Senate vote allows FBI access to your browsing history without a warrant

midian182

Posts: 5,674   +43
Staff member

The Patriot act (Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism act) is a controversial piece of legislation that was made into law following the September 11 attacks. It gives law enforcement extra powers of surveillance, including record and private property searchers without notifying the individuals.

As reported by The Register, an addition to the Patriot Act, which is due to be renewed this week, would allow agencies to collect people’s browsing histories without requiring a warrant.

Wyden and Daines led the charge in trying to prevent the Patriot act changes by installing a warrant requirement, but the bipartisan amendment fell short of the 60-vote threshold by one vote, with many of those who were likely to vote in favor, including former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, absent.

“Is it right at this unique time when millions of law-abiding citizens are at home, for the government to be able to spy on their internet searches and web browsing without a warrant?” said Wyden.

“Should law-abiding Americans have to worry about their government looking over their shoulders from the moment they wake up in the morning and turn on their computers to when they go to bed at night? I believe the answer is no. But that’s exactly what the government has the power to do without our amendment.”

The addition to the Patriot act was drafted by Senate leader Mitch McConnell. Not only does it allow the collection of search and browsing data in section 215 of the law without probable cause, but that data is also likely to be stored and made available to multiple US agencies.

With Covid-19 causing millions of Americans to use the internet more than ever, the vote has come as a blow to privacy advocates. “The Patriot Act should be repealed in its entirety, set on fire and buried in the ground,” Evan Greer, the deputy director of Fight For The Future, told Motherboard. “It’s one of the worst laws passed in the last century, and there is zero evidence that the mass surveillance programs it enables have ever saved a single human life.”

Image credit: mark reinstein and AndriiKoval via Shutterstock

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Uncle Al

Posts: 6,936   +5,219
“Should law-abiding Americans have to worry about their government looking over their shoulders from the moment they wake up in the morning and turn on their computers to when they go to bed at night? I believe the answer is no. But that’s exactly what the government has the power to do without our amendment.”

To date, the government has yet to pass a law that they have not eventually abused. This will be no different and if the current administration is returned to office you can bet it will be used tactically against any and ALL of their political enemies as well as perceived enemies.
 

Hexic

Posts: 689   +609
TechSpot Elite
It's humorous that some privacy advocates expect internet anonymity and privacy in the 21st century.

The PATRIOT Act was going to happen one way or the other, 9/11 was just an early catalyst.

I'd rather "officially" agree that my online privacy is non-existent, and give authorities sanctioned tools that they need to perform surveillance on high value targets, than block this act, have the surveillance happen anyways. Because in reality, there is no alternative.

The expectation of online privacy is a fantasy that some still attempt to cling to.
 

candle_86

Posts: 245   +177
It's already really easy to get a warrant for your search history anyway, a judge signs off on them in bulk, its not like you had any protections against it anyway
 

Maxiking

Posts: 93   +126
It's humorous that some privacy advocates expect internet anonymity and privacy in the 21st century.

The PATRIOT Act was going to happen one way or the other, 9/11 was just an early catalyst.

I'd rather "officially" agree that my online privacy is non-existent, and give authorities sanctioned tools that they need to perform surveillance on high value targets, than block this act, have the surveillance happen anyways. Because in reality, there is no alternative.

The expectation of online privacy is a fantasy that some still attempt to cling to.
That is a nice fallacy. Why to have any laws at all, people will break them anyway.


To make an analogy, if you have nothing smart to say, it doesn't mean my freedom of speech should be severely restricted.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,840   +2,125
“Should law-abiding Americans have to worry about their government looking over their shoulders from the moment they wake up in the morning and turn on their computers to when they go to bed at night? I believe the answer is no. But that’s exactly what the government has the power to do without our amendment.”

To date, the government has yet to pass a law that they have not eventually abused. This will be no different and if the current administration is returned to office you can bet it will be used tactically against any and ALL of their political enemies as well as perceived enemies.
The CURRENT administration? Remind me which side of the political isle takes to social media screeching how people should lose their jobs for "voting for the wrong side" and perceived slights, labeling everything they dont like as racism, sexism, ece? Last time I checked Republicans were not trying to get people fired for wrong-think, they just make fun of them.

Every law is abused, but I'd be much more worried about the Democrats getting this power, the more extreme of their voter base has already showed they have no qualms of ruining others lives over political differences.
 

rrwards

Posts: 136   +199
The CURRENT administration? Remind me which side of the political isle takes to social media screeching how people should lose their jobs for "voting for the wrong side" and perceived slights, labeling everything they dont like as racism, sexism, ece? Last time I checked Republicans were not trying to get people fired for wrong-think, they just make fun of them.

