Nov 3, 2012

I have recently read several articles that I could easily see feeding conspiracy theorists and sending them into a frenzy, The NSA is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center from Wired, and How Your Cellphone Lets the Government Track You from Tech News Daily.

The first article describes how in Utah the NSA is building a center which will be absorbing as much information from emails, phone calls, web sites visited, etc as possible and storing it.  The NSA was founded after Pearl Harbor, and has been the subject of controversy for years.  The Utah Data Center is no different. In the very near future, if it hasn't happened already, I can see those three words sending the conspiracy theorists as well as many other Americans into a panic.  The very thought of Big Brother taking the next step and being able to monitor almost all communications is breath-taking.

However, unless you are a sitting Senator with direct access to the POTUS and chair of an auditing committee, there's probably nothing you can actually do about this but accept it.  One argument against building such a site may be, "well, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about."  But, I can imagine that we all have some secrets or at least some dirty laundry that we'd rather anyone outside of our personal diaries, best friends, and pets not know, much less store on a huge hard drive ready to bring up and possibly be used against us.  You know, just in case you haven't paid your parking tickets and the NSA delivers that information to your local law enforcement agency.  Another argument may be, "INVASION OF PRIVACY!"  I add the caps not to denote my own thoughts or fears, but the vehemence at which such words might be spoken.  And yes, it may be an invasion of privacy, but potentially no more than someone eavesdropping on your phone call you're having while on your stylish bluetooth headset or looking over your shoulder while you're typing an email while sitting in the airport.

The second article goes on to describe how the US Government may potentially be using your phone's GPS to track your movements.  Again, those same two arguments apply.  But, say you do take a long lunch break and go to the local strip club, unbeknownst to your wife.  The US Government, NSA or otherwise, is not likely to turn that information over to your wife just in an effort to blackmail you into...what?

Looking at the potential good here is what we have to ask ourselves is worth the invasion of privacy, or other arguments.  If the NSA is able to use information to route out terrorist cells, whether they be the sterotypical type, or the militant group who just wants to vent their anger against what they believe is an unjust government, and protect the US citizens from danger, foreign or domestic, then I say it's worth it.

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