Your plane lands. You crank up the cell and call home. “Honey, we’ve landed. I can’t wait to get home and #%$@ your *&%$#@ with my #$@*&^.”
That presumably private call could have yobs from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security listening in and getting their jollies — if the departments have their way.
DOJ and DHS in May and July submitted proposals to the Federal Communications Commission to institute broad, no, absolute, wiretapping capabilities for cell phone calls and Internet connections made by any and all airline passengers. Yeah, I know, pretty shocking, ain’t it?
This is all going on in the background while we worry about DHS’s reorganization and funding, and we just worry about DOJ. Period.
Fortunately, a couple of lesser-known watchdog organizations are watching all our backs — the Center for Democracy & Technology and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They filed a petition with the FCC stating that DOJ and DHS are essentially mounting an end-run around the Consitution and our civil rights by going directly to the FCC and not proposing their Orwellian plans directly to Congress.
CDT and EFF argue that granting wiretapping privileges without a court order to these two federal departments goes well beyond the jurisdiction of the FCC, which is mainly supposed to listen for bad words on radio and TV and watch for errant tits on the telly. The groups also charge that tapping Internet connections without a specific court order would be illegal because those connections are not considered telecommunications connections, anyway. (I did not know that.)
Consider: On any given day, there are well over 500,000 airline passengers traveling in the United States. Let’s be conservative and say that only 75 percent of them have cell phones. That’s 375,000. If only half of them make one cell phone call, that’s still over 180,000 phone calls that could potentially be tapped in a single day. Who’s going to do that?
It’s a ridiculous proposal, just based on the logistics of the thing, not to mention the trampling of personal privacy rights and due process and … well, you see the point. Just be glad there are organizations out there that are keeping an eye on the government thugs.