Privacy SOS

Don’t get it twisted: the heart of the NSA scandals is breathtakingly simple

The NSA scandal is not that complicated.

Admittedly, it is increasingly difficult to keep up with all of the stories coming out of the Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post, and soon ProPublica about the US government's surveillance operations in the US and across the world. 

The details are important, especially for the lawyers and policymakers who have to figure out exactly how best to fix the problems we are learning more about every day. But amidst all the political squabbling, the push and pull of the high-stakes propaganda war, and the wonky analyses of FISC opinions, it's important to remember that what lies at the heart of the stories is breathtakingly simple.

In an interview with TruthOut, Glenn Greenwald nails it.

This is the crux of the matter, and it is the reality that we as residents, citizens, activists, and voters need to contend with in the coming months and years:

The goal of the United States, which they are rapidly approaching fulfilling, is to be able not just to collect and monitor everybody’s electronic communications, but to store them for increasingly long periods of time. They are building a massive facility in Utah that has as its purpose storage of electronic data that they are collecting. They are collecting electronic data in such large quantities that they are incapable of storing it for very long, and they want to make sure that they can keep it for as long as they want. So you are really talking about a radical transformation in what kind of society we have if everyone of our electronic communications is being monitored and stored by this government that operates with very little accountability or transparency for anybody.

In short: free society is threatened by mass surveillance, and we cannot have both. The government is hell bent on establishing the architecture — both legal and physical — for a surveillance state that will obliterate any chance for living in a democratic, open society. That's the problem.

The solutions will be a little trickier to figure out, but there are great proposals already on the table. For those of you who want to know all the details (shouts to the policy nerds), this will help:

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