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View Diary: NY Times: "N.S.A. Phone Surveillance Is Lawful, Federal Judge Rules" (183 comments)

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  •  well, i think the Court should (6+ / 0-)

    find a way to distinguish among metadata -- phone records need not be treated the same as Internet searches or records of websites read.  To the extent the suit is about phone call records, it's Smith v. Maryland, case closed.  As more facts emerge about collection cookies and so forth, that can be a separate suit for another day.  

    But yes, criminal procedure laws protect against arbitrary, which is to say selective, intrusion.  This isn't that -- but it could be, if abused.  That makes it indeed a political question, then.  I'm not sure it was appropriate for Judge Pauley to say it's vital to national security at the motion to dismiss stage, though, and I wish I believed the legislature we have, not the one we want, can deal with this.  I've always regarded arguments about comparative competence of the branches to be empirical, transient, and contingent.  Obama has until someone less competent than him comes into office to fix the program and give it more rigorous oversight, but until then, I'm not worried.  (Why else even have elections, if institutional competence is a function of Constitutional design and operates on autopilot?  If I'm going to be accused of bias and hypocrisy, I might as well embrace the bias in a way the hypocrisy doesn't actually arise.  I'm only 80% serious in this argument, though.)  

    Further, even a party that doesn't agree not all administrations are created unequal doesn't by that fact derive arguments for Article III standing -- if we're about upholding the Constitution, what about the parts that say Courts can't issue advisory opinions?  I'm not sure the ACLU has a good argument that their interest is particularized versus political.

    At the same time, I have little patience with people who treat the entire idea of a national security justification as prima facie a subject for mockery.  It means the arguments fail as criticism of the court's decision, because that's a line of argument unavailable to it, given its obligations to the public writ large.  That doesn't mean always side for national security, it means at least read the briefs.

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 01:46:46 PM PST

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    •  Privacy (0+ / 0-)

      Google spies on us 10 times more than the Federal Government does, imo. Google knows our browsing history, what we do on certain websites, who we're talking to, what we like and dislike, etc etc etc. So does Facebook and every social media company. What we do on the internet isn't private. Perhaps some day it will be. The issue here however, is should the Government be doing what Google is doing? The answer is probably not.

      •  and no judicial oversight . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it's sort of annoying in a way.  I have to search for information about a particular industry for work, and when I log on at home, i get web ads for those products and advertising for rival law firms seeking to represent me in suits against makes of those products.  If prospective employers or mortgage lenders believed i had a genuine personal interest in these products, well, they wouldn't like it.  

        Google of course reads e-mails, or rather, mines keywords from the content, and is much more intrusive in that regard.  

        Where it gets dicey -- and I have some experience in this -- is the use of big data in political campaigns.  Voting behavior is correlated with consumer behavior, but it ends up in the hands of people who get people into the political branches, and I'm not sure legislators want to give up the goose that lays the golden egg, the tools that make their fundraising e-mails mildly less inefficient and points their canvassers in the right direction (if they actually listen).  It's this experience, though, that showed me it's not just noise, but the power to collect and store data is matched by the greater power to aggregate and synthesize it.

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 07:21:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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