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In light of the Petraeus scandal, is anything we do online really private?
November 14th, 2012
03:41 PM ET

In light of the Petraeus scandal, is anything we do online really private?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Petraeus sex scandal raises questions about privacy that could affect every American who goes online.

A lesson for all of us - what starts as a government search for crime on the web can turn into an invasion of the private lives of Americans. and don't think it couldn't happen to you.

In this case, what began as an investigation into alleged harassing e-mails from one woman to another wound up exposing an extramarital affair and bringing down the director of the CIA.

One electronic privacy expert tells The New York Times that cyber-investigations can rapidly become open-ended since there's such a huge amount of information available and it's so easy to search:

"If the CIA Director can get caught, it's pretty much open season on everyone else."

The ACLU questions what surveillance powers the FBI used to look into the private lives of Generals Petraeus and Allen. We still don't know, but it could include methods like subpoenas and search warrants.

And then there's this : Google acknowledges it passed information to authorities in response to 93 percent of government requests in the second half of 2011.

It's a tricky balance: National Security experts warn of a major cyber attack that could bring the country to its knees. But does that mean Americans must give up all rights to their privacy?

Some are especially concerned about the National Security Agency. Those would be the same folks who conducted warrantless wiretapping of Americans after the 9/11 attacks. Remember the Patriot Act?

Here’s my question to you: In light of the Petraeus scandal, is anything we do online really private?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Internet • Scandals
Should Texas be allowed to secede from the union?
November 14th, 2012
03:33 PM ET

Should Texas be allowed to secede from the union?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry does not support a petition for the Lone Star State to secede from the union.

But a lot of people do.

The online petition asking the federal government to allow Texas to withdraw from the U.S. following President Barack Obama's reelection has nearly 100,000 signatures. It appears on a section of a White House website called “We The People" and cites economic difficulties due to the federal government's inability to cut spending.

Supporters suggest that secession would protect Texans' standard of living and "re-secure their rights and liberties."

The leader of the Texas secession movement tells Politico that Obama's reelection was a "catalyzing moment" for his group's efforts to leave the United States. He insists, "This is not a reaction to a person but to policy" and what they see as a federal government that is disconnected from its constituents.

Even though the number of signatures far surpasses the 25,000 required for a White House response, none has been made.

For his part, Perry says he "believes in the greatness of our union and nothing should be done to change it," although he says he shares the frustrations many Americans have with the federal government.

Texas is America's second-biggest state in area and population. It was its own nation for 10 years before joining the union in 1845.

And Texas isn't alone here. Petitions calling for secession of more than two dozen states - including Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Florida and Delaware – have been filed.

Here’s my question to you: Should Texas be allowed to secede from the union?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: Texas • United States