US /


Yes, NSA Spying Is a Big Deal
Your liberties are disappearing even if you haven't noticed, Elizabeth Goitein argues
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Aug 1, 2013 1:50 PM CDT
Hundreds of demonstrators protest against NSA surveillance during a rally in in Berlin, Germany, July 27, 2013.   (AP Photo/dpa, Wolfgang Kumm)

(Newser) – Half of America seems outraged by the NSA's surveillance activities. But the other half seems to be heeding Harry Reid's advice to "just calm down." A court approved this stuff, and Congress knew about it, so what's the big deal? "The most obvious answer is that these programs may be illegal," as they appear to violate even the Patriot Act's restrictions, argues Elizabeth Goitein at the Christian Science Monitor. But more importantly, they represent a threat to privacy and another step in "the quiet erosion of Americans' civil liberties."

That erosion has been happening rapidly ever since 9/11. Most Americans probably haven't noticed, but "that may be the problem. Free societies tend to take their freedom for granted. But our liberties do not derive from the innate trustworthiness of our elected representatives." They derive from institutional protections. Curtailing those must always be a conscious, solemn choice, not a "passive acquiescence to a secret expansion. When that choice is taken away from the citizenry, it is no occasion to 'calm down.'" Click for her full column.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Yes, NSA Spying Is a Big Deal is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 59 comments
Aug 3, 2013 12:05 AM CDT
Do you remember before the last election, the IRS targeting hundreds of tea party groups so Obama could get elected without the truth getting out? What's to keep the NSA from doing the same thing to groups of Americans? Sure, you can trust the government, just ask an American Indian.
Aug 2, 2013 12:34 PM CDT
I worked in a college computer lab in the early 90's when billboards began to get really popular due to Apple's hyperlink tech. My department head said one day that the internet was not a good thing because it was just too easy to for anyone to see what was being said on the billboards and look where we are now. The future is here and it is not looking good for what we have considered our rights and liberties. The NSA and now the cities getting ready to use drones to spy. I am very uneasy.
Aug 2, 2013 5:07 AM CDT
We the people, are the enemy they tried to convict Bradley Manning of aiding.