Outraged About FISA Court? Maybe You should Think About Who Is Surveilling You.
For days and days, the headlines have been filled with FISA Court related stories. They include condemnation of the acts described in the Nunes memo, the abuse of law in gaining surveillance warrants through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Trump Administration’s reaction to it all. Much of the outrage comes from the list of questionable evidence provided to the FISA court for the renewal of the continued surveillance of Carter Page.
Okay, fair enough. The discussion and debate continues in Washington DC and the media sometimes drives, other times deflects and occasionally simply covers the wide and deep explosive probe.
So, we are all outraged right? But what about you? Who is surveilling you?
New Flash: Your actions while either on the street, in your home or in phone calls or in your vehicle or interacting on internet are not any part of the expectation of privacy.
There is not any activity that is not recorded by tools you know precious little about, i.e. your smart phone, but should. In truth, we live in a surveillance state. We just need to recognize it and admit it. Once you do, you need to determine for yourself what your tolerance quotient is.
How many video cameras do you pass a day that apply facial recognition? Where does that data go and who is using it? What about security check-in points like going to public events or countless locations where you and the items you are carrying are being opened and searched by a person or a wand?
Is your mobile phone with you twenty-four hours a day where the internal GPS is tracking your movement? What about those fitness apps on your mobile phones that are synched with that smart device on your wrist? Uh huh…that too. Is your smart phone holding data that you put there that describes your whole life to people unknown to you?
Ah yes, there is social media to add to the equation.
Facebook collects your keystrokes, all of them. Where is that Instagram digital trail going and who is using that? Have you asked yourself about your credit card purchases or the use of your debit card? The bank has those records, all of them. Are they selling off that inventory of data to third party users with or without your consent? The answer is a resounding: Yes.
All of this, and much more not listed, is collected, measured and given a composite score to determine behavior, habits and attitudes. Do you know you are even giving a ranking in various industries least of which is the Federal government? Sadly, your student children are not exempt either.
Will acknowledgement of these facts of comprehensive surveillance affect your daily activity? Should they? Are you deterred from your normal course of business each day knowing that there is something/someone watching you, scoring you and even censoring you?
What about your emails? Do you have a free email account from say Google? Yikes, did you read the small print where you granted Gmail to scan your digital messages?
You have lost control of your own privacy and security. While changing passwords and adding layers of security to your home and devices, at least something if not everything is not protected against collection or hacks.
Do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy? Trotting over the Wikipedia, the expectation of privacy has many conditions and is challenged constantly in courts of law. We find that people have reasonable expectations of privacy in their home and a hotel and public places designed to insure privacy such as public restrooms or phone booths.
People do not have an expectation of privacy in other public places. For instance, you have no privacy rights with respect to the garbage can you place at the curb.
“Other examples include: pen registers that record the numbers dialed from particular telephones; conversations with others, though there could be a Sixth Amendment violation if the police send an individual to question a defendant who has already been formally charged; a person’s physical characteristics, such as voice and handwriting; what is observed pursuant to aerial surveillance that is conducted in public navigable airspace not using equipment that unreasonably enhances the surveying government official’s vision; anything in open fields (e.g., a barn); smells that can be detected by the use of a drug-sniffing dog during a routine traffic stop, even if the government official did not have probable cause or reasonable suspicion to suspect that drugs were present in the defendant’s vehicle; and paint scrapings on the outside of a vehicle. While a person may have a subjective expectation of privacy in his/her car, it is not always an objective one, unlike a person’s home.
So, did the FISA court really need to approve a surveillance warrant on Carter Page?
Perhaps not, or was it just a formality? Can and did the FBI and the Justice Department use feeble evidence on the warrant application? What kind of feeble evidence and or surveillance is being applied to you for purposes we may never be aware? There is a new kind of abuse going on in the United States and it is the collection of surveilled information on you.
Check your outrage, maybe that outrage needs to be wider and more comprehensive.
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