Why You Should Be Worried About the NSA Scandal

Most of you by now have heard that a “whistleblower” by the name of Edward Snowden has leaked a variety of documents detailing that the NSA has direct access to information held by companies like AT&T and Verizon regarding citizen’s phone records, as well as the electronic data held by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, etc. To read a detailed account of the most recent development you can check out NSA Leak Catch-Up: The Latest on the Edward Snowden Fallout.

This isn’t really a surprise to most of the folks that opposed the Patriot Act years ago. In fact, if anything it’s a confirmation that we are not all tin foil hat wearing loonies that think the government is out to get us. Think it was crazy to think Big Brother was watching? Guess what? He was! Anyway, the responses to this information leaking have ranged from outrage, to disinterest, to outright defending the government taking steps to keep us safe. The most stomach turning thing about this whole matter is watching Democrats that would have attacked Bush years ago come to Obama’s defense, and Republican’s that DID defend Bush years ago go on the attack.

For example...

For example…

Now, ignoring this political theater that everyone loves to watch unfold, and most of the bullshit spouted by both sides in this debate is political theater, I really am crossing my fingers that we don’t lose sight of what’s important here. Libertarian activist Julie Borowski spoke up on the issue recently, and while I agree with most of what she’s saying, I think she’s missing the larger importance of the overall issue.

This isn’t just about information that they are mining now. I’ve heard Liberals defend the NSA and Obama by saying, “LOOOL, you already have all your information on Facebook. Anyone has access to all your information”. They would be correct. I am a very open person, and I oftentimes waive my right to privacy. I’m not outraged for just MY right to privacy, I am outraged for everyone’s right to privacy. My father doesn’t have a Facebook account, but he emails a lot. He also Facetimes his grandchildren. All this is information that the government has free reign with. It’s also information they have no right to.

In addition, once Google Glass goes on sale to the general public everyone’s privacy will be a BIG concern. Penny Arcade touched on this after one of their creators was invited by Google to test drive the new product.

Anytime you see someone wearing a pair there is the potential that they are taking photographs of you, recording video, and/or uploading them to a Google network at the same time. There was recently a big uproar in the tech community over Google Glass being able to use facial recognition apps, and thankfully Google agreed to to bar the apps for now.

So that said, with the new Glass product Google will potentially be able to identify you with facial recognition software, and log your location, all without you even using their product. If you actually wear the Glass, well, they’ll know much more about what route you take to work, where you’ve stopped to eat, who you’ve met with. Right now that requires an internet hotspot for the Glass, but I’ve read that with Bluetooth and cellphone technology being what it is, we’ll likely not have long before we don’t need an wifi point.

Anyway, what I’m saying here is not only will Google have this information, but the government will have access to this information as well. Please tell me I’m not the only person concerned about this? There is a reason the 4th Amendment exists! It prevents any number of abuses by people in power, like, say maybe targeting a specific ethnic or political group. I hear a lot of people object, and say, “But the government would never do that, they’re just trying to ensure our safety”. Oh really?

I’d prefer it just the same if we didn’t just trust them on this one.

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Posted in Libertarian, Politics
8 comments on “Why You Should Be Worried About the NSA Scandal
  1. David says:

    What I am concerned about is that the issue will fade. That it will be waved off, laughed off (by comedian satirists and others), belittled, relegated to unimportance because, hey, we knew they were doing that years ago.

    The problem I see is that people who were voicing concerns about it before say, “NOW everybody’s upset!?” and then do nothing else. The problem is, people are either ignorant of facts, or ignorant about what freedom is. Individual rights are important. For people to say, “who cares if the government does a seemingly harmless thing without permission” shows an egregious lack of understanding of human rights in our country, and it troubles me. It also troubles me because I used to be one of those people like Lindsay Graham saying, “So what, I have nothing to hide,” and now I’m on the other side of that thinking, “Good God, I can’t believe I actually believed that.”

    There was a small video quoting Ayn Rand (oh no, not Ayn Rand!) regarding the white army (tradition) vs the red army (collectivism) and neither side talking about personal liberties. That is exactly what we have going on in America. It’s just another white army / red army conflict between two large groups who do not understand that the root of our country and what made it incredible was its devotion to personal freedom, NOT to ideals.

    • I see it like this: when watching the Tudors, essentially which ever direction you could point King Henry would be the area he puts under a microscope. Things would happen as a result of the King looking that direction. That’s sort of how the American public works nowadays. Once they get distracted by something else, well, then you lose momentum.

      I’m hoping that the American public, as disinterested as many of them are, will not let this fade. I think the “Cloak and Dagger” spy aspect of Snowden being on the lam is partially why this issue isn’t fading at them moment.

      I give the man a lot of credit for what he is doing, even though I think he’s going to end up dead for it..

      • David says:

        He will not end up dead because making a martyr of him would prove to Americans beyond a shadow of a doubt that they would be right to utterly distrust our government. Snowden is a citizen, so they can’t just call in a Predator drone on him. Actually, never mind, we already did that. He’s a *famous* citizen now, so THAT is why they can’t just quietly kill him. They won’t do that. They will do it the proper way. If they get him back to the US, he might very well hang, but it will be on a judge’s say so, because now, too many eyes are watching Snowden to see if he suddenly disappears.

        First, Uncle Sam needs to get HK to agree to extradite him. Considering that he seems to have overwhelming popular support in HK and China (he proved China’s jingoistic ranting of being a victim to hacking to be true, so he scores highly with that lot). It is *possible* that a judge might be sympathetic and rule he could stay. At any rate, he is going to handle it in court like a decent person, not hide in an embassy like Julian Assange and try to think of the best way to be smuggled out in a suitcase. He said he wanted it to go to court, and went to the place where he felt it could happen fairly.

        What I like about it is… rather than fleeing to a country that is simply hostile to America and will refuse to extradite on those grounds, he went somewhere where there can be something of a showdown. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds- but far and away, the most important thing is not Snowden, but what he revealed, what it says about a people who allowed it to happen, and what those people (us, citizens) will do about it.

        It’s an interesting time to be alive.

  2. gwynney says:

    Great article: “LOOOOOL facebook.”

    Anyone saying that is completely missing the point.

    I am sincerely scared for our country.

  3. […] on both sides are actually doing something about it.  You may have read my post on “Why You Should Be Worried About the NSA Scandal“. If you didn’t, but need a recap of the situation, it summarizes a number of reasons […]

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