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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » NSA Domestic Spying Program, Republicans Don't Care (Page 1)

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Author Topic: NSA Domestic Spying Program, Republicans Don't Care
Elison R. Salazar
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Sup'

quote:

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

...

The order directs Verizon to "continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this order". It specifies that the records to be produced include "session identifying information", such as "originating and terminating number", the duration of each call, telephone calling card numbers, trunk identifiers, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, and "comprehensive communication routing information".

U.S. intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program.

quote:

The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.

The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who know about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.

Scoop
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BlackBlade
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This isn't really a "Republicans" don't care issue Blayne.

Both parties laid the groundwork for what has allowed this to take place, and both parties have refused to stop it. Both parties are even defending it.

Obama's defense of said programs.

Also, we the American people are partially to blame for this. We freak out over every act of terrorism, even though there are oogles of things we experience regularly that are much more likely to kill us.

The government offered near absolute relief at the cost of our 4th Amendment rights, and we as a people consented. I should say all the other Americans, I was out of the country and completely oblivious when The Patriot Act was passed, and all the subsequent nonsense with Iraq, torture, wireless phone tapping, etc.

Still, it's not a Republican made problem.

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Elison R. Salazar
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The point is that if there's anything at all with the whole "small government" party should be up in arms about in their never ending quest to say no to everything Obama and the Democrats want this should be it.
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BlackBlade
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So why aren't the Democrats who are all about "protecting individual rights" also on board with this?

They scream about racial profiling, but are OK with universal profiling? Really?

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
The point is that if there's anything at all with the whole "small government" party should be up in arms about in their never ending quest to say no to everything Obama and the Democrats want this should be it.

Yeah but you know there isn't. This is just old hat at this point. Yes, they spent 6 years *not* doing anything to promote small government when they were in power. If they were in power again, the same thing would happen. The people here, at least, are aware of this. The lie is so thin it's almost easy to forget it is a lie at all, instead of an agreed-upon sort of winking fairy tale, like Santa Claus.

The Republicans have not, in the 35 years since their more recent rise to domination of Washington politics, *ever* taken significant steps to limit government. And they never will. Surprised at this? How can you be?

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Rakeesh
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This is a serious enough issue-and more importantly, all of the other things it hints at as happening but doesn't announce-that using it to make political hay is absurd. Democrats, the party that is supposed to be concerned with preventing law enforcement (which this is, in a sense, in this hazy War on Terror world) ought to have been apoplectic too, but they're not.

Goes quite a bit deeper than Democrat and Republican. I hope but don't expect people to become seriously angry, but this would be about the first time in the WoT.

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Lyrhawn
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I'm not sure what the hullabaloo is. At least it's legal this time. When Bush did it, it was illegal, but at least Obama's domestic spying went through channels (the same way a lot of us bitched about Bush avoiding those exact channels). Bush argued that even a FISA court would be too restrictive and he needed broad, sole authority to spy without them. And Republicans backed him up hand in glove.

Now everyone is up in arms about Obama doing something they all voted to make legal, that's been going on in some form for a decade? Please. Take the manufactured outrage circus somewhere else.

Seriously though, is Obama having the worst month of his presidency or what?

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Rakeesh
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I'm not angry because it's illegal, I'm angrier because it's legal-because FISA courts almost never turn down a government request, and especially because it's likely that this government power won't ever recede now that it's got nearly a decade of history to it-since the 'War on Terror' is unlikely ever to actually end, Obama's talk about that notwithstanding.

But as an added bonus, I'm angry because I remember-and voted for-Obama in part because of his talk about transparency, which in the event has turned out to be complete bullshit to a degree surprising even to cynics, perhaps.

Republicans don't get to crow about this, obviously, and their outrage I do scorn for its falsehood. But that's not my anger and distrust.

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Lyrhawn
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Sorry Rakeesh, I should clarify that I wasn't talking about you just now, I was talking about people in Congress, and to a lesser extent the media.

YOUR anger is totally justified, as is mine. I've been angry about this for years, I'm just not sure what can be done about it. But I'm also angry about the current politicizing of it, and the naked hypocrisy of people who a few years ago defended this thing left and right are now crying foul. And for that matter, regular citizens who didn't think it was a big deal when Bush was doing it are now saying it's unprecedented because Obama is doing it.

Coming on the heels of all these other "scandals," I'm sure it looks sinister indeed, but they're the ones that are annoying me in all this.

I think it's a perfectly legitimate thing to be upset about, I'm just seriously in danger of detaching a retina from all the eye rolling I'm doing at the long line of hypocrites standing up to make hay out of this.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Now everyone is up in arms about Obama doing something they all voted to make legal, that's been going on in some form for a decade?

