"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Sunday, June 30, 2013

74 Senators refuse to defend the Bill of Rights

74 Senators say: "Screw the Constitution."
Most Senators couldn't be bothered to sign a letter demanding answers
about unconstitutional government spying.

A bipartisan group of 26 U.S. Senators has asked the neo-Fascist Director of National Intelligence to shed more light on the scope of a controversial surveillance program to collect the phone records of tens of millions of Americans with no connection to wrongdoing.

The group, led by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), said that the bulk collection program under Section 215 of the Patriot Act “raises serious civil liberties concerns and all but removes the public from an informed national security and civil liberty debate.”

The math is simple -
      100 Senators
     -  26 Take away 26 Senators who signed the letter gives us
        74 Senators who could not give a flying fuck about Constitutional Freedom
             and couldn't be bothered to even sign a letter.

Led by Wyden, the group sent a very strongly worded letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper concerning the programs and his claims to Congress.
In our view, the bulk collection and aggregation of Americans' phone records has a significant impact on Americans' privacy that exceeds the issues considered by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Maryland. That decision was based on the technology of the rotary-dial era and did not address the type of ongoing, broad surveillance of phone records that the government is now conducting. These records can reveal personal relationships, family medical issues, political and religious affiliations, and a variety of other private personal information. This is particularly true if these records are collected in a manner that includes cell phone locational data, effectively turning Americans' cell phones into tracking devices. We are concerned that officials have told the press that the collection of this location data is currently authorized.

Furthermore, we are troubled by the possibility of this bulk collection authority being applied to other categories of records. The PATRIOT Act's business records authority is very broad in its scope. It can be used to collect information on credit card purchases, pharmacy records, library records, firearm sales records, financial information, and a range of other sensitive subjects. And the bulk collection authority could potentially be used to supersede bans on maintaining gun owner databases, or laws protecting the privacy of medical records, financial records, and records of book and movie purchases. These other types of bulk collection could clearly have a significant impact on Americans' privacy and liberties as well.
The use of "gun owner databases" is interesting, as it seems like a pretty clear attempt to attract some attention from a group of Republicans who have been outspoken against gun owner databases held by local governments, but who have been strongly in favor of the NSA surveillance programs.

“We are concerned that by depending on secret interpretations of the Patriot Act that differed from an intuitive reading of the statute, this program essentially relied for years on a secret body of law,” the Senators wrote.
See more at Tech Dirt.com

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