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View Diary: What If You Pulled Back the Curtain and Found a Real Wizard? (181 comments)

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  •  Sorry, not an advisory opinion (2+ / 0-)
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    Justanothernyer, Tortmaster

    The opinion was a direct response to the government's request for an order re-authorizing the acquisition of certain electronic communications.  See page 2 of the opinion.  The court granted the request in part and denied it in part -- the upstream collection of internet communications was denied.  The reason the court talks about "proposed" is that in order to gain such authorization the government has to provide certifications from the AG and DNI explaining the program and particularly, the minimization procedures.  

    Evidently, from the opinion, the government had repeatedly -- at least 8 times -- obtained authorization based on misleading descriptions of what it was doing and what minimization steps it was taking.  After filing the request, the government sent the "May 2 Clarification Letter that "disclosed for the first time that NSA's 'upstream collection' of internet communications includes the acquisition of entire'transaction[s]'  . . . "  Opionoion page 5.  As a result, the Court ordered the government to provide additional information.  After a lot of back and forth, the Government had to provide an explanation of how it proposed to fix the items the Court found objectionable.  Hence the "proposes" language, but to give the government credit, it admitted it couldn't completely fix the problem.

    Contrary to the diarist's take, it is very clear from the opinion that the Government had consistently been collecting the information for several years, in the manner the Court belatedly discovered.  The court held against the government.  This does not give me warm fuzzies that our rights are being protected -- in fact, they were violated for several years.

    "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

    by RenMin on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 08:27:28 AM PDT

    •  I called it an "Advisory Opinion" because ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... it looks like one. That's why I had the words Advisory Opinion in italics the first time it appeared in the diary, Renmin. It is easier to understand what happens in a complex society when we can associate something new with something old, even if just by way of comparison.

      What the process shows to me is exactly what I had hoped to see. A large number of safeguards in place, serious push back from the court (even though the Judge probably expected this opinion to be Top Secret and not viewed by the public for 70 years or more), the standards and tests that make privacy paramount, as well as a procedure that requires the Government to prove a specific program is both legal and constitutional before it can be used.

      As for the "misrepresentations" that the court cites, it could be that the complexity involved in building a system to intercept only foreign communications and US communications directly with foreign targets looked good on paper, but it turned out to pull in too much unintended US Person Information. Your home contractor may tell you that he'll get the kitchen re-modeled within a month, but as that drags into three months.... Moreover, my belief that that is a real possibility is borne out by the fact that the Judge wrote a great deal about the difficulty in separating these Multi-Communications Transactions ("MCTs"). A problem was found, and it was fixed. Sometimes a tech guru will over-promise. Same with home contractors.  

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting.

      by Tortmaster on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 10:54:57 AM PDT

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