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Dem Rep. Lieu Chides NSA & "Surveillance State" at House Hearing

Nearly everyone agrees -- federal overreach is out of control. Real Clear Politics reports:

At a House Subcommittee on Information Technology hearing last week, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) scolded members of law enforcement and the intelligence community over "an out of control surveillance state" and how it takes away resources for investigating crimes like rape and murder. Lieu particularly lashed out at Daniel Conley, a district attorney from Boston who is lobbying for more surveillance resources.

REP. TED LIEU: Mr. Conley, I respect your public service. I take great offense at your testimony today. You mentioned that unaccountable corporate interests such as Apple and Google are essentially protecting those who rape, defraud, assault, or kill. I think that’s offensive. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem.

Why do you think Apple and Google are doing this? It’s because the public is demanding it. People like me, privacy advocates, a public that doesn’t want an out of control surveillance state. It is the public that is asking for this. Apple and Google didn’t do this because they thought they’d make less money. This is a private sector response to government overreach.

Then you make another statement, that somehow these technology companies are not credible because they also collect private data. Well, here’s the difference. Apple and Google don’t have coercive power. District attorneys do, the FBI does, the NSA does, and to me it’s very simple to draw the privacy balance when it comes to law enforcement and privacy. Just follow the damn Constitution.

And because the NSA didn’t do that and other law enforcement agencies didn’t do that, you’re seeing a vast public reaction to this. Because the NSA, your colleagues, have essentially violated 4th Amendment rights of every American citizen for years by seizing all of our phone records, by collecting our internet traffic, that now is spilling over to other aspects of law enforcement and if you want to get this fixed, I suggest you write an essay and the FBI should tell the NSA, ‘Stop violating our rights,’ and then maybe you’d have the public much more on the side of supporting some of what law enforcement is asking for.

And then let me just conclude by saying I do agree with law enforcement that we live in a dangerous world. And that’s why our founders put in the Constitution of the United States, that’s why they put in the 4th Amendment, ’cause they understand that an Orwellian overreaching federal government is one of the most dangerous things this world can have. I yield back.

Click here to read this article in its original location at Real Clear Politics.