Monitoring America (Washington Post)

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/monitoring-america/
Washington Post said:
Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The government's goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.

Other democracies - Britain and Israel, to name two - are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.
Is a person's "suspicious activity" another person's "normal behavior?"
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
russ_watters
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Maybe - but what's your point?
 
  • #3
Maybe - but what's your point?
An individual's personal information may be collected and stored based on a subjective interpretation of "suspicious activity" by a local observer. Afterwards, that personal information may be connected in varying degrees to other individuals's personal information by an analyst searching for any kind of pattern that may "fit" the initial subjectively interpreted "suspicious activity."

Btw, good job on reading an 8-page article in 3 minutes...
 
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  • #4
mheslep
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Why should someone have to read eight third party pages at your direction before asking for clarification of the point in a thread you start?

"[URL [Broken]
[/URL]
1) A clear statement of purpose written by the person starting the thread and contained in the opening post of the thread.
 
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  • #5
lisab
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Why should someone have to read eight third party pages at your direction before asking for clarification of the point in a thread you start?

"[URL [Broken]
[/URL]
What's not clear about:

Is a person's "suspicious activity" another person's "normal behavior?"
 
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  • #6
drankin
I've read a few pages but I'm not reading it all. To answer your question, "yes", one persons suspicious activity is another person's "normal behavior", and visa-versa.
 
  • #7
mheslep
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What's not clear about:
Is a person's "suspicious activity" another person's "normal behavior?"
Seriously? For one thing, if the question is only the text you quote then it has no political content and should me moved to General Discussion. Second, without context the question can have almost any interpretation, completely without scope. But we know glancing at the title and the reference that the OP has some political point in mind that the OP wants us to infer. He should state it.
 
  • #8
russ_watters
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An individual's personal information may be collected and stored based on a subjective interpretation of "suspicious activity" by a local observer. Afterwards, that personal information may be connected in varying degrees to other individuals's personal information by an analyst searching for any kind of pattern that may "fit" the initial subjectively interpreted "suspicious activity."
Correct. So what? Again, what is your point?
Btw, good job on reading an 8-page article in 3 minutes...
Oh, it's much worse than you think, Mathnomalous: I didn't even read the entire quote you posted! There is no reason to read the back-up to a nonexistent point. You need to provide a point to this thread or it will be locked.

Perhaps lisab can help:
lisab said:
What's not clear about:
If you know what the OP's point is, please share. A few questions immediatly pop to mind:
1. Who are these two people?
2. Why are their opinions relevant?
3. What specific behaviors are we talking about?
4. What does the OP think should and shouldn't be monitored?
5. Who should judge what is "supicious" and what isn't?

If you got the answers to all of those from the OP's one-liner, please do share with the rest of us.

Mathnomalous, you need to provide a point to this thread, or it will be locked for lack of content to discuss.
 
  • #9
russ_watters
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I've read a few pages but I'm not reading it all. To answer your question, "yes", one persons suspicious activity is another person's "normal behavior", and visa-versa.
Incorrect. The correct general answer is maybe (in other words, sometimes yes and sometimes no). I'm sure, for example, that you and I sometimes agree on what "suspicious" is (and that it isn't "normal") so sometimes the answer for you and me would be "no".

So now that that's clear, is there anything else to discus...?
 
  • #10
drankin
Incorrect. The correct general answer is maybe (in other words, sometimes yes and sometimes no). I'm sure, for example, that you and I sometimes agree on what "suspicious" is (and that it isn't "normal") so sometimes the answer for you and me would be "no".

So now that that's clear, is there anything else to discus...?
Nothing more that I can see. Next...
 
  • #11
My assumption was that the 8-page report had a clear thesis and I did not have to provide a "point" since any such thing would amount to opinion. I focused on "suspicious activity" because I believed debating a highly subjective topic would "tease out" some objectivity. Even the title gives a clear idea of what is going to be discussed.

Either some of you are unbelievably obtuse or extremely dishonest. Next time I will be certain to break it down along political ideology lines for the benefit of any far right-of-center persons who might read these forums.

