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The NSA and Domestic Spying
Transcript of The NSA and Domestic Spying
The National Security Agency (NSA) was founded in 1952 with a focus on overseas surveillance. Using a variety of tools at its disposal (from internet and phone interception to code breaking) to accomplish its goals. It is currently one of the biggest intelligence organizations in the U.S.
9/11 and the Patriot Act
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there were calls to expand our security capabilities to safeguard the nation from future attacks. Thus the Patriot Act was created to meet those demands, this act gave government surveillance agencies, such as the NSA, a broad range of powers. One of them being warrantless wiretapping until 2007.
Warrants and FISA courts
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was passed by Congress in 1978. Designed to enhance counterintelligence efforts. This allowed for the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts. They are top secret courts whose purpose is to review warrant applications and decide whether to approve or deny them - so far they have approved every single application (1,788) from the NSA and have not denied any.
The Snowden Revelations
In the summer of 2013, an anonymous leaker disclosed information about the surveillance agreements between the U.S telecommunications giant Verizon, revealing that the company had provided the phone records of millions of Americans to the NSA. Soon after the leaker revealed himself to be Edward Snowden, a infrastructure analyst for the NSA, who fled to Hong Kong at the time then applied for asylum in Russia.
Mr. Snowden went on to disclose more classified information regarding domestic surveillance. Revealing the existence of a top secret $20 million NSA initiative called PRISM with the purpose of targeting tech companies and social media giants to provide "back doors" to their servers - essentially giving them direct accesses to all content without requesting specific information on a target, meaning, we are ALL targets.
Who is involved?
Microsoft - 2007
Yahoo - 2008
Google - 2009
Facebook - 2009
PalTalk - 2009
Youtube - 2010
Skype - 2011
AOL - 2011
Apple - 2012
-Notifications of target activity
-Online social networking details
Why this matters.
These programs are in clear violation of the 4th Amendment which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures which applies to our phone records and online information today. Even if you aren't doing anything wrong you are still being watched and recorded. The information gathered by the NSA could be used against anyone, to discredit, black-mail, or paint anyone as a wrongdoer.
Why you should care
Now more then ever, our privacy and civil liberties are in the greatest danger. We are the generation that grew up in a post-9/11 world, with Guantanamo Bay, TSA airports, and under ever vigilant eye of the NSA. As we come of age, we must be aware of what is going on around us - particularly the activities of the government. We must understand our God given rights and liberties to take a stand in upholding them, not only for us, but for those yet to come.