As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.
Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people’s private communications and financial information.
Kerr’s comments come as Congress is taking a second look at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Lawmakers hastily changed the 1978 law last summer to allow the government to eavesdrop inside the United States without court permission, so long as one end of the conversation was reasonably believed to be located outside the U.S. The original law required a court order for any surveillance conducted on U.S. soil, to protect Americans’ privacy. The White House argued that the law was obstructing intelligence gathering because, as technology has changed, a growing amount of foreign communications passes through U.S.-based channels.
The most contentious issue in the new legislation is whether to shield telecommunications companies from civil lawsuits for allegedly giving the government access to people’s private e-mails and phone calls without a FISA court order between 2001 and 2007.
It never ends. IT NEVER FUCKING ENDS. If you are dumb enough to go along with what initially appear to be fairly justifiable and reasonable requests, you can guarantee that the unjustifiable and unreasonable ones will inevitably follow.
None of this surprises me in the least, of course. Longtime readers will recall that my very first political column for WND, written right after 9/11, was entitled “Yield No More Freedom”. It’s still disappointing, however, to see how readily Americans have gone along with the creeping totalitarianism I expected.
Rod Dreher notes the similarities between Bush-Clinton America and the movie Brazil:
Jill: Doesn’t it bother you, the sort of things you do at Information Retrieval?
Sam: I suppose you would rather have terrorists.