Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Doesn't anyone remember the Patriot Act? Or do they care about what it means to your basic right to privacy? Or do they remember what happened in the Weimar Republic (allbeit this essay was written by an AP History student it gets the point across), after the people allowed themselves to think that it was all right to sacrifice part of their liberties "for the good of their nation."

Could you blame them though? After the treaty of Versailles they were humiliated before all of Europe and many Germans left to starve. I do think I should be thankful for the fact that 'our so called' fearless leader is no where near as good an orator as the little Austrian. I mean as he is so concerned about OB/GYNs ability to "practice their love" on a woman's privates.

While I agree that we should be dilligent pursuing terrorists. I do not believe that the rest of us should suffer the loss of our basic rights as citizens of a democratic society, and I am sick of hearing those pro-Pat Act bone-heads imbue their speech, logic and pleas with twisted logic by appealing to our fears (no matter how real they may be). Or insisting that the Act will not affect you (as long as you are within the confines of the Law or are not suspected of being a terrorist). Still, this isn't the point...

Once you openly reliquish your right to privacy to any government... it will take a hell of a fight to get it back. I'm angry with our congress for even considering this law.

The law before and how it changed: Previously the government needed at least a warrant and probable cause to access private records. The Fourth Amendment, Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, and case law provided that if the state wished to search you, it needed to show probable cause that a crime had been committed and to obtain a warrant from a neutral judge. Under FISA—the 1978 act authorizing warrantless surveillance so long as the primary purpose was to obtain foreign intelligence information—that was somewhat eroded, but there remained judicial oversight. And under FISA, records could be sought only "for purposes of conducting foreign intelligence" and the target "linked to foreign espionage" and an "agent of a foreign power." Now the FBI needs only to certify to a FISA judge—(no need for evidence or probable cause) that the search protects against terrorism. The judge has no authority to reject this application. DOJ calls this "seeking a court order," but it's much closer to a rubber stamp. Also, now the target of a search needn't be a terror suspect herself, so long as the government's purpose is "an authorized investigation ... to protect against international terrorism."

(from the following article )


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