Is [insert NSA covert surveillance program here] actually a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights?
Is there a reasonable expectation of privacy on the Internet?
Two interesting papers on NSA’s data collection:
“when an e-mail is transmitted over the Internet, it is broken apart like a puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle travels independently to a shared destination, where they converge and are reassembled. For this reason, interception equipment on a switch in the middle cannot grab only a target’s e-mail. Instead, the wiretapper has to make a copy of everything.”
“Americans are surveilled when they talk to foreign targets. The obvious case is international communications, where one of the parties is a target and the other is an American. However, this “incidental collection” is more extensive than one might think because of the very nature of the internet and the many different ways information is exchanged throughout it. For example, internet messages are commonly multi-user communications taking place in chat rooms and on social networks. If even one participant is foreign, communications from all the other people participating may be subject to section 702 collection. In other words, a single target can justify surveillance of tens or hundreds of other people, some of which may be US persons on US soil.”
NSA surveillance program code names: