The NSA story has slipped from these cyber-pages. The diversion is, I hope, forgivable. The near-war on Syria was pretty freakin' important, as is the looming shutdown of the U.S. government -- not to mention the even scarier possibility that the debt ceiling won't be lifted.
But somebody better say something
about the folks at Never Say Anything, Fortunately, the Big Picture
does as good a job of compiling the data as you are likely to see...
The government is spying on essentially everything we do. It is not just “metadata” … although that is enough to destroy your privacy
That I knew. I've been saying the same thing for years.
The government has adopted a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act which allows it to pretend that “everything” is relevant … so it spies on everyone. For example, the NSA “oversight” court believes the mere claim that terrorists use the phone system is enough to show that all phone records are relevant
That is something I glancingly mentioned earlier this month
. Let's head on over to Techdirt
to find out more...
The FISA Court (FISC) today released a heavily redacted version of its July ruling approving the renewal of the bulk metadata collection on all phone calls from US phone providers under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. This is part of the "secret interpretation" as to how the FISC interprets the Patriot Act's "business records" or "tangible things" section to mean that the government can order a telco to turn over pretty much all records -- even as the very author of the law says it was written specifically to not allow this interpretation.
If I may repeat a line from that earlier post: One sure way to get the catseye you're looking for is to grab every marble in the world.
Let's return to the Big Picture:
The information gained through spying is shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges
That reminds me. Have you seen those ads for cloud computing services which automatically upload everything on your freakin' hard drive
to the internet? If the data goes up, up and away, you know damned well that copies of everything will go into the NSA's big ol' secret box, there to be stored forever and ever.
I'll say again something I've said before. Many people react to these reports of NSA overreach by expressing this sentiment: "Who cares what they have on me? I'm dull. I'm small potatoes." Yes, but if things get politically weird -- or weirder
-- in this country, you may decide that you need to live a more interesting life. You may want to be a bigger potato. But by then it will be too late, because Uncle will know your every weakness. Uncle will know precisely
how to carve you into tater tots.
The chairs of the 9/11 Commission say that NSA spying has gone way too far
Top constitutional experts say that Obama and Bush are worse than Nixon … and the Stasi East Germans
I think that last remark ought to be "East German Stasi." But you get the idea. Let's quote a bit from that article:
Indeed, the American government has more information on the average American than Stalin had on Russians, Hitler had on German citizens, or any other government has ever had on its people.
The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email, text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information, employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American.
Please keep all of that in mind as you deal with news stories and blog posts which try to convince you that this is all about metadata -- or about some pro-Libertarian post that young Edward Snowden once foolishly tossed onto the internet.
And now (getting back to the Big Picture) let's talk moneymoneymoneymoney:
The NSA spying program is unambiguously being used for industrial espionage, by spying on large foreign corporations, and the biggest financial payments systems such as VISA and Swift (Europe is not amused). Indeed, in a slide leaked by Edward Snowden, “economic” was one of the main justifications for spying
Isn't this an offense against the Gospel According to St. Ayn? I mean, by what right should taxpayer money be used to spy on behalf of private industry?
Top financial experts say that the NSA and other intelligence agencies are using the information to profit from this inside information
The Wall Street Journal reported that the NSA spies on Americans’ credit card transactions. Many other agencies are doing the same. In fact, virtually all U.S. intelligence agencies – including the CIA and NSA – are going to spy on Americans’ finances. The IRS will also be spying on Americans’ shopping records, travel, social interactions, health records and files from other government investigators.
A huge majority of Americans wants the director of intelligence – Clapper – prosecuted for perjury. One of the chairs of the 9/11 Commission agrees
Of course, we won't see any such prosecution. A preference expressed in a poll does not always translate into a political movement.
I can't help but compare what's going on now with what occurred during the early 1970s. When Former Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms lied to Congress, he was tried and convicted. When Jim Angleton was caught illegally opening mail (in a program called HT-LINGUAL), he lost his job. (Actually, there were plenty of other reasons he was "axed" to leave, but that was the immediate
reason.) When word of CIA "dirty tricks" reached the newspapers, the Church committee instituted hearings.
What the hell is wrong with this generation? Why are we so passive? And why are all the non-passive folk focused on inanity -- the Tea Party, Ted Cruz, Ron Paul, Atlas Shrugged
-- instead of cleaning house?