-Delivered at an open hearing on the proposed legislation 7-9-13

    Hi I'm KT and I'm an activist here in Massachusetts. I'm here today because you are my representative voice in state governance and you have a choice between two divergent paths in terms of privacy. I am a Verizon customer and a former occupier so for me the fact of criminally breached privacy is personal. On the one hand you could follow the federal government and take unAmerican unconstitutional steps to limit citizens rights and on the other hand you could take steps to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth from having their rights stripped from them. It is my sincere hope that you will choose the latter.
     Over the past month Edward Snowden a former NSA contractor has made the world aware of both domestic and foreign surveillance by the US government. I mentioned that I am a Verizon customer because it is now a known fact that without a warrant specific to me or to any investigation I might have been involved in my personal data has been handed to the government to be stored and scrutinized under a general warrant. General warrants are exactly what the bill of rights prohibits. I also mentioned I am a former occupier because thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests it is known fact that the occupiers in Boston were processed as an “extremist” and a “potential terrorists” by our local fusion center with the help of Boston Police. I have already personally run afoul of our massive domestic surveillance at least twice despite never being arrested or facing charges or as far as I know even having a warrant specific to me. I ask that you please protect my privacy and the privacy of the citizens of the commonwealth.
     You are looking at a proposals like the Free Speech act and the Electronic Privacy act which would- if passed- bring the requirement of a warrant to access electronic communications. Opposite those bills there is “An act updating the wire interception law” which dramatically expands the state level law enforcement's ability to wiretap. I strongly urge you to pass into law strong protective measures for citizen communications and vote down “an act updating the wire interception law”. The trend right now is to gather and hoard massive piles of data but this will not make us more secure, it will make us less safe and less free. For instance look how the NYPD have used their access to the FBI National Crime Information Center database, AP reported on a whole slew of misuses ranging from snooping into peoples data outside of the context of law enforcement to surveillance of a location before an armed robbery, to the officer who was using the database to select victims to kill and eat. I ask that you keep Massachusetts citizens data out of such hoards. It only takes one person to expose any or all of our personal communications, our location, and whatever other information gets stored. Law enforcement should spend more time reading the constitution that they've sworn to protect and less time reading my emails.
     Our law enforcement does not need military equipment to do their job. They are not facing an opposing army. They certainly don't need drones. Currently the FBI is flying drones domestically without any restrictions on use, so today I ask that you consider ways to limit drone use within Massachusetts. The ACLU has made suggestions about how to do this, so all I will say is please make sure that drones can only be deployed without weapons and only when there are very specific warrants attached to their use. Drones have been used by our government to assassinate US citizens (our government confirms four such cases) so it is particularly worrisome that they are being used domestically without any guidelines.
     Our government is founded on a set of documents that forms a contract about how we will be governed. There is a federal level contract and a state level contract, and at both levels there are protections from search and seizure without probable cause, and a right of citizens to communicate unmolested by the eyes of government. This is a right that on the federal level has been unquestionably breached. You can follow the Federal legislature down that rabbit-hole and enjoy the same 10% favor-ability polling they have or you can rebuke the trend and take steps to live up to the contract you have with we the people. Boston is the birthplace of the fourth amendment, and today you are in the position to protect that heritage. Please do not fail.
Thank you

 


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