Obama administration overreaches in demand for personal data

This effort ought to be stopped dead in its tracks. The answer should be “NO,” “hell no,” or “No, and don’t you dare ask for it again”:

From The Washington Post:

The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

The administration wants to add just four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge’s approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the “content” of e-mail or other Internet communication.

But what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records.

If the federal government has a good reason to need such information, it can explain those reasons to a judge. “National security letters” are already widely overused as a means of acquiring personal information without a judicial order. As the Post story points out, “The Justice Department issued 192,500 national security letters from 2003 to 2006, according to a 2008 inspector general report, which did not indicate how many were demands for Internet records. A 2007 IG report found numerous possible violations of FBI regulations, including the issuance of NSLs without having an approved investigation to justify the request.”

The type of authority sought by the Obama administration would allow it to conduct warrantless searches that are forbidden under the Fourth Amendment, and our Founding Fathers would clearly recognize it as an unacceptable encroachment of government power on the individual.

That is, once you explained to them about what a browser is, and what emails are.

288 comments Add your comment

Lord Help Us

July 29th, 2010
7:58 am

Won’t our ‘conservative’ SCOTUS rule this abomination unconstitutional?

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:03 am

Bush/Cheney and “conservatives” opened this Pandora’s box with expanded Executive power and historical invasions into citizens privacy…did anyone really think that the evils would be restrained with the next administration?

Once power is bestowed, it is difficult, if not impossible, to contain it.

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:05 am

“That is, once you explained to them about what a browser is, and what emails are.”

Good luck with that ;)

Grumpy

July 29th, 2010
8:08 am

Meanwhile, thanks to our new 2,000 page “financial reform” bill, the SEC won’t have to comply with any FOIA requests. Hope, change and transparency!

Normal

July 29th, 2010
8:10 am

WTF, all they want to do is keep an eye on those pesky mosques… :roll:

Granny Godzilla

July 29th, 2010
8:10 am

I agree the answer should be NO, in fact it should be HELL NO, but playing devil’s advocate shouldn’t we be seeing some patriot act supporters saying they have nothing to hide and we ouught to know if Jay or Granny are cruising mean nasty ugly muslim sites trolling for bomb plans?

stands for decibels

July 29th, 2010
8:11 am

Well, I sure was pissed when Obama and his fellow (ha ha) “liberal” senators hung Dodd out to dry on telcom immunity, few years back.

This is just another piece of that sordid puzzle, methinks. A real disregard for reasonable expectations of privacy.

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:11 am

Granny Godzilla,

“I agree the answer should be NO,”

Here is another “NO” answer:

http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2010/07/apparently-we-don-miss-you-at-all.html

Grumpy

July 29th, 2010
8:12 am

Actually, jewcowboy, a whole lot of naive, new Democrats thought Obama would bring restraint. They’ve got egg on their collective face, and might not show up in 2012 as strong as they did in 2008.

Donovan

July 29th, 2010
8:14 am

Kind of funny that a liberal journalist gets upset about his own people getting serious about fighting the war on terror. Tough measures like profiling, wire tapping, and the Patriot Act go hand-in-hand with rooting out the evil that is endangering our security. Liberal journalists and liberal lawyers have been around for ages weakening our nation with their naive interference. And yes…we were right in locking up Japanese and placing them in camps during WWII.

godless heathen

July 29th, 2010
8:15 am

Right on, Mr. Bookman.

stands for decibels

July 29th, 2010
8:16 am

And yes…we were right in locking up Japanese and placing them in camps during WWII.

You’re deeply misguided. But then, you do have company…

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:16 am

Grumpy,

“Actually, jewcowboy, a whole lot of naive, new Democrats thought Obama would bring restraint.”

Valid point, but there were quite a few that took Bush at his word of being a “Compassionate Conservative” yet they still showed up at the polls in 2004.

Gale

July 29th, 2010
8:20 am

Our laws work fine. If they are investigating a real bad guy, they should have no reason not to explain it to a judge. This reminds me of Nixon’s subversives list.

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:20 am

Donovan,

“Tough measures like profiling, wire tapping, and the Patriot Act go hand-in-hand with rooting out the evil that is endangering our security.”

Somehow I think b@st@rdizing our Constitution due to mis-guided fear is not what the signers of the Constitution envisioned for their efforts.

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:21 am

Interesting note: Blog monster does not allow “b@st@rdizing” in it’s none b@st@rdized version.

