New Trump Executive Order Says Federal Agencies Should Exclude Foreigners From Privacy Protections

from the immigrants-founded-this-country,-but-what-have-they-done-for-us-lately? dept

It’s America first, everyone else second. That’s the new administration’s message. An executive order full of disturbing mandates contains a proposed rollback of privacy protections extended to foreign residents’ personal information, as ProPublica’s Julie Angwin pointed out on Twitter.

Here’s the section detailing the clawback of privacy rights from President Trump’s “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” executive order.

Sec. 14. Privacy Act. Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.

This doesn’t appear to touch the Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive issued in response to the Snowden leaks, which ordered US agencies to show a bit more respect to the personal information on foreigners harvested by multiple surveillance programs. The relevant part of PPD-28 reads:

All persons should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their nationality or wherever they might reside, and all persons have legitimate privacy interests in the handling of their personal information. U.S. signals intelligence activities must, therefore, include appropriate safeguards for the personal information of all individuals, regardless of the nationality of the individual to whom the information pertains or where that individual resides.

What it never instructed agencies to do is stop collecting it, or to even scale their collection programs back. The solution isn’t less spying — despite the Snowden revelations — but more policies. This is still intact despite Trump’s executive order. He has the option of revoking previous Presidential Policy Directives, so it’s not as though this extension of rights is untouchable.

The order basically states that government agencies no longer need to extend privacy protections to foreign residents’ data that they may possess. The problem with this rollback is that it rolls back very little. Foreign data isn’t covered by the Privacy Act. The president may have been targeting Obama’s presidential directive with this executive order, but he has missed badly.

What it does do, however, is screw with the Passenger Name Record agreement the US signed with the European Commission back in 2007.

IV. Access and Redress: DHS has made a policy decision to extend administrative Privacy Act protections to PNR data stored in the ATS regardless of the nationality or country of residence of the data subject, including data that relates to European citizens. Consistent with U.S. law, DHS also maintains a system accessible by individuals, regardless of their nationality or country of residence, for providing redress to persons seeking information about or correction of PNR.

Then again, this was screwed with before the ink was even dry. The Bush Administration changed the terms of the deal less than two weeks later by stripping everyone — US citizens and foreigners — of these privacy protections by exempting the DHS’s Arrival and Departure System, as well as the multi-agency Automated Targeting System from the Privacy Act.

The more disturbing part of the order is the installation of a Two Minutes Hate program for foreigners and any municipalities deemed to be “sheltering” aliens from the federal government.

To better inform the public regarding the public safety threats associated with sanctuary jurisdictions, the Secretary shall utilize the Declined Detainer Outcome Report or its equivalent and, on a weekly basis, make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.

One would think it might be just as useful to collect information on domestic, US person-created “public safety threats” and make a “comprehensive list of criminal actions” committed by people who can’t be expelled from the country. Presented without comparison, it will skew public perception, making it appear as though the main criminal force in the US is people who aren’t here legally. (The order doesn’t specify whether non-residence will be considered a “criminal action” worth listing in the report.)

On top of that, the order mandates the creation of an office that will cater solely to victims of criminal acts committed by non-US residents. It also orders the funding of additional personnel to man the borders and expedite the expulsion of non-residents. There’s no stipulation for random testing of US persons’ bodily fluids for dilution or impurities, but one assumes the nascent order will be undergo further alteration during rollout.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “New Trump Executive Order Says Federal Agencies Should Exclude Foreigners From Privacy Protections”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Vikarti Anatra (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s not even Putin.
What about embassies? Does this mean it’s ok to order diplomats to surrender all their data? How their home countries will react to this?

Also, what about…Russian goverment saying it’s ok to ask Yandex any and all information about Americans who use them? (it’s unlikely there are many but still)
What about them asking same data from Kaspersky?
What about Chinese goverment asking Xiomi about data THEY collect?
What about EU (or Russian) goverment suing Google in their local courts for privacy violations ?
and so on…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Bullshit. Have you not been paying attention to Trump’s recent focus on his ineffective wall idea and war on sanctuary cities? He’s gearing up for a series of anti-immigrant initiatives which will probably involve federal funding to seek out and deport them. He’s already said that any means necessary should be used. It doesn’t even have to be effective (like the wall won’t be). He’ll just do stuff on that front. And civil liberties will be violated because you can’t search through illegal immigrant data without finding legal citizen data.

