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A federal judge estimates that his fellow federal judges issue a total of 30,000 secret electronic surveillance orders each year—and the number is probably growing. Though such orders have judicial oversight, few emerge from any sort of adversarial proceeding and many are never unsealed at all. Those innocent of any crime are unlikely to know they have ever been the target of an electronic search. In a new paper, called "Gagged, Sealed & Delivered" (PDF), US Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith bashes this culture of continuing secrecy. (Magistrate judges are important members of the federal judiciary; they handle many of the more routine judicial matters, such as warrant applications and initial case management.)
Even without CISPA on the books, the federal government can still use antiquated legislation to leer into the personal communications of Americans. One judge, in fact, says that thousands are approved each year. It’s been more than a quarter of a century since the US Congress authorized the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, but the incredibly outdated legislation is still used each and every day to let federal agents find out personal and private information by combing through emails, texts and any other form of online correspondence. Kade Crockford is a privacy rights coordinator with the American Civil Liberties Union and is fighting to make sure that ECPA is laid to rest.
Crockford’s calls to end ECPA comes after US Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith examined the surveillance orders that have been authorized since the birth of the legislation and learned that unassuming eyes are allowed to access private information tens of thousands of times a year. In his report, “Gagged, Sealed and Delivered,” Judge Smith adds that it’s “reasonable to infer that far more law-abiding citizens than criminals have been tracked” under a certain subsection of ECPA.
“What the judge magistrate’s report shows is that the rules that ECPA put in place over 25 years ago are willfully inadequate, primarily because they don’t allow even Congress, let alone the general public, to know how many of these orders are being issued,” says Crockford, “because there are gag, sealed and blindfold provisions which prevent people from even knowing how many of these orders are out there.”
Originally posted by SeekerLou
How does it feel to be surveilled?
Some of you have the ''if you have nothing to hide'' attitude ... but imo it violates my rights/freedoms and is ridiculous!
Originally posted by kat2684
reply to post by Taupin Desciple
I think what scares me is our Gov can indenfinately detain, without a trial. Who is to say you're not a terrorist because of a phone call, that the government listened to. The spying is a petext to detaining, the dots are coming together. None of us want to disapear in the middle of the night, because someone had a hunch. What are they going to use next? Precogs, like in minority report?