You have probably heard about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the program that allows warrant-less surveillance on emails, phone calls, text messages and real life activities of unsuspecting individuals such as you, or any other U.S. citizen for that matter.
Wiretap program was initiated in President Bush’s era, and that too, without prior authorization or supportive votes from members of the Congress. Bush was way too much concerned about locating “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, which were never really found, and culling global terrorism at the earliest.
As of the latest updates and rumors, this program is pending approval for revisions and possible continuation in the future. During President Bush’s time period, Wiretap was being used to collect intelligence on Americans who were/ are communicating with foreign nationals, foreign “targets” and even far flung relatives, under the suspicion of conducting terrorist activities.
However, CIA and NSA whistleblowers have lately raised concerns about breaching “privacy” rights of law abiding American citizens amidst an electronic dragnet of emails, phone calls and etc. Not to mention the fact that Wiretap surveillance leaves behind a trail of huge databases that have to be managed, archived and stored in the most professional manner – it becomes way too much hectic in the long run.
The civil liberty advocates have been arguing that Congress needs to curb the scope of Wiretap program. If a disclosure is not in order, at least the authorities should be held accountable for revealing the nature of the program; i.e. how it is being used for a particular “cause” and why it is being used.
On the other hand, President Barack Obama has not said much about whether he would like Wiretap to continue or halt midway. The President is only concerned with signing the bill as long as it reaches his desk.
Sen. Ron Wyden (Democrat) from Oregon went a little far with expressing his views against Wiretap technology. He compared the NSA to various British Officials (names not disclosed here), who used broad royal writs to invade the colonist’s homes prior to the American Revolution.
Wyden said that it is never okay, never okay to conduct a warrant-less surveillance investigation against law abiding Americans. “It wasn’t okay for constables and customs officials to do it during the colonial days and it is not okay for National Security Agency to do it today.”
The so called “spy-bill” is still oscillating between a possible nod of approval and disapproval from members of the Congress. Whatever the outcome will be, we’ll let you know through a brief update at this website. Meanwhile, let’s pray that we are left with a small shred of online/ offline privacy during year 2013…