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Senate Bill Expands Warrantless Federal Searches of Private Online Info

November 21, 2012
Mary Chastain
11/20/2012
Source …..

Senator Patrick Leahy has rewritten the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2011 to allow more than 22 agencies to access a citizen’s Internet accounts, after law enforcement agencies criticized far more consumer-friendly legislation.

The bill authorizes access to email, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. Under the bill, the FBI and Homeland Security can gain full access to a citizen’s Internet account.

In June, Senator Leahy wanted to update a 1986 law to include new technology to protect citizens’ privacy on the Internet and mobile phones. The amendments included requirements for a “search warrant to access any private communications and locations of mobile devices.” But The Department of Justice, the National District Attorneys’ Association, and National Sheriffs’ Association voiced displeasure with the proposed changes.

Now Senator Leahy is backing off his original amendments and will introduce the more intrusion-friendly bill next Thursday.

Many groups oppose the new legislation, including Apple, Amazon, eBay, Google, Facebook, and Twitter. If the law is passed, these companies could go to the courts, which have proven to be on their side. The Supreme Court ruled police must have a search warrant to put a tracking device on a citizen’s car.

The Fourth Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rwolf permalink
    November 21, 2012 8:54 am

    Senate bill Rewritten So Cops / Feds Can Read Your Email Without Warrants

    Most Americans have not considered if Sen. Leahy’s Internet Access bill is passed, the Feds and Cops can use warrant-less searches of their sent and received emails to charge Citizens with crime. Until now, no warrant searches of Citizens’ email was something talked about happening in oppressive regimes like Iran. It is problematic see (COINTELPRO) History that U.S. Government, federal agencies and police without probable cause or warrants will search the email, social media sites, private docs and other communications of activists; Americans and corporations that politically disagree with U.S. Government—in hopes of finding evidence of wrongdoing. What do you do if you get an email that erroneously appears to include you as a participant in a crime or conspiracy that the Feds and cops can use in court (without a warrant) against you or your business?

    Police and federal agencies can take out of context any innocent—hastily written email, fax or phone call record to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause a person’s arrest, fines and or civil asset forfeiture of their property. There are more than 400 laws/violations that can subject property to Government asset forfeiture that require only a civil preponderance of evidence, little more than hearsay.

    Sen. Patrick Leahy’s has reworked his privacy bill H.R. 2471 touted to protect Americans’ e-mail privacy (into a warrant-less Internet access bill) that will allow the FBI, police and more than 22 federal agencies without probable cause to access your private email and other Internet communications using only a mere subpoena. Alleged seized evidence without warrants may be introduced in U.S. Civil, Criminal and Administrative prosecutions and under (NDAA) The National Defense Authorization ACT and Patriot Act.

    After Sen. Patrick Leahy’s bill is passed, Americans should expect a spike in arrests and property forfeitures by the feds and local police. Many Police departments are now in a budget crisis. Faced with having to layoff police officers, police increasingly look to civil asset forfeiture of Citizens’ property to pay their salaries and operating costs. This is a conflict of interests.

    The passed “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” (effectively eliminated) the “five year statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture: the statute now runs five years (from the date) government or a police agency allege they “learned” an asset became subject to forfeiture. Should the Senate pass Patrick Leahy’s (no warrant) government Internet Access bill, police will relentlessly sift through business and Citizens’ (government retained Internet data), emails and phone communications to discover crimes and civil violations.

    Annually U.S. Government seizes billions in assets without filing criminal charges. Increasingly local police turn their criminal investigations over to Federal Agencies to receive an 80% rebate of forfeited assets. Federal Government is not required to charge someone with a crime to forfeit property.

    A vote on Sen. Patrick Leahy’s warrant-less access bill is scheduled before November 30, 2012.

    Can Canadians Hold Out Against Their Government’s Recent Forceful Efforts to Wiretap Their Lives?

    Is it coincidence it was recently reported the Canadian Government intends to resurrect (Commons Bill C-30) that Canadians earlier this year rejected? Canadians discovered that (Commons Bill C-30) touted to protect children on the Internet—would also give any Canadian police officer—without a warrant—the power to request Internet service providers turn over customers’ information (see section 17 of C-30); allow Canadian police to seek into Canadians’ private computers. C-30 was strongly opposed by Canadians in April 2012. Canadians further discovered Canada had signed with the United States an array of (Asset Forfeiture Sharing Agreements) for Canada to share Canadian and Americans’ assets civilly or criminally confiscated using Asset Forfeiture laws that result from U.S. and Canada sharing information gleaned from electronic surveillance of Canadian / American Citizens’ communications, e.g., emails, faxes, Internet actively, phone records.

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