The President of Half Measures


Once again President Obama strives mightily for a Participation Award.

From Free Press.Net:

After months of deliberation, President Obama has announced a proposal to end the NSA’s warrantless collection of millions of phone records.1 Under this proposal, these records would stay with the phone companies, and the NSA would need to get a special court order to collect “metadata” about our calls.

Woo Hoo!  Months of deliberation to determine the phone company actually owns the records it creates of your phone data. How mighty is our President!

But does he Win, Place, or Show? Nah,but he was in the race…

The president’s proposal wouldn’t do anything to address the many other ways the NSA and other agencies spy on millions of people in the U.S. and around the world — by tracking our Web searches, reading our emails, even serving National Security Letters that make it illegal for people to speak out.

And what about all those other bills in Congress that want to wrap up the NSA with plastic wrap? Well, …

The FISA Transparency and Modernization Act — which Reps. Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger introduced this week — bolsters some of the NSA’s worst practices, including the accessing of phone records without a warrant.2 And Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s so-called FISA Improvements Act would “make permanent a loophole permitting the NSA to search for Americans’ identifying information without a warrant.

And what about Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill to “modernize” FISA?

Section 6 of Feinstein’s bill blesses what her committee colleague Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat and civil libertarian, has called the “backdoor search provision,” which the Guardian revealed thanks to a leak by Edward Snowden.

The section permits intelligence agencies to search “the contents of communications” collected primarily overseas for identifying information on US citizens, resident aliens and people inside the US, provided that the “purpose of the query is to obtain foreign intelligence information or information necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or to assess its importance.”

Section 6 bills itself as a “restriction,” but it would not stop the NSA from performing the warrantless search, merely requiring intelligence agencies to log their queries and make them “available for review” to Congress, the Fisa court, the Justice Department and inspectors general inside the executive branch.

Additionally, the report on Section 6 explicitly states that the provision “does not limit the authority of law enforcement agencies to conduct queries of data acquired pursuant to Section 702 of Fisa for law enforcement purposes.”

One thing that we all can agree on is that as soon as Congress puts the word “Modernization” in the title, it is a guarantee that somebody wants to enshrine into law something that is an advantage to him or her.

What will you and I do to protect our privacy?

Author: Reasonable Citizen

Reserved, inquisitive, looks before leaping, www.reasonablecitizen.com

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