(Justin Gardner) We already know the cost to freedom brought about by domestic spying. To add insult to injury, phone surveillance has become a multimillion-dollar business, with telecommunication giants reaping taxpayer money as they readily hand over your personal information.
The sickening version of supply and demand is made possible by the entrenchment of corporatism in America, coupled with a blaring disregard for law. As telecoms enjoy raking in your extorted money, they rest easy in the state’s guarantee of immunity, knowing that people have no recourse against the violation of Constitutional rights.
This latest information on financial dealings between agencies and telecoms appears to be from 2013, but we can only assume that these figures have increased since then.
The reason we have no more recent data is that it’s a secret. When the 2013 documents were leaked, exposing the hundreds of millions given to telecom companies, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a scathing letter calling the leak “reprehensible,” and said that its disclosure poses a risk to national security.
The average law enforcement telephone wiretap costs $50,000, which is put into context by the fact that Verizon alone gets 250,000 requests a year.
Verizon charges the government $775 for the first month, then $500 for each month after. At this rate, it stands to make almost $200 million a year just by saying yes to all of the wiretap requests.
With revenue like this, it’s no wonder that telecom companies never hesitated in joining with the surveillance state after 9/11.