We have more ways to connect to the internet than ever before. People are sharing information and thoughts on social media sites at a skyrocketing pace. And Governments all around the world want access to it. Now the Obama administration wants the option to perform drone strikes in the US.
The question is, though as far fetched as it once may have been seen, could Googling or tweeting the wrong information lead to a drone strike?
The thought that Big Brother is watching you is no longer a myth held by 40 year old’s wearing tin foil hats and living in their parents basement. Countries the world over have moved to block, filter or try to gain access to their citizen’s internet use. And the US is no exception.
Just this week, Google released information stating that the FBI is “secretly spying” on some of it’s users. Well, kind of. Though they could not give out the exact number of times the FBI requested information about their user’s Google use, for national security reasons, they could give out a range.
From 2009-2012 Google was asked to reveal information on 0-999 users on anywhere from 1,000-2,999 accounts.
The range is on purpose, according to Richard Salgado, a Google legal director, “You’ll notice that we’re reporting numerical ranges rather than exact numbers. This is to address concerns raised by the FBI, Justice Department and other agencies that releasing exact numbers might reveal information about investigations. We plan to update these figures annually.”
(Google’s Policy on Government Data Requests can be found here)
And it is just not Google, multiple US government agencies want the ability to search your Social Media sites as well, as an FBI Request For Information states, to “quickly vet, identify and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats.“
This is obviously in an effort to crack down on terrorists that uses social media sites. But many are alarmed that this is an extension of warrantless wiretapping and an ever erosion of American privacy.
The problem does not stop there. This week, a letter from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the US could use drone strikes on US soil against US citizens!
Well, under extraordinary circumstances of course:
The Obama administration believes it could technically use military force to kill an American on U.S. soil in an “extraordinary circumstance” but has “no intention of doing so.”
So who gets to decide that the situation is extraordinary?
And US citizens being executed without warning or trial sounds a bit, well, un-American. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky thought so too as he and a group of fellow Senators from both parties performed a 13 hour filibuster last night challenging the President’s authority to kill Americans with drones.
“My legs hurt. My feet hurt. Everything hurts right now,” Paul told Fox News shortly after stepping off the Senate floor, saying he believes “we did the best that we could.”
“I would be surprised if we didn’t hear back from the White House,” Paul said.
So could an American be typing away on a social media site, safely in his suburban American home, and without warning be taken out by a drone strike?
One would have to think it is at least a possibility.
If the situation is extraordinary that is…