Just as we thought the USA PATRIOT Act was to expire, the Senate voted 67-32 to pass the USA FREEDOM Act. Now we’re expected this legislation is about FREEDOM… but far from it. The propaganda tells us one thing.
But the reality is quite something else. Here are just a couple of ways the FREEDOM Act is worse than the PATRIOT Act:
- The recent decision of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the bulk collection of American citizens’ telecommunications information was not authorized by the USA PATRIOT Act means that the bulk collection of American citizens’ telecommunications information was an illegal act. The government was breaking the law each time it grabbed our metadata. The moment the FREEDOM was signed by President Obama that same activity became legal. How is making an unconstitutional and illegal act into a legal one a benefit to civil liberties?
The FREEDOM Act turns private telecommunications companies into agents of state security. They will be required to store our personal information and hand it over to state security organs upon demand. It would seem this is a way to manipulate the Constitution since Americans are Constitutionally protected from the prying eyes of Government… but NOT from the prying eyes of Corporations.
- The FREEDOM Act turns private telecommunications companies into depositories of “pre-crime” data for future use of state security agencies. It is a classic authoritarian move for the state to co-opt and subsume the private sector. Once the FREEDOM Act was signed, Americans’ telecommunications information will be retained by the telecommunications companies for the use of state security agencies in potential future investigations. In other words, an individual under no suspicion of any crime and thus deserving full Fourth and Fifth Amendment protection will nevertheless find himself providing evidence against his future self should that person ever fall under suspicion. That is not jurisprudence in a free society. How is this different than what the Nazi regime did in collecting information on its citizens?
- The FREEDOM Act provides liability protection for the telecommunications firms who steal and store our private telecommunications information. In other words, there is not a thing you can do about the theft as long as the thief is a “private” agent of the state.