NSA Surveillance Whistleblower: The Government Is Destroying Our Privacy

NSA Surveillance Whistleblower The Government Is Destroying Our PrivacyA 29-year-old computer technician for a U.S. defense contractor leaked details of a top-secret American program that collects vast streams of phone and Internet data, American and British newspapers revealed Sunday.

‘Massive surveillance machine’

“My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them,” the source, Edward Snowden, told Britain’s the Guardian, one of the papers that broke stories on the program last week.

Snowden is a former technical assistant for the CIA and has been working at the National Security Agency, the U.S. electronic intelligence service, for the past four years, the newspaper reported. He said he walked away from a six-figure job in Hawaii for the computer consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and has holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong in preparation for the expected fallout from his disclosures.

“I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building,” he said.


‘Existential threat to democracy’

The Guardian reported Wednesday that Verizon Business Network Services had been ordered to hand over telephone records detailing the time, location and telephone numbers involved in domestic calls from April 25 to July 19. An order from a U.S. court that oversees U.S. surveillance efforts backed up the demand, the newspaper reported.

Thursday, the Guardian and the Post disclosed the existence of PRISM, a program they said allows NSA analysts to extract the details of customer activities — including “audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents” and other materials — from computers at Microsoft, Google, Apple and other Internet firms. Snowden said the NSA’s reach poses “an existential threat to democracy.”

Do you think the government is indeed stepping on the privacy of the people? Or is the PRISM just a necessary move to secure the nation’s safety?

Source: Matt Smith, CNN

Image: Politico

Report: Obama Administration Spied On Fox News Reporter

Report Obama Administration Spied On Fox News ReporterThe Justice Department spied extensively on Fox News reporter James Rosen in 2010, collecting his telephone records, tracking his movements in and out of the State Department and seizing two days of Rosen’s personal emails,the Washington Post reported on Monday.

‘Breaking anti-espionage law’

In a chilling move sure to rile defenders of civil liberties, an FBI agent also accused Rosen of breaking anti-espionage law with behavior that—as described in the agent’s own affidavit—falls well inside the bounds of traditional news reporting.

Fox News responds with a blistering statement that asserts Rosen was “simply doing his job” in his role as “a member of what up until now has always been a free press.”


‘Unconstitutional’

The revelations surfaced with President Barack Obama’s administration already under fire for seizing two months of telephone records of reporters and editors at the Associated Press. Obama last week said he makes “no apologies” for investigations into national security-related leaks. The AP’s CEO, Gray Pruitt, said Sunday that the seizure was “unconstitutional.”

The case began when Rosen reported on June 11, 2009, that U.S. intelligence believed North Korea might respond to tighter United Nations sanctions with new nuclear tests. Rosen reported that the information came from CIA sources inside the hermetic Stalinist state. FBI agent Reginald Reyes wrote that there was evidence Rosen had broken the law, “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator,” the Post said.

Do you think James Rosen indeed broke the law in the course of his information research? Is spying on a reporter counted as an “unconstitutional” act?

Source: Olivier Knox, Yahoo News

Image: Daily Tech