11
Apr
2005

Safety in dullness

04/08/05

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recently assured the Senate Judiciary Committee the Justice Department 'has no interest in rummaging through the library records or the medical records of Americans.' This is pretty much the extent of the limits imposed by the USA PATRIOT Act on the FBI's ability to peruse your personal records: It can do so only if it wants to. But if the FBI should one day take an interest in such potentially sensitive matters as your reading habits, health, finances, travel, gambling, Internet activity, firearm purchases, or pay-per-view orders, there is little in the PATRIOT Act to stop it from satisfying its curiosity. Regardless of how many times the privacy of innocent people has been compromised so far—a hard question to answer, given the secrecy that shrouds the government's use of the anti-terrorism law's snooping provisions—the potential for abuse remains a serious concern...

http://www.reason.com/sullum/040805.shtml

from Reason, by Jacob Sullum


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp
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