In 1977, “The Archbishop’s Ceiling,” a play by the American playwright Arthur Miller, premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In the play, three friends seek to convince an Eastern European author to defect to the West. Having antagonized the repressive government of his Eastern European country, the author is in danger of imprisonment. Adding to the tension of the moment is the fact that the room in which the friends are conversing, a beautiful room in what once was an archbishop’s palace, is almost certainly being bugged by the secret police.
State surveillance is something we’d like to believe is restricted only to history (the East German Stasi) or to African or South American dictatorships, yet it is part of our contemporary reality here in America. In 2008, Americans learned of “Stellar Wind,” a secret NSA surveillance program instituted under President George W. Bush, and in 2013, Edward Snowden revealed to the world that the NSA is spying on everyone indiscriminately, including Americans.
But there’s some good news! Key provisions of the Patriot Act, including Section 215, which is frequently used to justify the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs, are set to expire on June 1, 2015. That’s less than 1 month from now. You can take action now to let Congress know how you feel about the fact that the NSA is able to read your emails and listen to your phone calls.
Take your privacy seriously. Your freedom is worth it.