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Spy on Americans, but Don't Monitor Hotels in China!

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July 30, 2008

According to Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), wholesale government spying on Americans? A-ok. But surveillance of Internet use in foreign-owned hotels in China? Not if he can help it!

ThinkProgress reports that Sen. Brownback, who voted for the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program twice—once last year for the Protect America Act and just last month for the FISA Amendments Act—is just outraged over this.

When asked about the difference between the Chinese and American spying practices, Brownback said, “We don’t put the hardware and software on hotels.” He added that the Chinese program can be used “on journalists,” “on athletes,” “on their families,” “democracy advocates,” and “human rights advocates” — seemingly oblivious that all these groups could be spied on here as well.

Threat Level also sagely points out that the government, via the FBI, was already spying on advocates, as our Freedom of Information Act request revealed.

Now, we actually agree with Sen. Brownback that this is outrageous; we don’t believe in that kind of surveillance, period. But where are your priorities, Senator? Is protecting the privacy of Olympic tourists more important that protecting Americans’ right to privacy? It’s in the Constitution, for chrissake!

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