Via Mail & Guardian
Americans are shocked and outraged at revelations that their government is vacuuming up information about their phone conversations and internet browsing habits, but compared to South Africans, they have little to worry about.
According to exposés by the Guardian and Washington Post over the past week, the US government’s intelligence apparatus has “direct access” – or a close equivalent – to the systems of major internet service providers.
The National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters, stand accused of using that access in ways well beyond what is contemplated by the laws under which they operate.
As more details about the Prism programme have emerged, the seriousness of those concerns has been much disputed. But that has done little to stem the wave of outrage and political condemnation that has seriously shaken confidence in the entire administration of Barack Obama.
Americans, it seems, are not amused at the idea that their government can invade their communication privacy with neither due reason nor due process.
Which, as it happens, is very much the reality in South Africa.