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Friday, May 12, 2006

That Didn’t Take Long

Posted by on May 12 at 9:00 AM

This new web site thanks Qwest for not turning over its customers’ phone records to the NSA.

Meanwhile, I know this is just a snap poll, but… wow.

A majority of Americans initially support a controversial National Security Agency program to collect information on telephone calls made in the United States in an effort to identify and investigate potential terrorist threats, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The new survey found that 63 percent of Americans said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism, including 44 percent who strongly endorsed the effort. Another 35 percent said the program was unacceptable, which included 24 percent who strongly objected to it.

A slightly larger majority—66 percent—said they would not be bothered if NSA collected records of personal calls they had made, the poll found.

Underlying those views is the belief that the need to investigate terrorism outweighs privacy concerns.

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privacy and freedom is so 1780's

"The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either." - Benjamin Franklin

(I seem to remember hearing that this wasn’t actually said by Benjamin Franklin, but I can't back that up right now so I'm going with it.)

It's really sad that there are so many gullible, complacent and intellectually lazy americans. This is the kind of indifference to freedom that makes me doubt that the dems can take back one or both houses

"Now I'm ready to close my eyes
And now I'm ready to close my mind"

Stooges-I wanna be your Dog

Maybe I'm gullible, complacent and intellectually lazy, but I really don't see how this impinges on "freedom."

How is this different than the government tracking what cars I own, or how much income I earn, or what property I purchase?

This news isn't surprising. When are we Americans going to wake up the fact that we're a bunch of f'ing robots? We aren't the home of the 'free'- as Seth points out we're probably the most monitored, observed, controlled people in the world. THe good news is that this whole spying thing might serve to wake (some) of us up.

Seth, it's different because tracking your cars, income, and property is done for very specific purposes (collecting taxes and licensing) and is tightly controlled. It's done in the open, with approval and oversight from Congress. We trade that information to the government in order to receive a benefit.

Monitoring the phone calls of random people is completely different. We didn't approve it, no one has oversight over it, and we get no benefit from it. The information collected isn't specific or limited, so basically anything you say could at some point be used against you.

The fact that we give up our privacy in some matters doesn't mean we give it up in all matters. It's insane.

The program doesn't "monitor phone calls," it just maintains a list of who you call. What's said isn't within the purview of the program.

I'm assuming that the benefit is identifying patterns or traffic spikes that could indicate impending terrorist activity, or the existence of terrorist cells.

Sure it's an invasion of privacy--so is having to tell the Feds how much money I make and where I make it from. But I comprehend the purpose of both. And I don't feel like either impinge on my "freedom" that much.

While they might actually catch a terrorist using this database, that doesn't make it worth it. If police came to everyone's house every day and searched them for weapons or planns I'm sure they would eventually find something to arrest someone over. However there also would be no freedom, no independence, no innovation, and eventually no money.

There is a fine line between protecting one's rights and preventing violence.

Lets also not forget that whole 4th Amendment thing.

Benjamin Franklin Says...

Governor James Gilmore (R-VA) keeps quoting Benjamin Franklin as saying “The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve, nor will he ever receive either.” Actually, Ben Franklin said “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.” Some Difference.


quote here too:

Seth, it's hopelessly naive to think that they stop at simply collecting a list of who called whom and when. And even if they're not currently monitoring what is said on domestic calls (they certainly ARE monitoring international calls), the same logic that excuses gathering the list of numbers would excuse monitoring the content of the calls. The phrase "slippery slope" doesn't even begin to capture this kind of reasoning.

Of course, legal segregation (or the internment of Japanese citizens, or the Alien and Sedition Acts, or the Iraq war two years ago) probably would have gotten similar numbers. This sentiment will change in the fullness of time, and you will be hard pressed to find anyone who will admit that they supported this police state bullshit.

Where are those small gubm't Republicans when you need them, anyway?

Oh, and if the NSA is reading this (as I'm sure they are) - go fuck yourselves, my good little Germans....

I agree--the line has to be drawn somewhere. I'd draw it somewhere in between daily searches of my house and the NSA knowing who I telephone.

Keeping the names of the people I telephone private is hardly an "essential liberty."

"So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause."
- Padme, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

I'd say it's hopelessly naive to think that any federal agency couldn't get this information in five minutes if they wanted it.

Of COURSE they'll try to use the information other ways--look how the Feds used income tax violations to bring down the mob.

As long as they don't use it to interfere with freedom of speech (now THERE'S an essential liberty), I'm not too bothered.


Perhaps the big point here is the total lack of transparency. Given this is a good trade-off of privacy for security, why couldn't the adminstration simply let it be known. The lack of oversight is the scandal, not the actual act. Who is to say even this is the extend of what the government is doing?

If this is practiced in an open, clear manner, it could probably be done with the appropriate balence. In secrecy, details only dribbling out from brave leakers, this has all the markings of a disaster.

Golob, I agree. Presumably they wanted secrecy for the sake of keeping the terrorists guessing, but that's REALLY hopelessly naive.

the real question is why are they wasting billions of dollars to spy on domestic calls and not spending it on port security. e.g. the only thing that scares me is that every containers that are shipped to the US aren't checked, and if they are it's not until they arrive here.

so.. wtf is keeping track of domestic calls going to do other than tell you who might have helped AFTER the fact.

the govt. is doing jack shit to provide any real security.

My concern is that Bush and his administration continue to foster fear in the american public, so individuals think it is necessary for these unlawful mesures to be taken, with there blessing to keep them safe. People need to become more educated and get there heads out of there asses and the sand. ITMFA!

Microsoft is doing much nastier work for National Security and The Stranger doesn't seem too outraged Eli.

Most people want a comfortable home and distracting entertainment. Why not ask your own editor to lay off the entertaining nonsense and publish some hard hitting stories about the creepy stuff Microsoft does?

Oh I forgot, that would be real reporting instead of Daily Show style infotainment.

I wouldn't say the government is doing NOTHING.

Whether it's in spite of Bush or not, there hasn't been a large scale terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11, and as I watched and smelled the collapsed WTC burn from the rooftop of my apartment building that night, I wouldn't have imagined that possible.

Seth -

I might concede this point to those who make it, that the absence of an attack since 9/11 is proof that Bush's plan is working, but for one word:


Would it have been any different if Al Qaeda had bombed those levies?

"Would it have been any different if Al Qaeda had bombed those levies?"

yeah, after the fumbled response the president would have been impeached, hell maybe even another civil war would have broken out.

that's what would have happened.

Reason number 511 I am leaving this country as soon as I can.

What if we analogize phone records to internet records? Given this administration's track record, once Americans accept that the government will monitor who they call, the government may attempt to monitor the web sites people visit. Hey, it just boils down to IP addresses (phone numbers), right? Ya, ya, slippery slope, I know. Unfortunately, given the complacency with which most Americans have reacted to the Rehnquist Court's continuing destruction of other Fourth Amendment rights, it is not unreasonable to assume Bush and the NSA will look to the net next.

Another fear I have is that police/NSA may use the information gained in these searches to build cases against individuals for crimes totally unrelated to terrorism. Police have already conducted surreptitious searches under the guise of the Patriot Act for crimes that have NOTHING to do with terrorism. Thank God all this stuff helped us catch Osama!

Seig heil!

It's good to live in Red America, just like our comrades in Red Russia and Red China!

All power to our Glorious Leader!

we must hunt down Moose and Squirrel!

oh, hey, Grant, you should check out Vancouver BC, real sweet place, you can still visit us back here in Amerika.

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