Telecoms Saved from Lawsuits

This is a discussion on Telecoms Saved from Lawsuits within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Senate commits to shielding telecoms from suits So it looks like the telecoms are safe from lawsuits (for now)... I think for the most part ...

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    Member Array nkanofolives's Avatar
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    Telecoms Saved from Lawsuits

    Senate commits to shielding telecoms from suits


    So it looks like the telecoms are safe from lawsuits (for now)...

    I think for the most part everyone will agree that this is a major stomping on our civil liberties and the 4th amendment.

    I do not want to discuss the "if I am doing nothing wrong, what's it matter" argument.

    What I do want to discuss and examine is:

    * What are the compelling reasons why immunity for the telecoms is a good thing?
    * Can an argument even be made that actually may hold water in support of the decision?
    * What would the ramifications be if the telecoms were not protected?

    \your opinions...have at it!

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    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    I was hoping the filibuster would hold, guess it didn't.

    It's a crying shame.
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    Member Array Superman's Avatar
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    The telecoms will just be doing business as usual, it's only now you'll have to sue the gov't which was the responsible party to begin with.
    Suing the telecoms was like killing the messenger, the way I saw it.
    They're just doing what the gov't told them to do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkanofolives View Post
    Senate commits to shielding telecoms from suits


    So it looks like the telecoms are safe from lawsuits (for now)...

    I think for the most part everyone will agree that this is a major stomping on our civil liberties and the 4th amendment.

    I do not want to discuss the "if I am doing nothing wrong, what's it matter" argument.

    What I do want to discuss and examine is:

    * What are the compelling reasons why immunity for the telecoms is a good thing?
    * Can an argument even be made that actually may hold water in support of the decision?
    * What would the ramifications be if the telecoms were not protected?

    \your opinions...have at it!
    I don't know that there is a compelling reason of it being a good thing. I hate lawsuits, but quite frankly now that there's no fear of major litigation hurting our infrastructure, those in charge are going to feel they can do or listen in to whatever they want whenever they want with no fear of repercussions.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the **** out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
    -The Mist (2007)

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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman View Post
    The telecoms will just be doing business as usual, it's only now you'll have to sue the gov't which was the responsible party to begin with.
    Suing the telecoms was like killing the messenger, the way I saw it.
    They're just doing what the gov't told them to do.
    Using the same logic, if I was your CO and told you to go kill everyone on #n of sesame street for no apparent reason...you're to be held blameless because you were just doing what I told you to do?

    The real issue here is that you really can't sue the government and win. The kicker is that by allowing the lawsuits to stay on the table, that may help prevent the issue from happening again because they(.gov) won't want to risk damaging a major infrastructure that holds the country together. But that's all speculation and it doesn't matter now anyway. Win some...lose more.
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the **** out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
    -The Mist (2007)

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    Ex Member Array echobaby's Avatar
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    What a surprise! Big business=Big government!

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    My take on this. The telecoms were let off the hook because no one has the stomach for opening the pandoras box of civil and criminal activities AND of political quarrels which would effect the election in unpredictable ways. Unpredictable, because while many of us feel as the OP, I am sure we will also here soon from our friend here SD, who takes a different view (I think). The politicians really don't know how this stuff will shake with the electorate.

    In any case, it is now fair to assume that everything you write, everything you say on a phone, everything you text, is potentially going to be intercepted.
    EXCEPT, I think Uncle lacks the capability it appears to claim and lots of this stuff is big time bluff to keep the bad guys guessing and off balance. That is,
    I think we have all been treated to a big game of bluff, and the real reason for letting the telecoms off is that it might come out in court that "ain't nothing going on."

    And, that--"ain't nothing going on," if true, would be a national security secret worth keeping. Just think of the harm that would befall us if the bad guys got it into their heads that they were safe.

    Sound and fury, signifying nothing.
    Last edited by Hopyard; July 10th, 2008 at 01:16 PM. Reason: to add content

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    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    My take on this. The telecoms were let off the hook because no one has the stomach for opening the pandoras box of civil and criminal activities AND of political quarrels which would effect the election in unpredictable ways. Unpredictable, because while many of us feel as the OP, I am sure we will also here soon from our friend here SD, who takes a different view (I think). The politicians really don't know how this stuff will shake with the electorate.
    Yes, I do have a different view.

    First, I will address the OP questions.

    What are the compelling reasons why immunity for the telecoms is a good thing?
    Immunity for the telcoms is not only a good thing, it is a necessity. The telecoms provide infrastructure the Executive uses to to perform the necessary communications intercepts that help keep our country secure. If the telecoms were subject to frivolous lawsuits, and perhaps some fringe judge that would monetarily penalize our telecommunications grid then the businesses would not subject themselves to the potential damage. No, our intelligence gathering would not end. We would spend tax dollars to create a new infrastructure that would allow our intelligence gathering programs to proceed.

    I am always puzzled at those who want to weaken our national security by tying the hands of those performing vital tasks that allow us to track and capture terrorists.

    Can an argument even be made that actually may hold water in support of the decision?
    Yes. This is crucial intelligence gathering. Inarguably, our proactive intellegence gathering has thwarted every attack planned in the United States since 9/11.

