Oregon Senator Calls Out Government Surveillance

By Tom Bacon

We're long past 1984, the date in George Orwell's novel about a surveillance state in which Big Brother watches every move made by citizens in his realm.
But Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden fears Big Brother is no longer fictional.
In a talk before the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Wyden bluntly said that the country is going down a corrosive pathway now because, as he put it, the government's authority to collect information on law-abiding American citizens is essentially limitless.
Without new protective legislation, he said, the government can treat cell phones as a combination phone bug, listening device, location tracker and hidden camera.
So far in the revelations coming to light about the National Security Agency vacuuming of enormous volumes of communication data, there's been no indication that the government is collecting location data from cell phones.
But an ACLU technology specialist said, “If local law enforcement is getting location data, then you can bet that NSA is getting it too."
Wyden told his listeners that, “If we do not seize this unique moment in our constitutional history to reform our surveillance laws and practices, we are all going to live to regret it.”
He fears that an unchecked government could lead us to a surveillance state that cannot be reversed.
Wyden is a long-time defender of civil liberties and privacy.
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