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U.S. is spying on its citizens and others


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If what this Snowden leaker said is true (I'm not apt to believe Zuckerberg) I'm pretty PO'd. The Patriot Act is a legal piece of garbage. This PRISM program is ridiculously unconstitutional as it tramples all over the US 4th Amendment:

Bush, Obama, the CIA, the NSA, and officials in US Congress who voted to make the Patriot Act law and uphold it in 2012 can all kiss my rear end. Special thanks to the tech companies involved (Google, Microsoft etc.) if this story is true for quietly going along with this.

Great rant, but unless you are a U.S. citizen, little of that applies. Even if you are a citizen, the courts have upheld provisions of the PATRIOT Act. That's how it works....sorry. Even this web site is hosted in the U.S.A., and is subject to Americanski rules.

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If what this Snowden leaker said is true (I'm not apt to believe Zuckerberg) I'm pretty PO'd. The Patriot Act is a legal piece of garbage. This PRISM program is ridiculously unconstitutional as it tramples all over the US 4th Amendment:

I don't trust Zuckerberg either based on the crap he pulled at Harvard. He had no ethics then, what makes people think he has changed his ways?

Bush, Obama, the CIA, the NSA, and officials in US Congress who voted to make the Patriot Act law and uphold it in 2012 can all kiss my rear end. Special thanks to the tech companies involved (Google, Microsoft etc.) if this story is true for quietly going along with this.

Now go look up the NDAA and that should get you more steamed in light of this NSA snooping.

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Great rant, but unless you are a U.S. citizen, little of that applies. Even if you are a citizen, the courts have upheld provisions of the PATRIOT Act. That's how it works....sorry. Even this web site is hosted in the U.S.A., and is subject to Americanski rules.

Actually the crap spills over into Canada and other countries. Peter MacKay said the Canadian government has known about it for close to a decade. He said Canadians were not targeted, but I am calling on his bull as well.

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No the answer is both... The threat from terrorists (while trumped up and grossly exxagerated) is obvious... they might blow a few people up now and then... But we also face a myriad of threats from our own governments reaction to these things. Western governments have confiscated and spent trillions of our dollars, started wars using terrorism as an excuse in which thousands of us have died, and used terrorism as an excuse to erode our civil liberties.

I counter that the "threat" to civil liberties is grossly exaggerated as well. Warehousing of metadata for use to monitor security threats isn't a threat to me at all - just the opposite.

First of all I told you exactly where my line is in my opening post and ellaborated on it.

Right. I was outlining how the process should work.

And I have no idea where the "stay calm, relax" stuff is coming from.

I can't imagine myself saying that somebody opposed to me "hates personal safety". It's a form of ad hominem, in my opinion. Painting your opposition as being opposed to our country's or the American constitution.

If you had an adequate argument, in my opinion, you wouldn't need to add that. Or maybe, as I said, you're just too emotionally invested in this.

I thought you were advocating giving the government the power to sieze information from private telecomms (either metadata, or content...

Just because "metadata or content" is all the same to you, doesn't mean it's the same to other people. They're certainly different things to me, but do you care what I think ?

In my mind, if you're debating where to set a standard for the public, with regards to privacy, I would think you would at least care about what your opponents think, at least to a degree.

Otherwise, you're not really trying to understand, are you ?

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I can't imagine myself saying that somebody opposed to me "hates personal safety". It's a form of ad hominem, in my opinion. Painting your opposition as being opposed to our country's or the American constitution.

Agreed...and very curious. Are "constitutions" to be supported or opposed by other nationals in some kind of popularity contest based on prevailing political winds? Maybe that explains so much "support" for the constitutions of Cuba or Venezuela around here.

What does it say about the public and private choices that Canadians have made and continue to make if they fear that they can be swept up in the "American Data Dragnet" ? Do Canadians realize just how much of their telecommunications/telephony is supported by American infrastructure and data networks ? What does the "right to privacy" mean in this context ?

A Canadian blogger put it best...."those who must worry about such things can do so....I'm going fishing".

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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A Canadian blogger put it best...."those who must worry about such things can do so....I'm going fishing".

Kind of like what is going on with all this datamining.

No one cares if privacy goes away, but as soon as they go for the guns ..... Few people seem to support the constitution fully.

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Sounds like most Americans have been beaten into submission.

When asked generally about anti-terrorism efforts, 62 percent of respondents said it was more important for the government to investigate possible terror threats even if there is a tradeoff with personal privacy, and 34 percent said that privacy should be a priority, even if it inhibits terror investigations.

Read more

The government has been able to use the fear of terrorism to get away with pretty much anything it wants. Soon, it will use it to take over the guns as well. It would make sense since guns kill thousands more Americans than terrorism does.

