When I first learned about the National Security Agency's massive domestic spying operation, I immediately thought of a scene from Christopher Nolan's 2008 epic film The Dark Knight.
In the film, Gotham City is under assault from the Joker, a maniacal terrorist who will stop at nothing to drag the city into anarchy. To find this one man, Batman creates a tool to tap the cellphones of every person in town.
In real life, nearly 12 years after 9/11 we continue to live with the very real threat of terrorist attacks on American soil. But how much liberty are we willing to sacrifice at the altar of national security?
Under the PRISM program, exposed by leaker Edward Snowden, the NSA is directly tapping the servers of major American tech companies to extract audio, video, photos, emails, and other documents. While only foreign nationals are allegedly targeted, the program also scoops up data from innocent Americans which is stored and reviewed by NSA analysts —who need never obtain a proper search warrant to snoop on Americans.
Isn't this domestic spying a clear violation of our Fourth Amendment rights to protection against unreasonable search and seizure?
In response to these concerns, the U.S. government has basically said, "trust us" we know what we're doing. Yet when faced with a similar request from Bruce Wayne; his trusted adviser, Lucius Fox played by Morgan Freeman, threatens to quit Wayne Enterprises over Batman's private surveillance.
We may want to trust Batman, but this surveillance is too much power for any one man to hold.
However, at the end of the film, Batman listens to Freeman's character and the surveillance system is destroyed. After all, who can say no to Morgan Freeman? He's played God like five times.
Back in the real world once again, we have one federal agency being able to monitor and store all the digital communications of ordinary American citizens. This is simply too much power for our government to wield.
If you agree, there's a group of concerned citizens agitating this July 4 to restore our Fourth Amendment protections against rampant digital surveillance. I'll be there and you should too. Visit RestoreTheFourth.net to find and join a protest. Cape and cowl optional.