get access. [1][2]

Disclaimer: I work for Private Internet Access.

[1]https://torrentfreak.com/private-internet-access-no-logging-... [2] https://www.technadu.com/private-internet-access-wins-agains...

I'm wondering how that helps them out, exactly? All they see is HTTPS requests to iMessage/Reddit/HN or WhatsApp. They can't look inside the actual payload.

That doesn't address GP's point. You can redirect encrypted traffic all you want. That won't help you read its content.

Here is what I do myself to avoid surveillance culture, in case anyone find it useful.

1. I always use local apps rather than webservices if possible. I use only free software, built from source, to be sure there's no tracker in it (I would love to find a way to whitelist which apps can access the network, but I haven't found a way for that yet). There's almost always a way to perform a task locally.

2. I have a copy of wikipedia, using kiwix (through kiwix-serve). My default search engine is my local wikipedia's one. It's insane the amount of answers you can get to common questions simply with a local copy of wikipedia

3. I always install documentation for the libraries I download. I have `go doc` running locally, always install ruby gems with ri and rdoc, set the gentoo's `doc` use flag to have C libraries documentation locally. Most of the time, there's just no need to go to the web for API documentation.

4. I made myself a rss client similar to rss2mail that will fetch rss feeds and mail items to me. When sending a mail, the rss client makes a http request to the full article url and add it to the mail as attachment. Then I read my content in mutt, having lynx dumping the html content as plain text (through `lynx -dump`). So I read all the content offline, and nobody can tell what I read. I have my own smtp server so that I disclose the least information possible.

5. when I have to use the web, this is first through a text browser through tor (I use a modified version of elinks, but I guess lynx would do just as well). This makes sure I only download the html page I want to look at, while running the least possible tracking stuff.

6. when it's not enough, I have a chromium build, in which I have disabled javascript and images by default. I use chromium rather than firefox because it allows me to load extensions from sources. I have such extensions to enable javascript and images if needed, but this is the ultimate recourse.

7. I use my own local dns resolver. I don't know why people don't do that more, it's actually really simple. bind9 resolver works out of the box, you just install bind9, change /etc/resolv.conf to point to, and that's it.

8. if I post online (like now), I make a different account every time I post, using always a different email address. This allows to prevent profiling from public posts.

9. and of course, I'm actively researching everything related to the p2p web, like dat, ssb and cabal.

So basically, I took the red pill.

> 5. when I have to use the web, this is first through a text browser through tor (I use a modified version of elinks, but I guess lynx would do just as well). This makes sure I only download the html page I want to look at, while running the least possible tracking stuff.

> 6. when it's not enough, I have a chromium build, in which I have disabled javascript and images by default. I use chromium rather than firefox because it allows me to load extensions from sources. I have such extensions to enable javascript and images if needed, but this is the ultimate recourse.

Your browser fingerprints are probably so unique that you stick out like a sore thumb and data aggregated from exit nodes could probably be correlated to you. It might just be better to use the Tor Browser with NoScript enabled, where you at least look the same as every other user of it (assuming you don't customize the browser and leave the defaults).

> 8. if I post online (like now), I make a different account every time I post, using always a different email address.

This is a PITA, with many of the email providers now wanting your phone number or they ban the account.

Props to you for being so privacy-minded. I'd like to have such foresight but these habits seem so time-consuming I think I'd rather just not use the web again.

They're not that time consuming.

Compare it to knitting. It might take a few days to get good, or a few weeks to get great at it.

But after that? It's second-nature.

> I use only free software, built from source, to be sure there's no tracker in it


How do you plan to mitigate ^^ ?

And this is why I gave up some time ago when it comes to privacy/security. It just became exhausting to keep up with all the vulnerabilities.

But of course, giving up isn't the solution. So now I am working on it again...

>7. I use my own local dns resolver.

Does that provide a usable amount of privacy? It doesn't seem like it would given your local BIND instance would have to talk to DNS servers on the Internet -- over plaintext -- and so would reveal your lookups anyway. I never bothered with a local DNS stack because I felt it wasn't worth the effort. Can someone say if I've missed something?

Caching / performance seems like the only real benefit to me.


EDIT: >4. I made myself a rss client similar to rss2mail

By the way, is this open source? I wonder if you could document some of your setup along with guides / links to software you use in case others are wanting to adopt some of your techniques?

I really am a bit impressed and would like to try some of these!

The privacy benefit is there's no centralized logs. If you're using your ISP's / CF's / Google's resolvers[1], there's a single place the bad guys have to log to get all of your DNS requests. Locally, your resolver talks to each authoritative server in the chain independently.. to find out who you're talking to, it's not a matter of just requesting logs anymore, they'd have to actively tap your connection and sniff traffic on DNS ports.

[1]Someone will start shouting about how doesn't store logs. Yes they do[2][3]. They store full logs for "24 to 48 hours", so the bad guys can happily request your DNS logs (without a warrant now), as long as they request them once a day for the previous day.



I would love to find a way to whitelist which apps can access the network, but I haven't found a way for that yet

Ironically this is very easy on W10 and OSX. But you can do it on Linux with AppArmor.

Wait how is this easy on macOS? Do you mean with Little Snitch? Or is there something built into the OS?

I don't suppose you have any pointers on how to make that a reality in Ubuntu/Debian? I too would be very interested in being able to configure whitelist only network connections.

The linux desktop security model is severely broken [1]. Just use Qubes if you want to control access to resources without losing your mind.

[1] https://forums.whonix.org/t/fixing-the-desktop-linux-securit...

