In the wake of the disclosure of a massive surveillance program ordered by the Obama Administration of all calls by all citizens using Verizon, there is a new disclosure of an equally large data-mining operation where the government has seized e-mail, photos and other private communications from some of the biggest Internet companies. Even in the wake of the attack on the free press and the surveillance of all citizens in the Verizon scandal, Democratic leaders are rallying around Obama in the rejection of the least remnants of principle in the party. We are now at the tipping point for a free nation as President Obama and leaders like Dianne Feinstein assure citizens that there is nothing to fear in our new fishbowl society.
According to the media reports, the government demanded and received access to nine major firms, including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo and Facebook under the program called PRISM. The article states that the program has been running since 2007 and has undergone “exponential growth.”
When confronted over the massive government surveillance, Feinstein was dismissive and said “It’s called protecting America”. Others would call it the harbinger to an authoritarian state but Feinstein has long been criticized for her presumed knowledge of the torture program and other abuses of civil liberties.
These programs reveal the creation of huge databanks that can be used to make the movements and associations transparent to the government. After years of apathy and blind loyalty to Obama, these scandals will test whether Americans have any remaining commitment to privacy and civil liberties in the face of the mantra (repeated today by the Administration) that these programs make them safer.
As in the past, Congress has proven a willing participant in the erosion of civil liberties. It will be up to citizens whether we go quietly into this night. As I previously wrote, it is becoming increasingly difficult to call this the “land of the free” as we allow the rise of security state in this country.
By the way, you may remember Obama running for president the first time in the aftermath of reports of the NSA mining Internet communications. He promised voters: “For one thing, under an Obama presidency, Americans will be able to leave behind the era of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and “wiretaps without warrants.” He would now make Richard Nixon blush.