Senate Bill Would Allow Feds to Read YOUR E-mails Without a Warrant

November 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm (Big Brother, Democrat, E-Mail, Internet, Patrick Leahy, Privacy, Senate)

Well, this isn’t frightening at all. 

A proposed law scheduled for a vote next week in the Senate was originally written with the intent of increasing American’s e-mail privacy.  A rewrite however, driven by complaints in law enforcement, has increased government access to your e-mails and other digital media.

Via CNET: 

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans’ e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.

CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans’ e-mail, is scheduled for next week.

Leahy’s rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans’ e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.

DailyTech calls the move a ‘bait and switch’, essentially charging Leahy with calling for a vote on a bill that is completely different from its original intent.

The irony here is that in 2008, Leahy was accusing the Bush administration of abusing their power regarding warrantless wiretaps, referring to the administration as “little children playing with matches”.

Looks like Leahy now has a lighter in his hands.  Will the Senate put out the fire next week?

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Story About the White House Scrubbing a Story Also Scrubbed

March 21, 2012 at 9:00 am (Censorship, Internet, Malia Obama, Mexico, President Obama, Scrub, Spring Break, Vacation, White House)

Believe it or not, but the White House wasn’t content on scrubbing stories about Malia Obama’s spring break in Mexico from the internet.  They’ve actually taken the next step and successfully scrubbed stories about the scrubbing…

Isn’t the bigger story here the fact that the White House is able to remove a news story that they deem to have ‘no vital news interest’?  Where will they draw the line now that they know they are capable of erasing something off the internet before it becomes widespread?

It’s definitely up to the media to avoid covering stories about the President’s daughter – and they shouldn’t, especially if it involves photos – but that is at their discretion. Once it’s out there, the White House has no authority to erase it from the internet collective.  Or at least they shouldn’t.

First, Politico reported on the original White House efforts:

Kristina Schake, Communications Director to the First Lady, emails to confirm this was a White House effort:
From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.

And now…

Via Buzzfeed:

The White House’s campaign to scrub a story from the internet yesterday about Malia Obama’s trip to Mexico has gone meta: a media reporter’s blog post aboutthe administration’s efforts to scrub the story has now been scrubbed of certain details, Politico confirmed.
The item, first posted last night by Politico’s Dylan Byers, originally noted that news sites were removing the Malia story.
Then, this morning, the post was updated with comment from the White House confirming that it was involved with efforts to remove the story — but the Politico post itself was now missing information about the trip. Specifically, the current version of the story makes no reference to where the president’s daughter is going: Mexico, which can also be found by Googling Obama’s daughter’s name and “trip.”
Rachel Smolkin, Politico’s White House editor, confirmed that they removed the information after talking to the Obama administration, citing safety concerns.
“After some internal discussions and conversations with the White House, we adjusted the post for security reasons,” Smolkin told BuzzFeed.

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