I’ve been following the news ever since Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor, dropped NSA Leaks, as they call it now, on our collective consciousness. There followed the back and forth salvos between the civil rights and privacy advocates and the equally indignant US Intelligence community who staunchly wave their patriotic flag to every Jane and Joe.
If there is one thing that has planted an unsightly scarlet letter on the Obama Administration, it’s this whole affair. Yes, we know it started even before this administration. Yes, it was in response to a horrific event in September 2001. A lot of things have happened since then, all in the name of national security, protecting the American public, its land and its waters, and therefore, this is all in the efforts to preserve the freedom of every American. The so-called, “American way of life.” Well, we have been made privy to information that the very thing we are trying to promote and protect, this freedom we so dearly value, is being sacrificed wantonly by some sweeping all-encompassing directive from higher up.
At today’s speech at the Justice Department, Mr. Obama walked us through the birth of the NSA under then President Truman in 1952 as the “organization within the U.S. Government responsible for communications intelligence activities.”
Well, with today’s technology, it is much easier to go overboard. Has the government overreached its powers? Has collecting this “metadata” unselectively, almost obscenely, protected the country more? Or has it fed the intrusive and prying tendencies of some paternalistic groups? Has Big Brother been in our lives all along then?
The POTUS has announced two changes with regards the NSA: That the Metadata would transition to be stored outside U.S. Intelligence organizations and that the NSA or any other U.S. Intelligence agency would have to obtain permission from a judicial body or appointee before they can take a look at whatever collected data there is.
Harrrumph! Is this just window dressing? Is this an appeasement? I know that the Law Professor in Mr. Obama knows the law like the back of his hand. I can only hope this is just the beginning of the changes.
And what if a private organization maintains the gargantuan information? Will it be used for more ads hurled at all of us consumers? I can’t help but wonder if some entrepreneur out there will find a way to make a buck out of this.
And what of the likes of Chancellor Angela Merkel? Will they stop tapping her personal cell phone too?
If it’s such a great tool, why did it not prevent Benghazi or the Boston Marathon bombing?
Is it really just Metadata, which is ‘only” the log of the phone number called, date and time of call? Really? Really? No one is recording the conversations or the text messages? Wait! Metadata is by itself very revealing already. More than conversations or text.
I have not seen anyone burning the flag lately to show displeasure over our rights being trampled on.