The concept is called a full system policy https://gitlab.com/apparmor/apparmor/-/wikis/FullSystemPolic...

I am really curious how did you setup your browser to have kiwix be your default search engine? I tried ages ago to setup wikipedia to be a proxy so that anytime I visit wikipedia it will redirect to kiwix running wikipedia on my localhost.

Is it possible to have kiwix be default search engine in firefox?

You can be identified by the wall-of-text you just wrote [you switched recently from arch to gentoo...]

I wonder which OS you are using. I would definitely recommend Qubes OS from what you wrote.

He uses TempleOS of course

Was that the guy that often posted crazy things around here? Haven't seen him for a while, I remember he was always shadow banned. Sad story, though, according to Wikipedia he died in august 2018. May he rest in peace.

At one point in time, we used to universally celebrate people like Professor John Raines, who broke into FBI offices to steal documents related to COINTELPRO. He 'evaded capture' and was an American hero. [0]

Yesterday, Judicial Watch published the DoJ's release of the electronic communication from 7/31/2016, where FBI agent Peter Strzok opened Crossfire Hurricane. [1, 2] Despite the magnanimity of the disclosure, there's very little press coverage of the document that began the investigation of the President and subsequently, the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency who happened to be in a personal feud with the outgoing President. To be clear, Gen. Flynn should be criticized for certain actions but all of Washington D.C. participates in them (e.g. technology transfers to authoritarian countries, consulting, lobbying).

I'm biased against the FBI because I saw how "special agents" and US Attorneys treated my friends in the 90s. Curious minded, non-malicious teenagers (!!) had their lives destroyed by aggressive, unethical and unintelligent FBI agents. I'll never accept nor forgive the tactics used by FBI agents, prosecutors and the federal courts against teenage kids. We have all become targeted by tactics created for the Mafia and international terrorists -- it's been normalized.

[0] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/obituaries/john-raines-84...

[1] https://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/JW-...

[2] https://www.judicialwatch.org/press-releases/declassificatio...

In what way should the magnanimity of a disclosure affect it's coverage? What does it mean for a disclosure to be generous?

I have only skim read the linked documents but what aspect specifically do you feel is being under-reported?

I don't buy into the end times doom and gloom here, some of it downright hysterical.

I do think there are serious issues and the scale of government reach into our lives has expanded dramatically with technology.

I hope we see a sort of eventual awakening to what the scale of potential abuse is and we see more rights extended into the long neglected digital space. The law moves slow (too slow in this case) and it is time it picks up the slack.

But rather than throw a fit I would recommend folks look to join / help organizations like the EFF (https://www.eff.org/) and so forth.

There are serious issues with the scale of everyone's reach into everyone's lives, thanks to the location-destroying effect of modern bidirectional peer-to-peer anonymously-routed communications technology.

The government, like everyone else, from corporations to individuals, is trying to keep up and to figure out what it all means.

Will this give them permissiom to sift through data collected over the years (as I understand it isn't a mere extension of PATRIOT?). After this and EARN IT, I guess banning VPNs and requiring app/device backdoors legally is next?

Can you guys believe this, it's like somene turned the tables ,this stuff normally happens after a legitimate gov. is overthrown by the CIA. They do this to hold on to power.

My opinion: hen they require using real name/ID online, it's game over, it becomes metastatic. I wish fellow Americans knew to be scared of war and social collapse. This is what America's enemies want.

This disrespect to our privacy has been going on for a while now, but it good to see that people still care about it and are trying to inform us. Hopefully our privacy respecting products outside the jurisdiction of USA will not bend over to the FBI.

Dont worry. People will get very upset on Facebook and Twitter. All while they'll install a new app without reading what it does or who its from...

Isn't it common to assume that everything connected to the internet is illegally monitored, recorded, and exploited to the fullest extent?

After Snowden, how could anyone not be aware of this? You see the director of the NSA blatantly, and provably, lying under oath. Multiple whistleblowers saying this stuff has been going on for almost two decades. These agencies operate outside of the law already... regardless of what any legislation states they are, or are not, allowed to do.

Isn't this already obvious? Not in a conspiratorial paranoid sort of way, but I mean, just look at the world pragmatically. Maybe I lost all faith years ago, but this is not surprising to me in the least.

All you can really do is look out for yourself, if you have the technical know-how, and understand what to avoid doing. In an ideal world you don't solve problems like this, you solve them through public policy, not technological workarounds. But we don't live in an ideal world... most of the public is unequipped to discuss the gradual, invisible, insidious undermining of their civil liberties through ever-present opaque technologies.

Firefox (or OSs) should add a feature that randomly makes requests to a bunch of unrelated websites just to mess up their data collection and render it useless. This can only work if it's widely deployed.

TrackMeNot does this https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/trackmenot/

I have used it for years.

Authorities will either look at the source code, compel the authors to explain how it works, push their own changes for the code in question, or just empirically monitor the random behavior and build models to filter such noise.

This is not a matter of "fix everything pill" tho, but a fight where we have to erode and degrade their capabilities, this is an arms race, you don't just stop fighting because the other side has got better weapons and systems, you develop your own gorilla capabilities

Why do you even bother answering if we're so screwed. I guess you enjoy failure.

Don't even bother fighting back, just knuckle under. Makes for an easy life.

The only way to combat this is to continue researching methods of securing data before transit, through cryptography (until that too, is outlawed), and researching communication schemes that obfuscate the meta data/sender-receiver.

