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Proposed Senate bill will allow the federal government access to private emails without a warrant

November 20, 2012

   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.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Sonny permalink
    November 20, 2012 7:59 pm

    Actually Steve, the government has been reading emails a verrrrrry long time now. The FBI implemented a program called “carnivore” back in 1997 I believe. It allowed the FBI to read emails, anyone’s emails, of course only searching for key words in the name of national security. Don’t you feel better now? =/


    • November 20, 2012 8:07 pm

      I feel much better now! 😦


      • bunkerville permalink
        November 20, 2012 8:42 pm

        My fellow bunkervites are considering HAM radio. Looks like thousands of dollars.. Anyone know about doing it cheaper?


      • November 20, 2012 8:53 pm

        I do not, but Lou has a HAM radio license and I bet she can let us know the best way to go about it.


      • Sonny permalink
        November 20, 2012 9:04 pm

        I only do 2 meters… but, maybe I’m just totally dense today, we’re talking about privacy issues, of which there is none in ham radio? Someone slap me or something.. I’m not getting it..


      • bunkerville permalink
        November 20, 2012 9:11 pm much longer do you think we will be blogging? Sun stein already has said he wanted to censor it. He is gone, but I am sure that is where we are headed. Tin foil hat on securely on my head


      • November 20, 2012 9:18 pm

        You are not the only one wearing the tin foil hat, I don’t doubt for one minute the Obama regime is looking at ways to quell the online rebellion.


  2. November 20, 2012 9:02 pm

    The police state is here, But, what the hell,Steve. At least they are being open about it and wanting to pass alaw to ligitimize what they are allready doing. Here in Venezuela they don’t care about legitimizing it. They just do it. Just wait a few years when the cries about invaision of privacy begin. We are screwed!


    • November 20, 2012 9:19 pm

      They are being open about it because this election has emboldened them and they feel they have a mandate to do whatever they want. Again, we got the government we deserve…..


      • November 20, 2012 10:51 pm

        The coalition that re-elected the President didn’t have this in mind.

        Hope all’s well with everyone – Happy Thanksgiving, and may God bless us all!



      • November 21, 2012 7:09 am

        No they didn’t, but the Democrats seem to feel they have a mandate to do what they want to do. They feel the people are fully behind them no matter what they try to pull, that is what I meant by them feeling emboldened.
        Happy Thanksgiving to you as and your family as well.


  3. November 21, 2012 9:06 am

    Wow – the power of Facebook. After reading and commenting here last night, I went right on over to FB and posted the article you linked above and gave it my own headline: Hey, WTF?

    I then had dinner, etc. When I came back to FB a few hours later, there were independent posts about this issue and an update to the effect that Leahy was abandoning his new bill.

    As to “emboldened” Democrats, I think the GOP has nobody to blame for that but itself, and if the House continues its habit of obstructing the President’s agenda at every step, even to the point of sacrificing its own positions if it means opposing the President, they will find themselves with a dwindling minority after the 2014 elections.

    Take good care, and may God bless us all!



    • November 21, 2012 7:29 pm

      I am glad to head he is backing down from this, every once in awhile when enough noise is made we win one.
      The Republicans in the House are in a tough situation, with a few exceptions the House Republicans that opposed Obama were reelected so they have to balance opposing the president when necessary and compromising to solve the fiscal cliff crisis. There are also many pundits saying it is time for Republicans to change their stance on many issues, but if they do this they will lose the base. Personally I think the Republicans are doomed in 2014 and probably beyond no matter what they do at this point.


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