Google is giving its users a reason to believe them in regards to the information they disclosed to the NSA. According to the Washington Post Google has filed a legal petition to allows them to notify the public when the government requests information from their massive systems.
Their argument is based on the first amendment right to free speech, which makes sense since corporations have been ruled people in areas such as campaign finance.
In the petition, Google is seeking permission to publish the total numbers of requests the court makes of the company and the numbers of user accounts they affect. The company long has made regular reports with regard to other data demands from the U.S. government and from other governments worldwide.
The debate swirls as to whether or not the safety offered by the NSA’s PRISM program is worth the trade-off of personal freedom and rights; this is especially disturbing if domestic citizens are being targeted. It begs the question: when were the American people asked to make that trade, was there a vote? Was it debated in the last Presidential cycle even as PRISM was apparently operating? Where is the proof that ALL elected representatives were a part of this decision, giving the American people at least some impression that Democracy still rules in the land of the free?
It is not so much what is being done, but the manner by which is being conducted, as if Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches were making war-time decisions with war-time power. Yet, even as dangers persists as they always have and always will, we are trying to shut down wars not start news ones. The American system of checks and balances is supposed to ensure that this sort of exercising of power is done in a way that maintains the trust of the people who give power to the government. PRISM might very well be necessary, but so is the Constitution.
The debate is still out on these new corporate giants like Facebook and Google, will they defend people who helped them give rise to power or will they abuse power like so many other have done in the past. For one day at least, the U.S. government is being challenged to a fight, with another heavy weight contender, who may very well be the people’s champion if they are able to protect the first amendment rights that we hold so dear.
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