Last week I posted an article on my Facebook business page,, about a recent news item. Khairullozhori Matanov, a 24-year-old cabbie, had had dinner with the bombers the night before, and had deleted his browser history after he went to speak to the police about what he knew about the brothers. What did he delete? Who knows? Nobody knows. According to the article, he got four years (which could have been twenty four) on “one count for destroying “any record, document or tangible object” with intent to obstruct a federal investigation,” under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, enacted in 2002 originally to stop corporate corruption in the wake of the Enron scandal. The point of all this, is that ANYONE can now be prosecuted by zealous government attorneys if they believe you have “destroyed any record” that “could be” useful for a government investigation. The government must prove intent to obstruct, but that is a thin line, in my opinion. It is a wide-reaching law that can ensnare just about anybody. Oh, and by the way, there was never any evidence that Matanov had anything to do with the bombings, just that he deleted his browser. Our government doesn’t like it when we don’t let them snoop at things they want to snoop at. It’s apparently ok for a certain ex-senator to delete and control all her State Department emails, but it’s not kosher for Joe Six Pack to delete a browser. Different sets of rules for different people. The question I have after reading that news article, and it is frightening the scope of the law that prosecutors can play with now, is what’s next? Who is next? Are you ready for a police state, where a government can accuse you of deleting ANYTHING on your information, and saying that it was POTENTIALLY useful for a government investigation? I’m not sure how or why our congress ever handed so much leeway to prosecutors, but they did. And even if the law was originally meant to aid in stopping corporate corruption, it can now be used in all kinds of other circumstances and is open to abuse. The law needs fine-tuning, so that we don’t come to a time where it’s routine for police to pay us a visit to download our search histories. Right to privacy indeed.

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