Monday, February 10, 2003

Those of you interested in politics/technology/privacy issues, check out Declan McCullagh's Politech list.

Here's the beginning of Declan's weekly column...

Perspectives: Ashcroft's worrisome spy plans
By Declan McCullagh
February 10, 2003, 4:00 AM PT

WASHINGTON--Attorney General John Ashcroft wants even more power to snoop on the Internet, spy on private conversations and install secret microphones, spyware and keystroke loggers.

Ashcroft's Justice Department has quietly crafted a whopping 120-page proposal that represents the boldest attack yet on our electronic privacy in the name of thwarting future terrorist attacks. The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity posted the draft legislation, which reads like J. Edgar Hoover's wish list, on its Web site Friday.

Called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA), the legislation has not been formally introduced in Congress, and a representative for Ashcroft indicated on Friday that it's a work in progress. But the fact that the legislation is under consideration already, before we know the effects of its USA Patriot Act predecessor, should make us realize that the Bush administration thinks "homeland security" is the root password to the Constitution.

Don't believe me? Keep reading and peruse some of DSEA's highlights:
o The FBI and state police would be able to eavesdrop on what Web
sites you visit, what you search for with Google and with whom you
chat through e-mail and instant messaging--all without a court order
for up to 48 hours. That's if you're suspected of what would become a
new offense of "activities threatening the national security

o Currently police can seek a warrant to "require the disclosure by a
provider of electronic communication service of the contents of an
electronic communication." Under existing law, police must notify the
target of an investigation except in rare cases such as when witnesses
may be intimidated or a prospective defendant might flee. DSEA allows
police to delay notification for three months simply by citing
"national security."

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