Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Whose Privacy Is More Important?

Last week, Arkansas's two lightweight U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor capitulated to President Bush and voted to give the government nearly unchecked authority to eavesdrop on the phone calls and e-mails of innocent American citizens and to undermine one of the most important bulwarks to a free press and an open society.

Our Disappointing Duo also rolled over for the telecommunications industry by voting for the new federal warrentless wiretapping law that gives "sweeping and retroactive immunity for telecom companies that provided information about customers to government officials without a warrant as part of the Bush Administration's surveillance program." Mark Pryor is ranked in the Top Twenty Senators for amount of campaign cash he took from the telecomm industry before the vote, and now they get to walk away from a stack of pending lawsuits for violating customers' privacy. Just a coincidence, no doubt.

While our Senators don't care if the government reads your email, Congressman John Boozman (R-Pinnacle Gated Community) was the only Arkansas Representative who voted to prevent Congress from being able to read emails sent by employees of the executive branch. Karl Rove and other White House officials used private political e-mail accounts to conduct government business in secret, to hide key documents from those investigating wrongdoing, and to allow destruction of hundreds of thousands of e-mails. The bill passed anyway (286-137) and requires the archivist of the United States to establish standards for the capture, management and preservation of White House and other federal agency email.

How many local citizens wrote asking Lincoln and Pryor to allow spying on American citizens and to let the telephone corporations off the hook? Who called Boozman and told him we wanted Karl Rove's email shenanigans kept secret from investigators? As long as they are never held accountable, why should they care what you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment