Back in the 1950s and ’60s, when FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was convinced that a huge number of citizens were engaging in “un-American” activities, free-thinking friends of mine became very careful of what they said on the phone. Some even tried to disguise the titles of books and publications they bought.
In my book The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance (Seven Stories Press), I quoted Judith Grant, an associate professor of political science at the University of Southern California: “I now pause a moment before I write almost anything. I think about how a government official might read my writing if he or she were trying to build a completely unjustified case against me.”
Hoover is long gone, but now—thanks to mind-boggling technology—government surveillance has become more invasive than my nemesis could have imagined. Once Edward Snowden’s leaked documents began being publicized in June 2013, the colossal magnitude of the National Security Agency’s illegal snooping was revealed.