The government's Verizon phone search stirs fears
The Obama administration is creating yet more controversy with unprecedented records snooping.
As the Guardian explains it, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved the order on April 25. The three-month cyber dragnet, which expires on July 19, may be the most serious breach of civil liberties in years. It remains unclear what the government is trying to find out.
"Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered," the newspaper says.
Officials in the Obama administration are downplaying the Orwellian nature of the data collection, telling the Washington Post that the order focuses on "meta data," such as the length of a call and the number where it originated. Unlike with the so-called warrantless wiretaps in the George W. Bush administration, the government can't listen in on phone calls. Members of Congress also were briefed on the order.
Still, that's of little comfort.
The court order allows the government to go on a fishing expedition by searching through the data of millions of innocent customers. People can argue that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. But how can people know that their activities aren't arousing suspicion, given the sweeping nature of the court's order?
Moreover, if Verizon was required to disclose such a huge volume of customer data, it seems likely that rival carriers such as AT&T (T) and Sprint (S) would get such orders also, if they haven't already. Not surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union wants the surveillance to end immediately.
"From a civil liberties perspective, the program could hardly be any more alarming," Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU's deputy legal director, said in a press release.
That's an understatement.
Coupled with the scandal at the Internal Revenue Service and its overzealous pursuit of government leakers, the Obama administration's stance on civil liberties is proving to be disappointing even to its ardent supporters.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
This administration will never be for the people, by the people.....it is undermining what little faith anyone had in government. Time to oust the entire lot and start over. The constitution never envisioned "this" much government. The citizens of the country are the ones who are to be the decision makers, not some wealthy person who can buy his way in. We need to return to a simpler and more manageable government that is of the people.
Anytime anyone uses a key term regardless of whether it's phone, internet, or whatever, the Government uses computers to determine potential red FLAGS. I don't like the Government thinking they know why people say what they say. Only a idiot would announce they are going to Rob the Bank in time to prevent them from, Robbing the BANK. It's a choice between letting go too many freedoms when we have already given up on getting real wages and benefits. How long before we are no better off than slave labor overseas?
you are all being controlled, programed and herded. numerous admonisions on these boards have warned you. i will try again. WAKE UP MORONS!!!
I have noticed a trend with this guy and his articles. He's total clueless about the history of snooping and when this all actually started. I have been complaining about this long before Obama took office. Now this guy just now get's it? Obama is wrong for doing it and so was the guy who actually created this mess, laying the foundation for doing it, Bush and Company.
41 Republicans along with 30 Democrats in the Senate voted to extend the provisions of that same Bill. 18 Democrats voted No with 4 Republicans doing the same.
Obama signed the Bill, loving and agreeing with it just as Bush and Company did. So get your facts straight about this before you write another article.
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