Friday, April 10, 2009

Hopey Changey! Obama & Co. say you don't HAVE any privacy

where they're concerned.
Civilian libertarians were apoplectic over former President George W. Bush’s “warrantless wiretap” program, which sought to monitor communications from terrorist networks overseas. So why are they not screaming bloody murder now that President Barack Obama appears slated to receive unprecedented power to monitor all Internet traffic without a warrant and to even shut the system down completely on the pretext of national security? The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 - introduced by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, and cosponsor Olympia Snowe, R-ME - bypasses all existing privacy laws and allows White House political operatives to tap into any online communication without a warrant, including banking, medical, and business records and personal e-mail conversations. This amounts to warrantless wiretaps on steroids, directed at U.S. citizens instead of foreign terrorists.
Ah, but this is Pres. B. Cartman Obama wanting the power to know everything about you, and that makes it different! It makes it Good! After all, the Obama Youth will want to know who to lean onconvince to change their ways as The Obamessiah demands.

And note this from the article linked in the update:
“Again, the gulf between Candidate Obama and President Obama is striking. As a candidate, Obama ran promising a new era of government transparency and accountability, an end to the Bush DOJ’s radical theories of executive power, and reform of the PATRIOT Act. But, this week, Obama’s own Department Of Justice has argued that, under the PATRIOT Act, the government shall be entirely unaccountable for surveilling Americans in violation of its own laws. This isn’t change we can believe in. This is change for the worse.” Actually, it’s pretty much the change I expected.


Anonymous said...

The difference, of course, is that the left is outraged Obama did this. If you take a look at most lefty blogs--they aren't giving Obama a pass on this.

OTOH, the right ate up whatever Bush Jr. served them.

TexasFred said...

Folks on the Conservative RIGHT are in an uproar, the idiots of the libberpuke left could care less, The Obamessiah can do NO wrong!

Sigivald said...

I think Reynolds trusted that editorial a little too much.

I just read S773, and I see nothing in it that allows any sort of "monitoring" of any communications without the existing legal protections.

(And note that even if the bill did authorize "monitoring traffic" - that already doesn't require anything like a warrant - looking at the contents of the traffic is not the same as monitoring the traffic itself, in network terminology.

The Feds can, likewise (to the best of my understanding), look at all the backbone traffic they want (if they ask nice or pay to get access) without any violation of civil liberties... as long as they don't look at the specific contents of the packets in general. (Roughly as they could look at the outside of any mail you sent, but they can't open the envelopes and read your letters without a warrant.)

The only part of the bill that I find at all troublesome is the "licensing and certification" requirement... and since it's not even in committee yet, let alone in the House or being amended at all, it's too early to worry too much.

While as written the President could shut down any network by declaring both an emergency and that the network in question was "critical", in practice an attempt to shut down "the internet" without there actually being a bona-fide emergency is no more likely than it is without the act (the President, after all, having broad powers already in "emergency" situations - this adding only specific statutory authorization to this specific power that he could almost certainly execute right now anyway).

Given the other requirements for "critical" networks, I don't see that as being particularly ripe for abuse - especially since it would be challengeable, I believe, with a "but my network isn't critical to the nation's infrastructure at all" defense.

(In other words, no matter what the wording is, the President doesn't have authority to declare eg. your home network critical infrastructure. Or rather, he can, but then you can take him to court. Plain legislative intent in this case.)