|Posted by JJ The Psychotherapist on May 4, 2021 at 12:45 AM|
Because the federal government is legally limited in what it can do without a warrant, President Joe Biden's administration is reportedly considering partnering with private firms to monitor "extremist chatter by Americans online."
The federal government is also prohibited from using false identities to gain access to private messaging apps and groups, according to the report. The government has access to publicly available social media profiles.
According to CNN, “the plan being discussed inside DHS would, in effect, allow the department to circumvent” laws that limit what the federal government can do in terms of surveilling U.S. citizens without a warrant. “A source familiar with the effort said it is not about decrypting data but rather using outside entities who can legally access these private groups to gather large amounts of information that could help DHS identify key narratives as they emerge.”
According to the report, the private companies the Biden administration is considering using would “act as middlemen” to obtain the data, which would consist of “broad summaries or analyses of narratives that are emerging on these sites” and would not “target specific individuals.” However, some of these companies use fictitious identities to gain access to private social media spaces that the government is unable to access, potentially causing legal issues for the administration.
“Gathering information on US citizens — no matter how abhorrent their beliefs — raises instant constitutional and legal challenges,” the report added. “Any effort to collect even publicly available information on Americans in bulk has long been criticized by civil liberties advocates and privacy hawks as a violation of Americans' First and Fourth Amendment rights.”
Opponents on both sides of the aisle, including former intelligence officials, slammed the report almost immediately online.
Bryan Dean Wright, a Democrat and former CIA officer, wrote: “Joe Biden wants to ‘partner’ with the private sector to conduct surveillance because the Govt can’t do it without a warrant or ongoing investigation. This is monstrous.”
Mark Meadows, a former Trump chief of staff, responded, "They spied on Donald Trump's presidential campaign and got away with it... Now they want to spy on you as well. This is a terrifying, terrible concept that should be completely dismissed.”
“The government outsourcing warrantless domestic spying of American citizens to outside corporations doesn’t make it any less dangerous, unconstitutional or illegal,” political strategist Andrew Surabian wrote. “Do any pols have the courage to stand up to an increasingly lawless & authoritarian national security state?”