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Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to violate the U.S. Constitution once again. They voted to pass a law that undermines the Fourth Amendment.
The vote I am referring to is the passage of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). It passed 288-127 and now goes to the U.S. Senate.
This law allows the U.S. government to retrieve personal data from private technology firms without need for a court-ordered warrant.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was put in place specifically to protect citizens against the U.S. government accessing personal information about you without a warrant.
Here is the text of that Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Why would Congress vote to pass a bill that allows the U.S. government to spy on American citizens without a warrant?
4 of Oklahoma’s 5 U.S. Representative’s voted in favor of this bill. Rep. Jim Bridenstine was the lone crusader from our state’s Congressional delegations for the Fourth Amendment.
Bridenstine said that he voted against it because “it went too far…” and that it is “too vague a standard by which to render all other federal and state privacy laws…”
The authors of the bill, Rep. Rogers (R-MI) and Rep. Ruppersberger (D-MD) have argued that the bill does not violate the Constitution because it protects privacy and ensures that the information that will be used contains no personal information.
This argument raises the question, however, if the information that can be retrieved contains no personal information, why was there no provision in the bill the explicitly stated this fact?
Specifically, according to the bill, these private companies are not required to strip out personally identifiable information from the data they hand over to the government and they are exempt from any lawsuits from private citizens if they do include this information with the data they hand over to the government. In other words, if they give the government your personal information, you can’t sue them for breach of privacy. In essence, when it comes to your information in the cyber universe, there is no long such a thing as privacy once this bill is passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Obama.
As mentioned earlier, this bill now goes to the U.S. Senate to debate and vote on. Make sure that you contact your Senators and urge them not to violate the Fourth Amendment and vote NO on this travesty of privacy and constitutional rights.
The tagline from another local blog Axxiom for Liberty is appropriate at this time:
“How free do you want to be?”