Last Wednesday, former AT&T technician Mark Klein testified before a congressional Judiciary committee, blowing the proverbial whistle on his former employee, and on our own government. You can (and really should) read about it here, here, here, and here.
AT&T has, for years now, been keeping a copy of everything that passes through its computers. All your emails, phone records, Internet surfing trails, have been saved and AT&T has been passing your information to the NSA.
Not, as some of our elected officials would have you believe, just communication between Americans and suspected foreign terrorists. Everything. The email you sent to your old buddy from high school? Check. The drunken phone call you made at 2am to an ex-girlfriend? Got it. All the websites you’ve surfed. You betcha.
Everything. And the other giant telecoms (with the possible exception of Qwest) have reportedly followed along.
The government didn't even try to deny these allegations. Far from it. Caught with their sweaty hands in the cookie jar (yet again), our government instead sent Donald Kerr, principal deputy director of national intelligence, to tell Americans that we must redefine privacy. “Our job now is to engage in a productive debate, which focuses on privacy as a component of appropriate levels of security and public safety,” Kerr said. “I think all of us have to really take stock of what we already are willing to give up…”
This is scary stuff, kids. Fully aware that AT&T (and the other major telecoms that collected our private data for Big Brother) have broken the law, the administration is insisting that the telecoms be granted a blanket immunity for their misdeeds. And many in congress are happy to go along. This is not a Republican/Democrat issue, since major players in both parties have been bought and paid for by the same lobbyists.
They would like us to officially wave goodbye the fourth amendment. You know, the one that reads,
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Yeah, that one. Are we really willing to go even further down this road than we have already? Do we really want China's today to be America's tomorrow?
The really scary thing is, most Americans have fallen for Big Brother's scare tactics, and don't even care that we're abandoning the principles that made this country great. Among the minority of true patriots who do give a crap and who are fighting to preserve our constitution, you'll find the nation's librarians. I love the librarians, but I'm not sure I like their chances against Big Brother and the military industrial complex, when most of their fellow Americans seem perfectly willing to trade the title "citizen" for "subject".
Okay, so this is very depressing. I recommend settling down with a stiff drink and re-reading Orwell's 1984.
Oh, and this may (or may not) lighten the mood . . .