In their infinite wisdom, our most excellent overlords have enacted more legislation designed to keep us safe.
The USA FREEDOM ACT! (Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection and Online Monitoring Act)
Much like the USA PATRIOT ACT that it replaced, it’s got FREEDOM right in its name, so it must be great. Oh boy!
The USA PATRIOT ACT, (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) was passed a little over a month after some very religious gentlemen decided to fly airplanes into New York City’s World Trade Center. Everyone was terrified and freaked the fuck out, and we all know that legislation enacted during periods of national freaked the fuck out are always good. Just ask the Japanese Americans who were rounded up and sent to camps after the Pearl Harbor attacks.
The gentle geniuses in our government have come to their senses and, with the help of the USA FREEDOM ACT (say it soft and it’s almost like praying) are throttling back the NSA and their spying. No more bulk phone-call metadata collection… date, time, number, device… yay! Politicians are doing the right thing. Finally!
They’ve realized they overreacted 14 years ago, and are going to dial that shit back. Huzzah.
Here’s what they’re doing. Instead of storing your info on government servers, the telecom companies are going to be storing the metadata (date, time, number, device ) on their servers.
(Were I a conspiracy nut, I would predict that, in the future, this will be used as a ploy to break up large telecoms. “Those dirty business are spying on you! Your government wants to keep T-Mobile from hoarding your information. That’s why we’re going back to a National Telecom Company. You’re welcome, citizen!”)
It doesn’t matter that the NSA can easily access the data after getting permission from those watchdogs at the FISA court (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.)
We’re lucky to have the FISA Court. They’ve declined a butt-load of requests made by the NSA. Over 10 (11) requests in 33,900. Wow! .03%!!! Oh boy! Smell the freedom!
The U.S. Government has appointed some of their own folks to make sure that civil liberties aren’t violated. That’s as effective as requiring Wells Fargo to make sure that their accountants don’t make mistakes or T-Mobile making sure they don’t do squirrelly stuff with their phone bills.
Though the USA FREEDOM ACT requires the agency to submit specific selection terms in its surveillance requests, it lets the FISA Court decide what the terms are. Example: The FISA Court says “NSA, you can’t do mass-surveillance, got it?!” The NSA says “Define mass-surveillance!” FISA says “If you include the country of Chad, that’s mass-surveillance.”
So, our telephones are ‘protected’, but the USA FREEDOM ACT says nothing about PRISM, the agency’s program that spys on the internet. (Hello, Edward Snowden)
We are looking at a world where words mean more than actions. A person with power can say “You are free” and it means you are free.
Oppose the USA PATRIOT ACT and you are not a patriot.
Oppose the USA FREEDOM ACT – you are anti-freedom.
Thanks to Michael DeMarco & Stefan Molyneaux for the raw data & layout.