My, how easily we forget history. Even recent history. 2006 wasn’t that long ago, when an AT&T technician outed the National Security Agency’s program to install Narus data siphoning devices in the AT&T central offices. At the time Bush was president. Conservatives ignored all the noise about warrantless wiretaps from their political opponents and explained it away as necessary for the war on terror (oddly enough as our own president did today). I even held that view until these revelations. Then I became concerned. Little did the conservatives realize the civil libertarians (and concerned liberals) were right all along: this will be used, not for outsiders, but for us (much like DHS, but that’s another story, though eerily related).
Now Obama is president and the tables are turned. If we go back and read the articles in which the media was (rightly) concerned about President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping as it relates to the Constitution, we see it takes on a whole new meaning now that Obama is President and conservatives are being targeted. Whether it’s Bush or Obama though (who, on this point at least, are one in the same), we are coming to find out that we’re all civil libertarians now. The government has way too much power for the good of us all. And it will never lessen its grip without a fight.
That it has been revealed Verizon has tracked (eh hem, is tracking, eh hem) millions of calls only reveals the tip of the iceberg. It goes much, much deeper and broader than that.
Below is a list of some of the stories, videos and testimony from the early to mid-2000’s forward in which all of this was brought up over and over again: NSA is siphoning and storing our data. All they can get their hands on. They siphon it, mine it, store it, create data cubes off of it, make it searchable, sort it, analyze it, report off of it. What I know from the IT world of data storage, searching and analysis, applied to private data in this context, is frightening. And now NSA is fixing to launch their Bluffdale data center in which yottabytes of data will be stored. It’s a Brave New World. Big Data isn’t just a concept in the corporate IT world, but rather very much a part of data acquisition, storage, reporting, and sorting theory by the government.
- Cryptome: To begin, AT&T technician Mark Klein’s unredacted testimony:
- Wired: Klein’s shorter testimony:
- Wired: “Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room”:
- “AT&T Whistle-Blower’s Evidence”:
- AT&T’s San Francisco CO secret room (notice no key, handle or way to get in… assuming keyless entry):
- Wired: “AT&T Sued Over NSA Eavesdropping”:
- NYTimes: “Documents Show Link Between AT&T and Agency in Eavesdropping Case”:
- Wired: “NSA Using Social Network Analysis”:
- USA Today: “NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls”:
- Harvard blog: “Narus: Security through Surveillance”:
- Harvard blog: Simple drawing of the Narus device function within a carrier network:
- RT America (Youtube): “NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance”
- Wired: “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)”:
- EFF NSA page:
- Reuters: And now, for the latest: “NSA is collecting phone records of Verizon customers: report:
What more can be said to show this government is out of control? Not sure what else can be done, short of a serious crisis to get us to wake up. The cultural rot, the malaise, the lack of incentive, the entitlement, the willful ignorance, and most of all, the loss of gospel-truth taking hold in people’s hearts. Saddening situation.
Lord help us, seriously, if there is ever a serious crisis causing dislocation. Emergency legislation waits in the wings. You know I never have understood over the years when I talk to people about these things how they can just flippantly say, “Yeah, I’m sure they’re listening to everything,” almost in disbelief. And I reply, “No seriously, they’re siphoning our data,” so as to emphasize the fact that it is happening, I’m not talking in hypotheticals. Unfortunately it will take a series of crises to get people to wake up to the seriousness of what we’re facing politically, economically, socially, spiritually.