I may quickly note that some of us that are upset by this don't have a vote in all this and were upset all along.

I also think some of this is the difference between suspecting a thing and knowing a thing.

For example, going into the past a bit, it's one thing to suspect that the US has been carelessly drone bombing people. It's another to hear directly from the horse's mouth that all adult males killed by bombs are assumed to be combatants unless proven otherwise. It's one thing to suspect that the US has been careless torturing people. It's another to actually see the actual diplomatic cable that describes how a German was kidnapped, tortured, and then dumped in the middle of no-where simply because he had the wrong name.

In this case, it's one thing to suspect that the US is electronically spying on the rest of us, it's another to have the exact list of the nine companies with insecure back-doors that are officially acting as parts of US intelligence (Or have Obama go up and defend the programme while throwing non-Americans under the bus).

Edit to add: The Guardian now also has its hands on a Presidential Order authorizing hacking attacks on foreign targets? When it rains, it pours.

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Samprimary
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this event broadsided me

i am completely baffled to find out, through the outrage at this leak, that people didn't realize and accept that this was totally obviously happening and had been since USA PATRIOT

i mean did people really not think the NSA & co were not using the powers that the act granted to them? did anyone think they weren't watching phone data?

i would not be surprised if they could and have already been watching skype transactions, too

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Samprimary
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ux1hpLvqMw
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Now everyone is up in arms about Obama doing something they all voted to make legal, that's been going on in some form for a decade?

I may quickly note that some of us that are upset by this don't have a vote in all this and were upset all along.

I also think some of this is the difference between suspecting a thing and knowing a thing.

For example, going into the past a bit, it's one thing to suspect that the US has been carelessly drone bombing people. It's another to hear directly from the horse's mouth that all adult males killed by bombs are assumed to be combatants unless proven otherwise. It's one thing to suspect that the US has been careless torturing people. It's another to actually see the actual diplomatic cable that describes how a German was kidnapped, tortured, and then dumped in the middle of no-where simply because he had the wrong name.

In this case, it's one thing to suspect that the US is electronically spying on the rest of us, it's another to have the exact list of the nine companies with insecure back-doors that are officially acting as parts of US intelligence (Or have Obama go up and defend the programme while throwing non-Americans under the bus).

Edit to add: The Guardian now also has its hands on a Presidential Order authorizing hacking attacks on foreign targets? When it rains, it pours.

Read my second post and I'm a little more specific in where my annoyance is outraged. Everyone who has been upset with this from the start of the PATRIOT ACT is fine.

Everyone who thought the PATRIOT ACT was hunky dory until Obama started acting on it is a huge hypocrite, and I'm calling them out. And that's a LOT of people.

As for the hacking thing - good. So long as it's China we're hacking.

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Anthonie
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Also, we the American people are partially to blame for this. We freak out over every act of terrorism, ...

Besides our responses to terrorism and FISA and the Patriot Act, the amount of information we publicly volunteer in our digital social-networked lives also lays more blame at our own feet.

As has been repeated so many times, "don't post anything online you don't want to be public information." That sentiment extends to having *any online presence at all*. And since phones and internet are merging into one massively-interconnected network, access to data and communications is immediately available for the taking. To believe that the NSA merely collects metadata is naive. They have the whole kit 'n caboodle.

With out new online culture, we willingly make everything available. After all, we live by Facebook, the CIA's top surveillance program. [Big Grin]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
To believe that the NSA merely collects metadata is naive. They have the whole kit 'n caboodle.
I just want to address this quickly:

They only collect phone metadata. This is because there are laws which apply to telephone communications that prevent the collection of anything else.

They collect all Internet traffic. This is because communications over webcam, Skype, chat, forums, Facebook, etc. are not considered "telecommunications" to which those privacy laws apply. As a consequence, they can actually collect and store the content of those transmissions.

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Anthonie
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Oh.
Thanks for the info, Tom.

I guess text messaging counts as telecommunications then? Do they also record metadata on text messages or only calls? All the news sources I have read only mention phone calls.

On hybrid communication, I suppose they can record content of phone calls made from a regular phone to a Skype account from the Skype end of the conversation.

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Lyrhawn
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I have to say, I'm impressed by McCain's response to all this.

He's basically telling his fellow congressmen to sit down and shut up. Most of them voted in favor of the law that allows what's come to light, and for them to cry wolf after casting a vote is highly disingenuous.

Kudos.

