“The Justice Department sharply eased restrictions on domestic spying Thursday, handing the FBI broad, new authority to monitor Internet sites, libraries, churches and political organizations for clues to terrorist plots….
Ashcroft, claiming FBI agents in the field have been hampered by a range of bureaucratic restrictions, said the new guidelines would help them to do their jobs….
He said, for instance, that under present guidelines, FBI agents ‘cannot surf the Web, the way you and I can,’ and cannot simply walk into public events to observe people and activities.
The new guidelines give FBI agents more freedom to investigate terrorism even when they are not pursuing a particular case.” [Yahoo News] (Emphasis mine.)
At what point are we as a society going to decide that giving up our right to privacy is NOT worth the trade-off of possibly finding a terrorist somewhere, someday. It’s bad enough that the FBI can walk into any library and get patron records without having to prove just cause (and the library can’t even tell anybody about it), but now agents can investigate anyone, anywhere, with no cause what-so-ever. And not just libraries.
Where is this going to end?[The Shifted Librarian]