Ted Lieu (D-CA): Just Follow the Damn Constitution

From IJ Review:

Ted Lieu Refuses to Return Award from Anti-Israel Group

Congressman Ted Lieu

On Wednesday afternoon, Daniel Conley, the District Attorney for Suffolk, Massachusetts, testified before the Congressional Subcommittee on Information Technology on the expansion of law enforcement’s power to access data during investigations.

Conley’s testimony comes just a month after FBI Director James Comey urged Congress to recognize the need for tech companies to implement ‘technological back doors’ that, with a proper search warrant, would allow investigators to circumvent encryption and gain immediate access to any information on a suspect’s device.

Speaking from a prepared statement, Conley said:

In America, we often say that none of us is above the law. But when unaccountable corporate interests place crucial evidence beyond the legitimate reach of our courts, they are in fact placing those who rape, defraud, assault and even kill in a position of profound advantage over victims and society.

Such strong language stirred up a privacy advocate ‘pit-bull’ in Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), who first responded to Conley by stating, “I respect your public service, I take great offense at your testimony today.”

(Don’t let the length of the video scare you off – it starts at Lieu’s comments and you only need to watch for a couple of minutes to hear his statement, which sounds truly heartfelt.)

He went on to dismantle Conley’s argument, emphasizing that pressure for tech companies to prioritize privacy over security comes primarily from the American public:

It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem. Why do you think Apple and Google are doing this? It’s because the public is demanding it. People like me: privacy advocates. A public does not want an out-of-control surveillance state. It is the public that is asking for this. Apple and Google didn’t do this because they thought they would make less money. This is a private sector response to government overreach.”

Speaking to The Daily Dot in an interview Thursday night, Lieu then made it painfully easy for the bureaucrats to follow:

“Apple and Google don’t have coercive power. District attorneys do, the FBI does, the NSA does, and to me it’s very simple to draw a privacy balance when it comes to law enforcement and privacy: just follow the damn Constitution. And because the NSA didn’t do that and other law enforcement agencies didn’t do that, you’re seeing a vast public reaction to this.” […]

“I do agree with law enforcement that we live in a dangerous world. That’s why our founders put the Fourth Amendment in the Constitution of the United States – because they understood that an Orwellian, overreaching federal government is one of the most dangerous things this world could have.”


Will wonders never cease! A Dem from California that I agree with. I appreciate that he stood up for the Constitution, although I have my doubts about his effectiveness. With this admin, Comey most likely will get his technological back doors.

Are we looking at a Dem with a little common sense? Maybe, but don’t get too excited – he may be a privacy advocate, but he’s still a gun grabber. 


You had us going there for a minute, Ted.


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13 Responses to Ted Lieu (D-CA): Just Follow the Damn Constitution

  1. Clyde says:

    Good post, but watch for Lieu to get his liberal card pulled. Imagine the NERVE of that guy, supporting the very thing the left despises the most. (OK OK sarcasm off)

  2. CW says:

    Yeah, Kathy, it’s hard for me to take any Democrat seriously when they say, “Just follow the damn Constitution.” This guy probably voted for Obama and has sat on his hands while Obama has spat on the Constitution.

    The Fourth Amendment was meant to protect citizens from UNREASONABLE searches and seizures, and requires there to be probable cause to seize and search information. It was NOT meant to protect criminals from accountability under the law. I didn’t watch the entire video but it sounded to me as though Conley was asking for the ability to seize and/or search encrypted information in cases where probable cause justifies a search warrant. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, or see where it is inconsistent with the Constitution, but I’ll grant that I might be assuming too much having not seen the entire hearing.

    I feel a certain amount of sympathy for people in law enforcement because they are tasked with the often thankless job of preventing terrible crimes without ever stepping on the rights of innocent people. Americans have a natural tendency to take their safety for granted, not recognizing to what extend their safety is owed to the quiet efforts of law enforcement. At the same time they are quick to point fingers and demand answers if law enforcement drops the ball. Right now everyone is cheering the police in Garland because of the positive outcome there, but imagine what people would be saying if things went differently and the terrorists were able to pull off the bloodbath they had planned.

    Our officers of the law are supposed to work for us, and it behooves us to find the right balance that allows them to intercept people who want to harm us but also prevents them from harming us in the process. You can’t get there by being so rigid in your laws that you protect the “rights” of the criminals at the expense of the innocent. Nor can you get there by giving overly broad power to law enforcement and trusting them to not abuse that power. I think the 4th Amendment struck the proper balance by saying that if someone gives us probable cause to believe that they intend not to honor our rights, then we are no longer bound to honor theirs and we have the right to verify whether or not they have committed or intend to commit crimes against us.

  3. Kathy says:

    The problem is that the FBI is asking companies like Google and Apple to implement those back doors, thereby more people accessing our personal information, then all the LE has to do is strip away the encryption and they have their evidence, after getting a warrant of course.

    It’s bad enough that every alphabet department in the government is collecting data on Americans, now he wants non- government entities doing it too. (doing their job for them, in a sense)

    I also support law enforcement and recognize how hard it is for them to do their job at times. I draw the line at this because the more places our data is stored in, the easier it is for hackers to access, as if they weren’t already a huge threat. That, and the fact that Google and Apple shouldn’t be doing their job for them.

    We have a right to privacy and that includes our computers, phones, etc and the information in them. That’s what’s most important and if a few bad guys get away, then that’s just too bad. That’s the price we pay.

    We also know from history that if you give them an inch they take a mile. Look what happened with civil forfeiture through the stop and seize programs implemented after 9/11. Intended to intercept drug money, now it’s affecting millions of innocent people.

    Honestly, though, it’s pretty much a moot point, because our data is already easily available to just about every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, via both government and non-government sources.

    • CW says:

      All good points, Kathy. BTW, when will our gov’t & law enforcers EVER do something about cyber crime? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been a victim of it.

      • Kathy says:

        I don’t think we ever will, CW, there’s always going to be bad guys who can figure out a way to rip people off, no matter the method.

        • Garnet92 says:

          Want to place any bets on how long it would take for bad guys to gain access through the “government-only back door” entry into our previously private data? Just imagine what a corrupt government IT guy could sell that access for? That’s just another reason that a “back door” idea sucks (preventing governmental “fishing expeditions” is the main one).

          • Kathy says:

            No bet here Garnet, since we’re already reading about security breaches, a back door of any kind will only speed things up.

  4. tannngl says:

    Amazing! A Dem in Calif with a conscience twinge over privacy. Maybe he’s up for re-election and is moving to the center? Anyhoo, just saw this morning that a circuit court found NSA’s collection of phone data illegal! What now brown cow? And the Patriot Act is up for renewal…
    Interesting times.

    • Kathy says:

      No doubt the twinge has been overshadowed by now. I saw that about the NSA also, but it’s too late, the data’s been collected already. Did they bother to find out beforehand? Oh no, because it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.

  5. I.R. Wayright says:

    We are getting closer and closer to a “Minority Report” (Tom Cruise movie) Pre-Crime Unit.

  6. vonMesser says:

    It sounds good. But he still votes for Obama.
    Talk is cheap. Actions speak loud.