KNOCK, KNOCK. BIG BROTHER CALLING....

By Pamela McClintock Variety/Reuters

WASHINGTON (Sept. 25) - In the new hunt to track down would-be terrorists, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft urged an emergency measure Monday that would halt the practice of immediately notifying cable customers that the feds are looking at their phone and Internet usage.

Testifying at a packed hearing on Capitol Hill, Ashcroft said the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 will make the ''difference between life and death'' by strengthening the government's intelligence gathering and investigative powers.

His statements came nearly two weeks after hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The cable provision -- which does not affect video programming -- is part of a larger effort to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to access electronic and telephone communications without raising suspicion, as well as take a peek at a person's Internet usage.

Consumer advocates, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, say the sweeping legislation jeopardizes a person's civil rights and privacy. Critics of media giants also are wary.

''It's clear that personal privacy in America is becoming a new victim of these tragic events,'' said Jeff Chester, director of the Center for Digital Democracy. ''Suspending and weakening civil liberties should be a real concern. The federal government's move to weaken privacy rules fits into the media industry's agenda, because they don't want to have any privacy rules'' in order to more easily track information about their customers, Chester said.

But others say the cable section of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism bill simply makes the playing field even between cable operators providing Internet service and regular Internet service providers (ISPs).

According to current law, cable operators offering phone and modem services are required to notify a customer when the government hands down a court order for a certain subscriber's records. Under Ashcroft's legislation, cable operators could legally hold off from notifying a subscriber for 90 days.

Internet-only service providers currently aren't under any legal obligation to notify customers within 90 days.

For this reason, the cable industry isn't opposed to the anti-terrorism legislation.

''We've endorsed the idea of reconciling the two different standards,'' a National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. spokesman said.

The legal requirement that cable operators notify a subscriber when the government comes calling was written in 1994. At that time, lawmakers wanted to keep the billing of cable customers as private as possible, considering some subscribers tuned in to adult programming.

Now, Ashcroft wants stealth-like access to a cable subscriber's phone bills, emails and Internet logs.

When speaking before the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, Ashcroft said the anti-terrorism act does not strip underlying protections. Rather, it creates more ''efficient, technology-neutral intelligence gathering.''

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) urged Ashcroft to be prudent in asking for new surveillance powers. ''We don't want another J. Edgard Hoover situation,'' the politico said.

Ashcroft testified that the FBI and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service have arrested or detained more than 350 people in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In plugging the timely nature of the legislation, Ashcroft said the FBI wanted to question nearly 400 more individuals who remained at large and who might have information helpful to the investigation of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.

Ashcroft's bill, which could hit the floor for a vote as soon as this week, also would give additional authority in detaining and deporting noncitizens.

REUTERS Reut05:40 09-25-01

    

    


PSI SPIES

Related Articles:

ALICE IN WONDERLAND AND THE WTC DISASTER by David Icke

USA - U.S. Army's Undeclared War on Patriots Worldwide

Urban Warfare - Planned


Related Research Resources:

The Conspirators

America's Secret Establishment ~ Antony Sutton

Philip Dru Administrator - Col. Edward Mandell House

Conspirator's Heirarchy - Committee of 300

World Orders Old and New - Noam Chomsky

Children of the Matrix

The Robots' Rebellion

Lifting the Veil




Back to the Americas Menu
Back to News Archive Menu




Notice: TGS HiddenMysteries and/or the donor of this material may or may not agree with all the data or conclusions of this data. It is presented here 'as is' for your benefit and research. Material for these pages are sent from around the world. If by chance there is a copyrighted article posted which the author does not want read, email the webmaster and it will be removed. If proper credit for authorship is not noted please email the webmaster for corrections to be posted.


FAIR USE NOTICE. This site may at times contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

United States Code: Title 17, Section 107 http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/unframed/17/107.html Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include - (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.