From Midwest Today , December 1999
Janet Reno's Justice Dept. is proposing that Congress pass
a law that would give police authority to secretly go into people's
homes and businesses, search through computers for passwords and
override encryption programs to find out what's on their hard
drive, all under the guise of intercepting suspected criminal
activity. Privacy advocates say the so-called "Cyberspace
Electronic Security Act" goes too far.
Ordinarily, when the government wants to search your home or office, it must obtain a court order, issued by a judge, based on a finding of probable cause to believe that a crime is being committed. The government must then provide you with contemporaneous notice of the search -- show you the warrant and leave an inventory of the items seized.
However, the proposed legislation would allow police to break into your property surreptitiously, and disable your computer's security without your knowledge. Then the cops could spy on your activites -a clear violation of Fourth Amendment rights.
To read an earlier story about how your privacy is under assault, click here.