The end of privacy

Do you have a Gmail account? Facebook? Use the Google toolbar? Buy from Amazon? Join any online rewards clubs, like the ones from your pharmacy or credit cards?

Then you have no online privacy. Facebook and Google track your every web moment as long as you are logged in, and even after you’ve logged out or disabled your Google toolbar.

Do you use a club card at the grocery to get discounts? A rewards card in stores and for things like hotel and rental car purchases? How about a credit card?

How about your mortgage? Did you buy a house? Ever gotten a Federal loan? Newspapers regularly report house sales, including the name of the buyer and how much, after they are sold. And in the age of the internet, that page is often forever saved in the newspaper’s online archives (and Google).

No, there is no privacy anymore. Clear your cookies every time you log out of Facebook? Doesn’t matter. They’re tracking you, and by “you” I mean your specific account. (Here’s one way to stop it if you use Firefox or Chrome.)

And now, of course, we know that the NSA is tracking every phone call that every single person in America makes. It’s also tracking everything you do online, including your Google searches, and well, everything.

A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more.

Big Brother is here, and has been since shortly after 9/11. This is what Congress and two Administrations have wrought. Realize that FISA was passed by both a Democratic and Republican Administration, and by a Democratic and Republican Congress. These are the same Congresses that insist that a woman has a right to privacy, and so, must be able to have an abortion. Apparently, the right to privacy does not extend to being able to call your friends without having the government keep a log of your phone calls. But hey, you can get an abortion!

This is not an Obama Administration scandal. This is a U.S. government scandal. And if the American people don’t care, well, then pretty soon, the TV set is going to be a two-way camera, and George Orwell’s visions will be complete. Because right now, people are really happy that the Tsarnaevs were found because of civilian security cameras, and think that having government security cameras on every corner is just a great idea. Between that, and citizens cowering in their homes on lockdown while Tsarnaev was bleeding in a boat in someone’s backyard–well, I weep for this country. Our Fouding Fathers are, too.

And of course, as soon as I publish this essay–no, as soon as it goes into autosave draft mode–it doubtless goes into the NSA internet database.

The Constitution is dead. It died on 9/11.

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