Tag: Ron Wyden

Aug 23

NSA Was Found in Violation of the Fourth Amendment

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Electronic Freedom Foundation has won a victory in its fight with the government in federal court to release a FISA court ruling that found the NSA in violation of the Fourth Amendment, illegally collecting e-mails of tens of thousands of Americans.

NSA illegally collected thousands of emails before Fisa court halted program

by Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian

Declassified court ruling from 2011 found government ‘disclosed substantial misrepresentation’ of data collection program

In his 86-page opinion, declassified on Wednesday, Judge John Bates wrote that the government informed the court that the “volume and nature of the information it has been collecting is fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”.

The ruling is one of three documents released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and comes amid growing public and congressional concern over the scope of NSA surveillance programs. [..]

Wholly domestic communications are banned from the NSA’s collection under section 702 of the 2008 Fisa Amendments Act. An NSA document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published by the Guardian on August 9 referred to an October 2011 change in the rules, by which the NSA must purge data it improperly collected but that said the NSA could still search its so-called “702” databases for “certain US person names and identifiers,” though not until an “effective oversight process” was implemented.

Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the intelligence committee, refers to the NSA’s still-current authorities to query those databases for US person information as a “backdoor search” loophole.

“The ruling states that the NSA has knowingly acquired tens of thousands of wholly domestic communications under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, even though this law was specifically written to prohibit the warrantless acquisition of wholly domestic communications,” Wyden said.

“The FISA Court has noted that this collection violates the spirit of the law, but the government has failed to address this concern in the two years since this ruling was issued. This ruling makes it clear that FISA Section 702, as written, is insufficient to adequately protect the civil liberties and privacy rights of law-abiding Americans and should be reformed.”

October 3, 2011 FISC Opinion Holding NSA Surveillance Unconstitutional

Anchor and managing editor for “Dan Rather Reports” on AXS-TV, Dan Rather joined Rachel Maddow to talk about the abuse of power and general bungling undermines the credibility of the US and calls into question how the “war on terror’ has been conducted over the last 12 years since 9/11.

The NSA has “built a surveillance network that covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say. The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans.”

Jul 30

Wyden: FISA Court is an Anachronism

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Before last week’s vote on the Amash/Conyer Amendment, that would have stripped financing for the NSA program of unfettered surveillance, the American people were already shifting in how they viewed these programs. Over the weekend Pew conducted another poll showing that the shift is even more stark.

“Overall, 47% say their greater concern about government anti-terrorism policies is that they have gone too far in restricting the average person’s civil liberties, while 35% say they are more concerned that policies have not gone far enough to protect the country. This is the first time in Pew Research polling that more have expressed concern over civil liberties than protection from terrorism since the question was first asked in 2004.”

Major opinion shifts, in the US and Congress, on NSA surveillance and privacy

by Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian

Pew finds that, for the first time since 9/11, Americans are now more worried about civil liberties abuses than terrorism

Perhaps more amazingly still, this shift has infected the US Congress. Following up on last week’s momentous House vote – in which 55% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans defied the White House and their own leadership to vote for the Amash/Conyers amendment to ban the NSA’s bulk phone records collection program – the New York Times has an article this morning which it summarizes on its front page this way:

Congress Against NSA Xurveillance photo nyt1_zps2e4cb29e.png

Click on image to enlarge

The article describes how opposition to the NSA, which the paper says was recently confined to the Congressional “fringes”, has now “built a momentum that even critics say may be unstoppable, drawing support from Republican and Democratic leaders, attracting moderates in both parties and pulling in some of the most respected voices on national security in the House.” [..]

The strategy for the NSA and its Washington defenders for managing these changes is now clear: advocate their own largely meaningless reform to placate this growing sentiment while doing nothing to actually rein in the NSA’s power. “Backers of sweeping surveillance powers now say they recognize that changes are likely, and they are taking steps to make sure they maintain control over the extent of any revisions,” says the NYT.

The primary problem enabling out-of-control NSA spying has long been the Intelligence Committees in both houses of Congress. That’s an ironic twist given that those were the committees created in the wake of the mid-1970s Church Committee to provide rigorous oversight, as a response to the recognition that Executive Branch’s surveillance powers were being radically abused – and would inevitably be abused in the future – without robust transparency and accountability. [..]

The largest changes toward demanding civil liberties protections have occurred among liberal Democrats, Tea Party Republicans, independents and liberal/moderate Republicans. Only self-identified “moderate/conservative Democrats” – the Obama base – remains steadfast and steady in defense of NSA surveillance. The least divided, most-pro-NSA caucus in the House for last week’s vote was the corporatist Blue Dog Democrat caucus, which overwhelmingly voted to protect the NSA’s bulk spying on Americans.

