Do You Want to Know a Secret? Do You Promise Not to Tell?

The Matrix/Warner Bros. Pictures

The NSA probably has it already, buried deep in a pile of everyone else's secrets. The Obama administration has been rather silent on revelations that the National Security Agency has been indiscriminately collecting massive amounts of data from Verizon on every phone call in its system, every day. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, defended the program, stating, "It's called protecting America," while admitting scant knowledge on how much information is actually collected and for how long. US citizens are even more in the dark, and this far-reaching program, compounded with the further revelation of PRISM, another NSA program which collects data directly from services such as Google and Facebook, has raised more than a few eyebrows here at New America.

Rebecca MacKinnon stated:

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama pledged to reform the Patriot Act and rescind the FISA Amendments Act, but as president he reversed his position. The Obama administration has fought bipartisan efforts in Congress to bring the change he once championed.

The result is the "new normal": surveillance, often of questionable legality and sometimes clear illegality, against which Americans have little effective recourse, on the rare occasions that we even know that violations are taking place.

Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Institute had this to say:

We are likely looking at a nationwide fishing expedition of everyone's phone records and geolocation, updated daily and covering nearly every call originating in the U.S.

And Benjamin Lennett, policy director at the Open Technology Institute, warns that we may have made our own bed:

We create this cycle where the more information that is collected by these private technology companies, the more data is available to the government.

One thing's for sure: we really don't have all the information on how much the NSA is actually collecting and how it's analyzing that data, but more revelations are likely forthcoming. Until then, maybe it's better to not to tell secrets.