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Another Civil Liberty Group
Subject Another Civil Liberty Group
From Dave Banisar
To Cypherpunks List
Another Civil Liberty Group Opposes Wiretap Bill
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today wrote to Rep.
Jack Brooks, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, "to
express the ACLU's opposition to the FBI Wiretap Access Bill,
H.R. 4922." The organization's position is the latest indication
that the legislation is running into serious trouble in Congress
for several reasons, including strong opposition from civil
liberties and privacy advocates. The bill's proponents had
initially hoped to bring it to a vote on the floors of the House
and Senate by mid-September. Instead, the bill remains in
committees of both houses and is the object of a grassroots
campaign to prevent its enactment.
Excerpts from the ACLU letter:
"The principal problem remains that any digital telephone bill
which mandates that communications providers make technological
changes for the sole purpose of making their systems wiretap-
ready creates a dangerous and unprecedented presumption that
government not only has the power, subject to warrant to
intercept private communications, but that it can require private
parties to create special access. It is as if the government had
required all builders to construct new housing with an internal
surveillance camera for government use. ...
"Moreover, the FBI has not borne the burden of proving why such
an extraordinary requirement is necessary. ...
"H.R. 4922 proposes a radical and expensive change in our
telecommunications structure. The threats it poses, now and
prospectively, are real, but the need for it is far less than
evident or proven. We urge that your Committee not rush into
consideration of this far reaching measure with so little time
left in the session."
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is urging all
concerned individuals and organizations to contact the following
members of Congress immediately:
Rep. Jack Brooks Sen. Howard Metzenbaum
(202) 225-6565 (voice) (202) 224-7494 (voice)
(202) 225-1584 (fax) (202) 224-5474 (fax)
For more information about the FBI Wiretap Bill, check the Voters
Telecomm Watch (VTW) gopher site (gopher.panix.com) or send e-
mail to <[email protected]>.