One week after the Orlando nightclub shooting, the U.S. Senate voted down four gun control measures, causing people to protest on Twitter using the #DisarmHate hashtag. A journalist, Igor Volsky, also revealed which senators get money from the NRA, and how much each one gets. Arizona senator and former presidential nominee John McCain has gotten $7.7 million from them.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that McCain filed an amendment the same night that the Senate voted no on gun control. According to Vice News, his amendment would authorize the FBI to access people’s internet browsing histories and email metadata without a warrant. This would go farther than the Patriot Act, which lets the FBI access names, addresses and billing records by just giving subpoenas to various businesses, but protects internet privacy.
If passed, this new bill would also allow the FBI to get browsing history by merely handing down a subpoena to Facebook or a similar company. As an ACLU official explains it:
“This would strip out all the protections and buffers between [the government] and everyday citizens. It would allow the FBI to get this information with just a subpoena, under a shroud of secrecy. You may never know. These subpoenas are often accompanied by gag orders,” Guliani said. “Abuses stay hidden.”
The FBI has been lobbying for this kind of power for a while, and senators tried to sneak this provision into an intelligence bill last month. John McCain is running for reelection this year and has already blamed President Obama for the Orlando shooting. It’s not unreasonable to see this as a way to deflect from the gun control issue by addressing terrorism and mass shootings without upsetting the powerful gun lobby. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make guns any harder to access, and could strip us of our civil liberties in other areas in the meantime.
(via Vice News)