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Senate Votes To Let Big Corporations Violate Your Privacy, Break the Law

The United States Senate just voted to let hugely profitable telecommunications that violated your privacy, illegally shared the contents of your personal private communications, broke the law, violated the law, broke the law, broke the law, broke the law, broke the law, BROKE THE LAW just get away with it.

Rather than protect the violated rights of the Americans whose privacy was illegally violated, the U.S. Senate just decided to protect the corporate lawbreakers instead — granting legal indemnification to megaprofitable lawbreaking corporations after the fact. They did that by voting down Senator Christopher Dodd’s Amendment 3907, which would have simply required that lawbreaking corporations be held to the standard of the law.

Worse than that, in its vote the U.S. Senate just voted to cut off the last available means by which the program to spy on Americans without a warrant could be contested in court. If the full FISA Amendments Act now passes, no American will have the right to challenge the constitutionality of government surveillance and of corporate participation in that surveillance. You and I, the little people, who the Constitution once termed “We The People,” are now lower-case serfs in the eyes of the law. As the government and corporations cooperate to spy on us, we the little people no longer have the standing to even question their conduct.

Every member of the United States Senate swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Today, 67 of those Senators lubed you up, shoved you over a table, pulled on a latex glove and told you in no uncertain terms to assume the position.

A certain Senator who is running for President, who had promised to work against the legal immunity provision, didn’t even show up to vote. Guess who that was. Guess who just definitively lost my Ohio vote.

8 comments to Senate Votes To Let Big Corporations Violate Your Privacy, Break the Law

  • Iroquois

    Wait a minute.

    Before the vote, it was illegal for telecommunications companies to wiretap without a warrant. After the Amendment didn’t pass, it was still illegal for telecommunications companies to wiretap without a warrant.

    You’re not drinking decaf, are you.

  • Jim

    I’ve read this bill inside and out, Iroquois.

    After the vote, no one will be able to bring a case before a court to challenge the FISA Amendments Act. The illegal action of the corporations in regards to surveillance was the action that gave citizens standing to bring a court case and have the constitutionality of this program reviewed. That standing has been taken away. When this bill becomes law, the constitutionality of warrantless wiretapping will not be subject to judicial review, and the legality of corporate collusion in the program of warrantless wiretapping will not be subject to court enforcement.

    Senator Clinton made a solemn promise to oppose the immunity provision. She broke her promise today. She lost my vote.

  • Fitzgerald

    If Senator Clinton broke her promise, then she is a leader that we can’t trust.

  • Iroquois

    There is no FISA. It has expired.

    The senate is at an impasse. Dems do not have enough votes to pass the legislation they want, only enough votes to block the legislation they do not want. Hillary is not a mommy who can get the other senators to vote a certain way by threatening to take away their TV privileges or something like that. You really expect her to be that omnipotent?

    Instead of beating up on senators who have stated their opposition to telecommunications immunity and voted against closure, why don’t you publish the names of those who oppose it. The names of the Dems who broke ranks and voted yes on closure might be a good place to start.

  • Iroquois, this last comment shows a great deal of ignorance on this subject.

    The Protect America Act was renewed for a few weeks not too long ago.

    The FISA courts are being made superfluous, not expiring.

    All the Democrats have to do to defeat the Republicans on this issue is to block legislation to renew or replace the Protect America Act. All they have to do is block the FISA Amendments Act from being passed.

    All Hillary Clinton has done is talk. She made a promise to help defeat the FISA Amendments Act, and to stand with Chris Dodd for a filibuster. She promised she would show up to vote.

    Hillary Clinton broke that promise today. Fitzgerald is right. Clinton proved she can’t be trusted.

    Believe me, we’re working on going after the Democrats who voted with the Republicans today. See as a sample:

    http://www.irregularnews.com/stateprogress/2008/02/12/rockefeller-abandons-freedom/

    If you think Hillary Clinton gets a free pass on this, though, you’re mistaken. She made a promise. She took an oath of office. She showed no respect for those today.

  • Iroquois

    No, it was the Democratic leadership that wanted to renew Protect America Act and Reid offered to renew it either short term or for up to a year or longer. It was Bush who refused to renew it without the telecommunications immunity provisions attached.

    Oh please do tell me what momentous changes in law could have been accomplished with one more senator voting on this amendment and how one more senator’s vote could have tipped the balance for this obscure amendment?

    Oh please do tell me how the telecommunications companies now have immunity from illegal wiretapping?

    You can’t, because it didn’t happen.

  • Jim

    Your first sentence is true as far as it goes. But then, after negotiations reached that point, there WAS an extension. So you are right as of January and J. Clifford is right as of now.

    The second sentence is literally true but imagines that Hillary Clinton knew with perfect clarity that her vote would not be necessary on the amendments. The actual vote on amendments was as close as three votes, and I reject that Senators really know for sure with perfect clarity how these votes are going to go. Recall that in the previous two iterations of attempts to pass the FISA Amendments Act, the received wisdom was that passage on those days was a fait accompli, and that resistance was futile. But it wasn’t. So I reject your description of the rubric a Senator would make for decisions as the Senate really works.

    The third sentence is wrong unless you take the literal meaning of the word “now.” Of course the bill hasn’t been passed “now” as in “right now.” But if the bill is passed in the form it is in “now,” there will be legal immunity, and the bill is widely expected to be passed. If the bill had been successfully amended, there would not be legal immunity. I reject the spirit of your third sentence.

  • Iroquois

    Oh, yes, yes, the current 14-day extension goes to the 15th.

    Some Valentines’ Day–will anyone feel like whispering sweet nothings over the phone with Bush and Cheney listening in? Even worse the ones who want to whisper to someone who is not their husband. Hey, maybe that’s why the senate is so compliant.

    The bill is not yet law. A different version was passed by the House, so the differences will have to go to committee and the final bill passed by both houses. The current strategy is supposedly to strip the offending language from the bill in committee–three out of the four committees that reviewed the bill recommended against the immunity portion–this is why Dodd has backed off for now. It looks like a rearguard action to me. I suppose he could still filibuster if and when the bill comes back for final consideration.

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