Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ominous Information About Privacy Online

Jim Babka shares the U.S. counterpart to the U.K. story that was featured in the Independent on Monday (here's the link to the Independent story: http://priscillaking.blogspot.com/2012/04/will-britain-authorize-police.html).

From JB:


Quote of the Day: "When they started violating the Constitution, I couldn’t stay." - former NSA employee William Binney

We recommend that you read this article in Wired: "The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)"

This is the scariest true thing I've read in a long time. There were butterflies in my stomach as I considered the implications.

If you are too busy to read the Wired article, then I urge you to at least read this brief letter, below. It provides some of the essential facts. The NSA is destroying all communications privacy through its Stellar Wind program. We urge you to tell Congress to shut down Stellar Wind using Downsize DC's Hands Off the Internet campaign.

The hard-wired message says...

As a constituent, I insist that you oppose any attempts to undermine Internet freedom.

You may borrow from or copy these additional comments...

Perhaps the greatest threat to Internet freedom is warrantless federal spying on our online and telephone activities.

Warrantless spying was exposed during the Bush Administration. Instead of impeaching the President, Congress - including then-Senator Obama - gutlessly LEGALIZED his crimes with the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. Worse, they did so even though zero evidence was provided that this was needed to prevent terrorist attacks.

Armed with YOUR legislative encouragement, the NSA (National Security Agency) is going much farther with its Stellar Wind program. They're assuming that if you gave them an inch, they must go an extra 10,000 miles. As James Bamford reports, the NSA... (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1)

* put wiretapping rooms at key junction points throughout the country, gaining access to most domestic phone calls, emails, and cell phone communications. AT&T and Verizon were amongst those who prominently cooperated.
* has access to personal data like bookstore receipts, bank statements, and commuter toll records.
* is constructing a data center in Utah to store ALL of this information, perpetually.
* funds supercomputing efforts to break codes and get access to encrypted data.


Are you going to permit the NSA to invade my privacy without probable cause or a warrant!

Do we actually have a "free" society if The Leviathan State can read everything we say and write? Are we truly more secure because those conversations are recorded in one central location, forever?

After it was revealed that President Nixon used eavesdropping and spying powers on his political opponents, Congress created the FISA court that could issue search warrants in cases containing top-secret information.

* This provided some safeguards against the overreach of government spooks.
* It helped ensure that The State could not use surveillance powers for political purposes.
* It reassured The People.


But when you and your colleagues passed the FISA Amendments Act, you essentially said that...

Nixon was right all along!

You were endorsing the notion that the Executive Branch SHOULD have virtually unchecked power. And now those chickens have come home to roost. The NSA is merely following a Congressional lead with its Big Brother projects and policies.

I do not consent to being spied on! I do not consent to the long-term storage of my personal communications.

And yes, I suspect _I_ am being spied upon, as if I'm a criminal.

I demand that you restore the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution by...

* repealing the FISA Amendments Act. Restore the original FISA law to protect citizens from warrantless surveillance.
* shutting down and de-funding the NSA's Stellar Wind program.


I'm sharing James Bamford's article with friends. To the degree that you refuse to act as I've suggested, I hope your support erodes.

END LETTER

You can send your letter using DownsizeDC.org's Educate the Powerful System.

Friends, we need to make this a national issue. We need to make good on our threat to erode the power of a Congress that refuses to act. Therefore...

* If you didn't yet read the Wired article about Stellar Wind and the NSA’s other invasive spying plans, then save this Dispatch and return to it sometime this week. Really, you need to understand how dire the situation is.

* After you've sent your message to Congress, share this Dispatch with friends. Do your best to get at least two other people to join you. Encourage them to do the same. Our Educate the Powerful System makes the process simple and free. National resistance is needed, and it starts with you acting and getting others to act.

If ever there was a DownsizeDC.org message that needed forwarding, this one is it!

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.