Doggone/GA

July 29th, 2010
8:23 am

“Blog monster does not allow ”

The blog monster giveth, and the blog monster taketh away. At least we can say ridiculous now!

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:23 am

“Tough measures like profiling, wire tapping, and the Patriot Act go hand-in-hand with rooting out the evil that is endangering our security.”

they absolutely do – which is why the gummint should have NO PROBLEM going before a judge to justify a wiretap or access to e-mail

El Jefe

July 29th, 2010
8:24 am

Isn’t this to be expected from the most transparent administration? Good bye, 4th, 5th and 6th amendments.

In addition the SEC is no longer covered under the FOIA, yet have been given greater power.

Seems we are loosing that “Republican form of government” the Constitution-thingy talks about.

Peadawg

July 29th, 2010
8:24 am

“Bush/Cheney”

HaHa! It took all of 2 posts to blame someone else. Awesome!

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:25 am

Doggone – 8:23 – yeah – weeks ago, I tried to say that we had gone from the sublime to the ridiculous and was absolutely gobsmacked that it was moderated.

Okie Dokie

July 29th, 2010
8:25 am

jewcowboy,

And the Bush/Cheney bashing continues…. I am sure Barry is not responsible for any of the bad in this country. Also, Obama received a lot of votes from people in urban areas. These areas are notorious for getting behind a candidate the first time, but losing interest the second time. Not to mention the TP folks, many of whom admit to not showing up for the last election.

JohnnyReb

July 29th, 2010
8:27 am

Jay, you are on the money with this one.

Grumpy, you beat me to the FOIA issue. It also must not stand. Got to love that transparency.

This could mean a ray of hope for you lefties. Again I tell you, watch what he does, not what he says.

TaxPayer

July 29th, 2010
8:27 am

Just think of all the potential Timothy McVeighs we’ll catch. Besides, we must act in the name of preemption. Enemies of the state must be apprehended. They can then be tagged and released. It is as it should be as the end times draw nigh. By the way, where are Patriots Dusty, @@, NRB, et al, this fine morning. Donovan should not be left alone amidst all these fierce liberals.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it )

July 29th, 2010
8:28 am

Well, I already speak loud, slow, and clear when I talk on the phone so all the guvmint spies can hear me. I’d hate to have one speak up and ask me to talk more clear. I reckon turning over my innernet records and e-mails won’t hurt none. The only thing I ever go to is FoxNews.com and this blog. I don’t use e-mail except to hear from Joe Bill and Jim Earl about what kind of tee time we got at Countryland Golf Course. I just zap all the e-mail ads I get and stuff like that. If other people want to get in touch with me they can just ring me up at Simpsons Trailer Park.

If you ain’t got nothing to hide there’s no reason to be all secret about what you do on your PC. I know there’s a whole bunch of people on here that get all upset about privacy and that junk, but we got to deal with the Terrists. And the best way to do that is just turn over everything you do to the guvmint. Just clean up your act and stop looking at porn and going to librul web sites and you won’t have nothing to worry about. I figure alot of people here need to be watched by the guvmint spies. Some of them are downright dangerous with their wild-eyed politics.

Have a good day everybody.

stands for decibels

July 29th, 2010
8:28 am

If they are investigating a real bad guy, they should have no reason not to explain it to a judge.

I’ve yet to hear compelling reasons as to why this represents an undue burden on our enforcement personnel. Particularly when previous regs actually allowed for these warrants to be issued retroactively.

Anyhow, I’m so old I can remember this:

“a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.”

good times, huh? Back when they cared enough to just flat-out lie about what they were up to.

stands for decibels

July 29th, 2010
8:29 am

It took all of 2 posts to blame someone else.

so you’re ignoring those of us who aren’t, are you?

Doggone/GA

July 29th, 2010
8:29 am

USinUK – Josef said it was because the 4 letters that start with c and end with o are Spanish (I think) for a particular part of the female anatomy (if I remember that correctlt)

TaxPayer

July 29th, 2010
8:30 am

Jay is indeed on his toes, in more ways than one, this fine morning.

jt

July 29th, 2010
8:30 am

FBI, IRS, HSA,,,,,it’s all the same. Here’s a rare “good” republican being thrown to the wolves.
You’ll only kidding yourselves and the other Obama supporters if you think they currently follow any laws……………………From Lew———-

“I read your book `Constitutional Income: Do You Have Any?’” Hart was notified in a letter from IRS agent Barbara Parks announcing that the state-sponsored terrorist clique employing her was beginning an “investigation” of the book. The purpose of that inquiry, she continued, was “to determine whether or not your statements are commercial speech and whether this activity causes harm to the government.”

