Thursday, July 10, 2008

FISA: War on The Individual

Yesterday, I posted my initial reaction on the passage of FISA by what I believe to be the most lethal Congress in my lifetime, particularly in respect to our rights. My reaction was an understated reflection of disgust at those who yesterday excised our Fourth Amendment privacy rights, not to mention the fact they didn't (and don't) really know (or seem to care about) what the law includes. But, by George (pardon the pun), they voted for it anyway. Just like a lot of them voted for a war they didn't understand. I have to say, I am very angry and very disturbed by this most recent action.

As it turns out, however, the bill has an interesting twist and fewer limits than most realize. In other words, it is worse than we thought. Our landlords--even our school or business custodians, as pointed out in this article from The Progressive--can now act in concert with the feds to spy on us:

The prospective immunity extends beyond telecom companies and ISPs to include even landlords and custodians, and it is not limited to the provision of communication contents or records.

Check out Title VIII: “Protection of Persons Assisting the Government.” A “person” is defined as “an electronic communication service provider” or “a landlord, custodian, or other person who may be authorized or required to furnish assistance...” Note how wide open is the category of “other person.”

I suppose it could include the milk man, the paper boy, the grocer, your dentist, even, perhaps, your priest? It just doesn't get more Orwellian than this.

The only good news is that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will be litigating this matter. Thank heavens.

If, after eight years of George Bush, you have any money to donate to the litigation, now would be a good time.