The surveillance state is bipartisan – neither wing of the duopoly will end it

Giving credit where it is due, Senator Wyden (D-Oregon) has consistently been on the right side of civil liberties issues regarding the Federal Government, and has laudably called out his own party in power on this:

“​​I write to express serious concern that the Department of State is providing law enforcement and intelligence agencies with unfettered access to personal data, originally collected through passport applications, of the more than 145 million Americans with a passport,” states the letter sent to Blinken, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News.

Wyden, D-Ore., wrote that “the breadth of this access highlights the potential for other abuses. In a July 13, 2022, briefing for my office, State Department officials confirmed that 25 other federal agencies have access to the Department’s database of passport applications.”

According to documents posted on a Department of Homeland Security website, data collected on U.S. citizens include: names, addresses, birth dates, biometric data like fingerprints and facial images, email addresses, phone numbers, gender, race, Social Security numbers and other types of personal information.

“The [State] Department’s mission does not include providing dozens of other government agencies with self-service access to 145 million Americans’ personal data,” the letter states. “The Department has voluntarily taken on this role, and in doing so, prioritized the interests of other agencies over those of law-abiding Americans. While there is a legitimate role for the use of this information by law enforcement, the current unregulated system of interagency access to millions of Americans’ records goes far beyond what a reasonable person would expect or tolerate.”

Source: “Exclusive: State Dept. gives law enforcement, intelligence agencies unrestricted access to Americans’ personal data “

The problem, of course, is that Senator Wyden is basically alone in his own caucus against a unified, bi-partisan front to maintain the surveillance state. And as long as we continue to vote for the Duopoly (and especially for those who are in favor of domestic spying), then nothing will change. We must have the courage to vote for alternatives to the existing parties if we want to have a chance at real change at the Federal level.

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