AUGUST 11, 2009
Days after directing Americans to report "fishy" speech opposing his controversial health care policies, President Obama plans to reverse a longtime federal policy banning the use of web technologies to track and compile personal information that can easily be utilized to invade privacy.
A 9-year-old policy forbids the U.S. government from implementing methods on federal internet sites that track an internet user’s every click, often identify the person and even build a database of each user’s viewing habits. This poses a serious threat to Americans’ personal information, according to the Obama cheerleading squad better known as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The group points out that Americans rely on the data posted on federal websites to research politics, medical issues and legal requirements and no American should have to sacrifice privacy or risk surveillance in order to access free government information.
However, with the snap of a finger the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) can reverse the longtime privacy rule if it determines that there is a “compelling need.” Since the OMB answers to the president and he clearly believes there is a compelling need, Americans should consider it a done deal.
It was just last week that Obama directed the public to immediately report those who oppose his controversial health care policies by asking his supporters to send “fishy” speech to a White House electronic mail account created to monitor the situation. This led a Republican senator to write the commander-in-chief a letter reminding him about the First Amendment and pointing out that citizen engagement on critical policy matters must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights.
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