Thursday, May 11, 2006

Enemy of the State: A Documentary

In the 1998 movie Enemy of the State, when a lawyer (Will Smith) comes into evidence of a major crime, he has to go to a former spook (Gene Hackman) to escape from corrupt politicians and NSA agents. A good part of the movie shows how the NSA can track you anywhere, anytime, and through seemingly innocuous means.

Now it appears that the NSA's spying on American citizens is as bad or worse than what Hollywood dreamed up for the movie. If this story is true then the Federal government, in collusion with most of hte telcos, has created a Big Brother that the Nazis and Communists could only have fantasized about. Per the article, the NSA has created a database encompassing virtually all telephone calls in the United States which took place in the last few years. Bush claims that Americans' privacy rights are being respected and nobody has immediate access to personally identifieable information. I call bullshit on that.

If the database is as all-encompassing as described in the article it is one of the most horrendous threats to liberty every created. No government should ever know this much about its own citizens. Can you imagine what a true tyrant could do to control the citizenry given this information? Even if Bush and company are respecting individual privacy rights, what of a successor administration? Imagine what use megalomaniacs like Hillary Clinton or Charles Schumer would do with a database of this kind.

I'm going to cop a line from Jerry Pournelle: The tree of liberty is THIRSTY.

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