FBI to access your Internet records?

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It was hard deciding whether a news item that popped up yesterday should be the Stupid Thing of the Week or the Seriously F’d Up Thing of the Week. Either way, it’s seriously stupid and F'd up.  The Washington Post reported yesterday that the Justice Department wants to go the Bush administration one better on snooping into Americans’ lives. It seems the DOJ has been pressuring Congress to expand the department’s power to access records of Americans’ private internet activity.

That’s disturbing enough, but the way the DOJ wants to go about it is just as bad: by using National Security Letters. NSLs are one of the most insidious government surveillance tactics to be expanded by the Stalinization of  America Act, oops,we mean the Patriot Act. NSLs allow the FBI to demand information and data from e-mail providers and phone companies about ordinary citizens’ private communications. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the letters include gag orders that bar recipients from ever revealing the letters’ existence to friends, coworkers, family members or,  needless to say, the general public. Even more incredible is that the Justice Dept. is making this new power grab just two years after a DOJ investigation revealed that the FBI has routinely abused the power given them by NSLs.

The DOJ's request to allow the FBI access to your detailed Web browsing history, search history, location information, or even Facebook friend requests, is, well, we were going to say “dumbfounding,” but frankly, it’s scary as hell. As if Bush & Cheney weren’t bad enough — now Obama’s DOJ is trying to pull this crap? Let the White House, as well as your representatives and senators, know how you feel about it.

Illustration by Micah Wright / Remix Project
  • Illustration by Micah Wright / Remix Project

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