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IRS Claims Authority to Read Your E-Mail Without A Warrant
April 11, 2013 1:11 PM   Subscribe

The ACLU reports that the IRS claims in an internal document that it has the authority to access citizens' online communications without a warrant. The IRS claimed in a 2009 document that "the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." It still retains that position even after the 2010 case of US v Warshak which determined that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.

The IRS to this day declares in bland language that no warrant is required for e-mails held by an ISP for more than 180 days. (One relevant document). A CNET article gives additional context.

The ACLU is currently awaiting a response to its FOIA requests to other agencies like the FBI and Justice Department for information on their policies, procedures, and practices in reading citizens' private communications.

The related case of Jewel v NSA, in which the EFF is suing the NSA on behalf of AT&T users for the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans' electronic communication, is ongoing (after nearly being completely dismissed on the grounds that nobody has standing to challenge the practice because it's secret).
"Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic [including ~1.7 billion e-mails etc. daily] to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA. It also includes declarations from three NSA whistleblowers along with a mountain of other evidence."
The government's use of electronic surveillance is increasing dramatically each year.
posted by Sleeper (50 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, the IRS has the right to seize your money, freeze your bank accounts, and garnish your wages without any court ruling - why would a little thing like reading your e-mail be off limits? Surely IRS drones cannot be far behind.

On the other hand, you can't keep getting 98% of the taxes from 47% of taxpayers if the 53% don't watch them like hawks.
posted by three blind mice at 1:19 PM on April 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Who run Bartertown?
posted by telstar at 1:19 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know what? Good. Maybe this will push us towards universal encryption for email transmission and storage, and a functional public key infrastructure.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:25 PM on April 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


It still retains that position even after the 2010 case of US v Warshak which determined that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.

Its my understanding that Warshak is the law in the 6th Circuit. So we will have to wait until this issue gets heard by more courts. In the end it will be up to you people who actually are entitled to congressional representation to contact your representatives to make sure the law is changed. E-mail is like written mail and will nearly completely supplant it in a few years. Progress should not result in a reduction of our rights.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:28 PM on April 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


qxntpqbbbqxl: Hahahahahahahaha
posted by aubilenon at 1:28 PM on April 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


And that's not all, folks:

The President Barack Obama administration is claiming that authorities do not need court warrants to affix GPS devices to vehicles to monitor their every move.

The administration maintains that position despite the Supreme Court’s infamous decision last year that concluded that attaching the GPS devices amounted to search protected by the Constitution.
. (Wired)

In this case, police seized a cell phone during a drug investigation and monitored incoming messages. Officers responded to several texts, setting up meetings that resulted in two arrests, without first getting a warrant. Prosecutors have argued that no warrant was required because there should be no expectation of privacy in text messages, as anyone can pick up someone else's phone and read what's stored there. But in two related amicus briefs filed Monday, EFF argues that searching the phone for the texts without a warrant clearly violates the Constitution. (EFF)

Smartphones can be a cop's best friend. They are packed with private information like emails, text messages, photos, and calling history. Unsurprisingly, law enforcement agencies now routinely seize and search phones. This occurs at traffic stops, during raids of a target's home or office, and during interrogations and stops at the U.S. border. These searches are frequently conducted without any court order. (ACLU)

Is law enforcement tracking your cell phone's GPS more like intercepting a phone call or tailing someone on the street? A federal court decision says it's more like following you—which means the authorities don't need to get a warrant to find out where you are at any given time. (Mother Jones)

The government has long asserted that it doesn’t need to obtain a probable-cause warrant to use the [stingray] devices because they don’t collect the content of phone calls and text messages and operate like pen-registers and trap-and-traces, collecting the equivalent of header information.

