Had to write a memo to government snoops:
As I write this, I am listening to “Maybe” by a pianist named Yiruma. He’s South Korean. That’s close to North Korea. Could be trouble.
Before that was a piece by Parov Stelar. He’s Austrian, you know, which means totally non-U.S.
I just checked email. Found a nasty comment about my latest newspaper column. You can find it on Google. This guy might be a domestic troublemaker. Watch him.
No, wait a minute. Google said it rebuffed your request for direct access to their servers. So did Apple and other partners in my online world.
Or did they? Their cleverly crafted disclaimers are ambiguous. So maybe you have access to my online output, or maybe not.
In a shadowy world where no one tells the truth, your prying eyes could be everywhere.
I will say right now that every article I write ends up stored in Dropbox. So if you can bully them into opening their vault, you will find the sort of treasure that makes snoops drool.
Oh, wait another minute. You say you aren’t the least interested in what U.S. citizens are doing online. Well, why did you ask for permission to snoop on me?
If I’m not your target, why are you dumpster-diving? Surely you have better things to do than spy on taxpayers who are actually working to make this a better country.
Oops, Yiruma is back, with “Kiss the Rain.” Is that an anagram for “I skin hearts”? Whoa, snooper dudes!
Gmail alert: here comes trouble! A newsletter called the “Candle.” Surely that signals something terrible — you know, fire, flames, and all that. It’s from a Presbyterian church. We know about those Presbyterians, don’t we?
I’ll be checking Facebook soon. In fact, I’ll do it right now to help you along. OMG! Louisiana legislators shooting rubber bands. A Jewish web site. OM-double-G! A same-sex marriage. And another lesbian couple casing out Union Station in Washington. Well, maybe just posing for a picture. You never know. Run it through your snooping algorithm.
I know Twitter denied you. Tough. Again trying to be helpful, I just checked my Twitter feed, and I can’t say you are missing anything. No sign of free speech that is over-the-top. Just folks being folks. You can relax.
I should thank you, I suppose, for creating a “Surveillance State” to keep me safe from enemies. Wouldn’t Senator Joe McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover love to have had the electronic snooping tools that you have?
But you know something. I don’t feel the least bit safer knowing that you are scanning billions of cell phone logs, email accounts and computer files. You were scanning before, when actual enemies did awful things, and you missed them, not because of inadequate data, but because snoop agencies don’t cooperate with each other.
Instead, you are undermining the civil liberties that make the United States of America what it is. You are subverting an Internet economy by forcing key players to betray their own customers. You are encouraging lawmakers, judges and the president to side with you, further tarnishing their legitimacy in public eyes.
That’s a trifecta: tarnishing all three branches of government, undermining the economy, and betraying citizens. All in the name of keeping us safe. We should talk about it. You know my number.
YS/LEM END EHRICH