Thursday, June 06, 2013

Land of the free?

The US is supposed to be the "land of the free". Instead, its turned into a totalitarian surveillance state which spies on everyone's phone calls:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

As for what they do with this data, they probably feed it to something like ThinThread to do relationship mapping and search for "dangerous" or "interesting" patterns (like, say, Arab-Americans talking to one another, NSA staff talking to journalists, or members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence talking to their mistresses). As for everyone's private relationships or behaviour being spied on, logged, tracked, analysed, and potentially exposed by the US government if they offend it in future, they're all just collateral damage.

This cure is worse than the disease. The greatest threat to the US is no longer terrorism (if it ever was). Instead, the problem now is the US government.

Meanwhile, our government is massively expanding the powers of the GCSB and giving it power to spy on New Zealanders and monitor all networks to "determine where the threats are being generated from". The GCSB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NSA. So basically National is setting us up for this to happen here too.