U.S. surveillance is not aimed at terrorists

Leonid Bershidsky writes: The debate over the U.S. government’s monitoring of digital communications suggests that Americans are willing to allow it as long as it is genuinely targeted at terrorists. What they fail to realize is that the surveillance systems are best suited for gathering information on law-abiding citizens.

People concerned with online privacy tend to calm down when told that the government can record their calls or read their e-mail only under special circumstances and with proper court orders. The assumption is that they have nothing to worry about unless they are terrorists or correspond with the wrong people.

The infrastructure set up by the National Security Agency, however, may only be good for gathering information on the stupidest, lowest-ranking of terrorists. The Prism surveillance program focuses on access to the servers of America’s largest Internet companies, which support such popular services as Skype, Gmail and iCloud. These are not the services that truly dangerous elements typically use.

In a January 2012 report titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service drew a convincing picture of an Islamist Web underground centered around “core forums.” These websites are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the multitude of online resources not indexed by commonly used search engines. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “U.S. surveillance is not aimed at terrorists

  1. Norman

    How gullible the citizens of this country are on this subject. The government waves the “terrorist flag” to do what ever it deems the right to do, so that makes it O.K. by the public, because we live in a democracy and have civil rights guaranteed, right? Seems the Supreme Court has other ideas, but then, the court is on the public’s side, isn’t it, at least some of the public?

  2. La vérité

    As IF Stone said, ” Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed.” Sadly, our govt has become a “habitual” liar. Media having been complicit, have abdicated their responsibility to inform and educate the public.

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