9/11 Legacy: Americans' Loss of Privacy Rights

The LA Times reports on a key legacy of the 9/11 attacks: the exponential increase in governmental spying on Americans.

Thanks to new laws and technologies, authorities track and eavesdrop on Americans as they never could before, hauling in billions of bank records, travel receipts and other information. In several cases, they have wiretapped conversations between lawyers and defendants, challenging the legal principle that attorney-client communication is inviolate.

As one law professor puts it:

"We are caught in the middle of a perfect storm in which every thought we communicate, every step we take, every transaction we enter into is captured in digital data and is subject to government collection."

One we give the Government new power, it rarely gives it back. It's important to note that this legacy was not caused by the terrorists, but by our own lawmakers in Washington who let fear drive their actions. We have not become safer, we are only less free.

< Flaws in Military Death Penalty Cases Exposed | 9th Circuit to Hear NSA Wiretapping and AT&T Case Today >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    But I did not give my government (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 08:39:11 AM EST
    this power.

    Indeed (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by The Maven on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 09:04:12 AM EST
    It was taken from us "for our own good" in the name of providing an imaginary bubble of safety.

    Sadly, although we did not consent to this taking, far too many craven Democrats in Congress proved unwilling to stand up for fundamental liberties, opting instead for the phony tradeoff with "security".  And now, of course, we have a nominally Democratic administration in place that's been more than happy to keep -- and even expand upon -- this massive intrusion of government power.


    And as the article points out ... (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 11:33:17 AM EST
    A robust debate on the intelligence gathering has been impossible, for the simple reason that most of the activity is officially secret. In lawsuits alleging improper eavesdropping, the Justice Department has invoked state secrecy to prevent disclosure of classified information and systems.

    This increased secrecy, 99.99% of which is unnecessary and probably also unconstitutional, may be just as dangerous as the limiting of our rights.  If not more so.

    This article examines (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 11:45:30 AM EST
    something I continually worry about. The trade of some freedom for some security.  

    What Ben Franklin said.

    And agreement with Robot Porter. The government took these rights away. People ought to be concerned with rights like these instead of that inane blather about spending. This issue is now, not some nebulous future.

    Not enough of the Left ... (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 12:10:10 PM EST
    has been critical of Napolitano's tenure at DHS.

    She's been terrible.  Everyone of her press conferences is full of lies and gross exaggerations.  

    And she's not only been limiting our rights all over the place.  She's also been increasing the powers of DHS into strange places.

    Remember, it's her DHS that shutdown foreign websites because of copyright infringement claims.  Copyright infringement claims?!? Foreign websites?!? How is that in any way part of the jurisdiction of DHS?

    What's DHS gonna do next?  Have machine-gun toting officers on the streets of NYC to enforce "pooper scooper" laws?


    Well (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 12:22:50 PM EST
    What's DHS gonna do next?  Have machine-gun toting officers on the streets of NYC to enforce "pooper scooper" laws?

    SOMEONE'S gotta do that now that the NYPD is doing the CIA's job.....


    Ha! (none / 0) (#11)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 01:31:38 PM EST
    I am no expert on Napolitano (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 12:55:33 PM EST
    or Homeland Security or anything like that.  My Aunt has a serious boyfriend now and he is part of the TSA bureaucracy and his dislike for her is profound.  He says she is incompetent.

    I've heard ... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 01:32:27 PM EST
    similar stuff.

    Any Specifics ? (none / 0) (#13)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 04:26:50 PM EST
    Pretty bold claims and then the one example was copyrighted websites, which I though was because of the worry of Chinese hackers.  Which at least to me does fall under DHS.

    Trust me, I would have loved for her to stay in Arizona, but not because of anything bad, but because Brewer is borderline insane.


    What Truly Ironic... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 12:43:19 PM EST
     ...is the very technology they are tracking, didn't exist in our homes 18 years ago.  I think most of us can remember the days without the internet or cell phones.

    We could essentially go off the grid, at least the grid most heavily spied on, by going back to the days of 1993, the days of the Big Dog's first term.

    Thinking back, 9/11 happened in 2001, the internet was maybe 8 years old.  We have known a highly surveillanced internet longer than one that wasn't.  But even back then it was common knowledge that everything was being stored.  Every email, every post here, every site I ever visited was/is being stored and yet I use it more then ever.  

    What is truly amazing, is the government conceived and built the backbone to this incredible network and somehow managed to let it be free of intrusion to the public for a whole 8 years.

    Not sure where I was going with this but the very intrusions that we hate so much could be negated.  But we don't, if anything we keep expanding by leaps and bounds, especially the devise that is most intrusive, the smart phone.

    Here we are handing over more and more privacy: maps, texts, web posts, emails, pictures, accounts of non-web activities, pretty much everything in our lives is being transmitted knowing someone is watching.

    I'm not suggesting we don't have a right to use the internet or privacy, just that with what all we know, we don't seem to care enough to stop, or even slow down.

    That's ironic.

    Have y'all seen the directive (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by oculus on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 01:06:00 PM EST
    the Obama admins. has handed down to its agencies here and abroad?  See NYT. Sept. 11 wasn't just about us. But as to us:  vigilance is necessary.

    What's also interesting (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 12:45:53 PM EST
    Is that the graphic to this post still shows George Bush spying on the family.

    He hasn't been around for 3 years.....

    Nanny State Protestors? (none / 0) (#14)
    by Lora on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 04:57:09 PM EST
    OK, where are all the Nanny State protestors shouting out against all this gov'mint interference?


    I bag to differ (none / 0) (#15)
    by koshembos on Wed Aug 31, 2011 at 06:40:37 PM EST
    It does seem as if 9/11 started the process of losing our privacy, but that is only comfortable excuse for a process we were about about to embark on anyway.

    On September 2001, we were well underway into the full oligarchy we are now. The supreme court knew it after the presidential election in 2000. The media already bowed to the oligarchs throughout 2000; actually they were pioneering Bowing to the Real Bosses from about 1993. They fought Clinton even before he was president and sucked his blood, with strong support of many Democrats, until he went away. This was the CDS - Clinton Derangement Syndrome.

    An oligarchy and privacy are mutually contradictory. Oligarchs must limit your privacy, they can use your privacy for scare tactics and for sale in the market. They cannot risk you acting without their knowledge.

    Our government is there to serve (the oligarchs).

    Slam dunk! (none / 0) (#16)
    by Chuck0 on Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 10:26:54 AM EST
    "It's important to note that this legacy was not caused by the terrorists, but by our own lawmakers in Washington who let fear drive their actions. We have not become safer, we are only less free. "

    Excellent point. And believe it, they will never, ever give us back anything that they have taken. Once they move the line, the lines stays.