So, you may have recently learned about a government spy-op called Prism. Basically, this the NSA is secretly monitoring and storing all of your online communications, as well as hundreds of millions of phone calls. Your reaction may have been "who gives a fuck?"

So, yes, the expectation of privacy is terribly naive. We're all dirty masturbating oversharers, no one cares about our 3AM chats, and apathy comes as easy as breathing. I, too, have responded to tasteless holocaust jokes with "I did nazi that coming." There are a lot of things to be outraged about, and didn't we all just freak out about SOPA or whatever? Hey, I'm not a terrorist, who cares. Fine.

But please keep your opinion to your goddamn self.

This is the government we're talking about. Google may trawl our emails, but google can't send us to prison. Have y'all never heard of COINTELPRO? Or the House Un-American Activities Committee? How about the brutal repression of Black Rights organizations? The infiltration of the anti-war movement? The crackdown on Gay activists?


Imagine if the government had had this tool during the labor movement. If they had intimite knowledge of every American's communication when they were building government databases of known and suspected homosexuals, and using that information to blackmail political opponents. Or when the FBI was conducting mass arrests of completely innocent communists.

With this sort of omnipresent survellience, would we have ever gotten gay rights? Or desegregation? Freedom of political affilliation? Legal interraccial marriage? Fuck, even the end of slavery or child labor? These are things that the government actively fought, that they rounded up people and threw them in jail for. The fourth amendment is one of the most important reedoms we have. It allows us to go about our civil and political lives in relative comfort. Without it, our democracy would literally not function. The threat of government action diminishes our freedom, and knowing every single thing you have ever said to anyone is incredibly threatening if you've ever disagreed with the powers that be.


Once we give up a right, it's hard as hell to get it back. Say in fifteen years we have an administration that decides that any known user of marijuana should be prohibited from working with children. Say you're running for office, and your opponent wants some dirt. Say you're an activist, fighting for immigrant's rights or environmeal justice, and the Paul Ryan administration wants you to shut the fuck up. How much of your private communication do you really want the government to have on file? All of it?

People have spent decades fighting for the rights you take for granted. Some of us are still fighting. And if the government had had this tool all along, a whole lot of us would be in prison, and a lot less progress would have been made.


So please, learn some fucking history. And stop being so goddamn selfish.