It's unnecessary to review all the diaries on the subject of the NSA, the recent postal service info and so on. You've either read them or you haven't. If you have, perhaps you've taken a position on whether or not this is all a bunch of hysterical people with their hair on fire over nothing, or it's a window into uncontrolled surveillance of peoples private lives that violates our rights and need for privacy in our lives.
Let me point you to how the GOP in North Carolina is using people's data to intimidate them...now...today...and possibly with government assistance.
If you've been following current events in North Carolina you know the recently empowered GOP legislature (and GOP governor) have been on a roll to slash and burn healthcare, unemployment benefits, taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and more. Yesterday they attached, and passed in the Senate, a very restrictive abortion clause to a bill about "Sharia Law." (This particularly odious action was cleverly designed to hopefully pass below the horizon of public view and opinion, but did not...although the protestors were told to be quiet because the only voices that mattered were those of the Senators.)
In response, thousands of North Carolinians have gone to the capital building to peacefully protest. Hundreds have been arrested...booked, finger-printed...mug shots...the whole banana. These are the Moral Monday protestors we're talking about...good citizens from all walks of life.
Lo and behold, the Civitas Institute..a right-wing "think tank" and public policy influence organization founded and financed by Gazillionaire retailer Art Pope...who is also the appointed NC Budget Director...immediately put up several web pages with all the collected info on the arrested protestors.
You can see it here, but I ask that you read on before going back to the Civitas site... http://www.nccivitas.org/...
When you do visit this steaming pile of crap, be sure to page through the various options to see how they've turned intimidation into a game.
So...you're a good citizen peacefully protesting...you're arrested for trespassing...and now here you are on the intertoobs...your name, address, sex, age, race, party, occupation, employer, salary if available, alleged voter registration violation (address not matching registration)....etc. There has been some speculation as to just how the Civitas folks were able to get all the data so rapidly...implying possible cooperation from someone in government.
Now, just for fun, imagine if the Civitas folks had all your postal, internet, email, and financial "meta data" and they listed some carefully selected magazines you subscribe to..web sites you visit...places where you've made purchases and how much you spent, you name it. Innocent or not...and none of their business...they could twist this to make anyone look like whatever they choose.
John Q. Smith...subscribes to xyz magazine, spent money at the xyz club, was delinquent on property taxes last year, buys books on the following subjects...mother in nursing home under medicaid yet purchased a $900 xyz last week....sends emails twice a week to woman in Soviet Union... You name it... A totally misleading picture could be constructed to try someone in the court of public opinion. Doesn't matter if the magazine is Playboy or Forbes, the club is a "gentlemans club" or a golf club...it all depends on the story they're trying to construct for their audience. Heck, they could make someone look bad or suspicious for darn near anything...and it's none of their damn business even if technology has made it available.
Now...go look at the Civitas stuff. Then decide whether or not you want to let the government, and by association those entities involved with the government or politics ...who might not like you for some reason....to have unfettered, unjustified, and pervasive access to your daily life and activities.
BTW...when some NC activists used the Civitas' listing of their directors and employees and constructed a compilation of their names and addresses, etc., on the web...Civitas immediately removed the names of their people from their web site... Gee...probably because that was uncalled for and invasive.
***UPDATE: Thank you allowing me on the Rec List. What's happening in North Carolina is beyond despicable. The GOP and their allies are using every dirty trick they can to ram thru their regressive legislation...and they ARE stooping to intimidation by use of both personal data and law enforcement. They make the rules...you break 'em...jail or intimidation for you...or both. Young people here want to help, but arrest records don't portend well for their future.