11/13/2004

itaffectsyou.org » Patriot act extends to blogs critical of government

An article in the Village Voice highlights a win for American values and liberty as a particularly heinous part of the Patriot Act has been struck down by a Federal District Judge. But it is also offers a chilling reminder of just how far reaching and anti-American this act really is.

'The provision we challenged [that the judge struck down],' says Jaffer, 'allows the FBI to issue NSLs against 'wire or electronic service communication providers.' Telephone companies and Internet service providers [are included.]' As Judge Marrero noted, the FBI could also use an NSL 'to discern the identity of someone whose anonymous web log, or 'blog,' is critical of the Government.'

Jaffer adds that by requiring information from telephone companies and Internet providers, 'The FBI could . . . effectively obtain a political organization's membership list, like the NAACP or the ACLU, [and could] obtain the names of people with whom a journalist has communicated over the Internet.'

Furthermore - dig this - every National Security Letter comes with a gag order. The recipients are forbidden to tell any other person that the FBI has demanded this information, and can't even tell their lawyers that the long hand of the government is scooping up their data.

As Judge Marrero said in his decision, this omnivorous invasion of privacy is so broad that it mandates this gag rule 'in every case, to every person, in perpetuity, with no vehicle for the ban to ever be lifted from the recipient.'

Read that again. The abuses are so outrageous and so broad it is nothing less than an affront to our constitution. It's an affront to every red blooded, liberty loving American. Luckily, one of those pesky judges Ashcroft hates so much struck down this provision. We all need to watch this case as it moves up the courts. Bush and his likely new AG Gonzales are big advocates of the PA, so look for them to fight for this one. We must fight back to make sure this anti-liberty, un-American piece of legislation is ends up where it belongs or else we make a mockery of the words 'liberty and justice for all.'"

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