TMCnews Featured Article
January 02, 2013
President Obama Extends Warrantless Wiretapping Law
By Oliver VanDervoort, Contributing Writer
The New Year brought some bad news to people who are already concerned about their privacy being infringed upon by the United States government. While warrantless wiretapping has been a practice of the United States, when it comes to monitoring foreign nationals and phone calls to foreign nations some hoped the practice would end with the end of the Bush administration. Yesterday, President Barack Obama made sure that the practice would actually continue for at least the next five years by signing an extension of the law that made the wiretapping possible.
The “warrantless intercept program” was due to expire at the end of 2012, but the renewal of the bill gained passage from the Senate on Friday and the President officially signed it into law yesterday. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows the United States to intercept and monitor phones calls that are placed to contacts overseas. The federal government can also read and monitor e-mails that are coming and going to e-mail addresses that are based outside the United States.
Those who are in favor of the bill are quick to point out that the US government cannot spy on American citizens in the same way. The problem for those who value their privacy is that parts of the bill allow the government to get warrants through a private court. Many people have claimed that the requirements to get warrants through a FISA court are usually quite a bit more lax (despite being made up of 11 district judges that have been picked by the US Supreme Court) than they would be through a more open court system. People generally don't know that the warrants have been attained, so the government is indeed able to spy on citizens almost completely in secret for all intents and purposes.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman