An Open Letter to Congressman Tim Johnson, IL-15

layout: post published: false Date: 2011-03-21 Tags:

posterous_url: posterous_slug: an-open-letter-to-congressman-tim-johnson-il

I'm not much of a letter writer... but I encourage everyone to write
their own reps about this one.

Dear Mr. Johnson,

It has been revealed in open court that the National Security Agency
and AT&T have installed a fiber-optic splitter at the AT&T facility in
San Francisco.  This splitter provides copies of all emails, web
browsing, and other Internet traffic which pass over AT&T's network to
the NSA.  (U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Class
Action Case No. C-06-0672-VRW; Tash Hepting, Gregory Hicks, Carolyn
Jewel, and Erik Knutzen On Behalf of Themselves and All Others
Similarly Situated vs AT&T.

The existence of such a device is in itself egregious.  The usage of
this device to copy all traffic is an unprecedented intrusion into the
private communications of American citizens.  Not only is this
surveillance not authorized by any warrant, it is carried out in such
a manner that the vast majority of the people whose communications are
tapped must be innocent of any crime.  Even if it were likely that
terrorists were among AT&T's subscribers--and it is not--this kind of
wholesale, bulk surveillance is both unnecessary and ridiculous.

Nor is this only a matter for AT&T's customers.  By the nature of the
Internet, almost everyone's traffic will pass through their network at
one time or another--even even that one hub in San Francisco.

As a Republican, I am sure that you are sympathetic to the idea that
government powers may be abused.  Even if this capability were
guaranteed to be used only for defense, I would be suspicious; but
neither this Administration nor any likely future one can be trusted
to hold such sweeping surveillance powers without abuse.  The idea of
wielding the powers of the NSA for political purposes is terrifying.

As an American citizen, I hope that the Congress of the United States
will take action to correct this action and punish those responsible.
As a resident of your district, I have a right to know what your views
on this issue are, and what action you will take.

I look forward to your reply.

Adam DeConinck