Or, The Newest Proposal to Spy on Everyone in Your Entire Family

Apparently, the Republican Administration wants to keep even closer tabs on what you are doing in the privacy of your home than it does now. Brian Roehrkasse, a Justice Department Spokesman, seems to have admitted in a June 2, 2006 story by Knight Ridder newspaper reporter, Elise Ackerman, that the Bush administration wants to force internet companies, including your own provider, to keep detailed records for years on everything you happen to visit on the web so that the government can examine them at its leisure. This goes well beyond the spying in bulk on your conversations without any warrants or judicial supervision that has already been disclosed.

Think about that. The Republican Administration fought hard, viciously so, to prevent any records from being kept on who is buying guns. Certain federal gun records on purchasers can only be kept for literally hours, this even after 9/11. Republicans seem to be uninterested in keeping track of who wants to buy armor piercing sniper rifles capable of bringing down airliners. Yet, as to what you and your family members merely look at on the internet, access by government agencies is being demanded. Remember, the government is not seeking to uncover what you do with the information, but merely what you elect to examine in the privacy of your home, which would include your political affiliations and how you happen to feel about the current administration. If this latest incursion into your personal privacy is legally allowed as has been proposed, all would be an open book to bureaucrats and politician’s curiosity, not to mention the ISP technical employees who have been hired off the street to store the data about you and your unsuspecting family.

If you don’t like the risks of identity theft due to the records already on line (or at the Veterans Administration for instance), think what someone with a malicious mind (or for that matter an insurance company deciding on whether to allow you insurance coverage) could do with, say, a list of just the medical web pages you or your family members might be searching.

Plus, as a humorous bonus, you and your internet service provider end up picking up the increased tab to help the government spy on you. Poetic justice for you not protesting.

Attorney General Gonzales, the Bush picked head of the now ironically titled “Justice” Department, has of course proclaimed the usual justifications that it is desperately needed to ferret out terrorists (or pornographers or whatever he thinks sounds good to the voters) and that such criminals could not be caught any other way. (No mention is made of course as to the spectacular lack of success for the billions already spent trying to catch terrorists by similar almost random spying on and data mining of Americans.) He also naturally pretends no one unauthorized could ever have access and that it would never be used for any other purposes. And, he passionately mouths the usual pablum that it would only be accessed after “appropriate legal processes.''

Since however the AG has already publically argued that if Boss Bush wants it, neither Constitution restrictions, Congressional laws, nor Court orders apply, such reassurances by him are not very comforting. That’s even assuming the records scattered around and duplicated somehow could be made safe from outside criminals, hackers, Republican campaign contributors or just deceitful employees.

The fact that Attorney General Gonzales even proposed this latest scheme of his for spying on you is bad enough. Combined with his refusal to seek actually useful information for combating terrorism such as who has weapons, strongly suggests the real purpose may be more to obtain security for retaining his ruling party in office than security against terrorists.

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