Frightening

Got a good grip on your liberties? Good. Hold tight. You’re free to say anything. Just remember, your government could be listening.

In “Lawsuits May Illuminate Methods of Spy Program,” Dan Eggen reported 14 August 2007 on cases in which the US National Security Agency (NSA) apparently tapped the backbone of the Internet to examine electronic communications in searches for content that might indicate terrorist activity. Mr. Eggen, a staff writer for the Washington Post, lead with this description:

In 2003, Room 641A of a large telecommunications building in downtown San Francisco was filled with powerful data-mining equipment for a “special job” by the National Security Agency, according to a former [AT&T] technician. It was fed by fiber-optic cables that siphoned copies of e-mails and other online traffic from one of the largest Internet hubs in the United States, the former employee says in court filings.

What occurred in the room is now at the center of a pivotal legal battle in a federal appeals court over the Bush administration’s controversial spying program, including the monitoring that came to be publicly known as the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

Safe and secure here, right? Safe from what? Secure against what?

Although Mr. Eggen’s story focuses on the current court hearing on the matter, this larger story is actually rather old news. For fuller treatment, check the page that the Electronic Frountier Foundation maintains about the suit it is pursuing. The EFF’s coverage has lots of details worth examining, including extensive content about the NSA spying program. See, also, the resources maintained by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Read Mr. Eggen’s article.

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Filed under Civil rights, Free speech, News, Notes and comments, Technology

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