(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The Biden administration is reportedly responding to the recent Pentagon classified document leaks with plans to drastically increase government monitoring of chatrooms.
Citing an anonymous administration official and a congressional official who was briefed on the matter, NBC News reported Wednesday that the Biden White House is “looking at expanding the universe of online sites that intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities track.”
NBC News also quoted former NSA top lawyer Glenn Gerstell, who claimed that “we do not have nor do we want a system where the United States government monitors private internet chats.”
U.S. laws prohibit searching private chatrooms preemptively and “scanning for classified documents,” Gerstell said, according to NBC News.
Other unnamed intelligence sources told NBC News about the legal barriers to an expanded federal surveillance program.
“If the administration tries to check online chatrooms more closely, it will have to navigate legal safeguards designed to protect Americans’ privacy and freedom of expression,” unnamed former intelligence officials reportedly said.
“Watching a public chatroom is fair game, but law enforcement agencies don’t have the legal authority to monitor a private online chatroom without probable cause, the former officials said.”
Biden’s reported plans to start spying on internet chatrooms follows Senators Mark Warner, D-Va., and John Thune, R-S.D., introducing the “Restrict Act,” which privacy advocates have warned is akin to the Patriot Act.
“If the RESTRICT Act becomes the RESTRICT law, any site that refuses to cooperate with future efforts by the US government to suppress certain stories and individuals on social media could find itself accused of working to advance the ‘strategic objectives of a foreign adversary,’” former congressman Ron Paul said of the proposal.
“Like the PATRIOT Act, the RESTRICT Act plays on people’s fears to make them silent while Congress takes away more of their liberty.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., warned that the two recent developments are part of a concerted effort to end the remaining internet freedom that still exists.
The Biden admin is preparing to pass into law something like the Restrict Act, which will severely take away your online privacy rights and control over your own data.
Remember the FBI and Homeland already target Americans.
The FBI had a 10 to 1 ratio imbedded in the Proud Boys…
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) April 14, 2023
“The Biden admin is preparing to pass into law something like the Restrict Act, which will severely take away your online privacy rights and control over your own data,” she said. “Remember the FBI and Homeland already target Americans.”
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.