Although the conflict between government classification rules and practices and the First Amendment rights necessary to promote a free and open society is nothing new, recent developments may indicate an alarming shift away from basic First Amendment principles.
A recent article by the Washington Post showed surveillance of federal employees has been stepped up government-wide. According to the article, last year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began spying on its scientists, claiming to be looking for the unauthorized sharing of trade secrets. The scientists, however, claim they were being targeted for blowing the whistle on an unethical review process. According the story, such invasive surveillance in the name of national security is spreading. The spyware sold by one software company, SpectorSoft--which claims to have clients in dozens of federal agencies--can do far more than just spy on email. According to the Post, “It could be programmed to intercept a tweet or Facebook post. It could snap screen shots of their computers. It could even track an employee’s keystrokes, retrieve files from hard drives or search for keywords.”