Obama issued an order permitting sanctions against those who use new technologies to abuse human rights. But what about our own government's spying programs?
President's Obama's new executive order enabling sanctions against foreign nationals who use the new technologies to facilitate human rights abuses might perhaps be summarized in one word -- chutzpah. Obama strongly supports pervasive government surveillance of U.S. citizens by his own security state. His administration has extended the time (from 6 months to 5 years) that counter-terrorism officials may (and no doubt will) retain information collected about Americans, regardless of their lack of connection to terrorism. Meanwhile, James Bamford has warned, the National Security Agency is building a massive data center to house all our communications and other "personal data trails."
True, unlike the Syrian government, a prime target of the new order, the administration is not engaged in mass murder of U.S citizens. As far as we know, the president has summarily ordered only one American killed (one too many), although he apparently retains unilateral authority to order the assassination of more. Maybe he doesn't consider the secret, warrant-less surveillance of everyone a human rights abuse if it isn't associated with mass detainment, torture, or murder. But the usual unnamed officials have told the Washington Post that future orders could target countries using technologies in "crackdowns on dissent." Crackdowns like Homeland's Security's surveillance of peaceful Occupy protesters, you might ask?