There is a very big discussion concerning your right to privacy in the Electronic Age, and the average American has no clue they are even being watched. Here are a couple of issues at hand.
Representatives from NBC, Microsoft, several digital filtering companies and telecom giant AT&T said the time was right to start filtering for copyrighted content at the network level.
E-Mail Surveillance Renews Concerns in Congress.
Well for starters, every time you send an e-mail, attach a file, or request a page or content on the internet, you do it through your ISP. ISP’s like Cablevision or Verizon provide you with access to the net. You pay to use the servers. Filtering searches for bits of code. Like a ‘copyright’. Or in the case of the NSA, an algorithm is used to find the unusual. It reads and interprets them. Copyright holders will pay big bucks to let ISP’s look for their content. The Feds will subpoena for it, and in the end, every e-mail, attachment or file will be read.
What could that possible mean to me?
Its exactly like the post office opening each and every letter looking for a copyrighted picture or a tape, or a note to Kendall Myers. If the ISP’s ’find’ a problem, they may refuse to send it. Or they may invoke a TOS case. Or they may rat you out unless you get sanitized.
Some people feel filtering is a conspiracy; a way for ISP’s to monetize their monopoly position via a racket. Ooops, our filters caught too much Twitter traffic today, and since Twitter is not our partner, were going to slow down or deny page loads. Oops, you didn’t pay a premium, you can’t embed pictures in your e-mail. You can do these things on the fly if you monitor every packet.
Someone checking each and every file on the internet in hopes of finding someone who MAY be trading a copyrighted file or is involved in a terrorist act would be invasive, to say the least. We better make it the law that at the minimum, filtering of data must be an approved act, subject to the same principals as snail mail, and we better do it soon.
Under the surveillance program, before the N.S.A. can target and monitor the e-mail messages or telephone calls of Americans suspected of having links to international terrorism, it must get permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Supporters of the agency say that in using computers to sweep up millions of electronic messages, it is unavoidable that some innocent discussions of Americans will be examined. Intelligence operators are supposed to filter those out, but critics say the agency is not rigorous enough in doing so.
The rising concern among some members of Congress about the N.S.A.’s recent operation are raising fresh questions about the spy agency. All we can do is implore our local Representatives to control who can open and read our e-mail. Laws need to be written to protect our privacy, and they need to be written now.