cr> Terrorism act and civil rights


(Introduction from moderator: cyber-rights intersect with other
rights, and the terrorism bill that President Clinton is pushing so
hard for definitely affects cyber-rights issues like wiretapping.  So
I am taking a news item from the ACLU News 04-17-96.  Incidentally,
the EFF newsletter I posted yesterday also commented briefly on the

              *ACLU Alerts House That Significant Wiretap Provisions*
               *Remain in Conference Report on Terrorism Legislation*

WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union today alerted  members of
the House of Representatives that significant wiretap provisions remain in
the terrorism legislation now making its way through Congress.

Despite assurances to the contrary by House and Senate leadership, the ACLU
said that the current conference version of the terrorism bill includes two
significant expansions of wiretap powers for government law enforcement
agents while also removing prohibitions on eavesdropping by private parties.

In their desire to hide the wiretap provisions from concerned members of the
House, the conference leaders went to such extremes as to subtly change
wording in the conference report, the ACLU said.  Section 731 of the House
Bill, for example, was titled "Exclusion of Certain Types of Information from
Wiretap-Related Definitions." While the conference committee deleted the
words "wiretap-related," it left the wiretap provisions unchanged, the ACLU

The ACLU also pointed to another provision deeply buried in the conference
report that would require banks  to freeze assets of domestic groups and U.S.
citizens if there is any reason, however vague, to believe that the
organization or individual is an "agent" of a designated foreign terrorist

In addition, the ACLU said that the terrorism conference report includes yet
another provision added at the last minute that would federalize state law to
an even greater extent than either version of the corresponding sections of
the House and Senate bills sent to conference.

"Taken together, these provisions should cause members of the House to have
deep concerns about the terrorism bill as they face a final vote," said
Gregory T. Nojeim, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "Dangerous and largely hidden
changes have been made in this bill. We ask that members of the House vote
against this legislation to protect our nation's liberties well into the next

"This bill," Nojeim added, "would do nothing to make safer, but would, in
effect, add the Bill of Rights and our nation's liberty to the list of
casualties of the tragic bombing in Oklahoma City."  

 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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