Email constitutes an enormous portion of internet communication today. Millions of people use free email accounts from Google, Yahoo! and AOL, yet most people don’t stop to think about how these accounts are subject to the NSA’s data mining.
While the government would undoubtedly have preferred that the now-infamous NSA leaks had not occurred, it likely was not as disturbing to them as some might have thought. Even though most people don’t like the idea of the NSA storing all of their communications, they likely aren’t going to stop using their email accounts. We have already built our lives around the use of the internet—especially Google, the world’s number one search engine.
For most people, not using email is neither practical nor realistic. Thus, despite the information revealed to us by the leaks, we are almost forced to continue using email, as it has become an integral part of our communication. We use email to communicate for work, for school and for pleasure.
Many people do not see the need to protect the privacy of their emails. They think, “I don’t care if the government reads my emails. I’m not doing anything wrong.” However, there are two big problems with this rationale. Anthony Randazzo, Director of Economic Research for the Reason Foundation, recently argued that you are probably doing something wrong and just don’t know it. The examples he gave included speeding laws, music downloaded over the internet, or online purchases that you haven’t paid taxes on. He went on to say that every American likely breaks the law at least once a week, if not every day. And it’s not only the computers that are scanning this information. Human beings are going through this information as well. This leads to the next flaw in this rationale.
Even if you truly aren’t doing anything wrong, there is another major problem with this kind of thinking. The NSA’s data mining program shows us that American citizens have all of their communication data stored, which means it can be searched at anytime. According to Will Cain, contributor to CNN and analyst for TheBlaze, when bureaucrats have access to such vast amounts of information, that gives them a massive amount of power over their constituents. Such information can be used for petty grievances, such as lying and cheating. This program gives the government too much power over American citizens, places them at the political whims of their masters and gives the government a tremendous capability to inflict punishment on any citizen who is critical or questioning of the government. Just look at the recent IRS targeting of tea party groups. This program places us on the path to a totalitarian government.
Our expectation of privacy used to extend to our emails, phone calls and text messages. But the NSA leaks have put an end to that. The NSA’s data mining is being done under the pretext that it is for our security.
So what is to be done? The Daily Runner recently published an article by Justin Haskins, contributor to the Daily Runner and Red Alert Politics, which highlighted email providers which are not subject to the NSA’s massive scanning, collection and storage as most email providers are.
The NSA’s data mining may have been the final death blow to privacy, but these companies are trying to revive it. If you value your freedom and privacy, I encourage you read Justin’s article and take advantage of one of the email providers, which will protect your privacy. Help to turn back the boat that continues to sail towards the iceberg of a totalitarian state. A free email account is not worth the tradeoff.