For Immediate Release: January 23rd, 2013
Senators Wielechowski and Coghill To Sponsor Legislation Protecting Alaskans’ Right to Privacy
Bipartisan Bill Would Prohibit the State from Helping the Feds to Indiscriminately Spy on Innocent Alaskans
JUNEAU – Senators John Coghill (R-North Pole) and Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) announced today they will introduce bipartisan legislation banning state officials, agencies, and corporate contractors from assisting the federal government to secretly eavesdrop on the private communications of Alaskans without a warrant.
“We both believe strongly in defending the constitutional rights of Alaskans and Americans,” said Senator Wielechowski. “Widespread, indiscriminant information gathering by government agencies violates one of our most cherished constitutional rights, and no Alaskan should stand for it.”
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.”
A federal judge recently declared the National Security Agency’s blanket phone monitoring program to be unconstitutional, calling the dragnet “almost Orwellian.” The NSA has also been loudly criticized for widespread collection of Americans’ emails, text messages and other electronic data without specific warrants.
Legislation introduced by the two senators would prohibit the State as well as any of its contracted service providers from assisting the NSA in collection of this data unless specific warrants have been issued by law enforcement agencies.
“When the federal government ignores the Constitution or Bill of Rights on which our nation was founded, all the freedoms we enjoy are threatened,” stated Senator Coghill. “This legislation will ensure Alaska does not participate in behavior that endangers our most basic and essential rights.”
The senators hope for swift and bi-partisan support for the legislation.
For a link to a background piece that recently appeared in the New York Times, click here:
For more information contact Senator Coghill at 465-3719 or Senator Wielechowski at 242-1558.