FROM Declan McCullagh
Is the Government Reading Your Email? An FBI agent told superiors that his friend Jill Kelly was subjected to e-mail harassment. The subsequent investigation did not uncover a crime, but it ultimately forced David Petraeus to resign as Director of the CIA. The incident is being cited as evidence that technology and laws passed since September 11 demonstrate how vulnerable innocent Americans are to invasions of privacy by government agencies, turning the US into a "surveillance state." Why don't constitutional protections apply to e-mail? What's the role of Google, Facebook and the Cloud?
David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell… and You An FBI agent told superiors that his friend Jill Kelly was subjected to e-mail harassment. The subsequent investigation did not uncover a crime, but it ultimately forced David Petraeus to resign as Director of the CIA. The incident demonstrates how vulnerable innocent Americans are to invasions of privacy by government agencies. Under current law, there is no expectation of privacy for e-mail or other telecommunications, which go through third parties like Google or Facebook. The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search does not apply, creating the potential for abuse by government agents. Can the law catch up with technology, or has the US already become a "surveillance state?"
The State Budget: Balanced or Not? As a share of the state's economy, Governor Brown says, the $86 billion state budget he signed today is lower than any since 1973. There are massive cuts in core services. But Republicans refused to extend tax increases, and the deficit still required $12 billion in new revenues to be "balanced," as the constitution requires. Four billion of that is based on projections that wealthy taxpayers are doing better than anybody expected. Still more comes from so-called "use" taxes the state hopes to collect on Internet sales from companies like Amazon. Currently, those taxes depend on consumers, few of whom ever report online purchases. Another device is dismantling local redevelopment agencies and taking their money, but those agencies claim that's illegal because of Proposition 22 , approved by the voters last November. Will any of that money really materialize?
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.