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Nope, many of those who back the NSA on this are the same ones who come out against background checks or any other firearms controls on privacy grounds .As John Oliver said on the Daily Show last night in his, Good News! You're Not Paranoid segment, the second amendment now trumps all other amendmends, which makes sense because it is the only one that is armed.

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Much ado about nothing. When the US embarked on a mission of conquering and controlling ME countries for oil profit, it should have known that it would be getting into a war (war on terror?) with those whose lives it would be destroying. Revenge was the obvious result and stopping revenge from coming requires keeping a close eye on everybody.

Was the Gulf War a good choice?

Will the spying stop?

Nope!

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U.S. courts have upheld gun rights and warrantless searches....they are allowed to do that. Can even vary by jurisdiction. There is nothing magic or special about this version of such things in U.S. history just because of technology and scale. The debate will rage on just as it has in the past; even Canadians will get in on the fun !

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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U.S. courts have upheld gun rights and warrantless searches....they are allowed to do that. Can even vary by jurisdiction. There is nothing magic or special about this version of such things in U.S. history just because of technology and scale. The debate will rage on just as it has in the past; even Canadians will get in on the fun !

Good attitude! Most of this will be used as a political tool to attack Obama because that's about as deep as it goes. If Americans really cared about their freedom they would have done tried to do something about gun violence that has taken away their freedoms. Freedom to send a child to school without the fear of the child being gunned down by a gungoon. Freedom to not have to place armed guards around elementary schools to keep their babies safe!

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Good attitude! Most of this will be used as a political tool to attack Obama because that's about as deep as it goes. If Americans really cared about their freedom they would have done tried to do something about gun violence that has taken away their freedoms.

If you take away the guns, you take away gun violence. However you will not get rid of violence.

The document that was to make the so called 'greatest nation on earth' is being trashed right before your eyes. The people sidelining the constitution are not real true Americans. And yes it is not illegal now, only because they changed the laws to suit their needs. Checks and balances are gone.

There are many societal factors contributing to violence, so would not be right to restrict the violence debate to just guns.

This was a program that was never to see the light of day. Now that it is out in the open, people are talking about it, which is a good thing. I only hope people realize what is going on before it's too late. But this may already be too late.

Edited by GostHacked
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I don't try to restrict the debate on violence in that country to just guns but I am suggesting that guns are a tool that is much too readily accessible. Thereby leading to an untenable situation in which they are contemplating surrounding their schools with armed guards to keep the children safe. Would too many knives or baseball bats call for the same reaction.

It's a sick society and that's not an acceptable topic for debate amongst them. This is largely due to their warmongering stance throughout the world. What kind of people would still not accept the plain fact that the Iraq wars were totally corrupt, illegal, and immoral wars that were fought for control of ME oil?

When Americans who want to own and use military style type weapons such as was used in the school massacre, stop wanting to own them and use them, then the situation will change. That is a lot different from taking those weapons away from them.

And as a sidenote to this, more Canadians are becoming enamoured with the sick US mentality and are wanting to own those kind of weapons. That could become a problem for Canada as well.

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Good attitude! Most of this will be used as a political tool to attack Obama because that's about as deep as it goes. If Americans really cared about their freedom they would have done tried to do something about gun violence that has taken away their freedoms. Freedom to send a child to school without the fear of the child being gunned down by a gungoon. Freedom to not have to place armed guards around elementary schools to keep their babies safe!

Gun laws will come and go with the political wind, but the right to own and bear arms is not going to change. The U.S. would not exist without firearms. More babies are killed by abortions than guns !!

Violent crime is actually at a 30 year low in the U.S.; suicides are the majority of gun related deaths.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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...It's a sick society and that's not an acceptable topic for debate amongst them. This is largely due to their warmongering stance throughout the world. What kind of people would still not accept the plain fact that the Iraq wars were totally corrupt, illegal, and immoral wars that were fought for control of ME oil?

Meh...America is the same as it ever was, including "warmongering" for the aftermath of British Empire's imperial actions, including Canada. Canada helped to bomb and starve Iraqis for years, and PM Martin begged Bush for access to Iraqi oil service contracts after the invasion dirty work was over.

Canada bombed Serbia "illegally", invaded Haiti and deposed a democratically elected president, killed the locals in Afghanistan, and bombed Libya....just like the 'warmongering" Americans.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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Just because "metadata or content" is all the same to you, doesn't mean it's the same to other people.

As someone that indexes ESI for a living Im well aware of the difference between metadata and content. But your post is curious because I never said it was the same...

