Two alarming new developments in the privacy arena are exposing the Obama administration as no better than Bu$hCo when it comes to protecting the privacy of Americans.
First, the administration is preparing to argue in a case before the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals that Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures do not apply to telco logs of the locations of cell-phone users. If fact, the FBI and local law enforcement agencies have been abusing such records for years, obtaining them merely by asking providers without a warrant and sometimes without probable cause.
Second, federal law enforcement agencies are are pushing for the creation of private “backdoor” interfaces directly into the internal servers of major Internet service providers (ISPs). The stated reason for this new intrusion into private communications is to speed up the process for legally obtaining data when a warrant is presented to an ISP. However, privacy advocates have noted that 1) Federal agencies already abuse existing interfaces by frequently presenting ISPs with “informal” requests for the same information, and so there should be no expectation that a more functional interface would not also be abused, and 2) That a common, consolidated, legally required, interface—implemented by all major ISPs—would present an obvious target for criminal organizations and thus would constitute a terrible risk to the private communications of ordinary citizens.