Spying on Americans: Senate Intelligence Authorization Act, Would Allow Arrest of Journalists, Anti-war Activists, Academics and Students

internet-surveillance-2-400x193Freedom in America is being systematically destroyed: one police state law at a time – with most people ignorant and/or indifferent about what happening.

Washington’s criminal class is bipartisan – in lockstep against government representing everyone equitably and fairly, serving privileged interests only.

S. Res. 1705: Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 compromises free expression and privacy rights already gravely eroded.

If enacted, Section 603 will require online companies to inform Washington of any “actual knowledge” of “facts and circumstances” related to undefined “terrorist activity” – meaning warrantless searches and seizures of personal electronic content will be authorized, potentially subjecting countless numbers of innocent people to unjustifiable scrutiny.

Vague language makes independent journalists, political, anti-war, and social justice activists, academics and students doing legitimate research, as well as others vulnerable to being called suspected terrorists.

The possibility could encourage self-censorship. Service providers may over-report to show compliance with the law. Online users could be flagged for using suspect words or phrases.

One definition of terrorist activity can be another’s way of describing freedom fighting. Legitimate government criticism could be misinterpreted and misused.

Anyone ideologically opposed to US policies could become vulnerable to arrest, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment for expressing their views online. Police states operate this way.

Provisions like Section 603 violate fundamental constitutional and international law guaranteed rights. At stake is further erosion of First and Fourth Amendment freedoms.

Senate members overwhelmingly support S. 1705. Before recessing until September, they were set to pass it by voice vote until Senator Ron Wyden objected.

He wants normal debate procedure followed. He noted valid concerns raised by Internet companies about Section 603.

The Internet Association representing dozens of technology companies said vague language about what constitutes terrorism creates “an impossible compliance problem.”

It’ll result in “massive reporting of items that are not likely to be of material concern to public safety.” Wyden said “Internet companies should not be subject to broad requirements to police the speech of their users.”

He knows of no law enforcement or intelligence agencies suggesting Section 603 will help identify terrorists. He urges revision or elimination of this section altogether.

Thirty-one civil liberties organizations and trade associations expressed opposition to Section 603 in a letter sent Senate leaders.

They include Project Censored, the Media Freedom Foundation, the ACLU, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumer Federation of America, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and American Library Association among others.

They warned of concerns raised above. Innocent people committing no crimes would be at risk. “Complying with Section 603 would create a chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech and would impermissibly burden individuals’ First and Fourth Amendment rights,” they said.

“Whether a given comment is a true threat of violence, an expression of a sincerely held religious belief, or a simple joke among friends is a determination that providers are ill-suited to make, particularly when the consequence is reporting a person to the government under the suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities.”

Section 603 is unconstitutional. It way oversteps. Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Internet companies may report any content they believe relates to criminality.

“Section 603’s reporting requirement threatens individuals’ constitutional rights to privacy and freedom of expression and would burden US-based providers without providing a clear benefit to law enforcement. For these reasons, we urge you to reject this flawed provision and to remove it from the Intelligence Authorization Act,” the signatories said.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Home Taping is Killing Music – The Village Voice

All Of The Arguments About Digital Music, Summarized
By Mike Barthel Mon., Jun. 25 2012 at 1:00 PM

Piracy is theft.

Piracy isn’t theft because nothing physical is being stolen.

You are taking money out of the hands of artists.

Artists were already being ripped off by labels.

Artists can make the money back by touring.


Here is a bulleted list of numbers showing how much it costs to be a working musician compared with how much you get for touring.

By reducing the economic incentives for producing music, you are reducing the number of people who become musicians, and thus the quality of music overall.

Remixes, mash-ups, and other forms of sampling show how digital music is encouraging creativity.

The music industry is stifling creativity by filing copyright violation notices on remixers, mash-uppers, and samplers.

The music industry is unjustly harassing downloaders, levying fines far in excess of actual damages.

By exposing people to more music, freely-available digital music prompts more people to buy music.

Music sales have dropped dramatically since the introduction of MP3s.

Music sales have dropped because music got worse.

Music sales were always inflated by the introduction of overpriced new formats and albums padded with filler.

It doesn’t cost anything to make music now, so it shouldn’t cost anything to buy music.

Here is a bulleted list of numbers showing how much it costs to make music.

Music should be free.

It’s already free on the radio.

People have been stealing music for a long time.

Artists don’t deserve to make a living making music.

Musicians should just be happy to be making music and shouldn’t worry about making money from it.

Big tech corporations are encouraging “free culture” and are the ones profiting from music now.

Copyright laws are unrealistic and designed to benefit big corporations.

Copyright laws, accurately designed, can protect creators and encourage creativity.

It’s easier to pirate music than to buy it.

No it’s not.

The record industry needs to develop a better business model.


Why can’t I just pay for one streaming service with all of the music in the world.

Only hopelessly backwards artists and labels don’t sign with streaming services.

Streaming services pay almost nothing per play, making such agreements basically worthless.

If you have money and love music you should be willing to pay money for it.

The Internet has made it possible for artists to develop their careers independent of labels, and I support those artists.

I don’t want to have to deal with an evil record company.

Record companies socialize the costs of launching new artists, allowing successful ones to subsidize riskier unproven artists.

The only musicians that can be successful as independent artists already have label-grown existing fanbases.

It is economically rational for me to pay as little money for a desired commodity as possible, so the existence of pirate-able music demands, by market logic, that I download it.

Fuck you.

Fuck you.