Here we often mention the illegal spying activities of the NSA because for some, the scandal is common knowledge. If you feel lost however, you’re not alone. With so many official acronyms being thrown around, NSA, FBI, CIA, etc., you’re at risk for suffering from Too Many Acronyms, or TMA.
Of the same token, you may also be aware of the NSA scandal but you may not have some crucial details. Here’s what really happened.
In 2013, news releases in global media exposed intimate details about the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and its’ partners mass surveillance of U.S. citizens as well as foreign nationals. The NSA has been auditing our online intercommunications (involving companies such as Apple, Google, Yahoo and other internet juggernauts) for a long time under an operation called PRISM. Unlike most other conspiracies, our federal government admitted to the existence of the plot.
Most of the major internet companies were and are now involved. The NSA roped these businesses into their scheme one by one, until the list of online companies involved included Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, Youtube, Skype, AOL and Apple.
To be “fair,” there was technically nothing stopping the NSA from spying on us before. The PRISM project began in 2007 with user data going to and from Microsoft, but the ability to tap online communications existed with Microsoft Windows 95. This was the first version of Windows with inherent web connectivity. They’ve had the power to spy on us since 1995.
These guys are good, too. They collect EVERYTHING. That’s email, voice and video chat, videos, photos, VoIP, video conferences, logins, and a whole other category the NSA calls “special requests” (!!!). Potentially, everything is being monitored.
The United States government has tiptoed carefully to avoid any ideas of the surveillance being carried out indiscriminately on the American people. They would be wise to do so, because this potentially infringes on the fourth amendment of the Constitution of “unreasonable search.” In other words, yes, it’s “borderline” illegal. But, whatcha going to do?
When the details of the NSA’s mass surveillance scheme were leaked, leaders promised to review the programs and deliver reform. This happened in 2013, and sadly, not much has changed. A 2014 directive from the Obama administration demands “appropriate safeguards” (whatever that means) for personal data, unless it interferes with national security. The government can still collect data on citizens without a warrant, and they admit to still spying on (some) foreign leaders. Bulk collection of telephone metadata is ongoing. Possibly worst of all, the NSA refuses to say what their policy is for employees who abuse their position.
In a nutshell, our government’s wiretapping division has been illegally spying on us for years. And we rolled right over. Nobody did anything about it.
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Instead, it has to do with a quiet government agreement you’ve never heard about.