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U.S. is spying on its citizens and others


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I am more 'liberal' than many when it comes to tolerating surveillance for the purposes of security, but I do have a line. Unlimited government access and storage of private messages with no accountability is over my line. Do you have a line ?

No, I really have no line because technically, there is no such line. Constitutionally, the line has also been moved and adjusted to fit circumstances by the Congress and courts. Ultimately, the government will only be stopped by the courts when and if it uses such data gathering for direct apprehensions and prosecutions, but the intelligence windfall will remain. The "line" that bothers me is the commercial one, where even such a thin veneer of protections do not exist.

"Data" is quite different from "information" in the context of policy and action(s).

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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No, I really have no line because technically, there is no such line. Constitutionally, the line has also been moved and adjusted to fit circumstances by the Congress and courts. Ultimately, the government will only be stopped by the courts when and if it uses such data gathering for direct apprehensions and prosecutions, but the intelligence windfall will remain. The "line" that bothers me is the commercial one, where even such a thin veneer of protections do not exist.

"Data" is quite different from "information" in the context of policy and actions(s).

Having an actual stance would ruin your reputation as the forum mocker. Everyone has a line and I know for sure that your line has been crossed as well. Deep down this does concern you more as an American than me being a Canadian, but yet I seemed to be more concerned about your privacy than you do.

Is that the mentality we have south of the 49th? I sure as hell hope not. But that does seem to be the case as now people are all of a sudden asking WTF is going on here, and then asking themselves why they did not know about it.

Ignorance is no longer an option. Playin the devil's advocate is no longer a viable position either.

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There is no such line, legally, but I'm asking if there's a point at which you take exception. Not that it's the same, but you don't seem to want government intervention in other aspects of life - security though is different for you, yes ?

Like I stated, I am more concerned about non-government actions/actors like insurance companies, creditors, medical records, etc. Having worked with military intel as a "data gatherer" during the Cold War, and personally collected "private" cell phone conversations (intercepts) as part of a radio scanner hobby, I am never going to be persuaded by assurances of "protection" save for evidence disallowed by a court (fruit of the poison tree doctrine). There is simply no way to lock it all down from prying eyes/ears.

Basically, you have to ask the Dear Abby question: "Is my life better or worse because of such technology and potential for mis-use / abuses".

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Still no concern about the inundation of CCTV ? Start connecting some of those dots Mike and you may end up getting it.

Yes, Mike, Progressives are progressive for a reason. The demand for the State to intervene has resulted in a tacit understanding by the Obama administration, because of its self-concept of superiority over the masses, that it can pretty much do so as it pleases, and without oversight, in the name of "security".

But for those bumbling gun-toting, bible-thumping, backwoods Republicans many more things could be accomplished....say why don't we use the IRS as they were intended to be used and start targeting enemies of the State....it worked with Al Capone.

Edited by Pliny
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Yes, Mike, Progressives are progressive for a reason. The demand for the State to intervene has resulted in a tacit understanding by the Obama administration, because of its self-concept of superiority over the masses, that it can pretty much do so as it pleases, and without oversight, in the name of "security".

And here I thought this program was initiated by the Republicans and has the general support of both parties...

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I am more 'liberal' than many when it comes to tolerating surveillance for the purposes of security, but I do have a line. Unlimited government access and storage of private messages with no accountability is over my line. Do you have a line ?

I have a line.... if the government wants any access what-so-ever to private communications whether they are analog, digital, email, snailmail, phonecall, postcard, then they should have to go to court and get a warrant. No exceptions.

And if the government wants to compell an ISP or an online service to turn over your records they should have to go to court and get a warrant. No exceptions.

Now... if the government asks a private service provider for your data and that service provider just says "Ok here ya go!" then thats a different story... customers should avoid these providers and raise a stink about them.

In my opinion this is the ultimate slippery slope. Anybody that believes a government with the ability to datamine private communications is going to be responsible and limited in its use of such things is an idiot. And claims by governments gone wild that they need to keep tabs on citizens for their own safety are completely and totally bogus and have no merit whatsoever.

