Appropo of this week, the week just prior to Halloween, we have had some scary stories break today. This might be the scariest. The Trump administration is coming after its most vociferous protestors. Per the New York Post:
The Trump administration reportedly has obtained search warrants that would allow them access to the Facebook pages of thousands of anti-Trump protesters.
The requested data — which targets all the information in three accounts — would include information on about 6,000 individuals who “liked” an anti-Donald Trump Facebook page, according to CNN.
Let that sink in, and then try to imagine how it hits people you maybe care about, people whose opinions you read and comment upon, people who make maybe a couple bucks a month writing critical political opinion pieces against that same administration. It is scary.
“What is particularly chilling about these warrants is that anti-administration political activists are going to have their political associations and views scrutinized by the very administration they are protesting,” said ACLU attorney Scott Michelman.
Yes, the thought of being investigated by the very same people you have criticized for years is “chilling.” For now, it is limited to Facebook. For now.
A spokesperson for Facebook said the company had fought in court to notify the three main individuals about the government’s request for their information.
“We are grateful to the companies and civil society organizations that supported us in arguing for people’s ability to learn about and challenge overly broad search warrants.” the spokesperson told The Post in a statement.
“Overly broad search warrants”? How about “entirely invalid” search warrants? There is nothing to indicate that any of the people mentioned committed a crime, only that they led groups opposing the Trump administration.
This is more than a little unsettling.
I knew that voicing strong opinions on these matters carried some danger, but I always believed the danger was limited to some of my “pen pals” and their e-threats, the ones I get several times a week, and mostly laugh off. At worst, I imagined it hurting me here locally, living in a very red area, where being “known” for one’s liberal views can shut you out of a lot of things, especially financial opportunities. I accepted all that. But if the Trump administration itself is now going after people on the net, that is a whole new level.
This is a pretty dark day on a number of levels.
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @MiciakZoom