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10 Things Americans Underestimate About Our Massive Surveillance State

Society & Culture  (tags: safety, society, rights, ethics, surveillance, human rights, freedoms, government, culture, usa, politics, media, abuse )

- 1959 days ago -
The latest revelations are just the tip of the iceberg.


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Mike H (252)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 9:37 am
The government is supposed to serve the people not harass them. The bigger the government the smaller the citizen.

divergent revolution (309)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 9:48 am
What some don't realize is that this isn't new.
The massive effort started in 2004,,, gdub..."got that one"

pam w (139)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 9:52 am
And how long ago was "1984" written? Governments have been LUSTING for this power for decades.

What's to be done?

Gene J (290)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 10:45 am
"For two centuries, the U.S. Constitutionís Fourth Amendment barred the government from unreasonable search and seizure by police authorities.:

Well they are all good points, but this is the one that resonated most with me. Today's paper has a "response" from the President that is as weak as the shifting sand he built it on. I don't care the justification, our constitutional rights ARE being violated and this IS just the tip of the iceberg. How long it will be until the full extent of our governments spying on us is revealed is my only question? Perhaps after some of the commentary I've read here in the past few days, or some of the comments I've made, I'll get invited for a chat to the local NSA office. But I'll take an ACLU lawyer with me. Because this is beyond the pale. This is how totalitarian states act, not states conceived in freedom. If we can't be better than this, then we deserve what we get.

lee e (114)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 12:25 pm
I can't send another star to Gene (sorry Gene) - It is clear to me that we need a Constitutional over-haul, we need to go through the entire document to bring it up to date, and recognize those amendments that can easily be misconstrued (2nd amendment) and those that the government can easily usurp powers from because of there antiquated purpose, that although clear can be easily abused (the 4th amendment) - we essentially need a non-partisan think tank to rewrite this out-dated document.

Judith Hand (55)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 12:55 pm
Noted. Well, I know that our President was very concerned about it while a Senator from Illinois. Has it changed much?

pam w (139)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 2:29 pm
Gene, I'm with you and Lee....we'll all go together to the ACLU. (I've DOUBLED my contributions to them this year, by the way.)

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 4:34 pm
Thanks for posting, Cal, sorry I'm out of stars for you today.
And, don't forget Wendell Potter, former AT&T employee who was a whistleblower, telling us that all our electronic info was being funneled into Room 141A at AT&T's San Francisco office years ago. This info has been popping up at various internet news websites for many years, without public condemnation. We can't let this go by the wayside now. Time to ramp up our opposition to this.
It worries me that Lindsey Graham tells the press he's not worried, because terrorists don't call him. How does he know? My answering machine picks up all calls, and I check them every day or so (I quit answering that phone long ago)....lots of hangups. If I don't recognize the number calling my cell phone, I don't answer--but have no control over who's calling. The real terrorists use disposable phones and are crafty about using social media. In fact, if this "general spying" worked so well, how come the Boston Marathon bombing happened?!

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 8, 2013, 6:10 pm
This has been going on for a very long time. For those of us that are aware, we despise it, but what to do to change it?

Carol H (229)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 5:23 am
virtual green star for Lee as I cannot sent him another yet!!!

Ben O (140)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 5:34 am
I've said it many times, and I say it again;
-Never underestimate the power of ignorant idiots in large groups!

Gloria p (304)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 6:49 am
I am still upset that the FBI had the idiots who bombed Boston but they let them go. And everyone is against me for saying that because "everyone has rights." What am I missing? Don't we have a right to be safe?

jan b (5)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 7:31 am
Everything changed after 911. It's true what Obama said----we have to make a choice here ---in giving up some privacy for the sake of security. I GET IT !!!! Aren't we in a different world today than we were even during the COLD WAR ......and don't we have to approach things differently. I believe we do.
Small GOVT ? To hell with that .....the GOVT at least is WE THE PEOPLE.....not a corporation or a two billionaires like the KOCHs that want to buy our media and have their tentacles in the teaparty politics and every place you can goggle. Corporations are NOT PEOPLE...corporations may have an infinite lifespan.

Christeen A (342)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 10:59 am
You are so very right Cal. Thanks for this post.

. (0)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 11:05 am
Janice: The point is we don;t ALL have to give up our privacy for the sake of security. If the CIA, and the FBI were on top of monitoring people under suspicion, why the need for millions of people to be treated as terrorist suspects?
Never , as an American, would I have thought to refer to our government as "Big Brother is watching you".
This administration is slipping us into a socialist state and their appears to be nobody in Congress to stop this except in words.

Leann G. Huber (0)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 1:43 pm
I understand surveillance for national security, but this is looking like Big Brother... which is frightening!

Joanne D (38)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 2:58 pm
Here's some advice I've been thinking about for a while but which this article brings home:

If you are working for the Government and have learned some things that the public should know but is not being told, then before you publish -

Don't quit your job. Do roll over your 401k (and be very careful who you roll it over to). Leave a token amoumt. Same with checking and savings. You may think of some other things you out to do, especially if you have a family. Travel on a "vacation" to a country which has no extradition to the US. Then publish and stay there.

We don't need any more heroes locked up.

Incidentally I believe it was the health insurance industry which Wendell Potter exposed, not AT&T. Wasn't AT&T done by Mark Klein? Both of course are heroes regardless.

