The last thing our society needs is having another government agency be granted even more oversight. This is especially true if that agency is none other than the NSA. For some reason, the US Senate has voted to end debate on expanding the NSA’s surveillance authority even further. The debate in question was rather one-sided, and the “but terrorism” argument was seemingly sufficient to persuade legislators. This is anything but a positive development for anyone on this planet.
More Surveillance Authority for the NSA
The bill in question doesn’t bode well for American citizens. Nor is it good news for anyone else on the planet, as the NSA conducts mass surveillance on a very large scale these days. The government agency was granted significant surveillance power decades ago, and it seems things have only gotten worse over time. This week, the US Senate moved a step closer to giving the NSA the right to spy on all American citizens in a virtually limitless and warrantless manner, which is shocking.
However, no one is really surprised to see things end this way. The motion needed 60 votes in favor to pass, and it came down to the wire. With 99 votes to be cast, it became a rather nail-biting experience when the “no” camp acquired a total of 39 votes. It came down to the final vote by Senator Claire McCaskill, who voted in favor of the NSA. She may very well become the one person responsible for all future warrantless NSA spying conducted on US soil, which is not something to be particularly proud of.
Surveillance programs are not primarily designed to keep citizens safe, but rather to spy on everyone and everything. Granted, these programs are worth their weight in gold when a terrorist attack is successfully prevented. However, that does not weigh up against the millions of hours the NSA can spy on every single US citizen with neither a warrant nor a reason to do so. Very few people believe the NSA will not abuse its new powers at some point, which is only understandable.
On paper, the US Senate had the power to reign in the NSA and do something about its mass surveillance tactics. In the end, it decided against doing so, as senators seemingly would prefer that the NSA continue spying on everyone in the name of national security. It is evident this situation will probably never improve for the better, and it is very difficult to argue against such surveillance and achieve any sort of result. It is a very problematic development, yet fewer people are paying attention to these things because they assume the NSA is already keeping an eye on their every move.
Thankfully, this vote is not the final hurdle to overcome. It does prevent anyone from filing arguments or introducing amendments, which is not a good sign. The final vote regarding this surveillance “renewal” will take place very soon, but it is unlikely that a different outcome should be expected. Once the bill is signed by President Trump, there is no going back until the surveillance program comes back up for renewal in ten years. How this will affect America as a nation is anybody’s guess right now.
Mass surveillance is a topic of substantial debate among activists and citizens who demand that their rights be respected. Unfortunately, those are not the people who get paid the big money to make weighty decisions such as this one. Instead, that privilege remains beholden to the 100 politicians who make up the US Senate. With the NSA now officially in full control, things will only get more worrisome from here on out.