November 16, 2014


Does this freak anyone else out? I'm not involved in any seditious activity that I could be prosecuted for, but like everyone else, I have cell phone communications that I'd like to remain private. I'm all for the government keeping us safer with this new spying technique, but I also value privacy and this new program apparently doesn't only target criminals. I haven't seen TV news in months--are they talking about planes with cellphone towers snatching our data?

A few other spying highlights from the Obama administration, which to counter Bush's secrecy and limiting access to the press, campaigned on greater transparency in the White House. I didn't know that Obama meant that he would make US citizens more transparent, not his administration.This is troubling.

1. After it was revealed that the NSA was keeping huge records of non-suspects that they attained from phone giants working with the government, there was a public outcry. This forced Obama to make a statement that the personal data would not be kept. But still collected.

2. Obama angered world leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel and Brazil's president Rousseff by spying on their personal cell phones and Rouseff's emails as well. We know spying goes on between countries, but these two countries are our allies. And if you're going to spy, at least be slick enough to not get caught. Whistleblower Edward Snowden's leaks revealed these US spy capers.

3. Obama's CIA appointee John Brennan admitted that the CIA had hacked the computers of our own Congress's Senate Intelligence Committee. After Brennan initially lied and denied the spying he authorized. Democratic Senator Mark Udall claimed he had "lost confidence in John Brennan" and requested an independent investigation of the CIA's actions which may constitute “the violation of multiple provisions of the Constitution.” The Congress and the executive branch can't seem to cooperate. Will tricking Congress help relations between the two branches and get blocked legislation through?

Spying on citizens. Spying on international allies and damaging the US's credibility and image. Spying on Congress and lying about it? I'm sure that some spying is necessary to keep us safe and we've been fairly safe. But isn't this going overboard? Especially with this new program, that we are paying for to get spied on. As technology enables more spying techniques, we have to strike a balance between the safety they provide and our freedom of privacy.

DEMOCRACYNOW.ORG: "A new report reveals the Justice Department is sweeping up data from vast swaths of the population by flying planes equipped with devices that mimic cellphone towers. According to The Wall Street Journal, the seven-year-old program, run by the U.S. Marshals Service, allows the government to trick tens of thousands of cellphones into reporting their location and identifying information over the course of a single flight. While the program is designed to target criminal suspects, it is reportedly ensnaring massive numbers of innocent Americans. The device can also interrupt calls on certain phones."