NSA Taken to Court Over Warrant-Free Surveillance

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Giroro

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Jan 22, 2015
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It's not just circumventing the fourth amendment. The government is also violating the third amendment when the NSA forces companies to host equipment and services in support of spy programs targeting US citizens and foreign allies.
 

teknic111

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Dec 8, 2007
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I am no fan of blanket surveillance, but this seems to be a poor case to challenge the NSA. After all, there is solid proof that he was supporting known terrorist. If anything, it seems like the surveillance program did what it was designed to do.
 

leoscott

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Correct. They have agreements with Britian's GCHQ who will provide them the information on US citizens. It just won't be useable in court.
 

stdragon

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Apr 5, 2018
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The NSA is incompetent. First, they develop tools to exploit Windows and the SMB protocol. Secondly, they lose control of them and off they go published all around the world. Before long, they get used in the latest Ransomware attack that took down the UK medical / health industry. Bravo!!! *slow clapping*

Oh, and let's not forget what they did to Lavabit.
 


The key issues are:

1. Whether the government can pre-record everything (without a warrant), then run searches on that pre-recorded info after getting a warrant. The article doesn't really explain this clearly. The fact that the FBI has run some searches against this pre-recorded database without first getting a warrant is supposed to be an example of how such a database invites abuse in violation of the 4th Amendment.

2. Whether the government needs a warrant if one party of the communications is outside the U.S. The government's stance is that if one party is not in the U.S., then they are not protected by the 4th Amendment, so they don't need a warrant to record it. Basically, they claim they are copying the communiques of the person outside the U.S., not the communiques of the U.S. citizen inside the U.S. (even though both are the same communique). The ACLU's argument is that a single party of the communique falling under Constitutional protection is sufficient to require a warrant.

Whether or not the defendant is a terrorist or is even guilty is irrelevant. I think the ACLU is a horribly biased organization, but I'm with them on this one. (1) Just makes it too easy for the government to secretly abuse ("No your honor, I never ran such a search [snicker]"). And (2) should err on the side of the Constitution providing more protection, not less.
 

stdragon

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IANAL, but to my knowledge The 4th amendment only applies to US citizens and non-citizen with permanent residency. Visitors and illegal aliens aren't protected however.

So if the NSA were to capture communications of a US citizen abroad, I'd imagine it couldn't be used in a US court of law due to the "fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine".
 

LordConrad

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You can thank the Patriot Act for most of this. They wrote it to expire in five years, but they keep renewing it. Once a government gets more power, it will do anything it can to keep that power. Our Forefathers knew this and tried to warn us, but after 9-11 everyone was so concerned for their safety that they allowed themselves to be conned out of some constitutional rights.
 
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