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Anthonie
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The guy behind the leaked documents, Edward Snowden, he's got guts.

No matter what the NSA/CIA is supposed to do, according to Snowden they regularly capture information well beyond just the "baddies".

quote:
His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents.

That access, along with the almost three years he spent around CIA officers, led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw.

He described as formative an incident in which he claimed CIA operatives were attempting to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car. When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment.

"Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world," he says. "I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good."

quote:
Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA's surveillance activities were, claiming "they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them".
From his video interview about domestic surveillance:
quote:
"The NSA specifically targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system and it filters them and it analyzes them and it measures them and it stores them for periods of time simply because that's the easiest, most efficient, and most valuable way to achieve these ends.

"So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government, or someone they suspect of terrorism, they're collecting your communications to do so. ... Any analyst at any time can target anyone, any selector, anywhere ... Not all analysts have the ability to target everything, but I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal e-mail..."


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Anthonie
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Rand Paul says he may launch a class-action lawsuit against the NSA data collection program.

As a likely 2016 GOP Presidential candidate, he is high profile enough maybe the lawsuit will go somewhere. If nothing else, he can definitely draw a crowd and keep focus on the issue.

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Mucus
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Oh man, that is one powerful video and he's in Hong Kong.

F*** yeah.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'm not sure what the hullabaloo is. At least it's legal this time. When Bush did it, it was illegal, but at least Obama's domestic spying went through channels (the same way a lot of us bitched about Bush avoiding those exact channels). Bush argued that even a FISA court would be too restrictive and he needed broad, sole authority to spy without them. And Republicans backed him up hand in glove.

Now everyone is up in arms about Obama doing something they all voted to make legal, that's been going on in some form for a decade? Please. Take the manufactured outrage circus somewhere else.

This. I am so tired of conservatives smugly asking why we aren't upset about this just because it is "our guy" doing it. Of course, we are upset. No one thinks that it is okay. But we have been screaming about this for 12 years. It isn't new. There isn't fresh outrage for a bridge we crossed years ago.
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DarkKnight
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quote:
They only collect phone metadata. This is because there are laws which apply to telephone communications that prevent the collection of anything else.
This depends on your definition of 'collection'. All phone conversations are electronically listened to, cell and\or landline. This has been happening for decades.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I am so tired of conservatives smugly asking why we aren't upset about this just because it is "our guy" doing it. Of course, we are upset. No one thinks that it is okay. But we have been screaming about this for 12 years. It isn't new. There isn't fresh outrage for a bridge we crossed years ago.

Actually, the majority of people in the country think it's okay. And the majority of people in the country thought it was okay seven years ago as well.* So saying no one thinks it's okay is akin to saying no one thinks gay marriage is okay. They have about the same levels of support, albeit from very different sectors of the population.

Furthermore, about half of the Democrats who thought Prism-style spying was wrong under Bush think it's fine under Obama. Similarly, about 2/3 of Republicans who thought it was fine under Bush have a problem with it under Obama. We are partisan beasts, who's tribal mentality influences our opinions constantly. And I'll bet you dollars to donuts that if this had come to light during John McCain's second term your response would be something other than 'Of course we're outraged. We're just fatigued because we've been fighting this for so long. That's the only reason we're not shouting about it.' Just as mine would have been different than it is, as well.

*Note: poll wording effects things here. Framing things in one way or another can lead to massive apparent swings in opinion. Just more evidence that people's expressions of opinion, whether in polls or message boards, are strongly influenced by all sorts of deep currents and subconscious biases.

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Rakeesh
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I think you hit the nail on the head, Peter. The fear that terrorism prompts crosses party lines, although at the high political level it may be differing degrees of cynical.

Obama is actually notably worse than Dubya with regards to transparency and civil liberties when it comes to security questions. He's worse on whistle blowers. So on that angle, Republicans do have a legitimate gripe...except it's so very often tied to 'this is an outrage, this is a violation, etc.' because suddenly it's not their trusted guy doing the violating and suddenly it becomes objectionable.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Obama is actually notably worse than Dubya with regards to transparency and civil liberties when it comes to security questions. He's worse on whistle blowers.
haha yeah he's atrocious, it legitimately starts to undermine everything else he can stand up for.

of course as he was the only decent candidate this time around i suppose we can all just hope he'll change some of that, even if not for idealistic purposes and more for saving his own skin

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GaalDornick
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Can someone please outline, or point me to a page that summarizes, the issues with the NSA doing this and why I should care?
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Mucus
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/the-nsa-files

Briefly, the US is recording all metadata on phone calls, can request data at will from nine major US Internet companies, and has been hacking civilian and military infrastructure in China and Hong Kong for over 15 years.

