NSA Collects "Untargeted" Texts, Controls "Unconnected" Computers

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
NSA Collects "Untargeted" Texts, Controls "Unconnected" Computers

The NSA is collecting millions of text messages from innocent people and is using radio waves to control computers not connected to a network.

Every day, people wake up to find that the walls of the surveillance state seem taller than they were the day before. In truth, the walls have been this imposing for years, but the blueprints leaked by Edward Snowden reveal the dizzying height of the structure being built while we pay attention to other things.

On January 16, the British newspaper The Guardian published a new page of the blueprint, and the information printed on it is disturbing.

According to top-secret documents, the National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including a person's location, contact networks, and credit card details.

Investigators from The Guardian and Britain’s Channel 4 News discovered these details of the NSA’s dragnet surveillance practices during a search of documents provided by Edward Snowden.

Perhaps the most offensive word used in The Guardian report is “untargeted.” Untargeted is another way of saying unconstitutional, which is a word probably not heard very often at the NSA.

When the NSA casts its massive surveillance net into the sea of global electronic communication without having first identified a target and without first having established probable cause to believe that target is breaking the law, then the NSA violates the fundamental civil liberties of everyone caught in its snare.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is very clear:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Regardless of their arguments — and the opinions of secret courts that rubber stamp their petitions — the NSA may not legally collect and collate the text messages of millions of “untargeted” persons without at the same time violating the Fourth Amendment.

This is the very essence of tyranny and claims of “national security” remove neither the sting nor the seriousness of what is happening in our once-free Republic of laws.

So, why would the NSA want this immense trove of personal data? Reading the Snowden cache, The Guardian reports:

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