"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Government Is Really Spying On You

After 2001, at the behest of the President George Bush, Congress passed a bunch of laws that were designed to find terrorists by any means necessary including spying on phone calls, email and internet activity, often with little or no oversight. While vocally Congress talked about how these immense powers would never be abused, it would never be used to spy on Americans and other noises of "trust me!". Of course since them we have learned that Americans have been spied on from the very beginning and that FBI and other agencies would use their powers not so much to stop terrorists but as fishing exhibitions against whoever they were targeting for whatever reason. Long story short, people were given power and they abused it. The old adage about power made real. Yet despite know people will abuse the power they are giving, we still act amazed when we discover it is happening.

The latest example is a US Government program called PRISM. Used by the alphabet soup of agencies that is Homeland Security (FBI, NSA, etc.), the program started in 2007 under Bush and continued under Obama. Its purpose is to gather everything everyone does on the internet with a focus on you activities with Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, AOL, Apple and Skype. This means all your documents, emails, pictures, text messages, web searches, sites visited and so forth that is collected by these sites. Where these business' usually don't bother to connect those results to you as a name, address and phone number...the government has no such problems.

Now you are thinking "I have done nothing illegal and have nothing to hide!." But is that really true? Are there website you have visited, pictures you have seen, emails and board messages that you would really prefer that your friends and family did not know about? Well guess what. The government knows about them. That means if, anytime between now and the time you die, some Homeland Security employee wants to data mine your entire life, down to your deepest secrets, they now have the opportunity to do just that. Still OK with PRISM?

So you might be thinking "but my safety!!!". A coward is someone that is willing to sacrifice their freedom for the illusion of safety. Which is all that it is. An illusion. If don't believe me I give you recent exhibit A: The Boston Bombing. The program did nothing to stop that, so while its reach is very long, its ability to prevent clearly doesn't exist. I bet it sure was helpful after the fact though, not that it did the dead any good.

Now you may want to damn the companies for providing this information to Homeland Security...except its not their fault. The laws, passed by Congress, give them no chance. They have fought the requests and repeatedly lost. The only reason we don't know is because the law makes the fight about the data secret. In effect the law is "we want this data, you must provide it, you can't ask why and you can't tell anyone we got it."

Now I think my liberals look at this and are as appalled as I am. For you GOPers, if you are not, well I can't say I am surprised. Sure you think gun laws is big government over stepping its bounds and can't come with slippery slope examples big enough to cover why you are right. Yet here, with actual proof of big government going too far by spying on your every activity as you cower in fear of the latest boogeyman on Fox News, well to you it probably sounds like it isn't doing enough, that big government could be bigger. For those GOPers, when this country finally follows Rome I can only say you are why it happened. For you it just takes a little fear to give up what generations of American's died to protect.

1 comment:

  1. Awwwwww, isn't that clever. You found something that you can blame Republicans for... The fact is BOTH parties are at fault since the Patriot act was CO-Sponsered by Joe Biden in the senate, passed both houses by an overwhelming majority 98/1 senate and 357/66 in the house and EXTENDED by Pres. Obama in 2011. The American people are at fault as well for letting those fools get away with a power grab like that.

    You also might want to consider that several new outlets including CNN & yahoo have reported that until 2008 PRISM was quite small and contained. Yet under the current administration the program has grown exponentially. You are correct in the assertion that its done nothing to protect us against attacks, but you fail to see that the failure is much more then a single programs fault. There is a systemic problem from the White House on down and it starts at the top.

    So how about you get your fact straight before spouting off talking points from Justin Biebers twin on msnbc... Both parties are at fault...