House renews FISA, approves telecom immunity

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Y’all have probably heard of FISA, the part of the U.S. Code that deals with electronic surveillance and the like. We care here because good ol’ AT&T more or less bent over backwards for the federal government, letting the NSA eavesdrop on certain telephone calls. (Wikipedia has a tremendous amount of information on the subject.)

Well guess what—the House of Representatives yesterday passed a renewal of the law. Now we wait for the Senate to rubber stamp it.

The best perspective on the House’s action has to be from Arstechnica. It quotes an Arizona congressman who (purposely?) misattributes a rather scary quote to Thomas Jefferson. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance,” said Rep. Trent Franks.

Wow, really, is it? That, quite literally, doesn’t sound like freedom, then. If you’re “eternally” being watched, I would say your liberty is under constant threat, then.

Then you’ve got hack politicians blathering on and on about how “My goodness, look how great the Congress is when we work together.” Yes, great. Nothing like running behind the veil of national security in an election year.

You wanna see how awesome our Congress is? Check out this video I saw on Wonkette just now. That’s the type of day-to-day nonsense that happens.

And yes, the telecoms, your AT&Ts and Verizons, are immune from any lawsuits relating to unwarranted surveillance. Amazing what money buys today.

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