Ominous indeed - are blogs really under Patriot Act FBI powers?
An article in the Village Voice highlights a win for American values and liberty as a particularly heinous part of the Patriot Act has been struck down by a Federal District Judge. But it is also offers a chilling reminder of just how far reaching and anti-American this act really is.
"The provision we challenged [that the judge struck down]," says Jaffer, "allows the FBI to issue NSLs against 'wire or electronic service communication providers.' Telephone companies and Internet service providers [are included.]"
Federal District Judge Victor Marrero, who made possible an historical legal victory against the Bush Governement just recently, when on September 28, 2004, a decision he personally took in New York in John Doe, American Civil Liberties Union v. John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Judge Marrero struck down as unconstitutional on Fourth and First Amendment grounds section 505 of the Patriot Act that had greatly increased the government's capacity to secretly get large amounts of personal information by sending out National Security Letters, which do not require a judge's approval.
Source: Village Voice
He also noted that the FBI could also use an NSL "to discern the identity of someone whose anonymous web log, or 'blog,' is critical of the Government."
According to the Village article what is even more disturbing is the fact that each and everyone of these NSLs (National Security Letters) come with a full gag order.
The recipients of the NSLs are in fact prohibited from ever disclosing that the FBI has demanded information from them, and they cannot even inform their lawyers of such requests. According to judge Marrero all such gag orders are issued in perpetuity, and "with no vehicle for the ban to ever be lifted from the recipient."
Please notice also that NSLs are sent out without the requirement of a judge previous approval.
Read that again.
This an issue affecting directly all bloggers, and not just the ones that deal with political issues. If you believe that the right for bloggers to maintain full freedom of speech and to manifest their ideas without fearing censorship is vital don't sit back after reading this.
If you are a blogger make a post about it.
If you are not, place a comment on your favourite blogs and please suggest your favourite writers to raise everyone awareness on such issues.
Or are you going to let this one go to?