According to this Wired News article, the Justice Department is already using its new powers under the USA Patriot Act to obtain subscribers' identities and other information from cable operators without judicial oversight under Section 211 of the new legislation. Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff also says that the act has allowed police to obtain IP addresses of cable subscribers and has enabled DOJ to obtain court orders for ISP logs outside a court's traditional jurisdiction. The Senate Judiciary Committee has convened hearings to review the impact of the Bush administration's actions on civil liberties, but A.G. Ashcroft is not scheduled to appear until December 6. One wonders what effect the upcoming cable failure will have on government surveilance of the potentially criminal citizenry.
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