Wednesday, June 19, 2013

They Have No Right to Store Our Private Data for Potential "Future Use"!

I still say NO-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO to storing our data.  Even if "future access" requires a court ordered warrant in order to "legally view and use" this data.  Storing our --private U.S. citizen's-- data (phone conversations, emails, on-line media transactions and postings) is a violation of our constitutional right to privacy that goes way beyond the original intent of the Patriot Act.  The Patriot Act (enacted in the aftermath of 9/11) proved to be sufficient in keeping the U.S. and her citizens within the borders of the United States safe under the Bush Administration.  I fail to see the need or justification for this subsequent intrusive and secretive expansion of data collection for intelligence purposes, in not just scope but depth as well, that has taken place under the Obama Administration.  The government has no absolutely NO RIGHT to store my personal data and quite frankly I don't trust them in doing so --that is to say:  I do not trust in the government's ability to keep my private data safe. 

I am all for keeping Americans safe, but I won't willingly surrender my constitutional right to privacy in order for government to do so.  The latter being said, I am okay with the government providing sufficient grounds for probable cause and then legally obtaining a narrow and specifically targeted court-issued warrant to conduct a "targeted search of private citizen's data".  This was the intent of the original Patriot Act.  The current NSA surveillance program still operates under the original "USA Patriot Act", which was renewed in 2006 and again in 2011 (according to the "Seattle Times" newspaper).  Recent revelations about NSA spying on private citizens, secretly accessing and storing our private data --which they have not denied doing!*--  however, clearly demonstrate that the NSA has overstepped their original mandate, as outlined by the Patriot Act.  Now that the truth about the scope and depth of the current NSA surveillance program is thankfully out in the open:  It is up to us, "We the People", to demand some answers, along with a thorough congressional evaluation of the current expanded NSA surveillance program in order to verify that this program is not operating outside the scope of the "USA Patriot Act".  We need to put accountability in government back onto the table in order to ensure the constitutional rights of "We the People" to privacy are not surrendered and trampled upon moving forward, ever mindful of the fact that once we willingly surrender our constitutional rights we will never truly be able to get them back once again.

*In testimony to Congress yesterday NSA director, Gen. Alexander, when asked if the NSA has the ability "to listen to private citizens' phone calls and to read private citizens' emails" responded with an ambiguous ... "No ... No.  We do not have that authority."  We know the NSA does not have the "authority" to access this data without a court-issued warrant, but the question was does the NSA have the ability to access this data and the general clearly skirted the question with his answer.

And furthermore, does the NSA think that members of Congress and "we the people" are stupid?  If they're not storing our private data (phone conversations, emails, on-line media transactions and postings), then what the heck (feel free to substitute a more feeling expletive!) do they need the new $40 million data storage facility ("Dark Star"), in Salt Lake City UT --capable of storing multiple years worth of the entire internet's traffic in their entirety-- for????????????

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