Thursday, November 10, 2005

Patriot Act May Be Limited

The Associated Press is reporting that Congress is looking to curb some of the Patriot Act. It won't allow the Patriot Act to expire, but it finally will allow legal challenges to "national security letters giving the government secret access to people's phone and e-mail records, financial data and favorite Internet sites."

Under the 2001 law, the FBI reportedly has been issuing about 30,000 national security letters annually, a hundred-fold increase since the 1970s, when they first came into existence under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

We don't personally know anyone for whom the FBI has issued a national security letter. But then, we have no way of knowing if we know someone for whom the FBI has issued a national security letter. That's one of the worst parts of the Patriot Act (horribly, disrepectfully named): you don't know if you're being investigated, for what, or why, and most importantly, there's nothing you can do about it if and when you find out.

We use to refer to this as a Police State in communist countries.

And don't pull out that BS about one shouldn't be worried if one has nothing to hide. If you truly believe that, I'd like to see your financial records, a list of all the web sites you have visited, your social security number, and a list of all videos you've rented in the past five years.

What's that? It's none of my business? If you have nothing to hide, why won't you share that information with me and the rest of the world? By the way, when may I come inspect your house?

Checks and balances. The founders of our country believed they were extremely important. Why don't Republicans?