Saturday, June 10, 2017

24.4 - Not Good News: Congressional reactionaries want to make Section 702 of FISA permanent

Not Good News: Congressional reactionaries want to make Section 702 of FISA permanent

It seems these days that, as I said earlier, no Good News goes unblighted by Not Good News, so speaking of privacy the reactionaries in Congress and the White House want to set in stone a law that essentially allows the NSA to spy on Americans.

The issue is Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. That section has a sunset provision, which means that it has to be renewed every few years. It is set to expire on December 31 unless Congress reauthorizes it.

The reactionaries want to make it permanent.

Why is this important? Because Section 702 is the provision that allows the NSA to sink its hooks directly into the infrastructure of ISPs and just suck up all the internet traffic passing through that point: email, Skype chats, videos, Facebook messages, web browsing history, anything and everything whether public or not and remember this includes the content. The purpose, we're told, is to enable the spooks to collect the digital communications of foreigners believed to be living overseas - but never Americans, oh no no no, and never inside the US, oh no no no.

See, the NSA is not supposed to "intentionally target any US citizen, any other US person, or anyone located within the United States." And of course, just like Brutus, all those at the NSA are honorable.

But even engaging in that fantasy, the words "intentionally" and "target" both have been given such wide and let's just call them "flexible" meanings that millions of internet records of millions of Americans are "unintentionally" swept up and catalogued.

But don't worry, the NSA insists it doesn't "collect" any records on Americans - until it turns out that in the NSA's version of English, a record isn't "collected" until an agent actually directly examines it. It can be gathered, indexed, and permanently stored, but it hasn't - yet - been "collected."

And now the gangsters in Congress and the White House want to make this a permanent feature of US law, relieving themselves even of the burden of the occasional charade of pretending to actually consider its wisdom.

I would call this a deal-breaker: If either of your Senators or your Rep votes for this, in fact if they do not actively oppose it, they do not deserve to be in office and I don't give a flying damn about "but look at the good they do on this other thing."

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