Thursday, May 30, 2013

Government's snooping on reporters.

First a little background.   The right to privacy in the US  has steadily been eroded over the past ten years.  Partly by the internet, partly by the fear of terrorism.

There are all sorts of new privacy laws we need:

  • Right to photograph cops, because after all, they are photographing us all the time.
  • The right to end a corporate online relationship(and kill their tracking of you-  and their data)
  • The right to SEE all the data they have collected on you 
  • Require a warrant to search emails (everyone expects them to be private despite the court ruling that they are not - look at how often people send incriminating evidence through them).
  • The right to have online photos of your removed or have the face distorted. - unless the poster has a signed permissions to use said photo.

These are just a few things that could and in my opinion should be set up.   Clearly privacy is under attack and we need to fight back.

Now lets talk about the federal warranted search of reporter's communications.  Th FBI was trying to identify the source of leaked information, particularly about a foiled terror plot involving the CIA operating in Yemen.

Originally it was clearly reporters should be given more respect when the government tries to snoop on them.  No longer.   The line between reporter and blogger and random citizen has begun to blur significantly.

The actual scandal is relatively small.  No reporters charged or even brought in for questioning.  No emails read or telephone calls listened to.   Just reporters telephone records obtained.  So they know who spoke to who, but not what they said.

It is a scandal and it is at the very least questionable behavior by the FBI.  But compared to what happens in Russia and China, it is not a huge deal.  There reporters get jailed or killed.

In my mind, the AP should in fact use government snooping.  Specifically, they should point out that they now have proof that the US government is snooping on them and try to kill the FISA Amendments Act.

They, unlike Amnesty International, can now claim that they have been concretely injured by the existing, known snooping, and therefore can sue to stop the FISA warrant-less wiretapping that Amnesty International failed to stop (in Clapper vs. Amnesty International) because Amnesty International could not prove they were being snooped on.

The AP can prove that the government was snooping on them and they can therefore claim the burden of proof has shifted to the government.

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