Revealing the State’s War on Privacy

Bradley Manning collected a great deal of classified government information and released it to Wikileaks. In so doing he effectively stripped some of the state’s privacy and is now standing trial for his actions (although his trial is almost certainly for show not to determine guilt). As I said, I support Manning’s actions because the state is waging a war against our privacy. As time goes on we’re learning more and more about how extensive this war really is. Yesterday it was revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA), on of the most vicious combatants in this war, has been collecting the phone records of millions of Americans:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

Although we’ve known that the NSA has been spying on our phone calls for some time but the release of this court order gives us a better idea of how extensive its spying is. Once again I’ll iterate that a government that doesn’t trust the general population enough to respect their privacy should not be given the privilege of privacy itself. So long as the state continues to violate our privacy it is right to violate its privacy. I will also point out that extensive spying operations such as this are prime examples of why all communications should be encrypted, which is why I started the Encrypt Everything series. Increasing the number of people who use cryptographic tools to prevent prying eyes from seeing their communications will render large scale spying operations, such as those being performed by the state, far less effective.