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Patriot 2: Scarier, Spookier

By - June 01, 2005

Olduvaifoot-TmI am not a fan of the Patriot Act, as you can see here. The Times has an editorial about the next rev of the act, many parts of which are due for renewal this Fall. The first act redefined many key legal terms so as to make your search history and the like far more susceptible to government snooping without notification, but this second rev sounds scarier. From the editorial:

One of the most common complaints about the Patriot Act is that rather than addressing the real but narrow problems with existing law, it was a wish list of powers law enforcement officials had yearned for over the years that Congress had rightly resisted conferring. Now the Bush administration and its Senate allies have come up with another: a proposal to let F.B.I. agents write their own “administrative subpoenas,” without the need to consult prosecutors or judges, in demand of all manner of records, from business to medical and tax data. There is no serious evidence that agents have been hamstrung by the lack of such wide authority.

Freeing agents from getting a judge’s sign-off is an invitation to overreaching and abuse, as is a proposal to let the F.B.I. ignore postal law restraints when antiterrorism agents choose to monitor someone’s letter envelopes and package covers.

Hell, it’s not the post office we should be worried about, it’s Google Desktop and its ilk. Remember my ephemeral to eternal riff? Uh huh.

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9 thoughts on “Patriot 2: Scarier, Spookier

  1. IMHO, being against the Patriot Act means you’ve losing sight of the greater good. Please don’t tell me, people, that you actually believe that our government leaders have evil intentions in mind with this act – they don’t – and if you think they do it has more to do with your immaturity and liberal, self-flagellation college education than anything else.

    Kindly recall that we created the Patriot Act ***because we were attacked***. Look through the record book and you’ll note that nobody (including all the Republicans nimwits love to hate) was pushing Patriot-like legislation before 9/11.

    IMO, the U.S. government should buy Claria and use them to look for behavioral data that would suggest terrorist connections. Fact is, the *only* way we’re going to break terrorist rings is to outsmart them technically as the Israeli military has done for decades with Palestinian terrorists.

    Now that I’ve said my peace, please attack me all you Republican bashers.

  2. Joe says:

    If my college education has anything to do with it; it must be wrong. Damn those liberal parents of mine for brain washing me by convincing me to get an education! And at a college of all places! (Oh wait both my parents are conservative, people make mistakes)

    I agree with most Republican business views, it’s the social policy that scares the hell out of me. I don’t think Bush has an evil master plan to take all of this data and miss-use it for his own evil purposes (honestly I would be surprised if he could describe the function of a search engine with-out the using the words search and engine). But what about the next person in office, republican or democrat? This is not very different from the apple argument we had on this blog a week ago. It is the precedent. You don’t give up rights, even for a little while or for a specific reason, because you don’t know when you might actually want/need them and the person or the reason you gave them up for may not be there to give them back.

    Privacy is going to be a very scary issue going forward. The constitution grants us protection from unreasonable search and seizure but not all courts have translated that directly to an individuals’ privacy. I hate to sound so uncreative as to have to make the same argument twice but it’s the same issue, it’s the slippery slope. The beauty of the constitution is that it is left open to give us the most possible freedom, it didn’t name specific things we should and shouldn’t be protected from because who knew they wrote that document that the internet was coming?

    And yes, your right, if we could handle things the way Israeli military has I am sure things would be great. So lets make a quick check list, first boarders need to be closed, a military presence should be felt on 5th avenue in Manhattan (and everywhere else in our everyday lives), a good skirmish on the street every now and then to let the terrorist know we mean business wouldn’t be a bad idea, oh and least we forget let’s get the draft read, not just a draft – the draft, EVERYBODY.

    Now don’t get me wrong Israel is in a tough spot and are handling it the best they can to protect themselves, but we are not surrounded by enemies ancient enemies, we are making new ones at home. The day we can truly compare ourselves to Israel in volume of terrorist threat god help us all. As an American I am frightened that you see our situation as similar to that of the Israeli’s, but if I were an Israeli I would be furious that you are going to make that comparison. You sir are a fool, the stars and strips on our flag do not hold the same meaning when the flag is used as a blind fold.

  3. colin says:

    Wow, Chris. That was quite the rant.

    I hope you’re not as uninformed about search marketing as you are about the history of the United States and the principles upon which the Founding Fathers built your country.

    As an American, you should know that government is never to be trusted with unchecked powers such as those John mentioned.

    Besides the fact that your position is 100% dead-wrong, I find it odd that someone in sales has no qualms about taking a public position on such a divisive issue.

    If I were you, I’d try to keep the jingoism in check and maybe do some research on the Founding Fathers and their perspectives on government, and its many problems.

    And please don’t assume that I’m a ‘Bush basher’. I’m a government basher who doesn’t limit his criticisms to one ‘party’ or another. Until our governments start empowering us instead of overpowering us, we must all remain vigilant.

  4. In fact, the truth is that there was an act that the Bush administration was trying to push through PRIOR to 9/11. You’re dead wrong, Chris. It was called the ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act) and it was in committee but being rigorously fought by Democrats. It had some terrible law in it. When 9/11 hit, the Bush administration saw its opening and renamed ATA Patriot, made it a bit worse, and rammed it through.

  5. Ben Smith says:

    John- having spent some time around the adminstration after 9-11, I was unaware of a bill connected to what became the Patriot act. Could you share who the authors were of this bill ?

    Of course alot of things were not addressed prior to 9-11 by both sides of the aisle that seem pretty obvious today.

    This is not a trivial issue and in fact is something that alot of The President’s base is uncomfortable with. (The average conservative from a Red state is not at all happy with the Patriot Act) It is, however, something that he stood against that base and with his own convictions on.

    In terms of our President’s “intelligence”…the phrase “Dumb like a Texan” …exists for a reason.

  6. Everyone’s got issues, but no one has an alternative solution to deal with the undeniable fact that terrorists (who have been attacking us since the late 80′s) *depend* on the internet for communication and coordination.

    That’s what kills me – people thinking that opposition to a solution is in itself a solution – it’s not. I’m just glad that the majority of Americans don’t share the opinions expressed in response to my original post, and support their govt’s efforts to deal with the 10+ year terrorist problem.

  7. colin says:

    ‘Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.’

    - Benjamin Franklin

    Chris,

    I think if you were to delve into the issues a little deeper than what you’ve heard on CNN, you’d realize that you’re advocating exactly what ‘the terrorists’ and the people behind the scenes that fund them want.

    A little research goes a long way.

  8. colin says:

    Another important quote:

    ‘There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. ‘

    - Henry David Thoreau

    Want to start striking the root?

    Here’s a good place to start:

    - The Chasm

    - Secret Organizations and Hidden Agendas

    - Days of Infamy

    - The War on Terrorism

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