It is hardly news that the government has been tracking our phone conversations, emails and other communications. For those who were truly shocked with the recent unveiling of the Verizon information exchange with the government – you need a good dose of reality.
The government has been “spying” on U.S. citizens since they have had the capabilities to do so (about a century). Do we like it? No. But the reality is: it will not ever go away.
Some people spout out how we are protected under the Constitution. The Constitution itself voices concerns of privacy, but it is the amendments that address privacy – just not in the way many citizens believe they do.
Protection under the Amendments
The First Amendment prohibits any law that impedes, prohibits, or interferes with a citizen’s freedom of speech. The government isn’t preventing us from those rights when they gather data surrounding our freedom of speech. It’s what they may do with the data later that may become an issue.
Although The Fourth Amendment covers people from unreasonable search or seizure of our papers, effects, and property, it also includes the governmental right to do so if there is probable cause but within limits of a specific area or persons.
So did someone within the government just put out a wiretapping order “All the citizens of the United States” to comply with The Fourth Amendment?
This may not be as far-fetched as people think. If there wasn’t a blanket of surveillance happening before 9/11, surely The Patriot Act had sealed the deal publicly.
Section 206 of The Patriot Act allows for the government to obtain citizen communication without a named person(s) or specific place. It allows for any type of information gathering.
Secret Courts – Secret Gag Orders
Although our recent presidents have said they would allow for transparency, secret courts and gag orders will continue to exist. Our freedom of speech is no longer protected when the FBI can knock on a door to investigate a communication and warn those approached that imprisonment will occur if they tell anyone of the incident.
Turning the Tables
The recent analyst that came forward should be applauded. He helped reminds us what we should already know – Big Brother is always watching. Instead of feeling hopeless about government power, become a participant. Join Watchdog groups and get involved. Big Brother may not like it, but with more technology at the fingertips of regular citizens, we’ll be watching too.