“It’s just the way we live”
Senator John McCain told a radio show recently that Americans should “accept” the notion that their private conversations are being recorded by the government, even in the privacy of their own homes.
McCain was asked by host Dan Patrick what his thoughts were on the Donald Sterling controversy, in particular the concept of private conversations being recorded and then released publicly. Sterling’s controversial remarks became public after his girlfriend V. Stiviano taped hundreds of hours of private discussions between the two.
“What about taping somebody in his own home, using that…..” asked Patrick.
“It’s the world we’re living in, you don’t like it, but everything I say I expect to be recorded,” McCain responded.“It’s just the way we live, Dan. It’s something you’ve got to accept. I don’t particularly like it, but it is what it is,” added the Senator, making reference to a recent poll which revealed that 53% of Americans believed their telephone conversations were being listened to.
McCain went on to remark that young people were naive about government surveillance of private communications because the country had forgotten the lessons of 9/11.
“We’re all grown people and we have to realize we live in the 21st century,” added McCain.
Though McCain denied that the NSA was listening to every telephone conversation in America, as former NSA employee turned whistleblower William Binney has emphasized on multiple occasions, the space required to store mere metadata and not actual content of conversations is minimal.
The reason the NSA is building huge data centers which cover 1.5 million square feet, like the facility in Bluffdale, Utah, is because the agency is storing actual content of phone calls, online chats and conversations.
Indeed, according to Binney, the NSA is analyzing conversations in real time and has a Google-style search capability for all our communications.
If Americans were aware of the level to which their supposedly private conversations were being monitored, they may be a lot less willing to “accept” such an intrusion, despite McCain’s attempt to couch the debate in the fatalistic notion that mass government surveillance is an inescapable inevitability.