The Federalist | Feb 28, 2021 | 0
Feds Recruit Private Companies as Soldiers in Surveillance State
The War on Terror has officially crossed the line by using the Capitol riot to destroy what little is left of our civil liberties.
Bloomberg News reported that the House Oversight Committee has asked travel companies to help law enforcement ID suspected Capitol rioters.
“The committee sent letters to hotel chains, bus lines, car rental companies and online travel agents, asking them to retain all records regarding reservations and services for the entire month of January for potential use, if necessary, in future law enforcement or Congressional investigations.”
When the Feds openly ask travel companies to help them ID suspected rioters everyone’s privacy is at risk.
As Forbes noted, the Feds sent letters to more than two dozen travel companies, including nine bus companies.
“Greyhound, Megabus, BoltBus, Lux Bus America, Vamoose, Jefferson Lines, Peter Pan, Flixbus and RedCoach; eight car rental companies Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, National, Alamo, Budget. Dollar and Thrifty; and 10 hotel and lodging groups Expedia, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Accor Group, Hyatt, Hilton, Choice Hotels, Marriott, Best Western International, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Extended Stay America.”
Why is everyone’s privacy at stake?
As Bloomberg News warned, the Feds are essentially encouraging private corporations to become secret intelligence operatives of the government.
“The committee is also asking the companies to implement additional screening to make sure their services are not being used to facilitate violence or domestic terrorism and give the committee a list of what policies and procedures are currently being used.”
“Implementing additional screening” is spook-talk for conducting due diligence (extensive) searches of every visitor.
What’s to stop travel companies from using Clearview AI to facially ID every visitor and passenger in the past and into the future?
As the article pointed out, the Committee’s letters made no mention of compelling they provide additional information by subpoena.
Because asking private corporations to ‘implement additional screening’ of every visitor and passenger gives the Federal government immunity from any future litigation.
It’s not like the Feds need to coax corporations into handing over visitors’ personal information without a warrant.
A 2016 case involving law enforcement searching Greyhound bus passengers’ belongings without a warrant is an open secret. And two years ago I documented how hotels and motels work with DHS and law enforcement to identify so-called ‘suspicious people’.
DHS’s “Blue Campaign” asks hotel and motel workers to report visitors who have committed one of nineteen suspicious things.
- Do Not Disturb sign used constantly.
- Requests room or housekeeping services (additional towels, new linens, etc.), but denies hotel/motel staff entry into room.
- Refusal of cleaning services for multiple days.
- Excessive amounts of cash in a room.
- Smell of bodily fluids and musk.
- Presence of multiple computers, cell phones, pagers, credit card swipes, or other technology.
- The same person reserving multiple rooms.
- Individuals leaving room infrequently, not at all, or at odd hours.
- Children’s items or clothing are present but no child registered with the room.
- Individuals loitering in hallways or appearing to monitor the area.
- Excessive amounts of alcohol or illegal drugs in rooms.
- Evidence of pornography.
- Minors left alone in room for long periods of time.
- Excessive number of people staying in a room.
- Extended stay with few or no personal possessions.
- Provocative clothing and shoes.
- Constant flow of men into a room at all hours.
- Excessive amounts of sex paraphernalia in rooms (condoms, lubricant, lotion, etc.).
- Rooms stocked with merchandise, luggage, mail packages, and purses/wallets with different names.
When federal law enforcement conducts searches on hotel, car rental and bus company patrons it casts a wide net that encompasses everyone; the innocent as well as the guilty.
Police will ask corporations to provide travel record searches of everyone in the hopes of IDing suspected criminals. Police will often use pen registers, driver’s licenses, credit card receipts, video surveillance, Stingray’s and Bluetooth readers to ID everyone in a given area.
History has shown that the FBI, DHS and police have a vast network to help ID protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement or Black Lives Matter movement.
A Partnership for Civil Justice Fund document revealed a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity known as the Domestic Security Alliance Council that can be used to ID everyone.
If corporations willingly become an arm of the federal government and begin ‘implementing additional screening’ of every visitor and passenger, could a No-Visitor list be far behind?
In other words could travel companies blacklist Americans suspected of anti-government activities like protesting, tweeting, or wearing Black Lives Matter shirts?
As reporter Glenn Greenwald warns the new domestic War on Terror is coming.
“Why would such new terrorism laws be needed in a country that already imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the world as the result of a very aggressive set of criminal laws? What acts should be criminalized by new “domestic terrorism” laws that are not already deemed criminal? They never say, almost certainly because — just as was true of the first set of new War on Terror laws — their real aim is to criminalize that which should not be criminalized: speech, association, protests, opposition to the new ruling coalition.”
The real question is, will the federal government and travel companies use the Capitol riots as an excuse to create secret No-Visitor or Persona Non Grata lists of Americans?
This article was originally published at MassPrivateI.
The post Feds Recruit Private Companies as Soldiers in Surveillance State first appeared on Tenth Amendment Center Blog.
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