In 1974 Congress passed the Federal Privacy Act making it illegal to share information for any other purpose than the reason the data was collected in the first place without obtaining a warrant. That protection is dead.
A secret government agreement granted without approval or debate from lawmakers, by Attorney General Eric Holder, allows the National Counterterroism Center (NCTC) to monitor records of citizens for any potential criminal activity, without a warrant and without suspicion.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the records that will be subject to seizure and examination by the NCTC include “flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign exchange students and many others.”
Whereas previously the law prohibited the center from storing data compilations on U.S. citizens unless they were suspected of terrorist activity or were relevant to an ongoing terrorism investigation, the new powers give the center the ability to not only collect and store vast databases of information but also to trawl through and analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior in order to uncover activity that could launch an investigation.
Furthermore, this information could only be stored for five years; that information will be stored indefinitely, so that the data can be analyzed by federal agents for signs of potential criminal behavior.
The changes granted by Holder would also allow databases containing information about U.S. citizens to be shared with foreign governments for their own analysis.
In a historic and unconstitutional way, the new directives grant NCTC the power to place every American under the constant surveillance of the federal government, not because these people have ever merited the attention, but because someday they might.
Granting an agency of the federal government the power to place innocent citizens under surveillance is not only an unconscionable diminution of due process rights, but a wholesale regulatory nullification of the Bill of Rights.