By Andrew Ogg–
In the last few months, the National Security Agency, known as NSA, has been making news headlines throughout the United States and across the globe, drawing needed attention towards the encroachingly expansive technological surveillance that it is actively involved in.
People are rightfully expressing outrage at the appalling means in which the NSA keeps tabs on United States citizens, but what is disheartening is that people only now seem concerned; only now seem to care, now that they have learned that this directly affects them, and not just their neighboring countries. There should be a widespread fear of loss in civil liberties and diminishment in basic privacy, for that appears to be the road we are heading down if the NSA’s legitimacy goes untested.
Not only does the NSA track your phone calls but it also tracks your emails, text messages, and the entirety of your internet history, most of which is warrantless. Americans are under the constant supervision of under-qualified government workers who store everything you ever type into leviathan-sized databases.
One might think that such an influx of attention implies that the NSA’s conception was recent, and its overuse of warrantless and covert surveillance new, when In fact it was implemented in October of 1952 under President Truman, intended as a correctional strategy for the failures of the Armed Forces Security Agency, or AFSA. If increased power, widened authority and a new acronym is considered an improvement, then we finally have a conceivable package plan solution for our economy.
As the character assassination of whistle blower Edward Snowden enlarges, so does the amount of cases in which the NSA exemplifies totalitarian levels of surveillance. To start, the story broke out on Thursday the 24thof October that the NSA has been monitoring the calls of 35 world leaders, whose contact information was obtained by our government officials, and it has been admitted that little intelligence was procured—a total waste in time, effort, and tax revenue.
In early August of this year, we learned that the NSA was handing over massive quantities of phone records to the DEA, which the DEA tried to cover up. Under President Johnson, phone communications were conducted over civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and various journalists that opposed the Vietnam War. In the name of stopping terrorism, warrantless wiretapping was rampant under George W. Bush’s administration, leading to several lawsuits posed against the administration. In late August, the FISA Court ruled that the NSA is in itself unconstitutional. And yet the NSA still carries on.
All of these breaches in civil privacy culminate into an out of control institution that has no checks and balances, and unless intervened, shows no signs of incorporating a checks and balances system.
It is time for America to have a serious discussion on civil liberties because civil liberties and privacy are slowly evaporating from this country.
Image courtesy of droid-life.com