Thursday, July 11, 2013

Will Verizon stop sending my communication info to NSA on July 19?

The NSA global spying scandal broke a month ago.
Today I read the four page SECRET order of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) (published by The Guardian newspaper in Britain) signed by Judge Rodger Vinson on April 25, 2013 directing Verizon to turn over to the NSA,

on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration
of this Order, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, 
an electronic copy of the following tangible things: 
all call detail records or "telephony metadata" 
created by Verizon for communications 
(i) between the United States and abroad; or 
(ii) wholly within the United States, 
including local telephone calls.
The order expires on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 5:00 p.m, ET.  
My home, office, Internet, GPS and cell phone service are all provided by Verizon. The "metadata" is highly revealing!

This is one of the most chilling things I have ever read -- a current official document that authorizes my government to spy on ME right now. It authorizes spying on me, my family, and everybody that I communicate with that is taking place RIGHT NOW!

The order expires on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 5:00 p.m, ET.  

What happens then?
Is the NSA going to the FISC to get an extension of the order? Perhaps the FISC is preparing the paperwork to get such an extension right now?

Or will I, and 144,799,999 other Verizon customers in the U.S., be "free" to communicate without the NSA monitoring our calls and communications after July 19? Should I feel "free" then, or should I presume that the spying will continue, this time, again secretly.

Those who read this blog know that I frequently criticize the government, especially President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, in often strong terms. To what extent is the routine spying on ME also being tagged or flagged to pull information aside about my political activities or my personal activities?

What kinds of routine pursuits of my curiosity would trigger some kind of profile that would result in more of an investigation of me? What kinds of lawful activities that I engage in might trigger a more intense review of my private communications?

What if I had looked up on the Internet the location of a gun store or gun show? Or a medical marijuana dispensary? Or the address of a government office building? Or made reservations to travel to Colorado or Washington, or Mexico? Do my communication with people in other countries about drug policy, politics, the economy, the criminal cartels, etc. trigger special surveillance? What about my appearance in movies like the currently-showing "How To Make Money Selling Drugs"? Is the government tracking my movements as reported on the GPS of my Verizon smartphone? Are my orders over the Internet of books and other things from or movies from Netflix being tracked? Is the government tracking my viewing of articles on the Internet?

Are there Americans who already see this surveillance as perhaps the ultimate reason to disengage from the political process and the responsibilities of citizenship? Keep a low profile! "Don't fight City Hall!"

One of the key features of a totalitarian state is that the public fears the state. To challenge the state is dangerous. The defining feature in the creation of that fear is extensive surveillance of private communication and travel. That surveillance was the hallmark of Stalin's regime, Hitler's regime, the Maoist regime, and the current repressive regimes in China, Russia and other nations.

Read the secret order yourself. . . if you dare!

Another interesting feature of the order is that it provides it shall be declassified on "12 April 2038." That's 25 years from now. If this secret order had not been leaked by Edward Snowden, none of us would have known about this massive spying operation for 25 years.

What would "declassification" mean in 2038? Does it mean that 4 pages of paper would be removed from a safe in a secret government building and placed into a file folder in cardboard box somewhere in a government warehouse?

Declassification on 12 April 2038. I will be 88 years old. Would I then have the energy to protest that old invasion of my privacy? (Or would I already be in prison for being too much of a citizen, namely, an enemy of the state?)

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