Americans haven’t had much good news about their privacy since Edward Snowden launched his soap opera of NSA revelations last June. True, the president, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Patriot Act co-author Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner are finally distancing themselves from the most outrageous snooping. But it hasn’t stopped. According to the New York Times, a request from one U.S. phone company to cease sharing its records with the National Security Agency was rebuffed in March by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — the secret federal tribunal that mostly seems to specialize in saying “yes” to surveillance.
About half of Americans tell pollsters they are alarmed by these trends.… Seguir leyendo »
The revelation that the federal government has been secretly gathering records on the phone calls and online activities of millions of Americans and foreigners seems not to have alarmed most Americans. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center over the four days immediately after the news first broke found that just 41 percent of Americans deemed it unacceptable that the National Security Agency “has been getting secret court orders to track telephone calls of millions of Americans to investigate terrorism.”
We privacy watchers and civil libertarians think this complacent response misses a deeply worrying political shift of vast consequence. While President Obama has conveniently described the costs of what appears to be pervasive surveillance of Americans’ telecommunications connections as “modest encroachments on privacy,” what we are actually witnessing is a sea change in the kinds of things that the government can monitor in the lives of ordinary citizens.… Seguir leyendo »