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Big Brother Bush Spies on US Citizens Sunday, 18 December 2005

Posted by R Garfield in Technology, Views On News.
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Hat tips: Boing Boing, Waldo Jacquith.

Do you send email outside the country? Make phone calls outside the US?

If you do, guess what? Homeland Security could be spying on you! Of course, spying on US citizens and others is nothing new. It can even be a good thing, since, manifestly, other countries are spying on us, and 911 makes it clear that the results of those communications aren’t always friendly.

The bad part, in my opinion, is doing the spying without first obtaining a court order to do so. Court orders, like civil liberties, are those annoying little things that keep Big Brother Bush from doing whatever the heck he wants to do, just because he wants to do it. With civil liberties in place, he’s got to do something like actually presenting someone documentary evidence that something is going on that justifies taking away a personal freedom from someone.

Apparently, red staters are happy to sign away their freedoms and yours – and not incidentally, mine. A commenter at another blog (and I can’t find the link right now) seems to feels that Bush’s vow to go on authorizing these potentially illegal violations of civil liberties will win adherents to the administration.

That could be right. Saddly, somehow people that are willing to sign away rights never think their own will be affected. After all, they are doing nothing wrong, so no need to worry, right? Well, you might want to ask the professors and students at Dartmouth about that.

One of the benefits of a supposedly free society is being able to ask questions and hold government accountable for its actions. Sometimes freedoms must be curtailed … but the threat of terror is not a reason to do away with basic freedom.

Something hawks tend to forget about 911: government intelligence agencies had the data they needed to prevent it. Poor data management and inter-department cooperation, did more to allow 911 to happen than lack of the government’s ability to snoop.

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Comments»

1. Vish - Sunday, 18 December 2005

Very good points. What progress has been made to improve interdepartmental cooperation? Even the institutional system wasn’t in on the decision to snoop on people within the US…

2. R Garfield - Sunday, 18 December 2005

The Department of Homeland Security was created to address just those issues. Is it doing it’s job? Well,that’s kind of a secret, it would seem. It publishes threat levels, but never (what? never? hardly ever!) explains the reason the level may be elevated or downgraded.

The administration says DHS is doing it’s job, but how to prove it… ah, now there’s the rub.

3. Vish - Wednesday, 21 December 2005

Indeed. Perhaps we could suggest they create a DHS wordpress blog where each government agency could have their own category and author codename?


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