Travis says:

Re: Re:

Fake news is really just referring to the journalists who try to burden their readers with their own personal views/feelings/agendas. That’s the issue with the media in today’s age. Old journalists wrote the facts of the event, they didn’t provide biast opinions on them. Sure they questioned but it wasn’t without logical reasoning. They wouldn’t stoop to falsehoods just to get a story published or more “clicks” on their site. They wanted to be a journalist to share with the world what is going on, to let people know the facts of events. Not everybody can see everything that happens in this country so they would write about it so you would be included. Somewhere journalist lost site of that aspect which is the reason for a lot of mistrust with the media.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

That’s not true about current media or about old media. There were yellow journalists and injected biases. Hearst was notorious for telling his papers what message they were to print. Journalists are people. They all have biases. Some inject more and some inject less, but they all do it to some extend, even unconsciously. It’s unavoidable. Some current journalists are clickbait headline writers, sometimes it’s their editors who push that approach though. And there’s a significant difference between fake news and biased reporting. Fox News will report mostly biased reporting because they actually report on something that happened, but they’ll just twist the reporting to fit their chosen narrative. They’ll ignore details that don’t fit their narrative. Fake news is like the PizzaGate scandal that was entirely made up by a non-journalist trying to get ad revenue by conning a bunch of right wingers who will believe anything bad about liberals into clicking on and sharing their made-up articles. Trump and his supporters are trying to twist the term “fake news” into meaning reporting that I feel attacks me or my side.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’ve stated elsewhere that "fake news" is a dumb, imprecise term. This is why.

When people started talking about "fake news" in the wake of the election, they didn’t simply mean reporting that was biased or incorrect, they were referring, specifically, to fraudulent news sites: sites that were designed to look like NBC or other established media outfits (, etc.) but whose stories were completely made up.

That is not at all the same thing as biased reporting. Biased reporting is still reporting. It isn’t just making shit up out of whole cloth (if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor).

All that said, the notion that media bias is a new thing is absurd (the other Anon mentioned Hearst and the term yellow journalism; that’s from over a century ago) — but, at the same time, you’re on to something when you suggest that the news media’s current poor reputation is somewhat self-inflicted.

I think it’s quite clear that the news media are biased — but not toward a liberal or conservative point of view. They’re biased by money and power. They favor the stories their corporate owners and advertisers favor, or the stories that they think will get them good ratings or clicks, or the stories that will allow them to keep their access to their high-profile sources. For all these reasons, they’ve done a great deal of damage to their credibility and reputation.

This is not a good thing. Skepticism of the media is healthy, but we’re beyond that and into people who believe that facts are just opinions. That is a very dangerous thing indeed, among our elected leaders and among the people who vote for them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Fake” news and “biased” news are both real and far too prevalent. But it is time to move past such distractions to the Root Cause – BAD NEWS. I am old enough to remember having seen true journalists like Walter Cronkite on TV. People who reported facts, actual facts that had been checked and vetted. And when they wanted to voice their opinion they did so plainly and openly in segments that were clearly labeled as COMMENTARY. Of course this was only possible because networks spent large sums of money on their news departments, which were highly valued for their prestige. Ask anyone anywhere in the current industry and they will tell you that funding is crap; and the news dept. is expected to be a Profit Center just like all the other network programming. Fake news, Biased news and Bad news are all marketing techniques. It’s way past time for us all to stop consuming the product

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Basically you have little choice. Maybe go to the fact-checker sites out there, but entertainment and news are so heavily intertwined today that it is difficult for people to see the distinction. Thus, if you do heavily factual and to the core reporting, you will often end up being labeled “boring”. There is a reason, most people do not read scientific papers outside of work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What, if any, news site do you consider to be devoid of any fake news?

” true journalists like Walter Cronkite”

and your memories are not biased?

“People who reported facts, actual facts that had been checked and vetted”

You mean back when editors were given more latitude by their corporate overlords?

” Fake news, Biased news and Bad news are all marketing techniques. “

And here you hit the bulls eye.
Everything you see in the corporate media is a marketing campaign. Sell sell sell, always be on the make and everyone has an angle. It has been this way for some time and is continuously getting worse. Truth in advertising laws were nice fluff with little substance, politicians could pat themselves on the back because they did something for the little people while still collecting their bribes -errr I mean campaign contributions from captains of industry.

timmaguire42 (profile) says:

“Presented without comparison, it will skew public perception, making it appear as though the main criminal force in the US is people who aren’t here legally.”

