David Fitzsimmons: Privacy, Prism, phone records: making (non)sense of NSA data-gathering

2013-06-15T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T10:49:18Z David Fitzsimmons: Privacy, Prism, phone records: making (non)sense of NSA data-gatheringDavid Fitzsimmons Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Edward Snowden looks like the kid behind the counter at Starbucks eyeing me right now. The one who wants to know what I'm writing on my laptop. Call me paranoid but I side with national security on this one. And if you do call me, remember the National Security Agency put a trace on it.

The NSA leaker story is an astonishing story about how amazing our economic recovery has been under Barack Obama. High school dropouts like Eddie are now earning $122,000 a year and vacationing in 5-star hotels in Hong Kong! That's enough money to get that mole on his neck fixed and still have change left over for a latte.

For those of you who aren't following this story closely because you aren't terrorists looking for tips, Snowden revealed the NSA knows when we're online, when we're sleeping, when we're awake and that we're all pretty indifferent about it, for goodness sake. Not only did Snowden give up classified information but he crossed the line when he leaked the script for the "Breaking Bad" finale.

When asked about this issue, 79 percent of American respondents believe NSA stands for National States of America. How stupid can people be? Everybody knows NSA stands for National Something or Other. Of those polled, 13 percent were on Facebook posting pictures of their cats yawning and 8 percent were on the phone with al-Qaida.

Americans couldn't care less about privacy.

And the tinfoil-hat crowd who keep rattling on about something called the Constitution. It's the document the NSA promises to read when it finishes reading your Verizon phone records. And I'll get around to Tolstoy's "War and Peace" just as soon as I finish reading the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Nothing is private anymore. Thank you, Anthony Weiner and Mother Teresa. Oh, you didn't know about Mother Teresa? Google it. You don't trust the Internet? I trust the Internet and our government as much as I trust Adam Sandler when he says his next movie will be intelligent and funny. Any time government officials say, "We're making every effort to be more transparent," we can see through their little ruse.

Would the government that wiretapped and threatened Martin Luther King Jr. spy on us today? That's about as likely to happen as the IRS being used to go after political enemies or the State Department lying to the U.N. about WMDs. That could never happen here. This country isn't some banana republic run by power-hungry apparatchiks with their talons in every corner of our private lives. It's a democratic republic run by power-hungry apparatchiks with their talons in every corner of our private lives.

Snowden said he turned because the surveillance program he was working for was an "existential threat to democracy." Snowden didn't graduate from high school because his conscience told him homework was an existential threat to kicking back. Then Snowden joined the Army and learned his drill sergeant was an existential threat to his ability to chill out. He bounced into a gig as a security guard at the NSA in Maryland where he was paid to be on the lookout for existential threats to the front door. Then he bounced into the CIA's "Bourne Identity" program and became what he's always longed to be: an existential threat to national security, eventually working for a cyber security subcontractor called Booz Allen Hamilton, a company that used to go by the name Budweiser Tron, where he stared at his computer like a cyber-zombie and dreamed of applying for asylum in "World of Warcraft."

The program he worked for is called Prism, which also is the name of the Xbox 360 game my kid has been begging for. I ordered it on Amazon and now I'm on a no-fly list. Thanks, CIA.

Think how the poor saps who pour over our phone and net data must feel. I'm overworked just listening to the voices in my head. Wading through the details of this story I have just one question: Can Obama speak directly to Verizon or is he put on hold like the rest of us?

Now the ALCU is suing the NSA because it isn't the BSA and we owe it all to an IT guy who sent out an FYI about the FBI and the CIA having TMI. If the NSA can help me find my wallet and eyeglasses ASAP I'll forgive it. And so will most of us. Hey Siri and GPS girl: Do you know my friend NSA? I can't find my car keys.

I have to go outside for my satellite pic now. Hey, NSA, should I go with shorts or long pants? Just kidding, NSA. You give me hope, NSA. You have your assets up millions of our ports yet you lost a dweeb in Hong Kong.

Email Star cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons at tooner@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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