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Thursday, October 31, 2013

ACLU - A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: But they got this one right!

     In my recent presentations at Hack3rCon^4 and SkyDogCon 2013, I spoke about the fact that NSA wiretaps are legal (according to current interpretation of many laws). In addition, I highlighted some programs that push the envelope on constitutionality. One such program is the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI). I talked about how this program violates our First Amendment and (possibly) Fourth Amendment rights.

     Yesterday, program details came to light after many years when the ACLU published the findings of its Freedom Of Information Act request. Years ago, the ACLU submitted a FOIA request that  was summarily denied by the government. They quickly followed this denial with a lawsuit against the FBI. Well, they won.

     Just as I suspected, the ACLU determined that the program did not have adequate checks to ensure citizen's rights were being honored. This is not their interpretation of the data. You see, they received volumes of internal  emails and reports that stated this as fact. Several State level "fusion centers" complained about the handling of private citizen's data, the lack of a privacy policy, and storage of data in the eGuardian system.

     I still stand by the premises I stated in my presentation. NSA warrantless wiretaps are legal (albeit, unconstitutional), blame rests equally on the 3 branches of the government, and the ACLU is a den of hypocrisy! I base the latter on the fact that they claim that they have

"been the nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and civil liberties that the Constitution, Bill of Rights and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country."  

Why am I so critical? The ACLU pushes hard for the Bill of Rights on a national level with the exception of the Second Amendment. When I questioned an ACLU lawyer about this at DEFCON XXI, I was summarily dismissed just as the government dismissed their FOIA request. When I asked again for a reason, this time at their vendor table, I was told that it was a state-by-state issue, not a national issue. 

***Apparently, rather than being a guardian of you rights, they see fit to pick and choose what rights you should have!***

I once again submit to you that you should NOT support the ACLU but you should support organizations that believe the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights is worthy of being defended.

Also, before you try and interpret the Bill of Rights, you must read what the authors and original supporters of this great document said on the issue.

If you would like to know more see the following sites:
NSA wiretaps are legal (and other annoying facts) presentation http://www.irongeek.com
Quotes by founding Fathers (public domain) http://cap-n-ball.com/fathers.htm
ACLU article and reports on SAR/NSI www.aclu.com

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