You probably haven’t heard too much about a new law making its way through the U.S. Senate. The reason, of course, is because all discussions on this new provision are being debated in secrecy.
Once passed, however, it will open a massive doorway for the FBI and other domestic law enforcement organizations to read every single email sent across internet lines in the continental United States without a warrant or probable cause.
The new “law” is a gross violation of the fourth Amendment which provides for Americans the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure.
Apparently, since the Founding Fathers made no mention of email, Congress believes they can have free reign on your personal conversations.
A provision snuck into the still-secret text of the Senate’s annual intelligence authorization would give the FBI the ability to demand individuals’ email data and possibly web-surfing history from their service providers without a warrant and in complete secrecy.
If passed, the change would expand the reach of the FBI’s already highly controversial national security letters. The FBI is currently allowed to get certain types of information with NSLs — most commonly, information about the name, address, and call data associated with a phone number or details about a bank account.
Since a 2008 Justice Department legal opinion, the FBI has not been allowed to use NSLs to demand “electronic communication transactional records,” such as email subject lines and other metadata, or URLs visited.
The spy bill passed the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, with the provision in it. The lone no vote came from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who wrote in a statement that one of the bill’s provisions “would allow any FBI field office to demand email records without a court order, a major expansion of federal surveillance powers.”
Wyden did not disclose exactly what the provision would allow, but his spokesperson suggested it might go beyond email records to things like web-surfing histories and other information about online behavior.
When we wrote five years ago, to the disagreement of many a government sheeple, that everything Americans do is being monitored this is exactly what we meant.
They’ve been watching us for a long time – recording every call, cataloging every email, aggregating every purchase.
Now they’re making it legal.
And if the provisions extend, as Senator Ron Wyden warns, outside of just standard emails and encompasses all electronic communication or activity, then you can be assured that the government is now legalizing a full surveillance society, meaning that not just your text messages and emails will be monitored, but even the conversations you have in the privacy of your own home.
If your phone, computer or smart TV has a microphone and/or camera, they will give themselves the legal authority to capture this information, too.
Perhaps, as Jeremiah Johnson noted in a prior post, it is time to mourn the death of the United States of America as we once knew her.