There are two different, but intimately related, stories that broke this week: the first was the news that the NSA, through a secret court established by the PATRIOT Act, has been collecting metadata about Americans' phone calls -- both foreign and domestic. The second was the news that the NSA and the FBI have been running a program called PRISM that has involved the agencies "tapping directly" into the servers of tech behemoths like Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft. (While The Guardian and Washington Post may have broken the stories, both scoops have been confirmed by other news agencies.)
So, all in all, what are we to make of all this? Given that we've had hints and full reports about the government surveillance of our communications for years now, how much of this week's news is, actually, news?
Below are some stories to get you caught up on all the chaos. (Think of it like a primer for the course that is Government Surveillance 101.) Click the links, or import the entire list to your mobile reading device of choice for a portable ebook. And if there are any pieces of essential reading that we've left out, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll add them in.
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