But they only watch on Mondays.

As per the New York Times NYT, the

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It essentially legalized retroactively President George W. Bush’s outlaw program of wiretapping certain terror suspects without a warrant. It also immunized telephone companies that cooperated in the program.

FISA was amended in 2008 in response to newly revealed documents showing that federal wiretapping of all sorts of people had been hugely expanded (even with that special FISA court) and that companies such as AT&T, which runs massive server farms had willingly cooperated in the wiretapping, even though it was borderline illegal.

One federal judge (in 2009) said that no one could sue the government for doing this.

That strategy was halted on Monday when a federal appeals court said that civil liberties and journalism groups challenging an eavesdropping law could pursue a suit trying to get the government’s wiretapping declared illegal. In an important ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reinstated a lawsuit that a federal district judge had thrown out in 2009.

I always thought that cooler heads should have prevailed both within the administration and the companies (such as AT&T) to stop this operation in the first place. But to date, these decisions have been aided and abetted by the courts. This last ruling gives civil liberties and journalism the right to sue to declare the law to be illegal.

The 2008 FISA amendment looks as though it removed the FISA court of judges (even though it’s a secret court) from the equation.

I applaud this decision. At the very least, citizens have the right to challenge their government in court. I think it’s a bad idea to allow government agencies to snoop on citizens’ activities without very stringent oversight by reasonably sane judges. And to get really radical, I think AT&T ought to be held accountable for letting government agencies into our shorts.

This has a long way to go; this is an important first step.

I am puzzled by American’s willingness to let the government snoop in the name of anti-terrorism.  We were all renegades once; just a cursory reading of the Bill of Rights shows that there were strong motivations for keeping the government out of our homes, personal business and political actions (because at the time, we were under the nasty boot of George III).Yes, argue that we’re the ones in charge now, and we would only be prosecuting terrorists. Worms turn.

Und so weiter.

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