++ Editorial Alert ++
When it comes to journalism, one of my favorite sayings is that “there is a difference between facts and information” and while I hope you learn something from this article, to get you there might require some information.
One of the most important debates happening right now – that no one is debating – is the 4th Amendment of the Constitution vs National Security, in terms Intellectual Property Rights, Copyright Law and how these laws are applied to “the internet.” It strikes me as odd that the same laws are applied literally to some situations and completely ignored in others – allow me to explain.
In terms of how we apply the law, if we treat “Intellectual Property” in the same literal fashion as “Property Right Law,” which applies to material/physical and not necessarily “things” existing in “cyberspace,” then broad government spying/hacking/”mass surveillance” is illegal and unconstitutional.
I do not think it is a stretch to apply the word “papers” in the US Constitution to “emails” in our modern times. This article you are reading now can be thought of as my own digital newspaper, you can even print out anything on a website to physical paper.
Intellectual Property entails the creations of your mind online or within cyber space. In accordance with Copyright Law, it is illegal to steal and/or use someone else’s Intellectual Property without their consent or asking for a license to do so before hand.
Moreover, it is also illegal to access someones technological data, records, computers, phone, emails, social media, Intellectual Property without their consent – period. For example, if anyone were to “hack” this website, a piece of Intellectual Property belonging to myself, it would be a felony criminal offense. Unauthorized access to another persons online accounts, passwords, emails or data stored on their personal devices is an arrest-able offense at minimum, but could also lead to multiple felony counts.
Read More: The FBI Wants Legal Jurisdiction To Hack Thousands To Millions of Peoples Data Under A Single Blanket Warrant
Despite “Cyber Crime Law” applying to the citizens of the United States, “federal employees” – such as within certain divisions of the FBI, CIA, NSA and nearly every other 3 letter acronym you can think of – are granted legal immunity to perform all of these otherwise “criminal offenses.” For example, the NSA has some of the most talented “black-hat” hackers in the entire world.
The men and women who carry our “mass surviellance” on behalf of the United States government, legally or otherwise, are granted immunity to hack into the lives of United States citizens, be it though phones, computers, technological data –et cetera – and literally carry out actions that would land an individual, ordinary – non-government – citizens or “hackers” in jail for decades.
This is largely done in the Spirit of the Patriot Act, passed in 2001 under President Bush. This legislation essentially calls less privacy and blanket surveillance in the name of “National Security” and within the framework of the law, allows the Government to suspend or ignore some of the protections afforded to citizens – not necessarily to’ assume more control’ over them, but to better keep them safe and/or protected.
— Dr. Jill Stein🌻 (@DrJillStein) March 22, 2016
Idealism is useless and I am not going to argue any sort of morality about the facts above, and I am certainly not implying that federal employees are all ‘bad guys’ or ‘the enemy’ or anything like this, but legally speaking it is still technically illegal for the government to be doing what they are doing. I may understand why they do it but this does not mean I think it is justified, and I am not alone.
Sitting United States Senators, such as Rand Paul, have literally sued the United States government for this same behavior.
Rand Paul's NSA Lawsuit Helps Him Lay Claim To A Big Issue http://t.co/xmKOxHNfXF
— NPR (@NPR) February 14, 2014
For the sake of this article, Paul went on to lose his case and fighting back against mass surveillance has become a bit more a dead issue sine 2014. However, even though Paul went to court and lost, he did not include any of the arguments I am presenting here today in this article.
I am arguing that there is legal framework, and court precedent in place, to protect citizens “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,” including their technological devices and cyber data “against unreasonable searches and seizures” – in accordance with the language of the US Constitution. When we begin to think of Intellectual Property the same as physical property, such as our homes, government intrusion into said property begins to feel a lot more personal and intrusive.
Broad requests to hack thousands of millions to computers off a single warrant can be argued to be “unreasonable” in 2016 and the NSA data collection program was already rendered “illegal” by US Congress last year in 2015.
Read More: USA Freedom Act Enacted by Congress After NSA Records Revealed The Agency Actively Held Data Records on 300 of 330 Million US Citizens
It is not “un-Patriotic” to argue that The Patriot Act and some of the actions the Government carries out on behalf of it are are un-Constitutional and/or illegal in accordance with the US Legal System. We have checks and balances already in place, as well as 3 separate but coequal branches of Government – meant to deal with matters such as this.
The FBI and NSA belong to the Executive Branch of Government, it will take the Judicial Branch to reel them and not necessarily hold some of these individual members of Government accountable for their actions, but stop them from continuing in the immediate future.
In conclusion, I believe this can be accomplished through the merger of Intellectual Property Right Law, Copyright law and an understanding that in 2016, our technological data is as much a part of our lives than anything else. This is why our data needs to be Constitutionally protected under the literal interpretation of the Constitution, even though it was written in a different time and place before this technology was invented.
If you agree with my stance in this article, then you agree my argument can be successfully argued in a court setting.
If you think I am mistaken in any of my logic?….
…..& tell me what you think.
This Content Was Created Under An Alt_Publishers License