The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, or be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…
The fourth and fifth amendments to the United States Constitution forbid our federal government, and all of its branches, from infringing upon our individual freedoms. The fact that these prohibitions against government and legal harassment are laid out in the federal constitution means that they trump state constitutionality.
In other words, no government or law enforcement official is permitted to scrutinize your home, your person, your business, your papers, or your correspondence, with the full power of Constitutional law set against them.
That makes the proposed encrypted, law-enforcement-only, backdoor into private data unconstitutional. Illegal, in other words.
According to Declan McCullagh, law enforcement agencies want the process by which warrants are served to access private data streamlined, and want ISPs to be forced to archive data for much longer than they otherwise do. Of course, the agencies would protest that it’s only to streamline the warrant request process; however, the FBI has been known to fabricate emergencies to gain access to private data—phone numbers, IP addresses, you name it.
See, the thing is that, once a branch of government (which is what law enforcement is) gets a “back door” into all of the electronically stored, private data, like who pays for what private organization’s website, who donates to them, and (quite probably) who frequents them—all in the name of Law and Order and National Security, doncha know—even if it’s only allowed with so-called proper paperwork, there’s no way it won’t be abused by every branch of government. Everyone, from congresscritters looking for dirt on opposition to law enforcement looking for anyone breaking any kind of law so they can make names for themselves to the IRS looking for people’s TurboTax data (hoping to find somebody who’s cheated that isn’t in a Presidential cabinet, or in congress), will be illegally sifting through everyone’s data.
Not long after that, they’ll be looking at the private data of free sites, like Blogger and Hotmail and Yahoo! and Gmail, keeping an eye peeled for domestic terrorists—er, dissenters from the accepted politically correct opinion.
So, this infringement upon the fourth and fifth amendments will probably lead to infringements upon the first. It really is up to us to prevent the government from abusing us—using the second amendment, if need be.
This isn’t a big news story—but it is out there. We need to keep an eye on our employees, so that they don’t become our masters, and we their slaves.