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View Diary: NYT Editors, Senator Leahy Tacitly Wonder If Obama’s Serious About Ending NSA Phone Dragnet (267 comments)

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  •  This whole thing is laughable to me. (10+ / 0-)

    Literally, this is a massive debate over a relatively small database and if it is in the hands of a massive telecommunications multinational or a rapacious government bureaucracy.  Its like watching an episode of Firing Line. You have to laugh at how terribly unserious it is.

    What liberals are concerned about is not privacy. Because if youre concerned about that, your beef would begin with the people invading your privacy in the first place, which is not your government. Sorry but I have hard time taking seriously anyone up in arms about the NSA having and looking at your phone records but perfectly cool with Google or Verizon doing it (and making money off it). Its like a guy who  had the doll fetish and posting it on facebook and twitter getting upset when NSA was found snickering about it. Sorry, but you dontget to claim privacywhen youre cool with everyone in the world knowing, except government. If you care about privacy, lets start by making it clear that privacy begins with you and you only. Not you and several hundred corporations.

    What liberals are concerned about is the potential abuse of power, a legitimate, real concern. The government having massive data at its fingertips without proper controls is a recipe for abusing its authority and an invitation to corrpution. Is abuseof power a more important concern than privacy? Absolutely. That is what makes these limited reforms a joke. They do little to curb the abuse of power and corruption thatis almost certain to come about with data gathering on a massive scale. One day a domestic drone strike is going to occur based on 'data mining and analysis' and kill the wrong person. Then all bets are off. Abuse of power is getting deadly serious.

    But lets even come close to pretending, as the NYT does, that this is actually about privacy. Privacy has become a joke. Even my teenage girls mock the word as if it were some kind of ancient relic.

    •  No potential about it... (32+ / 0-)
      What liberals are concerned about is the potential abuse of power
      It's past tense.

      The question is... where does it stop? What is the end game here?

      That's my main concern.

      "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

      by markthshark on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:16:48 PM PDT

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    •  BBB, I've done a MUCH deeper dive on the... (37+ / 0-)

      ...implications of this "invasion of privacy," and it's a hell of a lot more serious and a much more pervasive attack on our entire society. More importantly, while too many are focused upon the "shiny object" that is the NSA, the reality is the FBI, DEA, IRS, Border Patrol, ATF and about a half dozen other federal agencies (all under the auspices of the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center, a/k/a NCTC) have morphed this "invasion of privacy" into a much more sinister tool that's undermining our RIGHTS TO SOCIALLY PROTEST and DEMONSTRATE against the egregious behavior of the STATUS QUO (yes, the CORPORATOCRACY), all via a network of 78 Fusion centers around the country, where NSA surveillance information, along with the massive surveillance data output of the FBI and the DEA, is shared--often in an UNMINIMIZED format--with corporate security executives and local law enforcement entities.

      Perhaps even more relevant, it's turning our inner cities into little more than an Orwellian wet dream of analytical profiling of minorities that makes stop and frisk look like child's play.

      The attack on the privacy of our citizens is reprehensible. But, it pales in comparison to what this has already morphed into, with much of that occurring below the radar.

      As a lawyer, and as you're witnessing law enforcement now invading our legal rights to lawyer-client privilege, frankly, I'm also surprised that you're giving this issue such short shrift.

      Trivializing surveillance belies what it has morphed into in recent years, which is something far more devious than just invading our privacy and going after "teh terrorists." This is classic inverted totalitarian societal behavior, and it's been written about for decades, if not generations.

      I haven't done a lot of deeper diving on the subject, recently (even the zeitgeist in this community's been dumbed down, and as you know, one has to "write to the audience"); but I have PLENTY of posts here from the past few years that fully document what I'm mentioning, above.

      Long story short: Referring to this as invading our privacy doesn't begin to describe what this about.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:24:09 PM PDT

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      •  I think were missing the forest and focusing on a (7+ / 0-)


        Youve done yeoman's work bobswern and it is appreciated.

        I take privacy seriously. Especially the ACP and other protections. But I also know that there is now springing up in legal circles services that allow you to get at information about your legal adversaries that is commercially obtainable because of the Big Data industry.  Information that one could never obtain through traditional discovery before these huge databases came online. Insurance companies are getting into this big time, using information against claimants that has been compiled by these 'profiling' data companies that pull together reams and reams of unregulated data.