But it seems to me that you advocated a course of action beyond indexing metadata, and actually would like to see the government have an index of the content... I make this assumption based on your description of targeting "certain phrases"... clearly thats not metadata... thats content. Perhaps you would go even further than the NSA?

Warehousing of metadata for use to monitor security threats isn't a threat to me at all - just the opposite.

But that metadata (and neither of us have seen it so we can only speculate) could be a complete record of your movement (if youre mobile device) and everyone you speak to. And it could be an incremental step towards more intrusive measures.

Furthermore, at issue is the governments legal right to this data. Its privately owned information generated by the relationship between a private company (in most cases) and a private individual. If the government can sieze this data then they can sieze "metadata" on every other transaction you make. Either you and I have a completely different view on what the government is there for and what its supposed to do, or you just havent throught this through.

Plus... go back and read your post about "targeting words and phrases". You were not talking about metadata you were talking about content.

'm fine with pervasive electronic communications as long as it is directed at target, such as words phrases IP addresses, not just the warehousing of all conversations.

IP adresses are metadata. Words and phrases however are content, and you cant search for the words and phrases in a conversation without indexing it. In order to search for those things you need to have all the data.

Heres an analogy that might help drive this home for you... For the government to do this with snail mail, they would have to intercept open every single envelope, scan its contents, tokenize all the words and load them into an index. I think your average person would find this proposition preposterous and outrageous. Now... the "content" in an email is inherently no different than the content in a snail mail. The ONLY difference is that with email this invasion of privacy is at least someone logistically possible. So the real underlying argument here, is that private conversations in these new mediums should not be subject to limited protection simply because technology has made it EASIER to invade our privacy. The government doesnt have to open billions of envelopes, it can just collect the tokens from private service providers. Its an absurd argument because the right to privacy exists in the context of certain types of speech and interaction, and has nothing to do with whether those interactions happen in person, on the phone, on the bus, or in an email.

I can't imagine myself saying that somebody opposed to me "hates personal safety". It's a form of ad hominem, in my opinion. Painting your opposition as being opposed to our country's or the American constitution.

"Hates our freedom" was indeed a play on words... But its clear that the government has some real problems with certain aspects of our liberty or we wouldnt be having this conversation in the first place. I simply stated the obvious... a free society full of individuals with the right to privacy makes law enforcement harder, and theres various efforts to chip away at our personal freedom to make things easier for them.

I counter that the "threat" to civil liberties is grossly exaggerated as well.

I just disagree. As I already said, I realize that the right to privacy has to be limited, which Is why I support the "warrant system". But the generalized confiscation of all records of transactions between private entities is a pretty radical change to the way things work. And you can look at the recent attempt by our government to give themselves the power to install hardware at privately owned ISPs (that would allow them to build an index of all metadata and content) as an indication of where they want to go with this.

In my mind, if you're debating where to set a standard for the public, with regards to privacy, I would think you would at least care about what your opponents think, at least to a degree.

  • I DO care what you think. I have written about 5 posts here in the last 6 months, and 80% of them have been directed towards you... on this topic.

If you had an adequate argument, in my opinion, you wouldn't need to add that. Or maybe, as I said, you're just too emotionally invested in this.

I actually think my argument is not only well reasoned, but backed up by many many decades or jurisprudence, the charter, and the US consitution. And Im not sure why after I deadpan out emotionless post after post you still keep blathering on about my emotions. Let it go... Why dont you stick to the topic at hand?

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As someone that indexes ESI for a living Im well aware of the difference between metadata and content. But your post is curious because I never said it was the same...

You said "either metadata or content" as though there's no difference between those things.

But it seems to me that you advocated a course of action beyond indexing metadata, and actually would like to see the government have an index of the content... I make this assumption based on your description of targeting "certain phrases"... clearly thats not metadata... thats content. Perhaps you would go even further than the NSA?

We're starting to really get down to the brass tacks here. I don't think keyword searches are the same thing as having access to all content but as I understand they don't really do that anyway and I'm not sure how you could do a key search without have all the content anyway.

Furthermore, at issue is the governments legal right to this data. Its privately owned information generated by the relationship between a private company (in most cases) and a private individual. If the government can sieze this data then they can sieze "metadata" on every other transaction you make. Either you and I have a completely different view on what the government is there for and what its supposed to do, or you just havent throught this through.

You mean like financial transactions ? Yes, they do this now. I am not outraged.

IP adresses are metadata. Words and phrases however are content, and you cant search for the words and phrases in a conversation without indexing it. In order to search for those things you need to have all the data.

Not necessarily - you can have only the index too. You could have the carrier index or do the search so that you don't have access to the full content. But, I don't even know if this is possible.

