Are our civil liberties really under attack?

Some 80’s auditory goodness:

In case you hadn’t heard. . .

It seems as though a huge scandal rocked the news yesterday as it was revealed that the NSA and the FBI are utilizing laws passed by Congress in 2007 and 2008 to rifle through information directly extracted from the servers of nine companies – Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple. They’re spending about twenty million dollars a year, which is just chump change for our government, watching everything we do and say and our civil liberties are going right out the window.

Why this is a problem. . .

People happen to enjoy their civil liberties, whatever those may be. Plus, nobody likes the idea that everything they say or write will be heard. Nobody likes to be spied on, because it feels like you always have to watch your back and there will be consequences for any misstep.

My take on the issue. . .

Although the government seems to be doing a lot of work to keep tabs on everybody, I’m not really that worried about it. For one thing, we don’t live in China and we don’t have to worry about being arrested and imprisoned for months without outside contact just because we have strong opinions; after all, people are voicing them right now, and where are they going? To work? To school? To their kids’ soccer games and dance recitals? No big deal about that. And more to that point is the assertion of the intelligence community that this mainline into planetary buzz is a tool for intercepting communications between enemies both foreign and domestic. So we might be able to pose a question to those complaining the loudest: are you a foreign or domestic enemy? – not as an accusation but as a sort of dialectic – like, ‘you seriously do not have a personal stake in this.’

On the other hand, there is another recent government scandal involving sneaky sneaks and the way they sneak around, and that is the ‘Monsanto Protection Act‘, which seems to short circuit lawsuits to stop agribusiness companies from planting crops based on poor USDA oversight. Somebody managed to sneak that into a big-time budget bill and now everybody is upset because nobody seems to know who is responsible. Personally, I think all riders should be attributed to their contributor so that nobody can go without full credit for their input. Plus, if they sneak one in, we know exactly who gets crucified. But this act just piles onto issues of Federal oversight which already existed – the FDA is too busy to look at potentially life-saving procedures because they’re too busy following the trail of money that drug companies lay down for them. How could the USDA possibly be any different? At this point, they are there to serve Monsanto (not us) just as the FDA is there to serve Pfizer and Glaxo-SmithKline or whatever those drug companies are called. So with the intelligence scandal piled on top, it certainly appears as though the Federal government keeps pushing its boundaries with a blatant disregard to individual liberties.

And yet I can’t help but feel that this doesn’t really affect me in the slightest (the communications thing, I mean). If the government wants to see everything I say, then they’re welcome to it because honestly, I’m not doing anything wrong and if I sit there and say f$%^ the government then what are they going to do? Is that sentiment worth the cost of a drone attack? I don’t think so. My voice isn’t that loud and I don’t ever mean for it to be, and I have more important things going on. What’s more, they filter through all that junk for nuggets of gold and I doubt that I have anything to do with those.

But some will say that this is just the beginning of a constant state of surveillance, a big-brother scenario in which we have to be careful of everything we say or do. The problem is that we don’t live in China and the loud ones have been saying this for decades, from what I gather.

So what do you think? Is this a big deal or just another way the U.S. has decided to police the world? Is it effective? Is it a big deal if they hear everything you say, and do you really think anyone on the other end of the wire is really paying attention to you?  If you just want to call bull on any of my points or you have anything to say, feel free to leave it in the comments below.

To read more than you’d ever care to about this intelligence check out this Washington Post article.


  1. This is a big problem, because people who will violate our civil liberties and the Constitution to this extreme are not far from turning this into China. It is up to us as Americans to care enough to keep that from happening.

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