the aclu on obama
random friday, 1989 edition: biz markie, "just a friend"

a follow-up post

Ellen Nakashima in the Washington Post:

The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual's Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation. …

To critics, the move is another example of an administration retreating from campaign pledges to enhance civil liberties in relation to national security. The proposal is "incredibly bold, given the amount of electronic data the government is already getting," said Michelle Richardson, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel.

The critics say its effect would be to greatly expand the amount and type of personal data the government can obtain without a court order. "You're bringing a big category of data -- records reflecting who someone is communicating with in the digital world, Web browsing history and potentially location information -- outside of judicial review," said Michael Sussmann, a Justice Department lawyer under President Bill Clinton who now represents Internet and other firms.

As Susie Madrak notes over at Crooks and Liars:

See, here's the problem with these relentless expansions of executive power: I don't actually believe that the Obama administration is interested in putting me under surveillance for criticizing their policies. But they're sure as hell making it a lot easier for a paranoid Republican administration to do it -- not to mention loose cannon FBI agents who simply want to ignore the rules. In a democracy, the way it's supposed to work is, we have laws that will protect us even when the bad guys are in charge …