April 10, 2009

HOPE AND CHANGE:

Civilian libertarians were apoplectic over former President George W. Bush’s “warrantless wiretap” program, which sought to monitor communications from terrorist networks overseas. So why are they not screaming bloody murder now that President Barack Obama appears slated to receive unprecedented power to monitor all Internet traffic without a warrant and to even shut the system down completely on the pretext of national security? The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 – introduced by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-WV, and cosponsor Olympia Snowe, R-ME – bypasses all existing privacy laws and allows White House political operatives to tap into any online communication without a warrant, including banking, medical, and business records and personal e-mail conversations. This amounts to warrantless wiretaps on steroids, directed at U.S. citizens instead of foreign terrorists.

Well, if it’s not aimed at terrorists, I guess it’s okay.

UPDATE: Related: EFF: In Warrantless Wiretapping Case, Obama DOJ’s New Arguments Are Worse Than Bush’s. “Again, the gulf between Candidate Obama and President Obama is striking. As a candidate, Obama ran promising a new era of government transparency and accountability, an end to the Bush DOJ’s radical theories of executive power, and reform of the PATRIOT Act. But, this week, Obama’s own Department Of Justice has argued that, under the PATRIOT Act, the government shall be entirely unaccountable for surveilling Americans in violation of its own laws. This isn’t change we can believe in. This is change for the worse.” Actually, it’s pretty much the change I expected.

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