Even By Its Own Ridiculous Metric, The NSA Gets A Failing Grade
from the there's-no-peace-of-mind-when-you-have-no-privacy dept
Way back in June, when the news of the widespread surveillance first broke, we talked about a clip from This American Life talking to lawyers for prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay, who know that their phone lines are tapped, and every one of their phone calls is listened to, no matter who it's with. What was striking about listening to them talk was how this simple act of constant surveillance changed how they acted. It changed how they spoke to people. It changed how they treated friends and family members that they loved. In short, you could tell that these people had no peace of mind at all.
In the meantime, recent research from the Pew Research folks showed that, for the first time ever, more Americans are concerned about the erosion of their civil liberties than of the threat of a terrorist attack. Given that, it would certainly appear that the NSA's mass surveillance programs likely have contributed to significantly less "peace of mind" than they've helped build peace of mind. After all, so far the only thing these programs have successfully "stopped" in the US was one Somalian cab driver in San Diego giving some cash to a terrorist group back in Somalia.
So, really, if we're going to go by the "peace of mind" standard, it seems that there's an even stronger argument for dismantling the NSA's bulk surveillance efforts.