Questions we should be asking about NSA spying

This post was written by marc on June 18, 2013
Posted Under: Letters to the Editor

 

Congress is asking the wrong questions. I think if they really want to know what’s going on they would give Snowden immunity and bring him back and get him to tell Congress what’s really going on. But short of that, here’s what I would be asking if I were on the committee.

 

  1.  We now know you are getting information for the cell phone companies and major IT companies ike Microsoft, Apple, and Google. Are you also getting information from the banks? And if you are, are you accumulating a database of credit card purchases?
  2. Do you have the ability to include NSA code into operating system updates that would create a back door for the NSA to collect keystrokes, activate the microphone or cameras, read the file system, or modify the operating systems of Windows and mac computers or Windows, iPhones and Android phones?
  3. If you have an NSA back door into our computers and cell phones, what do you have in place to prevent China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Anonymous, or Al Quada from discovering the back door?
  4. If the NSA databases were hacked by China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Anonymous, or Al Quada, what would the security implications be?
  5. Since Edward Snowden had the access he had, what is the security implications for an evil Snowden who was selling this information on the black market rather that trying to protect America (rightly or wrongly) from itself?
  6. With an operation this large did you have any reasonable expectation it would remain secret? If not Snowden wasn’t it just a matter of time before we found out for someone else?
  7. Wouldn’t it be better to give Snowden immunity and bring him back here rather than risk that he be captured by an enemy and forced to reveal what he knows to an enemy?
  8. Because the NSA has extracted this data and is keeping it outside the source companies, doesn’t that increase the security risks and exposure of sensitive information?
  9. Isn’t our position that there are 2 kinds of people in the world, Americans and foreigners, and insult to 96% of the world’s population? Does this not cause them to respect us less and have no respect for our privacy when we have no respect for theirs?
  10. Does our spying set a world wide precedent whereby other countries will have the green light to spy on us because we spy on them? Doesn’t this put the whole world at risk?
  11. Assuming it was inevitable that this spying would eventually become public, doesn’t it put America in greater danger by alienating the rest of the world because we are spying on them? Isn’t this just the same argument as the torture argument, that we increase the number of enemies more than we prevent attacks? Isn’t this just going to be another terrorist recruiting tool?
  12. When you tell us that you are lying to us for our own good then why should we believe anything you say?
  13. Don’t laws that undermine and nullify the constitution, even if it’s for our own safety, make us a nation that is no longer under the rule of law? That secret courts and secret warrants making secret law make us no longer America?
  14. The secret NSA court orders require companies to lie to the public about what information they are giving to the NSA. If these companies tell the truth they are punished. What the government requires its citizens to lie and punishes the truth, how is that not an Orwellian society?
  15. What America lies to the world and we have secret courts that require citizens and corporations to lie, doesn’t that weaken America as a world power? Doesn’t that send a message to the world that we are not to be trusted?
  16. Doesn’t the appearance that we are taking the same kind of steps that one would take towards becoming an Orwellian society create at least an apparent threat to the world and undermine our international relations?
  17. With this kind of information is there not an opportunity for criminals, companies, or our enemies to blackmail our elected officials? For example, Senator Vitter is tracked using his smart phone GPS to 5 hotels. One could search for all smart phones in his vicinity to determine what women were with him at the same time and cross reference them based on how often these women frequent hotels in these areas to determine if he is seeing prostitutes again. And that this won’t be revealed as long as he supports some cause – such as NSA spying? How do we know this isn’t already happening?
  18. Doesn’t the NSA already effectively have a gun owner’s database? For example, if someone joins the NRA with their credit card online, buys ammo at Walmart with a debit card, and has his smart phone with GPS in his pocket while going to a gun club or firing range, don’t we know that are a gun owner? And because of their GPS phone, don’t we also know where they are so we can pick them up at any time?
  19. If we see government misconduct, like we find a CIA torture camp, and we want to report it to th press, doesn’t the fact that the NSA has the news media’s phones and email tapped discourage whistle blowers from reporting things that need to get out into the press to protect democracy? Doesn’t this threaten free speech?
  20. Since this kind of technology can be used to create an Orwellian society, what safeguards do you have to make sure that doesn’t happen? Have you considered this possibility and fully explored the ramifications?
  21. Taking all of the above questions into consideration, how do you repair the trust we should have in our government and how to we assure the “foreigners” that we are going to respect their rights as citizens of the planet?

YES – please copy these questions and post them all over the internet. Feel free to add to the list.

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