Wednesday, September 25, 2013

'Privacy Down The Drain'

Tom Engelhardt of TomDispatch, at FDL, posting about "Privacy Down the Drain":
In the U.S. these days, privacy is so been-there-done-that. Just this week, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret outfit that hears only the government side of any argument and has generally been a rubberstamp for surveillance requests, declassified an opinion backing the full-scale collection and retention of the phone records (“metadata”) of American citizens. That staggering act was, the judge claimed, in no way in violation of the Fourth Amendment or of American privacy. ...


Engelhardt goes on to discuss the recent ACLU report by Calabrese and Harwood on the FBI, "Unleashed and Unaccountable," and how the FBI has been transformed into an internal surveillance agency gratuitously and unconstitutionally gathering formerly private information on American citizens at home.

Privacy does not entail secrecy. You have a right to privacy. "If you're not doin' anything wrong," as the nut-jobs begin, your right to privacy should be even more firmly established, but you have the right of privacy in any endeavor you undertake that is not manifestly criminal, and even then, according to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, the government must convince a court of "probable cause" to issue a warrant before it may legally breach your right to security in your "persons, houses, papers, and effects." Privacy is a right, not a privilege to be revoked whenever a government agency feels like spying on you. When a secret court issues a secret opinion infringing explicitly and significantly on that right, the substance of America has been compromised at its core.

When will we have a Congress and a president willing to stand up for this fundamental human right for Americans?

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