What could be more fundamental than this?

Sam Seaborn: It’s not just about abortion, it’s about the next 20 years. In the ’20s and ’30s it was the role of government. ’50s and ’60s it was civil rights. The next two decades are going to be privacy. I’m talking about the Internet. I’m talking about cell phones. I’m talking about health records and who’s gay and who’s not. And moreover, in a country born on the will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?

* NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily (2013-Jun-06) [The Guardian]
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April

* U.S. intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program (2013-Jun-06) [The Washington Post]
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.
The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.

* Verizon court order: telephone call metadata and what it can show (2013-Jun-07) [The Guardian]
When does mass data collection get personal? When it comes to the contents of our communications – what we say on the phone, or in emails – most people agree that’s private information, and so does US law and the constitution. But when it comes to who we speak to, and where we were when we did it, matters get far hazier.
That clash has been highlighted by a top secret court order obtained by the Guardian, which reveals the large-scale collection by the NSA of the call records of millions of Verizon customers, daily, since April.

* President Obama’s Dragnet (2013-Jun-07) [New York Times]
Within hours of the disclosure that the federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.

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