The latest news has it that the NSA is snooping around into the phone records of millions of Verizon customers. Under a judge’s orders, Verizon was to provide a list of all the calls made by US citizens through its network to the NSA for scrutiny. This is not the first time that the government has intervened in personal and private matters of ordinary citizens.
The judge’s verdict was labeled “Top Secret” and according to it Verizon was to divulge all its yearly phone calls to the governmental agency known as the NSA. And the really frightening thing is that this leaking of confidential information will carry on till July of 2013. Although the order did not include the contents of each call, the location, frequency and time span was to be provided to the agency. According to the Guardian, the order was passed at the request of the FBI. President Obama is facing a losing battle with the public and consumer rights activists as it has become common knowledge that secret data has been broken into and scrutinized for any breach of patriotism.
Especially worrisome among these issues having to do with the First Amendment was the divulging of Associated Press calling records and Fox News emails. The White House, NSA and Verizon were contacted by press reporters. However, all three sources refused to comment on this. There are even rumors that other telephone agencies such as AT&T too are under pressure to provide data regarding telephone calls. The spokespersons at AT&T too declined to offer any information about this thereby further increasing the general paranoia of the people of the United States.
Many people have spoken out against this act of Orwellian surveillance. It reeks of a totalitarian society where Big Brother is always watching. And it completely goes against the constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The whole scheme of the governmental authorities poking their nose into things which do not concern them began under the neoconservative regime of George W. Bush. He of the Patriot Act fame, made thought control a reality and was the major cause of the blatant abuse of human rights by the government.
The NSA is guilty of implanting bugs and tapping phone lines before. Due to this recent spate of indulgence in spy-craft, there have been a number of actions taken by consumer groups to counter the tendency to terrorize decent law abiding citizens. The whole issue turned up after 9/11 and the main reason for the government’s crime-watch efforts is to catch terrorists before they inflict any more damage. The Boston Marathon Bombing is a recent example of this so the government can never be too careful.