Past Member (0)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 5:06 pm

Michael M (60)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 8:41 pm
I'm one who underestimated the gravity of what's going on until the past few days' revelations. NSA programs of sigint I knew about for a couple decades - that was why the agency exists.
Besides the attempt at crucifixion of Bradley Manning, I'd hope you all will look up a few whistleblowers:
Tom Drake of NSA
John Kiriakou of the CIA
Jeffrey Sterling of the CIA
Coleen Rowley of the FBI
Stephen Jin-Woo Kim , Office of National Security at Lawrence Livermore

Some of these have been or wil be imprisoned, others are now public figures. What they sought was to protect Constitutional and human rights.

Many of the egregious secret violations have occurred under the Bush administration. Further tragedy is that Obama's advisers led him to follow in the footsteps of the fascism of Richard Cheney, and numerous others in that administration.

We knew of severe abuses within the FBI back in the 60s.
In the 70s, when AIM was targeted by the association of FBI with corrupt elements of tribal governments, we knew.
We knew in the late 80s and early 90s when environmental activists were targeted.

I spent some time in prison, because I acted defensively toward government coercion (and before that when rescuing other teenagers caught up in the coercive state reeling toward totalitarianism.

Well, it has staggered here- to totalitarianism, which is government control of media and information through violence and coercion.

I am as far from a conspiracy theorist as you can get in a relatively intelligent person. We are here.

Michael M (60)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 8:45 pm
Please add Edward Snowden attached to NSA the list of whistleblowers

Here's an interview with him in which he explains the US surveillance state and why and how.:

Michael M (60)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 9:02 pm
Oh totalitarianism is a philosophy of controlling behavior and even thinking and beliefs of individuals under a social structure.
By accepting "patriotic" propaganda, rather than thinking for oneself, one falls victim to the process.Military indoctrination is merely pure brainwashing to protect the system and never to question it.

Other whistleblowers

Go to Jeremy Hammond who hacked Stratfor although that co. was involved in corporate coercion and espionage, the US government rabidly went after him, to protect its nondemocratic progression to totalitarian control of citizens, and of all the world's people.
Julian Assange (It is extremely likely now that the US has a sealed indictment on him)

Mary Donnelly (47)
Sunday June 9, 2013, 11:57 pm
Thanks Cal--great post.

l L (1)
Monday June 10, 2013, 12:30 am
ALL THIS TECHNOLOGY has been around at least since the 1930's. We are just being awakened to it little by little. We have been cataloged since the IBM, the solutions company, was way back then, was able to do it.

I thought the world was dumb.. I found out in our past they knew more than they let on. They made a pact with the devil, so to speak.

So now we are in shock that they are just doing this now. The real issue is they have always been doing this.
So much information has come out about what really has been going on; I think..... I have a glimpse of understanding what one of those republican candidates was talking about doing the primary election , with all the weird stuff going on. Go Figure.
For the life of me he made no sense.

A lot to be learned from history. The real one that is.
The m/o is the same.. Always the same.This too shall pass. As it came so shall it go but not without problems, first..

Beth M (46)
Monday June 10, 2013, 12:34 am
...invented by the military.... surely that says it all?...x

Past Member (0)
Monday June 10, 2013, 1:24 am
This subject has now been exposed in the UK whee now the government under pressure has admitted spying on peoples phone calls and emails.This has apparently been the case since 2010 GCHQ the government's spy headquarters has been using software supplied toit by the US.It's incredible that the government continues to berate foreign countries for carrying out this same activity when they are doing it themselves..Both governments are hypocritical in the extreme.

Lloyd H (46)
Monday June 10, 2013, 6:30 am
Oh, please! The majority of Americans surrendered their resonable expectation of privacy years ago. The apps on your cell/smart phone and credit cards and store cards and the Social Media you use have put a far larger amount of your personal and personally identifiable information into the hands of corporations to use as they see fit for profit.

Stephen Brian (23)
Monday June 10, 2013, 9:17 am
A lot of Americans do not underestimate or overlook these things. They were just dismissed as crazy by Obama's supporters who believed he was incapable of this. On the other hand, I expected something more extensive. This article by Charles Stross is from the 1990s:

Hi Lee,

When government-policy runs into conflict with the constitution, it's the policy, not the constitution, that needs changing. That's the whole point of having the thing.

Jamie Clemons (282)
Monday June 10, 2013, 10:20 am
The polliticians on both sides think they can now write a note and invalidate any part of the constitution that they do not like. The constitution is not there for convenience. Its there for a reason to prevent a tyranical government. We need more heros like this to remind us that these police state actions are illegal. When The patriot act and NDAA were signed those were acts of treason against the constitution that they swore to uphold.

Michael M (60)
Monday June 10, 2013, 7:20 pm
Jamie, if you studied the Russian revolution and how the autocratic leninist group took over, from the autocratic czar regime, you can see that chaotic groups in the US are actually responding to govt. abuse, each defining and blaming in their own way.
We are in a ghighly chaotic emotional and cognitive stage, and should change come swiftly, it can be expected that small, determined organised, definitely nondemocratic ideological forces can easily take over, molding the minds and will of the most violent to support them. most of the last several centuries' revolutions folow this pattern.

The first line I wrote should alert you to that fact that people, especially the most quiveringly fearful (think of those armed with guns right now, claiming patriotism) create a bloody non-change.

My recognition is that only significant depopulation (not likely to occur from war, disease, or other knwn sources) is the vital necessity for peace and freedom. certainly NOT individual states' control, as they are showing themselves as evenmore cruel than the feds.
You may look at any law library to discover that every state has massively larger state laws than the body of federal law.
A few state constitutions are modeled after the US one, but you have seen in the past of your own lifetime, that ugly, evil, and coercive laws and amendments constantly arise in state legislatures.
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