Senate Set to Introduce Bill for Broad Email Spying

November 28th, 2012

Published on Dissident Vice, by Tom Burghardt, November 26, 2012.

A Senate proposal claiming to “protect” Americans’ email privacy from unwarranted secret state intrusions “has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law,” CNET revealed.  

As provisions of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) are “updated” to better reflect the insatiable needs of our police state minders, law enforcement groups and corporate lobbyists are clamoring for greater access to our electronic communications.

While doe-eyed “progressives” claim that the reelection of war criminal Barack Obama portends an imminent “2.0 reset” by his administration, actions speak louder than words, particularly as they pertain to Americans’ constitutional rights.

Most recently the Hope and Change™ fraudster signaled his intentions by giving Israel a green light to murder Palestinians in the open air prison of Gaza. The silence from “progressive” quarters was worse than deafening as writers Chris Floyd and Arthur Silber pointed out.

What about other “liberal icons,” stalwart champions of civil liberties; what have they been up to since the election? … //

… The trend towards retaining more and more data by intelligence agencies and local police has accelerated with technological advances. As The New York Times reported in August, “not so long ago even the most aggressive government surveillance had to be selective: the cost of data storage was too high and the capacity too low to keep everything.”

“Not anymore.” According to to John Villasenor, a “senior fellow” at the elitist Brookings Institution, as data storage costs plummet “it will soon be technically feasible and affordable to record and store everything that can be recorded about what everyone in a country says or does.”

The Brookings analyst averred that “estimates … to store the audio from telephone calls made by an average person in the course of a year would require about 3.3 gigabytes and cost just 17 cents to store, a price that is expected to fall to 2 cents by 2015.”

“Tracking a person’s movements for a year, collected from their cellphone, would take so little space as to carry a trivial cost,” the Times averred. “Storing video takes far more space, but the price is dropping so steadily that storing millions of hours of material will not be a problem soon.”

But wouldn’t securocrats drown in these vast oceans of electronic data? Not really. A “parallel revolution in search technology” will soon allow even the dimmest bulb at DHS or the FBI “to efficiently find anything of interest in the data.”

This “parallel revolution” was hinted at by investigative journalist James Bamford. In his March piece in Wired Magazine, Bamford described efforts by the National Security Agency to build “super-fast computers to conduct brute-force attacks on encrypted messages.”

In 2009, “they made a big breakthrough,” a former “senior intelligence official” told Wired. “The NSA believes it’s on the verge of breaking a key encryption algorithm–opening up hoards of data.”

“That,” the former official noted, “is where the value of Bluffdale, and its mountains of long-stored data, will come in,” Bamford wrote.

“What can’t be broken today may be broken tomorrow. ‘Then you can see what they were saying in the past,’ he says. ‘By extrapolating the way they did business, it gives us an indication of how they may do things now.’ The danger, the former official says, is that it’s not only foreign government information that is locked in weaker algorithms, it’s also a great deal of personal domestic communications, such as Americans’ email intercepted by the NSA in the past decade.”

And if it can be intercepted, mined and stored, it can be searched, giving government snoops an unprecedented window into our lives … //

… Since the 9/11 provocation, intrusive surveillance of the American people by a host of shadowy government agencies and private corporations clearly demonstrates there is broad ruling class consensus for expanding authoritarian and dictatorial forms of rule under an unconstitutional “Unitary Executive.”

Recent revelations by The Washington Post that the Obama regime “has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix’,” starkly reveals that when the president can spy on or kill whomever he pleases, on his own initiative and without the checks and balances enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights is effectively a dead letter.

While we do not know what form a “new and improved” ECPA will take when it emerges from the bipartisan congressional snake pit, the prospects for ever emerging from America’s “friendly fascist” nightmare are growing dimmer.
(full text).

(Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His articles are published in many venues. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press. Read other articles by Tom, or visit Tom’s website Antifascist Calling).

Links:

Power-Over as a Compensation, on Dissident Voice, by William Manson, November 26, 2012;

From Occupation to Liberation, on Dissident Vice, by Ron Jacobs, November 24, 2012;

Welcome to /dev/null of Dissident Voice.

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