The James Otis Project
James Otis, famously know for the phrase "Taxation without Representation is Tyranny, was an American lawyer, political activist, Patriot and Founding Father. James Otis worked tirelessly opposing the then "Writs of Assistance;" a general search warrant allowing custom officers into Colonists' homes for no reason to carry out searches of those homes or private establishment. Writs of Assistance were essentially warrantless entries onto private property. James Otis fought relentless against Writs of Assistance arguing that they are unconstitutional under British law:
“I will to my dying day oppose, with all the powers and faculties God has given me, all such instruments of slavery on the one hand and villainy on the other as this Writ of Assistance is. It appears to me the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law, that ever was found in an English law-book…
The writ prayed for in this petition, being general, is illegal. It is a power that places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer. I say I admit that special Writs of Assistance, to search special places, may be granted to certain persons on oath. But I deny that the writ now prayed for can be granted…"
Today we live in a digital society, much different than Colonial America. The State has more ways to surveil us than it did in the 1700s. Surveillance is being carried out quietly, without warrants via State actors monitoring our social media accounts and other electronics. Although some surveillance is necessary to catch unlawful internet "chatter," much surveillance is occurring against the average, law-abiding citizen.
Maine Legislative Watch Dogs intends to combat this unconstitutional surveillance by surveilling the surveillers intending to accomplish this through ongoing Freedom of Information Requests (FOAA) and by training other Patriots regarding the Freedom of information Request process.
We are proudly naming this effort the James Otis Project after this passionate Patriot who fought long and hard against a tyrannical government set on violating the early American's basic human rights.