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The NSA’s spying on everyone’s metadata can tell them just about everything about us … and it violates our Constitutional right to freedom of association.

But people are getting distracted from the big picture by focusing on metadata.

As security expert Bruce Schneier wrote yesterday:

What frustrates me about all of this — [the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board] report, the president’s speech, and so many other things — is that they focus on the bulk collection of cell phone call records. There’s so much more bulk collection going on — phone calls, e-mails, address books, buddy lists, text messages, cell phone location data, financial documents, calendars, [smartphone apps] etc. — and we really need legislation and court opinions on it all. But because cell phone call records were the first disclosure, they’re what gets the attention.

Indeed, Schneier confirmed last October what we’ve been saying for years … don’t get too distracted by the details, because the government is spying on everything:

Honestly, I think the details matter less and less. We have to assume that the NSA has EVERYONE who uses electronic communications under CONSTANT surveillance. New details about hows and whys will continue to emerge …but the big picture will remain the same.

He’s right.

As just one example, there is substantial evidence from top NSA and FBI whistleblowers that the government is recording the content of our calls and emails … word-for-word.

So what should we make of the government’s denials that it records content?

Given that the government has been caught lying about spying again and again, I’m not sure how much weight we should give to such denials.

NSA whistleblower Russ Tice notes:

They’re collecting content … word-for-word.***

You can’t trust these people. They lie, and they lie a lot.

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