Monday, December 07, 2015

We Need Privacy From Big Brother, Not Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush And Chris Christie Sprying On Us


Several of the GOP's Deep Bench were on the network gasbag shows yesterday advocating doing away with whatever small amount of constitutional authority to prevent domestic spying on American citizens is still left. After all, they argued passionately, we're in mortal danger from evil Eurasia, I mean evil Eastasia... oops... no, no... ISIL or ISIS. Marco Rubio's or Chris Christie's Ingsoc will protect Airstrip One if we just give them the power to read our e-mails and listen to our phone calls. Is it possible these Republicans don't listen when Rand Paul (R-KY) and Justin Amash (R-MI) try to remind them of the prescient Benjamin Franklin quote above? Or do these two supremely unaccomplished mental midgets believe they are smarter than our Founding Fathers? Well, of course they do! Alan Grayson (D-FL) reminded me this morning that there's some compelling evidence not to go along with Rubio's, the Jebster's and Christie's hysteria. He emphasized that "The President appointed a panel to study the effect of domestic phone surveillance, and the panel found that not a single terrorist attack had been thwarted because of that program. If that doesn't convince you of the pointlessness of pervasive military surveillance of innocent Americans, then nothing will. Oh, and there is that other thing . . . the Fourth Amendment.

It shocked me last week when the Republicans allowed another sensible amendment to pass by Alan Grayson that protects the privacy of American citizens. The Republican chairman praised Grayson's amendment to his bill and recommended it to the House and it passed unanimously (voice vote). As Grayson put it to his supporters over the weekend, "this week, I struck a massive blow against anyone who wants to spy on American consumers." And he did.

Americans have a fundamental, constitutional right to privacy. Period.

End of discussion, right? I understand that. You understand that. But the voyeurs, spies and identity thieves don’t. They want to know what you’re up to, whether you like it or not.

That’s why this week I introduced, and passed, an amendment to establish and enforce privacy standards for the “smart meters” that monitor your home.

Today, smart meters report your energy usage to your utility company through cell phone system or the internet, without the need for a meter reader to visit your home. That information may or may not include personal account information, like your social security number.

Right now, that data is unencrypted. So anyone who drives by your home with the right equipment can read it.

Bad enough already? It gets worse.

Manufacturers and builders are starting to place chips with internet IP addresses into appliances, medicine cabinets, etc. They can (and will) be connected to your smart meter. (This is part of the so-called “internet of things.”) And manufacturers also are placing tiny, cheap RFID (radio frequency) tags on food, medicine, and other household items. Once it’s all networked, your fridge will be able to order whatever you just ate from Amazon, and have it restocked the next day.

Which is very, very cool. Unless anyone who drives by your home with the right equipment can find out what you eat, and what medicines you take. From your smart meter. That’s not cool at all.

So my amendment requires encryption. And I got it passed on Wednesday.

...This amendment still needs to work its way through the Senate, and it may require another vote in the House... You’ve done nothing wrong. So no one should monitor your telephone calls. No one should know which websites you visit. No one should photograph your mail. No one should know what you buy. And no one should know what you eat. Your right to privacy is crucial, and I’m ready to fight to protect it.
For three years in a row, Grayson has passed more legislation in a Republican-controlled House than any other Democrat, not by adopting the right-wing agenda the way Blue Dogs and New Dems do, but by finding points of common interest and then convincing all the relevant parties that not everything is partisan and that some things are just good for the country, including their own constituents. That's why there were no voices raised against Grayson's amendment, not even the worst of the corporate water-carriers, like Steny Hoyer, Patrick Murphy or Paul Ryan. By the way, you can support Grayson's Senate campaign here and elect someone willing and capable of doing the hard work it takes to actually look out for ordinary American families who don't hire their own lobbyists.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home