In the wake of learning the IRS has been targeting conservative groups for at least three years, and after learning that if you love your country and value its Constitution you are considered an “extremist” by the current administration, it is terrible to consider that the FBI, Homeland Security, and other government agencies are spying on us.
But, it is happening, and one has to wonder, do we Americans deserve it? If you do not think so, please fax Congress now and tell them to stop abusing our freedoms, immediately.
The FBI does not believe they are legally required to obtain a warrant if they want to read your electronic communications. The U.S. Department of Justice, led by the corrupt Eric Holder, is allowing this activity, despite a 2010 federal appeals court ruling (U.S. v. Warshak), that says this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. They have also spent about three years pushing private companies (like Google and Facebook) to build wiretap capabilities into their programs, so it will be easier to spy on users.
The FBI Operations Guide, revised last June, makes exemptions for email stored by a service provider for more than 180 days. So, if you have emails you have kept that are more than six months old—and almost all of us do, because if it’s on a server we usually don’t see a need to delete them—the FBI says:
“[I]f the contents of an unopened message are kept beyond six months or stored on behalf of the customer after the e-mail has been received or opened, it should he treated the same as a business record in the hands of a third party, such as an accountant or attorney. In that case, the government may subpoena the records from the third party without running afoul of either the Fourth or Fifth Amendment.”
Former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente told CNN’s Erin Burnett that the FBI is able to access previously made telephone calls. "All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not…there's a way to look at digital communications in the past."
The more freedoms we lose, the more power the government will have to monitor your personal conversations or posts with friends and family, and your political views could very well put you on the terrorist watch list. People of any political stripe could be affected with the “wrong” viewpoint, depending on who is in power in Washington. Without a doubt, this is the era of Big Brother, and there is no limit on what government intrusions we will see if we don’t speak up right now. Privacy is just not a concern to this administration, and to many in the current Congress.
We deserve every loss of freedom that comes our way if we don’t speak out loudly and clearly. Tell Congress to close this loophole. They are working on updating the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and reform legislation is on the radar in the Senate. ACLU staff attorney Nathan Wessler says, "We really can't have this patchwork system anymore, where agencies get to decide on an ad hoc basis how privacy-protective they're going to be. Courts and Congress need to step in."
This is not an issue we can negotiate, and it is not something we can ignore. If Members of Congress don’t defend our privacy rights, they should be put on notice they will be voted out.