NSA Mission Creep: It’s for the Children

It’s for the Children

In the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s, and numerous other credible whistleblowers‘ irrefutable revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies are capturing and indefinitely storing millions of innocent Americans’ phone calls, emails, internet transactions, and even movements and whereabouts at any given time—Apple and other tech companies are rightfully responding to their customers’ demands for enhanced encryption to protect their privacy rights.

The concept of rights is apparently unknown to the nation’s top attorney, who wants the government to continue to be able to capture, store, and peruse at its leisure your private emails, phone calls, photos, etc. In a speech last week:

U.S. attorney general Eric Holder said on Tuesday he was worried that attempts by technology companies to increase privacy protections were thwarting attempts to crack down on child exploitation.

Speaking at the biannual Global Alliance Conference Against Child Sexual Abuse Online in Washington, Holder warned that encryption and other privacy technologies are being used by sexual predators to create “more opportunities to entice trusting minors to share explicit images of themselves.”

“Recent technological advances have the potential to greatly embolden online criminals, providing new methods for abusers to avoid detection,” he said. “When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so.”

Government continually sets up strawmen boogie monsters to provide cover for violating our rights, and it’s time for us to act like adults, not scared little children who need the big strong men to keep us safe.

It’s not to protect us from “German [Japanese/Nazi/Communist] spies,” or “the War on Drugs” or “Terrorists who hate our freedoms,” or even “Sexual predators”: it’s for Big Brother.

Let’s just say No.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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