Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Baa Baa Jonah . . .

The sheep plods along, bleating contentedly; its vacant eyes betray no trace of apprehension as it is herded onto the killing floor. The sheep is not smart enough to be afraid. But wait! That’s not a sheep; it’s Jonah Goldberg!

Goldberg appears in today’s Star Tribune with a defense of the federal government’s efforts to get data on the searches made on the Google search engine for a week. Why? Well the government wants to submit data on “pornographic” searches to the Supreme Court (now with Strip Search Sammy on board!) in a case over the constitutionality of the Child Online Protection Act.

Jonah says What’s the big deal? Jonah thinks it is just because liberals don’t like the Dark Lord Cheney. Whether liberals like the Dark Lord or not is entirely beside the point. What the government is trying to do here is really no different than the warrantless eavesdrop dragnet set out by the NSA. It is trying to collect private information – where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy – for law enforcement purposes and without probable cause.

Apparently, the Justice Department is not asking for the names of the users associated with the searches – yet. But it isn’t much of a step to try to get the names of users. And you can be pretty certain, boys and girls, that the feds will try to use the data pointing to certain websites, for example, to make probable cause warrant requests of Google users. This skullduggery must be nipped in the bud.

Goldberg makes the sophomoric argument that NIH collects patient information from health care providers for epidemiological purposes, and this is no different. Spot begs to differ. To use Goldberg’s example of collection of data about prostate exams, Spot says that men are in little danger of prosecution for misdemeanor enlarged prostate. They may, however, be in some danger of a pornography prosecution by some crusading moralistic idiot prosecutor.

Goldberg concludes with this: Technology brings change and requires adaptation -- by the state and the individual alike. Erasing the probable cause requirement from the Fourth Amendment is one adaptation that Spotty is not willing to make.


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