    What would the ramifications be if the telecoms were not protected?
    Frivolous lawsuits, wasting time and money of Americans.

    In any case, it is now fair to assume that everything you write, everything you say on a phone, everything you text, is potentially going to be intercepted.
    What makes you think this is any different than before the leaks of our intelligence methods? The fact is that we have been gathering intelligence on terrorists and enemies of the United States for decades. This is nothing new. Unfortunately, when our methods become public they lose their effectiveness. I assume you remember when the NY Times traitorously informed the enemy that we were tracking their finances. Since everyone knows that we intercept telephone and other communications the enemy will find other ways to communicate. That makes our national security more problematic. Most here are unconcerned with that when put into the context of their fear that George Bush is personally listening to Aunt Betty discussing her ingrown toenail with Cousin Bob.

    EXCEPT, I think Uncle lacks the capability it appears to claim and lots of this stuff is big time bluff to keep the bad guys guessing and off balance. That is, I think we have all been treated to a big game of bluff, and the real reason for letting the telecoms off is that it might come out in court that "ain't nothing going on."
    You would be quite wrong. Intelligence gathering is big business. I was in the industry in the '80s and things were very sophisticated even then. As we all know, government entities only get bigger and more costly over time. The alphabet soup agencies and our military are no exceptions.

    It is no bluff and the incidents that have been made public have thwarted real attacks in the US.

    I know no one wants to hear it, but if you're not talking with terrorists then no one is listening to your phone calls. And, as usual, not a single example of anyone's rights being violated is ever produced.

    The complainers, 'My rights are violated!', are the examples of sound and fury signifying nothing.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superman View Post
    They're just doing what the gov't told them to do.
    That defense didn't wash with the Nazis.

    In this case, the ones guilty of complicity were just knuckling under to unconstitutional demands by a wayward, corrupted group of "suits" without authority (not to say power) to back up such demands.
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    There was no reason USSID 18 ever had to go the way of the dinosaur. I worked in Sigint when the changes came down the pipe and it didn't change anything but let E-4's (like me) look at any American traffic they wanted without a warrant or worry of oversight.

    The turnaround on warrants was fast (halfway around the globe) and nothing was ever so time sensitive that we missed anything because of it.

    National Security interests my butt, just an excuse to exercise more people control.
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

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    Member Array nkanofolives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    That defense didn't wash with the Nazis.

    In this case, the ones guilty of complicity were just knuckling under to unconstitutional demands by a wayward, corrupted group of "suits" without authority (not to say power) to back up such demands.

    Wow, 12 hours for Godwin to come into play, I expected it much sooner. Either way, nicely done!

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nkanofolives View Post
    Wow, 12 hours for Godwin to come into play, I expected it much sooner. Either way, nicely done!
    Well, this sort of cooperation is what helped the Nazi movement gain such traction. "Godwin's Law" cautions against inappropriate reference to Hitlerisms, so to speak. In this behavior, though, the telecoms have shown their penchant for illicit, back door behavior at the expense of the people, when faced with a belligerent governing force. Not unlike IBM's dalliances during the war, with its counting machines, sorting machines and other technologies of the day, when it darned well knew they were being put to evil uses. Same bloody thing, if you ask me, Hitler's degrees of fascism not withstanding.

    Anyway. It is what it is. An entirely appropriate reference, to my way of thinking.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Well, this sort of cooperation is what helped the Nazi movement gain such traction. "Godwin's Law" cautions against inappropriate reference to Hitlerisms, so to speak. In this behavior, though, the telecoms have shown their penchant for illicit, back door behavior at the expense of the people, when faced with a belligerent governing force. Not unlike IBM's dalliances during the war, with its counting machines, sorting machines and other technologies of the day, when it darned well knew they were being put to evil uses. Same bloody thing, if you ask me, Hitler's degrees of fascism not withstanding.

    Anyway. It is what it is. An entirely appropriate reference, to my way of thinking.
    Wow. Comparing Hitler's murder of six million with an American company's patriotic aid in helping track down terrorists.

    I assume you think that we should allow terrorists to communicate and plan deadly attacks with no attempt at all to thwart their plans. All in the name of the terrorist's 'right' to conspire to commit murder and wage war on the United States. No problem for you. With your way of thinking we would have no country at all.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefense View Post
    Wow. Comparing Hitler's murder of six million with an American company's patriotic aid in helping track down terrorists.
    No, I did not say that. In fact, I had a reply to someone else's reference with the explicit goal of countering that reasoning.

    I did, however, equate the act of knuckling under in the current case of telecoms to the act of knuckling under evidenced by countless such organizations in pre-WW2 Germany, though, under much the same pressures from the government. Or, numerous organizations in the U.S., back in the war years, under the auspices of gaining market share or continuing business as usual, despite it being clear what the likely ramifications of complicity could be.

    My specific, direct reference was to IBM, which, like the telecoms, was in cahoots despite the known impacts and obvious nature of the requests, and all while working under the simple knowledge of the illegality or unconstitutionality of the requests. That was all. Reference to the Nazis was not done to equate their murder to business acts; it was simply to couch the reference in a specific point in time, so folks could know the sort of acts by complicit businesses that the telecom issue is similar to. Nothing more. (But then, I think you knew that.)

