Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

By , on September 27, 2010

Current Events, Legal Views, Opinion

The late breaking news today was that the Obama administration seeks statutory authority to have commercial Internet folks convert our messages from encrypted to the King’s English to ease wiretapping. Of course, they argue this authority is needed to save us from terrorists, those engaged in criminal activities and for public safety reasons.

The federal government prohibits much encryption of radio communications. This has some justification because the radio spectrum belongs to the federal government, and they can reserve any particular use they want, including granting licenses that reserve the right to use encryption. However, no such argument exists for land line communications. The communications are on privately owned facilities, the many fiber optic and copper cables along railroad and other right-of-ways.

It seems to follow from our First Amendment rights that we should be able to communicate with any language, whether it be Cheyenne or an encrypted code from person to person, even if that communication occurs on a private line under contractual arrangements with the communicators and the common carrier. Simple, eh?

Why do so many people, Democrats and Republicans alike, have so much trouble understanding that we must fight proposals like this to keep any semblance of freedom? I encourage everyone to state their opposition to this and similar proposals quickly and loudly so that the Obama administration bursts this trial balloon. Let the idiots know that catching a few marijuana growers or other outlaws will need to be done with field work and good old detective work, not by trampling on your Constitutional rights.

1 Comment to “Obama Administration Wants More Wiretapping Authority”

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