Jul 28, 2013

Further Updates on Your Surveillance Society

Now that the cat is out of the bag, the government has found it much more difficult to contain the news of, and justify to the public it's wildly out of control surveillance programs.

For more information about what these programs are, and why you should care, click HERE.

Showing a surprising level of backbone, congress recently held a vote on whether or not to force the NSA to roll back its sweeping dragnet, leading to furious lobbying by the Obama administration and the intelligence community to maintain these programs.

The advocates for reforming the NSA lost. But the vote was much narrower than the Obama administration had hoped or expected, and indicates that this issue isn't going away. Indeed, polls show that the majority of Americans are wary about giving the government so much power to spy on them without oversight.

The NSA Can't Search Its Own E-mails

This one actually made me laugh. 

A reporter for the non-partisan news service ProPublica filed a Freedom-of-Information request with the NSA to understand the NSA's public relations efforts, specifically e-mails between the NSA and National Geographic.

The NSA's response? We don't have the technology, sorry. 

Responded NSA Freedom of Information Act officer Cindy Blacker, "There's no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately,"

This response is absurd, and is a reason why the NSA has found itself on the defensive. Read the story HERE. 

Money Talks

Surprise surprise: the lawmakers who voted for maintaining the NSA's unchecked powers were the ones who received the most defense industry money. Still think your representatives represent your interests? Wired magazine has this story HERE.

The tide is turning, however. Even supporters of the NSA concede that government has not made a great case about why these powers are necessary and how they are protecting innocent Americans' privacy. The Los Angeles Times has a story about this HERE. The New York Times writes that it may be impossible for the NSA to stop the opposition to its surveillance; read the story HERE.

So: what can you do to help make sure your rights are being protected, when your own representatives are not protecting your interests?

Support causes that fight for you, that's what. Consider making a donation to the two groups below. They have been fighting tirelessly to defend your rights against a government that has been bent on curtailing them.
  • The ACLU is the best known group that fights tirelessly, all the time, for the rights of citizens. Support them. Help them fight for you, to protect your rights. They are your advocate, whether your views are popular or not. Visit them HERE and please consider making a donation.
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation fights for the rights of digital users, from defending people's free speech rights, to beating back anti-consumer legislation, to exposing the misdeeds of corporations, patent trolls and the government, the EFF fights for consumers. They depend on your help. Consider giving them a donation to help them keep fighting. Visit them HERE.

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