PRISM Not Shocking, Still Concerning

It is absurd that everyone is feigning shock over “recent” revelations that the national security apparatus acquires metadata from telecommunications companies and taps into the servers of internet companies. If you are shocked, you haven’t been paying attention.

The Supreme Court decided, in 1979, that we are not entitled to a “reasonable expectation of privacy” regarding the numbers we dial on a telephone and, thus, our phone records:

The Fort Meade, Maryland headquarters for the National Security Agency.
Fort Meade, Maryland

[I]t is doubtful that telephone users in general have any expectation of privacy regarding the numbers they dial, since they typically know that they must convey phone numbers to the telephone company and that the company has facilities for recording this information and does in fact record it for various legitimate business purposes.

This case essentially held that gathering “metadata” does not constitute an illegal search. Warrantless wiretaps are illegal, but the president made it clear that the government is not engaging in such behavior. The majority of Americans find the government’s use of telephone records at least somewhat acceptable.

The more troubling revelation was the existence of PRISM, the program used by intelligence officials to directly access the servers of large internet companies. This shouldn’t be a surprise either.

Please read the rest at Politically Inclined.

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