“We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government.” — William O. Douglas, dissenting in Osborn v. United States (1966)
The government wants us to believe that we have nothing to fear from its mass spying programs as long as we’ve done nothing wrong.
Don’t believe it.
It doesn’t matter whether you obey every law. The government’s definition of a “bad” guy is extraordinarily broad, and it results in the warrantless surveillance of innocent, law-abiding Americans on a staggering scale.
For instance, it was recently revealed that the White House, relying on a set of privacy loopholes, has been sidestepping the Fourth Amendment by paying AT&T to allow federal, state, and local law enforcement to access—without a warrant—the phone records of Americans who are not suspected of a crime.
This goes way beyond the NSA’s metadata collection program.
Operated during the Obama, Trump and now the Biden presidencies, this secret dragnet surveillanceprogram (formerly known as Hemisphere and now dubbed Data Analytical Services) uses its association with the White House to sidestep a vast array of privacy and transparency laws.
According to Senator Ron Wyden, Hemisphere has been operating without any oversight for more than a decade under the guise of cracking down on drug traffickers.
This is how the government routinely breaks the law and gets away with it: in the so-called name of national security.
More than a trillion domestic phone records are mined through this mass surveillance programevery year, warrantlessly targeting not only those suspected of criminal activity but anyone with whom they might have contact, including spouses, children, parents, and friends.