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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

From Hobbes To Your Cell: Hail the Surveillance State - by Danny Schechter

 Attention, chickens: You may soon be coming home to roost.
 
The word has gone out in the windowless buildings that house the switching equipment, and state of the art technology—in what used to be called phone companies before they morphed into communication giants—that a day of reckoning may be on the horizon for Verizon and its mates.
 
These chickens have been clucking at each other and gobbling each other up for years, silently reestablishing the old monopoly Bell System under the guise of new competitive guidelines. Private industries are once again putting together what the federal courts tore asunder. Oligopoly seems to be the highest expression of "free" market logic and its logical consequence.
 
At issue now are historically unprecedented and massive violations of privacy that we learned about from a rare occurrence: a newspaper actually doing its job. USA Today of all papers, blew the whistle on a massive government surveillance program run by the National Insecurity Agency tapping millions of phones, cell phones and every manner of communications devices.
 
It's called "data mining" and it's now the scandal du jour as National Security journalist William Arkin explains, "This NSA dominated program of ingestion, digestion, and distribution of intelligence raises profound questions about the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans."
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