As I’ve repeatedly said, the only ones defending the NSA at this point are the party loyalists and institutional authoritarians in both parties. That’s enough for the moment to control Washington outcomes – as epitomized by the unholy trinity that saved the NSA in the House last week: Pelosi, John Bohener and the Obama White House – but it is clearly not enough to stem the rapidly changing tide of public opinion.

On Sunday, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), one of the harshest critics of the NSA and the FISA court, was a guest on C-Span’s Newsmankers. He called the FISA court “anachronistic” and stated that he is most likely to support overhaul of the secretive court. He was particularly alarmed by the way that the Patriot Act was being interpreted by the federal government in its fight against terrorism.

Nov 30

Protect Internet & SOPA Will Break the Internet

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

What you need to know about the dangers of passing these bills and how it will destroy the Internet.

The video above discusses the Senate version of the PROTECT IP Act, but the House bill that was introduced TODAY is much much worse.

It’ll give the government new powers to block Americans’ access websites that corporations don’t like. The bill would criminalize posting all sorts of standard web content — music playing in the background of videos, footage of people dancing, kids playing video games, and posting video of people playing cover songs.

This legislation will stifle free speech and innovation, and even threaten popular web services like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

America Censorship has a great infographic on how SOPA will block you from the Internet.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who is leading the charge to stop the passage of these bills appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann to explain how catastrophic to Internet and your rights that these bill are.

Along with Sen. Wyden, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (go figure) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi strongly oppose passage. Sen. Wyden has started a petition and will read the names on the Senate floor should these bills come to the floor for a vote (I have signed). We at The Stars Hollow Gazette and Docudharma urged you to sign Sen. Wyden’s petition (sign petition) and contact your Senators and House Representative telling them to vote against these bill. You can do that here

Congress needs to hear from you, or this bill passes

Oct 25

It’s The End Of The Internet As We Know It (And Orrin Hatch Feels Fine)

Cross-posted to CandyBullets, MyLeftWing, The Stars-Hollow Gazette and firefly-dreaming

If you follow my website (CandyBullets) you’re probably well aware of the threat posed by the “IP PROTECT ACT” known more commonly as the Internet Blacklist bill. You’re may also be aware that this bill was recently halted in the Senate by the true Democrat Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) who prevented the bill from coming up for a vote in the Senate (where it would doubtless pass) however a House version will be introduced this week with help of Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) — probably tomorrow. If you’re not familiar with this bill then I suggest you become acquainted (the full text of the bill may be found here.)

Jun 02

The Patriot Act Renewed Without Change

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The (un)Patriot Act was passed, unamended, without debate, and signed by President Obama, who was still in Europe, with a robotic pen before it could expire. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who along with several other liberal senators, had proposed an amendment that put an end to the government secret interpretation of the law, cut a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Read (?-NV) and Sen. Diane Feinstein (?-CA) to withdraw the amendment. Reid promised to hold hearings on secret law, and, if his concerns were not met, propose his amendment at a later date.

I long ago gave up any hope of change from the current regime. It’s obvious that they have shed their skins and revealed themselves to be no better than the Bush/Cheny criminal regime that they are covering.

George Washington University law professor, Jeffrey Rosen, joins Cenk Uygur to discuss the (un)Patriot Act, its unconstitutionality, the duplicity of Harry Reid and how American’s really do not understand what is in this bill.

Say good-by to the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment, as well as, Article III courts.

May 31

Protecting The Constitution & Our Internet Rights

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In the November elections, one of the greatest losses that the left suffered was Russ Feingold. What we didn’t notice until this past week during the rush to please the right wing and President Obama by renewing the unaltered (un)Patriot Act for four more years was that there were others who had picked up the cause of the left, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM).

Amendment Requires Government to End Practice of Secretly Interpreting Law

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Washington, D.C. – As the Senate prepares to approve a four-year extension of the Patriot Act without public debate about how the executive branch actually interprets controversial provisions in the ten-year-old surveillance law, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Co.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced an amendment to the Patriot Act reauthorization legislation to require the U.S. Attorney General to make the U.S. Government’s official interpretation of the law public.

The amendment also states that it is the “Sense of the Congress” that government officials “should not secretly reinterpret public laws and statutes in a manner that is inconsistent with the public’s understanding of these laws and should not describe the execution of these laws in ways that misinforms or misleads the public.”

Now, Sen. Wyden takes a stand for our internet rights and against the sell out Democrats by placing a hold on the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011” (pdf) or as is euphemistically known the “Protect IP Act” which is the second try at getting Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass the last session thanks to Wyden.

