April 12, 2013

Today in Imagine if this was George W. Bush

Oh hell, we know what would happen. This would be news and fodder for the likes of Chrissy Matthews and "Crazy" Larry O'Donnell for weeks.

With Tax Day less than a week away in the United States, you probably don’t need another reason to dislike the IRS. But here’s one anyway: Newly released documents show that in recent years, the agency has claimed American Internet users “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy” when it comes to their emails being snooped on.

The documents, obtained by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act and published today, reveal that in 2009, the Criminal Tax Division at the IRS claimed in an internal handbook that in general “the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server.” This claim may have been rooted in a reading of a controversial loophole contained in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which enables agencies to obtain email older than 180 days without a search warrant.

The article notes that an appeals court judgment in United States v. Warshak (2010) said that e-mail is protected by the 4th Amendment. In addition, some e-mail providers said they will refuse to comply with any IRS requests unless a warrant is provided -- like Google, for instance.

OK, now remember this? Remember how enraged the usual suspects were?

Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

Let's just make this as simple as possible: Post-terrorist attack monitoring communications without a warrant where at least one party is international = major scandal. The US tax agency monitoring your domestic e-mail communication = you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy and therefore not newsworthy.

Posted by Hube at April 12, 2013 08:18 PM | TrackBack

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