I have become really passionate about this idea that Americans today care less and less about their privacy. In this week’s On The Media podcast the issue of surveillance was addressed in the first two segments. The question is raised as to why the American public is not outraged by the NSA’s program, Upstream. This program has the ability to and actually does collect the personal digital conversations that we have. This is an invasion of privacy but no one seems to care enough to do anything.
To be clear, Upstream is supposed to be directed towards individuals who are not US citizens. I watched the documentary Citizenfour, on Edward Snowden, and was amazed at how the NSA flat out lied, denying that they do not collect, store or even look at the digital conversations of American citizens. How on earth could this be possible if all conversations of non-citizens are monitored. What happens when these individuals have conversations with people who are US citizens? These particular conversations are not protected.
Bob Garfield from On The Media exclaimed, “this is classic eavesdropping… why are there not villagers massing in the streets with flaming torches?” This is the issue that I am having with the American people! Why do most people not care? My theory is that people feel that this sort of invasion of privacy is inevitable. After 9/11 Homeland Security took drastic precautions to prevent future terrorist attacks and this sort of surveillance was one of them. We are serving our private lives up to the government on a platter.
Garfield goes further to mention a survey of the American people after the Snowden leaks and says that 2/3 of the population have done nothing to protect themselves from government invasion. I think that these people think that regardless of what they do, the government will always have access. Its situations like these, where the NSA is caught in a lie that lead people to not trust the word of the government. These lies cause the people to just not care and become a society on the verge of transparency. Which is exactly what the government would prefer.