Yes, 49 pointy heads CAN dance on the head of a pin. It may not matter much to the apparatchiks referenced in the “banality of evil” quote, but it will matter a great deal to the specific victims of the specific crimes.

historygeek (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Whether or not they are the main criminal force is debatable. The preponderance of criminals among them is not. Aside from the public data available, which is considerable although often hard to find; I offer my personal examples. I live in a midwestern town that is over 1200 miles from the US-Mexican border. Founded in the early 1800s by mostly German and Irish immigrants with a population that has held steady between 4-6000 residents for many decades. According to latest census figures the town is now approximately 50% Hispanic; a previously unknown demographic introduced in the last 20 years. In all the years since WWII there have been exactly two murders in our town. Both the murderers and their victims were illegal aliens. Both the killers and the killed belonged to (rival) international criminal gangs. One case was only solved after appearing on America’s Most Wanted TV show; the killer having traveled through several states was found being sheltered by members of his gang. A gang President Obama labeled an international criminal conspiracy. Petty crime is rampant. My own (ex)brother-in law brags of having entered the county illegally and having been here 20+ years. He has been arrested countless times and been jailed in at least 4 states. Being sponsored by my sister he applied for citizenship and went to his immigration hearing; where the government attorney pointed out that he had committed perjury by omitting on his application the fact that he still had outstanding arrest warrants (notice the plural) in California. So an illegal alien with multiple convictions and multiple jail terms committed perjury in a federal court and . . . they sent him home. To my sister. He’s still in this country today; with many of his equally illegal siblings, cousins, friends, nieces and nephews. No non-millionaire caucasian commits perjury in a federal court with an outstanding warrant and gets to go home. The system as it has existed so far is broken, unfair, rigged, and way freaking past due for a complete overhaul. And yes, oh Exalted Sages of the DNC; these people vote too. But I’m pretty sure you already knew that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

What many forget or outright deny is that native people were here first. Perhaps in their simple minds they do not consider them to be people, idk, but the term Native Americans refers to all those who lived here before the european invasion … and yes – that includes many people who do not look european.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

On Wednesday I responded to "Appeals Court Upholds Its Denial Of DOJ’s Demand For Microsoft’s Overseas Data:"

Microsoft and it’s various resellers here in Canada are constantly trying to convince us to move all our servers and workstations to the cloud. The number one selling feature, from an email just yesterday:

  1. Keep your data at rest in Canada. Microsoft opened two new datacentres in 2016—one in Ontario and one in Quebec—to deliver cloud services.

This is a big deal. A major theme of the NSA spying, Gitmo and drone killing debates in the US is "How Dare They Do It To AMERICANS!" The subtext being that doing it to non-Americans is acceptable. No-one believes that foreign-owned data has any legal protection whatsoever against otherwise unlawful search and seizure once it enters the US. No-one believes that it won’t be mined by American security contractors "because terrorism" to give an advantage to American industry.

If Microsoft were to lose this fight they’d lose much of their overseas cloud hosting business.


This Executive Order was issued the same day.

Americans are getting their own "Great Firewall of China." Even if their own government doesn’t order it, governments, cloud hosting providers and others outside the US are finding it necessary to build it themselves.

David says:

Re: Re:

If you can use torture to get at their information, it stands to reason that they should be glad the information is gathered proactively in a less brutal manner.

Apropos torture: it’s not all that surprising that the concept of only being able to expect from others what you are willing yourself to grant is alien to a president who made a fortune by paying no taxes unlike less wealthy persons and by strategic bankruptcies ruining the business of other people in order to further his own.

This is a man who does not understand the benefits of compassionate or moral behavior, either by conviction or even mere reciprocity. He is a sociopath utterly unsuited for a position of power, specifically political power.

He is what America adores.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“He is what America adores.”
Have you any data in support of your claim?

Seemingly, the recent national vote result might be somewhat close to an accurate poll which, based upon demographics, could be extrapolated to indicate a preference within a deviation of maybe plus or minus 5 percent. How does this not represent what the population “adores”?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

America, exactly like a corporation under the laws of ours and other nations; is a legal fiction. An artificial entity specifically designed to allow a group of people to act as one in their pursuit of mutual shared interests. That is our current law of corporations and countries in this country and all developed ones. Corporations are required by law to create and follow their founding document, which is called a corporate charter.

Our national charter starts with the words WE THE PEOPLE.

