Is my name on the list? Is yours?

“What I’m Thinking About” Wednesday
May 28, 2014

I saw this story come across my Facebook page this morning.  Glenn Greewald told the Times of London that the biggest bombshell of documents to be released by whistle-blower Edward Snowden will be a list of all the American citizens spied on by the NSA.  This could be quite eye-opening.

Glenn Greenwald is a journalist who I likely first heard of on Democracy Now!.  My appreciation and respect for him as a journalist rose after reading his book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, which I highly recommend reading if you haven’t.  It exposes the myth of our country adhering to the concept of the rule of law by exposing how the wealthy and powerful are not touched by the judicial system, however the 99%ers are overly prosecuted and imprisoned.  It’s about how money plays its role – both in keeping the wealthy out of trouble by passing laws that grant immunity and by keeping the poor down and imprisoned.  It starts with the pardoning of the “tough on crime” president Richard Nixon by Gerald Ford and moves forward through time to President Obama’s “we need to look forward, not backward” view towards the human rights abuses and war crimes of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Former senior member of the United States intelligence community, Edward Snowden, reached out to Greenwald, which began the gradual release of the 1.7 million documents Snowden had downloaded.

I’m a bit behind on this story, though Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man is on my to-read shelf (and Greenwald’s new book is on my wish list).  To me, people like Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are heroes.  Freedom and liberty are founded in the 4th Amendment of our Constitution.  These folks help blow the cover off the US intelligent community who thwart such liberty.

After reading the article, I got to thinking.  What if my name were on this list?

Pause, and think about that for a moment.  What if your name were on this list?

A lot of people will say, “well, I have nothing to hide,” but it doesn’t protect them from being spied upon.  I imagine that for someone who doesn’t even fathom that they could have been spied upon will feel violated if they discover otherwise.  Like when you walk into your home and find someone’s been there and has stolen your stuff.

How would I feel if my name were on the list?  The sarcastic side of me would almost be offended if I were not on the list.  I’m sure a chill would run down my spine.  But little else would change.  I wouldn’t change or hush my political beliefs, or stop support of protests and Occupy-like activity.  And if a class action law suit were to commence, I’d seek to be party to it.  I wonder, too, if I would file a FOIA request to find out what data they had collected on me.  And wouldn’t the results of that be mind-blowing?

How would you feel?  What would you do?

February 15, 2003.  Metro-Detroiters march with the world in protesting the United States planned invasion of Iraq.  Photo by Michael Kitchen.
February 15, 2003. Metro-Detroiters march with the world in protesting the United States planned invasion of Iraq. Photo by Michael Kitchen.

One thought on “Is my name on the list? Is yours?

  1. Hiding is not the same as privacy, a fact almost everyone who says “I have nothing to hide” forgets. You have nothing to hide? Great, show me your credit card numbers, your medical records, tell me your deepest secrets…. oh? I thought you had nothing to hide? Drives me crazy 😛

    Honestly, anyone who thinks their name isn’t on a list SOMEWHERE is lying to themselves. The government never shut down its wiretapping and everything you do on any electronic device can be gathered up at any time and held in a database somewhere for years upon years. Heck, the CIA has openly admitted that social media has made their job a billion times easier and that’s not from “spying”, that’s just from us stupidly posting things and going “oh well I didn’t want you to see that”… *facepalm* The government is wrong, sure, but I also place some of the blame on the “common user” for not taking even basic precautions and just using common sense. If you don’t want the world to know who you think is trashy this week, at the very least make sure your privacy settings are correct so your not posting publicly. If people can’t even take that first, basic step then it’s easy to see why the government feels they can get away with more and more.

    As for how big your “file” would be Mike, you should watch the documentary ‘Terms and Conditions May Apply’. The file shown is, if I remember correctly, one guy posting about weekly to Facebook for a year and how that information is shared and spread… it’s a stack of paper taller than a beer bottle. Much of it was redacted too so even having it means you don’t really have it.

    Ah well, I think I’ll go post some random search terms into Google and freak them out 😉 hehe

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