We have extensively documented that the U.S. government is trampling virtually every single Constitutional right set forth in the Bill of Rights.
One of the few rights which we thought the government still respects is the the 3rd Amendment, which prohibits the government forcing people to house troops:
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
But security expert Jacob Appelbaum notes that the NSA may be digitally violating the 3rd Amendment.
By way of background, this week Appelbaum was the main force behind an expose in Spiegel – and gave a must-watch talk – on the NSA’s systemic offensive programs to commandeer computers and computer systems, phone connections and phone systems, and communications networks of all types.
Appelbaum shows that the NSA has literally taken over our computer and our phones, physically intercepting laptop shipments and installing bugware before themselves shipping the laptop on to the consumer, installing special hardware that overcomes all attempts, including “air gaps” (i.e. keep a computer unplugged from the Internet). Appelbaum also notes that spyware can suck up a lot of system resources on a computer or smartphone.
And he says this is the digital equivalent of soldiers being stationed in our houses against our will:
The parallel might not be as far-fetched as it may seem at first …
The NSA itself says that it’s in the middle of a massive cyber war. As such, malware, physical spying devices and offensive internet workarounds are literally the main troops in the NSA’s offensive cyber army.
Quartering meant that Colonial Americans had:
- No control over when the British troops came and went
- No say in what resources they consumed
Similarly, mass NSA spying means that modern day Americans have:
- No control over when military presence comes or goes from our computer and phones (NSA is part of the Department of Defense)
- No say in what resources the spies suck up (remember, Applebaum says that spying can use a lot of resources and harm performance)
Colonial Americans lost the quiet use and enjoyment of their homes. Modern Americans are losing the quiet use and enjoyment of our digital homes because the NSA is stationing digital “troops” inside our computers and phones.
Just as the Colonists’ homes were no longer theirs … our computers and phones are no longer ours.