With the help of the Center for Individual Rights, Hart successfully sued the IRS to interdict the agency’s demand that he turn over the names of everybody who had purchased his book. Four years later, the IRS retaliated against Hart by issuing a final audit report denying all of his business deductions for eight years, hitting him with an additional tax liability of roughly $125,000. When he protested his treatment to the IRS, an official with the agency gloatingly explained: “When you don’t give us everything we ask for, you get all of your deductions denied.”

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:30 am

Peadawg and Okie Dokie,

I am by no means making any excuse for the Obama Administration, but “conservatives” should not complain about this administration invading their privacy when they were complicit in allowing the previous administration to widely expand their power in this regard.

The time to complain was in 2001 with the passage of the Patriot Act. You’ve made your bed…so don’t complain that there is a camera in there watching you.

Normal

July 29th, 2010
8:31 am

I can just see it. Typing away on Jay’s site, preaching tolerance and all of a sudden, your monitor goes black. Suddenly Max Headroom appears in a Gastapo uniform. “Do not move, you will be collected shortly,” he says, then fades to black…then there is a knock on the door. Men in black suits rush in and take you to a waiting black SUV. “Where are we going”? “Stalag 17,” they say…and you know you will never blog again…

stands for decibels

July 29th, 2010
8:31 am

I am sure Barry is not responsible for any of the bad in this country.

Hey-Zeus, don’t any of you conservadroids know how to read?

What part of “did anyone really think that the evils would be restrained with the next administration?” and “just another piece of that sordid puzzle, methinks. A real disregard for reasonable expectations of privacy” do you not get?

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:32 am

Doggone – 8:29 – which leads to the philosophical question: is a cuss word a cuss word if we don’t speak that language?

JCB – 8:30 – (polite golf clap) … well said!

ty webb

July 29th, 2010
8:33 am

Well said jay. Spoken like a true “racist”.

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:33 am

dB – 8:31 … my guess: they didn’t get any of it.

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:34 am

stands for decibels @ 8.31,

Well evidently history began on Jany 21, 2009. Nothing of note happened before this date…

Elliot Garcia

July 29th, 2010
8:34 am

Stay off of those naughty sites jewcowboy and you shouldn’t have any problems….

Normal

July 29th, 2010
8:37 am

Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Ben Franklin

Doggone/GA

July 29th, 2010
8:38 am

USinUK – good question! It’s sorta like something that comes up in my job. Since I do work involving managing access into the company applications, and since we have employees and contractors all over the world…I see some VERY odd names (to American eyes) and it’s hard to not laugh, and realize that to THEM the name simply doesn’t evoke the same amusement as it does in English.

Dave R.

July 29th, 2010
8:38 am

“Obama administration overreaches in virtually everything”

There, jay. Fixed your typo.

No thanks needed. :)

Scout

July 29th, 2010
8:38 am

Well, why don’t we just call for his IMPEACHMENT like we would if he was a Republican ?

Normal

July 29th, 2010
8:38 am

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:34 am

Does this mean the Bible was wrong?

TaxPayer

July 29th, 2010
8:39 am

But, we ain’t had no more terrierist attacks since we done gone and got ourselves all re-patriotated.

Doggone/GA

July 29th, 2010
8:40 am

“Well, why don’t we just call for his IMPEACHMENT like we would if he was a Republican ?”

Too late, it’s already been done: http://www.obamaimpeachment.org

T Knight

July 29th, 2010
8:40 am

Meanwhile, thanks to our new 2,000 page “financial reform” bill, the SEC won’t have to comply with any FOIA requests. Hope, change and transparency!

well said

TaxPayer

July 29th, 2010
8:41 am

Scout is calling for the impeachment of BUSH! I don’t believe my eyes.

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:41 am

“Well, why don’t we just call for his IMPEACHMENT like we would if he was a Republican ?”

:lol:

yeah – because the Dems drafted articles of Impeachment once they took the majority in 2007.

you funny man. you make (lame-a$$) joke.

Normal

July 29th, 2010
8:42 am

ty webb

July 29th, 2010
8:33 am

I know I’m a few fries short of a Happy Meal, but could you explain to me how Jay’s essay is racist, please?

ken R

July 29th, 2010
8:42 am

I will really be in trouble with the Government on my internet use as I only talk to Jay & Tucker.

they’re coming to get me aha aha, ( old song )

I have nothing to hide and if it helps catch crooks & terrorists good for them, you libs need to stop being so paranoid.

