"The bill allows the National Security Agency to order phone companies, ISPs and online service providers to turn over all communications that have one foreigner as a party to the conversation. If any Americans are party to the conversation, the government is supposed to mask their names, but these procedures to minimize privacy-invasion are easily overridden. The longstanding Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act required specific court orders to wiretap phone and internet lines inside the United States, but did not regulate spying conducted on non-U.S. soil.
Under the so-called FISA Amendments Act of 2008, the government would need a court order to wiretap an American overseas, regardless of where the tap was. Under the current regime, targeted taps aimed at Americans overseas requires the sign-off of the attorney general.
The nation's telecoms will soon be freed from some 40 lawsuits accusing them of eavesdropping illegally, if the bill is passed into law as expected. The legality of the retroactive amnesty isn't clear, and groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation will likely challenge the provision on constitutional grounds."
I read about 20 pages of 100+ of the bill on the surface it seemed ok, but two issues bother me personally. First, it lets the ISPs off the hook for doing what their legal departments should have known and told them was illegal. In the military you are taught to never follow an illegal order, it should be the same outside of the military as well. Second, we mere virtual inches from a blanket wiretap on everyone deemed "a threat" and I've already heard from people that work at ISPs it doesn't take much to get a tap on your cable/DSL modem anyway. Sad times. Time to get good at PGP, TrueCrypt and secure protocols if you aren't there already.