Government snooping - redux

Government snooping - what's legal? was a recent FR post. With its latest action, the government's answer seems to be, "Whatever we say because we're trying to protect Americans from terrorism, child pornography, and other bad things." (How about protecting a good thing like privacy?)

Amid broad media coverage today, the New York Times reported on the Justice Department seeking web-surfing records of customers of Internet companies, ostensibly to aid in terrorism and child porn investigations. The article quoted Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), who attended a meeting with Justice officials, as saying, "It was clear that they would go beyond kiddie porn and terrorism and use it for general law enforcement."

AP published a similar story.

In related news, this time of a successful action against government intrusion into citizens' privacy, a May 31 NYT article told of four Connecticut librarians being relieved of a gag order imposed under the USA Patriot Act whereby they could not reveal that the FBI had requested patrons' records. The librarians belong to a Connecticut consortium called Library Connection. Its executive director stated, "The fact that the government can and is eavesdropping on patrons in libraries has a chilling effect, because they really don't know if Big Brother is looking over their shoulder."

Interested in a watchdog organization with the motto, "Defending freedom in the digital world"? Check out Electronic Frontier Foundation.


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