Government Admits Spying
on Drug Reformers
According to a report
issued by the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) in December 2001
and recently made available on the NDIC
Web site, the government has been monitoring 52 Web sites in search of
individuals and groups who use the Internet to "promote or facilitate
the production, use, and sale of MDMA, GHB, and LSD."
The NDIC report, titled
and the Internet: An Overview of the Threat to America's Youth",
acknowledges that a majority of the sites monitored (32 of 52 sites) were
"probably operated by drug legalization groups." (Drugs and the
Internet, p. 12).
Sites monitored included those operated by
what the report calls "Drug-culture advocates" which it defines
as individuals or groups "chiefly interested in expanding the size of
the community to both legitimize their
activity and increase pressure on lawmakers to change or abolish drug
control laws." (Id. at p. 3.) Also monitored were "Advocates of
an expanded freedom of expression," which the report defines as
"purveyors of information with yet another agenda. These individuals
and groups publish information on the Internet to push the boundaries of
self-expression and the First Amendment. The information they provide may
induce minors and young adults to break drug laws or to become a danger to
themselves or to others by abusing illegal drugs." (Ibid.)
The fact that the majority of the sites monitored by
the government likely advocate public policy positions which are opposed
to the government's drug prohibition policy, raises the question of
whether the NDIC study is actually an effort by the Department of Justice
(of which the NDIC is a component) to silence drug reform advocates, by
making them fear criminal prosecution for information posted on their web
Drug reform organizations are comprised of growing
numbers of Americans who have grown tired of a national drug policy which
ignores science, violates human rights, and which is bent on arresting
hundreds of thousands of Americans each year whose only offense was
altering their consciousness with drugs like marijuana or MDMA (ecstasy)
rather than with state-approved drugs such as alcohol, nicotine or
than pursue a "war on drugs" and send government agents out on
reconnaissance missions to snoop on reform-oriented Web sites, the
government should welcome and invite a dialogue with such groups aimed at
creating a sustainable drug policy that is science based and that respects
human rights and human nature.
right of a person to liberty, autonomy and privacy over his or her own
intellect is situated at the core of what it means to be a free person
in a democratic society.
new drugs, technologies or techniques are developed for augmenting,
controlling, or surveilling the human mind (and new legislation is
considered in order to regulate these drugs and other technologies), the
US government should resign from prohibition and censorship and explicitly
recognize, as constitutionally protected, the right to cognitive liberty
Co-Director, The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics
The Center for
Cognitive Liberty & Ethics
an international group of people working in the public interest to foster
cognitive liberty – the right of each individual to think
independently, to use the full spectrum of his or her mind, and to engage
in multiple modes of thought and alternative states of consciousness.
Read a Wired
magazine article about the NDIC report.
Read a DRCNet
article about the report.
The NDIC report "Drugs
and the Internet: An Overview of the Threat to America's Youth"
article in Reason Magazine about UN efforts to censor certain speech
regarding certain drugs.
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