The movement towards totalitarianism is probably further along than we think.
Look at the latest breaking news:
Breaking: FBI, NSA Massively Surveilling Data From 9 Internet Companies. Update: NBC News: Gov't Collecting Data On 'Every Call Made In America'
Yesterday, the Guardian reminded us that the NSA is still trolling our phone records for data mining. Today, the Washington Post blows the cover on a massive surveillance program that until now only a few people had known about — until now. And unlike the NSA phone-records surveillance, this one went after content at nine major Internet service providers:
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 technology companies, which participate knowingly in PRISM operations, include most of the dominant global players of Silicon Valley. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of entry into the program: “Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.” PalTalk, although much smaller, has hosted significant traffic during the Arab Spring and in the ongoing Syrian civil war.
The National Security Agency's warrant for metadata on every single Verizon call for three months is jaw-dropping in its scope. Except, well, the NSA's surveillance of our communications is most likely much, much bigger than that. Technology has made it possible for the American government to spy on citizens to an extent East Germany could only dream of. Basically everything we say that can be traced digitally is being collected by the NSA. We're supposed to trust that our government will be much better behaved, but they're not, and the White House almost admits it. That doesn't mean they're admitting everything.
"On its face, the document suggests that the U.S. government regularly collects and stores all domestic telephone records," The Week's Marc Ambinder writes of Glenn Greenwald's scoop last night. "My own understanding is that the NSA routinely collects millions of domestic-to-domestic phone records.
And the NSA isn't just collecting the things we say. It's also tracking what we buy and where we go. In 2008, The Wall Street Journal's Siobhan Gorman reported that the NSA's domestic data collection "have evolved to reach more broadly into data about people's communications, travel and finances in the U.S. than the domestic surveillance programs brought to light since the 2001 terrorist attacks." That means emails records, bank transfers, phone records, travel records.
And the NSA would never abuse its awesome surveillance power, right? Wrong. In 2008, NSA workers told ABC News that they routinely eavesdropped on phone sex between troops serving overseas and their loved ones in America. They listened in on both satellite phone calls and calls from the phone banks in Iraq's Green Zone where soldiers call home. Former Navy Arab linguist, David Murfee Faulk described how a coworker would say, "Hey, check this out… there's good phone sex or there's some pillow talk, pull up this call, it's really funny, go check it out." Faulk explained they would gossip about the best calls during breaks. "It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, 'Wow, this was crazy.'"
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 knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.
[Well of course they were monitored...how could there be any doubt at this point?]
“Das Leben des Anderen” is a 2006 German drama that describes in painful detail what life was like in the communist East Berlin of 1984, almost six years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, how ordinary and not so ordinary citizens were spied upon by their government, using agents of the infamous Stasi, the German Democratic Republic’s secret police.
The movie is not important because it showed how a famous actress was spied upon, her life, trials, and tribulations and the secondary minions who answered to the Kommunistische Partei (Communist Party). It is important because it shows the drab and meager daily life of fear, uncertainty, and horror that people in general endured under communist regimes. Like the actress in the movie, homes were bugged; all telephone conversations were recorded and listened to. All incoming and outgoing mail was opened, read, and copied by small bureaucrats whose job was to report anything out of the ordinary and catalog their daily blogs. People under communism were asked to divulge to the
In retrospect, it is sad what a farce this country has become: artificial market, centrally-planned economy, pervasive spying on the people, a tax collector that target political enemies, an administration that openly lies under oath...
If we didn't know better we would say this was 1955 Stalingrad, although Stalingrad at the height of totalitarianism was for amateurs. This is next level: "Firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities, is what drove a career intelligence officer to provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to The Washington Post in order to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said."