Writing intermittently on life, politics, and society

Only evil-doers would object

I don’t quite know how to express just how disappointed I am with the Obama administration on civil liberties. I didn’t expect them to be saints, I mean the Bush years really did a number on the US zeitgeist with regards to executive power and the security/liberty question; and powers gained by a new administration are rarely given up voluntarily. I understood all that, so I kept my expectations low.

I thought my man Obama was really bothering the dog when he claimed the authority to order the extrajudicial execution of American citizens (because shut up that’s why!), but now the administration is preparing to propose a new law that would mandate government access to all online communications.

The same administration that criticised the UAE’s ban on blackberrys, wants the same ability to eavesdrop on all communications that they criticised the UAE for seeking. The chutzpah! Glenn Greenwald puts in the gom jabbar:

Amazingly, the administration had the temerity to condemn the UAE’s ban on Blackberries on the ground that it impedes “the free flow of information,” but in response, the UAE correctly pointed out how hypocritical that condemnation was:

Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE Ambassador to the United States, said [State Department spokesman P.J.] Crowley’s comments were disappointing and contradict the U.S. government’s own approach to telecommunication regulation.

“In fact, the UAE is exercising its sovereign right and is asking for exactly the same regulatory compliance — and with the same principles of judicial and regulatory oversight — that Blackberry grants the U.S. and other governments and nothing more,” Otaiba said.

“Importantly, the UAE requires the same compliance as the U.S. for the very same reasons: to protect national security and to assist in law enforcement.” (Greenwald’s emphasis)

Right, of course. Who wouldn’t want to protect national security and assist law enforcement?

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