Friday, September 30, 2011

It's not all bad news!

In what I consider the best news I have heard in 10 years, a federal judge has struck down two provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT as unconstitutional!  The judge recognized that the act illegally circumvented the probable cause requirements of the Fourth 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.
The Federal government, since 2001, has been asserting that it needs no warrants, needs no probable cause, needs essentially, only an accusation against anyone - anyone at all - in order to surveil them, to snoop through their phone or bank records, to order companies to disclose sensitive information about their clients, and even to listen to their calls or rifle through their offices. This ruling is so important in the struggle to contain authoritarian government that we all should take a moment to celebrate.

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