Katie Kieffer

President Obama is mass-texting me although I never opted into his texts. I feel like he controls my phone remotely. So, I’m texting him back: HEY PREZ, WILL U PLS STOP TXTING ME?! AND WHILE UR AT IT, STOP SPYING ON ME W/ DRONES. I’D LIKE SOME PRIVACY. THX!

Friday, July 6 was the day many Americans were on an extended 4th of July vacation and paying more attention to barbecuing and lighting fireworks than the news. Obama seized the day to bypass Congress and release an executive order whereby he effectively gave himself control over the infrastructure that supports your smartphone, internet, radio, TV and satellite dish. This infrastructure includes “…wireline, wireless, satellite, cable, and broadcasting, and… transport networks that support the Internet…” according to the website for the Department of Homeland Security’s National Communications Systems.

The President argues that that he “must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances” for the sake of “national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP).”

There’s one teensy weensy problem with this executive order: It’s unconstitutional.

First, nowhere in the Constitution does the federal government or the executive branch have the power to control private property (like cell phones) or private companies (like wireless providers and TV and radio stations) “at all times and under all circumstances.”

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution states: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States…” But the Constitution does not say that President is “Commander in Chief” of private communications businesses (think Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, FOX News or CNN.)

Secondly, this executive order violates the Fourth Amendment freedoms of businesses like Apple, whose late co-founder, Steve Jobs, spent decades building a profitable company based on a relationship of trust with customers. Jobs said:


Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is a columnist and political commentator. She runs KatieKieffer.com. Kieffer is the author of the forthcoming book "LET ME BE CLEAR."