Feeds

Surveillance immunity bill for telecoms tries livin’ la vida loca

Mental health amendment spins Republicans into irony-free zone

Boost IT visibility and business value

Only the paranoid survive. But which ones - the kind who choose to live in solitude, à la Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, patiently loading and unloading their weaponry to protect themselves from the dystopian techno-state? Or the kind living in Washington, who yearn for proto-totalitarian surveillance authority, all the better to protect us from ill-defined archetypal foreign threats and solitary lunatics living in the middle of nowhere?

Those rival camps - pass the medication, please - briefly crossed existential paths on the floor of the House of Representatives last week, when the Republicans took another stab at retroactive immunity for the as yet unrevealed - and almost assuredly illegal - warrantless surveillance activities of the American telecoms companies.

Crazy as it sounds, the latest maneuver by House Republicans to outflank Democrats, civil rights activists, and Constitutional scholars sought to attach retroactive immunity for the telecoms giants onto a completely unrelated mental health bill.

“This bill is intended to ensure the mental health of Americans; yet, no American’s health can be fully secured if they are under attack by a terrorist or facing the potential threat of terrorist attack,” Representative Peter Hoekstra , R-Mich., said last week on the floor of the House of Representatives, in support of his attempt to amend the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act.

The act - which sought to end discriminatory treatment by insurance providers against individuals with mental health or substance-related disorders - was over ten years in the making, and had the support of the nation’s mental health experts, including the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, and the American Psychological Association. Maybe a test run in Congress is in order.

It’s difficult to see how increased secret surveillance will reduce the paranoia of those most in need - those such as Dylan Stephen Jayne, who live their lives peeking out from behind the curtains in anticipation of black helicopters spiriting them away.

Fortunately, sanity - as practiced in the august halls of Congress, at least - appears for now to have prevailed. Pass the meds, Congressman. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.