Meet Andy M. Boyle. He is a regular citizen, just like you or me.
In reaction to the increasing presence of that creepy old senile bastard Uncle Sam looking in on all our shit like an old pervert, he made a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for “all records that you have collected corresponding to my phone number.” The request was sent on June 25th and received/processed by the govt on July 8th.
Their response to Andy?
After a page which summarizes a bullshit rationale for why they are seeking out metadata without warrants, they said the following to Andy:
“To the extent that your request seeks any metadata/call detail records on you and /or any telephone numbers provided in your request, or seeks intelligence information on you, we cannot acknowledge the existence or non-existence of such metadata or call detail records pertaining to the telephone numbers you provided or based on your name.”
Soooo, Andy may or may not exist according to the govt.
This is where it gets hiiiiifuckinglarious..
“Any positive or negative response on a request-by-request basis would allow our adversaries to accumulate information and draw conclusions about NSA’s technical capabilities, sources, and methods… Therefore, your request is denied because the fact of the existence or non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly classified matter in accordance with Executive Order 13526.”
.. So in other words — if I understand the logic correctly — Andy’s records may or may not exist, but in the event of them actually existing the govt cannot release them to him because it may or may not aid the enemy/adversary. Andy’s phone record of his drunk dialing his ex-gf at booty o’clock tryin’ to get some may or may not help dudes that may or may not be doing jumping-jacks out in the middle of the deserts of Yemen and/or mountains of Tora Bora with 1980’s outdated Soviet-version Kalashnikov’s strapped over their shoulders screaming “death to the Great Satan.” … Makes sense.
I wonder if they can acknowledge the existence or non-existence of the Fourth fucking Amendment.
Let’s tease out the twisted logic of this request a bit more. Essentially, what the govt is saying is, you don’t exist or matter to them unless you are a terrorist, in which case then you WILL matter.. you’ll matter locked away in some brig without due process. All you get is a case number, some arbitrary number stowed away in cyberspace which says you either are being recorded/tracked or aren’t.
They can steal our information whenever they want but we can’t have it back, even when hard, tangible legislative documentation like FOIA is in place.Why is this such an issue? Why should regular everyday citizens, like you, me or Andy M. Boyle, care if the govt sifts through our shit IF we have nothing to hide??? If I have nothing to hide and am a law-abiding citizen, then why should I care?? This tired argument is used again and again. But they are not seeing the logical conclusion of such a precedent — they are not seeing the endgame: how can we hold reps accountable for their actions if they’re operating in the dark, behind closed doors?
People in positions of power, when given an all expenses paid, full range one-way mirror into anybody and everybody’s digital lives, will inevitably use that power for ill. And if they are using that power for ill without our knowledge, then we cease to live in a representative democracy.
<blockquote>It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority</blockquote>
~ Ben Franklin
In truth, we are too busy with our lives to see this far ahead in the game. Why are people not in the streets about Snowden’s disclosures? Because they can still get their Starbucks drink before and after work; because they still have their two-car garage and 1.5 kids; because they still have their SUV in their driveway with a half tank.. We are still too comfortable, too busy consuming products and services.