If you think this is just targeting overseas calls and emails, you’re kidding yourself.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 â€” President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the governmentâ€™s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.
Congressional aides and others familiar with the details of the law said that its impact went far beyond the small fixes that administration officials had said were needed to gather information about foreign terrorists. They said seemingly subtle changes in legislative language would sharply alter the legal limits on the governmentâ€™s ability to monitor millions of phone calls and e-mail messages going in and out of the United States.
They also said that the new law for the first time provided a legal framework for much of the surveillance without warrants that was being conducted in secret by the National Security Agency and outside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that is supposed to regulate the way the government can listen to the private communications of American citizens.
â€œThis more or less legalizes the N.S.A. program,â€ said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, who has studied the new legislation.
This is scary for a whole host of reasons.
- They collect everything. That doesn’t mean they hold onto it all, but they collect it all. So privacy is really a thing of the past.
- If you say certain key words or send email messages with certain key words, the government’s system will record your conversation.
- Ever heard of Echelon? Well, that’s legal now.
They’ll tell us that we need this, but they also tell us we needed Guantanamo, black sites, secret prisons, renditioning and, oh yeah…Iraq.
But hey, let’s keep electing people who will give our rights away for vague promises of securing our freedom.
I’m sure it’ll all work out in our favor.