There's been a lot of speculation floating around that the National Security Agency has been listening in on the switches and servers of the nation's big telecomm companies without necessarily having legal authority to do so. The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently filed suit against the Federal Government after a former AT&T employee came forward with internal documents and claims of a secret room in AT&T's San Francisco office. The room allegedly contains advanced monitoring equipment which has been patched directly into AT&T's network -- a network responsible for making up part of the overall infrastructure of the Internet. This would give the NSA access to seemingly endless amounts of voice and data communications passing through AT&T, all without the warrants which must accompany wiretap requests. The former employee had this to say:
"Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of this administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA's spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA's charter or with FISA," Klein's wrote. "And unlike the controversy over targeted wiretaps of individuals' phone calls, this potential spying appears to be applied wholesale to all sorts of internet communications of countless citizens."
Even if the NSA has nothing but good intentions to stomp out terrorism, which we'll assume is the case, fishing expeditions like this invade everyone's privacy. Our laws protect us from these sorts of loosely defined blanket searches for whatever comes up. Government agencies are required to request certain information, not sift through whatever they can get their hands on. I understand that secrecy is an important component to tracking terrorism, but as long as their activities are taking place on US soil, the NSA, FBI, CIA and everyone else should be beholden to our laws. Freedom or Security - what do you think?
Wired News: Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room