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View Diary: Snowden's revelations are neither revelations nor scandalous (171 comments)

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  •  If nothing else, Snowden may have given (8+ / 0-)

    us the otherwise impossible: Proof that the government collects all this data.

    An article by Seymour Hersh isn't admissible in court. The actual FISA court order authorizing blanket collection of data en masse? That's a different story. The ACLU hopes so, anyway.

    Remember, sez the Supreme Court, the only way you get to have standing to sue over secret violations of the Fourth Amendment is if you have proof of what the government did in secret. So in order for these programs to be litigated properly (and a bullshit one-sided secret kangaroo court does not count), someone HAD to leak this stuff. That's the only way for us to take the NSA to court over this.

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 12:28:48 PM PDT

    •  i don't get your point (6+ / 0-)

      There is no indication that the FISA court order was illegal.

      self-appointed intellectual cop

      by citizen k on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 12:31:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Except, you know. The Fourth Amendment. n/t (4+ / 0-)

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
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        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 12:37:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  take it up with the Supremes (5+ / 0-)

          In 1979 they ruled that nobody has an expectation of privacy on phone records.

          self-appointed intellectual cop

          by citizen k on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 12:38:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then there's the statutory issue — (3+ / 0-)

            the Patriot Act requires there to be an “ongoing investigation” in order to pull business records as in the Verizon case. It appears, however, that they just pull all the records all the time whenever they want. The author of the Patriot Act has objected loudly to this interpretation.

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            Formerly known as Jyrinx.

            by Code Monkey on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 12:47:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  author of the patriot act is a lying Republican (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan

              clown. Taking what he says on any issue as anything else but part of GOP slime fest is stunningly naive.

              self-appointed intellectual cop

              by citizen k on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 12:53:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fine. Let's see what the courts say. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PhilJD

                Oh, wait! It's impossible for us to know how the courts have interpreted this law — and therefore what the law actually says — because the court's rulings are secret.

                It's also impossible to appeal the FISA court's secret decisions, leaving the law entirely under the interpretation of people personally appointed by Roberts.

                Don't you find that at least a bit disturbing? The fact that we are now governed by secret laws?

                Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
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                Formerly known as Jyrinx.

                by Code Monkey on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 12:55:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  secret from you (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ord avg guy, Deep Texan

                  Yes, the rulings are secret...but does "oversight" require that YOU personally are involved?  Many things happen that are kept secret and oversight can still take place.

                  The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

                  by Mote Dai on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 01:15:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  LAWS SHOULD NOT BE SECRET. (0+ / 0-)

                    Of course some things should be secret. What the law says is not one of them.

                    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
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                    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

                    by Code Monkey on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 05:34:07 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And that is your opinion (0+ / 0-)

                      Obviously, if it deals with threats, risks, or vulnerabilities, then there is a need for secrecy.  No?  A government must put all everything in public for it to function? Secret doesn't mean NO ONE knows...it means it is limited knowledge.

                      It is clear now that knowledge of these programs did exist and some, but not all, Congresspeople were briefed on them.  You want to know, then get yourself elected.

                      The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

                      by Mote Dai on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 07:15:49 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Right on. Let's just believe Cheney. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PhilJD
          •  Also, in 1979 it wasn't possible (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gooderservice

            to do the kind of mass data mining using phone records, etc. that the NSA does. Nor was it feasible to gather everyone's phone records in one place all the time.

            Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
            Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
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            Formerly known as Jyrinx.

            by Code Monkey on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 12:48:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  It was perfectly legal. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, Deep Texan

        This story gets more hilarious by the day!

        Well this surveillance could be abused!
        Well then let's nullify all laws because they'll inevitably be abused too. And let's scream at Obama that our laws themselves are Orwellian, and that he betrayed is by refusing to nullify them. That Obama is a traitor.
    •  I think this was new programs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Code Monkey, Patate

      that did not exist in 1999.  The premise here is wrong.  But watching the flame war is fun!

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 12:36:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The collection of metadata was reported in 2006. (4+ / 0-)

      The very same story.

      Even Snowden doesn't allege illegal activity. This story is one big non-troversy, though it is hilarious.

      We've known about secret courts since 1978, we've known about the NSA since 1952. We've known, or could reasonably infer, everything we need to know to curtail or eliminate this surveillance.

      We've known for years. Decades.

      If we wish to decide to curtail or eliminate this surveillance, that's a legitimate choice; but the idea that Obama has initiated a vast, conspiratorial surveillance state is ridiculous. It's funny to watch people scream though.

