Shortly after Edward Snowden revealed the massive surveillance programs being run by the NSA we all were treated to speeches and claims that these programs were essential to national security. These claims further talked about the vital role the NSA plays in protecting the US from the bad guys around the world. Of course they never touched on the violations individual rights protected by the constitution, but that was such a small matter than they felt it was not important.
The fight for internet freedom, privacy and net neutrality has been a rough one. Over the past couple of years we have watched as a parade of laws have trotted past us. SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, and more have all shown us one certain thing; the powers that be have little to no regard for individual freedoms, free speech or the impact of restrictive laws on innovation, technology and the economy as a whole. However there was an underlying trend to these laws that disturbed us and many other privacy and right groups out there. The trend was a general trammeling of the right to free speech when it comes to any online sources; some would even say any source that had an opposing view point. Even the right to have protected sources was slowly being removed if you were an independent blogger (citizen journalist) and this effort is now being expanded.
Google has made the statement that users of Gmail not only have consented to any electronic snooping and scanning of their communication, but have no reasonable expectation that their mail will remain private anyway. The revelation comes through a brief filed by Google to dismiss a data-mining suit against them. In it they describe the act of sending email through their services as if you are handing your letter to someone else. They seem to forget that letters are processed by the post office (or other carrier) and during transit cannot legally be opened. This makes the analogy very inaccurate indeed.