US spying on its own citizens?

US spying on its own citizens?

June 10th, 2013 // 7:23 pm @

Last week, following a leak, the US federal government confirmed that it collects data originating overseas and within the USA.

Now the source of the information has been confirmed as Edward Snowden, at his request.

The New York Times does a great job at comparing the two surveillance programs.

Of course, Snowden is likely to join Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning after Hong Kong allows the US to extradite him for prosecution.

Is ‘freedom’ possible with personal ‘privacy’? Is privacy really that important, especially considering that our private lives really aren’t that interesting?

Freedom has broad meanings: freedom of speech? freedom to travel? freedom to become whoever you want? freedom to survive?

Privacy – are you comfortable having some entity be able to figure out who you call, your location when you place calls, and the times of your call? Do you care that the information is likely in the hands of private companies, overseas? Do you have a choice, even if you’re not comfortable with these things? Does your preference really matter?

Here’s an interesting fact: between 1999 and 2010 about 3,000 people in the US were killed as a result of terrorism; approximately 364,000 were killed by guns during the same time.

The surveillance program is at odds with the US Counterterrorism speech President Obama gave on May 23:

“Today, the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on the path to defeat. Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us.”

Of course the surveillance programs could be to detect and deal with the threat of

“….radicalized individuals here in the United States. Whether it’s a shooter at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, a plane flying into a building in Texas, or the extremists who killed 168 people at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, America has confronted many forms of violent extremism in our history.”

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