The end of privacy for the populace, the person of interest and the persecuted
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Erosion of US and foreign citizens’ privacy has resulted from the escalating use of electronic devices; creation of gargantuan commercial and government/intelligence databases; government access to business data; and the motivation and ever more sophisticated ability to mine and unaccountably use such information. After suffering the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the US government led the way in globally collecting and exploiting personal data. This ultimately required revisions to existing US law, as well as altered legal interpretations of constitutional protections for civil liberties. The overwhelming focus of US communications and electronic storage policy has been on offensive intelligence operations; collection has been enhanced partly by undermining cyber defense for companies and citizens. As with other business sectors, US medical information now is vulnerable to both criminal cyber-attack and government access. This article is authored by a former US intelligence community and national security professional with highly specialized proficiencies and experience at some of the top levels of intelligence oversight – where technical, operational, analytic, inter-agency, legislative, regulatory, legal and budget activities converge. Using unclassified and public sources, the author summarizes the types and breadth of US domestic collection and its distribution, the degree to which individuals’ privacy may be impinged, abuse of these powers, and effects on governance. Resulting US ability to spot and forestall pending domestic terror attacks - the rationale used to justify surveillance without end - is evaluated.
KeywordsPrivacy Data protection Surveillance Whistleblower National Security Agency NSA US civil liberties Terror attacks
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The author declares no conflict of interest.
There is no funding source for this article.
This article does not contain any data, or other information from studies or experimentation, with the involvement of human or animal subjects.
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