Your logic is flawed; and your grasp of civics and government would get you a failing grade in most middle school curricula. But you are correct about the fact that recent studies have shown that most top-tier CEO’s have sociopathic personalities. That is undeniably a large part of what got the current president elected. The fact that he refuses to be bound by the norms and standards of the corrupt and disfunctional clique that is and has been the US federal government. The principal at work is exactly the same as turning an overactive terrier loose in a shoddy tenement full of rats. Hopefully the result will be too.

Travis says:

Makes sense

Our constitution protects US citizens. If I go to say Paris or London I can’t tell them to turn off all their city-wide CCTV feeds because it infringes on my right to privacy. I don’t really see an issue with this, plus just like with myself, If you’re not doing anything wrong why should one care. If someone wants to track me from day to day have at it, you’re going to be bored out of your mind in about 3 days.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Makes sense

“Our constitution protects US citizens.”

This was already discussed here on TD. Parts of your Constitution were written in a way to include everybody.

“If you’re not doing anything wrong why should one care”

This was also discussed and proven wrong here and elsewhere. You have plenty to fear even if you’ve done nothing. When the ‘just metadata’ discussion was in all heat it was shown how metadata alone can paint an entirely false picture of somebody.

“If someone wants to track me from day to day have at it, you’re going to be bored out of your mind in about 3 days.”

Or, if the person doesn’t like you and has connections to the power, they can find suspicious places somewhere around places you go frequently (ie: a meth lab you are unaware of in the neighborhood you park your car to jog everyday) and screw you good. You wouldn’t even know until the truck hit you 🙂

I.T. Guy says:

Re: Makes sense

“If you’re not doing anything wrong why should one care.”

TRAVIS LOSES… Thanks for playing.

“If someone wants to track me from day to day have at it”
The part of a republic is that each of us have unalienable rights… like the right to privacy. You don’t care about yours… fine. But you have no say as to me and my privacy, or to just brush away EVERYONE else’s concerns.

“If someone wants to track me from day to day have at it”
Yeah… you say that here. EVERYONE has things they don’t want others to know.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Makes sense

Our constitution protects US citizens. If I go to say Paris or London I can’t tell them to turn off all their city-wide CCTV feeds because it infringes on my right to privacy.

In that case you would STILL have the same rights that the locals have. You’re not being singled out, not being spied on in PRIVATE places too, made legal because you’re a foreigner.

A better (and real) example is that your medical data may be moved to India for clerical work. Your email may be mirrored to overseas cloud server farms. Your company data may be in the US, in the hands of a foreign-owned company (or American company operating overseas) that could be ordered by a foreign government to hand it over.

In each case YOU are the foreigner. You’re OK with that nullifying any right you have to privacy?

historygeek (profile) says:

Re: Re: Makes sense

I mean no personal offense; but you and the vast majority of people are clueless. Read any cloud storage agreement and you will find that they specifically state that the service provider does not guarantee anything about your data. Not it’s loss; it’s availability for retrieval, or who may or may not eventually gain access to it. It’s the usual over the top legal CYA clauses in glorious redundancy. Rarely is the data even encrypted; and some discount services don’t even support https. Cloud storage is a high tech cross-breed of three card monte and Russian roulette. The best you can hope for is a timely notification of when, not if; your data has been breached.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Makes sense

I don’t really see an issue with this, plus just like with myself, If you’re not doing anything wrong why should one care.

Because privacy isn’t the same thing as secrecy.

I’m quite partial to Cory Doctorow’s analogy: what I’m doing in the bathroom stall isn’t secret, but it is private. Just because you’re not doing anything wrong doesn’t mean you want somebody watching you do it.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Makes sense

So americans don’t have the protection of the laws in other countries, got it.

Also if you don’t have any problem with people tracking you because you’re ‘not doing anything wrong’, then post under your full name and provide enough personally identifiable information so people can know exactly who you are. Unless you are doing something wrong of course, which will be the default assumption if you don’t provide your full name and info.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Makes sense

Not just in other countries. If Italy decides that an American is a possible threat or knows someone who knows someone who is a threat, they could kidnap them off an American street and smuggle them elsewhere for interrogation. No messing with rights or extradition laws.

After all, the US’s “Extraordinary Rendition” program kidnapped over a hundred people from EU soil alone. Many tortured, and many returned months or years later with an “er, never mind.” Turnabout is fair play.

AnonymouseCoward says:

Under current US law, all US citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are obligated to file and pay US taxes, no matter where in the world they live, on their worldwide income.

