The day after Glenn Greenwald revealed, for the first time, how the government routinely sweeps “telephony metadata” into the maw of the government’s computers, he now discloses something truly Orwellian: The government for at last 5 years has had, through a private firm called PRISM, access to the content of all user data on the serves of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, AOL, etc. i was about to write that we should at least hold out the hope that Greenwald, normally judicious, unflappable, and careful, got this one wrong, given the equivocal denials of the service provides who have access to almost all U.S. private data. But evidently it’s been confirmed by James Clapper, director of national intelligence.
It will be difficult for the defenders of the government’s sweep of “telephony metadata” to defend this one. Those authoritarian toadies included Slate, The Wall Street Journal, Attorney General Holder and Senator Diane Feinstein.
There is really nothing more to say about a program that has allowed government (in addition to knowing everything of the existence of every telephone communication in this country) to read every internet communication of the major email providers. We will undoubtedly hear those toadies again. But if you believe that this is not the tipping point of the here-to-fore tenuous relations between a civilian, democracy (more or less) operating under rule of law and based on principles of eighteenth century concepts of human dignity and an unrestrained authoritarian Permanent Government, then the toadies don’t even need to try to convince you.
The government will now assure us how “strictly” it guards our private data. It will even have a “policy” about access. That policy, of course, will be as restrictive as the new policy on drone misuse. That is, it will prevent nothing. Remember, even Oceania had very strict policies on government overreach. And we were told about them by the Ministry of Truth. But all this fuss is probably not worth a bother, because soon we and our flaccid public media will have filed all the thoughts of it away in our memory-hole.