Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Columns

June 14, 2013

Are we all enemies of the state?

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Democratic Congressman John Conyers said, “It’s my fear that we are on the verge of becoming a surveillance state.”

On the verge of? We’re there. And Congress approved it.

That’s another argument being made against Snowden — that what the NSA has been doing has been approved by Congress and is thus OK.

I don’t buy that argument either. For one, many people in Congress are stating that PRISM goes above and beyond the scope of what they have authorized. And secondly, just because the government decides that it’s OK for the government to spy on its people doesn’t make it so.

The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable search and seizure, which is to say that unless specific reasoning is given and a warrant for said search is granted, the government needs to stay out of our stuff.

PRISM granted a blanket warrant to the government to search basically any digital means of communication we have. Not for specific people. Not for those thought to be terrorists. Everyone.

One of the founding principles of American government is that the government gets its power from the people and acts on those people’s behalf. The U.S. government exists because we say they should.

Where then does the U.S. government get the authority to spy on us — treating us all as though we’re the enemy?

And if the federal government has usurped its authority, so those in power still have a legitimate claim to that power?

Scott Leffler is probably being watched right now. If you can't find the secret webcam and still want to know what he's up to, follow him on Twitter @scottleffler.

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