It’s no surprise that NSA’s flagrant data collection of encrypted cellular data is unconstitutional, but for the first time since the Snowden leaks, a Federal Judge has ruled the practice unconstitutional and demanded that the metadata be permanently erased. For now, the judicial order will be suspended until the Federal Government appeals to higher courts.
For the past week, the NSA has been contributing to a lot of news and not enough news; the agency has been highly criticized by the press, yet also largely ignored by the general public. According to a poll in June of this year conducted by the Washington Post, most Americans find NSA surveillance methodologies to be “acceptable” means for national security. The troubling part about the NSA is the way the agency has completely disregarded the constitutional rights of citizens, but for most Americans, that is OK. When asked whether the agency should intrude on privacy rights for the sake of national security, 62% of Americans think the NSA should investigate, even if it intrudes on privacy. About 45% of respondents said the government should monitor email and online activities in order to prevent future attacks – only 52% thought it was not necessary.
Recent revelations in the past month have been full of NSA brazen use of data tracking. First, we found out that the NSA was collecting 5 billions records every day – so much, it’s not possible for the NSA to properly analyze all of the data. Then, there were news that the NSA was using location-tracking to see if their agents were being trailed. If that wasn’t enough, we also found out that Google’s ad cookies were being used to pinpoint NSA targets. Just this past weekend, the Post recounted more of the Snowden leaks – letting us know that encrypted phone calls are not barriers to NSA ears, the agency can crack most of the encrypted calls using 2G networks and older, meaning about 80% of the world’s cellphone calls.
While the NSA has vehemently denied snooping on Americans, it’s only a matter of time before we find out how and how much. In the meantime, it doesn’t appear to have caused much of a public uproar. At least, not from my end, on Twitter, on Facebook, or any other social venues.