On the surface, America’s telecommunications companies are trying to project an appearance of calm. Beneath that superficial appearance, they are scrambling. I spoke this morning to the manager of a Verizon store, and he told me stories of huge numbers of angry customers, panicked conference calls with people from headquarters, and a rash of new phone thefts. “There is a crisis in confidence in the system,” he said.
Yesterday morning, I referred to another crisis of confidence in the system created by the revelations that America’s military is spying against Americans, seizing records of who they call, and tracking online activity on giant networks operated by companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple as well. As part of an article listing some opportunities for activism in protest of government surveillance, I pointed to a petition in the White House petitioning system that demands the resignation of Barack Obama over his decision to continue George W. Bush’s policy of creating an immense electronic surveillance dragnet used to spy on the private activities of the American people.
At the time I wrote that article, there were only 3,000 signatures on that petition. Now, just 24 hours later, the number of signatures on that petition has surged to over 17,000.
That’s within just 8,000 signatures of the old threshold of 25,000 signatures that Barack Obama set that would require an official response to a petition. President Obama didn’t like responding to citizen petitions so much, it seems, and so, not too long ago, he raised that threshold to 100,000 signatures.
Still, if just 83,000 or so Americans will sign this petition demanding that Barack Obama resigns, Obama will have to release an official response to the idea. Wouldn’t that be interesting?