Members of the United States Congress are patting themselves on the back for having passed a bill called the USA Freedom Act which, in theory, is designed to stop the National Security Agency (NSA) from continuing its mass collection of innocent American citizens’ personal data.
That would be great news if it were actually true, but the bill is so riddled with loopholes and unclear provisions that many see it as accomplishing precisely nothing in terms of restoring privacy rights to the American public.
As Trevor Timm at BoingBoing.net wrote:
[T]he bill is also woefully inadequate and largely symbolic, and Congress would’ve been better off letting Section 215 of the Patriot Act expire permanently. …
[I]ts provisions are vague and confusing, leading many legal experts to believe they could be re-interpreted in secret—by NSA lawyers with a history of warping the common definitions of ordinary words beyond recognition—and could lead the FISA court to continue to allow the NSA to collect large quantities of Americans’ data in secret. (The administration will shamefully now re-start the phone program that expired on Monday for six months, as allowed under the new law’s “transition” period.)
So, essentially nothing has changed yet, and likely nothing will really change even after the six-month “transition” period.
And if that comes a surprise to anyone, it shouldn’t. It’s just more of the double-speak our that government has been using for many years, particularly during the current administration’s tenure.
Other government lies
It’s become so bad that it’s a safer bet to believe the exact opposite of whatever the government says.
A few examples:
When Congress held a hearing last year regarding the supposed “safety and effectiveness” of vaccines, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director Dr. Anne Schuchat, M.D., lied under oath, falsely claiming that there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism and several other physical and mental disorders.
That is simply not the truth. There have been numerous scientific studies linking vaccines with autism, mental illness, brain damage, autoimmune deficiencies and more. There have also been many cases in which the families of those diagnosed with vaccine-related autism were awarded settlements after lawsuits were filed in courts.
Or how about the government’s labeling of marijuana as being more dangerous and less therapeutic than heroin, meth or crack cocaine?
In fact, almost all drugs – including those that are legal – pose greater threats to individual health and/or society than does marijuana. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 46,000 people die each year from alcohol-induced deaths (not including motor vehicle fatalities where alcohol impairment was a contributing factor), such as overdose and cirrhosis. Similarly, more than 440,000 premature deaths annually are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is non-toxic and cannot cause death by overdose.
The federal government still refuses to respect the initiatives which have re-legalized marijuana in several states — initiatives that have consistently proven that when marijuana is legalized, citizens benefit from measurable lower crime rates and an increase of tax revenues. So once again, the government is telling us the complete opposite of the truth.
Can we believe anything They tell us?
Our government has lied to us about false threats abroad, giving itself an excuse to murder innocent people in many countries. The government lied to us about Ebola and a long list of issues that just goes on and on…
In short, the government has lied to us about almost everything.
So if you believe that this latest U.S. government fabrication regarding the NSA and our privacy rights being restored, I would wager that you just haven’t been paying attention. And don’t forget that, if it weren’t for Edward Snowden and other courageous whistleblowers, you still wouldn’t even know what the NSA has been (and will continue to be) doing all along.