The list of companies, organizations and individuals threatened and intimidated by the federal government seems to grow longer by the day. Now, the most successful and influential company since Microsoft is finding itself strong-armed by a Justice Department that clearly has no regard for the Bill of Rights: Google is the latest target of federal government bullying.
Google had received “National Security Letters” from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), demanding it hand over data about its users. The online giant argued – quite rightly – that these letters were unconstitutional and unnecessary. A federal judge has now ordered Google to comply with the FBI’s requests for customer data. Google Inc. can now join the ever-growing list of companies, organizations and individuals who have become targets of an over-bearing administration.
To date, the list includes: Tea Party groups, “patriot” groups, pro-life groups and individuals who donate to such groups – or to Republican politicians. The media have also become a target; with both the Associated Press and Fox News finding themselves on the sharp end of Justice Department (DoJ) investigations. Going back to the now-disowned Department of Homeland Security(DHS) report, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”, we can also add to the list military veterans, Second Amendment advocates, people who talk about the Constitution and, basically, everyone who displays even a passing fondness for the America that the Founders envisaged.
Whilst the Internal Revenue Service has admitted to deliberately targeting Right-leaning organizations, stories are coming to light of other federal agencies also being used as weapons against the political opponents of the current administration.
Google received 19 letters in all from the FBI, demanding the release of information. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston ruled on Tuesday that 17 of the 19 letters had been issued according to proper procedure. She requested more information on the remaining two. It is worth noting that the same judge found the same letter requests unconstitutional in March during a case filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Google is the perfect target for federal government coercion: It’s mainframes must contain information on tens of millions of people – tens of millions of Americans included in that number. Why does the government need this information? This, of course, is rhetorical question; governments that no longer answer to the people, much less have any respect, whatsoever, for them, must find ways, as quickly as possible, to control the population. This, of course, explains the rush to erase the Second Amendment and disarm those who have a Constitutional right to keep and bare arms.
Strangely quiet are the many voices on the left who bemoaned the invasion of privacy and trampling of rights that followed President George W. Bush’s signing into law of the Patriot Act. In truth, this act was a dangerous step on the road to authoritarianism. The Left made that very clear at the time. When President Obama signed off on an extension of the act, however, the proverbial pin could be heard hitting the carpet. Google itself – a company that deserves enormous credit for its business success, as well as its revolutionizing of online interaction – has displayed a tendency to tilt things in favor of the current President; Ironic that they, too, now find themselves a target of federal government bullying.
Written by Graham J Noble