    If you like, my reference was really to IBM, as a similar company with similar actions. I mentioned IBM because I cannot recall any of the specific German companies in, say, the data gathering businesses that were particularly complicit. The reference to "Nazis" was to frame the time, NOT to compare divulging of records to murder as assumed by some.

    Targeted, subpoenaed records is one thing. Blanket "fire hose" data slurp is something else entirely.

    I'm all for tracking down criminals, terrorists and the like. But, at what cost? It need not be blindly done at the expense to the foundations (freedoms) that exist and keep it strong. That was the only point I made. Nothing more.

    I assume ...
    Don't do that.

    I have not weighed in on anything beyond the simple mention of the unreasonableness of blanket coughing up of records in contravention to the Constitution's guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, except by warrants duly sworn and attested. By several things that I have read in the past 2yrs, I am convinced such "blanket" divulging of broad swaths of records was done. (No, this didn't come from the Today television show or grocery store rags.)

    All in the name of the terrorist's 'right' to conspire to commit murder and wage war on the United States. No problem for you.
    Terrorists have no such rights to expectations of safety or surviving, in the sense of normal people. Big problem for me, in the thinking of that or the execution of that. They all deserve their noogies nailed to their foreheads, when caught.

    Having them run rampant is as much a problem for me as anyone else. Been on the receiving end of identity theft; have lived across the street from a drug house; have had a friend of the family murdered by authorities, involving cover-up and conspiracy; been physically attacked (years ago) a couple of times and yet survived; have had a few friends in the behind-the-scenes military and security businesses who have seen the larger threats first-hand.

    My point is that there is more than one way to slice that onion. Blanket data slurp is a crime. Thwarting criminals and terrorists while still upholding the Constitutional protections of the People can still be done, IMO, though I am not in the security business and am only surmising.

    With your way of thinking we would have no country at all.
    Another assumption, that believing back door blanket data slurps and "shadow" complicity with questionably-legal demands equate to the crushing of the country and elimination of its power to defend itself. One need not usher in the other. I neither said that, implied that or believe that to be true. Caution, on assumptions.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; July 12th, 2008 at 03:15 AM.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    I did, however, equate the act of knuckling under in the current case of telecoms to the act of knuckling under
    What makes you think that the telecoms helping track down terrorists is, in any sense, knuckling under?

    My specific, direct reference was to IBM, which, like the telecoms, was in cahoots despite the known impacts and obvious nature of the requests, and all while working under the simple knowledge of the illegality or unconstitutionality of the requests. That was all. Reference to the Nazis was not done to equate their murder to business acts; it was simply to couch the reference in a specific point in time, so folks could know the sort of acts by complicit businesses that the telecom issue is similar to. Nothing more. (But then, I think you knew that.)
    So, you are comparing businesses aiding in the extermination of six million people with those aifing the US government with helping track down terrorists who want to exterminate the people of the United States. In any time frame, that is simply an odd comparison.

    I'm all for tracking down criminals, terrorists and the like. But, at what cost? It need not be blindly done at the expense to the foundations (freedoms) that exist and keep it strong. That was the only point I made. Nothing more.
    Nothing is being blindly done. Intelligence gathering procedures are targeted at intercepting enemy communications. No one's 'rights' are being violated and no one is listening to your phone calls. I hear this argument all the time but not a single person can show they have been harmed in any way. It is all such erroneous academic conjecture with no subtance. But the cost for making such assumptions is allowing terrorists free access to our communications network.And that is a cost we cannot afford.

    I have not weighed in on anything beyond the simple mention of the unreasonableness of blanket coughing up of records in contravention to the Constitution's guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, except by warrants duly sworn and attested. By several things that I have read in the past 2yrs, I am convinced such "blanket" divulging of broad swaths of records was done.
    ]

    Perhaps you can elaborate upon the evidence that convinces you that Bush is listening in to the Aunt Ethel's secret family recipe.

    The fact is that none of this intelligence gathering is in contravention of the Constitutional protection. The COMINT activities are clearly reasonable, especially in a time of war. And the president does have the power to secure America. That actually is in the Constitution.

    Having them run rampant is as much a problem for me as anyone else. Been on the receiving end of identity theft; have lived across the street from a drug house; have had a friend of the family murdered by authorities, involving cover-up and conspiracy; been physically attacked (years ago) a couple of times and yet survived; have had a few friends in the behind-the-scenes military and security businesses who have seen the larger threats first-hand.
    It sounds like you are conflating crime with an enemy that as infiltrated our country and is planning acts of war against the United States. This isn;t identity theft or drug houses. This is planning horrendous attacks against the people of the United States and our infrastructure. That is a significant difference.

    My point is that there is more than one way to slice that onion. Blanket data slurp is a crime. Thwarting criminals and terrorists while still upholding the Constitutional protections of the People can still be done, IMO, though I am not in the security business and am only surmising.
    Don't surmise.

    No crime is being committed. No one is circumventing the Constitution. The Constitution is not a death pact.

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