Friday, June 21, 2013

From PRISM to Prison: How America's surveillance state can land you in jail

As the PRISM scandal continues to unravel with new pieces of information being leaked, it is clear that there is a surveillance issue in America today. We’re led to believe that the prying into the lives of Americans is all in the name of national security—a noble and just cause. Yet, with inadequate and possibly negligent oversight by the FISA court, according to The Guardian, who is to say the program is under control?

Its defenders say that only metadata is being collected while the implicated Internet companies are denying involvement with sly words and an ounce of consumer trust.

Regardless of what information the government is collecting on its citizens, the idea that one’s privacy can so easily be breeched is haunting. It is warrantless, with no oversight other than a rampant executive branch. PRISM alone can be quite unsettling; there are other avenues the government can use to prosecute anyone they want.


Prosecutors have immense power. Look at the case against Aaron Swartz and the steamrolling prosecutors did. With their ability to go after anyone for almost anything, they can easily ruin a life.

Have you ever connected to unsecured wi-fi? Used a fake name online? Let a friend burn a CD? All of those fall under the broad and often abused Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

One can easily argue a slippery-slope scenario that would make Orwell proud, but with the government’s ability to abuse its power, even one person falling victim is a tragedy. Who is not to say that people who speak out in protest against the governemtn can be more easily silenced? We say, “That cannot happen here!” Yet ever year, with FISA, The PATRIOT Act, PRISM, and possibly countless other programs and acts our freedoms, privacy, and liberties are eroding away.

Amache Japanese Internment Camp, Colorado