Tag Archives: NSA

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Big Brother

Edward Snowden – Photo from PBS.org

The web article ‘Government Surveillance and Academic Thought Policing are Taking us to 1984′ by Art Carden [1], talks about progressive policies and their effect on the conservative half of our 2-party system. It isn’t framed that way, but that’s what it refers to. It’s framed as a critique of our modern-day society as seen through the lens of a perfect socialist dystopia set 33 years ago. He explores some of the preliminary results of the Sexual Revolution. It hints at the depths and pervasiveness of changing attitudes in institutes of higher learning – and the unforeseen psychological impact of those attitudes outside of that social circle.

It begins by drawing parallels between the Party’s incessant spying on its own citizens and the current surveillance practices of our government. With each page, Orson Welles envisions increasingly inventive ways to strip the privacy, dignity, and sanity from his imaginary citizens. Two-way cameras, government surveillance, and the torture of anyone who dares question the regime. If the reports released by Edward Snowden are to be believed [2], smartphones, Smart TV’s, and tablets are being regularly used as 2-way surveillance devices. If anyone remembers Abu Ghraib, then the idea of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ being used on citizens and non-citizens alike going as far back as the Vietnam War [3] should come as little surprise.

And the data collected from the surveillance of said devices is actively archived by the NSA [4]. Look at that thoughtfully planned, perfectly benign tagline in the link: “Defending Our Nation. Securing the Citizens.” Gosh, doesn’t that inspire warm, cuddly thoughts? Programs like this only serve to increase our distrust of our fellow citizens, black, white, and brown. But where some might be prone to praising the initiative, others condemn it for the ethical implications of such a widespread devaluation of basic human privacy.   Complementing this racial division, exacerbating class divisions that have existed for most of human society, are the sexual and gender-based divisions that have seen increased media attention. The past 3 years have been rocked with campus sex-scandals: high-school students getting molested [5], college rapes [6], and more have created one of the most isolated generations of citizens in U.S. history. Add to that a decline in social skills due to technology [7], and it’s a wonder anyone ever finds time to consider social issues.

We are living in one of the lowest crime rate periods of time in our nation’s history [8]. But abuses of power and subsequent infringements of civil rights are more pervasive than ever. And that frightens me.

 

 

[1] https://www.learnliberty.org/blog/government-surveillance-and-academic-thought-policing-are-taking-us-to-1984/

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/wikileaks-says-it-has-obtained-trove-of-cia-hacking-tools/2017/03/07/c8c50c5c-0345-11e7-b1e9-a05d3c21f7cf_story.html?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.e3f3cf5e6f38

[3] http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/02/201322772747965573.html

[4] https://nsa.gov1.info/utah-data-center/

[5] http://ktla.com/2017/09/14/female-lakewood-high-school-teacher-accused-of-carrying-out-3-year-sexual-relationship-with-teen-student/

NSA surveillance: protection or violation?

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) claims that the “NSA/CSS exists to protect the Nation”.

In 2013, a federal U.S. judge ruled that the National Security Agency phone surveillance program was lawful. The agency, however, is known to break the law on a large scale and lie about it.

If you’ve never heard the name Edward Snowden uttered in any political debate or in the news, you should probably learn the importance of his name. Edward Snowden is a former Intelligence Community officer and has been called anywhere from a hero, a whistleblower, a patriot, or a traitor. In May 2013, he revealed documents that provided a look into the NSA and its secret mass surveillance programs and capabilities.

The documents disclosed that the NSA was operating without public oversight and outside the limits of the US Constitution. Snowden was charged with theft of government property, and two charges under the 1917 Espionage Act. The revelations that Snowden divulged led to attention around the world on privacy intrusions and digital security, and now the issue is a global debate.

In an interview with The Guardian, Edward Snowden said, “I don’t want to live in a world where everything I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity and love or friendship is recorded.”

Do any of us wants to live in a society that does these things? And even further with no hint of probable cause, and no sham of due process. The NSA has been thoughtlessly and carelessly forcing violence against freedom, ever since the agency was founded on November 4, 1952.

“To live with the benefits of technology, should we also have to deal with the consequences as well?” Graphic from quickmeme.com

The NSA surveillance that invades our privacy because of “national security” was a complete secret before Edward Snowden blew the “freedom” whistle. The phone surveillance violates the fourth amendment in respect to Americans’ privacy rights, and it also violates our natural sense of personal privacy.

Concerning these issues, the government is the one in violation of the laws and should be held accountable, right? But Edward Snowden was the one who was charged and seen as the traitor and as the criminal, for doing the right thing and letting us know that we’re being watched. The government is just hiding its own abusive power, and saving themselves.

To live with the benefits of technology, should we also have to deal with the consequences as well?

Benjamin Franklin, a radical defender of freedom once said, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” This quote has been used by anti-war protestors, and for protests against the National Security Agency’s surveillance program.

The quote has many variations, and has been taken out of context multiple times and is originally “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” However, despite the lack of context and the more-modern form of the quote, believe that Benjamin Franklin would agree with what the quote has been modernized to illustrate.

Feb. 11, 2014: The day they fought back

On Tues., Feb. 11, over 5,700 websites protested NSA surveillance. Names such as Mozilla, Reddit and Tumblr were included, displaying banners urging their users to contact their representatives in Congress demanding votes against NSA reforms that would further limit Internet privacy from the US government. Continue reading Feb. 11, 2014: The day they fought back

NSA scandal: My life is not that interesting

The government knows about every keystroke on your computer – but you knew that, right? How could you not, when the NSA has been the butt of every spying joke since the Patriot Act? Now that the “secret” is out, everyone is suddenly up in arms over the realization that the government has access to everything we do online.

Continue reading NSA scandal: My life is not that interesting