Congress and Silicon Valley are shocked, just shocked at the extent of NSA surveillance they aided and abetted. The question is, do they mean it and will the deranged beast that is NSA be dismantled or is this just PR fluff for the masses?
Silicon Valley companies that have been cheerfully feeding NSA whatever data it wants now call for “greater openness in the surveillance process” which I assume means they’re a-ok with the surveillance so long as we know it’s happening. Apparently all those billionaires in companies that allowed the NSA in now worry that no one will trust them and that their business, especially overseas, will be damaged. I’d say public trust in them has evaporated and won’t be coming back any time soon. Their betrayal of trust has been huge and noxious.
But the Silicon Valley Internet firms that did sign did so because they are increasingly concerned that the N.S.A. controversy that erupted in the wake of Mr. Snowden’s disclosures could damage their credibility, particularly with customers overseas.
Still, there are a few hopeful signs.
Author of the Patriot Act Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) says NSA has hugely exceeded its authority and no one in Congress expected it would be collecting data on everyone in the US. Further, uner the current circumstances, there was no chance legislative authorization for NSA would be renewed when it expires in 2015.
Mr. Sensenbrenner interrupted James Cole, a deputy attorney general, to say, “Unless you realize you’ve got a problem, that is not going to be renewed.”
The real problem though is with telecom companies, who have been hugely compromised and are completely in bed with NSA.
While prominent Internet companies are pushing for fuller disclosure, some of the nation’s largest telecommunications firms were not willing to sign on, according to several people involved in the coalition. Some of those businesses have previously received legal immunity from Congress for their involvement with the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, and have close and longstanding ties to the N.S.A.
NSA apparently plays by about the same rules as the drug cartels, “our silver or our lead.”
Only one big telecom CEO refused to cave to the NSA … and he’s been in jail for 4 years.