No surprise to those who have been following this year’s revelations of the NSA’s warrantless spying on Americans–and everyone else, the New York Times just released an article revealing that the NSA is “harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations.”
I trust you’ll go read the article…
What concerns me is that our more thoughtful readers discuss and be equipped with the facts needed to explain why this massive and invasive surveillance is so reprehensible.
Number one. It was already revealed last year by Reuters that the Drug Enforcement Administration is covering up its relationship with the NSA by training federal agents to retroactively recreate investigative trails (A fancy way of saying “lying.”) in order to conceal leads they get from the NSA. American citizens are already being accused and convicted of crimes based on secret and faked evidence.
This isn’t a slippery slope argument. This is the slippery slope.
Next, I’ll simply let Edward Snowden speak for himself. When asked, “What’s the worst and most realistic harm from bulk collection of data?” He responded,
The first is the chilling effect, which is well-understood. Study after study has show that human behavior changes when we know we’re being watched. Under observation, we act less free, which means we effectively *are* less free.
The second, less understood but far more sinister effect of these classified programs, is that they effectively create “permanent records” of our daily activities, even in the absence of any wrongdoing on our part. This enables a capability called “retroactive investigation,” where once you come to the government’s attention, they’ve got a very complete record of your daily activity going back, under current law, often as far as five years. You might not remember where you went to dinner on June 12th 2009, but the government does.