Conservatives must act now to reverse Obama-era tactics – while we have control of both the White House and Congress.
It is well known that former President Obama unilaterally expanded the power of the Federal government without regard to legal authority, constitutional power, or respect for individual freedoms.
Between mandating a Government run healthcare system to headline news issues including the immigration crisis of “DACA,” President Trump and his Administration team are gradually confronting most of the larger policy challenges created by his predecessor. Some issues, such as North Korea’s nuclear missile capabilities, are directly the result of Obama’s inability to actually resolve issues rather than simply passing the buck for others to solve.
Other issues are direct manifestations of Obama’s disrespect for international laws and agreements, and our Constitutional Rights. An example of that contempt is readily found in the lawsuit Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) began several years ago against Microsoft and the country of Ireland. Yes, the Ireland, the country whose history is so intertwined with our own that we created a holiday as an excuse to celebrate the culture.
At its heart of the ongoing case is whether the documents, photographs, and other digital possessions we choose to store online, “in the cloud,” deserve the same Constitutional protections that we enjoy in the physical world. There is no doubt that those same items, if on paper, in your own home, car, office, or safe deposit box would be protected by the 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights. However, Obama’s Department of Justice chose to disregard Americans’ expectation of privacy. Instead, using a law written before the Internet was viewed by a browser program, the DOJ forced companies to turn over any material stored online – without bothering to produce a warrant or supplying probable cause.
Some leaders in Congress, including Virginia’s own GOP Representative Bob Goodlatte, have repeatedly attempted to protect our digital rights. There have been repeated efforts to update those laws to reflect the mobile, digital world in which we now live. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration succeeded in defeating those legislative efforts. This violation of our right to digital privacy continued until the DOJ asked for online data which was stored in another country – and the property of a citizen of that country, Ireland. The company caught in the middle, Microsoft, realized that it was required to follow Irish law for digital possessions of an Irish citizen stored on computers located within the boundaries of Ireland.
Obama’s DOJ nevertheless filed suit against the online service provider after Microsoft refused to give in to several attempts to compel them to secretly transfer data from Ireland to the United States. The career bureaucrats in the Department of Justice must not understand that international agreements exist to protect citizens of a country from the actions of another. The simple fact is that Americans like us believe that our data, even on our phones, is ours. Even if we vacation in an island paradise, none of us believe that Russia or China should have the ability to simply grab all of our photographs, bank account login information, or our medical records.
The law that this case is based upon never conceived of the issues and rights in play here. The question here is, should unelected judges try to reinterpret the meanings of words in an obsolete law to write new law, or should our elected representatives in Congress step up and enact clear legislation that applies to the new digital world?
It is time for the rest of Congress to follow the leadership of Congressman Goodlatte to protect our online rights from the DOJ. It is past time for President Trump’s Administration to end the marching orders left over by over-active Obama Administration appointees and prevent judges from writing new laws.