The government has conceded, however, that it needed a warrant in his case alone — because the stingray reached into his apartment remotely to locate the air card — and that the activities performed by Verizon and the FBI to locate Rigmaiden were all authorized by a court order signed by a magistrate.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, who have filed an amicus brief in support of Rigmaiden’s motion, maintain that the order does not qualify as a warrant and that the government withheld crucial information from the magistrate — such as identifying that the tracking device they planned to use was a stingray and that its use involved intrusive measures — thus preventing the court from properly fulfilling its oversight function.
(Wired)

My apologies if I'm overlooking anything or if any of these rulings have changed recently. Many are still in court. The last two years have been terrible for the Bill of Rights. The War on Drugs started digging the hole, but it looks like the nails are finally in the coffin.

There are some bills currently floating around to further emphasize warrant requirements.
posted by nTeleKy at 1:31 PM on April 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


who actually are entitled to congressional representation to contact your representatives to make sure the law is changed.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Far more related: THIS is why I use only carrier pigeons to communicate now.
posted by IvoShandor at 1:32 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Those ravens in Game of Thrones are starting to look appealing now, aren't they?
posted by scody at 1:40 PM on April 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I put up a WH petition here, if anyone is interested in signing it. It's unlikely anything will change from it, but who knows?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:40 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "I put up a WH petition here, if anyone is interested in signing it. It's unlikely anything will change from it, but who knows?"

Well, you only need 99,998 signatures now.

Tweeted and FB'd the link too, FWIW.
posted by Samizdata at 1:46 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Progress should not result in a reduction of our rights."

This should be inscribed on the courthouse doors.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:51 PM on April 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Do I have an expectation of privacy with regard to messages strapped on birds' legs?
posted by Area Man at 1:51 PM on April 11, 2013


Wasn't Obama supposed to fix this?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:54 PM on April 11, 2013


Do I have an expectation of privacy with regard to messages strapped on birds' legs?

Only if the bird is first placed inside an envelope. That magic layer of paper generates a privacy field.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:58 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


This, of course, alludes to you: "Wasn't Obama supposed to fix this?"

bangs forehead against desk
posted by Samizdata at 2:10 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the post text makes some things unclear. The IRS claimed that because it really is the law, just most people don't know about it. And the decision striking down that law wasn't Supreme Court, it was a circuit court, so it only applies in that circuit.
posted by smackfu at 2:10 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the postal service is considering cutting back the mail services because it's losing money to emails, then I think I have a reasonable expectation of privacy for the service that's taking its place.
posted by Malice at 2:13 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Those ravens in Game of Thrones are starting to look appealing now, aren't they?

"The Justice Department announced today that it requires no warrants for warging."
posted by jason_steakums at 2:17 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


the decision striking down that law wasn't Supreme Court, it was a circuit court, so it only applies in that circuit.

That's not a cut-and-dried rule, especially when you're dealing with the activities of a federal agency - unless there are two circuits that have directly conflicting rulings (in which case you go to the Supreme Court), the agency will often just do what the appeals court says. For instance, a couple years ago the 5th Circuit struck down EPA's plan to make any large animal feedlot get a Clean Water Act permit. In theory that's only in the 5th Circuit, but in practice they just scrapped the idea nationwide.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:21 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Samizdata: "This, of course, alludes to you: "Wasn't Obama supposed to fix this?"

bangs forehead against desk
"

*Gently places soft pillow on desk in between bangs so as to prevent Samizdata from getting a concussion*
posted by symbioid at 2:22 PM on April 11, 2013


Ironmouth: Its my understanding that Warshak is the law in the 6th Circuit.

He was my favorite SweatHog.
posted by dr_dank at 2:30 PM on April 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


"The Justice Department announced today that it requires no warrants for warging."

"The Justice Department of the southrons, more like. I recognize the King in the North and none other."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:46 PM on April 11, 2013


You killed all the ravens.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:56 PM on April 11, 2013


symbioid: "Samizdata: "This, of course, alludes to you: "Wasn't Obama supposed to fix this?"

bangs forehead against desk
"

*Gently places soft pillow on desk in between bangs so as to prevent Samizdata from getting a concussion*
"

Appreciated. Now to go take a couple of beta blockers to work on the blood pressure....
posted by Samizdata at 2:58 PM on April 11, 2013


Rustic Etruscan: ""The Justice Department announced today that it requires no warrants for warging."

