Bait and Switch: Law Goes From Protecting Your Email to Allowing Gov’t Into Your Email

A new law that was originally meant to strengthen the privacy of your email was recently re-written to allow government more access to your private emails and other digital files.

When H.R. 2471 went to the Senate, Democrat Senator Pat Leahy quickly rewrote the whole thing to allow federal policing agencies to have the power to search your digital files without a warrant.

As CNET reports it,

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.

This is, of course, an example of the government going too far for security. And you know the old saying so often attributed to Ben Franklin, “Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither.”

Also, I can’t stress more, here, that is the Democrats doing this. This is not a GOP effort.

FreedomWorks has an action item on this:

On November 29th, the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a vote to amend language on a new cyber security measure (H.R. 2471) that would give law enforcement unprecedented access to private electronic communication.

The new language, written by Senator Patrick Leahy, would allow for over 22 federal government agencies to look at emails, Facebook wall posts, and Google Doc files without a search warrant. The revision would also allow for the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to have full access to Internet accounts without ever informing a judge or the owner.

Government should protect the right to privacy; not trample it.

Tell your representatives to keep the government out of your email. Tell them to vote no on Sen. Leahy’s federal power grab.

Judge Napolitano touched on these issues at a recent event in Chicago.

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  • 914

    Sorry ass commie S.O.B. ‘s !!

  • ackwired

    You are right to be concerned. But I’m not sure that the law would prevent your internet communications being compromised. Anything transmitted wireless or over the internet is vulnerable. If you are concerned about it being intercepted, send it by another means.

    • Commander_Chico

      True, but giving your government the authority to do it presents a particular danger, because only they have to resources to fully collect, and they also have special powers to affect your life.

      • ackwired

        Quite right!

  • herddog505

    Let me save our lefties (resident and visiting) some time:

    — “Bush did it, too!”

    — “Warner sucks!”

    — “Sore loser!”

    /sarc

    I suppose that we ought to have seen this coming. Indeed, many people DID see this coming. With the War on Drugs laying the foundation, the War on Terror gave the .gov PLENTY of leeway to do this sort of thing. We all WANT to be safe from terrorists, right? Why, if only we’d given Uncle Sam the authority to read people’s e-mails, we might have averted 9-11!

    We’ve got federal agents shoving their hands in our crotches when we go to the airport. We’ve got SWAT teams kicking in doors and shooting people’s dogs because we THINK they might have a bag of weed in the house. We’re waterboarding terrorist suspects and keeping them locked up in perpetuity without trial. We’re telling religious institutions that they must do things against their creeds because “they’re not above THE LAW!” Now we’re grousing that Uncle Sam might be reading FWD:FWD:FWD:FWD THIS IS FUNNY! e-mails.

    Sigh… What to do? How DO we deal with our legitimate security problems without turning our country into a police state? SHOULD Uncle Sam have the ability to read our e-mails, or tap our telephones, or look at our bank statements, or surreptitiously attach GPS trackers to our cars without a warrant? Is there any expectation of privacy in an e-mail or a cell phone call?

    What would the Founding Fathers do?

    • warnertoddhuston

      I think you could just say number 2 three times and forget the rest. That is their chief intellectual response these days.

    • Brucehenry

      Bush did do it, too, Warner does suck, and he’s manifestly a sore loser, but he could be right about this issue.

      But what I want to know is, what is the specific wording of this bill, added by Sen Leahy that has people so upset? FreedomWorks says it will allow the government to read your emails, but will it really? I know enough about FreedomWorks to know that what they say is not necessarily always what is so.

      EDIT: Wooops, I should have clicked a few more times, and could have seen where Leahy did indeed propose expanding law enforcement powers as FreedomWorks and Warner say. However, Warner should have, too, as Leahy has already backed down after being criticized.

    • Brucehenry

      Bush did do it, too, Warner does suck, and he’s manifestly a sore loser, but he could be right about this issue.

      But what I want to know is, what is the specific wording of this bill, added by Sen Leahy that has people so upset? FreedomWorks says it will allow the government to read your emails, but will it really? I know enough about FreedomWorks to know that what they say is not necessarily always what is so.

      EDIT: Wooops, I should have clicked a few more times, and could have seen where Leahy did indeed propose expanding law enforcement powers as FreedomWorks and Warner say. However, Warner should have, too, as Leahy has already backed down after being criticized.

    • Commander_Chico

      This time I really am in complete agreement with Warner.

      I’ve already commented on the news that the FBI was able to read the emails of Jill Kelley (arguably she gave permission), Paula Broadwell, David Petraeus, and GEN Allen – all without a warrant. The FBI then referred what they found to other agencies like DOD and the White House – all without any judicial process.

      The NSA is building a massive data storage facility in Utah. This will store digital communications passing through the USA. It means email, Facebook, internet browsing, financial transactions, phone calls and this comment. From this data, it will be easy for government to produce a complete picture of a person’s activities, preferences, opinions, sexual habits and essentially their thoughts. For example, if I wanted to know what kind of porn Warner looks at, it would be easy to find out by linking his public information to the metadata in IP numbers, anonymous browsing etc.

      There is no party of freedom in the USA except for the Libertarians and smaller parties. The Republicans and Democrats trip over themselves trying to give more surveillance powers to the state.

      The question is, when Warner, Bruce, Herddog, ackwired, 914 and I are all in agreement (“dogs and cats living together, human sacrifice!”), why is it that both parties disagree with us? Cui bono?

      This power will be abused more and more, count on it.

      • herddog505

        I fear that you are correct. I’m not sure when the tipping point will come, when enough ordinary Americans will say, “Oh, f*ck all this!” and demand that Uncle Sugar cut it out. I thought it was when TSA started groping grandmothers and small children; I was wrong.

        It may be that enough people are either too apathetic to care (“I don’t have anything to hide, so it doesn’t affect me”) or to partisan to realize that, indeed, their side does it, too.

        And there IS some reason for Uncle Sam to be vigilant: there ARE organized criminal gangs, foreign agents, terrorists, and other nogoodniks that the feds SHOULD be trying to ferret out, and he needs to have the tools and powers at his disposal to do that. But when the phrase “without a warrant” starts showing up, then we all need to start worrying.

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  • LiberalNightmare

    Everythings OK.

    Relax.

    You can still have sex with what ever you want.

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