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View Diary: What If You Pulled Back the Curtain and Found a Real Wizard? (181 comments)

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  •  See now this is when we ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... get the best of Dumbo:

    Imagine if you had a photoalbum of pictures of my wife in the shower that you collected while doing some other project.  And you put restrictions on how your friends can open the book and look at individual pictures.  Does the invasion of my wife's privacy occur at the moment a friend disregards the restrictions to look at an individual picture? Doesn't the real invasion of privacy occur at the moment at which you take and collect the pictures and put them in an album?
    That's excellent law professor Socratic questioning. From my take on the opinion, the rules against content (i.e. the actual "pictures" in your hypothetical) are exponentially stricter than the rules for metadata (where or when pictures taken). The Government first has to devise the best possible ways not to capture content. Secondly, the Government has to destroy US content whenever possible unless it (a) is a direct communication to a surveillance target or (b) the threat of imminent death is involved. So, instead of pictures of your wife, all my friends would get to see is:
        Picture #1                Picture #2
    Image destroyed     Image destroyed

    [or]

         Picture #1                 Picture #2
    Taken on 1.12.12       Taken on 3.15.12  [but no pics]

    On another note, you provide this, Dumbo:
    First of all, almost all the "safeguards" we are discussing are safeguards to keep individual "NSA analysts" from using the information the NSA has already collected in a manner that is outside the scope of what they permit NSA analysts to do.
    That is not my opinion at all. Yes, there are a ton of "on-the-job" safeguards that are necessarily spelled out. I think you probably find the same thing in the Post Office dealing with letters, why you can't open them, what happens to you when you open them, and how you can't steal the customer's Playboy, and so on. They are banal but necessary.

    I see much more than that, though, including fully developed legal standards, the application of legal precedent, a judge who gave real push back to the Government (even though the judge had every right to believe that his opinion would be "Classified: TOP SECRET" for the next 70+ years and not available to the public during the rest of his lifetime), a system of "internal whistleblowing" in the NSA that seems to be functioning well as the Government is turning in potential problems, a proactive legal procedure that requires the Government to prove, before it can implement a specific program, that what it plans to do is legal and constitutional, a certification and re-certification process that requires the Government to stay on its constitutional toes regarding every surveillance data program, internal NSA audits, Inspectors General, the power of a judge to order the Governement not to do something, the power of criminal contempt (which was not needed in this case, but still exists), the power of the court to order the Government's appearance and briefing of issues, and to require sworn affidavits from the heads of the CIA, the FBI and the NSA, the application of the regulations that Attorney General Eric Holder wrote, a system of judicial oversight that is so privacy- and Fourth Amendment-centric that all the terms and identifiers are shaped by privacy concerns (i.e. "minimization," "retention" and "targeting."), Congressional oversight and, most importantly, a great deal of professionalism evidenced in the opinion, which shows not only knowledge and understanding, but the care taken to get things right.

    Finally, you wrote:

    So now we're probably going to be forced to resort to arguments along the lines of, "Well, we have to have chests like that because of ticking time bombs, etc."  And I say, no, we don't have to.  That's the kind of argument that leads to a creeping police state.  We existed for two hundred years as a country without this technology to protect ourselves, and we did a pretty damn good job for the most part.  We're still here.  This is unnecessary and it endangers the fabric of our democracy.
    I think we can agree that we need the chests that contain solely international communications, can't we, Dumbo? Yes, we existed two hundred years without them, but times change, technology advances, both our's and our potential enemies'. My sense is that almost all of this stuff has been done for decades and some of it for a century or more. Our Government has always had secrets, it has always spied on other countries, it has always used "secret" hearings to flesh out warrants and surveillance, it has always had "secret" rulings on classified programs or "secret" hearings that implicate, in one way or another, classified information, and it has always had three branches of Government to provide oversight and a Constitution to present difficult tests, and we are still here after over 200 years.  

    Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting.

    by Tortmaster on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 11:39:30 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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