new-logo25Chuck Frank

So, do we now have “special cases” to where the protection of the people and their rights should be taken for granted? It is quite obvious that Washington D.C. isn’t concerned one bit about any of this.”

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Martin Cooper, an employee with Motorola, invented the cellphone on April 3, 1973. Though the first land line telephone had been around since 1876, cellphones and especially smart cellphones have opened up a Pandora’s Box when it comes to personal privacy and especially so since 9/11.

Historically, government intrusion of communications has actually been ongoing ever since the invention of the telegraph In 1877. Yes,it’s true. That was when the “Wichita Lineman” was still on the line and the Western Union company was King. And it may surprise many that in that same year government, in a special case, was demanding that the Western Union betray the confidence and the privacy of its patrons and surrender coded information.

However, the court ultimately sided in favor of the telegraph company, concluding that these open-ended demands for telegrams “would lead to consequences that can be contemplated only with horror, and such a process is not to be tolerated among a free people.” (Bloombergview.com) Thus, was the beginning of a cat and mouse game and a 4th amendment tug-a-war between government and “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, and effects, against unreasonable searches…and persons or things to be seized.”

In the proper context, when considering electronic surveillance, “things to be seized” today would amount to Internet spying and an extraction of text or a verbal cellphone message from one person to another and then placing it in a national data bank.

Now then, in the case with Apple Computer, the company was very explicit by saying that surrendering an encrypted code compromises the privacy of millions of persons using Apple cellphones, and it also becomes a serious 4th amendment issue, and even more so when one considers the implications that would result from cracking corporate codes that are meant to protect every users cellphone worldwide.

People want to have the confidence that their communication with others is not being compromised by an Orwellian State bent on absolute power and control such as what takes place in totalitarian regimes such as China. Being secure with one’s effects used to be the standard, but today, government and NSA believes that they no longer need to observe an unalienable right that originated in the Bill of Rights.

So, do we now have “special cases” to where the protection of the people and their rights should be taken for granted? It is quite obvious that Washington D.C. isn’t concerned one bit about any of this.

A change in the people’s privacy rights along with major intrusion began on 9/11 when the Bush administration went into high gear and contracted major telephone companies such as AT&T and paid them money to track and then store conversations which were either foreign or domestic and without warrants. There was no resistance from any major telephone company except one, and that was Quest Communications. At that time, Joseph Nacchio who was the CEO said, absolutely no, to NSA spying and that Quest Communications would not wiretap anyone unless a warrant was issued by a judge.

Nacchio was legally correct in his stance, however the government didn’t see it that way and it wasn’t very long after the standoff that Nacchio ended up in prison for over 4 years on “insider trading” charges brought on by the government. A frame up?  Perhaps this sent a message to other CEO’s that are not willing to cooperate with the feds? Did Congress rush to pass a new law that would protect persons such as Nacchio for refusing to tap someones telephone lines unless warrants were issued? If they did, please, someone out there correct me.

And that’s a long story short.

Now then, considering America’s unique roots and being the only nation in the world that has a Bill of Rights which is meant to protect the people from their own government, a San Francisco based organization called the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), is busy pursuing a legal remedy in the courts that will hopefully protect the people from illegal wiretaps or wireless intrusion when there is no warrant. They are on a major mission to give America a far less intrusive country.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small of a degree of it.”
Jefferson, letter (1791)

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