The “Protect IP Act” is a revamping of COICA making it just as bad if not worse:

This version changes the “interactive computer services” language mentioned in our post below to “information location tools,” a term that points back to section 512(d) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In that context it’s been generally understood to refer to search engines, though there’s no guarantee we wouldn’t see efforts to expand the definition in actions under this bill. But in any case, requiring search engines to remove links to an entire website raises serious First Amendment concerns considering the lawful expression that may be hosted on the same domain.

In other words, “the proposed laws could be used to shut down websites that link to other websites that authorities claim to be carrying out infringing activities.”

Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog points out that Homeland Security already has shut down sites:

As evidence, I offer channelsurfing.net and atdhe.net. These domains created no content, as near as I could tell. But they linked to sites that offered sports television over the Internet, and those links were on a game-by-game basis. So, for example, if you didn’t want to subscribe to cable, but wanted to watch ESPN games, you could go to one of these sites, peruse the list of links, choose your game and source, click and watch. Sometimes several sources offered the same game, and you had several links to choose from.

Again, neither of these sites generated the video. They merely offered links to other sites that did. Those other sites perhaps violated intellectual property rights; these sites certainly did not.

Now go ahead and click the links for those sites, and see what happened to them. Yep, that’s the Homeland Security logo.

hree guesses when both of these seizures occurred. If you said “Right before the Super Bowl,” America’s ad and money feast with a football game inside, you wouldn’t be wrong. Homeland Security, the counter-terrorism arm of our national security state, is helping to seize small-people’s property (those sites were property) in order to protect the profits and property of billionaire sports owners and the advertisers who love them.

Not that I wasn’t certain that Obama and friends weren’t in the pockets of billionaires and corporation but it is becoming even more evident that most of the Democratic leadership is no better than the Republicans.

We need more people in Congress like Ron Wyden who are willing to stand for the people who elected them. Like Gaius Publius, I’m making lists of those who are willing.

Sep 23

Ron Wyden: Public Option Doesn’t Go FAR Enough

Wyden amendment gaining support

By Tony Romm, The Hill – 09/22/2009

An amendment to the Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare bill that would permit employees to shop around for health insurance policies is slowly gaining momentum on the Hill.

The idea, pitched by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) last week, would open the proposed “insurance exchange” — where consumers can compare and purchase insurance plans — to Americans who already receive coverage from their employers.



What has made Wyden’s proposal especially appealing today, however, is the Congressional Budget Office’s recent cost estimate. By their math, his amendment would reduce the bill’s impact on the deficit by about $1 billion over the next 10 years.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-…

Sep 20

IF we get the Public Option, WHO will Get the Choice?

Health Reform’s Missing Ingredient

By Ron Wyden, Senator D-OR, NYTimes Op-Ed

September 17, 2009

The various bills making their way through Congress would, as the president explained, provide some consumer choice by establishing large marketplaces where people could easily compare insurance plans and pick the one that best suits their needs.

[…]

The problem with these bills, however, is that they would not make the exchanges available to all Americans. Only very small companies and those individuals who can’t get insurance outside of the exchange – 25 million people – would be allowed to shop there. This would leave more than 200 million Americans with no more options, private or public, than they have today.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09…

Wait a second, I thought the Public Option, would give us a Choice —

give US ALL a Choice?

The Insurance Exchange will be closed to “more than 200 million Americans”?

that must be a typo!?!

Jul 01

Who will the Senate Finance Committee Listen to?

Have you met your Senate Finance Committee?

Give em a call because your Future Health Care, or lack thereof, is in their hands.

Senate Committee on Finance

Members

REPUBLICANS

CHUCK GRASSLEY, IA

ORRIN G. HATCH, UT

OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, ME

JON KYL, AZ

JIM BUNNING, KY

MIKE CRAPO, ID

PAT ROBERTS, KS

JOHN ENSIGN, NV

MIKE ENZI, WY

JOHN CORNYN, TX

DEMOCRATS

MAX BAUCUS, MT

JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, WV

KENT CONRAD, ND

JEFF BINGAMAN, NM

JOHN F. KERRY, MA

BLANCHE L. LINCOLN, AR

RON WYDEN, OR

CHARLES E. SCHUMER, NY

DEBBIE STABENOW, MI

MARIA CANTWELL, WA

BILL NELSON, FL

ROBERT MENENDEZ, NJ

THOMAS CARPER, DE

http://finance.senate.gov/site…

Chances are, these good Senators, while they hear us, have some other Constituents, always on their minds.