For those people, there are additional filing requirements under FABAR, the detailed banking records of which are reported to the FinCen.

Under FATCA, foreign financial institutions worldwide are required to report bank account information to the IRS, for all US persons – anyone with a “US indicia” or taint. FATCA is currently being challenged in the 6th district court on constitutional grounds

Many expats and “accidental Americans” are renouncing or relinquishing their citizenship because of the impacts of FABAR and FATCA. These impacts include being subjected to huge penalties for errors, omissions, late or no filing; double taxation; loss of banking facilities; loss of or inability to plan for retirement; and, of course, the time and money to file an additional multitude of tax forms annually, requiring the assistance of speciality tax preparers.

Under this executive order, these people whose detailed personal and financial information is held by FinCen and the IRS, which can already be shared to a multitude of other federal, state and local agencies, now no longer has privacy protections.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Under this executive order, these people whose detailed personal and financial information is held by FinCen and the IRS, which can already be shared to a multitude of other federal, state and local agencies, now no longer has privacy protections.

As quoted in the Techdirt piece, the order applies to … persons who are not United States citizens …. Expats and accidental Americans are United States citizens until their renunciation is completed. They may be exposed by this order after their renunciation is formally accepted; prior to that acceptance, they are United States citizens, whether they want to be or not.

AnonymouseCoward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes … and after they renounce or relinquish they still have to file their final taxes, and, the US taint is not removed and so their information will continue to be supplied to the US, at best, until they receive and can show a Certificate of Loss of Nationality.

All of this information, and potentially any previously held information, is now excluded from privacy protections. That’s bank account numbers, balances, transactions, personally identifying information – name, SSN, address, etcetera. More than enough for identity theft, and with the added bonus of being able to identify the best targets.

AnonymouseCoward says:

Re: Re: Re:

they are United States citizens, whether they want to be or not.

Yes, born on US soil, the US maintains the right to dictate terms to you, follow its laws, and to tax you, anywhere in the world you might reside, with whatever other citizenship you might have.

To gain your freedom from this it must be bought by the paying of a fee (currently US$2,350), submitting taxes and potentially paying an exit tax on your worldwide assets (including any and all assets outside of the US, gained since leaving the US). This applies to “Accidental Americans” some of whom have never set foot in the US). And this is done with the risk of never being allowed entry into the US again.

Just think about that.

If you are born overseas to a parent that is American, everything that you do for the duration of your entire life is subjected to US taxes, while you are subjected to US law. Until you pay to no longer be subjected to the dictates of a foreign government.

AnonymouseCoward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Perhaps most egregious of all, spouses of US citizens who renounce their citizenship (or permanent residents that cancel their green card) also have their assets included in the assessment of the exit tax.

So, for an Accidental American, who may never have set foot inside the US themselves, marrying a non-US citizen later in life, that noncitizen’s lifetime savings are also subjected to tax by the US, even though their sole connection to the US is by marriage to someone that may not have even known that they were a US citizen.

Apologies for hijacking this thread to use as a soapbox on the circumstances of taxation, instead of the issues of privacy originally raised.

AnonymouseCoward says:

Re: Re:

I should have added in here that spouses of “US Persons” will also have their information supplied to the IRS under FATCA where joint accounts exist, and even if not a US Person themselves, may have to file taxes.

Also, under FABAR, the business accounts on which a US citizen is a signatory or has signing authority are required to be reported to the FinCEN. This may include payroll and expense data for non-US persons.

None of this qualifies for privacy protections under this executive order.

historygeek (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m honestly puzzled. Are there really that many American citizens who don’t know that the IRS always gets it’s cut? I find it hard to believe. I had a sibling that was married to an illegal; and he and all his siblings (also in the country illegally) made sure to have SSNs and pay their taxes because the IRS was the one federal agency they actually worried about.

AnonymouseCoward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Absolutely. Many long-term expats believed that once taxes were filed and paid for their last year which included residence in the US, provided they had no other US-source income, had finalised their affairs with respect to taxes.

“Accidental Americans” often have absolutely no idea about this (or about the requirement to register for the selective service), particularly those that either don’t know that they are US citizens or those that may have left as young children, and not returned and don’t consider themselves American.

Permanent residents that have left the US without formally terminating their permanent resident status are also subjected to this taxation. If you’ve ever tried to contact the INS or whatever the current incantation is known as now, you would know that this may have been an all but impossible requirement for someone departing the country, again, if they even knew of the requirement to do so in the first place.