"Hates our freedom" was indeed a play on words... But its clear that the government has some real problems with certain aspects of our liberty or we wouldnt be having this conversation in the first place.

So the motivation for all of this is not to protect citizens but to reduce freedoms ? Is that right ?

I just disagree. As I already said, I realize that the right to privacy has to be limited, which Is why I support the "warrant system". But the generalized confiscation of all records of transactions between private entities is a pretty radical change to the way things work.

As a response to a new level of threat. So, there we are - you think threats to safety are overstated and I think threats to privacy are.

I actually think my argument is not only well reasoned, but backed up by many many decades or jurisprudence, the charter, and the US consitution. And Im not sure why after I deadpan out emotionless post after post you still keep blathering on about my emotions.

Because you ascribe a sinister motive to security officials, who may indeed just be doing their jobs.

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....You mean like financial transactions ? Yes, they do this now. I am not outraged.

Indeed, as government has a direct tax collection interest in such matters. Such outrageous "intrusions" are seemingly welcomed when it comes to government health care insurance programs, claims adjudication, and payments. Funny how that works....huh ?

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Indeed, as government has a direct tax collection interest in such matters. Such outrageous "intrusions" are seemingly welcomed when it comes to government health care insurance programs, claims adjudication, and payments. Funny how that works....huh ?

Or demands for governments to collude and root out investments hidden in so-called tax havens offshore.

I like to take privacy down to the caveman level: I get the right to duck behind a rock and pee without you seeing me, and I might steal a tiny dinosaur egg or two if you're not looking but you don't get to come into my cave and look into my loincloth whenever you want. Move the clock forward 10,000 years to today and ipso-facto here we are...

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Or demands for governments to collude and root out investments hidden in so-called tax havens offshore.

I like to take privacy down to the caveman level: I get the right to duck behind a rock and pee without you seeing me, and I might steal a tiny dinosaur egg or two if you're not looking but you don't get to come into my cave and look into my loincloth whenever you want. Move the clock forward 10,000 years to today and ipso-facto here we are...

Tax havens you say? Well it's a little off topic, but let's look at a few of the key players in this NSA spy ring.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-10/google-revenues-sheltered-in-no-tax-bermuda-soar-to-10-billion.html

Google Inc. (GOOG) avoided about $2 billion in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenues into a Bermuda shell company, almost double the total from three years before, filings show.

By legally funneling profits from overseas subsidiaries into Bermuda, which doesn’t have a corporate income tax, Google cut its overall tax rate almost in half. The amount moved to Bermuda is equivalent to about 80 percent of Google’s total pretax profit in 201

http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/20/technology/offshore-tax-havens/index.html

Microsoft has saved nearly $7 billion off its U.S. tax bill since 2009 by using loopholes to shift profits offshore, a Senate panel said in a report released Thursday.

Hewlett-Packard also avoided paying taxes through a series of loans, some spanning 30 months, that shifted billions of dollars between two offshore subsidiaries, according to the Senate panel.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/21/news/companies/apple-offshore-tax-hearing/index.html

After a Senate committee revealed last month that Apple skirted billions in taxes by stashing cash in offshore tax havens, the company quickly became the poster child of big businesses that take advantage of dramatically lower corporate tax rates around the world. But it turns out Apple isn't alone - according to a new report, 18 of the largest companies in the U.S. avoid paying U.S. taxes in the exact same way, dodging an estimated $92 billion, collectively.

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Tax havens you say? Well it's a little off topic, but let's look at a few of the key players in this NSA spy ring.

But... what is your point ? That we should eavesdrop on financial transactions but not on conversations ? Or that Google, being subject to government intrusion on both fronts should be somehow exempt from ... what ?

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You said "either metadata or content" as though there's no difference between those things.

Saying "this or that" in the english language is in no way asserting that "this" and "that" are the same. Check your linguist.

We're starting to really get down to the brass tacks here. I don't think keyword searches are the same thing as having access to all content but as I understand they don't really do that anyway and I'm not sure how you could do a key search without have all the content anyway.

If you want to run keyword searches you need to index the data. If you want to index the data you need the data. If they have the data to index, and they are allowed to access it without oversight I guarantee you they will go to town on it. They will want to do more than keyword searches as well, they will want to run non-linguistic analysis... because semantic analysis is actually a lot more valuable. This involves either some kind of latent semantic indexing (lsi, or plsi) or building a matrix of overlapping fragments to hash. In either case to do any of this stuff you need all the data, so if you are advocating the ability to search for words and phrases you are advocating the wholesale warehousing of all the data.

You mean like financial transactions ? Yes, they do this now. I am not outraged.

