What we read while the government spying- NEVERMIND EVERYTHING’S FINE!
- So you may have heard about a few government leaks last weak, including a court order to Verizon for millions of phone records of American citizens, a program called PRISM that allows the NSA to monitor computer activity, and a government order of possible targets for a cyber attack. They caused a bit of a kerfuffle: Though elected representatives think anything goes when it comes to terrorism, many citizens for some reason think the ability to monitor who calls whom, when, and from where might be a breach of privacy and not just troubling but even “obscenely outrageous,” since it is exactly what a totalitarian dictator would want. David Simon, who wrote a whole television series about government surveillance, thinks we should have seen this all coming.
- The Internet companies implicated in the leaked documents rushed to issue denials, though they were carefully worded and other evidence points to their complicity. The result is a massive surveillance system built by Bush and Obama that spans the entire globe. In a quirk of timing, Julian Assange had just penned an attack on Google’s stated “Don’t Be Evil” mission. Meanwhile, the claims that these programs save lives seem dubious.
- All of this only underscores the importance of whistleblowers in this era of government secrecy. The hero who leaked all this information actually came forward: His name is Edward Snowden (“There, there”) and, though he will likely face extreme punishment if he is not granted asylum, he felt the public’s right to know trumped his personal well-being.
- Speaking of invasions of privacy, the MLB is looking to suspend up to 20 players based on the dubious evidence obtained in the investigation of Biogenesis. Why baseball continues to go so vigilantly after suspected steroid users is a little puzzling, but probably has to do with Bud Selig’s concern for his own legacy. And it’s important to remember that not everyone involved is as hated as A-Rod.
- An absolutely crushing story from Eli Saslow on mourning in Newtown.
- This week in oral histories: The sexual history of the UCB Theatre. And did ESPN kill oral histories with this instant oral history of Tony Parker’s shot at the end of Game 1 of the NBA Finals?
- Everything you need to know about Pretty Little Liars in advance of Tuesday’s season premiere.