2013 or 1984?

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Is the government listening to your phone calls?

Warrantless wiretapping authorized for 5 more years

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The federal government will be able to listen in to your phone calls and snoop around you emails without a warrant for at least five more years, after Congress passed — and President Obama signed — the FISA Amendments Act, which authorizes the government to violate of basic constitutional rights in the name of national security.

The biggest concern for civil liberty advocates is the warrantless wiretapping program that dates back to the Bush administration’s war on terror. The program has helped the government gather intelligence, but critics like U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.) say the law doesn’t do a good job of balancing national security and civil liberties.

In a release, Udall said he opposed the extension partly because Congress failed to address the loophole. In past years, Udall has said it’s not even clear how many Americans have been targeted under the program, and called for more transparency and oversight of the program. Continue reading

U.S, security chief quizzed on warrantless surveillance

A Cold War listening station near Berlin.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The so-called war on terror has resulted in a fundamental change in U.S. policies on interrogations and surveillance, with most civil rights advocates claiming that the government has gone too far in the name of security.

Those excesses include 2008 provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that enable the government to conduct warrantless surveillance and searches of communications like emails and phone calls.

Because the operations conducted by the government under those provisions is shrouded in secrecy, nobody really knows how many communications have been intercepted and read. Continue reading

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