What about Tor? Tor’s known to be compromised by the NSA, (as well as much of the internet backbone) so it’ll be interesting if such research comes to fruition soon-ish.

Politically we can try electing officials and such, but it seems even the most promising candidates are too tempted by lobbying groups’ deep pockets.

Hopefully emerging decentralized tech will enable us to more easily hide our tracks, since even with end to end encryption, they can still get the meta data and track where you’ve been. (I understand being decentralized doesn’t necessarily mean the data in transit can’t be traced, but I think we need a decentralized system before we can realistically work on the aforementioned problem)

The scary takeaway here, in my opinion, is the draconian measures the US is expanding while everyone is too busy worrying about COVID-19 to notice.

The very tactics that "taking the red pill" support. The NYT does it some justice with extensive background information—which the author of this article, it seems, doesn't consider. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/19/technology/elon-musk-tesl...

looks like governments really enjoy stripping us of our liberties once our attention is directed somewhere else - be it terrorist attacks or global pandemics. we shouldn't lose sight of what's important to us or else the people in power will take it away!

Note that this isn't new. This has been going on since the PATRIOT act + FISA was in place.

The only news is that a recent amendment to curtail this power failed in the Senate 59-37.

Despite the tenuous connection to freedom/enlightenment/whatever that this article tries to make and what Grimes will (probably) try to tell the world, Elon Musk was (almost certainly) referring to something very specific and wholly unrelated when he tweeted that.

The scary takeaway here is the draconian measures the US is expanding while everyone is too busy worrying about COVID-19 to notice.

The very same tactics that "taking the red pill" support. The NYT examines that misguided tweet with extensive background information (which the author of this article, it seems, doesn't consider). https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/19/technology/elon-musk-tesl...

He also apparently considers shutting down digital public services in one of the most hard-hit metropolitan areas with dick picks and memes as "hope."

I can't even imagine how muted the Civil Rights era would have been had the FBI had this power back then.


Let's not pretend that things are materially worse than they were back then. We certainly aren't blackmailing civil rights leaders into suicide anymore within the FBI.

How do we know they aren't?

King letter only came to light because citizens stole it from an FBI office. Maybe the FBI just has tighter security now.


That's actually not true, and that's a really big assumption to make without evidence or direct experience.

Radical activists today still face state suppression. I know of a communist in Austin who had an FBI file because he led lots of actions, which (I think) he discovered through FOIA requests. In 2018, the Austin PD colluded with two people who claimed this guy assaulted them while he was armed, which was completely false. He's in prison now.

No. We just try to jail them or their children. E.g. Michael Flynn.

You're being downvoted. Can you please explain what you mean, how it relates and link to sources?

You don't even need to imagine it, that's the reality we are living in right now.

Seriously. The FBI was watching Black Lives Matter activists for a while as “black identity extremists.” For merely saying “black lives matter” in the street.

Similar things were happening during the Civil Rights era.

During the Civil Rights era things were pretty terrible.

I don't know how you measure the two but I think your vague implication here is pretty wrong / represents a real misunderstanding of what the government was up to in the civil rights era...

Obfuscation tech (out-of-country) based proxy/vpn along with tor is a must.

Encrypted P2P web helps here (e.g. Beaker Browser / Hyperdrive, IPFS, Filecoin, etc.) Adding tor could provide anonymity between peers.

This is fine. Humanity has been descending into materialism to develop intelligence for long time and is now crossing the midpoint. That's why there are so many "ends justify the means" types around us. Soon the humanity will start ascending back to finish the cycle and all those sociopaths will be gone.

I find your comment quite interesting, do you mind expanding on the "to develop intelligence" and the "finish the cycle" parts?

So the US, with its Constitution protecting the people from its Government, is allowing this whilst also considering Edward Snowden a traitor?

It seems something has shifted 180 degrees since WW2, and the US Government has quietly won the game where the goal was to shit on the entirety of the history upon which it was built whilst, at precisely the same time, pointing to the Constitution as the reason why "America is Great!"

You're fucked. At least China isn't pretending to be free.

If this is how law enforcement agencies are allowed to operate, how can you expect citizens to respect any rule of law? The precedents are evaporating.

The West is dead, we're halfway through the transition to the next stage, which just means history will repeat itself - but will be recorded in higher definition so that maybe we'll learn it more thoroughly next time around.

Please don't post generic ideological rants to HN. They're tedious, not what this site is for, and lead to worse.



Despite the fact that I agree with their sentiment, you're 100% in the right here. HN is great because it's NOT the place for that. Thanks for speaking out.

Let's not act like the United States was a shining example of freedom and democracy before WWII, either. Slavery, destroying indigenous people and taking their land, followed by oppressive laws targeting black and indigenous people...

Liberal democracy is definitely a step forward from monarchy, but the freedoms it offers have always been built on the oppression of many. It's no surprise that the oppressive arm of imperialism, which has targeted the rest of the world since WWII, would start to turn inwards and target US citizens.

> Let's not act like the United States was a shining example of freedom and democracy before WWII, either.

Maybe we don't bother mentioning these very obvious historical circumstances.

Instead, we can talk about what technological solutions exist already, or could exist in the near term, which would obviate these institutions of oppression.

I am very interested in tools like Whatsat[0] and Sphinx[1] which protect communications between participants...

but what about my browsing. Do i just need to migrate all my "real" searches to Tor (already pwnt) or Beaker (insufficient, frankly)?

How can we continue to define ourselves as free persons while we exist among these dark patterns?