Here is the point of the thread:

The US Government, State Governments, and Local Governments are violating the privacy of US citizens under the false premise of "terrorism prevention." Taxpayer moneys are being used to conduct surveillance and collect personal information on law-abiding US citizens. Furthermore, the United States is gradually becoming a police state. Finally, American citizens who hold right-wing political ideologies do not care or understand that the US Government is violating the privacy of American citizens and is increasingly becoming an authoritarian State.

Evidence? Reports such as the one by the Washington Post detailing the Orwellian activities of government at all levels.
 
  • #12
drankin
Well, us obtuse folks can't read your mind. We had an idea of what your point was but you did specify anything worth discussing.

Your opinion appears a bit conspiratorial to me. What kind of information gathered about individuals would you consider crossing the Constitutional line anyhow?
 
  • #13
russ_watters
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My assumption was that the 8-page report had a clear thesis and I did not have to provide a "point" since any such thing would amount to opinion.
That's not how this forum works (a link to/quote from the rules is posted above). The originator of the thread must provide the point themself.
The US Government, State Governments, and Local Governments are violating the privacy of US citizens under the false premise of "terrorism prevention." Taxpayer moneys are being used to conduct surveillance and collect personal information on law-abiding US citizens. Furthermore, the United States is gradually becoming a police state. Finally, American citizens who hold right-wing political ideologies do not care or understand that the US Government is violating the privacy of American citizens and is increasingly becoming an authoritarian State.

Evidence? Reports such as the one by the Washington Post detailing the Orwellian activities of government at all levels.
Well that's a point! Not well focused or very clear, but a point nonetheless. Ok, so along with providing a point, you have to prove it. You'll have an uphill climb ahead of yourself to prove any of those assertions (except probably the second) - and you must do it: we require it here. Otherwise, you're just making-up an forwarding your own conspiracy theories and flinging propaganda with nothing behind it. For example, no variant of the terms "Orwell..." or "police state" appear anywhere in that article. This is your thesis, not the thesis of the article and you need to explain/defend it or this thread will be locked. You also still have not explained what your point was with the sentence you wrote in the OP. It almost reads like you think criminals should be making the rules. Is that what you meant?

Last chance.
 
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  • #14
How would you know those words do not appear in the article if you had not read it? Might as well lock the thread; this subforum is not so much about rational debate as it is about people trying to score points. I think I will limit myself to other areas where people are not so emotionally invested.
 
  • #15
drankin
How would you know those words do not appear in the article if you had not read it? Might as well lock the thread; this subforum is not so much about rational debate as it is about people trying to score points. I think I will limit myself to other areas where people are not so emotionally invested.
You seem to be the one invested. Russ pointed out the rules of the forum. State your point, and substantiate it. You didn't do the former and noone wants to make assumptions. Your question in the opening question was vague.
 
  • #16
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"Orwellian" is perfectly obvious if you are high school-literate.
 
  • #17
mheslep
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"Orwellian" is perfectly obvious if you are high school-literate.
Even more reason to condemn the casual use of the term as pejorative against that which is disliked for this or that political reason without support.
 
  • #18
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Even more reason to condemn the casual use of the term as pejorative against that which is disliked for this or that political reason without support.
what political reason is that? is your use of pejorative pejorative?
 
  • #19
mheslep
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what political reason is that?
Who cares?
is your use of pejorative pejorative?
No.
 
  • #20
russ_watters
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How would you know those words do not appear in the article if you had not read it?
I ran a search to be sure.
Might as well lock the thread; this subforum is not so much about rational debate as it is about people trying to score points. I think I will limit myself to other areas where people are not so emotionally invested.
[blink] Your leaving the politics forum will increase the rationality coefficient and decrease the "emotionally invested" coefficient. I've given you every opportunity to be rational instead of emotional and you've declined. For you to suggest the opposite is ridiculous.

Thread pointless, locked.
 
  • #21
russ_watters
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"Orwellian" is perfectly obvious if you are high school-literate.
mheslep is correct: without a logical argument behind it, calling something "Orwellian" is just namecalling. I'm perfectly well aware of what the OP meant by it (I'm partial to "Animal Farm", myself...) and I wanted to give him the opportunity to back away from the namecalling and actually make a logical argument substantiating it.
 

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