Keeping Up With The NSA

The NSA’s outrageous secret data collection program is still a developing story. I can’t say that I am completely surprised that the program exists. This is the kind of thing that people have been warning about since the Patriot Act was passed, and the government was certainly up to something with its huge data centers and talk of securing the public by taking massive power for itself. But for the public to be hit in the face with it all is a huge deal.

Now is when the world will see what we are willing to tolerate. Now is the time to decide exactly what kind of trust we have in politicians and elites who continue to fail the general public. This is one of those things that future generations will ask us what we did about.

The story broke in a June 5 article in The Guardian written by Glenn Greenwald, who was already an important journalist and commentator on civil liberties.

The New York Times denounced the data collection program in a scathing editorial.

Some people think that the metadata collected – records of who contacted whom – is not a big deal. But I expect that it would be useful in suppressing protest movements, which should be a concern especially given the federal involvement and probable coordination in suppressing the Occupy movement. Despite what hacks are claiming, a sweeping collection of data did not play a role in foiling terrorist plots. So who is the agency securing with the data they are collecting?

Another shocking development was when the whistleblower who leaked the documents came forward. If you haven’t watched the video of Edward Snowden explaining his motivation, you should make time for it.

Naturally, the elites and the people who make a living by sucking up to them had to heap obnoxious insults on Snowden. They deserve no respect.

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, got away with lying to Congress when he was asked if the NSA collects “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions” of Americans. Apparently the NSA has its own definition of some words and when Clapper was asked a question in English, he responded in gov-speak.

What to do about this? The MIT Center for Civic Media lists Six Productive Responses to PRISM. The ACLU has a petition campaign. Restore the Fourth rallies against NSA spying will take place in numerous cities on July 4.

Outrageously, Capitol Police broke up a press conference about NSA spying because the organizers didn’t have a permit to talk to each other in large groups. This is the state of public discourse in America today. This is not okay.

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