0 - https://github.com/joostjager/whatsat 1 - https://sphinx.chat/

> Maybe we don't bother mentioning these very obvious historical circumstances. Instead, we can talk about what technological solutions exist already, or could exist in the near term, which would obviate these institutions of oppression.

These have never been solely technical problems, but political, moral, and organizational ones. States can simply make use or development of any technology illegal and bring the full force of its monopoly on violence to bear on those who run afoul of it. That has to be countered outside of just building things.

Ignoring history doesn’t make its lessons irrelevant.

having technologists teaching the lessons to themselves is just jerking off... HN has more potential than that.

for everybody else to learn lessons is a great objective, but doesn't need to be the objective among this crowd.

> migrate all my "real" searches to Tor (already pwnt)

Can you please explain for someone not up to speed on the topic?

Not OP, but Tor uses proxy servers to hide your activity from snoopers as it is routed. Unfortunately, the FBI has seemingly found ways to track down users who used Tor (I think dread pirate Robert's of piratebay is the quintessential example)

Silk Road, rather than Pirate Bay, but otherwise, yes.

Would it be going too far to suggest that the founding fathers never intended for a full democracy in the first place? It makes for an interesting argument when viewed in the context of the electoral college.

Yeah, they never intended a full democracy. Initially only white men who owned property could vote (6% of the population when the United States was founded https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_voting_rights_in_t...), so I think that's a fair statement.

All of the rights gained by different oppressed groups (right to vote, labor laws, tenant laws) came through struggle and direct action, not because those in power suddenly decided to grant those rights out of the kindness of their hearts.

Anecdotally, “it is a republic, not a democracy, by design” is something I hear from people who bring up in conversation that they voted Republican. (Note: I’m not American, so I imagine the sort of person who tells me that isn’t representative of Republican voters).

No, it's just historical fact that they feared mob rule and worked to try to keep the uneducated masses out.

Perhaps more accurately, they were of two minds about mob rule.

Jefferson believed in the idealized "happy yeoman farmer;" that common people, allowed to seek their own fate, would make a better government. Virtue (as a quasi-religious concept) dwelt in the heart of the aggregate public.

Adams believed in significant risks letting an uneducated mass of people determine their own fate. He didn't have to dig too far into the history books to find examples of why a government given over to the people tended to devolve into rule by a strongman. Government of a virtuous people demanded an elite who would be dedicated to the cause and educated to do it right.

The government built from people in these two camps of thought was a compromise government intended to tame the catastrophic risk-factors of the excesses of both scenarios.

Not to mention how "imbeciles", African Americans, and other "misfits" were forcibly sterilized in the years after 1900.

It's ongoing, and the US has had cases brought against it as recently as 2014: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_sterilization#U.S._.... While the more recent cases are less overtly abject evil, they aren't the activities of what I'd call a free or even humane nation that has any right whatsoever to claim that the spread of its governance is an ethical good.

People don't get how lucky they are with the idea and mythos of America. I think the world declines when we don't believe in the specific vision of government by the people for the people. Of course, just having the right philosophy isn't enough. We still need to embody it. But we are damn lucky to have such a good founding philosophy and I highly doubt if we could do better today.

The U.S. gets over its problems and becomes a better place.

Slavery? -> Civil War, slavery over.

Jim Crow laws? -> Civil Rights protests, the Supreme Court finally realizes what the Constitution really says, and Jim Crow is over.

Prohibition causes gangsterism and mafia? -> the whole country did not get corrupted by it, and eventually the mafia got taken down.

And so on. Maybe not every problem, but there's a lot of big problems that have been overcome. And all the while not falling into various traps. For example, the Great Depression led to the Nazis getting into power in Germany, and Latin America was quite marked by the economic disaster that was the Great Depression, but the U.S. failed to get a Hitler or Perón -- that's huge.

This is made possible by a number of things, some of which are ideas, and some of which are accidents:

  - geography
  - luck: having brilliant founders!
  - a brilliant Constitution that splits power not
    just three ways, but also over N States (currently 50)
  - mutual distrust in the early days of the nation
  - a British background and fresh memories of the
    British civil war
This means that freedom -yes, freedom- has been available to many, and eventually to most/all Americans. The original ideas were made too aspirational by the stain of slavery, yes, but in the end it all worked out decently enough, even if it took time to get there.

This surveillance-state thing? Who knows, we may not overcome it. Or maybe we will. But are there large countries you'd bet will do better at getting over their problems? China? Brazil? Russia? Really, compare to other countries.

America has been over for a very long time. I know I'll get downvoted for saying this, but this is something that more people need to hear because the fact they can vote affords citizens the cognitive dissonance they need to believe the propaganda they were taught about the US federal government. I'd still choose America over China any day, but that doesn't mean I think the United States is a free country; it's a free-range farm.

Creating the Federal reserve bank closed the loop. The politicians and corporations are able to control the whole system of money/power independently of what any outsider wants.

Print the money, give it to your friends, buy/create the politicans, make the laws, enrich yourself, repeat the cycle but with more power and wealth this time around.

The vast majority of corporations are victims, too. Some of the giant ones are not, though.

Wish this were more well understood.

"America has been over" is a statement that needs qualifiers to have meaning. "America" means different things to different people.

"America" means different things to different people.

Well there's one qualifier right there. The American Mythos of "all men are created equal" has failed to line up with the American reality for quite a long damn time and for reasons that don't require much more effort to "qualify" than is needed to lift up an arm and point at a history book. It's been qualified, documented and analyzed thoroughly enough that the qualifiers should be abundant and "self-evident"-to continue the trope of quoting directly from the user's manual.

