As the larger part of American culture seems ready to surrender its claim to privacy without question, organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation are riding like Paul Revere through the digital Massachusetts night.
The Senate is moving to renew the soon-to-expire 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which authorized the U.S. government to monitor American citizens’ emails and telephone calls without a warrant. Former National Security Agency Director William Binney has warned that its vast data mining program, which operates under the amendments, could “create an Orwellian state.”
Following Thursday’s announcement that Congress had passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, there were some who weren’t willing to take the news sitting down. In fact, Congress’ capitulation sparked a legal response from the ACLU and The Nation magazine and two of its key contributors—Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein—in the form of a lawsuit.