Wired reviews President Obama’s first 100 days in office and grades him low for privacy protection.
Justice Department lawyers in Washington are arguing that the Fourth Amendment provision against unreasonable searches and seizures does not apply to so-called cell-site data. Such data, which is maintained by mobile phone carriers for up to 180 days, chronicles the physical locations of where mobile phone calls were placed. In a case pending before a federal appeals court, which began under Bush, the Obama administration says no warrant is required to obtain that data, which can be used in a criminal prosecution.
And just days after Obama’s inauguration, the new administration began echoing its predecessor when it came to surveillance.
The newest administration urged a federal judge to reject a lawsuit challenging whether a sitting president can bypass Congress and secretly authorize warrantless wiretapping, as Bush did following the 2001 terror attacks. And it should come as no surprise that Obama is also seeking to dismiss a lawsuit against the nation’s telecommunications companies accused of being complicit in Bush’s once-secret spy program.
Obama voted for the legislation immunizing the telcos in July, when he was a senator from Illinois. The legislation, by the way, generally granted congressional approval to Bush’s spy program, allowing the warrantless electronic eavesdropping on Americans in the United States if they are communicating overseas with somebody the government believes is involved in terrorism.
Read the full story for Wired’s take on Obama’s policies on copyright, cyber security, science, net neutrality, and transparency.