        The potential for abuse of power and corruption isnt confined to government, although its somewhat more serious when it comes to government. My point is that this, however, is a very different discussion than one about privacy, which would be rapidly disappearing if the NSA did nothing at all with Big Data. We need to begin putting some controls and rules on this monster. For privacy AND abuse of power purposes.

        •  BBB, I'm in the PPI business...have been for... (24+ / 0-)

          ...well over a decade. Consumer analytics, the whole bit.

          Lawyers abuse the sh*t out of Westlaw, criminal records searches, unauthorized/illegal credit report pulls...the whole nine yards. It's a fucking joke. You know it. I know it.

          I have DOZENS of wealthy (I'm not) friends that pull this PPI (Personal-Private Information) on f*cking dinner guests and the kids going to the prom with their daughters and sons.

          Shit's out of hand. Why? Because the credit data firms and the PPI co's no longer have the real estate/mortgage data bucks bonanza coming in, so they have to make up their revenue elsewhere.

          I've done some work in the health care industry in this regard, too. Ever seen the sci-fi flick, "Gattica?" Turns out, for the past few years (I first heard about this roughly five years ago, in a meeting with a MAJOR health care software firm), health care co's are quietly running analytics tests (these will take many years to prove themselves out) for actuarial purposes on the physical conditions (major illnesses, causes of death, etc.) of the parents of current applicants, to see if these health insurance companies can make actuarial decisions regarding policy price, acceptance, etc. (even though it's of questionable legality, on a GOOD day--and now at least somewhat illegal under the ACA, etc.) based upon parental health history and genetics! How do health care firms get away with this? They're allowed to TEST and RESEARCH whatever they wish.

          And, we can bet our sad asses that if these health firms see enough of a bottom line in these efforts, they'll do whatever they need to do to institutionalize these Sci-Fi-like practices throughout the industry.

          Why? Because they can!

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 12:00:03 AM PDT

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    •  There's a huge difference between Google etc. (10+ / 0-)

      tracking our online browsing and the government listening to our private phone calls.

      Yes I still believe in a little privacy.

      To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 04:04:53 AM PDT

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    •  This is the Bob Cesca defense, and it's BS (9+ / 0-)

      Wake me up when AT&T can place me on the no-fly list, or when Verizon can order an in-depth IRS audit on their customers.

      “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

      by 420 forever on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 06:34:08 AM PDT

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    •  Unfettered government access to all online... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Choco8, triv33

      ...cell phone activity is the ultimate threat to a functioning free society.  

      FULL STOP.

      The ability of the government to claim that technological advances have rendered the 4th Amendment obsolete is unacceptable.  

      It's obvious that the current technology is easily exploited for purposes of surveillance, however, our government has it backwards when it permits these ubiquitous tools to be exploited in the name of security.

      Let's look at the 1st Amendment.  There is a right to Free Speech, but that right doesn't mean my employer can not censor what I say while I'm at work -- I can and would be fired if all I ever uttered were profanities.  And I'd have no case on 1st Amendment grounds to sue my employer for firing me.  It only means the GOVERNMENT can not censor me.

      Private comapnies who I enter into a contract with may use my information in order to bill me for their services, in order to sell products to me, and in order to anticipate my needs and improve their services.  What they can not do is SHARE that information with the government without a warrant.

      The constitution is there to protect us from our government, not from each other.  That's why we have regulations and criminal and civil laws.

      I understand the the idea of privacy in the market place is a laughable concept, BUT privacy from government intrusion is no laughing matter.  And it shouldn't be if the 4th Amendment means anything.

      all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

      by 4kedtongue on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 09:25:55 AM PDT

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    •  Citing your children's attitude toward something (0+ / 0-)

      about which they should have been better taught is not persuasive when addressing adults. If your daughters really feel this,

      Privacy has become a joke. Even my teenage girls mock the word as if it were some kind of ancient relic.
      perhaps you could arrange remedial education on the Bill of Rights for them.

      Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

      by davidincleveland on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 10:20:31 AM PDT

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