Whatever happened to the Fourth Amendment and our privacy? How about free speech on the Internet?
Remember that the Fourth Amendment protects US citizens from the government coming into our homes, searching us or our stuff, and requires a detailed search warrant.
Between the Patriot Act passed after 9/11 and this year’s Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) our government is running roughshod over not only the Fourth Amendment but infringing on the First Amendment’s right to free speech.
Big Brother really has arrived.
The Patriot Act has allowed our government to spy on us in ways that are utterly unprecedented.
SOPA forces private businesses like Internet service providers (ISP) to become extensions of law enforcement agencies. The music and movies industries lobbied the government for this act in light of dwindling revenues due to pirating. The problem is that this bypasses due process and allows the shutdown of websites based upon discretion of industry instead of law enforcement.
CISPA takes the Patriot Act combined with SOPA in a whole new direction by forcing private business to share information about individuals like internet usage or web sites visited. Without due process, CISPA then allows any and all government agencies to have access to that information.
What these laws mean is that the government is deciding they no longer need to follow procedures and rights laid out in the Constitution.
You may be saying to yourself that this doesn’t affect you -- you don’t break the law, and the end justifies the means if it results in stopping crooks and terrorists.
The Constitution had these procedures and rights built in by our Founding Fathers to protect us from the abuses of government they escaped in Europe. Government interference begins small and incrementally becomes repressive and oppressive.
Tyrannical use of government powers litter human history. Hundreds of millions of people throughout history have died at the hands of government actions. Just in the 20th century alone roughly 100 million people lost their lives due to government oppression, genocide, opposition purges, attempts at control, and more.
There are examples of tyranny all across the world today in China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, and more. Oh wait, it isn’t just autocratic regimes either, Google is sharing information that our beloved western democracies are behaving like police states as well.
Every single time you use a Google product like their search engine or gmail, they track you, and you gave them permission. I’ve written about their potentially onerous privacy policies before. Consider that the next time you sit down in front of your computer or open the flap on your iPad.
With all this data gathered about you, governments are deeply interested, and Google is now sharing some of what governments request. Google has what they call the Transparency Report to let all of us know what governments are doing to suppress information of a political nature and shutdown sites, videos, links and more. Google released their fifth and latest update just the other day.
From the latest update announcement regarding the United States:
The number of content removal requests we received increased by 103% compared to the previous reporting period.
Not only is our government attempting to pass unnecessary legislation that impedes on First and Fourth Amendment rights, they are attempting to expand government powers into areas that should greatly alarm us all. With passing of these laws we have further crept from a free republic into a police state.
Be aware when using modern communications. The government and its minions really are watching you. Let your Representative and Senators know how you feel. Tell them to vote against CISPA, SOPA, and any Patriot Act extensions that violate our Constitutional rights. Think about this topic in the elections this fall.
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