We are receiving confirmation today of a secret FISA court order that requires Verizon to hand over to the NSA all phone call metadata, including the phone numbers and locations of all US customer communications between April 25th and June 19th.
During the Bush administration a similar practice was condemned widely as an over-reaching privacy violation that ignored the civil liberties of US citizens. Obama pledged in 2008 to perform a complete review of the warrantless wiretapping program pioneered by his predecessor, and make fundamental changes. Judging from this expansion of data mining, his review was favorable and the secret court orders continue.
One can surmise that all the other American phone companies have received similar secret court orders to spy on us, and that similar efforts are underway with other forms of digital communication. Our recommendation for concerned citizens is to adopt the assumption that everything you say and do is being watched and to protect the privacy of your communications with strong encryption technologies.
Today in a total double-whammy of realization of the inverted totalitarianism in which we reside, the Washington Post is reporting on leaked top secret slides which confirm the existence of PRISM, a collaboration between US intelligence agencies to monitor the servers of eight of the biggest Internet companies: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple. The servers of a smaller ninth company, PalTalk, were utilized extensively during the Arab Spring and currently during the Syrian uprising.
There can be no denying now that President Obama has expanded the surveillance programs which he once criticized while a candidate. Let these revelations be a lesson in our civic duty to exercise all our liberties to the fullest extent possible to keep in check the power that any authority purports to claim over our lives.