Normal

July 29th, 2010
8:43 am

Be nice to Scout, he just wants to hurt something….

Doggone/GA

July 29th, 2010
8:44 am

“how Jay’s essay is racist, please?”

Normal…I believe it comes under the mantra “anyone who criticizes Obama is a racist”

Scout

July 29th, 2010
8:44 am

Doggone/GA :

Sorry, I meant why isn’t Jay calling for impeachment.

BTW: Don’t you people trust OBAMA ?

Doggone/GA

July 29th, 2010
8:45 am

“I meant why isn’t Jay calling for impeachment”

Why should he? As I said, it’s already being done.

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:47 am

Scout – “why isn’t Jay calling for impeachment”

why should he? he never called for Bush’s impeachment

Normal

July 29th, 2010
8:47 am

Ken R,
Re-read my 8:37…and think a little.

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:47 am

Doggone – your 8:44 was missing an eyeroll … here you go :roll:

Scout

July 29th, 2010
8:48 am

Taxpayer:

Sorry, but you miss my point.

I’m merely pointing out the standard liberal hypocrisy.

stands for decibels

July 29th, 2010
8:48 am

because the Dems drafted articles of Impeachment once they took the majority in 2007.

Yep. Remember how Nancy Pelosi got right to work on that, in January?

Scout

July 29th, 2010
8:49 am

Doggone:

Don’t you trust someone you voted for ?

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:49 am

Normal,

“Does this mean the Bible was wrong?”

Not even going to go there :)

TaxPayer

July 29th, 2010
8:49 am

Hey, it’s not as though every corporation out there on the integrated web doesn’t already gather and use your most intimate surfing secrets to target ads and locally relevant political messages and what not already. So, why shouldn’t the government have the same rights as, say, BP or Exxon or Google or… After all, the government is just as much a person as any of them are and it has feelings too, dontcha know. Y’all should all apologize.

ty webb

July 29th, 2010
8:50 am

Normal,
Regarding your 8:42, Doggone took the words right off of my keyboard.

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:53 am

TaxPayer,

“So, why shouldn’t the government have the same rights as, say, BP or Exxon or Google or… ”

Or your iPhone or Droid…

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jT8Ubyd-4KT6_6NQtYnThQvtEvGQD9H8EK8G0

Normal

July 29th, 2010
8:53 am

Jewcowboy,

Not even going to go there

You’re no fun! :)

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:53 am

dB – 8:48 – JANUARY – heck, she started drafting them once she won in November so that they’d be ready to go with the new session …

oy. oy. oy. OY.

TaxPayer

July 29th, 2010
8:53 am

I’m merely pointing out the standard liberal hypocrisy.

So, you standin’ in front of a mirror.

Doggone/GA

July 29th, 2010
8:54 am

“Don’t you trust someone you voted for ?”

I don’t trust any politician…and as I’ve told you many times before, you REALLY need to get your crystal ball polished. It’s giving false readings. I didn’t vote for Obama.

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:55 am

“I’m merely pointing out the standard liberal hypocrisy”

but considering you’re WRONG, the “hypocrisy” claim doesn’t hold water.

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:56 am

“I have nothing to hide and if it helps catch crooks & terrorists good for them, you libs need to stop being so paranoid.”

That is missing the point entirely…this argument is one of the most simplistic and misguided ones put forward.

Scout

July 29th, 2010
8:57 am

Doggone: Could have fooled me.

USinUK: In your opinion dear …………… :o

Jay: Did you get Bob Barr’s permission to do this thread? You are stealing his thunder !

Normal

July 29th, 2010
8:57 am

Doggone,
Are you like me? If I don’t like the people running, I vote for myself in the write in column…

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:57 am

JCB – 8:56 – and yet they make it again … and again … and again … “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about”

Doggone/GA

July 29th, 2010
8:58 am

“Could have fooled me”

Apparently that’s not at all hard to do.

Doggone/GA

July 29th, 2010
8:59 am

“If I don’t like the people running, I vote for myself in the write in column…”

Never thought of that! I always write in Mickey Mouse. If you can’t trust a mouse, who CAN you trust? ;-)

stands for decibels

July 29th, 2010
8:59 am

So, why shouldn’t the government have the same rights as, say, BP or Exxon or Google or… After all, the government is just as much a person as any of them are and it has feelings too, dontcha know. Y’all should all apologize.

you exaggerate the implicit case being made by our Gubmint. by as much as 0.001%.

later, kids. Try not to spy on anyone without a warrant while I’m away.

