Big Brother & the Internet

I suppose the oft-bleated excuse that “9/11 changed everything” will be blamed for why the man who warned against Big Brother has become Big Brother. Here’s then-Sen. John Ashcroft’s thoughts on the Internet and the Bill of Rights back in 1997.

There is a concern that the Internet could be used to commit crimes and that advanced encryption could disguise such activity. However, we do not provide the government with phone jacks outside our homes for unlimited wiretaps. Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web?

The protections of the Fourth Amendment are clear. The right to protection from unlawful searches is an indivisible American value. Two hundred years of court decisions have stood in defense of this fundamental right. The state’s interest in effective crime-fighting should never vitiate the citizens’ Bill of Rights.

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