– Oh, HELL NO!!! (Via Julian Sanchez at”The American Prospect.)
They’re calling it a tweak — a “technical clarification” — but make no mistake: The Obama administration and the FBI’s demand that Congress approve a huge expansion of their authority to obtain the sensitive Internet records of American citizens without a judge’s approval is a brazen attack on civil liberties.
At issue is the scope of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s power to obtain information from “electronic communications service providers” using national security letters (NLS), which compel private companies to allow government access to communication records without a court order. The administration wants to add four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to Section 2709 of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which spells out the types of communications data that can be obtained with an NSL. Yet those four little words would make a huge difference, potentially allowing investigators to draw detailed road maps of the online activity of citizens not even suspected of any connection to terrorism.
Consider that the definition of “electronic communications service providers” doesn’t just include ISPs and phone companies like Verizon or Comcast. It covers a huge range of online services, from search engines and Webmail hosts like Google, to social-networking and dating sites like Facebook and Match.com to news and activism sites like RedState and Daily Kos to online vendors like Amazon and Ebay, and possibly even cafes like Starbucks that provide WiFi access to customers. And “transactional records” potentially covers a far broader range of data than logs of e-mail addresses or websites visited, arguably extending to highly granular records of the data packets sent and received by individual users.
As the Electronic Frontier Foundation has argued, such broad authority would not only raise enormous privacy concerns but have profound implications for First Amendment speech and association interests. Consider, for instance, the implications of a request for logs revealing every visitor to a political site such as Indymedia. The constitutionally protected right to anonymous speech would be gutted for all but the most technically savvy users if chat-forum participants and blog authors could be identified at the discretion of the FBI, without the involvement of a judge.
I am working on a longer post about this that I wanted to post a few days ago but I’m still working my way around this subject. By way of prologue, I’ll just say this.
If the teabaggers were concerned about actual shit as opposed to the bugfuck crazy shit that sticks in their heads like the commercial jingles of the damned, this is exactly the shit they would be screaming about.
I am not happy about this. And to call myself disappointed in Obama for this doesn’t begin to do justice to my feelings about this topic. And anyone who values Civil Liberties in this country owes it to themselves to do some serious soul searching. Preferably while nursing a slice of cheesecake or a bottle of wild turkey, depending on your preference.
-Thanks loads, God for taking from us another cool person!
American screenwriter and director Tom Mankiewicz, whose credits included several James Bond films, has died from cancer at the age of 68.
Mankiewicz wrote the scripts for Diamonds are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun.
He also worked on the first two Superman films, and the TV series Hart to Hart.
Mankiewicz, who died at his home on Saturday, underwent surgery to treat pancreatic cancer three months ago.
One of the jewels of the big ass “Superman” box set Warners put out a few years ago were the commentary tracks that Mankiewicz did with Richard Donner on the first two Christopher Reeve movies. Seriously, with a little polish, the two of them could have toured with those track to film schools across the country. And whatever issues I may have with some of the plotting, (Seriously, flying around the earth at high speed makes time reverse? Paging Stephen Hawkins, white courtesy phone.) there’s no denying that the Original”Superman” laid down the template for future superhero films to come. And for that contribution to geek cinema, we owe Mr. Mankiewicz our thanks.
Pass over lightly, Mr Mankiewicz.
-To our LGBT brothers and sisters in California, Good luck today as Judge Vaughn Walker announces his decision on whether Prop 8 should be over turned. To those who voted against this odious bill, good for you. To those who voted for it, just remember this.
Gays getting married doesn’t threaten your marriage. Drinking, bills, Sunday afternoon football, being forced to sit through the “Sex and the City” movies and Sarah Palin as a mother in law, those are the death of love.