USA / activists, worried about his policies Trump!
Privacy activists around the world have expressed fear over the prospect of Donald Trump becoming the President of the United States and having control over the vast US surveillance network, controlled by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Many were critical of Barack Obama’s lax attitude over the NSA, whose surveillance network was exposed by Edward Snowden. Snowden himself said he was not concerned about a deal made by Trump for his extradition and did not care for his personal safety. If he did, he said wouldn’t have leaked the top-secret information that compromised US security.
Snowden is wanted in the US under the Espionage Act. His is on an asylum in Russia, but his visa will expire in July 2017.
Privacy activists and human rights activists are already freaking out over Trump’s Presidency. Nick Merrill, of the Calyx Institute said, “There have been some people who were complacent about things like drone killing of US civilians and mass surveillance under Obama, because they trusted him. That wilful neglect on their part is about to come back and possibly bite all of us in the ass.”
Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union, who is Snowden’s lawyer said: “The danger of the aggregation of executive power we have seen over the last decade is that we might have an executive who is not worthy of that trust. This has been a trend in the US but there has been a weakening of constitutional oversight during the growth of the national security state. I think many Americans are waking up to the fact we have created a presidency that is too powerful.”
John Napier Tye, a top state department, who turned a whistleblower in 2014, said that the NSA would now become a force to reckon with, and would be encouraged by Trump to hold nothing back: “Obama and Bush could have set the best possible privacy protections in place, but the trouble is, it’s all set by executive order, not statute.”
“So Trump could revise the executive order as he pleases. And since it’s all done in secret, unless you have someone willing to break the law to tell you that it happened, it’s not clear the public will ever learn it did. Consider that even now, the American people still do not know how much data on US persons the NSA actually collects,” he added.
Thomas Drake, who is one of the oldest NSA whistleblowers said: “The electronic infrastructure is fully in place – and ex post facto legalised by Congress and executive orders – and ripe for further abuse under an autocratic, power-obsessed president. History is just not kind here. Trump leans quite autocratic. The temptations to use secret NSA surveillance powers, some still not fully revealed, will present themselves to him as sirens.”
Muslim activists such as Farhana Khera of the US-based civil rights group Muslim Advocates are worried that Trump would collect a database of Muslims in the United States. Ms. Khera said, “A grave concern we have is that his rhetoric is going to be perceived in some corners as a green light for unfettered surveillance activities. Our concern is not just about the NSA but also the FBI. The FBI doesn’t exactly have a great record over the last 15 years.”
Author: Raghav Hegde – India