Three Articles You Should Read About the Mass. Wiretapping Bill

Martha Coakley looking disapproving

Martha Coakley Disapproves of the Internet

If you’re concerned about your personal security, be sure to check these three articles of the upcoming Mass. Wiretapping Bill.

With increasing coverage by local bloggers and alternative media, as well as not one but two bills in the works to counter our beloved AG’s proposal; this spring should be interesting on Beacon Hill!

MassPirates.org

“Why you should oppose the AG’s Mass. electronic wiretapping bill”

“The text of the AG’s bill to expand electronic wiretapping is not available officially yet, though CDFAR managed to get a copy, but Alex was kind enough to let me post his analysis of it.  The AG clearly wants to the ability to spy on us for the flimsiest of reasons and make it easier to spy on us in bulk:

The new Coakley bill, “An Act Updating the Wire Interception Law”, under a microscope

Want to know the details of what the new Coakley bill, An Act Updating the Wire Interception Law, really includes? Wonderful. I can already tell we’re going to be friends.” – James O’Keefe

Warrentless.org (CDFAR)

The new Coakley bill, “An Act Updating the Wire Interception Law”, under a microscope

“Want to know the details of what the new Coakley bill, An Act Updating the Wire Interception Law, really includes? Wonderful. I can already tell we’re going to be friends.

Here’s an advance hint: What do simple marijuana possession,annoying telephone calls, burglary, neglecting to depart a public assembly on the orders of police, failing to display the correct posters relating to the illegality of firearms and explosives in your school, and the sale of arrowheads used for hunting, have in common?

If you guessed “It isn’t legal in Massachusetts right now to take out an electronic wiretapping warrant for offenses this minor, but it would be under this bill”, then congratulations, you win the Grand Prize.

On, to a more detailed discussion!

There are three main points of this legislation:

1) To remove the requirement that an electronic wiretapping warrant be connected with organized crime, or indeed with serious crimes more generally.

2) To legalize mass interception of communications at telecommunications switching stations, rather than through individual wiretaps on individual phone numbers.

3) To double the length of an authorized wiretap, from 15 to 30 days.

A long-standing frustration of law enforcement in Massachusetts has been that the electronic wiretapping statute was drafted in response to the problem of organized crime specifically, rather than being devised to cover a certain set of the most serious crimes. So, in order to take out an electronic wiretapping warrant, law enforcement has first had to demonstrate that there is an ongoing investigation connected to organized crime, of which the wiretap would be a part.” – Alex Marthews

“You Are Note Alone: The Fight for Electronic Privacy Reaches Beacon Hill”

Boston Phoenix –

Your tinfoil-hat fears about Big Brother might be justified. To the consternation of libertarians and lefties alike, in 2011 President Barack Obama renewed the Patriot Act, and kicked off last year by authorizing the imprisonment of citizens without charge or trial. Not scary enough? With America already surfing the slippery slope of surrendered civil liberties, 2012 ended with another whopper: in late December, the House of Representatives voted to extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). That means virtually everyone is still vulnerable to warrantless eavesdropping and wiretapping.

Liberty has scored a few wins over the last few years; a clarification by Attorney General Eric Holder’s office regarding the right to record cop activity, as expressed in a May memo to the Baltimore Police Department, was viewed as a particular victory. But overall, in the realm of privacy, Americans are increasingly exposed to an Uncle Sam who’s become a Peeping Tom. In 2011, for example, law-enforcement agencies made roughly 1.3 million demands to cellphone carriers for text messages and other information. Thanks to the growing global surveillance state propagated by the National Security Administration and other all-seeing agencies, spying has metastasized to an alarming degree.” – Chris Faraone

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