As for why you should care, if you're not American, you should care because governments such as the UK and Canada have been suspected of using the US programme to go around domestic privacy protections. Elsewhere, countries such as Sweden have banned public sector use of Google Apps due to the privacy risk. In China, right-wing groups such as Human Rights NGOs and Ai Wei Wei are rallying around the leaker (Snowden) for taking a stand against government surveillance and for Internet freedom. Left-wing groups are obviously more concerned about the US hacking weakening homeland security.

If you're American, well, I guess it depends on how much you trust your government.

[ June 13, 2013, 01:26 PM: Message edited by: Mucus ]

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Rakeesh
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Well the issue is as follows-in part. Laws exist which compel private companies such as Verizon (and these same laws would also apply to all other communication companies) to give up when ordered nearly all of the data about the calls their customers make using their service-numbers from, to, how long, how often, what times of day, how they're routed, how often the person called calls another person you call, so on and so forth. These orders are so secret that the companies can only say that if they were given such an order, they would be compelled to obey but couldn't disclose that they had been.

This information will be kept more or less indefinitely. You don't need to be calling anyone suspicious or even foreign to have your data captured by this surveillance. The oversight for this is tied up in FISA courts which, despite what government will tell you, are rubber stamp courts. They almost never (roughly or even less than 1% of the time) reject government requests for additional surveillance, power, less oversight, etc. These courts are also secret.

It's incredibly difficult-effectively impossible-for a citizen to call the government to account over this because of standing-you need to be able (this is a simplification) to show that you were impacted by the program. But these programs are classified, so the documents necessary to do this can't be released to the citizens impacted.

Because this data is kept indefinitely, you could be surveilled today-and have been if you use cell phones, almost certainly-and should you come to the attention of the NSA or many other agencies in ten years for something, they'll be able to dig into your life now to support their investigation then. Should this later investigation be unjustified, you'll have no ability to demand an accounting of it.

All in the name of fighting terrorism. Support for these programs are given as terrorist plots prevented-few of which we ever hear about and can evaluate for ourselves. Details of these programs are kept secret, because terrorists can't know our methods-as though they don't already live in a world where cell phone use is very carefully controlled, lest they draw a drone strike.

The issue is that these powers were supposed to be, when they were written, extraordinary and temporary. We're in the midst of seeing that they aren't, at all. The issue is that the justification for these programs-combatting violent extremism-will never, ever end and so it's more than a little likely that neither will these or other programs about which we know nothing.

You should care if you care about the government demanding information about who you communicate with, just because you happen to be communicating with a cell phone in America. You should also be concerned because if/when this level of government monitoring becomes the new status quo, a generation later it will be considered where privacy *starts*-that is, that government gets to know all of this about who you communicate with, and that's where it builds from for new surveillance.

If any of that concerns you, it's an issue. If it doesn't, it shouldn't.

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Mucus
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Or put another way

quote:
For companies, this issue is about more than claiming the moral high ground. It really comes down to the trust between firms and their customers. Consumers everywhere want to have confidence that the internet companies they rely on will provide comprehensive search results and act as responsible stewards of their own personal information. Firms that earn that confidence of those countries and basically provide that kind of service will prosper in the global marketplace. I really believe that those who lose that confidence of their customers will eventually lose customers. No matter where you live, people want to believe that what they put into the internet is not going to be used against them.
...
Countries or individuals that engage in cyber attacks should face consequences and international condemnation. In an internet-connected world, an attack on one nation’s networks can be an attack on all. And by reinforcing that message, we can create norms of behavior among states and encourage respect for the global networked commons.


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GaalDornick
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I appreciate your posts but I still see no reason why I should be concerned. I'm not a terrorist. I'm not planning a terrorist attack. I don't care if the government collects data about my phone calls because I have nothing to hide.

quote:
Because this data is kept indefinitely, you could be surveilled today-and have been if you use cell phones, almost certainly-and should you come to the attention of the NSA or many other agencies in ten years for something, they'll be able to dig into your life now to support their investigation then.
What is wrong with that? If I am a criminal in ten years, and the government has evidence to help bring me to justice from ten years prior of listening to a phone call, then they should be allowed to use that.
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MattP
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quote:
What is wrong with that? If I am a criminal in ten years, and the government has evidence to help bring me to justice from ten years prior of listening to a phone call, then they should be allowed to use that.
What about having cameras in your home to monitor your behavior there. Surely if you have nothing to hide that shouldn't be a problem. And what if it could be used in the future to help prosecute a criminal? Where do you think the line should be drawn on what information the government is entitled to have about your individual activities?

