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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

PLEASE SHARE: Congress Just Abolished Your First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment Rights in One Bill

Protecting the Bill of Rights should be one of the most import concerns for every American.
Those rights may now be under attack due to new legislation that isn’t being talked about in the media.
The proposed law is called HR4681, and it was recently passed by both the House and Senate.
The president’s signature isn’t on it yet, but that is expected to come without much of a delay.
HR4681 contains major red flags that should be troubling to anybody who values privacy and constitutional rights.
Essentially, the law will give the intelligence community free reign to collect and keep all types of electronic communications — including emails and voice calls. [H/T: Universal Free Press]
Even more disturbing, the structure of the bill means that it can be applied to both foreigners and American citizens.
The bill goes beyond simple intelligence gathering, and authorizes agencies to store personal information for five years. That’s a fairly long amount of time to begin with, but it gets worse.
In reality, spy agencies will likely be able to keep the data they collect for an indefinite length of time.
The bill’s wording permits the five year storage limit to be extended under a wide variety of vague circumstances.
One of those circumstances is if “the communication is reasonably believed to constitute evidence of a crime and is retained by a law enforcement agency.”
When you consider the layers of laws that we now live under, almost any communication might “constitute evidence” of some crime. The bill doesn’t specify what type of suspected crime allows an agency to store the recorded conversation.
It seems that something as mundane as a conversation about speeding would meet the vague definition, and provide a legal reason for a department to keep the personal data as long as they want.
There are clearly some alarming constitutional issues with the bill.
The First Amendment right to free speech might be the hardest hit. How can true free speech exist if every word and every online message is monitored?
It is as if the government implies, “You can say whatever you want… but remember, we’re listening.”
The ominous fear of saying the wrong thing is something out of Orwell or the Soviet Union, yet it is here in America.
There are Fourth Amendment issues, as well.
American citizens are supposed to be protected against unreasonable search and seizure — but how can that protection exist if every conversation can be recorded and saved?
Nearly every reasonable person would agree that having a government agent follow you around all day, listening to phone calls and constantly peering over your shoulder would be “unreasonable search.”
However, what happens to the Fourth Amendment when that very surveillance happens electronically and automatically from a cell phone tower or the internet?
Finally, the Fifth Amendment may also be on the chopping block. It was intended to prevent self-incrimination. In other words, no American can be forced to testify against himself.
HR4681 might make every person do exactly that. The essentially unlimited storage of every communication means that a government agency could use your own words as evidence — without a warrant, and even if it was something you said five years ago.

Americans need to be always on guard to prevent our civil liberties and constitutional rights from being shredded.