A few days after the news the NSA is tracking phone caller “meta data” throughout America, new reports prove the government is busy at work tracking our online associations too.
Sites included for eves-dropping include Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL (are they still around?), Skype, YouTube, and Apple. To summarize: Pretty much everything you do online is being monitored by the American government. The records will remain, indefinitely.
A whole parade of politicians and bureaucrats are endorsing the practice as no big whoop:
“It’s called protecting America,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein.
“The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”
“Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable foreign intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.” Director of National Intelligence
We are assured this information won’t be misused: Trust us, we’re told. The whistleblower who released this information has come forward. He didn’t feel Americans knew the extent to which they were monitored.
Whistleblowers play a key role in exposing government wrongdoing. They expose corruption and misdeeds. Without honest people in government and business, more stuff sneaks under the radar.
What if a special interest inside a country wants to start a war that isn’t in the best interests of its citizens but only serves the agenda of some special interest? How do you do this?
The ploy is well known: You fabricate intelligence and leak it to friendly newspapers. The fabricated intelligence, provocatively reported, proves the country to be attacked is an immediate threat to your own country. The people become outraged, fearful, and they follow the script. Yes, we must attack!
What if somebody inside the intelligence agency knows the truth? What should they do? Should they let thousands of Americans die needlessly by keeping quiet or destroy their own career and life by exposing the truth? It takes a tremendous amount of courage to step outside of the machine and become a whistleblower.
Whistleblowers are a cog in the machine. If an intelligence agency can ferret out all whistleblowers and those who object to their agenda, they can operate in secrecy and with impunity behind the scenes manipulating a population.
Destroying this level of protection is a key goal for certain groups. In my humble opinion, total information awareness, PRISM, the “Big Brother” database, or whatever you want to call the newest program is all about snuffing out whistleblowers.
Here’s how it works: Something the government shouldn’t be doing suddenly appears on page one of the Washington Post. How could the “Big Brother” database be used? The reporter’s phone numbers are searched. All calls the reporter ever made are examined. All incoming calls to him are looked at.
If the whistleblower made the error of using his home or cell phone, he’s instantly exposed. If he made the error of using his credit card to purchase a prepaid cell phone, he’s exposed too. The government plans to track our credit card purchases, if they don’t already do so.
In the future, when databases get larger, even the cell phone you carry and don’t use could be used to track you. Even if you used a pay phone, you’d be exposed, if you carried your cell phone. The ping data from your carried phone could be used to find out who made the call. Lacking that, surveillance video around the pay phone, whose number was recorded, would trap the prey. Hey, whatever happened to all the pay phones?
Such a database could be used to pressure reporters by pressuring associates. The phone for the reporter’s boss is searched and the associated number of a hooker appears. It’s suggested the boss tells the reporter to kill further reporting of this topic or his wife will be angry. Toss in a possible IRS audit for extra emphasis. The reporter is fired. He never knows why.
Of course, most people haven’t worked for the CIA and don’t have inside information. Most of us aren’t reporters, exposing corruption and wrongdoing. Most of us have nothing to fear by the politician-approved databases. That’s what we’re told.
To show how harmless this information is, the politicians supporting this data collection scheme should make their personal phone records public. Every outgoing call and incoming call made, with the time of the call, and location data, should be released.
If a lobbyist calls Senator Dianne Feinstein on her private cell phone and they talk for half an hour, shouldn’t Americans know this? The senators would never vote for that! Public officials should have a much higher level of disclosure than the average American. If they have all our data, it’s only fair we have theirs.