Monday, June 10, 2013

Benjamin Franklin Saw It Coming

“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety” - Ben Franklin

Personally, I'm not surprised at the recent revelations regarding NSA snooping on Americans.  The scope is a bit surprising, but not the actions themselves.  What does surprise to me is how many Americans are either clueless or careless about it.  I believe they don't think they are a target.  Take a look at the slides from the PRISM program below with attention to the corporate logos at the top of each.  As long as you don't use any of these services, rest assured your privacy is protected.

OK, so all the major players are in on it.  That doesn't mean they are all involved now, right?  Look below.


 Oops.  Well shit.  Wait; AOL?  Really?  Are they still around?

I'm on the fence on this one.  I'm all for the tapping of lines (data or phone) for suspected individuals, but this is a widespread dragnet that essentially treats all of us as suspects.  The argument that we should have nothing to fear if we're not up to anything almost makes sense until you consider the recent targeting of individuals by the IRS simply because they publicly express their opposition to the Obama administration.  Liberals with a "so what" attitude will feel differently when the tables are turned against them.

I have nothing to hide.  Are there websites I surf to, emails, and phone conversations that I'd rather the general public not know about?  Perhaps, but I'm really not hung up on that.  What bothers me is that the government has not proven an ability to do anything productive or preventative with the data.  Consider the recent Boston Marathon bombings.  Russian intelligence agencies informed American authorities with specific details about the bomber.  They were ignored and American were killed and maimed.  If they dropped the ball after being given one piece of very specific data, what makes any of us think they can parse through billions of records to find the needle in the haystack?