In a move that chills my bones yesterday George Bush attained congressional approval to make “a massive expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” (FISA). This security upgrade provides FISA with “the power to order Google, AT&T and Yahoo to forward to the government all e-mails, phone calls and text messages where one party to the conversation is thought to be overseas.” Source, Wired Blog Network.
So what does this mean to you? Obviously this is being done to catch terrorists and protect the American people… a noble pursuit without a doubt. Unfortunately, it also cuts off 3 vital methods of once private communication that journalists were able to utilize when researching stories using foreign contacts. After all, there is no way a journalist can feel comfortable connecting with a foreign source if they know the source is unprotected by journalistic confidentiality. As a result, a short time after the bill was passed the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit today challenging the constitutionality of the bill. More information on that is available in the Wired posting that alerted me to this travesty of privacy.
This all makes me wonder how much more biased the news will become when responsible journalists can’t continue to police the government because their sources are too afraid to come forward. I don’t know about you but I have always felt that uncensored journalism was one of the linchpins of free speech that made democratic societies possible.
Oh There’s More! What About You and I?
Journalistic rights are one thing but what about my fellow Canadians that use Gmail or for that matter anyone outside of the USA using Gmail? Since we are foreign users of Gmail are all of our emails subject to inspection? I realize this whole line of questioning begs the question… “why… what do you have to hide?” Well I am sorry but that just doesn’t hold water, we all have a right to privacy and this latest erosion of civil rights in America sets an Orwellian precedent and has international, long-term repercussions that just plain frighten me.
What do you have to say about this latest bill? I realize this is hot topic for many… in fact I would usually avoid the subject on our corporate blog but I feel it is just too important to shake off. I would love to hear views from our American and international readers on this.
Thanks, now I hand the pulpit to you.