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This N.Y. Times story blew me away this morning, and I've seen no mention online, so here goes...

The Justice Department is asking Internet companies to keep records on the Web-surfing activities of their customers to aid law enforcement, and may propose legislation to force them to do so.

The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales held a meeting in Washington last Friday where they offered a general proposal on record-keeping to a group of senior executives ... from America Online, Microsoft, Google, Verizon and Comcast.

Apparently, Gonzales kicked off this confab by showing a bunch of child porn to the assembled Internet execs! Only in Bush's America! [There's more over the flip...C'mon!]

Yes, indeed, to set the mood, the man behind the torture memo wanted to show these corporate reps that if they were anti-spying, they were pro-child-porn. What better way to make this captive audience squirm than by a display of illegal child porn? ("A Clockwork Orange" comes to mind, doesn't it?):

 An executive of one Internet provider that was represented at the first meeting said Mr. Gonzales began the discussion by showing slides of child pornography from the Internet. But later, one participant asked Mr. Mueller why he was interested in the Internet records. The executive said Mr. Mueller's reply was, "We want this for terrorism."

Hmmm...a shifting rationale for spying on Americans, whom the Justice Dept. seemingly thinks of as a collection of pedophile terrorists. Maybe that's why they don't count our votes in national elections, at least not the ones cast for Democrats.

Anyway, what records do Gonzales and Mueller want to keep on Americans?

While initial proposals were vague, executives from companies that attended the meeting said they gathered that the department was interested in records that would allow them to identify which individuals visited certain Web sites and possibly conducted searches using certain terms.

It also wants the Internet companies to retain records about whom their users exchange e-mail with, but not the contents of e-mail messages, the executives said. The executives spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they did not want to offend the Justice Department.

Get that? They want a record of your surfing history (don't bother clearing it on your browser), terms you've searched on search engines and your e-mails. I wonder if Microsoft has a way of recording what you write in MS Word docs, or on Excel spreadsheets, because I'm sure that stuff must not fall under the Fourth Amendment protections against unwarranted searches.

One civil libertarian attended the meeting, incredible as it may sound. His take on this sh*t?

They also talked of their value in investigating other crimes like intellectual property theft and fraud, said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, who attended the session.

"It was clear that they would go beyond kiddie porn and terrorism and use it for general law enforcement," Mr. Rotenberg said.


"This is a sharp departure from current practice," he said. "Data retention is an open-ended obligation to retain all information on all customers for all purposes, and from a traditional Fourth Amendment perspective, that really turns things upside down."

Friends, Rotenberg's group EPIC has a web page full of good tools for maintaining your electronic privacy. If you haven't considered the need for surfing with a cloak or some privacy protection (ditto for e-mails) this diary should be your wake up call.  

Here's the EPIC page of privacy tools.

To bad we need to worry about this stuff. The U.S. Constitution is dead! Long live the Constitution!

Originally posted to redglare on Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 07:48 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tip jar n/t (5+ / 0-)


    For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

    --Mark Twain

    by redglare on Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 07:40:20 AM PDT

  •  Another brick in the Police State Wall (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    'Events are in the saddle and ride mankind.' Emerson

    by deepsouthdoug on Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 07:46:45 AM PDT

  •  I'm not so sure... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...they haven't been doing this, and now want to make it legal.  Retroactive legitimization seems to be their modus operandi.

    It just seems safer to question everything they do, every word they say, and every action they undertake first ... then decide it's benign after.

    Unfortunately, that's become pretty exhausting work.


    George, he may not be President ... but he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    by Kira April on Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 08:14:55 AM PDT

    •  I think they have software like Carnivore (0+ / 0-)

      that has read our e-mail, or tracked it. But this was the first I've heard of them demanding the records of our surfing habits.  It would certainly have a chilling effect, no?

      Of course, who knows what DIA and DARPA have cooked up in the basement of the Pentagram, I mean Pentagon. Wouldn't this contitute Total Information Awareness?


      For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

      --Mark Twain

      by redglare on Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 08:20:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  that could explain (0+ / 0-)

    how i ended up on the no-fly list sometime during the last 10 months.

    i guess i "gotta get my mind right".

    "Might does not make right but it sure makes what is." -Edward Abbey

    by elkhunter on Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 08:25:29 AM PDT

    •  You and the guy who wrote 'Bush's Brain' (0+ / 0-)

      ...about Karl Rove.
      And Senator Ted Kennedy.
      And Cat Stevens, the singer of "Peace Train."
      And a bunch of infants and toddlers.

      Are you "no-fly" or "selectee?"
      Have you contacted the TSA Ombudsman for an explination, redress?


      For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

      --Mark Twain

      by redglare on Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 08:32:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  or maybe my bumper stickers... (0+ / 0-)

        it was weird. they wouldn't give my wife seating assignments over the phone, as they always have in the past. at the airport i tried to check in at the kiosk since i had no carry-on, and it said I needed to go see a ticket agent, whom i promptly was ushered to. she was pretty cool, said i was on the no-fly list, (wife turns ashen), ran my driver's license, and that was it. no questions, no search. they did however jam us in the last row of the jet. and since we all now know how to tell who the air marshalls are (sport coats as we head into 90 degree temps- yes, he was right across the aisle a couple rows up.

        my brother says i must have an fbi file and should file a foia request.

        "Might does not make right but it sure makes what is." -Edward Abbey

        by elkhunter on Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 08:42:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sounds like you're a selectee, or she was joking (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The TSA keeps two lists -- "No-Fly" and "Selectee." If you were truly on  the No-Fly list, you would have NEVER made it onto the plane. The FBI would have been called and you would have been detained or arrested. The "No-Fly" is for known or suspected terrorists or threats to security. The "Selectee" list  means you're singled out for extra scrutiny by security. If you're on this list for real, you should find out why via the TSA Ombudsman, and leave PLENTY O' TIME beforehand to make your plane, since security is going to be extra interested in you from now on.

          Good luck!


          For business reasons, I must preserve the outward sign of sanity.

          --Mark Twain

          by redglare on Fri Jun 02, 2006 at 08:53:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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