FBI is on your cell phone. Do you care?
Posted: September 20, 2011
9:00 pm Eastern
John Adams lost the 1800 presidential election to Thomas Jefferson in large part because Adams, in 1798, pushed through Congress the Alien and Sedition Acts that punished any of the new Americans who stirred up "sedition within the United States" by speech or actions that brought the president or Congress into "contempt or disrepute."
The First Amendment had been ratified only seven years before!
The American people, no longer threatened by the tyrannical British king and insistently proud of their guaranteed personal liberties, voted for Jefferson, who had strongly opposed the Alien and Sedition Acts (my book, "First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America," Delacorte Press, 1980).
Here we are in 2011, with our federal, state and local governments having the technological ability to track and store in massive databases what we say on the phone, in emails, on Facebook, on Twitter and the myriad other digital means in which we communicate. The Obama administration has the power to punish an American for providing "material support" to our terrorist enemies.