PHILLY POST: President Obama wants your favorite websites—Facebook and Google, and more —to revamp their systems so that government agents can easily plug into them via a backdoor and monitor your IMs, your DMs, your emails, and all the other communication you use on the Internet. Basically: He wants the Internet rebuilt, piece by piece, so the government can more easily spy on you. Charlie Savage outlines the proposal in today’s New York Times:
The new proposal focuses on strengthening wiretap orders issued by judges. Currently, such orders instruct recipients to provide technical assistance to law enforcement agencies, leaving wiggle room for companies to say they tried but could not make the technology work. Under the new proposal, providers could be ordered to comply, and judges could impose fines if they did not.
Under the proposal, officials said, for a company to be eligible for the strictest deadlines and fines — starting at $25,000 a day — it must first have been put on notice that it needed surveillance capabilities, triggering a 30-day period to consult with the government on any technical problems.
Such notice could be the receipt of its first wiretap order or a warning from the attorney general that it might receive a surveillance request in the future, officials said, arguing that most small start-ups would never receive either.
• The underlying presumption that you only get to have the secrets that government allows you to keep. I haven’t built that room for the government in my house. I haven’t handed over the house keys to the FBI. Perhaps falsely, I feel secure in my surroundings. I understand the government’s interest in investigating crimes and terrorism, and I want the government to be successful at that endeavor. That doesn’t mean I have to actually put out a welcome mat, though. MORE
JONATHAN TURLEY, LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN: Protecting individual rights and liberties — apart from the right to be tax-free — seems barely relevant to candidates or voters. One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States. Civil libertarians have long had a dysfunctional relationship with the Democratic Party, which treats them as a captive voting bloc with nowhere else to turn in elections. Not even this history, however, prepared civil libertarians for Obama. After the George W. Bush years, they were ready to fight to regain ground lost after Sept. 11. Historically, this country has tended to correct periods of heightened police powers with a pendulum swing back toward greater individual rights. Many were questioning the extreme measures taken by the Bush administration, especially after the disclosure of abuses and illegalities. Candidate Obama capitalized on this swing and portrayed himself as the champion of civil liberties.
However, President Obama not only retained the controversial Bush policies, he expanded on them. The earliest, and most startling, move came quickly. Soon after his election, various military and political figures reported that Obama reportedly promised Bush officials in private that no one would be investigated or prosecuted for torture. In his first year, Obama made good on that promise, announcing that no CIA employee would be prosecuted for torture. Later, his administration refused to prosecute any of the Bush officials responsible for ordering or justifying the program and embraced the “just following orders” defense for other officials, the very defense rejected by the United States at the Nuremberg trials after World War II. […] In time, the election of Barack Obama may stand as one of the single most devastating events in our history for civil liberties. MORE
PHAWKER: Fuck this and fuck him. We spend six years defending his ass from racist right wing fucktards and this is the thanks we get? Those who forget East Germany are doomed to repeat it. Watch this. Be afraid. Be very afraid.