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Prophetic 2004 ACLU Video Warned About Government Data Collection

Nine years ago this video seemed like a conspiracy theory parody.

by
Paula Bolyard

Bio

January 22, 2014 - 3:17 pm

Pizza Order   YouTube

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden wasn’t the first to warn about the dangers of the government spying on American citizens through massive data collection programs.  Several groups, including the ACLU, have been banging the drum about the  issues of data privacy for many years.

The passage of the Patriot Act in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 gave many Americans cause for concern about surveillance procedures used by the government to spy on potential terrorists — techniques that threaten to infringe upon the privacy of American citizens who have committed no crimes.

In 2004 the ACLU released a humourous video (it was originally a flash feature on their website) based loosely on an internet joke about privacy in the future. The script follows a guy just trying to order a pizza on his way home from work. Unfortunately for him, in Future World, ordering a simple “Double Meat Special” is a daunting, expensive task.

There will be a new $20.00 charge for this, sir. The system tells me that your medical records indicate that you have high blood pressure and extremely high cholesterol. Luckily, we have a new agreement with your national health care provider that allows us to sell you double meat pies as longs as you agree to waive all future claims of liability. You can sign the form when we deliver, but there is a fee for processing. The total is $67.00 even.

The girl at the pizza place convinces him to skip the pizza. She tells him it is in his best interest to go with the sprout sub combo with a side of tofu sticks and proceeds to scold him about his 42″ waist and maxed-out credit cards.

When this was released, most of us thought it was cute and we all chuckled (perhaps a bit nervously) about the premise, never imagining how prescient it was. The ACLU warned at the time,

Government programs and private-sector data collection are destroying our privacy, pushing us towards a 24-hour surveillance society. We are facing a flood of powerful new technologies that expand the potential for centralized monitoring, an executive branch aggressively seeking new powers to spy on citizens, a docile Congress and courts, as well as a cadre of mega-corporations that are willing to become extensions of the surveillance state. We confront the possibility of a dark future where our every move, our every transaction, our every communication is recorded, compiled, and stored away, ready for access by the authorities whenever they want.

In a 2003 report, “Surveillance-Industrial Complex,” the ACLU said, “The U.S. security establishment is rapidly increasing its ability to monitor average Americans by hiring or compelling private-sector corporations to provide billions of customer records.” The report said that “many people still do not understand the danger, do not grasp just how radical an increase in surveillance by both the government and the private sector is becoming possible.”

Nine years ago this video seemed like a conspiracy theory parody. As it turns out, the ACLU saw the writing on the wall and warned the American people about the coming surveillance society that we now see unfolding before our eyes.

Recently "retired" from homeschooling, Paula is an unapologetic Christian and Constitutional conservative. Though she aligns politically with the Tea Party, she is a member of the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee. She is also a contributor at Ohio Conservative Review. Paula lives in N.E. Ohio with her husband, three dogs, and two parrots.

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Top Rated Comments   
...Not that they actually cared about any of this civil rights stuff at the time, mind; the whole point of the ACLU's ad was to bash Bush and Republicans at every turn. Nevertheless, as so often happens, the evil plans the ACLU attributed to Republicans were actually made and carried out by the very commies it helped elect. When leftists start making accusations, it's generally a good idea to treat those accusations as announcements of what they plan to do when they get back into power.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
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...Not that they actually cared about any of this civil rights stuff at the time, mind; the whole point of the ACLU's ad was to bash Bush and Republicans at every turn. Nevertheless, as so often happens, the evil plans the ACLU attributed to Republicans were actually made and carried out by the very commies it helped elect. When leftists start making accusations, it's generally a good idea to treat those accusations as announcements of what they plan to do when they get back into power.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
FWIW, the ACLU does show flashes of consistency now and then. They've been consistently against the NSA phone dragnets, filing several lawsuits, including one last year. They've also filed a brief on the side of free speech in the Mark Steyn/NR anti-SLAPP case against Michael Mann.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
They are pretty good on the parts of the Bill of Rights they agree with. They like most of them except for the Second and Tenth...
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, but you wouldn't listen to conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, or anyone else who tried to warn you about all of this.

Welcome to the party, pal.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Don't look at me, pal. I voted Republican in 2008, 2010, and 2012. Also, don't give so much credit to the libertarians, especially the capital "L" ones; over at Reason.com (or Treason.com as I prefer to call it), their Dave Weigel contributor turned out to be working for JournoList, and I haven't seen any real remorse from any of the rest of them for jumping on the commie bandwagon in 2008 out of hatred for Bush.
12 weeks ago
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