Originally published June 8 2013
Rand Paul speaks out against government abuses of privacy, calls out Google to protect it more
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) You may not always agree with him, but one thing about Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is that he is a consistent champion of individual rights, personal liberty and small government freedom.
These traits were on display once more in a recent interview with Wired magazine's Danger Room during a trip through Silicon Valley. The purpose of the swing through some of liberal-progressive California was to sit down and talk with executives from Google, Facebook and eBay about privacy in the Electronic Age, and how it's rapidly slipping away with each new tech advance - that, and the companies' collusion with the federal government to rob users of their right to privacy by sharing personal information with government agencies.
'We have the president thinking about civil liberties...'In his interview, Paul staked out a number of liberty-minded positions that Americans of all political stripes and persuasions should embrace because they empower the individual over the nanny leviathan state's web of bureaucracy.
When asked what his March filibuster aimed at casting a critical eye on the federal government's potential use of armed drones against American citizens on U.S. soil might have accomplished, Paul was sanguine.
"We have the president thinking about civil liberties and actually responding and saying that he believes in due process. Now if we could just have a little tutorial on what due process is I think we'd be making real progress," he said.
Was he referencing President Obama's prior claim that Americans who have been accused of engaging in terrorist activities don't have to be formally arrested and charged?
"I just can't imagine that any kind of definition of due process wouldn't include a court or a jury or a lawyer, it would include only someone from a political branch of government. It almost seems to be absurd that someone would call that due process," he answered, clarifying that he was only talking about American civilians being targeted - "people fighting in wars or actively engaging in combat," American or otherwise.
Standing for libertyHere is more of the interview:
Regarding President Obama's recent national security speech in mid-May in which he said drone use would be scaled back - "I was pleased that he responded to us. He talked about the idea and the need for due process. Disappointed, though, that a constitutional law professor thinks due process doesn't include a court, a trial, a jury or a lawyer. That concept of due process almost is meaningless. So I'm glad that he's trying but he needs to try a little harder."
On building a coalition of lawmakers interested in preserving civil liberties - "Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), I've worked with him on some of these issues, as well as Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). I think there are times we can get together. I've worked with Senator Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) on trying to fix the problem of government reading your emails after six months. As well as mandatory minimum sentencing. So I think there's evidence of a right-left coalition on some civil liberties issues."
On his message to e-commerce and social media companies like Facebook and eBay - "It's an exchange. As long as it's part of an exchange and they uphold your contract, I'm all for that. What I worry about is where the government comes in, through the Patriot Act, and says you can't be sued for giving [subscriber] information to the government. So my message to them will be to stand up and defend privacy. Ultimately, the people going after privacy are the government, and if people mistake Google for government, then we're in for a big problem."
On his future presidential aspirations, perhaps as early as 2016 - "I haven't made a decision on that and won't for about a year. But I think the Republican party needs to be bigger. One of the reasons I come to California is that the Republican party seems to have given up on California, and my message to those in California is that we're going to compete nationally as a party, and that includes California."
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