Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday warned the United States could face an Orwellian future if it didn’t reign in expansive domestic counterterrorism operations.
Sanders told MSNBC host Chris Hayes that former CIA employee Edward Snowden showed that “virtually every phone call in the United States is now on record, on file with the United States government.” In addition the PRISM program showed that “the websites that we access, the emails that we use, may also be on file.”
“The question is: What does freedom and liberty mean in the United States of America? What does our Constitution mean? What kind of country do we want to be? Are we comfortable with knowing that so much of what we do in our private, person lives is in somebody’s file in the United States government?” the democratic socialist added. “Kids will grow up knowing that every damn thing that they do is going to be recorded some place in a file, and I think that will have a very Orwellian and very inhibiting impact on the way we live our lives.”
In particular, Sanders said that Congress should narrow Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The section allows federal authorities to collect “any tangible things” that could be relevant to a counterterrorism investigation, so long as it is approved by a secret court. Sander said the government should be required to have probable cause to conduct surveillance on Americans rather than a “blank check.”
But the government isn’t the only entity that Americans should be worried about, Sanders noted. Private companies were also deeply engaged in the surveillance game, though for marketing and advertising purposes rather than counterterrorism.
“The world has changed, technology has changed, and we have got to figure out a way to protect basic American rights in the middle of this technological revolution,” Sanders remarked.
Watch video, courtesy of MSNBC, below: