Should We Believe The NSA About Stopping Its Unconstitutional “About Searches”?

By Catherine J. Frompovich

Recently, the NSA announced it no longer will conduct “about searches” as part of its Upstream Surveillance.  That sounds great, but can we really believe them.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), who has filed lawsuits against NSA regarding the unconstitutional and warrantless searches it conducts, NSA’s statement is a win in the fight against surveillance, but more reforms still are needed.

So really, what freedom prize did citizens win?  Maybe it can be found in the parsing of words, so let’s go down what could end up being a semantics rabbit hole?

NSA no longer will conduct “about” searches of the full content of Internet communications, per the EFF’s 718th issue (May 19, 2017) of its newsletter “EFFector.” Okay, but there seems to be a technical ‘glitch’ or, as some would say, a “fly in the ointment.”   The Effector, I think, describes what I’m talking about when it says:

“About” searches are searches of online communications—including to and from innocent Americans—that the NSA runs after it intercepts and copies communications directly from the high-capacity cables that carry Internet traffic as a part of its Upstream program. The U.S. government has claimed these warrantless searches of Americans’ email are allowed under Section 702, enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act, which is set to expire at the end of the year.

While the NSA will continue to look through the “to” and “from” fields of communication to see if they contain any identifiers that the agency has determined are connected to foreign intelligence targets, they will no longer look through the body of those communications to see if they mention—or are “about”—these identifiers. Not only did the NSA stop these searches, the agency said it would delete the “vast majority” of the information it collected under Section 702 “to further protect the privacy of U.S. person communications.”

[CJF emphasis]

Even though the above information may be comforting to hear, can we believe the NSA? I ask.  To my way of thinking, a “leopard can’t change its spots,” so how can we expect the premiere federal government surveillance agency to stop surveilling U.S. citizens?  Their very ‘nature’ won’t allow them; they can’t and won’t, I offer.  Remember, it’s part of the FISA Amendments Act, even though that act contradicts and contravenes the U.S. Constitution, which somehow seems to be disregarded more and more, but tilted in favor of political left wing, politically-correct socialist memes, in my opinion.

However, the EFF is more optimistic and upbeat about the win from NSA when it says,

The NSA’s willingness to give up what it has described as a crucial tool as well as go back and delete communications it has already collected was a welcome but somewhat shocking development.

How can NSA’s continuing to surveil the “to” and “from” fields of all communications be considered a win?  What am I missing in the semantics game jockeying?  However, to EFF’s credit, it is suing the NSA (Jewel v. NSA) [1] “over ‘about’ searches and other privacy-invasive aspects of Upstream surveillance under Section 702,” so let’s see what the courts decide in the next move on the semantics game board.

The EFF is an activist-like organization, which I admire and agree with their mission.  They ask everyone to contact their respective members of Congress https://www.congress.gov/contact-us and tell them to “protect constituents’ privacy and let warrantless Upstream surveillance lapse when Section 702 sunsets at the end of the year.”

To learn more about EFF, a non-profit organization working to defend and protect our online rights to privacy and civil liberties in the digital world, you may want to access their website.  Here’s what I like about them, as published on their newsletter:

“Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged.”

Reference:

[1] https://www.eff.org/cases/jewel

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008)

Catherine’s NEW book: Eat To Beat Disease, Foods Medicinal Qualities ©2016 Catherine J Frompovich is now available

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