How would you feel about a system where your driving could be monitored such that you would automatically be ticketed for speeding every time you drifted over the speed limit? What if you only received the bill for your accumulated violations once a year? How much do you think that would cost you? How might it change your behavior and that of other motorists?

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Rakeesh
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quote:
I appreciate your posts but I still see no reason why I should be concerned. I'm not a terrorist. I'm not planning a terrorist attack. I don't care if the government collects data about my phone calls because I have nothing to hide.

It's remarkable to me that this kind of thing can be said sincerely. First of all, this won't just be about terrorism forever. You've heard of RICO? Did you know that when it was created, it was designed with the notion that it would only apply to the Mob because they were so unique? Look who it's applied to now.

Already the government is attempting to wield the same sorts of laws and surveillance tools on 'eco-terrorists' (that is, people who attempt to film what goes on in farms and slaughterhouses) that are meant for use against al Qaeda.

Nothing to hide? My blood pressure rises hearing that sort of frightened, self-righteous talk. It's not actually a statement about you at all, it's an attack on others who for some strange reason *don't* want the government to surveil them just because it can without any actual suspicion or cause. Why don't you just throw away the Fourth Amendment entirely, Gaal, if this coward-talk* is going to be your standard.

*I chose that word carefully. It is becoming so crippled and dehumanized by fear that you actually *want* Big Brother there because 'you're not a terrorist'. Well why should you have the right to an attorney if you're accused of a crime? Nothing to hide. Why shouldn't you let the police into your house at random to search? Nothing to hide.

We endure hundreds of times the number of deaths each year from drunk driving as we do from terrorism. Can we next expect you, Gaal, to endorse government mandated breathalyzers in every car? Random blood draws at random police stops? Undercover bartenders?

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
I'm not planning a terrorist attack. I don't care if the government collects data about my phone calls because I have nothing to hide.

You have absolutely nothing at all to hide?
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Darth_Mauve
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What if you call a Republican Headquarters to make a donation, and this is noted by a Democratic majority government?

What if you are turned down from a job with the government, or with a governmental contractor, because you've been visiting environmental sites and they conflict with a pro-business attitude of someone in government.

What if you are fired from your government funded research project because you've called dial-a-prayer....or because you haven't?

The right to privacy is not there to protect those who are doing things illegal, its there to stop the government from finding and punishing people who are doing legal things, but something the people in the government finds offensive.

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GaalDornick
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
What about having cameras in your home to monitor your behavior there. Surely if you have nothing to hide that shouldn't be a problem. And what if it could be used in the future to help prosecute a criminal? Where do you think the line should be drawn on what information the government is entitled to have about your individual activities?

Easy, it's what I feel is an invasion of privacy. The phone calls doesn't make me feel uncomfortable while cameras in my home would. You're taking it to the extreme. I can take it to the other end of the extreme, if you don't feel comfortable allowing the NSA access to phone calls for them to do their job of national security, do you feel comfortable allowing the IRS to know what your income is so they can tax you accordingly? Maybe the government shouldn't be allowed to have any information on us because it's all an invasion of privacy? Where do you draw the line?

quote:
*I chose that word carefully. It is becoming so crippled and dehumanized by fear that you actually *want* Big Brother there because 'you're not a terrorist'. Well why should you have the right to an attorney if you're accused of a crime? Nothing to hide. Why shouldn't you let the police into your house at random to search? Nothing to hide.

We endure hundreds of times the number of deaths each year from drunk driving as we do from terrorism. Can we next expect you, Gaal, to endorse government mandated breathalyzers in every car? Random blood draws at random police stops? Undercover bartenders?

Slippery slope much?

Random blood draws would be a painful inconvenience to me, while this situation is not. However there are already checkpoint to for DUIs, I'm assuming you don't support those?

These comparisons are pointless because obviously we make decisions on what to allow the government on a situation by situation basis. We allow somethings to be done in order for the government to function. License plates to identify who is driving what car. Limits on how much you can tint your windows so police officers can see into your car. We draw the line on what we feel comfortable allowing with the inconvenience or invasion of privacy being worth allowing the government to do a job that we deem worth doing. In this case, while the threat of terrorism may be exaggerated, I also think the invasion of privacy of this isn't that serious.

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MrSquicky
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I find the idea that the government will only ever use this information for combating terrorism and that they will be able to prevent other parties from getting access to it to be naive to the point of bizarre.

Of course they are going to abuse it and of course other parties are either through government contacts or outright skullduggery going to access this information for their own ends.