If that's the criteria, America never started. That line was penned when Americans still kept other human beings as slaves.

The long arc of history of the US bends towards that phrase becoming more true, but there's still a long way to go for everyone to be demonstrably accepting of it.

I would agree with that conclusion; it’s central to my belief system though I must also offer the caveat lector that I don’t want readers thinking this to be THE criteria, just one (honestly opinionated) criterion.

Although it would be the first data point in an outline of what would be my infinitely-less abridged critique of the “American Mythos”, under which many, MANY others would invariably fall-it is still at the end of the day only one.

The others would probably include a few one liners shamelessly stolen, but dutifully attributed to Hunter Thompson, James Baldwin and Cormac McCarthy. Could probably fit Howard Cosell in there too now that I think about it.

It does mean different things to different people, but there's a relatively common understanding of "America" as an idea. Interpretations of America generally have a lot of overlap, even if there's some difference. Our rights are pretty much a central pillar of the concept of America, and if they aren't inalienable or taken seriously, then America is fundamentally lost. Even if people have a different idea of what America is, that doesn't mean their interpretation is congruent with an objective viewpoint of America, especially if their idea is prescriptive.

I agree an objective viewpoint is possible to find, but any conversation about "America being over" needs to start with confirmation that the speakers have agreed upon an objective viewpoint.

Decontextualized, the fundamental rights Americans celebrate are at odds with each other (right to life and right to liberty are the obvious examples, and some good criteria for discerning how to maintain those in coexistence has been established, but others, like "Freedom from fear" or "Freedom from want" and "Right to liberty," are much, much murkier. And this is all, of course, in the context of an ever-changing world that brings new technologies and experiences that must be interpreted against those rights).

>...right to liberty are the obvious examples >..."Right to liberty," are much, much murkier.

Uh... I'm not sure what it is that you are trying to say, or if you are sure of what you are trying to say, or if you have a very appropriate username.

Moreover the freedoms [0] that you mentioned are aspirational. Also, not the constitutional freedoms of speech and religion, which are enshrined therein.

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Freedoms

'a country? It's a free-range farm.'

[OT and (hope so) un-biased:] 'From the Land of the Free, to the Land of the Lost' ?? We used to love America. Is there something your blind at, maybe ahead ?

You know...there once was a story, about a snake not understanding 'step'... (-;

Sry, too offtopic...^^

And the police killed nearly 6,000 people in the U.S. since 2015, without due process: https://github.com/washingtonpost/data-police-shootings/blob... (that equals to about 3 per day, I am surprised that I don't hear more about them)

Is due process required when someone points a gun at the police? Charges them with a knife? Tries to run them over?

I watch 2-3 new police bodycam videos per day thanks to some neat Youtube channels (Police Activity and Real World Police). I've seen maybe one or two shootings on those channels that were clearly wrong, out of hundreds that were justified or a reasonable person could find to be justified.

Wondering if there's a database of police shootings that includes more information about the circumstances of the encounter.

I have seen a lot of bad faith cops on https://ns.reddit.com/r/Bad_Cop_No_Donut/, but most of the time, they don't kill the suspect.

This is the best database that I have found so far for shootings by police and at least they tell you if the suspect was armed, but yes more information is always better...

But the main issue is that even if the cop was found to use excessive force, there are no real consequences, most of the time.

I would say that there is a spectrum to backing the claim of "due process" w/ time constraints. For example body cams can really help validate that there was a gun, pointed at someone, and the person was threatening...

IMO Governments need to be quick to integrate technologies that can reinforce the true spirit of their laws such that true justice (not just legalism) is applied.

I'm pretty surprised how well the bodycams thing is working out overall.

Of course there are rare cases where they "lose" the footage or whatever, but the sheer volume of videos coming out makes me believe that it's working in most cases (even high profile or controversial cases).

>China isn't pretending to be free.

What does a sentiment like this even mean?

Take a look at China's own propaganda, they very much celebrate their idea of what freedoms their citizens have.

Hell, if you talk to Chinese citizens, they don't seem to generally claim they aren't free. Even if the conversation happens in confidence where they aren't concerned about the government hearing their opinion.

"freedom" and "democracy" are two of the twelve "core socialist values" that are plastered almost anywhere you look in China.

>you're fucked

I'm sorry but any anecdotal spinning of history and current events supporting a bold claim about the downfall of western society is just outright non scientific, immeasurable, and quite frankly below educated discourse.

Now if you have a thesis about the sunset of western hegemony backed by reduced gdp numbers, geopolitical influence, and crime stats, thats a more worthwhile discussion.

Call me old fashioned, but passionate cries of wolf really Re just that until you show me the data

I'm not sure what GDP, geopolitical influence, or crime stats have to do with a theory that the values set down in the Constitution are degrading.

Did "you're fucked" mean the Constitution is degrading?

That's, I believe, parent poster's point; without qualifiers, there's no conversation to be had on the topic. Because that is the dichotomy of early 21st-century America: objective measures of "how the country's doing" are at odds with subjective concepts like "Are we free?" You have to start by even coming to agreement that less "freedom" (and one should probably qualify that---freedom from what, freedom to do what) for more GDP, more safety, more prosperity is a bad thing.

> You have to start by even coming to agreement that less "freedom" (and one should probably qualify that---freedom from what, freedom to do what) for more GDP, more safety, more prosperity is a bad thing.

