Big Brother is watching you

Your conversation is being monitored by the U.S. Government, courtesy of the U.S.A. Patriot Act, Sec 216, which permits all phone calls to be recorded without a warrant or notification.

Of course, as I hope we all know, it’s not just your phone…the National Security Agency (NSA) also monitors global internet traffic. Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe industry insiders. The compromise of private security as citizens by government agencies and telecommunications companies has been broken, and is also breaking news, thanks to organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (which, incidentally, fights for your rights on a number of fronts).

I am all for national security, and I understand that certain compromises to my luxuries as a citizen may be curtailed in pursuit of security, but I believe that all citizens have a right to confidential communication. And I’m not the only one to think this–so does the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which limits search and seizure without a warrant. Remember, the Constitution was written by a bunch of fiery old men who also said this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The emphasis above is mine, but you should carefully consider the text of the Declaration of Independence and decide for yourself–is the current government destructive of your rights? Is the fact that you can’t have a private conversation or browsing history limiting your pursuit of happiness? One might argue that national security brings happiness, but how much limiting of your personal rights should be permitted? Are the powers of the government and the agencies that feed it “deriv[ed]…just[ly] from the consent of the governed”?

My phone has been tapped with the assistance of a warrant since late 2000–I discovered this through the Freedom of Information Act.

But what about yours?

Interestingly, one of the major functions of the NSA is information assurance, defined as controlling and securing confidential information systems. Information assurance even has five pillars, like Islam:

“The five information assurance (IA) pillars are availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation. These pillars and any measures taken to protect and defend information and information systems, to include providing for the restoration of information systems, constitute the essential underpinnings for ensuring trust and integrity in information systems.”

Apparently the NSA is only interested in controlling the integrity of its own privacy, however, not that of citizens. “Trust an integrity” are for information systems, not humans, you see. True confidentiality is not an option for the populace, and while we may not have telescreens yet, you should be aware that you are under surveillance in a number of ways. Never assume that your information is safe and secure–treat all databases and conversations as compromised.

The NSA and other like organizations actively recruits the best and brightest in American cryptography and computer systems. The NSA also plays for keeps, and don’t you forget it.

If thy hand offend thee, cut it off.