The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual's Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.
The administration wants to add just four words -- "electronic communication transactional records" -- to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user's browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the "content" of e-mail or other Internet communication.
Sorry folks, but from a privacy and civil liberties stand point, the "need" to intercept terrorist plots just doesn't outweigh the Constitutional directive to protect citizens from warrantless search and seizure. And rooting around in my browser history and diving into my email traffic is the modern equivalent of compiling a list of my known associates, or even worse, the Blacklists that were generated during the Red Scare of the 1950's. This sort of thing is what rogue nations do; it is historically the tool of authoritarian states like the Soviet Union and 1930's Germany where the government used fear and active spying to undermine the fabric of society. An nation divided against itself is a nation that is easy to manipulate.
And it comes from a Democrat too now, not just a Republican. Shame on Mr. Obama for even considering it. And shame on us for voting for him.