Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New FBI internet snooping on massive scale

1/31/07 UPDATE: DOJ replies to author of article in this news.com post. They say they follow the law, and the sources quoted in McCullagh's story are incorrect. Let's hope so, because the idea of massive government surveillance is a disgusting one and it's really time the law was shown some respect in this country. Journalism is all about verifying your sources and statements. Given the Bush Administration track record on telling the truth, it's pretty hard to believe anything they say these days tho.

Do you like living in a free society?

Hey wow, Big Brother has been watching over your shoulder as you email, web surf, conduct e-commerce, even, potentially, as you tap away at your keyboard at your job.

Wow, and all this time I thought our government was there to represent and serve us.

ZDNet's Declan McCullagh has published this article detailing the new "vacuum cleaner" approach the FBI has adopted to surveiling U.S. internet traffic, and by proxy, those millions and millions of U.S. citizens who use the internet.

Writin' your Momma? In touch w/ your partner, maybe writing a sexy letter to her or him while he or she is out of town? Chatting w/ co-workers, blowing off steam about the boss, joking with friends, seducing lovers? Reading up on anything, anything at all? Reading up on BushCo? Hmm. Looking at Pr0n?? Hmm?? Buying new shoes, looking at videos on uTube, visiting the iTunes store? Doing anything? The FBI is "recording" internet traffic at ISP's across the nation. Warrants barely enter into it- it is as if they were routinely recording any community's telephone and mail traffic for no reason at all.

Who allowed this? Take a guess. We sure didn't allow this. I don't remember a vote on it.

Why should the government be allowed to snoop at random? Is this because we have a massively unpopular president and administration who fear the very people they are supposed to represent?

Is this our government or not? Just whose government is this?

Is the FBI in charge of protecting us against large scale crime, or are they jailkeepers now?

Or now maybe our lovely government can become judge, jury and executioner?

Don't let's forget that people who work for the government are public servants, they work for us, and they are human beings. We pay their salaries, AND we don't have to put up with them, or anyone, looking into our business every time we cut a fart, step out for breath of fresh air, or walk down the road, or in this case, walk down what used to be referred to as the information superhighway.

In case you think snooping is OK, or that BushCo is not really a threat to freedom, or that your rights don't matter, now might be a good time to read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. Especially a good time to read George Orwell's 1984. Or maybe read a book on this history of Argentina, because I think that is where we're headed unless we quit feeling helpless in face of BushCo transgressions.

How the fuck does it make you feel to have everything do on the internet recorded by the FBI for posterity? Look up "chilling effect" in a legal dictionary. Think of the government recording each of your phone calls, or photocopying each piece of mail you send or receive. Think of the government recording everything you buy. Ask, why?

Is the internet that much of a threat? Is information that much of a threat? Why should it be treated as such? What minds, in all their managerial genius, have come up with this paranoid nonsense? Is there a bit of an intimidation factor going on here?

There are too many of us for them to mind everyone's business, and real FBI agents and real cops, who give a shit about this country, are worried about catching people who are your worst nightmare- those types who murder, torture, break into our homes kidnap families, and worse.

However, not everybody in this country is a suspected criminal. But this is, unfortunately, the approach Bush, Gonzales and all the other clowns responsible for this mindless stormtrooping seem to be adopting. In their actions, they are more and more treating each United States citizen as a criminal suspect, based on nothing, no fucking evidence at all.

It is time for us to put our collective foot down and not tolerate warrantless searches and random snooping. Write your congressperson, tell the whole world what you think about this misuse of public servants and tax dollars. Remember, your life is nobody's business but your own and privacy is a constitutional guarantee. Privacy never needs an excuse, and privacy is a component of a free society.

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