Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Conservative Belle: Wiretapping Concessions Are Necessary


According to Verizon Communications, they turned over to the government information without court orders
720 times since 2005:

From January 2005 to September 2007, Verizon provided data to federal authorities on an emergency basis 720 times, it said in the letter. The records included Internet protocol addresses as well as phone data. In that period, Verizon turned over information a total of 94,000 times to federal authorities armed with a subpoena or court order, the letter said. The information was used for a range of criminal investigations, including kidnapping and child-predator cases and counter-terrorism investigations.

Now the telecoms are lobbying Congress for legal immunity when they turn over records or eavesdrop on conversations without a court order and they don't want to be held liable for doing this in the past as well.

The 4th amendment is very clear:

The right of the people to be secure in 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, and the persons or things to be seized.
The negative consequences of granting immunity to the telecoms are huge. You can count abuse by the government with no recourse for the individual among them. How many more fishing expeditions are going to come about because there is no incentive for the phone companies to maintain the privacy of their customers?

Some will argue "But if you aren't doing anything wrong, you don't have anything to hide" but I don't think that argument has as much validity now considering we spent the better part of a year watching a government official put the Duke Lacrosse team on trial so he could get re-elected. While justice is supposed to be blind, it is applied by people with their own biases and interests. The 4th amendment is supposed to be a backstop against that.

I made some comments over there since I'm too lazy to blog about it over here. But it's an interesting topic to me.

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