Surprise surprise surprise. Remember that story we helped explode back in January about how your phone records were for sale online to ANYONE for $100? We even bought General Wesley Clark's cell phone records to prove the point. As a result, there was a big media uproar, the US House passed legislation unanimously, 409-0, to fix the problem, and the Senate was even considering legislation.
Well, today we learn that the federal government and local police were using these questionably-legal online data brokers to get YOUR private phone records without the necessary search warrants.
Yes, the Bush administration once again didn't go to courts of law to get search warrants when it was supposed to.
Numerous federal and local law enforcement agencies have bypassed subpoenas and warrants designed to protect civil liberties and gathered Americans' personal telephone records from private-sector data brokers....Now, this gets even more interesting. While the House passed one bill that would address this issue, a second piece of legislation was due to be debated on the House floor on the same day that US Today revealed that Bush was using AT&T and other phone companies to spy on you. That day the House legislation suddenly disappeared and never was to be seen again. No one knows how it disappeared or who pulled it (though it had to be a Republican, like Denny Hastert, since they control the House). And even more interesting, for some unexplained reason the Senate legislation has gone nowhere. Bill Frist just won't move it.
The law enforcement agencies include offices in the Homeland Security Department and Justice Department - including the
FBI and U.S. Marshal's Service - and municipal police departments in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Utah. Experts believe hundreds of other departments frequently use such services.
Now that we know the Bush administration has been skirting the law by buying your phone records without the necessary court order, it's looking more and more interesting that the Republicans in Congress seem to be sitting on legislation that would protect your privacy and stop this abuse of privacy from continuing.
It's funny, in a way, that the American people were only marginally concerned about Bush's domestic spying but then they freaked out over the cell phone records story in January. Now the two stories are one. This should get very interesting. Especially now that only 3 days ago Senator Clinton called for a "Privacy Bill of Rights" to protect the privacy of every American. The issue is getting hot.