"The Justice Department of the southrons, more like. I recognize the King in the North and none other."
"

I will NOT bend the knee to the boy that calls himself the King In The North.

He was handed said throne, he has not paid for it. Not the iron price.
posted by Samizdata at 3:00 PM on April 11, 2013


5 signatures on the petition, and counting.
posted by Samizdata at 3:01 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will NOT bend the knee to the boy that calls himself the King In The North.

He was handed said throne, he has not paid for it. Not the iron price.


Were you speaking to me? You southrons have such weak voices. At any rate, it is not as though any part of your so-called kingdom has ever needed the excuse of a warrant for its crimes.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:06 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rustic Etruscan: "I will NOT bend the knee to the boy that calls himself the King In The North.

He was handed said throne, he has not paid for it. Not the iron price.


Were you speaking to me? You southrons have such weak voices. At any rate, it is not as though any part of your so-called kingdom has ever needed the excuse of a warrant for its crimes.
"

HAH! You stink of summer, boy.
posted by Samizdata at 3:17 PM on April 11, 2013


Only if the bird is first placed inside an envelope. That magic layer of paper generates a privacy field.

So if I place my computer in a giant envelope, I'm protected, right?

Petition signed, tweeted, and FB'd
posted by [insert clever name here] at 3:27 PM on April 11, 2013


Haven't looked at petition, but think best way to word it is "IRS to follow 6th Circuit's Warshack decision requiring warrants to obtain E-mail messages nationwide.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:36 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence.

I've thought a lot about the IRS' relationship to the citizens of the United States, since arriving in the UK and interacting with HMRC. I always thought that the IRS was needlessly complex and unwieldy – the temple of the 27B-6. Especially once I graduated from 1040-EZ and had a bit of foreign income.

HMRC works very differently. First, it is the primary collector of taxes in the UK. The majority of taxes seem to go to and through HMRC to HM Treasury, and then redistributed back to the local level. This was one of the 'projects' of Dame Thatcher (may she rest).

It has had the side effect that the Local Authorities in the UK (like city governments) are not in debt. A Smart Fellow That I Know here said it's the predominate reason that Britain's top line debt (sovereign debt) is quite high – because it's (been) the entirety of the debt. Municipalities cannot take debt directly (although this is now changing with the Core Cities programme), so local areas do not have the bankruptcy problem that Orange Country in California had back in the day. Apparently even the mighty German economy is riddled with municipal debt.

Local Authorities in the UK collect some tax (council tax on homes and business rates on commercial property, for example) but those taxes are still set at the national level by the Central Government.

There are two side effects that I've noticed from this. The first is that the tax system is relatively simply. There's really one agency in charge of collecting taxes, hence it seems very straight forward, from the point of view of either a business operator and/or as an individual. Also, HMRC collects and refunds VAT (sales tax-ish) to businesses and individuals.

It's really a one-stop shop for all of one's taxation needs and requirements. Compared to the myriad of agencies (local, state, federal) involved in the US tax system, it feels very efficient.

The second side effect is that the policy is largely one-size-fits-all. That is fine in a country of 60 million people, where 31 million are economically active. In a country that is not federalist, and one agency can set the policies for the country. Whether or not this produces the best outcomes is a different matter. Basically, HMRC manages revenue for a population the size of California.

In the United States, there are at least 150 million people in the labour force. There are 50 states, and many more cities. Five times the population, fifty new layers of intermediate tax structures, and then the local level – where sales tax is then collected. America has done well separating powers and decentralising government, however that comes at the cost of increasingly complexity.

And why am I speaking about business rates in the United Kingdom in regard to a post about the IRS reading email without a warrant? It may be a slight derail, but the real reason is to illustrate why the IRS thinks it needs to do this – and may well be entitled to it.

As the IRS is one of a number of agencies that collects taxes on behalf of various government agencies, the system is inherently more complex, and the increased complexity means a lower degree of efficiency.