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
8:59 am

Scout –

no, not in my opinion. Jay never called for Bush’s impeachment – therefore, he isn’t a hypocrite for not calling for Obama’s impeachment.

that’s like calling me a hypocrite for criticizing someone for a DUI when I’ve never GOTTEN a DUI, making your “hypocrite” accusation false on its face.

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
8:59 am

Normal,

“You’re no fun! ”

I know…I’m just sick of this column turning into a religious argument day in and day out.

G-Lion

July 29th, 2010
9:01 am

This governmental intrusion is EXACTLY the sort of thing the terrorists (anti-Americans) wanted to engender in the first place. They sought to destroy our way of government and living – and they have succeeded.

They have created an atmosphere where Americans are tearing the country apart from the inside – and we are complicit in their conspiracy.

Wire taps, un-warrant-ed searches and seizures, max of 3 stinking ounces of shampoo on an airplane, endless and mindless “security lines” at the airports — they clearly have changed our lives. And we allow them to continue to scare us into their way of living.

Scout

July 29th, 2010
9:01 am

Methinks Obama doesn’t want to be standing at the helm if another 9/11 goes down and he hasn’t done all he could.

Funny, how you see things differently when the buck stops with you.

TaxPayer

July 29th, 2010
9:01 am

At least my thoughts are still my own. I think.

Normal

July 29th, 2010
9:01 am

Off topic for a little bit, but if Corporates are now concidered people, do they have to register for the draft?

Scout

July 29th, 2010
9:02 am

Doggone/USinUK: In your opinion dears ………….. :o

Scout

July 29th, 2010
9:03 am

Normal:

How about women first?

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
9:03 am

USinUK,

“making your “hypocrite” accusation false on its face.”

“Conservatives” are just tired of having to defend the hypocrisy in almost all that they do. Just like they try to equate every Bush fiasco with an event in the Obama administration, while at the same time saying what Bush did was not a fiasco.

The trouble is..they just can’t sell it…

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
9:04 am

Normal,

“Off topic for a little bit, but if Corporates are now concidered people, do they have to register for the draft?”

Or get the death penalty?

TaxPayer

July 29th, 2010
9:06 am

I’m gonna start writing in “Normal” when I don’t like the other options too.

Lord Help Us

July 29th, 2010
9:06 am

Scout, ‘Doggone/USinUK: In your opinion dears…’

As are most of your posts…dear…

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
9:07 am

JCB – oh, they can sell it to the masses who like to leave their critical thinking in a jar by the door (not naming names or anything)

Bubba Bob

July 29th, 2010
9:08 am

I was a NO on the Patriot Act and I’m a NO on this.

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
9:08 am

Normal and JCB – I’d just be happy if they paid taxes … but that’s just me. YMMV

jewcowboy

July 29th, 2010
9:08 am

USinUK,

“oh, they can sell it to the masses who like to leave their critical thinking in a jar by the door ”

How right you are….

Doggone/GA

July 29th, 2010
9:08 am

“I’m gonna start writing in “Normal” when I don’t like the other options too.”

TaxPayer – OK, this reminds me of a story I heard about years ago. Seems that in some town I can’t at the moment recall, the parking cops would write “None” for any car that didn’t have a car license tag. Which was OK right up to the day some wag decided he wanted a vanity tag “None” and got flagged for thousands of dollars in parking fines!

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
9:09 am

TaxPayer – 9:06 – me, too!!

Normal – don’t be surprised if the secret service shows up at your door and escort you to take the oath of office …

Saul Good

July 29th, 2010
9:11 am

UsinUK…left you a message/reply downstairs… one of my dogs came back muddy from running in our stream and then rolling all over the place in the dirt… guess who’s getting a bath now! ru ohhh!

See ya’s in a bit.

popeye

July 29th, 2010
9:11 am

Well, why don’t we just call for his IMPEACHMENT like we would if he was Bill Clinton?

Fixed your typo.

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
9:11 am

oh … and by the way, good economic news this week …

today’s unemployment numbers are down by 11K
new home sales were up more than forecast
durable goods orders were up on the month after some monster numbers last month (making the hurdle even higher)

Jack

July 29th, 2010
9:12 am

I write letters using snail mail if I want it to be private.

USinUK

July 29th, 2010
9:14 am

Saul – you just made me wish we had a “take your dog to work” policy … (I love my sweet wondermutt)

Scout

July 29th, 2010
9:15 am

Lord Help Us :

That’s why we’re here ……… opinions …………. duh!