Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Don’t be apathetic about NSA spying

To the editor:

As I sat on my deck in Clinton and watched the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air, it gave truth through the night that something was amiss in the whole affair, of both July 4 and of Edward Snowden.

There were a lot of noises and flashes on the Fourth, just as there was a lot of news coverage of Edward Snowden. The focus of both events seems to be on the sensational instead of focusing on the substance.

What does Independence Day mean to us today?

In 1776, it meant being free from the oppressive government of England which denied many rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech and privacy.

Have fireworks and barbecues replaced our reflection on and examination of our freedoms today? Has the sensational news coverage of Edward Snowden masked the devastating invasions taking place on our freedom of speech and rights to privacy by both corporations and government?

Whether you consider Snowden a traitor, information thief, whistleblower or hero, his leaks revealed the shocking nature of surveillance that is taking place in the United States today.

According to leaked top secret documents, the National Security Agency obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and other Internet giants in the United States.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called “Prism,” which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats.

The Internet companies deny knowledge of Prism and any order to release data.

However, Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation — a nonprofit digital rights group — told ABC News that, “If these companies received an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendments, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order.”

Another revelation followed that the court of the FISA was ordering a subsidiary of Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.

I agree with Benjamin Franklin, who said, “The more a society monitors, controls, and observes its citizens, the less free it is.”

It appears to me that sitting by passively and allowing corporations and government to invade our privacy and control our communications, much sooner then we can imagine, we may be living in an country that we never imagined — one closer to the big brother type … similar to the ones we’ve invaded in order to restore the freedoms we are now ourselves losing.

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, of Colorado, said, “I don’t think the American public knows the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected. I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security Agency is collecting. It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here.”

Personally, I’d like to continue to email letters to the editor concerning any topic without fear of being monitored by the government.

If you’d like to join me in speaking out, write to our members of Congress and president to let them know you want strict limits and regulations put on the surveillance and collection of data from the American public.

Also, there needs to be Congressional involvement with full access to oversee the activities of the National Security Agency.

Bob Effertz

Clinton

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