This is (probably) why the tax code is so complicated that it takes up volumes – because it applies to a huge number of people across a huge geographic area. It has to take into account a reasonably fair way to tax everyone from a minimum wage worker in Cleveland, to a billionaire in Miami, to a middle-class fellow in London. One tax code, a lot of different needs and requirements. I used to get quite cross about the complexity, until I understood that 1) there are simpler tax codes out there that work quite effectively, and 2) those tax codes apply to much smaller geographies and far fewer people.

In the UK, when one register a company, it is done at a place called Companies House. All of the registered companies in the UK are registered at Companies House, and all company accounts are also filed there. Another one stop shop for all of one's taxation needs. Centralised and efficient.

In the US, companies are registered at the state level, and operated at the city level. There is no unified body for company information that can handily be used for tax enforcement, rather the IRS must collect its own information from a myriad of different sources. Decentralised, so weaker but also less efficient.

So the IRS needs to gain information where it can in pursuit of enforcing tax compliance, hence one would imagine it does not differentiate between data sources, for it deals with a universe of data sources. Unlike HMRC, which can simply call Companies House.

That is the first point, that the IRS does not have an inherent capability for information gathering, as the majority of that information is going to be held at the state level.

The follow-on point probably relates to what tax enforcement is about. The further I get away from having lived in the US, the more objective things become. The way Americans (myself included) often speak about tax enforcement is in the same vein as civil and criminal law. The reality is that it is a different vein of authority, for it is a different agency and actor.

Civil law is there to arbitrate disputes between two people, with the government as referee. In civil trials, the burden of proof is lower, and consequently, the penalties available are restricted.

Criminal law is when the state acts on behalf of one person to prosecute another person. In criminal trials, the burden of proof is higher, because the penalties available can be very severe.

Tax law is something completely different. Tax law is the state acting on behalf of itself. In tax trials, the burden of proof falls on the accused, for tax cases are about not adequately meeting one's responsibilities to the government.

This is very different from the other two. As far as I know, nobody has been put to death for tax avoidance. People have been put in jail, when tax avoidance becomes a criminal matter – the state acting on behalf of other people – but the state would greatly prefer asset seizure first. The state is not interested in putting Wesley Snipes in jail, the state would much rather be paid its tax. The state puts Wesley Snipes in jail because he cannot pay the tax he owes.

This is a criminal offence because in essence, Wesley Snipes used the resources provided by the government without paying for them. The point at which this moves from a tax problem to a criminal problem is when Wesley Snipes is effectively stealing from other taxpayers.

This is why tax avoidance is such a big deal. The government has been mandated by law to provide certain services for the citizens, and those services cost money. If taxes are not paid, the government has the capability to borrow that money on the markets, but it is not free, it requires interest payments. Thus, when taxes are not paid, it costs the rest of the citizens money in two forms, first being in the shortfall, and second being the debt services to cover the shortfall.

Thus, we can assume that tax law is not inherently criminal law, although tax cases can become criminal cases. The IRS does not put people in jail, there is no tax prison. The IRS refers cases to the federal government, and there is federal prison.

And this is all important if we are to understand why the IRS claims the authority to read your email without a warrant. Because the IRS is not part of the Justice Department. The IRS does not possess the power to deny you your rights. It refers cases to the Justice Department for enforcement, and it is criminal enforcement divisions that deny you your rights.

And I would imagine this is because the IRS is not an agency which operates in a grey area. There is tax. There is math. There is a record of if the math computes. If the math does not compute, the IRS will do what it can to make it compute. First, by balancing the accounts with the proceeds of enforcement activities. And secondly, by writing off the debt and referring the case to criminal courts.

And all of this because the IRS sees tax as something that happens in financial exchanges. It does not ask for money out of thin air. It does not expect people to simply pay money to it for no reason. The concept is that people derive financial benefit from interacting within a system, and taxes build that system. If one were to have a tax problem, it would be because one did not pay their fair share of tax. The IRS does not show up and ask for extra money, it operates in a way where it collects the money owed to it. Within that realm, it can act in whatever manner required to locate that money, and secure payment, but that money will never be greater than what is owed to it.

