America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 43

Brady Handgun Violence Prevention
Act of , which created the National
Instant Criminal Background Check
System (), also prohibits the use of
 to create a federal gun registry.
Surely, Congress didn't intend to
throw out all of these laws when it passed
the Patriot Act. If it had, there certainly
would have been some debate on it
in Congress and the  would have
opposed giving any government agency
the power to create lists of gun owners.
Also, if the government's authority to
collect phone records is as broad as the
government says it is, what then prevents
it from demanding data showing which
websites American citizens visit or
who they're emailing? Putting together
such private records could allow the
government to create an even more
detailed list of likely gun owners.
For example, as was pointed out in
the 's brief, if "a person not only
calls gun stores, ranges, and the ,
but also visits hunting-related websites,
makes credit card purchases from
shooting sports retailers, and travels to
firing ranges, it could be predicted
with near certainty that he or she is a
gun owner."
Additionally, a "friend of the court
brief" from a coalition of computer
scientists points out that, "Call records
can be particularly revealing because
the data is uniformly structured
making it easy for data-mining
programs to sort out. Human speech,
by comparison, is more difficult for
computers to accurately process." This
group of tech-savvy specialists says it's
no comfort that actual conversations
are not being included in the phone
data being sent to the , as records
showing who people call can easily
create portraits of people's personal
lives. Also, say the computer experts,
"The government claims that the fact
that it does not collect the names of
those associated with the telephone
numbers it collects is a privacy
safeguard. It isn't much of one. The
additional step of associating a name
with an individual's metadata is trivial."
The Court Challenges A 
 goes to press, at least a half-dozen
lawsuits have been filed challenging

the 's data collection program on
the grounds that it's unconstitutional.
The 's "friend of the court" brief
was filed in  v. Clapper. This case
was dismissed on Dec. , , by
.. District Judge William Pauley of
New York on the grounds that national
security interests give the government
the right to demand and retain
information on who American citizens
are speaking with without first obtaining
individual warrants. But the  is
appealing that decision.
In March , after the Obama
administration spent months defending
the  program, President Barack
Obama said he is in favor of ending
the 's massive metadata collection
of phone records. But he didn't say he
would use an executive order to end
the program. President Obama instead
stalled by saying he wants Congress to
pass legislation. If such legislation were
passed and signed into law, it would
likely end the many court challenges.
In April , the .. Supreme Court
declined to fast-track Klayman v. Obama,
which is another lawsuit challenging
the 's data collection program. On
Dec. , , .. Federal Judge Richard
J. Leon ruled that bulk data collection of
American telephone calls likely violates
the .. Constitution. Judge Leon called
the  program "almost Orwellian,"
and wrote: "I cannot imagine a more
indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion
than this systematic and high-tech
collection and retention of personal
data on virtually every single citizen for
purposes of querying and analyzing it
without prior judicial approval. ... Surely,
such a program infringes on 'that degree
of privacy' that the founders enshrined
in the Fourth Amendment."
At press time this ruling was stayed
pending appeal from the government.
As the debate moves through the
legislatures and courts, the  will stay
involved to protect the constitutional
rights of its members and all law-abiding
gun owners.
As Ayn Rand so aptly wrote,
"Civilization is the progress toward a
society of privacy. The savage's whole
existence is public, ruled by the laws of
his tribe. Civilization is the process of
setting man free from men."

Business
Alliance

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America's First Freedom - June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of America's First Freedom - June 2014

America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 1
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 2
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 3
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 4
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 5
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 6
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 7
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America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 9
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America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 14
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America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 21
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America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 33
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America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 35
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America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 37
America's First Freedom - June 2014 - 38
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