PSST! Apparently they know everything.
It turns out the U.S. government might have access to information about your calls, your texts, your Facebook postings, your IM sessions.
Glenn Greenwald put a hole in the privacy dam with his Guardian piece on Verizon and phone data last night.
WP's Bombshell - Report: 'Prism' Gives Govt Unfettered Access Online - Now the Washington Post bursts forth with this rather astonishing story, which seems to be totally distinct from the Verizon one:
"The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time.
"The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who know about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues."
The story goes on from there, per the Post. If you're social networking (except for Twitter), the government can watch you. And the companies, according to the Post, are letting them. http://wapo.st/14CmUMW
When Does Govt's Reach Become Overreach? - We already found out this week the government doesn't need TOO much (certainly not a warrant) to take your DNA, right? "Minor intrusion."
They can make you buy health insurance. It's a tax, right? And they can tax your income, too. And they can force you to drive 65 miles per hour. And make your state provide Medicaid.
They can draft you into the military. But they haven't done that one for a long time. Rather, they can use a bomb to kill you without a trial if you're in a foreign country and they think you're a terrorist.
Now it turns out they can track everyone's phone calls too.
But if you were to make the argument that the Obama administration is in the business of government overreach, don't jump for Orwell analogies. Obama is more Mom than Big Brother.
If we understand all this metadata stuff, it seems to go a little something like this:
Pretend you're in high school. And pretend that you have a mom.
It's not accurate to say your mom is listening to your calls. This isn't 1984. She can't pick up on the line in the other room. But Mom can check the phone bill. She knows what numbers you texted. She knows when and many times, say. If there's anything incriminating in there, however… strange area codes, say. Weird times. Well then Mom might get suspicious and do a little snooping.
But be real. She can also creep on you online (See that PRISM report). Your Facebook postings, your G-Chats. She totally does. Unfortunately for her, in most cases it probably isn't that interesting.
People today leave such a trail of metadata crumbs these days is it any wonder that there seems to be a distinct lack of outrage about this these NSA developments?
A National Journal survey conducted before this news broke found people already though the government had access to their data. And if you judge it unscientifically by Internet search trends and traffic reports today - they don't seem to mind that much. http://bit.ly/14CiR3m
Should they? Terry Moran has these three key questions. But spoiler alert: We don't know the answers to any of them - http://yhoo.it/11HCWmD
The Poles of Both Parties are Angry - http://abcn.ws/ZwdOmp (Rick Klein)
But The Congressional Overseers Defend It - Both Dianne Feinstein and Hal Rogers said the phone records program had helped avert a terror attack. But they couldn't say which one. http://abcn.ws/191Z1FD
And that's perhaps more of the issue. We don't know much about this program. Outside of the anointed lawmakers and FISA court judges and intelligence community denizens, nobody seems to know much of anything.
There's a real interesting dynamic at play on issues like this dragnet and drones where the fact that things are so secret is more aggravating than what's going on.
Did Clapper Lie When He Said U.S. Isn't Gathering Data on Americans? - Natl. Journal got him on the phone. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday that he stood by what he told Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in March when he said that the National Security Agency does not "wittingly" collect data on millions of Americans.
"What I said was, the NSA does not voyeuristically pore through U.S. citizens' e-mails. I stand by that," Clapper told National Journal in a telephone interview. http://bit.ly/123wwo9
Mass. Governor: I Got Drunk After Marathon Manhunt- Gov. Deval Patrick went to his rural home the day after the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect was captured and got "quite drunk" alone in a restaurant, he said during a candid conversation at a Boston area marketing firm. http://abcn.ws/12uD4xq
Donald Trump to Rent a White House View for $250K a Month- Donald Trump has been coveting famous real estate on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington for a while, but now that the General Services Administration has told him "you're hired," his dreams have finally come true. http://abcn.ws/13oaWJb (Alisa Wiersema)
Senate Debate: Markey, Gomez Attack Over Guns, Benghazi- The first Massachusetts Senate debate for the seat once held by Secretary of State John Kerry took a contentious tone early on and seldom let up as the candidates sparred over gun control, the attack on the embassy in Libya and more. http://abcn.ws/18ReYMf (Chris Good)