The IRS uses all tools at is disposal because it does not have the power to deny rights – that's the Justice Department. It's the IRS' job to figure out where the money is going. Who has it? Who has paid the appropriate amount of tax? Who has not? And that's the cost of having a relatively weak tax authority in a decentralised Federalist system. The IRS wants to read email because it is a weak agency. If it was at the centre of a centralised system, it wouldn't need to read email. So there we have it.

There are benefits – tax agency with limited authority – and costs – different types of enforcement and information-gathering required.

It's a bit of sticky concept for someone with absolutely no legal or tax training to write about. And indeed, a lot of this is probably obtuse at best or potentially downright wrong at worst (no tax advice is being offered here!). But it's a way of conceptualising the role of the IRS in the lives of citizens, in a way where their position makes sense.

The ACLU's point is probably (and I haven't read the documentation) about the government invading privacy, rather than the IRS doing it. What I know about the ACLU is that they see the government as a thousand-headed hydra, and have to strike at each head.

And a lot of people hate taxes. I get that. I don't agree. I rather like paying taxes because it makes me happy to contribute to society, and I quite like living in society. Even if that comes with some waste and largess. In general, society is nice, and I support that.

But the problem with the tax code is really a governance problem. If one were to hate the IRS, the real target for one's outrage is Congress. Not even the President, for he only enforces the laws. Congress is the body that oversees taxation, and consequently, if one is angry about taxation, the proper person to yell at are congressmen and senators.
posted by nickrussell at 4:58 PM on April 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


This is (probably) why the tax code is so complicated that it takes up volumes...

I think the reason is a lot simpler: Politicians have a lot of incentive to create specialty tax breaks, and almost no incentive to abolish them. They accumulate, they get extended for perpetuity, and special interest groups riot whenever you try to cut off their bespoke loopholes.

Our tax code is 90% cruft.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:19 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nick Russell, thanks for the thoughtful comment. But I think you're mistaken about the IRS's ability to infringe on citizens' rights. Snooping in a person's private communications without explicit legal authority to do so is an infringement on citizens' rights regardless of whether it's done by the IRS or FBI.

(The IRS also is not as weak and separated from enforcement capabilities as you seem to think. The agency employs about 2,725 armed agents. The agency in fact has its own law enforcement branch.)
posted by Sleeper at 6:43 PM on April 11, 2013


those tax codes apply to much smaller geographies and far fewer people

Can anyone shed some light on how taxes work in India and China?
posted by reductiondesign at 6:47 PM on April 11, 2013


The ACLU's point is probably (and I haven't read the documentation) about the government invading privacy, rather than the IRS doing it.

The IRS is part of the government, and so it must operate according to the Constitution. "This is different because taxes" is a non-starter.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:39 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yet in the proud tradition of "this is different because drugs."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:40 PM on April 11, 2013


reductiondesign: "Can anyone shed some light on how taxes work in India and China?"

You can read Wikipedia, to get an idea, but what's supposed to happen and reality are two different things. The Economist covers how widespread tax dodging is, as does APM Marketplaces's China correspondent. As I understand it, the certificates are also scratcher tickets; in order to prevent retailers from simply claiming business is slow, the certificates are supposed to be given to customers to turn in to the tax bureau, effectively outsourcing collection enforcement to the shop's customers. As this question in the green reveals, the market for certificates to reduce taxable income is not theoretical or unusual, even for (especially?) foreign nationals.

I haven't seen any stats for the Chinese government's revenue streams (and even if you found one, you'd need to demonstrate its non-fictional status), but my default guess is their main tax revenue comes from import / export tariffs, just like the early US did. And maybe state owned enterprises?
posted by pwnguin at 12:13 AM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Politicians have a lot of incentive to create specialty tax breaks, and almost no incentive to abolish them.

Another perspective is that tax code is one of the few ways that politicians have to direct how people live their lives. "Oh, a 401k is before tax? Guess I better save more money." "Oh, I get an exemption for mortgage interest? Guess I really should buy a house." "Oh, I get a tax break for electric cars? Maybe I should look into that new Chevy Volt."

