Google has revealed that the FBI is using “National Security Letters” to spy on its users.
National Security Letters are a form of surveillance that allows the government to mine data from telecommunication companies about their users, although they claim they cannot access the content of emails. Usually, the companies cannot even acknowledge that the requests for information have been made. The social network negotiated with the government to be able to reveal the spying, but not how many letters have been received.
According to a article at Fox News, the Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that “Of all the dangerous government surveillance powers that were expanded by the USA PATRIOT Act, the National Security Letter (NSL) power … is one of the most frightening and invasive.”
This is one of the many freedoms that The Patriot Act has taken away from people. The right to privacy has been seriously compromised in the name of national security, a catchphrase that has been used to monitor and control citizens of many governments in the past. Are the people so naive as to think that terrorists cannot devise ways to communicate in code or in other ways that the government cannot find by spying on Google and other social media accounts?
Google is to be commended for making as much knowledge about this secret spying public as the government would allow. Unfortunately, the only thing citizens can do other than protest loudly and publicly and with their votes is not to use the Internet, cellphones, or any other form of telecommunication. Unless one is willing to go completely off the grid, one cannot feel secure that the FBI is not spying, so be careful what you say online. Big Brother is watching you.