A Chilling Effect: Your Privacy Is Worthless; Obama’s Privacy Is Priceless
by Phil Maymin
Unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, enormous expansion of federal health regulations, indefinite detention, targeted killing of American citizens, bungled government responses to environmental disasters, warrantless surveillance and bailouts galore. Are we sure George W. Bush is no longer president?
Barack Obama’s administration now wants to be able to see the headers on all e-mails that you send, even if there is no probable cause, no warrant, no judicial oversight and no disclosure to you or anyone else that the FBI even peeked. As far as I can tell, Obama’s bill modifying the Electronic Communications Privacy Act would allow the FBI to secretly track information in the from, to, carbon copy and subject fields, among others. The bill would likely also include the history of web sites you visit.
I use terms like “likely” and “as far as I can tell” not only because the language is vague – it would merely insert the four words “electronic communications transactional records” into an ever-growing list of exclusions the FBI can rely on to avoid getting a warrant – but also because there doesn’t seem to be any plausible way to object, review, or punish an overbroad or unnecessary FBI investigation.