Monday, September 22, 2014

Update On The American Police State

The New York Times has an update on the story about the Navy searching "all" computers in the State of Washington:
The federal appeals panel expressed its views in unusually harsh terms, at some points describing the investigative service as monitoring “all the civilian computers” in a state, although, according to court documents, the searches that led N.C.I.S. to Mr. Dreyer were apparently limited to computers linked to targeted file-sharing networks.

The naval investigative service’s role in the case “amounts to the military acting as a national police force to investigate civilian law violations by civilians,” Judge Andrew Kleinfeld wrote in a concurring opinion.
So, it may be that only the members of a particular file sharing network which "sometimes" were used by child pornographers were targeted, not "all" civilian computers in the state. It would be useful to know if "sometimes" was used to protect the Times from libel suits, or if 'sometimes' means it was only now and then used by a small minority of the members.
Charles J. Dunlap Jr., an expert on national security law at Duke University and a former Air Force general, said that the Posse Comitatus Act had been aimed at the threat the armed forces might present to democracy, and that civilian employees, like those in the naval investigative service, “simply do not pose the same kind of concerns.”
If that argument was accepted, what is there to keep the Navy or any other military branch from simply hiring civilian contractors to search our computers for thought crimes against the state?

Fortunately:
The appeals court noted that evidence has rarely been excluded in past cases for violations of Posse Comitatus-related rules. But it said that the evidence of repeated violations, and the government’s insistence it had done nothing wrong, warranted sending a strong message.
If the program isn't slapped down, it will expand.

Just ask Lois Lerner.

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