Morning in America 2.0

When I was in elementary school, I was friends with a girl whose father was a minister at a very conservative Christian church, and, when we had a sleepover at her house on Saturday nights, I would go to church with her the next morning. And there was a lot of stuff that seemed strange to me, compared to my austere Lutheran church with its bare cross and formal baptismal font over which babies in pressed white gowns were delicately baptized. At her church, there was a giant tank full of murky water on the altar, beneath a cross bearing a naked hanging Christ with a tortured face, and adults would crawl into the tank and be submerged for their saving, while people shouted and wailed.

Their hymns were also very different from the stoic, Germanic, traditional hymns we sung every week. They were particularly fond of a hymn called "There's an Eye Watching You," about how God is always watching everything you do, judging you, assessing whether you are fit to join him in eternal glory or whether you should be consigned to eternal hellfire. At the top of that page in their hymnal, there was a creepy drawing of a giant eyeball with what were probably, upon reflection, supposed to be rays of light radiating from it, but what looked like scary alien deathbeams.

And every time I read about some new revelation about NSA surveillance programs, I think of that giant eyeball with its deadly laser beams.

There's an eye watching you! And that eye can see everything you're doing!
A secret surveillance system known as XKeyscore allows US intelligence to monitor "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet," according to leaked documents published on Wednesday.

Citing classified documents provided by fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, British daily the Guardian said the program was the most wide-reaching operated by the National Security Agency.

...XKeyscore allows US spies to monitor in real time the emails, web browsing, Internet searches, social media use and virtually all online activity of a target.

...Where XKeyscore appears to differ from other US surveillance programs that have already been revealed is that it can index and make searchable virtually any online activity.

"No other system performs this on raw unselected bulk traffic," the document boasts.

XKeyscore does not require an intelligence analyst to have a "strong selector" such as an email address to find his target — agents can work back from a general search to find an individual.
Neat! I mean, that just sounds like a great program which will definitely be carefully monitored by people who are deeply invested in transparency and accountability, and for sure does not sound at all like there's any capacity for rampant abuse. HA HA JUST KIDDING THE OPPOSITE OF ALL OF THAT.

I don't know what else I can say that I haven't been saying ever since the last president's warrantless wiretapping program was revealed. This is an invasive garbage nightmare, which will continue to be exponentially nightmarish unless and until there is ever sufficient political will to prioritize real freedoms over a false sense of security.

And as for the tired "I don't have anything to hide" refrain of apologists, the question is this: Can you be certain that every single person with whom you interact online can say the same...?

Anyway. This is terrible. Is the long and the short of it.

Welp, I guess this is as good a time as any to apologize to the NSA for all the talk about queefs and buttholes. SORRY.

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