[CORRECTED TIME: 2PM EST]
The New York Times revealed last week that the National Counterterrorism Center now has access to all data, not minimized for privacy in any way, that was authorized for collection via the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. That includes the phone metadata dragnet on all US calls, and much else besides.
Sounds legit? It really isn’t. This is why. NCTC provides an enormous amount of data to the now-80+ “fusion centers” around the country. These spy centers act as clearinghouses where federal and local law enforcement data meet; Massachusetts’ ones are run out of the Massachusetts State Police and the Boston PD. So what does this revelation – again, coming to us courtesy of Edward Snowden & Co. – mean? It means that local police forces across America, without a warrant or subpoena of any kind, are able to access what the NSA has on you – and, as we already know, they’re collecting everything they can on everyone. In consequence, the Fourth Amendment now only exists for you if law enforcement (a) isn’t that interested in you or (b) has everything it wants on you already. That’s not much of a “right” at all. It’s more of a trivially revocable privilege. Imagine: any time you get stopped by the police, for any reason, they can now provably access the last five years of, say, your movements by car and your phone communications.
So, Digital Fourth, the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, Restore The Fourth, and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, have teamed up to launch a series of nationwide “Shut Down The Spy Centers” protests. Be there or be scared!