News About Electronic Surveillance Gets Even Worse
This summer has been filled with a series of increasingly grave revelations about the extent of electronic spying being conducted against the American people – by the military through the National Security Agency, by the FBI, and by corporations that merge their for profit data mining operations with government Big Brother spying programs.
The last 24 hours have brought yet more grim news about the extent of electronic surveillance:
– It has been discovered that U.S. Representative Mike Rogers, head of the House Intelligence Committee, prevented a document revealing the extent of NSA spying on Americans from being shared with members of the U.S. House of Representatives before a 2011 vote to renew the Patriot Act without reform.
– Barack Obama has proposed naming James Clapper, who led the NSA in spying against the American people, and lied to Congress about the NSA surveillance, to lead an investigation of the NSA abuses. Only after a public outcry has Obama withdrawn this proposal, but Obama still intends to allow Clapper to participate substantially in the investigation, ending all credibility that the investigation will be at all independent.
– Edward Snowden has revealed that the National Security Agency’s electronic spying system was used to target journalists who were critical of the White House in their reporting.
– Google has announced that no one sending messages through its Gmail system has any “objectively reasonable expectation of confidentiality” in their messages.
– Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, declared, “We’ve been collecting this information for so long, long before the NSA was collecting it,” and said that he thinks the military’s system to spy on the American people is “great”.
– Lavabit, a secure email provider that was forced to shut itself down rather than provide users’ private emails to the National Security Agency, has announced that it will never be able to re-open in the United States, because the USA’s no longer respects its citizens’ right to privacy as established in the Bill of Rights. “I think if the American public knew what our government was doing, they wouldn’t be allowed to do it any more,” said Ladar Levinson, the founder of Lavabit. Levinson explained that the U.S. government has censored him from revealing what additional spying against Internet users is taking place.
What are you going to do about it? One option is to take action using the toolkit developed by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee to organize meetings with U.S. Representatives to talk about concerns about the NSA spying during the August recess.