Nowhere to hide?

I’m Christy, also with This is a guest entry.

Aren’t there any limits to the government’s “right to know” what I’m up to? Not anymore, if the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 (S. 2248), currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee, becomes law. It would let companies like my internet service provider, AT&T, off the hook for sharing the content and patterns of use of all my emails — and those of every American citizen who pays them for internet service — with the National Security Agency, aka Big Brother. But that’s not all.

Elliot Cohen’s insightful article Senate Judiciary Poised to Pass Total Information Awareness Bill analyzes the bill and details the reasons it must be blocked. At the top of the list is that it enables a sitting government to spy on political opponents, thus wreaking havoc on free and democratic elections. Kind of a biggie. We did impeach President Nixon for trying to get his hands on that kind of information.

But Bush and his Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence for the U.S., Donald Kerr, don’t see why our privacy matters.

I’m a pretty law-abiding person, but I find this intimidating. And I’m not alone. AT&T was hit with 40 lawsuits over their actions that made widespread domestic spying a reality. All those suits will be dropped in a trash bin if this law moves out of committee and back to Bush’s desk. And we’d never know if the telecoms’ complicity was real or imagined, lawful or nefarious.

In January of this year, the Congress approved a Bush-friendly law while promising to revisit it and give it more scrutiny before making it permanent. Now is the time for us to hold them to that pledge. If we don’t, “Total Information Awareness” will become firmly entrenched as the law of the land.

Government shouldn’t be snooping on citizens this way. Let’s stop it now. Get busy lobbying the Senate Judiciary Committee and all of Congress. There are places to turn if you need help, go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) or the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

7 Responses to “Nowhere to hide?”

  1. Chuck Says:

    Wouldn’t that violate the 9th Amendment of the constitution?

  2. Says:

    Nowhere to hide?…

    ‘Aren’t there any limits to the government’s “right to know” what I’m up to? Not anymore, if the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 (S. 2248), currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee, becomes law. It would let companies like my internet service provi…

  3. Ellen Says:

    You give this mal-administration an inch and it’ll take a mile. We knew this was going to happen when Congress allowed a new FISA bill that was “going to expire in six months.” Many, many months ago, AT&T was my phone carrier. When this story came out about AT&T illegally wiretapping or spying on its users, I quit paying any of their fees or taxes. I just paid what I had contracted for. After two or three months of this, AT&T cut my service. I waited awhile, used my cell phone and then went to another provider. I’m so sick and tired of going along to get along. The government has no “right” to know anything about us. We pay our taxes, don’t break any laws, and that’s all they NEED to know. What? We have to carry our birth certificates around with us all the time. Of course, if you don’t have it handy, you’ll have to pay the state some kind of fee to get your own certificate. It’s gotten soooo ridiculous.

  4. Again Says:

    I’m a pretty law-abiding person

    and so, you don’t have to fear being watched and controlled - justification of the underlings

    but i’ve heard a better argument: just BECAUSE you are a “pretty law-abiding person” you have the right to be dealt with fairly, just BECAUSE you are decent, you have the right to be treated decently

    law of reversibility - the “eye for an eye”-thingy in a positive sense. If you act like a human, you have to be treated like a human, not like a slave or a faceless danger

    think of that: they kill persons who kill with the battle cry “eye for an eye” - i guess we should do the same: if your law doesn’t respect me/my rights i don’t respect your law

    The magic word about laws, so hard to describe that lawyers try to avoid it as computer scientists avoid the word “information”? Justice

    law is not a value in itself - law has a function, it has to represent and defend justice. And if law doesn’t do that, law is meaningless

    think of the courts of Hitler - very “law-abiding”, but justice? And then look at the Supreme Court (no, not of the USA, sorry) of Pakistan and the lawyers there…

  5. alwayshope Says:

    I agree with Again and Ellen.
    It’s ridiculous that Americans are treated as criminals until proven otherwise.
    The law now serves an agenda and justice has nothing to do with it.

    Hey Chuck
    I looked up the 9th amendment but it’s kind of confusing. (It may be pertinent to mention here that I’ve had a couple of beers.) It’s like an assurance of rights that maybe weren’t mentioned in the bill of rights or the Constitution? Unenumerated rights……right? Like , the founding fathers had the foresight to understand that they couldn’t list all of the rights so they put this one in to make sure we had leeway in the future. Pretty good thinking.
    I’ll bet cheney wiped his butt with that amendment this morning.

  6. Chuck Says:

    Hope: That’s the way I read it. It was left a bit vague for a reason. I’m accustomed to the right of privacy, ergo, I’m protected by the 9th.

    (In my humble opinion.)

  7. Larkrise Says:

    Whatever happened to probable cause? You take any bit of information in only one context or out of context, and anyone might look suspicious one way or another. You need to look at many pieces of the puzzle before asking for a warrant to listen to someone’s conversations, or read someone’s e-mail.
    This is the ethical thing to do. However, it is also the most reasonable and efficient thing to do. Otherwise, you waste time and money and other resources chasing wild hares for nothing. In the meantime, the real terrorists, criminals, and assorted nutcases go on about their business of causing mayhem. They can find a way around most anything, while the government is listening to minutiae that is irrelevant. This whole controversy is NOT about fighting terrorism, it is about power and control. Bush and Cheney are Wannabee Dictators. If you control communication, you control the people. Look at Burma. One of the first actions those tryrannts took was to shut down access to the Internet. The sheeple need to be reading a few history books about the Third Reich.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.