      •  yeah, Bush did it so it's ok because it was done (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Robobagpiper, PhilJD

        and we thought Bush was doing it so now that Obama's doing it, what's the big deal?

        •  Bush wiretapped people without a warrant. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan, HamdenRice

          Bush himself ordered that. Kindly present independently verified evidence that Obama "did it too" or clarify what you mean by "did it too."

          Every President in the modern age has employed surveillance. The relevant distinction is between legally sanctioned surveillance and extra-legal surveillance. If you're alleging that the surveillance we've "learned about now" is extra-legal, then cite which law or laws have been violated. If you claim that such surveillance is unconstitutional, then cite precedent to make that argument.

          "Did it too" is a sophomoric Internet cliche sound byte.

          •  let's talk about your point (0+ / 0-)

            and correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems you're saying Bush did this when it was illegal. Now we have the FISA secret court which says it's legal. The same stuff that went on, that we didn't like with Bush, is going on but because we have the FISA court, it's now ok.

            Is that right?

            •  No, I'm not saying Bush "did it when it was (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Deep Texan, ballerina X

              illegal" if by "it" you mean warrant less wiretapping. That is still illegal.

              Metadata collection is perfectly legal and constitutional. I think that the only difference is that such collection was not yet codified by the Patriot Act when Bush did it.

              And we do not "now" have the FISA court. The FISA court has existed since 1978.

              •  ok, so the Patriot Act has codified it (0+ / 0-)

                thus it's ok?

                And if what the Obama Administration is doing is different from what Bush did, then the diary is wrong, in that it's not old news. According to some, good or bad, it's new, in the sense that it's different, which would make it a sort of revelation.

                Again, if you think it's legal and fine and no big deal, the extent of the metadata collection (if that's all it is) is still larger than previously reported.

                •  When you ask "thus it's okay?" aren't you (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  HamdenRice

                  vastly over simplifying a complex question? The trade off between security and privacy in the Internet age is not something that's easily resolved.

                  I would "answer" by suggesting that it depends on the context in which the information is gathered and used.

                  I was reading an article in the New Yorker earlier today (by Jane Mayer I think, sorry can't get link right now) in which she spoke with a mathematician to discuss some of the trade offs. To summarize, metadata is, on the one hand, more revealing than many may think. For example, of you call an oncologist and then your next of kin, that may indicate you have terminal cancer. That's clearly something private.

                  On the other hand, metadata collection has reduced the average time it takes for law enforcement to locate a fugitive from 42 days to 2 days. In that sense, there's a clear public interest in such data collection.

                  I'm sorry, but the skeptical suggestion that it's "okay when Obama does it" is just stupid and ill-considered. The issue is so much more complex than that.

                  I encourage you to read that article. Sorry I can't
                  Provide a link.

                  •  here's where we agree (0+ / 0-)
                    I would "answer" by suggesting that it depends on the context in which the information is gathered and used.
                    There is a belief that this info will be misused. It increases the ammunition those in power have to use against their opponents.

                    As you point out, it's a complex issue, branching into other areas like foreign policy and endless war.

                    As you know, I come down on the side of privacy, especially since I don't really believe this gives us security. If that notion is correct then all that remains if the compilation of data and the ability to use the info in other ways. Of course, if you or anyone else thinks it does make us safer then you'll take a different view.

                    We could then get into a discussion of what the best way to increase security might be. Collect data which allows to to pinpoint who we eavesdrop on vs. stopping killing people whose crime is to live in certain areas.

                    In short, I personally don't believe this makes us safer, it's easy to see the program misused.

                    I'm looking forward to the larger debate.

            •  It's depressing (0+ / 0-)

              You totally don't get the story -- but your lack of understanding reflects about 95% of DK.

              What don't you understand about "without a warrant" or "warrantless wiretapping"?

      •  And... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan, sunbro, ballerina X, fou

        ...private companies have been collecting the very same meta data (because that is who is actually collecting it) and using it to make $$.  Yahoo and Google already "read" your mail as well for targeted advertising.  Go read the fine print of your terms of service.  If you mention coats in an email, chances are you will get coat ads on your screen.  Look at shovels on Lowes.com and shovel ads miraculously appear.  

        The sequester is the new Republican immigration reform plan. Make things so bad here in the US that no one will want to live here.

        by Mote Dai on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 01:20:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If it's a "non-troversy" (0+ / 0-)

        why all the existential angst about poor Snowden wanting to emigrate to a country that suits him better than this one does?

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