I wouldn't be surprised if a Monsanto, BP, or Goldman Sachs is already all up in this system.

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Rakeesh
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That you would call the gradual creep of government power a slippery slope only serves to illustrate how poorly informed you are on the matter. It's now a question whether we should call people who smuggle cameras into slaughterhouses terrorists. RICO was supposed to be only for the mob. The provisions in the Patriot Act were supposed to be temporary and extraordinary, and you're already brushing them off as trivial. The secret courts that are supposed to serve as oversight for the people almost never reject government requests. This non-invasion of privacy is apparently so unimportant to you that the government should even be allowed to keep it secret.

Do you hear what you're saying? The government shouldn't even have to inform the people what extent it is allowed to spy on them. The threat of terrorism is absolutely, incredibly exaggerated and the only way someone could think this type of encroachment wasn't very serious is if they lived in a world where what is legal now is the standard forever. Your counter examples of tint, license plates, and the rest don't signify. In all of those cases you at least have to be driving on a public road-and tint isn't just so cops can see in. With these programs, all you need to do is use the Internet or your cell phone.

And yes, I do disapprove of DUI checkpoints. If you've got 'nothing to hide' (you do), by all means, share it voluntarily on your own. Don't go cringing about terrorism in my name and say everyone needs to give up...unless they've got nothing to hide. Holy cow, is that just an obnoxious thing to say.

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Darth_Mauve
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There is a camera at every ATM that records you while you are at the machine.

I do not mind because it is protection against being robbed or forced to withdraw money against my will.

And I realize that the odds of my time at the machine being seen by anyone else is tiny unless a crime was happening.

Yet the moment someone uses that camera to virtual-stalk me, to gather my PIN number, or photo-shop the video with one of Micheal Jackson Porn, I would never use the ATM again.

The Government is claiming that these programs are like that ATM camera. We won't notice them. They won't harm us.

I am not afraid that the government would use that information to harm me.

I am afraid that employees of the government, or hackers attacking the government could get that information and could find a way for it to harm me.

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GaalDornick
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"This non-invasion of privacy is apparently so unimportant to you that the government should even be allowed to keep it secret."

"Do you hear what you're saying? The government shouldn't even have to inform the people what extent it is allowed to spy on them."

Please quote where I've said that. I said the government should have the ability to collect data based on telephone calls, not that the government doesn't have to disclose to the public that it is doing so.

"Your counter examples of tint, license plates, and the rest don't signify. In all of those cases you at least have to be driving on a public road-and tint isn't just so cops can see in."

So that's where you draw the line? Interesting. What about the my IRS example? Your income isn't necessarily being earned in a public area, should the government be allowed to know it?

"It's now a question whether we should call people who smuggle cameras into slaughterhouses terrorists"

What are you talking about? How is that the question?

If you're really worried about this on that basis then I don't see how you can trust the government to carry out any task without ridiculous corruption.

"If you've got 'nothing to hide' (you do), by all means, share it voluntarily on your own."

Do I really have to point out why this solution makes no sense?

Do you support paying taxes? If so, then by all means, pay them voluntarily on your own.

"Don't go cringing about terrorism in my name and say everyone needs to give up...unless they've got nothing to hide. Holy cow, is that just an obnoxious thing to say."

I don't know what you're saying here.

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Samprimary
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not a solution, just, like, pure straightforwardness.

since you have nothing to hide, send me the last five years of your bank statements and credit card receipts once it's not a whole lot of trouble. you can send it to samprimary@gmail.com

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J-Put
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Here's a relevant quote from a Reddit user

"I live in a country generally assumed to be a dictatorship. One of the Arab spring countries. I have lived through curfews and have seen the outcomes of the sort of surveillance now being revealed in the US. People here talking about curfews aren't realizing what that actually FEELS like. It isn't about having to go inside, and the practicality of that. It's about creating the feeling that everyone, everything is watching. A few points:

1) the purpose of this surveillance from the governments point of view is to control enemies of the state. Not terrorists. People who are coalescing around ideas that would destabilize the status quo. These could be religious ideas. These could be groups like anon who are too good with tech for the governments liking. It makes it very easy to know who these people are. It also makes it very simple to control these people.

Lets say you are a college student and you get in with some people who want to stop farming practices that hurt animals. So you make a plan and go to protest these practices. You get there, and wow, the protest is huge. You never expected this, you were just goofing off. Well now everyone who was there is suspect. Even though you technically had the right to protest, you're now considered a dangerous person.

