Patriot Act

We already talked about the Amash Amendment being voted down very narrowly (217 – 205). While it didn’t pass, this was still a huge victory, because a few weeks ago (hell, even last week) people predicted that this amendment had no chance at all and might not even be debated. To come within seven votes of passing shows you why the NSA, the White House and the Senate’sprimary NSA enablers went absolutely ballistic in going all out against the amendment. Think about that: you had incredibly powerful interests working overtime against this amendment, and no special interests beyond basic common decency and grassroots support working for it… and the vote was still incredibly close.

The full roll call has now been released, and you’ll note that this is not a partisan issue….

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The only thing surprising about the revelation yesterday that the Justice Department seized the phone records of AP reporters, is that anyone still cared enough to express outrage.

In a world where both parties (with the implicit support of almost everyone in the country) gladly support the PATRIOT Act and sternly denounce intelligence leaks as the worst breach of security ever, how can anyone be shocked or dismayed that the Justice Department used its broad investigative powers in an effort to stop a leak?

Conservatives, liberals, and reporters alike have little room to seriously complain…

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The satirical Onion News Network recently reported on new government funding for that “massive online surveillance program run by the CIA,” known as Facebook — dreamed up by “secret C.I.A. agent Mark Zuckerberg.” The report made light of how much information we’re willing to make available to a third party — information that we would never consider freely handing over to the feds. While funny, the report speaks to serious concerns about privacy. Civil liberties advocates like Christopher Soghoian and Nicholas Merrill worry about the ease with which the government can get access to the digital information we store with third-parties like Facebook, Yahoo!, and Google, as well as to the rich databases that our mobile phone providers have.

Should we call it the Tech.B.I. or the Dot.Com.I.A.?

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