The truth is our privacy ENHANCES our security. Not the other way around.

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They're not monitoring citizens. The computers are scanning data streams for patterns. They don't know who you are and don't care. They don't care who is cheating on their spouse or taxes, who is a pervert or crook. They're not looking for such things, and they will never have the resources to do so. If you're not planning on blowing anybody up you don't really need to fear your emails or posts will come to the attention of a human being.

If they want, they can find information on anyone they want. They can go after the personal information of a politician, an activist, a lawyer, etc, etc. It's naive to think that they'll only be going after those who may trigger a terrorist alert word.

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I have a line.... if the government wants any access what-so-ever to private communications whether they are analog, digital, email, snailmail, phonecall, postcard, then they should have to go to court and get a warrant. No exceptions.

I'm fine with pervasive electronic communications as long as it is directed at target, such as words phrases IP addresses, not just the warehousing of all conversations.

The idea of a search warrant, to me, is a luxury in the age of electronic communications. Since someone can sign up for a new email address in seconds, it handcuffs the security apparatus immensely to not allow them more flexibility in dealing with today's electronic environment.

I see the trade off as merely an abstract loss of rights - since we're specifically talking about security here. ie. If you happen to fall into the search categories - yes you may be searched without your knowledge. No sharing of information should be allowed.

It's an abstract loss of rights since you theoretically wouldn't know if your rights were even violated in this situation.

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Hey at first they tell us that this program does not even exist. ....

Ever heard of the Five Eyes? Look it up. It's not that big a secret.

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Ever heard of the Five Eyes? Look it up. It's not that big a secret.

The it should be more of a concern to you then. Our governments working collectively to monitor citizens in another country and sharing that information.

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...I see the trade off as merely an abstract loss of rights - since we're specifically talking about security here. ie. If you happen to fall into the search categories - yes you may be searched without your knowledge. No sharing of information should be allowed.

No, it is this very "sharing", or more specifically, the integration of data from multiple sources that meets the U.S. post 9/11 hue and cry for a more competent security "apparatus" that could "connect the dots", which requires that more "dots" be collected in the first place. Long existing domestic and international intelligence collection has just been expanded and adapted for different/more threats.

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No, it is this very "sharing", or more specifically, the integration of data from multiple sources that meets the U.S. post 9/11 hue and cry for a more competent security "apparatus" that could "connect the dots", which requires that more "dots" be collected in the first place. Long existing domestic and international intelligence collection has just been expanded and adapted for different/more threats.

I meant outside the security realm. In other words, emailing your brother that you double parked yesterday should not result in a knock on the door.

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I meant outside the security realm. In other words, emailing your brother that you double parked yesterday should not result in a knock on the door.

But it very well could result in a knock on the door, depending on what your brother has been doing with or without your knowledge. More likely, it would be sales pitch that can come in several forms because your contact and demographic information has been collected, packaged, and sold based on your "free" email or other web activity. Some people need to be reminded than whenever a web based service is "free", the product is YOU.

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If you're not planning on blowing anybody up you don't really need to fear

This article is quite long, but maybe you'll find time to read it at some point. It may even change your mind.

"Why privacy matters even if you have 'nothing to hide'" by Daniel J. Solove, law professor at George Washington University

Edited by cybercoma
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If they want, they can find information on anyone they want. They can go after the personal information of a politician, an activist, a lawyer, etc, etc. It's naive to think that they'll only be going after those who may trigger a terrorist alert word.

They can go after all those people anyway. The point to the internet sweeps is to discover things they don't know. They already KNOW the name of the activist, the lawyer, etc. Further, the government isn't the only one who can discover things about you on the internet. Any hacker can do that. Any large corporation can do that.

