See if you can figure this out, because I certainly can. Despite the threat of terrorism, you have a Western democracy coming down on the side of privacy, rather than panic and fear. Sadly, it's not the United States.
Vast amounts of telephone and e-mail data held in Germany must be deleted, the country's highest court has ruled.
The constitutional court overturned a 2008 law requiring communications data to be kept for six months.
The law - designed to combat terrorism and serious crime - required telecoms companies to keep logs of calls, faxes, SMS messages, e-mails and internet use.
But nearly 35,000 Germans lodged complaints against it, arguing that the law violated their right to privacy.
Responding to the thousands of formal complaints, Germany's constitutional court described the law as a "particularly serious infringement of privacy in telecommunications".
In contrast, political calculations and a stunning lack of cojones seems to prevail in this country:
President Obama signed a one-year extension of three sections of the USA Patriot Act on Saturday without any new limits on the measures that many liberal groups and Democrats said were necessary to safeguard American civil liberties.
The provisions allow the government, with permission from a special court, to obtain roving wiretaps over multiple communication devices, seize suspects’ records without their knowledge, and conduct surveillance of a so-called “lone wolf,” or someone deemed suspicious but without any known ties to an organized terrorist group.
The Patriot Act drew heavy criticism from Democrats – Obama even once saidit needed to be dialed back – during the Bush administration. But experts suggest that a string of foiled terrorist plots over the past year combined with the Democrats' falling ratings amid the healthcare debate blunted any move to reform the act, which was passed in the wake of 9/11.
“We’ve stopped 28 terrorist attacks since 9/11,” says James Carafano, a homeland security expert at The Heritage Foundation. “The Patriot Act has been a big part of that."
He says the only disappointment regarding Obama’s extension of the three temporary provisions is that “it was only for one year.” That, he says, may have been done “so they won’t get beat up so much on the left.”
Well, I wouldn't use that number 28 so freely. Many of those were pretty half-assed. At least two or three of those involved people who couldn't even afford adequate footwear, and at least one of those involved a self-described American ninja, I believe.
I won't bother to go and dig up all of the things President Obama said against the Patriot Act; I won't even bother to go see what Glenn Greenwald had to say about it. Shame on the Republican Party for foisting it upon us. We should have kept things the way they were; what better way to tell the men with rags on their head to go pound sand. These colors may not run, but they'll shit themselves seven shades of brown over the idea of someone thinking there might be a terrorist talking in the open on his cell phone in Grand Forks about going to Tuscaloosa to buy a gallon of paint from a man from Spokane. The Patriot Act only works if the terrorists are abject fools with a talkative streak and no operational security, sir.
I will just point out that, at one time, you couldn't get elected dogcatcher in this country without having a position on privacy and on protecting the rights of Americans to be safe from unlawful search and seizure. Now, you can pretty much bet on the fact that millions of Americans will sign away their firstborn and every halfwit databit of their private information just so that there's no chance whatsoever that they won't have to think about being attacked by a terrorist.
Boo! Are you scared, sir? I hope not. Cowboy up.