It's much more effective than laws that require people to do stuff, or funding advocacy programs.

(Flat taxes take away this power from the government, so no surprise libertarians like them.)
posted by smackfu at 5:57 AM on April 12, 2013


I put up a WH petition here, if anyone is interested in signing it. It's unlikely anything will change from it, but who knows?

The thing is, the Obama administration already thinks that warrants should be obtained in (almost) all email searches. Last month, a DOJ official testified (PDF) at a congressional hearing that
there is no principled basis to treat email less than 180 days old differently than email more than 180 days old. Similarly, it makes sense that the statute not accord lesser protection to opened emails than it gives to emails that are unopened
and
Some have suggested that the best way to enhance privacy under the SCA would be to require law enforcement to obtain a warrant based on probable cause to compel disclosure of stored email and similar stored content information from a service provider. We appreciate the appeal of this approach and believe that it has considerable merit, provided that Congress consider contingencies for certain, limited functions for which this may pose a problem.
Another interesting part of this is that just because the government subpoenas ISPs to turn over emails doesn't mean they have to comply. Google, for example, has said that it won't turn over emails without a warrant based on probably cause.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 12:00 PM on April 12, 2013


Federal Judge Finds National Security Letters Unconstitutional, Bans Them

Google Takes on Rare Fight Against National Security Letters
posted by homunculus at 1:56 PM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other news: Privacy protections booted from CISPA data-sharing bill. Committee overwhelmingly votes down privacy amendments that would have curbed National Security Agency's access to private sector data. Now the bill heads to the House floor for a vote.
posted by homunculus at 2:03 PM on April 12, 2013


After 9/11, sometimes, it's so hard to keep out any hope that the US holds on to some vestige of itself. How did we get here?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:34 AM on April 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


People don't get involved seriously, and then the government sees "Hey, if they will take THIS law, let's try THAT." Wash, rinse, repeat.

Or, that's what it seems to me.

The local elections were almost empty when I went in. Sure, it's just the locals, but it doesn't seem too far a stretch to extend to the national elections. 17 signatures on the petition. I think that says something too. Most people will just chill out and let it ride, until it is THEIR email being looked at as part of a routine sweep.

Of course, by then it is too late...
posted by Samizdata at 9:46 PM on April 13, 2013


homunculus: "In other news: Privacy protections booted from CISPA data-sharing bill. Committee overwhelmingly votes down privacy amendments that would have curbed National Security Agency's access to private sector data. Now the bill heads to the House floor for a vote."

Fuck me sideways - "Cyber-hackers?" Really? As opposed to what? Golf hackers? Sweatshop hackers? Cheese hackers?

Here's a thought. Just a little one.

Maybe you should get a CLUE what you are talking about, instead of sweating about making a nifty soundbite/quote.

Doomed we are.
posted by Samizdata at 9:52 PM on April 13, 2013


I fancy myself a cheese hacker.
posted by aubilenon at 9:56 PM on April 13, 2013


So when do the so-called conservatives start worrying about the IRS reading everyone's email under CISPA?
posted by jeffburdges at 10:48 AM on April 18, 2013


In other news: Judge Rejects FBI Attempt to Use Spyware to Infiltrate Unknown Suspect's Computer
posted by homunculus at 7:34 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


smackfu: "It's much more effective than laws that require people to do stuff, or funding advocacy programs."

I recall hearing that Republican party by and large supports home ownership programs, even for the impoverished, because someone showed them a correlation between owning a home and registering for the republican party.
posted by pwnguin at 7:53 PM on April 25, 2013


IRS Says It Will Change Its Policy On Looking At Emails Without A Warrant... At Some Point
posted by jeffburdges at 10:46 AM on April 26, 2013


"Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic [including ~1.7 billion e-mails etc. daily] to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA. It also includes declarations from three NSA whistleblowers along with a mountain of other evidence."

Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government? A former FBI counterterrorism agent claims on CNN that this is the case
posted by homunculus at 6:27 PM on May 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


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