Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Real Threat

While we were all going on about cartoons, and making remarks about free speech rights being under threat, there were some more serious threats to free speech, expression and privacy. We ignored that Google agreed to block certain sites from popping up in searches in order to appease the Chinese government. In addition to that, Google agreed to keep records on its users in China. This week, it was revealed that in 2002
Yahoo! turned over evidence that got a Chinese dissident journalist arrested and sentenced to 8 years in prison. Apparently, Shi Tao had e-mailed a government memo that asked/urged/warned newspapers to be careful about how they covered of the 15th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Yahoo! revealed the name of the originator of the e-mail. According to this morning's Marketplace Report Microsoft has done similar things China.

Next week, the House committee on International Relations is holding hearings on the ethnical responsibiolities of US businesses doing business in China, and I imagine other similarly situated countries.

This week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalas is doing a real "Canine -Equistrian extravaganza" for the Senate Intelligence committee. He is basically holding the Adminsitration line. And Bush wants us to believe that wire tapping prevented attacks on LA. However, as I have heard it told, it was really because of cooperation with East Asian (I am going to bet it was Indonesia or the Phillippines) governments.

All of this should worry us for a lot for reasons. The first is that when you start to etch away at privacy rights, you are also etching away are other freedoms such as speech and expression as well as freedom from illegal searched and seizures. That is where the real threat to our first amendment rights lies, not with the protestations of Arab regimes. The cases of Yahoo! and Google should serve as reminders that when we use the internet, records do exist and if push comes to shove, they can be used against us. Thus, do we have an expectation of privacy on the internet? So far, we seem to think so, unless we are at work where we all sign waivers agreeing that we can be monitored. However, considering the pattern of the Bush Administration's illegality, we can't have much confidence in our legal protections anymore.


Anonymous said...

I really think part of the Democrat 2006 platform should be a Constitutional amendment to a right to privacy. Who doesn't like privacy?

// posted by Bell Curve

Dr. Strangelove said...

"Canine Equestrian Extravaganza"--what a great quote, USWest! As for Bell Curve's question re who doesn't like privacy, just ask the NSA. I'm sure they can provide you with a list...

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I stole that quote from Robert Kaplan's "Imperial Grunts". One of the Special ops guys said in regarding a visit by some big general to CentCom. I have been dying to use it. This was the perfect opportunity.

I said a while back, I am all for a Constitutional amendment for privacy. If the Reoublicans can try it for Gay Marriage, why can't we?

Notice how people treat the mere suggestion (not even the attempt) to offer a constitutional amendment as action? It is a gesture if nothing else. 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

I totally support a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing privacy rights. (I also totally support the concept that there are rights of individuals that the law should respect even if they're not specifically enumerated in the Constitution -- which is harder, getting an amendment passed or converting the judicial branch to my way of thinking? Tough call...)

Just to play devil's advocate, I wonder if the Democratic powers-that-be haven't jumped on this bandwagon because they're afraid that the Republicans will paint them as providing a friendly environment for terrorists. 9/11 is the Bush mantra, and the Dem "leadership" might be afraid of its mesmerizing power.


// posted by Bob

Anonymous said...

I think Bob's strategy is the easiest. And that's the strategy we've taken so far (i.e. judicial interpretation of existing constitutional passages).

US West's quote reminds me of a team name for our trivia quiz team once: Post mortem equine flagelation.

BTW: I'm on the platform committee of my local Democratic party and privacy figures very prominently. We even have an entire section of the platform relating to access to and privacy regarding the internet from both public and private invasions! 

// posted by Raised By Republicans