Google and Facebook say, “Not us!”
In the wake of the bombshell news that our federal government is monitoring everything – and I do mean everything we type, text and say – Google and Facebook were quick to deny their involvement in a program in which our government has plugged into and collected emails, videos, photographs and other data in a classified program known as PRISM via the servers of nine technology companies.
Google’s Larry Page, CEO and David Drummond, Chief Legal Officer, blogged: “First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government – or any other government – direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a ‘back door’ to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday. … Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law.”
At Facebook, The Hill reported that founder Mark Zuckerberg has denied that his company gave the government direct access to its servers.
“Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the U.S. or any other government direct access to our servers,” Zuckerberg posted at his Facebook account. “We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn’t even heard of PRISM before yesterday.”
Verizon customers: We all have Obamaphones now
Really? Reacting to the news that the long reach of the Obama Administration through the National Security Agency has been collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers through a top secret court order requiring the carrier to hand over all call data, even “Internet inventor” Al Gore pitched a Twitter fit.
Which begs the question: Is Verizon still advertising for its “Share Everything” plan?
One tweeter posted, “I do think #ShareEverything might be the hashtag of choice for the Verizon story :)”
All over Twitter, mockery:
And a sobering thought, excerpted from a posted Facebook essay by Dave Perkins, who wondered aloud if Obama supporters are concerned: “This is Stalinism. If you don’t know how Stalin did it, read your history. I promise you, nothing but bad news awaits anyone who opposes the sitting government, or the party of the sitting bureaucracy, when they have this much access to the conduct of your personal life. … The left used to protest against this kind of tyrannical behavior. Now, crickets. They used to be dead set on ‘bringing down the Man,’ ‘speaking truth to power.’ Now, the left IS power. They ARE the Man. … Any true liberals still out there to protest against them? Anyone? … Stalin’s back. Or worse. Stalin never had computers, to keep databases or analyze them for patterns.”
Fortunately, John Nolte found a pony in the manure pile, tweeting, “Well the bright side of a media letting Obama & Verizon run amok is that they saved us from electing a guy who put a dog on his car roof.”
IRS: Tea for two, but not for you
The Twitchy Team asks its readers, “Do you remember when the IRS asked you for receipts to prove that expenses you’d written off on your taxes were genuine, and you replied, ‘I can’t find them,’ and then they said, ‘That’s OK, just forget about it’? Neither do we.”
“IRS demand colonoscopy of conserv groups but has no records on $4 million conference. Image when they run healthcare,” tweets a Washington Post columnist.
Tweeted Fox News’ anchor Martha MacCallum, “After 2010 midterms were over many asked: Where has the tea party gone? Now we know.”
Sarah defends the innocent … again
Sarah Palin took to her Facebook page last week to call out Obama-appointed bureaucrats who serve on Obamacare death panels.
The situation, described by one popular blogger as a “portrait of a bureaucratic nightmare,” prompted Palin to speak out against the controversial decision handed down by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to deny a 10-year-old child with cystic fibrosis an adult lung transplant.
Palin wrote: “The government will bend the rules left and right to harass targeted taxpayers, conservative patriots, selected journalists, etc., but it will strictly exercise inconsistent and subjective rules to deny a child a shot at life. And they called us liars when we spoke of ‘death panels’ – faceless bureaucrats coming between you and your doctor to make life and death decisions about a loved one’s survival. It doesn’t sound so far fetched anymore, does it?”
Her comments were shared by more than 6,000 others, and ‘liked’ by well over 20,000 more.
Related: Resulting hateful Twitter comments aimed at Palin.
Are bloggers covered by First Amendment protection?
Thomas Jefferson said freedom of the press is owning one. A more contemporary citizen noted, “When the 1st refers to ‘freedom of the press,’ it is talking about the right to publish. It is not creating super-citizens, aka journalists.”
But Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is drafting a bipartisan media shield law in response to the Associated Press/Justice Department subpoena scandal, has some questions as to who should be covered by it.
“You can sit in your mother’s basement and chat away, I don’t care,” Graham said. “But when you start talking about classified programs, that’s when it gets to be important. So, if classified information is leaked out on a personal website or [by] some blogger, do they have the same First Amendments rights as somebody who gets paid [in] traditional journalism?”
Graham would have the Department of Justice make that distinction. But wouldn’t a federal media shield law be an unconstitutional infringement on the First Amendment as it would cede power to the Justice Department to determine who is a federally recognized journalist? And wouldn’t that create an elite pool of reporters? And don’t you already have First Amendment protection of free speech if you are a citizen?
So, what’s the point of this? Perhaps those are the questions the honorable gentleman from South Carolina should be asking?