The Surveillance State

Police State: A type of domestic governance in which a country puts regulations upon citizens and their formal rights to prevent them from committing violence, endangering the lives of others, and the lives of themselves. Seatbelt laws, and CCTV cameras at traffic stops are typically considered to be part of the “police state” mentality. However, this can also be the use non-lethal weapons, like tasers and batons, and removing all firearms from public society. Police States usually see citizens become dependent on the police force for all safety concerns, regulations, and crime. They also typically see the militarization of the police, and is sometimes attributed with escalations of violence, like terrorism and open revolt, in police state regimes. The state of Guatamala can be considered a Police State, and is also a dictatorship.

SURVEILLANCE STATE: MY OWN OPINION

I should preface this by saying this article is going to be completely biased. You’ll find out several things from this article, most dealing with my fierce opposition to my 1st and 4th amendments being violated. In the first amendment, the government is banned from limiting our rights to speech, press, petitioning, assembling, and expressing ourselves. A typical argument of libertarians like me is that the right to assemble allows for the formation of Private Organizations with the ability to discriminate on membership and be a closed group. Thus following, it is the right of a group or an individual to their closed status and privacy from public scrutiny. AND because the government is banned from infringing on it, privacy advocates see the right to assemble a key component of preventing government surveillance and unwarranted searches into our private files.
The 4th amendment is that the government is banned from completing unwarranted searches and seizures. It requires all organizations of law enforcement to provide proper documentation, probable cause, and a judiciary sanctioning of the act. The main problem with some of the surveillance options the federal government chooses lies in the fact that in order to search lawfully someone’s possessions, one must lawfully present a warrant at the time of searching. The secret collection and content viewing by the government infringes the 4th amendment by allowing law enforcement to no longer be required to show the warrant upon seizure of evidence. I say this because at any time in the last 10 years, none of the millions of Americans being spied on have received a notice of being searched or having the NSA present them with documentation to seize their data.
So now you know, I am a privacy advocate. At the same time, I don’t actively oppose the intelligence agencies operations, but I do highlight the immorality of their actions. Government is a tool for the people by the people and of the people. As such, it is on us to determine the morality of an action by the government and to support it when it maintains the moral high ground and scold it when it falls from grace. The NSA and CIA spying on US citizens could be legal and moral in many situations, but currently in its scope recently, it has been unlawful and illegal. It has violated the integrity of the Constitution by sanctioning spying on US citizens. It has committed immorality in terms of society’s views by judging all Americans the same and creating a system of mistrust and fear of the government. Most libertarians oppose and fear government, in large scale and in central authority. I admit that I am rather fond of the Federal system our Founders chose, and I don’t oppose scale of action, but I still do oppose centralizing authority.

These are all important facts in reading my article. On this issue, you’ll see my two sides: on one side, there’s a part of me that loves my civil liberties, including writing and pressing these articles, and contributing to the liberty and freedom expressed by our Constitution. ON THE OTHER HAND, there is a part of me that loves my country so fervently, that I can tap into the mindset and understand the Police State mentality. I said mistrust and fear because none of the recent information put out about the NSA or CIA has encouraged anyone that they are doing a good job. If nothing else, they are being used to once again strip the power of the US government from being capable, to being vulnerable. I cannot highlight how much the unity in mind gets sickened with this current regime’s policies (I call it a regime because I do not support this government).

Alright, now that you know my bias and opinion, here are the summary of recent events in the surveillance issues.

NSA

Most recently, Edward Snowden, espionage man, double agent, traitor, patriot, un-American-American, and all around anti-government informant, gave us some interesting news about a program at the NSA. In the details, thanks to the efforts of the NSA, they can fully track conversations of foreign leaders around the globe, and due to the power of technology, they can rewind and play back conversations that happened prior to a month before their tapping of the phones. It is now viable for the NSA to use what you said in the past against you and against the Obama administration’s enemies and friends. Luckily, the President released a statement telling the American people some of the things the NSA is looking for in its bulk data search.

Most recently, IBM became another corporation to claim to have not complied with a national order allowing the NSA to tap their data, but due to Edward Snowden, IBM is on the list of corporations that were hacked to take bulk data. IBM now joins Google, Yahoo, and other internet and computer companies that Edward Snowden has tied to PRISM either by voluntary submission or by unlawful seizing of information. In reference to these PRISM accusations, at SXSW, Snowden discussed with attendees how to maintain privacy and security of your own data online.

CIA

So Senator Feinstein, who deserves much the mockery she has recently received, has recently come out after months of supporting the surveillance round up as being against it. From having the CIA grant computers to her staff and her fellow Democrats and then stealing the data and deleting it off those computers. To a toy helicopter driving her mad about drones, Feinstein has been on a roll recently walking back everything she ever lauded about this regime’s spying programs.

In regards to the CIA computers, the Senate Intelligence Committee had recently been investigating the detention and interrogation techniques used by the CIA and under Director Brennan’s supervision. They requested computers from the agency which would allow them to view the usually secret information, and the CIA complied. After granting the computers, the CIA is accused of using the computers to hack the Committee’s networks and then begin systematic deletion of data the Committee had been collecting during its investigation. Due to this struggle of power between the Committee and the CIA, it has seen the CIA’s general counsel be forced to resign and has him being referenced 1600 times in the investigation of torture in the CIA.

DRONES

Russian Times has an article out today in which Feinstein explains her recent shift from supporting drone programs to now being against them. She was in her home Sunday night when she looked out the window and saw a machine hovering near her window and watching her. When she got up to examine the machine more closely it crashed into the ground while flying away. This was during a demonstration happening outside her home, and the demonstrators were members of Code Pink, who say the machine was a toy helicopter. But thanks to their efforts, now Senator Feinstein questions the scope and powers of drone usage and the organization that will control their domestic powers, the Federal Aviation Association.

Her questions, according to Politico are the following:

  • When is a drone picture a benefit to society?
  • When does it become stalking?
  • When does it invade privacy?
  • How close to a home can a drone go?

Following this moment of realization, Feinstein now seeks to regulate the size of the drones being used, and how they will be used by civilians. She personally would like to have a certification process put in place for those who would operate the drones, and see regulations that properly define the law enforcement role they would serve.

In summary, the basic considerations of privacy versus surveillance breaks down to this simple question.

Do we, the American people, feel safer and more protected now?

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