Seizure of phone and Internet records violates Fourth Amendment
by Don McKee
June 09, 2013 11:43 PM | 1173 views | 2 2 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
Talk about Big Brother. The scope of spying on us by federal agencies is nothing short of mind-boggling. First came the revelation that data on our telephone calls are collected. Then came the bombshell that our Internet activities are also scooped up.

The latest shocker as reported last Friday:

“The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, emails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.”

The document reveals that NSA collects data “directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”

It’s all about protecting us, according to James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence. He said “information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable foreign intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.”

Many members of Congress agree, including Democrats and Republicans. Others are troubled by the inherent risks of abuse and outright violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

The data dragnet, deployed in the name of preventing terrorism, struck a raw nerve even with leading lights of the liberal wing of American politics. The New York Times is now disenchanted with President Obama.

In a scathing editorial signed by its editorial board, the Times said concerning the disclosure of federal agencies collecting telephone call data: “the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.”

The Times said, “Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability.”

Then came this zinger: “The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.”

The Post reported that a “User’s Guide for PRISM Skype Collection” said, for example, that Skype “can be monitored for audio when one end of the call is a conventional telephone and for any combination of ‘audio, video, chat and file transfers’ when Skype users connect by computer alone.”

That knowledge “drove a career intelligence officer” to provide the Post with PRISM materials “to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy,” the newspaper reported. The intelligence officer said: “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type.”

How unreasonable is this kind of search and seizure?
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Re-treaded story
June 10, 2013
All of a sudden you are a follower of the NY Times? Isn't that special. But Bob we all knew this was happening 5 years ago so if you are surprised you must have been sleeping. In fact we were told our calls were being recorded through a secret room in the phone company in San Francisco, remember? Me thinks you should spend your time working on local stories that you can bash Obama with and stop following the MSM on a story being retreaded to fill print space and airtime.
June 10, 2013
They won’t use the word terrorist but they treat all of America and us Americans like terrorist; you’d have to be crazy to call in something that you saw and wanted to report. After all there’s liable to be a liberal running and agency that doesn’t like your views; so next thing you know your Richard Jewel. NSA has all data so I’m sure it wouldn’t be misused like the IRS has. You have to ask yourself aren’t both parties in on this; you now live in a straight-up Socialist Red State! By the way this government is over reaching they will turn normal American patriots into terrorist you will see the raise America Jihadist; one of those IRS agents will push someone over the edge. You Republicans better wake up and go to a consumption tax; get rid of the IRS how needs seventy thousand pages of taxes? Maybe all of you are in to the last big power grabbing!
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