With this tech in place, the government doesn't have to put you in jail. They can do something more sinister. They can just email you a sexy picture you took with a girlfriend. Or they can email you a note saying that they can prove your dad is cheating on his taxes. Or they can threaten to get your dad fired. All you have to do, the email says, is help them catch your friends in the group. You have to report back every week, or you dad might lose his job. So you do. You turn in your friends and even though they try to keep meetings off grid, you're reporting on them to protect your dad.

2) Let's say number one goes on. The country is a weird place now. Really weird. Pretty soon, a movement springs up like occupy, except its bigger this time. People are really serious, and they are saying they want a government without this power. I guess people are realizing that it is a serious deal. You see on the news that tear gas was fired. Your friend calls you, frantic. They're shooting people. Oh my god. you never signed up for this. You say, **** it. My dad might lose his job but I won't be responsible for anyone dying. That's going too far. You refuse to report anymore. You just stop going to meetings. You stay at home, and try not to watch the news. Three days later, police come to your door and arrest you. They confiscate your computer and phones, and they beat you up a bit. No one can help you so they all just sit quietly. They know if they say anything they're next. This happened in the country I live in. It is not a joke.

3) Its hard to say how long you were in there. What you saw was horrible. Most of the time, you only heard screams. People begging to be killed. Noises you've never heard before. You, you were lucky. You got kicked every day when they threw your moldy food at you, but no one shocked you. No one used sexual violence on you, at least that you remember. There were some times they gave you pills, and you can't say for sure what happened then. To be honest, sometimes the pills were the best part of your day, because at least then you didn't feel anything. You have scars on you from the way you were treated. You learn in prison that torture is now common. But everyone who uploads videos or pictures of this torture is labeled a leaker. Its considered a threat to national security. Pretty soon, a cut you got on your leg is looking really bad. You think it's infected. There were no doctors in prison, and it was so overcrowded, who knows what got in the cut. You go to the doctor, but he refuses to see you. He knows if he does the government can see the records that he treated you. Even you calling his office prompts a visit from the local police.

You decide to go home and see your parents. Maybe they can help. This leg is getting really bad. You get to their house. They aren't home. You can't reach them no matter how hard you try. A neighbor pulls you aside, and he quickly tells you they were arrested three weeks ago and haven't been seen since. You vaguely remember mentioning to them on the phone you were going to that protest. Even your little brother isn't there.

4) Is this even really happening? You look at the news. Sports scores. Celebrity news. It's like nothing is wrong. What the hell is going on? A stranger smirks at you reading the paper. You lose it. You shout at him "**** you dude what are you laughing at can't you see I've got a ****ing wound on my leg?"

"Sorry," he says. "I just didn't know anyone read the news anymore." There haven't been any real journalists for months. They're all in jail.

Everyone walking around is scared. They can't talk to anyone else because they don't know who is reporting for the government. Hell, at one time YOU were reporting for the government. Maybe they just want their kid to get through school. Maybe they want to keep their job. Maybe they're sick and want to be able to visit the doctor. It's always a simple reason. Good people always do bad things for simple reasons.

You want to protest. You want your family back. You need help for your leg. This is way beyond anything you ever wanted. It started because you just wanted to see fair treatment in farms. Now you're basically considered a terrorist, and everyone around you might be reporting on you. You definitely can't use a phone or email. You can't get a job. You can't even trust people face to face anymore. On every corner, there are people with guns. They are as scared as you are. They just don't want to lose their jobs. They don't want to be labeled as traitors.

This all happened in the country where I live.

You want to know why revolutions happen? Because little by little by little things get worse and worse. But this thing that is happening now is big. This is the key ingredient. This allows them to know everything they need to know to accomplish the above. The fact that they are doing it is proof that they are the sort of people who might use it in the way I described. In the country I live in, they also claimed it was for the safety of the people. Same in Soviet Russia. Same in East Germany. In fact, that is always the excuse that is used to surveil everyone. But it has never ONCE proven to be the reality.

Maybe Obama won't do it. Maybe the next guy won't, or the one after him. Maybe this story isn't about you. Maybe it happens 10 or 20 years from now, when a big war is happening, or after another big attack. Maybe it's about your daughter or your son. We just don't know yet. But what we do know is that right now, in this moment we have a choice. Are we okay with this, or not? Do we want this power to exist, or not?

You know for me, the reason I'm upset is that I grew up in school saying the pledge of allegiance. I was taught that the United States meant "liberty and justice for all." You get older, you learn that in this country we define that phrase based on the constitution. That's what tells us what liberty is and what justice is. Well, the government just violated that ideal. So if they aren't standing for liberty and justice anymore, what are they standing for? Safety?

