Talking tech since 2003

Earlier today news broke that Verizon is supplying a wealth of call data to the National Security Agency (NSA), and as it turns out, that is just the tip of the iceberg.  According to a report by The Washington Post, nine major tech companies, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, PalTalk, Apple, YouTube, Skype, and AOL, all participate in the top secret data mining program dubbed PRISM.

The data mining operation which has existed since 2007, operates under the guise of the Patriot Act and is the work of the FBI and NSA.  In an “internal presentation” for senior NSA analysts obtained by The Washington Post, it shows that the data siphoned off includes photos, videos, emails, documents, audio files, and connection logs.

The news has resulted in many American citizens feeling outraged by the spying being done by the U.S. government.  All the government has said thus far is that these types of spying and data mining techniques have led to positive results, but at what cost?  The [complete] loss of trust by the American people?

In an attempt to see if the government was breaking any laws by spying on its own people, I decided to look at the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  And do you know what I found?  Well, it’s actually more of what I didn’t find: I didn’t find one mention of privacy. Not a single mention of the word privacy.  Which ultimately begs the question of does privacy exist when it comes to the government and its people?

President Obama’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, which was introduced back in February 2012, isn’t any help to us either.  The framework for the bill only targets only the private sector’s activities, not the government’s.  So, the government can still, in certain situations, rifle through Americans’ personal data without a search warrant.  It’s becoming more clear that this seems to be the norm, rather than the exception.

Unfortunately, it seems our founding father’s never intended for privacy to an American right either, because it certainly hasn’t been.  If you want privacy, your best bet is to drop off the grid, completely.

Update: Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Apple have now denied being participants in PRISM.  Apple has came out and said it has “never heard of PRISM,” and that it does not “provide any government agency with direct access to [its] servers.” Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft also provided a similar statements.

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