You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Editorial: Americans in a dither over government spy program
About politics and other thingsJune 26, 2013 | 1,454 views | 3 comments
There are opposing theories about the current scandal involving the National Security Agency (NSA). One is that it may not be as bad as people fear -- or, it may be much worse.
Some claim that Edward Snowden is a hero -- a whistleblower who deserves protection -- while others mark him as a traitor who should be executed. I’m somewhere in between, still watching as events unfold.
A former government contractor, Snowden set off a firestorm when he released information about a secret government program called PRISM. He revealed that the U.S. government is spying on private American citizens for what he fears could be nefarious reasons. Snowden, who held a top-secret government clearance, has since fled the country, knowing that his life was at risk. He is facing criminal charges from the Justice Department, as it tries to figure out where he is and how it can get him back.
In the meantime, the official line is that by eavesdropping on private communications, the government is protecting us. It claims that, through this “spy” program, they have thwarted as many as 50 terrorist attacks, a claim that itself is being disputed.
Others claim that the government only looks at metadata and not real-time conversations. Either way, the idea that we are being spied upon by our government is a bit unnerving, especially in view of the fact that this administration has recently tapped into journalists’ telephone calls. We question what it might do next.
On the other hand, it seems to me, information sharing has been going on for a long time. The more technology increases, however, the more sophisticated the process. A close second to actual spying could be sharing our private information for commercial purposes. When our son was in high school, I felt slightly vulnerable because we suddenly found ourselves on the receiving end of solicitations geared toward high school seniors. At the same time, the Wilson County News was denied access to names and addresses of graduating seniors. As usual, money talks.
Long before my husband and I turned 50, we began getting invitations from AARP and, once we applied for Social Security, the health insurance companies began bombarding us with information. This process of “sharing” information has only accelerated. As soon as you order something online, ads from that company begin showing up on your Google searches. H-m-m-m. How did they know you were interested in that product?
Everyday Americans are having their information sold and/or shared for various reasons to commercial enterprises all the time. If all this “information sharing” is going on to that extent with nongovernmental entities, you can only imagine the amount of information that is available to the government.
Whether or not they “listen in” on our private conversations and read our communications, they certainly have access to a whole lot of information. Which brings to mind another question. If PRISM is such a powerful and effective tool, where was it when four Americans were killed in Benghazi? We can’t even find out what our president and his cabinet were doing that night.
And how is it that the Boston Marathon bomber was not caught except by a man going for a smoke in his back yard? Why is it that Major Nidal Hasan could not have been identified as a terror suspect before he killed 13 people at Fort Hood?
Every attack only brings renewed calls for tighter gun control on private citizens.I must be missing something. The long arm of the government has become all-powerful, making life and death decisions for people. It’s quite possible that the NSA scandal may be much worse than we’ll ever know.
Your Opinions and Comments
Publius Valerius Publicola
June 27, 2013 1:15pm
Share your comment or opinion on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Section A: General News Archives
Berger earns Ph.D. from Columbia University (May 18, 2016)
Brahma Happenings (May 18, 2016)
Burning body spurs murder investigation (May 18, 2016)
Can I negotiate? (May 18, 2016)
Court Update (May 18, 2016)
Editorial: Narrow views promote intellectual, moral dry rot (May 18, 2016)
Editorial: The political climate in America goes from bad to worse (May 18, 2016)
Falls City ISD’s new K-12 building almost complete (May 18, 2016)
Floresville parks master plan would relocate ball fields (May 18, 2016)
