Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Internet Privacy Invasion

A few days ago I blogged about the possibility of Congress giving the President an “Internet Kill Switch”. This would give the President, with the advice of the Sec of Homeland Security, the ability to turn off portions of the internet in cases of emergency.  Just like what has happened in Egypt.  This has been a Democrat sponsored bill with a few RINOs thrown in for the appearance of bipartisanship. 

Now the Republicans are the one being stupid.  It seems they want Internet Service Providers (ISP) to record user data for a period of up to two years. This bill is mostly being highlighted as an effort to assist law enforcement agencies track nefarious activities with relation to images of children.

I’m all for helping the cops track down and prosecute these child predators, but where is a line drawn? How much would this help the law get to these people? I also have concerns about abuse of these storage systems. It has already been proven that someone, who is not a supporter of a particular politician, will go to great lengths to get private information on that politician and make it public. The contents of those exposed e-mails didn’t show Palin (link via Malkin) or her family members to be doing anything wrong, the disclosers were embarrassing none the less. Would a staff wonk hack this database to try and expose a political opponent? I have no questions they would. “by any means necessary” is progressive battle cry.

Some out there would say, “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear”. I agree with that statement completely because I have nothing to fear. But does it mean I want my privacy violated? Certainly not! Do I want my e-mails and my web destination available for all to see, No Way!  This is a privacy issue.  It has already been determined over several court cases that a person has can have a reasonable assumption of privacy. Storing data to make it available for viewing later sure seems like it is violating my privacy.  And before anyone says it is for the greater good let me say three words: “that’s a non-starter”. Whenever someone says it is for the greater good, the hair on the back of my neck stands straight up. Those words are normally followed by some plan or another designed to chip away at my freedom just a little bit (recently passed Food Safety Act), or someone from the government coming to take my money (increased gas taxes), or both (Obama Care).

There will be the inevitable constitutional questions about any attempt to store this kind of data. Again, I am not a lawyer, nor a constitutional scholar, but I can read. The Fourth Amendments says:

“The right the person to be secure I their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched or things to be seized”

Don’t know if data could be considered a ‘thing’ but it sure looks like Congress is trying to pass a law that would make it easier to seize the data from the ISPs for later viewing, without cause or without affirmation of the possibility of a crime being committed.  It sounds like they are trying to see a crime being committed by searching through a person’s personal information without due cause.  That most likely goes against the Constitution. Here is another way of looking at it. Back in the days of snail mail, did the cops have the right to read through your personal mail, either before or after you received without probable cause? They did not. The cops had to prove to a judge that a crime was being committed before they were allowed to read through someone’s personal mail. They weren’t even allowed to look in a mail box without a warrant.

Hopefully, someone in the Republican Party will slap these guys upside the head and knock a little sense into these knuckleheads.

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