There Are Many Reasons Not To Give The NSA The Power To Spy On Your Info
from the here-are-just-a-few dept
The folks over at EFF have put together a nice list of reasons why the NSA cannot be trusted with your data. There are a bunch of reasons, but here are a few:
- NSA has a dark history of violating Americans’ constitutional rights
In the 1960’s, a Congressional investigation, led by four-term Senator Frank Church, found that the NSA had engaged in widespread and warrantless spying on Americans citizens. Church was so stunned at what he found, he remarked that the National Security Agency’s "capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything." (emphasis added) The investigation led to the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which provided stronger privacy protections for Americans’ communications—that is, until it was weakened by the USA-PATRIOT Act and other reactions to 9/11.
- NSA has continued its warrantless wiretapping scandal
In 2005, the New York Times revealed that the NSA set up a massive warrantless wiretapping program shortly after 9/11, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and several federal laws. This was later confirmed by virtually every major media organization in the country. It led to Congressional investigations and several ongoing lawsuits, including EFF’s. Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act to grant telecom companies retroactive immunity for participating in illegal spying and severely weaken privacy safeguards for Americans communicating overseas.Since the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) passed, the NSA has continued collecting emails of Americans. A 2009 New York Times investigation described how a “significant and systemic” practice of "overcollection" of communications resulted in the NSA’s intercepting millions of purely domestic emails and phone calls between Americans. In addition, documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU, although heavily redacted, revealed "that violations [of the FAA and the Constitution] continued to occur on a regular basis through at least March 2010"— the last month anyone has public data for.
- NSA recently admitted to violating the Constitution.
Just last week, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence—which oversees the NSA—begrudgingly acknowledged that "on at least one occasion" the secret FISA court "held that some collection… used by the government was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment." Wired called it a "federal sidestep of a major section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," and it confirmed the many reports over the last few years: the NSA has violated the Constitution.
In the meantime, we're still waiting for someone (anyone?) to tell us exactly why this bill is needed without resorting to hyperbole about planes falling out of the sky. If there's an existing problem with infosharing, what is it? What law, today, is blocking this kind of infosharing? Until the government can explain that, it seems weird that they're pushing for much greater spying power by the NSA and fewer privacy rights. How can they defend this when they can't even point to what the roadblocks are?