We don't have to agree at all. It is a bad thing. If you think trading freedom for the right to more plutocrat oversight is good, what's the point of even discussing at all?

> what's the point of discussing

Consensus; same as always.

And cross-pollination of ideas.

Going full tinfoil hat...

We've seen the GDP number manipulated during this crisis, Gov propping the economy up with lots of self-debt that we cant pay back.

We've seen that other developed counties in the world bawk at us. Example being the American woman who killed a guy in the UK by driving on the wrong side; and the US said she had diplomatic immunity, when she did not. [0]

Crime stats... Crime isnt crime if it isnt punished or even taken to the courts proper. A sitting president was impeached, but not removed from office. He was charged with high-crimes. If you need a statistic, just look at how stacked the government is from a 2-party system.

I'd completely agree that America is fucked.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Harry_Dunn

> A sitting president was impeached, but not removed from office. He was charged with high-crimes.

> lots of self-debt that we cant pay back.

Neither of those work that way. I agree on the 2-party stacked system though.

Her husband did NOT have diplomatic status.

Corrected; Thanks.

Didn't realize the US was that bad.

It's just in style to hate on America these days. Been that way for awhile. If you're critical of any other country you get jumped on.

Meanwhile the parent takes an anti-American perspective on the US while finding a way to give China props. Which tells me they are not intellectually honest about what freedom really means or about the injustices that China partakes in.

It's like saying "I don't like that thing you did because I wasn't fully informed of the details or the reasoning. At least China ...."

It's just nonsense from a hater.

Now, we would have actually been fucked a long time ago if we didn't have the Constitution. But it's the best document and framework alive and we'll be fine, despite some challenges to liberty that I don't like either.

What's funny is some non-Western countries have been trying to import their ideals, and having some success with socialism interest, but their own younger people are taking up Western ideals and cultures.

Exporting agendas and propaganda is not feasible in an information age. Many countries are struggling to control their citizens like they used to in the past.

The freer countries will be fine and win out.

> It seems something has shifted 180 degrees since WW2

The Twin Towers were destroyed, the Pentagon was damaged, and an additional plane was crashed, via a successful conspiracy that could have been detected by blanket, passive surveillance. That's what changed.

The threat model the US defense department is concerned about has changed significantly since WWII. The threat to Pax Americana is not direct military intervention, since the possession of atomic weapons ensures that's a short trip to annihilation for any nation-state that tries it. It's small-cell actors using sabotage tactics and technology as huge force-multipliers.

As for individual citizens, it appears most still see the threat of asymmetric warfare as a more profound threat to their life and livelihood than passive, blanket government surveillance.

I don't think this is a good example.

If memory serves, the threat _was_ detected, however it was not acted on. There was lots of finger pointing about lack of coordination, but (as I recall) the core problem was that it was one threat amount many (100s? 1000s?), so the threat detection was generating too much noise.

Ubiquitous surveillance could (does) easily end up creating the same situation: not enough signal among the noise.

It's not an example; it's the causal explanation.

The article in question at the top of this thread is discussing the Patriot Act expansion; the family of laws passed in direct response to the attacks of 2001.

Ah. Understood.

The Patriot Act is the problem. We knew it at the time. Sounds like we all agree on that point.

EDIT: Didn’t take much reflection to realize a lot of awful stuff liberty wise happened during the cold war, so scrap my comment.

>As for individual citizens, it appears most still see the threat of asymmetric warfare as a more profound threat to their life and livelihood than passive, blanket government surveillance

I don't think this necessarily follows. I don't think most Americans support the Patriot Act but its basically known at this point that Public Opinion has no effect on Policy here. Also how much the public understanding of what the Patriot Act actually does is probably pretty low.

Question wording drastically changes the results on polling whether people support the Patriot Act, but broadly speaking, it appears most Americans support its existence and most Americans believe it is in need of moderation. I don't think it's as simple as "Public opinion has no effect on policy;" it's that the policy response to "most people aren't happy, but nobody can gel behind a concrete changelist" is "stay the course."

I agree on the education question, but that's going to be a regular pattern in public polls. General public savvy on privacy issues and the power of technology to consolidate information has not kept up with technology. And, TBH, if the situation at hand is actually "Most Americans don't understand the problem well enough to articulate their wants in the context of the issue," that's a scenario where public opinion shouldn't drive policy. A democracy of the uneducated doesn't work.


TLDR: Citizen opinions don't have an effect on policy.

I agree about education though. It's a tricky problem. Clearly people aren't informed enough to make coherent decisions on many policy issues but they have to trust that the slick looking lawyer they are voting for actually does understand and has their best interests at heart?

So that is how liberty dies, and terrorism wins... With thunderous applause from a scared and panic citizenry that unable to understand statistical risk instead believing the propaganda of fear that will ultimately see the erosion of both their liberty and the safety they so foolishly believed the government would provide if they just gave up that essential liberty

The threat model has fundamentally changed, and I'm not so convinced it's acceptable to tell people "We will change nothing because you probably won't die" when the mode of death strikes directly at perception of day-to-day safety.

American tolerance of that, from terrorism to gun ownership, is changing.

>>The threat model has fundamentally changed

Not really, Authoritarian governments through out history have still killed more people than all of terrorism put together.

The Threat Model is still Authoritarian government...

>I'm not so convinced it's acceptable to tell people "We will change nothing because you probably won't die"

What is not acceptable is telling people "just give up your liberty and you will be safe" history proved that is never the case, government will (not if, or can but WILL) abuse that power, and the end result will be mass death

> that is never the case

All governments are some form of sacrificing liberty for safety. The strongest interpretation of the argument that you're putting forward is that the only just government is anarchy, and I don't think we can find many supporters of that hypothesis.

