"unfettered access to our users' data are simply untrue"
and we can prove it, if this fine government of ours loosens the gag order on us.
...according to Google and facebook.
Quibbling over the definition of "direct access", the size and scope of the PRISM operation (of which we had no prior knowledge) -- in hopes of reconciling whatever trust remains in relationship with the public -- the companies are demanding from the Department of Justice an opportunity to explain.
Per Dominic Rushe, for The Guardian, just yesterday --
The letter and statement come days after Google and Facebook categorically denied knowingly participating in Prism. Internal NSA documents state that Prism involves "collection directly from the servers of these US service providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple".
In the wake of this breaking news, many have quickly rationalized the snooping and hoarding of all this data as just a new reality we have to live with in this new age of terrorism wreaking havoc around the planet.
It was yesterday -- when reviewing the current Pew Research available -- that the collection of information was amply supported by 2/3rds of the people sampled; but when it came to actually looking at our emails -- clear opposition rises to the majority position.
Something I heard this morning on one of San Diego's newest talk radio duo's -- Armstrong and Getty -- brought this comparison to the head of a pin, while making distinctions to the argument from Google and facebook at the same time.
As they put it -- in the irreverent fashion they are famous for -- what if, we had to document every phone call, every email, everywhere we went, who we talked to, what we purchased, every Skype, facebook post, blog post, text...every link, youtube video, search...in a generic log and were told to send it off to Washington every single waking day?
...Even if it were just for storage, for the record -- no content -- all for safe keeping...as nobody would really look at it; it's just in case some time down the road we f&$^ up and become radicalized, acting out accordingly, as insurance -- just so that the records could be accessed under a "heightened standards" necessity should the time come.
Would you comply? Would you be okay with this?
Perhaps we could save the billions of dollars that we really don't have just by turning over the records to whomever it concerns willingly, without going through all the FISA rigamarole. Who needs a massive NSA data farm coming through our back door anyway, when we can simply walk out our front door and mail it the old-fashioned way to Pennsylvania Avenue?
John Stossel has a brilliant response to all of this, so let me take you there now -- Why worry about the NSA when Google already knows everything about me.
The truth is -- our privacy has been blown; in the real world, there is no balance between security and privacy, Mr. President. It's non-existent. How about telling it like it is -- by all appearances, we can take it.
Better yet -- where's the link to "unsubscribe?" I know who I am; I am a Patriot, a Patriot with a capital P & G. There is no need for alarm; where is my right to opt-out knowing full well where my loyalties lie as a proud, honorable, citizen of this great country? My civil liberties are being directly violated; I should have every right to say, this isn't about me.
[now allow me call out Google and facebook in this very moment -- for you guys can't have it both ways; you can't claim you know nothing when you already know everything...while some of you guys (speaking of the Big Nine) even sell what you know; and about that "share everything" plan, you got that right, Verizon, but you may wanna think twice about advertising it...]
In order for us to have that world back, we would have to forfeit the freedom and liberty of expression and incorporation and industry that is fully supported, augmented, enriched, and enlivened, by the tools of technology allowing us to have access to the whole entire world every single day. Of course, it also opens us up to fraud, corruption, identity thieves, and the quick dissemination of sex, lies, and videotape, there is that.
If you really think about it -- what Snowden has actually given to us is a gift.
The opportunity is here and standing right in front of us to question everything, even if it's just for a moment, a nano-second given the full scope of time and place.
We have a chance to stop and question authority, the rule of law, who has authority, and who can use the rule of law to their benefit, not ours.
"But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of the people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man." Samuel Adams
We are losing control of our liberties, little by little.
Unexpectedly, and seemingly out of the blue -- thanks to Snowden -- we find ourselves in a heightened state of awareness to all the ways our liberty and freedom and responsible self-governing this nation has survived are being compromised -- individually, and collectively, violating our every move and virtue. No longer in the dark of night, but in the light of day, the cornerstones of the greatest nation on earth are being usurped under the guise of accountable federal intervention, in keeping with a myriad of excuses and reasons to comply without question. We are being invaded by the enemy, and it is within -- and what do we do, but turn the other cheek.
Whatever happens to America from this day forward, make no mistake -- it will be the people's fault.
Under the caption, "Prelude to Monarchy," from my favorite book, The 5000 Year Leap, by W. Cleon Skousen -- we gain further incite of America's future (and I've used this before, so forgive me):
"There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh -- get first all the people's money, then their lands, and then make them and their children servants forever. It will be said that we do not propose to establish kings. I know it. But there is a natural inclination in mankind to kingly government. It sometimes relieves them from aristocratic domination. They had rather have one tyrant than 500. It gives more the appearance of equality among citizens; and that they like. I am apprehensive, therefore -- perhaps too apprehensive -- that the government of these states may in future times end in a monarchy. But this catastrophe, I think, may be long delayed, if in our proposed system we do not sow the seeds of contention, faction, and tumult, by making our posts of honor places of profit. If we do, I fear that, though we employ at first a number and not a single person, the number will in time be set aside; it will only nourish the fetus of a king (as the honorable gentleman from Virginia very aptly expressed it) and a king will the sooner be set over us." Benjamin Franklin
It's like we have 500 kings and queens over us -- and we're okay with it. The natural inclination to have someone watch over us is comfortable, secure, even if restraining and tempestuous -- even if in real life it looks an awful lot like one president, one Congress, and a band of judges in cahoots and taking full advantage of the kind of power it brings.
My flag is being whipped by the off-shore breeze; the skies are overcast with a little drizzle; but in this moment, me thinks it's a reflection of something deeper.
Make it a Good Day, G