Proposed Senate bill will allow the federal government access to private emails without a warrant
Last year the House passed a bill which would limit government access to private emails and electronic correspondence of private citizens and the Senate was set to debate Patrick Leahy’s version of the bill until law enforcement agencies and the Justice Department voiced their displeasure.
According to this article Patrick Leahy postponed the vote in order to quietly rewrite the bill and even though it is being billed as an attempt to protect the privacy of American citizens it now appears to do just the opposite because it will give 22 government agencies the ability to spy on Americans emails without a search warrant.
Leahy’s rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans’ e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge. (CNET obtained the revised draft from a source involved in the negotiations with Leahy.)
One person participating in Capitol Hill meetings on this topic told CNET that Justice Department officials have expressed their displeasure about Leahy’s original bill. The department is on record as opposing any such requirement: James Baker, the associate deputy attorney general, has publicly warned that requiring a warrant to obtain stored e-mail could have an “adverse impact” on criminal investigations.
This is a natural extension to President Bush’s warrantless wiretaps (continued by Barack Obama despite his opposition while running for his first term) and it just goes to show you why it is so dangerous to let the government use a crisis to its advantage. You give them a little and they just take more and more.
Barack Obama and the Democrats promised to repeal George Bush’s unconstitutional PATRIOT Act but instead they are usurping more power and we are watching our freedoms disappear right before our eyes at the hands of those who are supposed to protect them.
How much more of this are we going to take before we finally say enough is enough? Proponents of this legislation will say that if you aren’t hiding anything then you have nothing to fear but I would argue there is nothing more fearsome than an all-intrusive federal government.