Washington – The American-based internet giant, AOL, wholly-owned by Time-Warner, has formed a working partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to permit unlimited surveillance of the millions of AOL online members, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“AOL works ‘closely with the DHS’ to supply information on any AOL customer and allows agents from these entities ‘free and unfettered’ access to AOL Hq at Dulles, VA for the purpose of ‘watching over and keeping surveillance ’ on the millions of AOL customers,’ according to the report.
The legal basis for this is the recently Congress-approved Patriot Act which permits warrantless searches of persons and property. While information gleaned from delving into personal computer messages is supposed to be kept confidential, it appears that the DHS has exceeded their brief and obtained what appears to be strictly personal information which is then circulated to entities outside the DHS.
The Department of Commerce report also states that news of this surveillance has leaked out and is causing serious concern in the American, and European, business communities who are fearful that trade secrets may be given to other business entities, considered as “friendly” to the Bush Administration.