27 September 2010
This one can't be blamed on Bush. Obama owns this one lock, stock, and barrel. The Obama administration plans to introduce a bill to Congress next year that would require all Internet communication services to be able to comply with wiretap orders. Included are encrypted e-mail transmitting devices such as Blackberries, social networking sites such as Facebook, and even software that allows direct person-to-person contact like Skype. If passed, the law would include allowing the government to intercept and unscramble messages.
This has very obvious possibilities for abuse. The stated purpose of course is to monitor suspected terrorists. But given this administration's designation of those who oppose Obama's policies as terrorist threats, the FBI, CIA, and NSA could eavesdrop on many law-abiding Americans (over half of us according to the most recent poll numbers showing a clear majority of voters disapproving of Obama's policies).
The FBI tried to head off objections by the public. According to the New York Times ARTICLE that reported this, FBI General Counsel Valerie E. Caproni said, "We're talking about lawfully authorized intercepts. We're not talking about expanding authority. We're talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security." Oh really. Has Ms. Caproni NOT read the Homeland Security report issued by Janet Neopolitan characterizing anyone who believes the Bible, is a veteran, supports the Tea Party, or any one or combination of these as a terrorist threat? Is she REALLY not aware of Obama asking citizens to report anyone sending e-mails or blogging that opposed his Socialist health care bill? Anyone believing that this would be used in such a limited context is very naive indeed.
Social Security is a great example of the "limited context" claims by the government. When Social Security first came into being, the government assured everyone that their information and Social Security numbers would never be used for anything but receiving Social Security benefits. I even still have a Social Security card that says, "Not to be used for identification purposes." Just try to buy a house or conduct any number of personal business transactions while exercising your right not to give out your Social Security number. Just try to get a job without providing it.
The "limited context" never ever stays limited. It's ever-expanding, many times well under the public's radar as regulations are tweaked along the way every single year.
So far, I don't hear loud protests of the left like we did with the passage of the Patriot Act. I haven't heard anything from the liberal left about "invasion of privacy", "warrantless wiretaps", and on and on. It will be very interesting indeed to see the left's reaction to this considering it's originating from a wildly leftist Democrat administration and can't be blamed on Bush. Yes, Obama owns this one . . . totally.