Is this politically motivated surveillance like was done to James Rosen, Sharyl Attkisson, or the AP? Is it because we have millions of unvetted immigrants both legal and illegal that we need a surveillance state to at least try to keep us safe? Or have the law schools, infected with radicalized leftists, simply produced judges and lawyers who have no regard for the 4th Amendment or the Constitution as Justice Scalia said?
Whatever the reason is, Democrats sure were critical of government surveillance while Bush was president, so naturally they increased it illegally and exponentially while Obama was president, as revealed by Ed Snowden.
In Northern Virginia, electronic-surveillance requests increased 500 percent in the past five years, from 305 in 2011 to a pace set to pass 1,800 this year.
Only one of the total 4,113 applications in those five years had been unsealed as of late July, according to information from the Alexandria division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which covers northern Virginia. Kaufman’s group obtained the Northern Virginia data in July and shared it with The Washington Post.
The federal court for the District of Columbia had 235 requests in 2012, made by the local U.S. attorney’s office. By 2013, requests in the District had climbed 240 percent, to about 564, according to information released by the court’s chief judge and clerk.
Three of the 235 applications from 2012 have been unsealed.
AT&T spying on Americans for profit…
Hemisphere is a secretive program run by AT&T that searches trillions of call records and analyzes cellular data to determine where a target is located, with whom he speaks, and potentially why.
“Merritt was in a position to access the cellular telephone tower northeast of the McStay family gravesite on February 6th, 2010, two days after the family disappeared,” an affidavit for his girlfriend’s call records reports Hemisphere finding (PDF). Merritt was arrested almost a year to the date after the McStay family’s remains were discovered, and is awaiting trial for the murders.
In 2013, Hemisphere was revealed by The New York Times and described only within a Powerpoint presentation made by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Times described it as a “partnership” between AT&T and the U.S. government; the Justice Department said it was an essential, and prudently deployed, counter-narcotics tool.
However, AT&T’s own documentation—reported here by The Daily Beast for the first time—shows Hemisphere was used far beyond the war on drugs to include everything from investigations of homicide to Medicaid fraud.
Hemisphere isn’t a “partnership” but rather a product AT&T developed, marketed, and sold at a cost of millions of dollars per year to taxpayers. No warrant is required to make use of the company’s massive trove of data, according to AT&T documents, only a promise from law enforcement to not disclose Hemisphere if an investigation using it becomes public.
While telecommunications companies are legally obligated to hand over records, AT&T appears to have gone much further to make the enterprise profitable, according to ACLU technology policy analyst Christopher Soghoian.