Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ACLU Report: Spying on Free Speech Nearly At Cold War Level

Political spying is nearly as bad now as it was during the Cold War. The ACLU reports that Americans are harrassed and under surveillance for exercising their First Amendment rights.

By Ms. Smith on Mon, 08/23/10

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released numerous reports of increased government spying on American citizens. Once upon an unhappy time, U.S. law enforcement agencies, from the FBI to local police, had a history of political spying during the Cold War. The ACLU said that the old political spying tendencies are running high again. Individuals and groups are being monitored and harassed for "little more than peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights."

One ACLU report, Policing Free Speech: Police Surveillance and Obstruction of First Amendment-Protected Activity (.pdf), reveals that, in recent years, Americans have been put under surveillance or harassed by law enforcement agencies in 33 states plus the District of Columbia. What horrific acts did these Americans commit? Organizing, marching, protesting, supporting unusual viewpoints, and engaging in "normal, innocuous behaviors such as writing notes or taking photographs in public."

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