Yesterday, the internet was just buzzing about things that have been happening for years. Namely, it was the revelation that Verizon has been ordered by the US government to give the NSA all information about every phone call ever made for three months (like who was calling whom, how long the call lasted, where the calls were coming from, etc…). And later, it was revealed that many other companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Skype were also told to hand over information to the NSA. Also, there is word that even our online credit card transactions are being watched.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a detailed timeline of events in the US showing what we know so far about this domestic spying.
I hate to invoke the 1984 analogy, but I have a hard time thinking of what else this sounds like. Our privacy is invaded because of the over-reaching, undefined, unending War on Terror, and because of how easy it is for our personal lives to be spied upon. If you are reading this, you are being spied upon. Only a hermit in the woods is safe from this (which is why I suspect they’re cutting down all those trees).
This is not new. This is a direct result of the US government taking the opportunity after 9/11 to make an excuse that sounded legitimate. Terrorists had just attacked, and we needed to keep an eye on them. Here’s the problem, though. We’re not terrorists. I don’t like the idea of any governmental organization having full knowledge of everything I do and everywhere I go, and then just trusting them to not abuse that information.
We can do something, though. We have to do something. Sitting back and not acting is the same thing as telling Congress and the President that this is okay. So we have to tell them that we are not happy and that we will vote accordingly. Masses of people in the streets can even have an effect, so join protests if you have the opportunity. If you live in the US, talk to the person that represents you. There are four people you must talk to about this right now. Your Representative. Your Senators. Your President. Actually talk to them. Let them know what you think. Remind them of our 4th Amendment right guaranteeing our personal information security and protecting us against warrantless searches (the Amendment is very clear, regardless of what government officials may say). They represent us. They will only remain because of us.
I wish I could say that contacting your friendly government representatives will guarantee change. It doesn’t guarantee anything. But if you don’t do anything, it will guarantee that nothing will change and that we will see more and more of our rights and privacy eroded.