TZ says:

Avoidance of reality

Interesting that the article author avoids stating the obvious about what he mistakenly described as the “Two Minutes Hate program”.

The purpose of creating a list of illegal immigrant crimes helped by sanctuary cities is to publicly shame those cities into renouncing their sanctuary status. That way, the next time an illegal kills a person in San Francisco, the feds can point to the San Francisco govt and say “this is all on you!”

And its not Two Minutes Hate. In 1984, that was a mandatory program designed to enforce party loyalty and denigrate the enemies of the state through mandatory action. In this program, the state will merely advertise atrocities and point to the accomplices of the criminals (sanctuary cities). The public is free to make their own choice whether to celebrate the crime, condemn it and sanctuaries, or ignore it altogether.

Its trivial propagandizing of truthful information. Far removed from the author’s claimed fascist progroms.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Avoidance of reality

“In this program, the state will merely advertise atrocities and point to the accomplices of the criminals”

Will this “list” include all those individuals responsible for the many atrocities committed in the name of fighting their pet war – for example, the war on; terror, drugs, poverty, christmas, whateverBindsYourPanties ?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either. It is just another stunt to further their ridiculous “Make America Great Again” bullshit, something they never defined and something no one understands but it will continue to plague the airwaves regardless.

When was America great and exactly what was the defining characteristic that made it so – in addition, why is it so important to return to whatever that was that no one can define? …. If anyone can answer this it would be great because I must be missing a key bit of data here.

ShadowNinja (profile) says:

This is why the bill of rights should apply to foreigners

Situations like this are exactly why I argue the bill of rights does and should apply to everyone, and not just US citizens as many others insist.

If the government will violate the rights of foreigners, such as their rights of privacy, how can US citizens expect to have the same rights? With technology connected to the Internet especially it’s absurd to think the government can spy on everything a foreigner (especially a foreigner on US soil) does online, all while respecting the privacy of US citizens.

Plus violating the bill of rights on foreigners can have massive chilling effects. Imagine for example if the government passed a law that foreigners who criticize the government are to be sentenced to life in prison, all while insisting US citizens were free to do the same thing because of the bill of rights. It’s absurd to think such an action wouldn’t have a massive chilling effect on freedom of speech, and that people wouldn’t be scared if they do the same thing as a foreigner the government will find some other reason to throw them in jail that doesn’t have the pesky bill of rights interfering.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This is why the bill of rights should apply to foreigners

Yup … I do not see anywhere in the following where it says “except for foreigners”.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Anon says:

Criminal Acts

Working in the USA illegally is a criminal act. This means all assets of any illegal immigrant – house, car, bank account, cash – are currently eligible for civil asset forfeiture; at which point the owner of such assets are entitled to begin court proceedings to (eventually) try to prove which money and assets were not obtained with illegal wages.

On a lighter note, 1984 is a bestseller again.

Kal Zekdor (profile) says:

US First

Look, I get the US first mindset. I do. There are plenty of real problems here at home, and it can be frustrating to see so much time, effort, and money spent towards problems that don’t even affect us. The US should not be acting as world police (and, indeed, doing so for the most part just pisses other nations off).


With that said, it’s doubly important to think about chained effects. Shit like this is dangerously short-sighted. Like it or not, we live in a global community. When we do shit like this, it sends a message that it’s "us against the world", and that’s a very dangerous message to send. Look at what Obama did after the Snowden leaks, he pulled back on intrusive surveillance of allied nations. Was this because he cares one whit about privacy? Obviously not, given what he sanctioned within our own nation. No, he curtailed some of the more egregious programs because our allies were pissed off about it, and he wisely avoided a major diplomatic incident. This is something Trump desperately needs to learn. Shit like this tends to escalate. It won’t be long before our allies, let alone the rest of the world, takes this a step further in response.

