He didn't "scuttle" it. CNet saw draft language being circulated among Senators and reported on it. Leahy issued a clarification, saying that he didn't support the draft language. Leahy's own language eliminates the 180-day rule for warrantless access to email, which is a huge step forward for email privacy.
Unless Leahy is directly lying in his statement, what CNet's reporter did was to play "gotcha" with draft senate language. While this may make us feel better, like we all played a role in ensuring that a terrible bill wasn't passed, what it really does is ensure that senators and their staffs will work even harder to make sure we don't see draft bill language until it is more or less a fait accompli and the only two outcomes are "pass" or "discard".
Patrick Leahy has one of the better reputations in the whole senate on civil liberties issues (check out the ACLU scorecard). But yeah, let's definitely eat our own to ensure ideological purity. That worked super well for the Tea Party.
> But yeah, let's definitely eat our own to ensure ideological purity.
Leahy was the author of PIPA, so I'm not one to extend that umbrella. He has been a champion of civil liberties and other worthy causes, but that doesn't mean he gets a free pass on everything. If we blindly defend "our" side in two-party politics, we inevitably end up defending some pretty bad legislation. I'd rather assess each piece individually.
I misread your use of "our own" followed by a reference to the Tea Party. I still stand by my opinion, though, that we shouldn't give legislators a free pass on bad legislation just because we support the positions they have taken on other issues.
FTA: But he also authored the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which is still looming over Web companies, and the reviled Protect IP Act. An article in The New Republic concluded Leahy's work on the Patriot Act "appears to have made the bill less protective of civil liberties." Leahy had introduced significant portions of the Patriot Act under the name Enhancement of Privacy and Public Safety in Cyberspace Act (PDF) a year earlier.
He's far from a consistent supporter of Civil Liberties. Surely we shouldn't demonize him, but clearly could use some education and encouragement to do the right thing.
In the first two cases, you are talking about your own property. Unless you have a contract with the colocation facility that says otherwise, the presence of your machine at such a facility shouldn't somehow make it searchable, just like if I put a closed briefcase full of papers down in a public library and walk away from it for 5 minutes, the police cannot suddenly search that.
As I understand it, things are shakier in case (3) and (4), because your provider absent a contract with you that says otherwise could choose to comply with subpoenas (providers commonly claim that they'll respond to LEOs only if they have a "subpoena or a warrant", as if that was a feature; you should assume that subpoenas are mere formalities and that any LEO can obtain one practically on demand). It's possible that your remedy in such a case would be civil, which would be cold comfort if your goal was to have evidence excluded from a trial.
There are a bunch of lawyers on HN now, and I'm sure one of them will jump in here to correct me.
> While this may make us feel better, like we all played a role in ensuring that a terrible bill wasn't passed, what it really does is ensure that senators and their staffs will work even harder to make sure we don't see draft bill language
If we just stick our heads in the dirt, congress won't have to do it for us! You're either a moron or a dick. People took action against invasive legislation, and you reflexively belittle them. And that's assuming that your beloved Leahy didn't lie about not supporting said measure. It's not like a politician would... lie
Totally OK. That's what message boards are for. And for what it's worth, I'm being pretty unclear in my comments today. Someone else on HN wants to break my jaw for another poorly expressed opinion. :)