As with all government measures throughout history, the question is not "should any liberty be traded," it's "is this trade a good deal?"

>>All governments are some form of sacrificing liberty for safety.

Incorrect. Governments are instituted by groups of people to organize and support their natural right to defend their life, property, and liberty.

This principle of a "collective right", its lawfulness, is based on individual rights therefore the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute (i.e the individual right of self defense)

Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?

> Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others...

In the absence of a government and legal framework, the concept of "lawfully" does not exist. The freedom to engage in unlawful violence is one of the freedoms that people under a government sacrifice and exchange for aggregate safety.

If I have a dispute with my neighbor over who owns the cherry tree, I could solve the problem my negotiating with them and coming to reasonable terms on sharing the tree, or I can slaughter them where they stand, and I'm under the risk they will try to solve the problem by slaughtering me where I stand, regardless of what I choose. If the two of us are living under a government, the law and the threat of government violence curtails one of those options for us both. It is a choice we willingly give up for the benefit of giving up the risk that the other will choose the same.

>In the absence of a government and legal framework, the concept of "lawfully" does not exist.

Again incorrect. The concept of law predates and really exists outside of government institutions. This concept is best exemplified in Frédéric Bastiat book / pamphlet "The Law"

>>If I have a dispute with my neighbor over who owns the cherry tree, I could solve the problem my negotiating with them and coming to reasonable terms on sharing the tree, or I can slaughter them where they stand

No, even in the absence of government it would still be unlawful / unethical for you to "slaughter them where they stand", Government is simply the body for which we have ordained the authority to punish you for unlawful actions, it is not the body for which we have ordained to create the idea of what is and is not unlawful. At least not under a libertarian model of governance.

What you are describing in a Authoritarian or Totalitarian model of governance, and then proclaim that only Authoritarian / Totalitarian models of government exist, that proclamation is false

> At least not under a libertarian model of governance.

I see the source of our disagreement; I was trained in Locke social contract theory and am talking about the US government (given the context of the topic), which is not crafted on a Libertarian framework (the legislature and the executive arms of the government instantiate the idea of what is and is not lawful; whether they "create" the idea or merely implement some zeitgeist understanding from the public is irrelevant to me).

Your viewpoint functions in a more abstract, universal framework. Carry on.

>> I was trained in Locke social contract theory and am talking about the US government (given the context of the topic), which is not crafted on a Libertarian framework

Actually it was in many ways, and Locke's was a supporter of Natural rights and is the basis for most libertarian philosophy

Locke did not believe it was illegal to murder another man simply because the government decreed such an act to be illegal, Locke believed it was illegal because the man had the natural right to life and no other man has the ethical authority to take that life

Everything I have stated fits nicely in Lockean Philosophy

That may be. Perhaps I don't understand libertarianism enough to evaluate the claim. upon reflection, it wasn't Locke I was thinking of anyway, but Hobbes; "Where there is no common power, there is no law; where no law, no injustice. Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues. Justice and injustice are none of the faculties neither of the body nor mind."

Can you give an example of US government enforcing law not instantiated by the government? I'm having a hard time comprehending what you meant by "Government is simply the body for which we have ordained the authority to punish you for unlawful actions, it is not the body for which we have ordained to create the idea of what is and is not unlawful." Government processes create the laws under which a person may be found in need of punishment.

I wouldn't even say it is just the threat model that changed. Humans in developed markets now have a very unhealthy relationship with death to the point where any policy that minimizes death is acceptable consequences be damned.

We no longer see death as a normal and natural part of life like previous generations did because it's not as prevalent as it once was.

The threat model you just described in another era would have more likely been met with acceptance if the alternative was to give up our hard fought for freedoms.

I don't think I can point to an era in US history where an attack on a couple buildings resulting in thousands dead would have been brushed under the rug as "Well, death just happens." I'd even argue that's not a healthy response to a human-caused tragedy like that.

Seeing death as normal and natural carries its own antisocial pathologies. War is more justifiable if "Everyone has to die some time."

That's a strawman that doesn't try to interpret the point I'm trying to make from the strongest possible position. I'm not suggesting that an event like that should be just brushed under the rug as "Well, death just happens."

I'm saying that the response to that event such as the Patriot Act and other safety-above-liberty-at-all-costs measures would have received a lot more scrutiny and been seen as disproportional. Just like your strawman is not a healthy response, neither was the response we had to 9-11. The goal of the terrorists was to fundamentally change life for Americans and get them to abandon their principles. Well they succeeded beyond their wildest imagination because we responded by dumping many of our freedoms in response.

My understanding of the history of American responses to being attacked inclines me to disagree with that assessment. Consider how many liberties were given up during WWII after Pearl Harbor---the government basically nationalized resource distribution. To say nothing of what Americans considered tolerable to do to their Asian-American neighbors.

Yet we won’t find longevity research.

What is "the next stage," exactly? Does the nod to China mean that it's disappearing those who dissent from the state, turning ethnic minorities into organ donors + fertilizer and remarrying their wives over to the ethnic majority, building dragnet panopticons that lock you out of social existence entirely if its algorithmic eye deems you a problem?

The US wasn't founded on perfection and it certainly hasn't taken only correct steps since then. WWII wasn't the high water mark for freedom, either - Americans have stronger freedom of speech now compared to then for example.