Ask yourself a question. In the story I told above, does anyone sound safe?

I didn't make anything up. These things happened to people I know. We used to think it couldn't happen in America. But guess what? It's starting to happen.

I actually get really upset when people say "I don't have anything to hide. Let them read everything." People saying that have no idea what they are bringing down on their own heads. They are naive, and we need to listen to people in other countries who are clearly telling us that this is a horrible horrible sign and it is time to stand up and say no."

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GaalDornick
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
not a solution, just, like, pure straightforwardness.

since you have nothing to hide, send me the last five years of your bank statements and credit card receipts once it's not a whole lot of trouble. you can send it to samprimary@gmail.com

You guys are really intent on making ridiculous comparisons. Sending you that info has nothing to do with national security. It also has nothing to do with, you know, phone records. Which is kind of what we're talking about.

I have nothing to hide from the NSA in regards to my phone records. Let me know if I need to make any more obvious clarifications.

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TomDavidson
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In similar fashion, a person without a phone has nothing to fear from this legislation.

(On the other hand, you clearly have a computer. So there are a couple other programs you should care about.)

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Samprimary
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quote:
Sending you that info has nothing to do with national security.
I'll make that judgment after I've read it myself, citizen.

But if you want to, you can send me your phone records too, since it is now artificially limited to there that you have nothing to hide.

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Samprimary
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addendum

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/06/why-i-have-nothing-to-hide-is-the-wrong-way-to-think-about-surveillance/

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Rakeesh
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Because it's spineless and un-American?
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capaxinfiniti
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How is this significantly different than an IRS audit and other "investigations" the IRS engages in?
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MattP
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IRS investigations are targeted and narrowly focused, based on a known limited set of data related to the topic of the investigation. For instance, I recently received a letter indicating that my reported mortgage interest deduction did not jibe with the payments reported by my bank and they asked me to provide supporting documentation.

They did not monitor all of my internet and telephone activity to look for more discrepancies though surely they could make a case for doing so. But no one would stand for it. Only "terrorism" has that kind of sway that even supposed small government people are making excuses for ubiquitous surveillance.

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Rakeesh
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Put another way, because you have to do something other than just be an American communicating using a private company for the government to start spying on you. And even then, you often (always?) know the IRS is auditing you.

And since when exactly did the strong conservative Republican supporter look at massive government surveillance programs and try to find ways that it's OK?

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Samprimary
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The three most important conversations about this expansion of surveillance.

quote:
Q: Did Edward Snowden do the right thing in going public?

William Binney: We tried to stay for the better part of seven years inside the government trying to get the government to recognize the unconstitutional, illegal activity that they were doing and openly admit that and devise certain ways that would be constitutionally and legally acceptable to achieve the ends they were really after. And that just failed totally because no one in Congress or — we couldn't get anybody in the courts, and certainly the Department of Justice and inspector general's office didn't pay any attention to it. And all of the efforts we made just produced no change whatsoever. All it did was continue to get worse and expand.

Q: So Snowden did the right thing?

Binney: Yes, I think he did.

Q: You three wouldn't criticize him for going public from the start?

J. Kirk Wiebe: Correct.

Binney: In fact, I think he saw and read about what our experience was, and that was part of his decision-making.

Wiebe: We failed, yes.

Jesselyn Radack: Not only did they go through multiple and all the proper internal channels and they failed, but more than that, it was turned against them. ... The inspector general was the one who gave their names to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution under the Espionage Act. And they were all targets of a federal criminal investigation, and Tom ended up being prosecuted — and it was for blowing the whistle.

and

quote:
Kimberly Dozier, Guardian News
US officials say terrorists already altering TTPs because of your leaks, & calling you traitor. Respond?


Snowden
US officials say this every time there's a public discussion that could limit their authority. US officials also provide misleading or directly false assertions about the value of these programs, as they did just recently with the Zazi case, which court documents clearly show was not unveiled by PRISM.

Journalists should ask a specific question: since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicionless surveillance that could not be gained via any other source? Then ask how many individual communications were ingested to acheive that, and ask yourself if it was worth it. Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.

Further, it's important to bear in mind I'm being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.

and

quote:
The G20 leak is massive and I've been saying all along that the most danger from PRISM and the other NSA activities isn't just about privacy. They're making the US look really ****ing scary internationally and it's going to make diplomacy really damn hard in the future because they were being irresponsible. They can't really claim it's for American security either when the projects themselves seriously jeopardize our security when they've been publicly discovered. You can't hide massive projects like that forever.

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