Country Fucked

• “We don’t know a lot about how the government spies on us, but we know some things. We know the FBI has issued tens of thousands of ultra-secret National Security Letters to collect all sorts of data on people — we believe on millions of people — and has been abusing them to spy on cloud-computer users. We know it can collect a wide array of personal data from the Internet without a warrant. We also know that the FBI has been intercepting cell-phone data, all but voice content, for the past 20 years without a warrant, and can use the microphone on some powered-off cell phones as a room bug — presumably only with a warrant…. The U.S. government is on a secrecy binge. It overclassifies more information than ever. And we learn, again and again, that our government regularly classifies things not because they need to be secret, but because their release would be embarrassing.”

• “The National Security Agency’s monitoring of Americans includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions.”

• “’They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type.’”

• “The government’s willingness to go after journalists’ e-mail and phone records without warning their news organizations — a practice that allows them to challenge the demand in court — appears to be increasing.”

• “’98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft; we need to make sure we don’t harm these sources.’”

• “Every year Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and a host of other companies, large and small, new and old, demand more and more data from us. Whether it’s Google aggressively lobbying to pad our already horrifying Search dossiers with social networking data and literally wearable computers, or Facebook transitioning from a service that doesn’t just host the information we consciously give it but rebroadcasts our actions for the world to see, the pattern is obvious to anyone who lives online: internet companies want to know everything, and often all they have to do is ask. What was less obvious to the average customer was that the government’s appetite for our data is at least as voracious Google’s and Facebook’s.”

• “The Senate on Thursday failed to pass two bills that would have blocked increases in federal student loan rates, which are set to double July 1.”