Here is a sobering illustration of how far we have slipped into the dystopia that is the American Police state. Under new rules drafted by the Obama administration, the NSA is allowed to share the raw data they 'incidentally' gather from American citizens with domestic law enforcement agencies. Domestic law enforcement agencies can take fruit of the poisonous tree and use parallel construction to prosecute ordinary criminals. And who are these ordinary criminals? Why it's you, and every other American citizen. There are 27,000 pages of federal criminal statutes and 10,000 pages of federal administrative regulations (keep in mind that this doesn't even include state and local laws). Even if you consider yourself a 'law abiding citizen', the chances are you have violated some of them. For instance, connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi network is a felony (according to the vague language of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act). Add to this the fact that the JTTF and FBI target specific political groups (e.g. Animal rights activists, anti-war protesters, anarchists etc), and we find us caught in the perfect storm.
This is nothing new of course. President Truman established the NSA in the early 1950's. They conducted a domestic surveillance program known as Operation Shamrock, a continuation of what the defunct Armed Forces Security Agency had stared after World War II, until 1975 when it was exposed by the Church Committee, and they worked in tandem with the FBI in project MINAERT, during the 1960's and 70's, which bears an eerie resemblance to todays 'terrorist watch lists.' We are not on the verge becoming a police state, we've been living in one for quite some time now; history is simply repeating itself under new guises.
"In PRISM collection, the government identifies the user accounts it wants to monitor and sends a ‘selector’—a specific communications facility, such as a target’s email address or telephone number—to the relevant communications service provider. A government directive then compels the communications service provider to give it communications sent to or from that selector. This type of surveillance, which intercepts ‘to/from’ communications, can result in the interception of communications with U.S. persons if the target happens to communicate with such a person."
- Former U.S. District (Eastern district of New York) Judge John Gleeson On February 18th 2016