Every law is abused, but I'd be much more worried about the Democrats getting this power, the more extreme of their voter base has already showed they have no qualms of ruining others lives over political differences.
No they were just orchestrating privacy invasions left and right instead. Every time there's a conversation about privacy and the internet, the GOP is first in line to parrot that sh*tty fallacy that "people who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear".
 

Hexic

Posts: 689   +609
TechSpot Elite
That is a nice fallacy. Why to have any laws at all, people will break them anyway.


To make an analogy, if you have nothing smart to say, it doesn't mean my freedom of speech should be severely restricted.
The concept isn't a fallacy, it's reality. I don't like it personally either, however what are our other options? There are none. You can remain in denial about whether it's on a piece of paper but that won't change what is being executed behind the scenes either way.

Wouldn't denying the act be a fallacy as well, due to the fact that nothing would be accomplished with the act being denied anyways?

There's no fallacy, but there is a strawman in the concept of using one instance of legislation to presume that there's no point in any laws at all.

Your freedom of speech isn't touched. There's just a piece of paper showing the feds can look at it... As they have for the past 25+ years without most of America knowing.
 

Puiu

Posts: 3,879   +2,391
So the FBI will continue doing what it was already doing, but from now on legally and without the need to hide it? :)
 
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Axil00

Posts: 22   +32
It's humorous that some privacy advocates expect internet anonymity and privacy in the 21st century.

The PATRIOT Act was going to happen one way or the other, 9/11 was just an early catalyst.

I'd rather "officially" agree that my online privacy is non-existent, and give authorities sanctioned tools that they need to perform surveillance on high value targets, than block this act, have the surveillance happen anyways. Because in reality, there is no alternative.

The expectation of online privacy is a fantasy that some still attempt to cling to.
The difference is if there area laws in place to prevent abuse people can at least try to hold their government accountable. And no I don't agree that there is no alternative. Freedom and Security are often at odds. Worse sacrificing that freedom often gains little in the way of that promised security and makes it impossible for the public to assess whether or not the government is delivering on its stated goals.

I fully expect our intelligence agencies to bend and even break laws limiting their actions. What I would like is the ability to prosecute them when they are caught.

Republicans have a terrible record when it comes to government overreach. There are a few with a more libertarian bend that try to apply the brakes but they are a small minority. The Patriot Act is a hideous stain on the party that sticks out every time I'm at the ballot box trying to figure out which candidate is less awful.

I'm very disappointed in the democratic parties behavior over the the past few years. The drive to destroy Trump overtook many of the principles I found attractive in the party. The entire process with Flynn was one of the most corrupt things I've seen in recent history. He could he the most evil man alive, but the way the fbi took him down could be used against literally anybody. As for the elected Ds, the focus on outting Trumps taxes shows that curtailing the government's ability to invade people's rights isn't at all important to the party.

So who do I vote for if my primary issue isn't the economy or healthcare or safety, but keeping the federal government out of my business? No one that appears on the ticket, that's for sure.

For the record I'm no anarchist. There are lots of things I want the government to do. The problem is they've had the authority to do most of it for 100 years, but rather than focusing on using that enormous amount of power for the people, it's used to grab more.
 
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Hexic

Posts: 689   +609
TechSpot Elite
The difference is if there area laws in place to prevent abuse people can at least try to hold their government accountable. And no I don't agree that there is no alternative. Freedom and Security are often at odds. Worse sacrificing that freedom often gains little in the way of that promised security and makes it impossible for the public to assess whether or not the government is delivering on its stated goals.

I fully expect our intelligence agencies to bend and even break laws limiting their actions. What I would like is the ability to prosecute them when they are caught.

Republicans have a terrible record when it comes to government overreach. There are a few with a more libertarian bend that try to apply the brakes but they are a small minority. The Patriot Act is a hideous stain on the party that sticks out every time I'm at the ballot box trying to figure out which candidate is less awful.

I'm very disappointed in the democratic parties behavior over the the past few years. The drive to destroy Trump overtook many of the principles I found attractive in the party. The entire process with Flynn was one of the most corrupt things I've seen in recent history. He could he the most evil man alive, but the way the fbi took him down could be used against literally anybody. As for the elected Ds, the focus on outting Trumps taxes shows that curtailing the government's ability to invade people's rights isn't at all important to the party.

So who do I vote for if my primary issue isn't the economy or healthcare or safety, but keeping the federal government out of my business? No one that appears on the ticket, that's for sure.

For the record I'm no anarchist. There are lots of things I want the government to do. The problem is they've had the authority to do most of it for 100 years, but rather than focusing on using that enormous amount of power for the people, it's used to grab more.
Donald Duck, 2020.
 

CBTex

Posts: 69   +107
To date, the government has yet to pass a law that they have not eventually abused. This will be no different and if the ANY administration is returned to office you can bet it will be used tactically against any and ALL of their political enemies as well as perceived enemies.
FIFY.

I agree with your sentiment about governmental abuse, but if you think either party gives an actual crap about rights or privacy, you're mistaken. This partisanship has left us with a choice between two awful candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden. This after we had two awful candidates of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Makes one yearn for the days of George Bush and Bill Clinton. 1990's Bill Clinton would probably get 70%+ of the general election vote today, but couldn't win the Democratic primary.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,297   +1,248
TechSpot Elite
I guarantee they have already been doing it. This just puts it down on paper.

And just like that, VPN company value skyrocketed.

The Senate is lib/dem controlled. No doubt this would have gone through. More government control!
Lol, you got that backwards. The Senate is neocon/repub controlled and there's no doubt that the repubs want more government control.

FYI:

116th Congress (2019-2021)
Majority Party: Republican (53 seats)
Minority Party: Democrat (45 seats)
Other Parties: 2 Independents (both caucus with the Democrats)
Total Seats: 100
 

TheBigFatClown

Posts: 770   +292
I think the biggest illusion that people are holding onto is that anybody in government fights on their behalf anymore. I think Jesse Ventura said it best several years ago. He said something along the lines of Democrats and Republicans being on the same team. They just fight in public because they want to make you believe that both sides have a say in the matter. Behind closed doors, they all pretty much agree. If anyone can find and repost this quote it would be good.

Democrats and Republicans voted to destroy the middle-class in America over a mutated flu strain from the family of Corona Viruses which have been known about since the 70's. The only pandemic I am aware of is the one created, exaggerated and propped up by the government and the media 24/7 so that new laws can be passed quickly under the guise of a pandemic. And what do most of these new laws do that are being touted as requirements to protect us? Steal freedoms, liberties, privacy. That's it. People have been conditioned to fear germs. People have been conditioned to fear going outside. Wake up people. It's no longer about Democrats versus Republicans. That's all just a sideshow. There may be a few uncorrupt politicians in the mix on both sides. But they are far and few between.

Knowing who is good and evil right now is not about whether they classify themselves as a D or an R. Watch their "actions", listen to their "words". That's the only way to tell for sure. This applies equally to both sides.
 
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Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,093   +2,015
Democrats and Republicans voted to destroy the middle-class in America over a mutated flu strain from the family of Corona Viruses which have been known about since the 70's. The only pandemic I am aware of is the one created, exaggerated and propped up by the government and the media 24/7 so that new laws can be passed quickly under the guise of a pandemic. And what do most of these new laws do that are being touted as requirements to protect us? Steal freedoms, liberties, privacy. That's it. People have been conditioned to fear germs. People have been conditioned to fear going outside. Wake up people. It's no longer about Democrats versus Republicans. That's all just a sideshow. There may be a few uncorrupt politicians in the mix on both sides. But they are far and few between.
The flaw in your argument is that this isn't just in the US... apparently EVERY government in the world must be in on this.... and the disease is NOT the same disease from the 70s... Each Covid strain is very different - they are numbered only because they share some characteristics, but a cure for Covid 2 (or 1 or 7, etc) will NOT work on Covid 19...

And once again, the law being talked about in this article WAS ALREADY PASSED almost 20 years ago in the Patriot Act. The attempt here was to amend it!! Alas, it failed. Makes me glad I live in Canada.
 

TheBigFatClown

Posts: 770   +292
The flaw in your argument is that this isn't just in the US... apparently EVERY government in the world must be in on this.... and the disease is NOT the same disease from the 70s... Each Covid strain is very different - they are numbered only because they share some characteristics, but a cure for Covid 2 (or 1 or 7, etc) will NOT work on Covid 19...

And once again, the law being talked about in this article WAS ALREADY PASSED almost 20 years ago in the Patriot Act. The attempt here was to amend it!! Alas, it failed. Makes me glad I live in Canada.
Every government in the world did not respond to the virus in the same manner. So, my argument isn't really flawed from that stand point. I didn't say it was the SAME virus. I said it was a mutation from the same FAMILY of viruses. There are a quadrillion x quadrillion different viruses on planet Earth. Your only afraid of 1 of those right now because people in high places have conditioned you to be. It's population control through fear. And it seems its working pretty good on most people.

The death rate is very similar, more or less, to previous year flu deaths. The governments response this year versus the past 20 years is very different. Why?
 
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Hexic

Posts: 689   +609
TechSpot Elite
And once again, the law being talked about in this article WAS ALREADY PASSED almost 20 years ago in the Patriot Act. The attempt here was to amend it!! Alas, it failed. Makes me glad I live in Canada.
Oof, residing in Canada doesn't protect you any better. The only difference between Canada and the US is the publicity of the PATRIOT program. Canada is just as guilty, and they actively work with the US on this front.

Canada just wasn't put in the spotlight in 2001.