You’re Being Watched

Last night news broke that a FISA court granted the NSA an insanely broad warrant for literally every single call made by Verizon customers over a several month period.Tens of millions of phone calls.

It gets worse.

Apparently even though FISA judges are essentially just empty robes with a giant rubber-stamp attached, going to see them every time they wanted to spy on somebody was getting inconvenient for the NSA – mostly because that “somebody” was literally everybody, everywhere, for all time.

Enter PRISM, the Orwellian scheme which apparently began in 2007 with an NSA deal with Microsoft. Under the deal Microsoft allowed the NSA to directly access the personal data of Microsoft’s customers. Like, all of them.

And like any really, really bad idea it grew precipitously. Yahoo jumped on board in 2008. Google and Facebook joined in 2009. Skype, Youtube, AOL, and finally Apple this year.

What you search, what you browse, what you download. Every AIM chat, every VOIP phone call, every time you logged into any service with any of these companies, or made any Social Networking connections, the NSA was in the know.

It all sounds like a bad novel or some goofy conspiracy theory, but this is just the plain, undeniable facts, as presented to new NSA employees in a PowerPoint presentation (which has since been leaked). The presentation was apparently meant to get new hires up to speed on what they could expect in the way of cooperation when spying on Americans.

The answer is absolute, unfettered access to virtually everything done within the purview of any of the major US internet companies, with no questions asked.

Congress cheerfully defended the horrific abuse of privacy that was the FISA-Verizon fiasco – presumably we won’t be able to expect any better out of them after this.