No they dont. The government has no database with all financial transactions. You are expected to report them for tax purposes but even at tax time you simply give them the totals. You are expected to keep the records yourself, and may be the subject of an audit. And I suspect theres almost nothing the government could do that would outrage you as long as they alledged some kind of altruistic motive.

Not necessarily - you can have only the index too. You could have the carrier index or do the search so that you don't have access to the full content. But, I don't even know if this is possible.

You need all the content to make the index. And since you want to remove judicial oversight (warrants) you would be counting on the "goodwill" system. Good luck with that.

As a response to a new level of threat. So, there we are - you think threats to safety are overstated and I think threats to privacy are.

There IS no "new level of threat". Theres different threats but historically we are as safe as we ever have been.

Because you ascribe a sinister motive to security officials, who may indeed just be doing their jobs.

No I didnt. They want more power and control, and will take as much as we let them take... theres nothing "sinister" about their intentions. Still these are baby steps towards a more authoritarian society where people have less rights and protections. I think that in itself is a sinister proposition.

But really you are proposing a radical change for no reason that would probably cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The government can already get the data when it needs it, and law enforcement already has enough power to be effective. We have historically low crime rates, things like terrorist attacks are extremely rare.

Theres simply nothing that warrants any of your radical ideas on warehousing communication for the government to browse as they see fit. And you could make the exact same arguments to support virtually ANY other erosions. Warrantless phone taps, and the wholesale inspection of snail mail would have been convenient for law enforcement as well, and I would hazzard to guess that a "Nation of Hardners" would have allowed these things decades ago.

Edited by dre
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No, the US gov isn't doing anything more than is necessary to preserve itself in this situation where it's become the world's aggressor. Americans are only playing politics for their own dogmatic political entertainment.

It's a sideshow for the entertainment of Canadians who can see through their ridiculous games.

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But... what is your point ? That we should eavesdrop on financial transactions but not on conversations ?

You asked:

Or demands for governments to collude and root out investments hidden in so-called tax havens offshore.

If there is fraud with these tax havens, and I suspect there is, then like everything else, if there is enough evidence, get a warrant. But it seemed that you asked a question the way I read it, so I responded with the companies that heavily engage in finding tax havens. These are the same companies that are complying with the NSA (they say they are not and people still believe it).

Or that Google, being subject to government intrusion on both fronts should be somehow exempt from ... what ?

Google does not seem to be subject to government intrusion, Google seems to be PART of the government intrusion.

You may think it is just metadata that they are looking at. However the NSA used advanced packet sniffing technology. Your communication between your PC and this site is sent in chuncks called packets. The packets contain metadata like origin, destination, number and sequence of packets.

For example. We use a packet sniffer where I work. In case a server goes down or we have network issues, we can monitor all network traffic and inspect each packet for a possible virus or deliberate intrusion. The appliance will rip open the packet, inspect the whole thing and then move on to the next packet in the series for verification. So not only is it looking at metadata, it can piece together the whole communication. It logs it all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnivore_%28software%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NarusInsight

Narus is a company, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing, which provides real-time network traffic and analytics software with enterprise class spyware capabilities.[1][2] It was co-founded in Israel in 1997 by Ori Cohen, who had served as Vice President of Business and Technology Development for VDONet, an early media streaming pioneer, and Stas Khirman.[3]

Narus is notable for being the creator of NarusInsight, a supercomputer system whose installation in AT&T's San Francisco Internet backbone gave rise to a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T, Hepting v. AT&T.[4]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepting_vs._AT%26T

Hepting v. AT&T is a United States class action lawsuit filed in January 2006 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) against the telecommunications company AT&T, in which the EFF alleges that AT&T permitted and assisted the National Security Agency (NSA) in unlawfully monitoring the communications of the United States, including AT&T customers, businesses and third parties whose communications were routed through AT&T's network, as well as Voice over IP telephone calls routed via the Internet.

The case is separate from, but related to, the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, in which the federal government agency bypassed the courts to monitor U.S. phone calls without warrants. Hepting v. AT&T does not include the federal government as a party.

In July 2006, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California—in which the suit was filed—rejected a federal government motion to dismiss the case. The motion to dismiss, which invoked the State Secrets Privilege, had argued that any court review of the alleged partnership between the federal government and AT&T would harm national security.

The case was immediately appealed to the Ninth Circuit. It was dismissed on June 3, 2009, citing retroactive legislation in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[1][2] On October 9, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to review Hepting.[3] The Electronic Frontier Foundation, however, vowed to continue working on a similar case named Jewel v. NSA.

You have to go back some years to see how it all started. Once you understand the scope then, you might get an idea of the scope now.

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