So apparently the ACLU is suing the FBI. The matter contested is a provision of the USA Patriot Act allowing law enforcement to use "National Security Letters" to obtain information about individuals from ISPs and so forth without any judicial oversight when investigating terrorism or espionage. Besides lack of judicial oversight, there are three big problems with the Patriot Act's modification to the National Security Letter law. First, there is a strict "gag order," so that after your ISP releases information on all the web-sites you've visited and comments you've posted and so forth they can be prosecuted if they tell you they have done so - ever. Second, as a result of this, there is no way to challenge the letter, as there would be in a normal subpoena. Third, there is no requirement that the individual whose information is requested actually be suspected of terrorism or espionage, there merely has to be some terrorism or espionage investigation going on that is somehow related, however tenuously. Wow, isn't it great to live in a free country with constitutional protection against "unreasonable search and seizure"? Well, MAYBE the ACLU will win the lawsuit, and MAYBE Congress will not listen to Bush (who, by the way, by conducting himself in this manner with regard to this issue, has lost any chance he had at getting my vote) and will let Patriot "sunset". MAYBE someone somewhere has some sense. I kind of doubt it, don't you?
Check out the ACLU press release here.Posted by Kenny at April 29, 2004 9:41 PM
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