Friday, January 20, 2006

Bush Administration Seeks A Broad "Fishing Expedition" Into Google Search Engine

In yet the most blantant and worst example of Bush Administration trampling of civil liberties, the Bush Administration is seeking millions of search engine records from Google. The claim is that this is needed to revive an online law that the U.S. Spreme Court struck down as unconstitutional to protect children from pornography. Yet the simple truth is that this is little more than a far broader search into the private lives of millions of Americans that has little to do with legitimate efforts to protect children from exposyre to pornography or from the far worse abuses of sexual exploitation.

There are perfectly legal ways from Federal law enforcement personnel to conduct open and warrantless searchs for Websites that are involved in the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. And perhaps some sort of bette age verification method could be used to prevent children from acessing some adult entertainment Websites, but no one has come up with such a system. On plan to set up .xxx domain sites was first supported and then done in by the government.

When any terrible, but rare Websites are found by law enforcement to involve themselves in grossly offensive and obscene content or sexual exploitation of children, there is all legal powers to seize the records of these particular businesses and to make any arrests related to the particular Website's activity. But the Bush Administration is seeking a broad "fishing" powers for millions of Americans, for Websites that may involve sexual speech, but is most likely legal in most U.S. communities, and could include a broad "fishing" for political speech as well. For Attorney General Gonzales to use children as a "human shield" to justify and conduct such a broad assault on privacy of Americans is just as cowardly as those who would abuse or exploit children in running such a disgusting Website.

There is also perfectly legal ways for law enforcement to seek a warrant for a Website that is involved in child abuse or exploitation as well. Alberto Gonzales is seeking a broad "fishing expedition" with little valid or worthy arguments to revive a bill previously ruled to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Seeking a broad interference into the privacy of millions of Americans to justify attempts to revive a law passed by Congress that was already struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court for broad unconstitutionality is a complete legal absurdity. This seems like an attempt for the Bush Administration to look at the search habits of millions of Americans, although none are specifically the subject of a legal search warrant themselves for personal criminal activity. Could this broad search also be used to charge someone in a conservative Southern town with a crime for simply viewing a silly bondgage porn Website from New York or Los Angeles. During the last Bush Administration, a Florida judge committed suicide after he was charged with ordering two bondage porn videotapes from a New York distributor who has sold hundreds of thousands of tapes to U.S. citizens in all 50 states. This judge appeared to targeted for political reasons to destroy his reputation and remove him from the bench. What business of government is it if in the privacy of his own home that this judge wishes to watch trashy stupid bondage porn videos that are legally sold in most of the other 50 states in videostores. As long as the judge is not involved in some sort of inappropriate acting out that is illegal, there was no reason to single him out for his kooky personalvideo tastes. There are no doubt journalists, politicians, doctors, lawyers, clergy or many others who have accessed adult entertainment Websites for curiousity sake or even for their own private sexual gratification. Some may well have wondered just what type of speech is being floated on the internet, and then found themselves being sexually interested in in some sites. Should the Bush Administration have access to a wide list of Americans only to destroy their lives for political reasons? Will the Bush Administration also want to know which men read Playboy while waiting at a barbershop for a haircut? This is a an absurd broads privacy invasion with virtually no good legal justification that sets up a tremendous possibility of abuse by the Bush Administration to round up or punish political "enemies ".

If Gonzales seeks to revive a law, then writing a a law that is within constitutional limits is the correct course. But using a broad look into the internet search records of millions of Americans simply does not justify any attempt to revive a law previously struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as overly broad and unconstitutional.

Unfortunately Yahoo and another search engine have given into the Bush requests already. And the public should both write Yahoo and complain about this invasion into their privacy rights and consider a protest and boycott of Yahoo. But Google is doing the right thing in seeking to protect the mere search records of milions of Americans. It should be no business of the Bush Administration what sort of Websites that adults seek out in what should be the privacy of their own computer search for topics. I don't always agree with all the activity of the American Civil Liberties Union, but they also deserve special credit for attempting to shield the privacy of Americans as well.

Legitimate law enforcement to seek a search warrant against specific persons suspected of a serious crime is one thing. But seeking broad search engine records on millions of Americans is as bad as the Bush Administration seeking library or video store records, or listening in to your private phone conversations. Google deserves support in their efforts to protect privacy. Any Yahoo records should be returned and any Yahoo user should consider a lawsuit against them for providing records to the government when no specific crime was suspected of the individuals as well the fact that this request for information was only to support an unconstitutional law that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down. This "fishing expedition" is far worse than the wiretapping search for terrorism related messages going in and out of the U.S. that could involve the invasion of private phone calls or other messages for far more than those who may not be associated with terrorism at all.

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