Fuck, say what you will about Hillary, (she would have been fairly terrible on domestic issues, in my opinion), but at least she understands international politics.

historygeek (profile) says:

Re: US First

If HRC understands international politics she has a strange way of showing it. Haiti; land of natural disasters and voodoo, openly hates her and the Clinton foundation. She remains convinced that the Palestinians really want to play nice with Israel, even though their ruling party platform call for the destruction of that country and the genocide of its people. Her missteps, misreads and (possibly deliberate) misrepresentations of events in the Middle East are both numerous and colossal. What the Clintons (deliberate plural)understand are international DONORS.

historygeek (profile) says:

Re: "Yankee Go Home"

I must admit that I myself do not travel abroad much. (health issues) But “Yankee Go Home” is a phrase that is decades old and, according to my better-traveled friends; already alive and well in Central and South America, Africa, Asia and an ever-growing part of Europe. And for that 1% of we Americans that actually still serve our country in the military it’s SOP until somebody is in trouble. [Said trouble frequently including natural disasters where we literally send in the Marines to provide food, water, emergency medicine and logistics]. For far too long a large part of the world has viewed the US as the father figure who is a soft touch for the kids. When they have something they want they schmooze them until the old boy opens up his wallet and turns over the car proverbial car keys. Otherwise it’s an attitude of open disdain. It’s in the Yankee’s best interest to spend more time at home taking care of our own problems.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "Yankee Go Home"

“why do you think that our disaster relief efforts will be curtailed?”

That implies there was such a thing to begin with.

We can not help our own citizens while we busily pat ourselves on the back for “sending in the marines” whenever a natural disaster occurs elsewhere. Strange thing though, that so called help comes with conditions, if it happens at all. Much of it is promises that never appear and then some folk turn up handing out bibles, Mmmmm those bibles taste really good.

Frintas says:

Finally some clarity from the US govt

As a foreign (IT) citizen, I see a very big silver lining in the order. Finally, it makes American policy more transparent. All of my data is under no security at all, given that I have gmail account, I use whatsapp, amazon servers etc. Sometimes (maybe once per year) I travel to the US and my devices can me inspected at will. But with Obama, this was all implicit and we needed a Snowden to say it out loud (and face incrimination for it). Now we have it written above – the US government collects data on all foreigners. Period. Cope with it or stop using microsoft office, windows etc. At least it stops the previous hypocrisy, when all of this was done anyway, but in secrecy, and many europeans could pretend that it wasn’t happening, and that this big data collecting was all a conspiracy theory put on some strange specialized sites like this one )).
In my opinion, to start a broad, collective, productive reasoning on privacy, all cards need to be on the table. Then, everyone can think with his head.

DakotaKid (profile) says:

Foreign nationals rights.

The rights of foreign nationals are exactly those rights given under treaty, or the rights granted by each ones specific visa.
The assumption is that a foreign national is an agent (acting in the interests of that nation, not necessarily a spy) of that nation. Nations with large exchange (Mexico, Canada, UK etc.) have very specific treaty rights that include their Citizens and nationals being treated the same as US Citizens in the USA only if they are here under the color of law. Nations outside of these specific nations (China, Russia, North Korea, etc.) the rights are only rights of not being tortured, etc.
Not everyone is the same both the Government and the “civil rights community” need to remember this.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Exceptionalism Destroys Democracy

Whatever labels people on either extreme of the aisle prefer to append to the USA, people can either vote or they can’t. That’s what we’re referring to when we use the word “democracy.”

Exceptionalism destroys democracy. It does this by pretending that {$group} is superior or requires special treatment. This puts other groups at a disadvantage, thereby creating an imbalance of power. Trump is invoking the “Bloody foreigners!” boogeyman, a trope he no doubt borrowed from his good friend that bloke who looks like a tortoise escaped from its shell. What’shisname. Whojammaflip. That British guy the rest of us are ashamed of. Oh, yes, Nigel Farage. The Tories, which are basically Trump Lite, swept to power on the back of fears stoked up by UKIP, Farage’s party. Theresa May has a nerve proclaiming that she disagrees with Trump policies when she’s enacting them over here. And what is she demonstrating as she trots around the globe? Exceptionalism, the British edition.

So as you Americans flock to the airports, etc., to protest against Trump’s treatment of the “Bloody Foreigners!” flying in (because it is so egregiously horrible), don’t forget to flock to your representatives to complain about the treatment of the “Bloody foreigners!” who reside peacefully and productively in the land. It might not be visible, there aren’t queues of desperate people being herded onto planes by hard-eyed officials deaf to the cries of their waiting families; and there aren’t any desperate appeals to help some poor sod stranded at an airport on t’other side of the world clutching their spoiled green card, all money spent on getting there; but it is as egregiously horrible as the entry ban.

Privacy is a human right, not an “exceptional group” right. If you don’t fight for the rights of the “Bloody foreigners!”, you can kiss your own goodbye down the line.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...