Josh Sager – June 2013
Just last week, a report by the Washington Post confirmed that our domestic surveillance agencies—DHS, FBI, NSA, etc.—have been tapping into the internet and recording virtually all online activities for a significant portion of the American population. The documents provided by the Washington Post confirms that multiple internet companies, including Google and Microsoft, have granted a federal program referred to as PRISM access to our private data.
Under the PRISM program, all of our data, including videos, documents, audio files, metadata, internet histories, Skype calls, emails, and instant messages, gets archived by federal spying agencies and analyzed for potential threats to national security.
With their ability to data-mine millions of Americans, domestic surveillance agencies have dramatically overstepped their constitutional limitations and have trampled over our rights. We are constantly being watched online and, unless we do something, online privacy will eventually wither and die.
Given the situation, we can assume that anything that we post onto or send through the internet could potentially end up on the computer screen of an analyst for one of our federal domestic surveillance groups.
I, for one, think that this situation calls for immediate action and protest by all concerned Americans. Fortunately, the spying activities of our government have granted concerned citizens an interesting, novel and very easy method of registering our grievance: we can simply distribute a letter condemning the actions of the government in a way that is likely to draw the attention of the program that we are protesting. If the government is actually engaged in this attack on our privacy, they will receive our letter, but, if they are innocent, they will not even know that this protest exists.
Please read the following letter and digitally resend it, along with an explanation of why it is being sent, to people in your email directories—if possible, I would also ask you to repost it on your blogs and through your social media accounts (or just the link to my post, if posting the entire letter is impossible). Hopefully, if enough people resend this letter, it will find its way through the very program that we are protesting, to the people who are running this domestic spying program (thousands of reposts of the same combination of flagged words most certainly would trigger any keyword search utilized to index the data collected under this program).
The more people who resend/repost this letter, the more likely it is that this method of protest will work. Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedules to copy/paste the letter onto the digital media of your choice. Thank you.
P.S. Don’t worry about drawing the attention of the federal government by resending this letter, as it is likely that you are already one of the people who is having your data collected anyways.
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Dear Mr./Mrs. Domestic Surveillance Analyst,
In June of 2013, it was confirmed by documents leaked by the Washington Post, that the US intelligence community—you—has utilized the internet trunk line to create massive archives of American citizens’ online data.
If you are looking at the following email, it is likely because the following list of potential keywords led you to intercept it as a suspect communication in one of the above-mentioned massive information dragnets: Obama, Al Qaida, Terrorism, Bomb, Jihad, September 11th, Washington, Occupy Wall Street, Wikileaks, Drones, Islam, FEMA, NSA, CIA, FBI, DHS, Anthrax, Ricin, Militia, NDAA.
Please, rest assured that this list of words is simply an exaggerated attempt at drawing the attention of any potential data-mining program and is not a threat to national security—in fact, the purpose of this communication is to alert you to a grave threat to our country’s long-term health.
This grave threat, of course, is your agency’s evisceration of constitutionally protected privacy rights. By utilizing the constitutionally-sketchy FISA court to obtain unconstitutionally vague warrants, aimed at capturing the digital data of huge portion of the US population, you are participating in a serious assault on the 4th Amendment to our constitution.
If you are a little hazy on how your actions are currently violating this constitutional protection, here is the actual text of the 4th Amendment:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
What part of your hugely broad, nation-wide domestic surveillance program could possibly be considered constitutional under this Amendment?
The warrants that are used to justify your activities target millions of Americans at a time, without any probable cause or reasonable assumption that any specific individual is actually committing an act of terrorism—letting you search every internet user’s private data (as you are now doing to mine) based upon such a broad warrant is EXACTLY what the founders were terrified of and it is why they made the 4th Amendment so specific about the requirements of a warrant.
At best, the activities that you are engaged in are half a step above warrantless intrusions on private data and there is no real justification for such an unconstitutional program to exist.
I don’t know about you, but I love the United States and find your agency’s attack on our founding principles to be both disgusting and a greater threat than terrorism. Terrorists may occasionally destroy a building and kill Americans, which is truly tragic, but they have no ability to destroy our country’s principles—that ability lies with those who we elect and is one that your bosses are currently exercising to great effect.
Please, stand up to your bosses about the unconstitutional and immoral domestic spying program that has you reading the private documents of patriotic Americans and corroding the very country that you would claim to be protecting.
The American citizen whom you are spying upon
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