Have you ever been on the phone, and wondered if someone was tracking your call, or if anyone was looking in on your e-mail or internet activity? Most of us probably shook off such thoughts, considering them to be a kooky conspiracy theory better suited to the tinfoil-hat-wearing crowd. I used to think that even if the government had the capacity to track my internet and phone activity, they wouldn’t be interested in what a simple peasant, like me, was up to.
But I couldn’t have been more wrong! They can track what we’re doing, and they are keeping tabs on everyone. A secret court order was just leaked that allows the NSA to collect information from Verizon, including who their customers call, when they call, and where they call from . A whistle-blower revealed that the NSA has a secret room at AT&T, where they copy their entire data stream, including both phone and internet activity . And yet another leak revealed details about a program called PRISM, which seizes customer usage data from internet companies, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Skype .
The NSA director lied to the public and to congress regarding the digital surveillance of American citizens, claiming multiple times “that the agency does not ‘hold data on U.S. citizens” , which we now know to be a bunch of hooey. Forget probable cause, forget warrants, and forget our right to privacy. They spy on us, with secret permission from a secret court that is unaccountable, untraceable, and uncontested.
President Obama just delivered a speech where he said there are trade-offs to be made between America’s security and the privacy of its citizens , but as Benjamin Franklin prophetically said, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both .”