Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hey, We Won One!

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's 44-page opinion in ACLU v. NSA was released this afternoon (August 17). The judge ruled for the ACLU. Warrantless monitoring of our phone calls by the Bush Administration -- "war on terrorism" or not -- are unconstitutional. See, American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency, ___ F.Supp.3d ___ (E.D. Mich. 2006). Of course, it will be appealed, and could always be overturned as it makes its way to the Supremes, but at least, for now, "it's the law."

I haven't yet finished reading it, but it's highly unlikely the judge addressed the issue I raised earlier about this operation: how easily it could be abused for political purposes (as earlier technologies have been secretly engaged to do). Imagine the advantage it would give the administration in power to be able to monitor all their opponents (members of congress during the mid-term elections, or the opposing party's presidential candidate in presidential election years)! It's what they've made efforts to do in the past; now the technology exists to really do it thoroughly -- and secretly.

That, plus reprogrammable Diebold voting machines with no paper trail, and who would ever need to suspend elections with a declaration of martial law? (See the instructional video, "How to Hack a Diebold Voting Machine," (it starts after the brief ad at the beginning).)

For the details about how it has been done in the past, and could be done in the future, see Nicholas Johnson, "The Politics of Domestic Spying," The Daily Iowan, January 19, 2006.

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