• Government surveillance programs apparently are not just for spying.
• Regional "fusion centers" administered by the Department of Homeland Security appear to use surveillance as a pretext...
...for psychological harassment, control over individual telecommunications accounts... and prior restraint and/or censorship of political speech and personal internet telecommunications.
• ACLU: Sue the government on THESE grounds -- which cannot be excused under any reasonable interpretation of the Patriot Act.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS BY VIC LIVINGSTON
Columnist, NowPublic.com/scrivener; former investigative/business reporter, NY Daily News, Phila. Bulletin, St. Petersburg (FL) Times; former editor, CableVision and TV/Radio Age magazines
As readers of KOS and the ACLU blog may know, I am a journalist whose telecommunications have been sabotaged for five years — from hijacked passwords and the hijacking of control over my computer connection, to malicious tampering with content and outright censorship of my political speech and my ability to browse and post to certain web sites.
I have memorialized many of these affronts in a running contemporaneous journal posted to the "free speech" section of this blog (thank you, ACLU).
Here is that link:
Non-Active link: blog.aclu.org/2009/01/26/internet-filters-voluntary-ok-not-government-mandate/#comments
But it takes more than a recitation of alleged abuses to correct these blatant infringements of basic constitutional rights — not just the first amendment right of free speech, but freedom from unreasonable search and seizure of my internet connection, and freedom from the government’s use of telecommunications as a tool of psychological harassment, control, prior restraint and outright censorship.
I m encouraging the ACLU to file a class-action suit against government warrantless surveillance on these grounds. I ask that all KOS readers join in this effort.
This is not a matter of the government’s declared right to perform surveillance on American citizens if it does not actually disclose the collected information (a dubious claim, for sure).
This case involves the use of telecommunications as an instrument to CONTROL telecommunications, and to harass citizens whose political speech does not meet with the approval of fusion center totalitarians.
I have reason to believe the DHS fusion center in Newtown, PA, near my home, is responsible for these egregious violations of my rights -- and that state and local officials also may be complicit.
These infringements have materially affected my ability to pursue my journalism career, and also have resulted in other related damages stemming from the blatant interference with my ability to use the internet — and even to compose on my personal computer.
My telephone and internet communications remain subject to such interference, even interception. Important email typically does not draw a response.
ACLU, please consider these alternate grounds for a class-action suit that would restore the constitutional rights of all users of telecommunications — and result in a recovery of damages suffered at the hands of totalitarians in government at all levels — federal, state and local.
That is the only way these abuses can be stopped — through legal action that results in official accountability and punitive sanctions.
NON-ACTIVE LINK: My.NowPublic.com/scrivener