|Published by NetAction||Issue No. 74||September 29, 2001|
(Date of alert: September 29, 2001)
Privacy advocates are urging U.S. citizens who are concerned about maintaining our constitutionally protected civil liberties to sign the "In Defense of Freedom" statement before Congress votes on proposals to expand electronic surveillance and include all hacking offenses in the anti-terrorism bill drafted in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
According to an analysis by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) would "authorize and expand the use of the FBI's controversial Carnivore system, limit judicial oversight of government surveillance activities, erode the traditional separation of domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence functions, and authorize surreptitious police entries in all criminal investigations." In addition, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warns that the legislation would treat all computer trespass (including minor acts of vandalism) as terrorism.
News reports indicate that Congressional negotiators are meeting this weekend to decide which provisions will be included in the bill. Whether or not these proposals will reduce the threat of terrorism is debatable. What is certain is that they will erode our freedom.
As Benjamin Franklin warned:
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.
NetAction has endorsed the "In Defense of Freedom" statement and we urge our readers to do so, as well.
The statement is at: http://www.indefenseoffreedom.org/.
Individuals and organizations can sign the statement at: http://www.indefenseoffreedom.org/endorse.html.
A detailed analysis of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001, prepared by EPIC, is available at: http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/ata_analysis.html.
A recent news report on the status of the proposed bill is at: http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,47199,00.html.
If you haven't already done so, please sign the statement now, and forward this alert to others.
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