Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Six months can be a lifetime, or at least actually 18 months, with FISA bill

Any programs started under the FISA expansion bill last for one full year after the bill itself ends

Wired magazine weighs in on why Congress’ “temporary” six-month expansion of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act powers was so dangerous:
A new law expanding the government's spying powers gives the Bush Administration a six-month window to install possibly permanent back doors in the nation's communication networks. …

Prior to the law's passage, the nation's spy agencies, such as the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, didn't need any court approval to spy on foreigners so long as the wiretaps were outside the United States.

Now, those agencies are free to order services like Skype, cell phone companies and arguably even search engines to comply with secret spy orders to create back doors in domestic communication networks for the nation's spooks. While it’s unclear whether the wiretapping can be used for domestic purposes, the law only requires that the programs that give rise to such orders have a “significant purpose” of foreign intelligence gathering.

Plus, Wired notes this is actually an 18-month bill:
The law … makes any program or orders launched in the next six months perpetually renewable after the six month "sunset" of the new powers last for a year after being authorized.

And, Wired says that the bill’s provisions are arguably applicable to Internet search engines, too. So, what if you type the “wrong” words into that Google box?

The more that comes out about this bill, the scarier it looks. And, the stupider and more craven Democratic turncoats look.

Cross-posted at Socratic Gadfly.