The provision of the Patriot Act that allowed the NSA to hoover up all the phone records in the country and store them at their facility in Utah has been allowed to expire.
That’s a good thing.
But it doesn’t mean we have our privacy back.
Even though the government will now have to return — over a six-month phaseout period — to the quaint practice of obtaining a warrant to get your phone records, we are still one of the most spied-upon nations on Earth.
It’s unclear at this point, thanks to “you have to pass it to know what’s in it” practices of Congress, but the new, so-called Freedom Act doesn’t seem to address the NSA’s collecting of the nation’s emails, which is the other nefarious practice the spy agency is engaged in.
It also won’t stop the Department of Justice from seeking a new order from its rubber stamp Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that will allow the NSA to resume phone records collection despite the bill signed by President Obama on Tuesday.
Then there are the spy drones being flown by the government over U.S. soil. Law enforcement will only admit to “limited” drone use, but the FAA has approved thousands of daily drone flights in the United States.
Not all of those are government drones. Amazon and hundreds of other businesses are experimenting with drone use for everything from delivery of products to scoping out real estate and construction sites.
But it would take only a request from law enforcement for those images of you sunbathing to be turned over for investigation. Plus, humans being humans, you can count on any “accidentally” recorded illegal activity to be handed to the police.
Then there’s the TSA gropefest at our nation’s airports, making airline passengers miserable and angry to virtually no benefit, according to a recent leaked internal memo.
And this doesn’t begin to touch upon security cameras in stores, malls and other public places, not to mention all the private installation of cameras, microphones and other gadgets all around us.
The Freedom Act may have temporarily stopped the NSA, but Big Brother is on the job.