I’m not shocked in the least that the government gathers data from internet companies under the guise of “security”. I’m not. And I think most of us figured, if not accepted, that it’s been going on for a long time. They’ve had the means, and legality has been almost openly applicable for whom they decide for over a decade. I think after the patriot act got muscled through, A lot of us opposed to it just said “fuck it, whatever”.
I am very amused, though, that the NSA never got beyond the dumbshit methods of the “color wheel of terror” era. The only filter they claim to be using to parse out the data is this: in order to be “of interest” the data collectors (which could be human beings, or some computer search program) must be 51% certain that the subject is foreign. That’s their flimsy gesture to assure they’re not surveilling domestically. So if you’re not American, you can be sure our government wants to hear what you have to say. That’s a privilege many of us don’t enjoy in our, uh, free republic.
Putting aside all nationlist implications, how does one even go about determining that 51%? Are they counting the number of times a foreign nation is mentioned by someone? Are they just going by what’s listed on a person’s facebook profile? Maybe there are points like Jenny Craig. 1 point for a moustache or beard, 3 if it’s more than two inches long. T-shirt and jeans? -1. Wearing a non-Western garment? That’s 6.
Right. And that 51%, a meaningless number determined by whatever interested agency wants to throw at the wall, is what makes it totally legal. And this isn’t at all about privacy- most of us are relatively unremarkable in our daily lives- this is about creating dissonance among a people. I’m curious as to the reason for publicly admitting PRISM just after the Verizon phone record scandal broke, but it really doesn’t matter. Neither does the typical “if you’re not doing anything illegal, you don’t need to worry” respose. All it takes is someone with enough peoples’ attention- a writer, an artist, journalist, celebrity, whatever- to use a dissenting voice, or become a potential thorn in some agency’s agenda, and they can pull that person’s records and scrape anything they want out of it. There’s no need for a conviction, just an arrest will do. You can be held in Guantanamo indefinitely, without charges or representation as long as it takes for you to not be a threat to that power.
Assuming we’re still operating under the “no drone striking our own people” facade. By the way, if you’re the government peon that’s reading this, when they come through the windows I don’t intend to go easily or quietly.