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Bipartisan Congressional Group Seeks Accountability From Big Brother Spending

This Friday, President Barack Obama is scheduled to release some reforms to the unconstitutional, authoritarian electronic spying network operated through the military’s National Security Agency. Personally, I’m not expecting much from Obama, and regardless of what he says, he’s lost my trust on this issue. Obama has spent every year of his presidency so far lying about NSA spying, and blocking oversight and reforms of its activities. Why should we believe anything he says about the NSA now?

What we need to see are not Executive Branch promises, but strong legislation from Congress that places severe limits on Executive espionage powers. Repealing the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act would be ideal.

nsa eye redA first step, far short from the ideal, but promising, was introduced by a bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives yesterday. H.R. 3855, the Intelligence Budget Transparency Act, would force the White House to report in the annual budget the amount of spending on “intelligence” activities throughout the federal government. These gross totals, department by department, wouldn’t reveal what government spies are doing, much less reveal the extent to which the federal government is violating our Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. However, this information would at least give Congress a way to track trends in federal spending on surveillance programs as a whole – something that isn’t possible for at present.

The co-sponsors of this legislation are: Cynthia Lummis, Peter Welch, James Sensenbrenner, David Price, Luis Gutierrez, and Jim Jordan.

One thought on “Bipartisan Congressional Group Seeks Accountability From Big Brother Spending”

  1. Tom says:

    Right. And then there’s this:

    U.S. appeals court kills net neutrality
    Any semblance of net neutrality in the United States is as good as dead. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s 2010 order that imposed network neutrality regulations on wireline broadband services. The ruling is a major victory for telecom and cable companies who have fought all net neutrality restrictions vociferously for years.

    The original FCC order said that wireline ISPs ”shall not block lawful content, applications, services or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management” while also mandating that ISPs “shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service.”

    In its ruling against the FCC’s rules, the court said that such restrictions are not needed in part because consumers have a choice in which ISP they use.

    “Without broadband provider market power, consumers, of course, have options,” the court writes. “They can go to another broadband provider if they want to reach particular edge providers or if their connections to particular edge providers have been degraded.”

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