Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Growing Police State: Email Edition

When Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy first introduced his internet surveillance bill, he claimed that it "provides enhanced privacy protections for American consumers by... requiring that the government obtain a search warrant."  That doesn't seem to be true anymore.  After receiving push-back from law enforcement, Mr. Leahy is suggesting a series of amendments which basically mean that law enforcement and other government agencies do not need to prove probable cause to gain access to your electronic information, they merely need to subpoena the information they want.

According to CNET, the bill does the following:
* Grants warrantless access to Americans' Electronic Data to over 22 Federal Agencies.  Only a subpoena would be required.
* Allows State and Local officials warrantless access to Americans' electronic correspondence which is "stored on systems no offered 'to the the public,' including university networks."
* Allows any law enforcement agency warrantless access without judicial review if they invoke an "emergency."
* Requires providers to notify the Government if they are going to warn users that their data has been targeted.
* Increases minimum time for the government to notify users from 3 days to 10 days, and allows for postponement for up to 360 days.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but as I recall, the 4th Amendment allows us to be secure in our "persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."  Further, that "no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized."

I'm so sorry that it's more difficult to our Feudal Lords to prosecute us when they have to observe the niceties of proving probable cause before a judge, but that's the way the rules work.  This is flagrant disregard of the 4th Amendment, and must be stopped forthwith.

Join me in calling for Republican to Filibuster this legislation.  It is not enough that it be defeated in the House, if it were to be so defeated, our Senators must rise up and protect our Constitutionally preserved rights.

Are you angry yet?

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