On Democracy Now!'s Monday headlines, Amy Goodman reported on the WSJ disclosure about Internet surveillance in Iran being aided by Siemen's and Nokia. Later that afternoon NPR had a far more detailed report on the same topic. All in all, nothing wrong with that - but I couldn't help thinking there was something familiar about the ominous technology described in the report:
"It involves the insertion of hardware into the flow of online data, allowing Tehran to search each and every digital packet of information for keywords."Somewhere in my memory I could have sworn that there was another government somewhere that engaged in the unlawful surveillance of "the contents of all the electronic voice and data communications" passing through AT&T. Well, dang, if it wasn't my own government rooting around in our Internet and phone traffic! As the link to the ABC blog indicates, the story broke way back in May of 2006 and offered some startling and (dare I say) ominous details that seemed awfully similar to what the Iranian government is now doing. Given that this was in our own country and clearly was in violation of existing surveillance laws, surely NPR was on it right away. The source of the May 2006 story was whistleblower, Mark Klein. Let's see when NPR got around to bringing him on: November 7, 2007 - not bad, just under a year and a half!
There seems to be an interesting prioritizing system at work at NPR: if it's a story indicating criminal behavior by the US Government against its citizens - that goes in the Ho Hum We'll Get Around to it Eventually queue, but if the story reflects poorly on a State Department approved enemy, it zips right to the front of the line. However, if the story reflects really badly on Uncle Sam - as whistleblower Russell Tice's allegations do, that Get Around to it Eventually queue can actually end up being Never At All.