(Via NY Times.)
As if it wasn’t bad enough that Homeland Security has decreed that they can indefinitely hold your laptop upon crossing the border back into the United States, it appears now that the FBI may soon be able to carry out investigations against people without any necessary cause.
WASHINGTON — A Justice Department plan would loosen restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation to allow agents to open a national security or criminal investigation against someone without any clear basis for suspicion, Democratic lawmakers briefed on the details said Wednesday.
I’m already disturbed enough by the Homeland Security measure. It makes me feel as if it completely defeats the purpose of me taking my personal laptop with me abroad to avoid using insecure terminals while in other countries. Why should I even bother if they could just confiscate my machine for as long as they feel like, taking with it most of my relevant work and documents with it? There’s no compensation for such a seizure. It contains virtually all of my laboratory research data that I maintain in a digital format. In lieu of not being able to access it, do I really want to trust them with all of this information? For the amount of information that is being “lost” these days, I frankly do not feel comfortable with an agency attempting to scour through my data for whatever they feel like searching for.
I do not feel as if I have anything that needs to be hidden. I do protect passwords and other account or sensitive information in the reliable fashions that are at my disposal. This is really just a blatant invasion of privacy, however. Some of the rationale for this decision was to prevent the trafficking of illegal materials into the national from foreign sources. Seriously, did you people really think this was the means by which to do it? Oh, nope, I’m sorry, you’re right. You’re likely going to consider deep packet inspection as well. Might as well tap and monitor all of our communications means at this point, right?
With these breeches in our own privacy being threatened more and more, why are we even considering something like unwarranted investigations? Are these just the footsteps of taking this nation into a totalitarian government, or where is this really all going? I understand it is all in the name of better security and for preventative measures against dangers within our own borders, but the possibility for abuse of such power just seems enormous! Do the people who are creating and/or approving such measures really, truly understand just what they are giving up? As soon as they push something like this into effect, the administration could double back right on them and put them under investigation, no questions asked.
With the fact that these may be unwarranted, to we have any means by which to contest or combat such an investigation or seizure of property? To add to that thought, would search & seizure also soon follow suit, forgoing the path of investigations as well? This all worries me, seeing it as progressive steps to a more and more controlling government.
Our constitution supposedly recognized man (and woman alike) three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of personal happiness. It feels that liberty is being compromised more and more the longer we let the powers that be continue on their power-hungry assault on the wars of terrorism. Sure, we’re giving it up in order to pursue our personal happiness and maintain life, but when will it become that our own personal liberties are compromised so much that we can no longer pursue happiness?
What happens when the only inalienable right in this country we are left with is life? (I know, I know, I’m probably being a little dramatic with this remark)