This law is clearly a misstep but I hardly think it means it's time to stick a fork in the West.

I took "the next stage" to mean stages in the cycles of empires (ie towards decay+collapse), not to say the CCP is a positive evolutionary step in governments.

The United States used to be an example to the world. As a nation it used to take its founding principles seriously. That started changing during the cold war and became most obvious post-9/11.

Did John Adams, founding father, take the founding principles seriously when he signed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798? How about Abraham Lincoln when he suspended habeas corpus or shut down hundreds of newspapers and ordered editors arrested?

The idea that the Constitution was an immaculate instrument forged in a gilded age of freedom, with a decline since then, is wrong. There have been bumps and missteps from the start. And in some areas, like freedom of speech, the right has been strengthened and clarified over years of jurisprudence into something that is more freedom-preserving now compared to when it was declared.

> The United States used to be an example to the world.

Or so the americans say. Who else ?

When I was growing up in the eighties in The Netherlands, the US as it was thought to us in class and as we experienced it through its strong cultural influence, was certainly something to aspire to.

Of course, back then there was an obvious common enemy to point at, and the help the US provided to our country during and after WWII was still kind of fresh in the collective memory.

It happened around the time when people thought having one dude called a king telling everyone else what to do was a pretty efficient way to run things fairly. Unfortunately, the "enlightenment" never seemed to progress past a small group of landed oligarchs telling everyone else what to do because they were obviously so much smarter and better, we're certain, after all they had all the stuff.

Personally, I tend to point to net immigration numbers when someone raises the question.

The millions of people who left their countries to come here.

if that's true then the terrorists have won.

I think the seeds were planted in the pacific theater. After such a terrible surprise attack, the USA probably feels justified in preventing future attacks by all means possible. Isn't that what national security is all about? Also, cryptanalysis was highly successful in the second world war: the outcomes of many battles were determined by successful interception and decoding of enemy communications. The importance of knowing enemy secrets was proven.

The cold war marked the beginning of global surveillance: the USA and other world powers launched satellites pointed at the Earth in order to constantly watch their enemies. After 9/11, the definition of "enemy" apparently expanded to include a nation's own population. Thus the 21st century is the beginning of total surveillance of all humans on Earth, not just enemy military forces.

Terrorism really is effective. America was not defeated but it a certain way it was destroyed. It abandoned all the principles it stood for in the name of national security.

Americans worked overtime post-9/11 to make sure the terrorists won. We made sure to become so afraid, so terrified in daily life that we were willing to give up our freedoms.

See the patriot act, TSA, DHS, and other nonsense.

The terrorists won the moment we decided to live in fear.

Snowden wasn't talking about the FBI.

incarceration rate of the United States of America is one of the highest in the world

i love the “freedom” meme for america

Perhaps America is so free that it creates more opportunities for criminals. And because many criminals aren't that good, they get caught and thus incarcerated.

In a country that's so restrictive where you can't get a gun or drugs, then there will be a lot less people incarcerated for gun and drug crimes.

And in a country without food, everyone is fed because the population is zero.

But criminals still need to be imprisoned, free country or no.

One would think a country that was, for want of a more specific term, "doing it right" would have fewer criminals.

That the US has so much incarceration per-capita suggests something ain't working, if we respect freedom on paper but have to deprive more citizens of it than any other nation.

I wish this were the case, but they seem to disproportionately lock up African Americans while giving the rich white people a free pass on crime.

received my free crime pass just today

According to National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) numbers, across all races - African Americans included - the arrest rates for violent crimes correlates with the actual amount of crime committed by that race.

That's a tricky number to tease out. One must ask how "actual amount of crime" is measured.

Oftentimes, one finds a feedback loop between arrest rate counting and instances of crime counting that means all kinds of confounding factors enter into the number (including distribution of police patrol resources and likelihood police will let an infringement off with a warning).

It's not very tricky at all. A random sampling of citizens are asked if they experienced violent crime (including instances not reported to police), and if so, to describe the offender (ethnicity being just one component).[1]

Year after year the random samples of victimization correlates with arrest rate by ethnicity.

[1]: https://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=245#Methodolog...

I wonder if any of those surveyed included banking crimes in their list that affected them.

It’s a survey of violent crime. So if by banking crime you mean getting mugged, yes, but if you mean a guy from India calling your grandma and saying he’s the IRS and needs her banking info, then no.

The country has elected a fraudster involved with organized crime whose response to power has been to envy authoritarians.

And that is the current US Federal leadership. Every other federal agency is going to follow suit. Then the congressional departments will do the same to try and maintain hegemony.

The Federal US is not just fucked ... the US Federal is actively fucking every nation state that the US Federal can fuck as a triumph of criminality.

This is also including US state & municipal governments.

If there was ever a time for a coalition of forces to invade the US it would be with this president. Trump would give up Alaska to Putin in a trade to stay in power.

Awesome, now its official...you just plugin and you are doomed...

From the article: "law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and CIA can continue to look through the browsing history of American citizens without the need for a warrant."

There is no evidence that they have been doing this. The objection to Section 215 is that a FISA court could in theory say that they can, not that they are already doing this.

It then links to an article about an amendment providing additional oversight that mischaracterizes it as providing additional surveillance powers (there are no additional surveillance powers in that amendment) that can be politically abused.

In short, it's a sensationalist article from a blog with no editorial standards.

Why is this downvoted? The article is so light on details it's difficult to read.

Can someone provide a substantiation of the headline in concrete technical terms?

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