Honorable Senator Feinstein,
After the the Snowden revelations about the NSA came to light, I wrote you as the Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to you to urge you to put a stop to NSA’s PRISM program.
I argued that these systems violated the constitution, American ideals, and human rights. From a practical and policy point of view, countries and companies do business with an American Intranet because it is trusted. America runs much of the root DNS and physical infrastructure. Recently, the U.N. resolved against an U.N. managed Intranet, because the world believed that that US could be trusted more than the U.N. with countries like China and Russia involved. Programs like PRISM jeopardizes world trust in American custodianship of the Internet.
As a child, I grew up terrified of Soviet police states and East German Stassi listening to everyone. Now I live with the shame of watching an American flee to Russia to protect his freedom and maybe even his life from our secret police and courts. I was saddened to see you call him a traitor without even a trial.
You responded to my email with promises that PRSIM was legal, never abused, and helped save lives.
“First, I understand your concerns and want to point out that by law, the government cannot listen to an American’s telephone calls or read their emails without a court warrant issued upon a showing of probable cause. ”
We know this to be false with today’s revelation of X-Keyscore (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/31/nsa-top-secret-program-online-data). Agents can listen to any call, any email, or almost anything; at anytime, without prior authorization.
It is also false because FISA gave a top secret ruling that allowed NSA to easedrop without a warrant (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/20/fisa-court-nsa-without-warrant).
Either you were mis-informed, or you were dishonest with me in your email. I would like to know which one it was. Either the NSA isn’t telling the truth to you, our Chairman of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, or you are not being honest with me.
There is no oversight. It goes well beyond “metadata.” It is not limited to just “terrorist.”
Once again, I urge you to not renew the Patriot Act. I urge you to stop the NSA’s secret programs to spy on Americans. I urge you to restore America’s custodianship of the Internet.
The Internet is the widest and most successful tool of democracy and freedom in all of history. For every terrorist you fear on the Internet, I assure you there are many more humanitarians, social workers, volunteers, students, and friends. Protect the Internet for them.
Protect America as a lighthouse in a world of fear. Democracy isn’t afraid of anything. Democracy is a faith in hope and the goodness of people. Democracy believes that if we protect the rights of the few and self-govern through conversation and compromise with each other; we can raise all people. Democracy is an open invitation to all who are willing to join this conversation in good faith and who are willing to share in the hope and labors.
I urge you to return to democracy and away from the fear and dishonesty.