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They can go after all those people anyway. The point to the internet sweeps is to discover things they don't know. They already KNOW the name of the activist, the lawyer, etc. Further, the government isn't the only one who can discover things about you on the internet. Any hacker can do that. Any large corporation can do that.

Hackers do it yes, and that is illegal. No question there.

Corporations do it yes, not sure the legality, unless you accept the EULA without reading it.

We know this CAN happen, but the question is SHOULD it happen and should the government be able to side step legalities and rights to obtain the information they are looking for? If the government can side step the rules and laws, then I don't think they have the moral or legal ground to tell anyone else what they can and cannot do, according the the law.

One set of rules for them, another for the rest of us.

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Get to know the man who has forced even the mainstream media to take notice:

The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," he said.

Snowden will go down in history as one of America's most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world's most secretive organisations – the NSA.

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Edited by Hudson Jones
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Hackers do it yes, and that is illegal. No question there.

Corporations do it yes, not sure the legality, unless you accept the EULA without reading it.

We know this CAN happen, but the question is SHOULD it happen and should the government be able to side step legalities and rights to obtain the information they are looking for? If the government can side step the rules and laws, then I don't think they have the moral or legal ground to tell anyone else what they can and cannot do, according the the law.

One set of rules for them, another for the rest of us.

But it's NOT sidestepping rules or laws. This is done with full oversight and consent of congress and signed off by a federal judge. And I just don't see the interest in anything other than national security here.

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Snowden will go down in history as one of America's most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world's most secretive organisations – the NSA.

To what benefit? What benefit did anyone derive from Bradley Manning's violating his oath? What benefits does it get from Snowden's betrayal? Everyone pretty much knew the NSA was monitoring vast amounts of internet traffic. This isn't new except to the particularly ignorant. Nor is it going to stop. This program is entirely legal and has all party support.

So what has Snowden really done but point out some details of how it's done to help terrorists avoid notice, and of course, destroy his life? No high tech company will ever hire him again, that's assuming he stays out of prison, which seems unlikely. And the laughable self-righteousness of this guy in saying he did it because of his deep respect for freedom -- then running off to CHINA! Oh right, China is so noted for its love of freedom of information and privacy! LOL. Hong Kong, he says, is famous for its protection of freedom of speech! Hong Kong! Which is in China! Maybe it escaped his notice that the British gave it back some little while back... What a genius.

Edited by Argus
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But it's NOT sidestepping rules or laws. This is done with full oversight and consent of congress and signed off by a federal judge. And I just don't see the interest in anything other than national security here.

They no longer need warrants to monitor your communications. The reason you can claim it as 'not sidestepping rules and laws' is because they have changed the laws so they no longer require a warrant to listen in to your conversation. Amendments and executive orders have marginalized the constitution. That constitution was designed to guarantee your protection against just this kind of thing that the government/intelligence services are doing.

They no longer need to go through checks and balances by obtaining a warrant to justify wiretapping someone.

Again, they have changed the rules to stay within the rules. That should be raising some red flags Argus.

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This article is quite long, but maybe you'll find time to read it at some point. It may even change your mind.

"Why privacy matters even if you have 'nothing to hide'" by Daniel J. Solove, law professor at George Washington University

I was rather surprised that the author didn't spend more time on the second way of justifying a national security program as stated:

"It is important to distinguish here between two ways of justifying a national-security program that demands access to personal information. The first way is not to recognize a problem. This is how the nothing-to-hide argument works—it denies even the existence of a problem. The second is to acknowledge the problems but contend that the benefits of the program outweigh the privacy sacrifice."

"

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I was rather surprised that the author didn't spend more time on the second way of justifying a national security program as stated:

"... The second is to acknowledge the problems but contend that the benefits of the program outweigh the privacy sacrifice."

People already make this determination in their "private" lives.....choosing access to information and services over known "problems" and potential for abuses. For instance, Americans have been sold a bill of goods about health care data privacy (HIPPA), but it is only bureaucratic window dressing.

Want telephone data privacy ? Use these:

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