NSA: Should YOU be scared?

The NSA leak is now old news. What I find curious is the lack of change. I suppose its because many people believe that ultimately, the government is here to protect us. And after all, if you’ve got nothing to hide, who cares if the government watches what you do? Perhaps criminals are up in arms about the privacy violations.

False. I’m here to tell you that there is plenty to be concerned about. Here is my counter to “I’ve got nothing to hide!” Well, that’s all well and good. But it doesn’t matter if you think that you have nothing to hide. What matters is whether or not the federal government thinks you have nothing to hide. They determine this by things such as your last name, the things you Google, or the speeches you listen to. So for example, if you learn about Stokely Carmichael, a radical activist from the 1960s, or the Black Panthers, and realizing you were never taught about them in high school you want to look up the true history of this country online, that’s grounds for spying. So you may respond with, “regardless, I know that I was just curious. I wasn’t plotting against the government. So I’ve got nothing to hide still.” That’s cute, but you don’t have to have done much of anything to be arrested for thinking about doing something against the government. How does the government know what you think? They don’t. And that’s where it gets frightening.

Have you ever heard of a grand jury trial? Grand juries are secret trials in which you have no right to defense, and there is no judge present, only a prosecutor. “Conspirators” have been arrested via grand jury for doing nothing but allegedly planning to overthrow the government. Sounds like a big brother fantasy doesn’t it? Sadly, it’s reality. A grand jury can seize you, and accuse you for all kinds of things based on google searches and associations.

You’ve got nothing to hide? Well, that’s what people said about the Nazis when they started tracking people as well. But it wasn’t about what the people wanted. It was about what the government felt was in it’s best interest.

The fourth amendment of the US constitution prohibits unwarranted searches from the police. Technology didn’t allow the kind of snooping we see today, but that amendment displays an inherent right to privacy for all citizens of the country. The founding fathers didn’t wish to have peoples privacy infringed on because the police had some sort of a hunch. That was a little too close to tyrannical by their definition. But now, with newer technology being used as a loophole, and with the snooping being so subtle, people can live their lives pretending it isn’t even happening. But that doesn’t make it any more wrong.

The government is a body composed of the people of a nation. The government is supposed to be us. That is why transparency is so important. But some think not in terms of international relations. Where do you stand?


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