Would Americans be outraged if the government decided to read every piece of our personal mail? Think about it, letters and notes which are sent to a lover, things we all say in anger, regret later, and never follow-through on? What about confidential financial information, plans to trump your competitor with a new product or service, and a host of personal issues that are too numerous to mention? People in the United States have become accustomed to their privacy and believe it is one of those “unalienable constitutional rights” which are guaranteed to all American citizens that most of us take for granted. Our constitution and Bill of Rights demand it, yet here we are, one year before Bush leaves office, and the government is planning on doing almost exactly what I described. The only difference is that instead of snail-mail (which can also be opened), the government’s proposed directive covers any and all computer communications and correspondence that everyday citizens send and receive on their computer systems. This includes any all financial information as well as personal matters of anyone in your home;the communications of your teenagers will be monitored as well, and issues that are normally kept within the family unit(s) will suddenly become part of your governmental profile.
Now that our society if firmly entrenched in the digital world, a multitude of personal activity is carried out on the Internet. Millions of people use dating services, communicate with prospective “dates” and often bare their souls. We know this occurs on a regular basis by the huge amount of people that are finding successful relationships and oftentimes marriage through the internet. People often find it easier to discuss extremely personal matters on the Internet because the embarrassment and shy nature of many of the people who use these services tend to become more honest and speak of matters they never would have in person - all because of the unique privacy the internet has offered those who are seeking friends, lovers, and permanent relationships. How will these services perform when the subscribers know that every word they write is monitored and read, possibly ending-up in a file on that individual with the FBI or other law enforcement office, most likely Homeland Security?
Don’t forget the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, also known as “The Thought Crime Prevention Bill.” S-1959 is the vehicle Homeland Security will use to judge and imprison those who they deem are guilty, but it is this directive that will help to compile what they will classify as “thought crimes”, and suddenly, like those who lived in fear while attempting to keep themselves alive in other societies that traded personal privacy for “security”, Americans will be fearful when they use any means of communication, worried that words said in anger or while being particularly emotional could be used against them and given credibility when none actually exists. In similar situations and throughout history, families were broken-up, the people as a whole lived in misery and fear, always afraid they would be picked-up by the Gestapo or other governmental storm troopers merely because they had communicated with someone the government blieved to be a “dissident”.
Many of those that were caught-up in the government’s witch-hunt were enlisted to spy on their neighbors to keep from being arrested themselves, and in the era of Stalin, Hitler, Mao’s China, and the old Soviet Union, these tactics were used to turn entire populations into informants and spies; as more and more people were arrested, those who were attempting to save themselves would often make-up stories about innocents they believed the “authorities” wanted to hear, others were turned-in and eventually the stench of mistrust was felt throughout the respective countries; even family members had to be careful, ever watchful that someone from within had been compromised and was attempting to escape their own death or incarceration by implicating another family member. Anyone that was identified as a dissident or radical was arrested, executed or sent off to a concentration camp. What was left behind was a terrified, subservient populace, easy to manage through fear and intimidation, and cowed into submission because they watched members of their own family and friends being arrested, even executed in front of them for crimes that never existed. (The implementation of similar programs in the United States could very well result in similar situations as were experienced with other societies that were morphed into “police states.” This is surely a matter where we can look upon our past in order to know what to expect from our future. One constant is that history always repeats itself. )
For reasons none of us fully understand, our Congress is powerless to stop Bush and Cheney from doing as they damn well please, and even though they have broken laws and committed war crimes, lied and stand in utter defiance of Congress and the people, neither is touchable and act with impunity, safe in the knowledge that Congress is too cowed to impeach. To allow these tyrants to gain the power to read any email or computer communication they desire is unconstitutional on its face, and now that the Supreme Court is stacked, a directive such as this is likely to succeed in court if legislation isn’t passed to prohibit any such intrusion(s) into the privacy of innocent Americans. This is what the government is proposing:
January 13, 2008, 12:00 am
Dancing Spychief Wants to Tap Into Cyberspace
Siobhan Gorman reports on the U.S. spychief.
Spychief Mike McConnell is drafting a plan to protect America’s cyberspace that will raise privacy issues and make the current debate over surveillance law look like “a walk in the park,” McConnell tells The New Yorker in the issue set to hit newsstands Monday. “This is going to be a goat rope on the Hill. My prediction is that we’re going to screw around with this until something horrendous happens.”
At issue, McConnell acknowledges, is that in order to accomplish his plan, the government must have the ability to read all the information crossing the Internet in the United States in order to protect it from abuse. Congressional aides tell The Journal that they, too, are also anticipating a fight over civil liberties that will rival the battles over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Part of the lawmakers’ ire, they have said, is the paltry information the administration has provided. The cyberspace security initiative was first reported in September by The Baltimore Sun, and some congressional aides say that lawmakers have still learned more from the media than they did from the few Top Secret briefings they have received hours before the administration requested money in November to jump start the program. Please note that the funds to “jump start” this program were requested in November. If I were to hazard a guess, this program is already running somewhere in tests, or for all we know, may already been implemented. This administration hasn’t exactly been truthful with the people or Congress. MORE
Scholars and Rogues posted an insight into this situation that makes perfect sense, and I agree with them, there are no coincidences!
All your Internets are belong to ATT & the NSA
Two seemingly coincidental bits of news crossed my desk yesterday morning. First, the Wall Street Journal contains excerpts of an interview with Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell in which he outlines a vast new initiative to police Internet traffic “for abuse.”
Meanwhile, AT&T announced that it plans to extend its initiative to examine packets of information on its network for illegally traded content, becoming, in effect, the Internet’s traffic cop.
Let’s see…the world’s largest telecom company states it’s in negotiations with major entertainment conglomerate to police the Internet on their behalf, on the same day the DNI announces the government wants more eyes on Internet traffic?