Saturday, June 24, 2006

Calling All Sheep…

It was announced today that numerous federal and local law enforcement agencies across the country are gathering Americans’ phone records from private data brokers without warrant or subpoena. Many of these brokers who often market on the Internet, have broken into customer online accounts and tricked phone companies into revealing personal information, even admitting that their practices violate federal law. The fact that the law enforcement agencies rely on obtaining private information from vendors who openly break the law is disturbing. Legal experts and privacy advocates are very concerned that police actions, bypassing subpoena requirements to obtain private citizens phone records raise serious civil liberty questions.

Experts believe that hundreds of municipal police departments frequently use such services, as do the Department of Homeland Security, The FBI and The U.S. Marshals Service. When are we going to put an end to this? People wake up! This is clearly a violation of the rights and protections provided under the Constitution. This is big stuff and the average American could care less. Why…because the average American has the attention span of a sheep. I’m sorry bahhh its true. These departments continually request information from these companies because they do not have to get a warrant or subpoena. It is a loophole that must be closed. According to Ana Bueno, a police investigator in Redwood City California, her department is requesting any and all information that these companies have regarding cell phone information and account information, including account activity and the account holders address. Can anyone say probable cause? You see the loophole allows the government to circumvent the constitution by purchasing private information that is publicly available, even though the companies providing the data have obtained the information illegally. Congressional investigators estimate that the federal government alone spent over $30 million dollars last year buying personal data from private brokers. These numbers greatly understate the breadth of these transactions since brokers rarely if ever charge law enforcement agencies.

We should feel relieved that congress is set to investigate the matter as the House Energy and Commerce investigations subcommittee plans to begin hearings today. The who is doing what? They might as well let my mother investigate the case, as it would probably get farther than it will in the House Energy and Commerce investigations subcommittee. I’ll bet you a dollar to a doughnut that nothing ever comes of this investigation, it will be business as usual for the government and there is no one but us sheep to blame. Isn’t it obvious that our government, led by President Knucklehead will stoop to any means in order to get what it wants? Taking too much flack over the NSA wiretapping scandal? Purchase the information from criminal agencies. They don’t need a warrant and you don’t have to arrest them. These companies use trickery, impersonation and technology to gather information on phone records or any other private information they think is profitable. James Bearden, a Texas lawyer who represents four such data brokers, compares the actions of the companies in question to the actions of the NSA, which reportedly compiles phone records of ordinary private Americans. Bearden is on record as saying that these companies are being demonized for doing exactly what the government is doing, adding that many of these companies under investigation are partners with law enforcement agencies on a regular basis. James you are wrong, only our benevolent government has the right to illegally initiate and operate programs such as this. Many of the executives summoned to testify before Congress plan to invoke their Fifth Amendment Rights against self-incrimination…if those rights still exist.

It is amazing how it works though. Numerous federal agencies and local police departments have instructed their agents to stop the practice after Congressional inquiries, scattering like cockroaches when you turn on the lights. This practice is pernicious and is an end around the Fourth Amendment plain and simple. Law enforcement agencies are encouraging people in the private sector to commit crimes in order to get the information they want. As I have stated in earlier entries, the NSA and other intelligence agencies routinely ignore the Fourth Amendment protections provided in the Constitution. Their actions are now becoming public and thus a matter of public debate in a critical election year. So they have simply changed their methods.

So the war continues, not on terror but on the Constitution. Not on Islamic fundamentalism but on the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. When are we going to wake up? When are we going to say enough is truly enough? When are we going to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and the actions of their minions? Again I assert that average Americans are ignorant sheep and our government knows it, in fact it is banking on it. See the problem with sheep is that as long as they have grass to eat, water to drink and a hillside to roam they are fat and happy. The problem with sheep is that they never worry about tomorrow or the long-term consequences regarding the actions of their sheppard. The problem with sheep is they don’t vote. Are you a sheep?

Think About it.

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