Floresville parks plan wins council approval (May 18, 2016)
Foundation awards $9K in grants (May 18, 2016)
Foundation opens health grant process (May 18, 2016)
Graco recalls booster seats (May 18, 2016)
Grass fires on the rise (May 18, 2016)
Letter: An open letter to Congress (May 18, 2016)
Letter: Illegal immigration: Who will laugh last? (May 18, 2016)
Letter: What Hispanic vote? (May 18, 2016)
Lone Star Greys to meet (May 18, 2016)
Meeting Watch: La Vernia City Council (May 18, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Poth ISD (May 18, 2016)
Police Blotter (May 18, 2016)
Police recover one of two stolen trucks (May 18, 2016)
Register for free watercolor lesson (May 18, 2016)
Stockdale campus to get upgrade soon (May 18, 2016)
Stockdale City Council approves electronic payment processing (May 18, 2016)
TAMU-SA matches student scholarships (May 18, 2016)
Time to make plans to attend Jubilee (May 18, 2016)
Want fire protection? Attend May 19 hearing (May 18, 2016)
Acme Gold Buyers marks fifth year in Floresville (May 11, 2016)
All Veterans Job Fair (May 11, 2016)
Cemetery group to meet (May 11, 2016)
Children’s Alliance enhances care services (May 11, 2016)
China Grove mayor, police chief trade barbs at meeting (May 11, 2016)
Commissioners lukewarm toward hot coffee at library (May 11, 2016)
Competency and integrity (May 11, 2016)
Court Update (May 11, 2016)
Coy to get Ranger Cross (May 11, 2016)
Cub Scout Roundup (May 11, 2016)
Donate blood in May (May 11, 2016)
Editor: Trump’s candidacy sets in motion affliction in future elections (May 11, 2016)
Editorial: The voters have spoken — well, some of them have! (May 11, 2016)
Former Sutherland Springs VFD considered as a substation (May 11, 2016)
Free caregivers class starts May 26 (May 11, 2016)
Information sought in Walmart theft (May 11, 2016)
Lack of super majority vote keeps Clean Water Rule flowing (May 11, 2016)
Leetter: The government is a terrible investor (May 11, 2016)
Letter: Injection well site is near river, creeks (May 11, 2016)
Letter: Stop being negative (May 11, 2016)
LV youths win new wheels at Bike Rodeo (May 11, 2016)
Meeting Watch: La Vernia ISD (May 11, 2016)
Mineral rights workshop set (May 11, 2016)
Miss LV Pageant, Bluebonnet Parade, graduation fill La Vernia calendar (May 11, 2016)
New Wilson County justice center nears completion (May 11, 2016)
Personalized brick for Veterans Memorial (May 11, 2016)
Police Blotter (May 11, 2016)
Precinct 3 primary runoff is May 24 (May 11, 2016)
Rangers to honor Lorenz (May 11, 2016)
Rohrs takes over Floresville athletics (May 11, 2016)
Tanneberger qualifies for Executive Club membership (May 11, 2016)
Voters respond: One bond passes, another fails (May 11, 2016)
Wednesday morning crash injures nine (May 11, 2016)
AACOG plans public meeting (May 4, 2016)
Accident injures two drivers (May 4, 2016)
AgriLife offers tips to protect from Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (May 4, 2016)
Behind the lens: Solitary stillness (May 4, 2016)
Celebration Mass June 12 (May 4, 2016)
Cemetery association meeting (May 4, 2016)
Condos are fine, but do your research (May 4, 2016)
Court Update (May 4, 2016)
Crime Stoppers aids police anonymously (May 4, 2016)
DA, DPS bust nets 86 charges (May 4, 2016)
Debate over citizens comments dominates Floresville council (May 4, 2016)
Dwellings At Home offers lodge, ranch furnishings, more (May 4, 2016)
Editorial: Overbearing city council threatens boards’ independence (May 4, 2016)
Editorial: Taking personal responsibility will bring possibilities (May 4, 2016)
Editorial: Trump is the same old song with one more verse (May 4, 2016)
FEDC tables recommendation of master parks plan (May 4, 2016)
FELPS tornado repair continues as FEMA help stalls (May 4, 2016)
Floresville Chamber Luncheon May 18 (May 4, 2016)
Hall of Fame inductees: Joe Kotwig, Malcolm and Beverly Talley (May 4, 2016)
Letter: Alamo Colleges: A bust for Floresville (May 4, 2016)
Local nursing homes plan Senior Olympics May 9-13 (May 4, 2016)
Look twice for motorcycle riders (May 4, 2016)
Lyssy’s vault earns gold, sets records! (May 4, 2016)
Medicaid, CHIP application assistance (May 4, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Wilson County Commissioners Court (May 4, 2016)
National Day of Prayer May 5 (May 4, 2016)
Police Blotter (May 4, 2016)
Ramirez promoted to colonel (May 4, 2016)
Reserve a seat for SA Tea Party (May 4, 2016)
Tanneberger tops in sales (May 4, 2016)
Treviño prepares to take reins of East Central athletics (May 4, 2016)