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News US Phone/Text/Email spying

  1. Jun 7, 2013 #1
    http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision...ying-explained/story?id=19347440#.UbIE0PnCbmE

    What's everyone's take on this? I agree, it shouldn't be so shocking given the patriot act and other moves by the government, but are we really ok with this? It's a slippery slope and rarely can we get back our privacy. Are we ok with having our communications profiled for the rest of our lives?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
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  3. Jun 7, 2013 #2

    Office_Shredder

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    If they just made a request in April and then everyone found out and got outraged I would be pretty OK with the situation (not that they made such a blanket request, but at least the system of checks and balances has a chance to work). If this has been happening since 2006 and we're only just finding out now then I have to question how we can possibly have a true system of checks and balances when such things can be kept secret for almost a decade.

    You might be thinking something like "hey I'm not doing anything wrong, no big deal". But here's a hypothetical to consider: What if it came out that Senator Nelson's crucial and painfully extracted 60th vote to end cloture on Obamacare came about because someone found in those phone records an incriminating phone call between the Senator, and e.g. an escort service? Maybe this is ridiculously extreme but if they can keep secret a program where they spy on every American for 7 years, we really have no idea what that information was used for

    EDIT TO ADD: Just to clarify, this hypothetical doesn't require a conspiracy, just some guy in the FBI who's a die-hard Democrat. If cops are willing to breach their professional responsibility just to check out a picture on a driver's license then an FBI agent doing the same thing for political reasons doesn't seem terribly farfetched
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  4. Jun 7, 2013 #3

    nsaspook

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    Most people will just say "I don't care" until they are in the dragnet and have their personal information used as a hammer on the kneecap.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...-unknowingly-legalized-prism-in-2007/?hpid=z3

     
  5. Jun 7, 2013 #4

    turbo

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    So only Democrats can be nailed with such charges of abuse? Is there anyone here that doesn't think that there are Republicans that want to challenge the rights of citizens to act freely? Far too black-and-white for me...
     
  6. Jun 7, 2013 #5

    BobG

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    Reword to: "You might be thinking something like "Hey, I'm not doing anything wrong and I know every single person I ever talk to on the phone isn't doing anything wrong, so no big deal".
     
  7. Jun 7, 2013 #6
    I still have not seen anywhere (that I can trust) any details of exactly what they were collecting, how, why, and what they were doing with it.
     
  8. Jun 7, 2013 #7

    BobG

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    They're not collecting anyone's conversations - just using who called who. Most likely reason would be to map out networks that flag which people they ought to investigate more closely.
     
  9. Jun 7, 2013 #8

    Office_Shredder

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    Ummmm no, I was just giving a hypothetical example of how an individual with access to this data could cause a pretty large swing in national events. Obamacare passing with exactly 60 votes was just the largest, closest bill I could think of (and if it only got 59 votes the example would have been about a Republican keeping it from passing)
     
  10. Jun 7, 2013 #9
    It appears to be a new and improved version of what many of us questioned years ago.

    There is no such thing as true privacy if a person uses any form of mass communication.

    BOLD MINE

    http://www.khou.com/news/Verizon-Wireless-publicly-admits-selling-customers-personal-data--133043148.html [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  11. Jun 7, 2013 #10

    mheslep

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    [
    True or not, it seems to me to be irrelevant where the government is concerned. The fourth amendment limits what the government may or may not do. The government shall not "seize", shall not violate, "and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause." There is no escape clause in the fine print of the amendment that says except when or where private entities already do this or that. And finding probable cause seems completely incompatible with any kind of blanket seizure as has been done here.
     
  12. Jun 7, 2013 #11

    Office_Shredder

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    This actually leads to an interesting discussion point. If instead of acquiring by seizure, the government just bought all the data at the going rate, would that be ok?
     
  13. Jun 7, 2013 #12
  14. Jun 7, 2013 #13

    nsaspook

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    That's true in the phone metadata case but "PRISM" is designed to capture the contents of the entire digital data stream.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/inves...0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_print.html

     
  15. Jun 7, 2013 #14

    Office_Shredder

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    I find this line particularly hilarious

    They're making sure that your right to be spied on in privacy is carefully guarded
     
  16. Jun 7, 2013 #15
    Local Police are buying your information from cell phone companies at the going rate.

    Bold Mine

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2012/04/cell-providers-selling-your-data-to-police.html [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  17. Jun 8, 2013 #16

    Dotini

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    http://www.motherjones.com/politics...tronic-frontier-foundation-fisa-court-opinion

    The FISA court, which oversees and signs off on the surveillance, has issued an opinion to the government that the surveillance is unconstitutional. But the Justice department is keeping the opinion secret. Lawsuits are pending.

    "...when the government hides court opinions describing unconstitutional government action, America's national security is harmed: not by disclosure of our intelligence capabilities, but through the erosion of our commitment to the rule of law."


    Obviously, if the government or the people want or need to do something unconstitutional, the remedy is simple - amend the Constitution!

    Respectfully submitted,
    Steve
     
  18. Jun 8, 2013 #17

    Office_Shredder

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    If they declare a program unconstitutional and the government says "eff it, we're going ahead anyway", what happens? The court becomes pointless, or do they have some leverage to actually stop it (since they aren't allowed to tell anyone apparently)
     
  19. Jun 8, 2013 #18

    nsaspook

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    You leak it to the press and let the citizens of the country decide if they still want the leaders of that government in office.
     
  20. Jun 9, 2013 #19
  21. Jun 9, 2013 #20

    Stephen Tashi

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    I'm not a lawyer, but it looks like the fourth admendment isn't a useful tool for preventing massiive data collection. The man-in-the-street interpretation of it isn't correct. For example U.S. vs Miller says that your records at the bank aren't protected by the 4th amendment. Perhaps your records at the phone company are the phone company's records not your "personal papers or effects". (The case often cited as the origin of the "right of pivacy", Griswold v Connecticut dealt with the use of contraceptives. I don't think that case was decided on the basis of the fourth amendment.)

    The man-in-the-street also thinks that there are constitutional protections against wiretaps on telephones without warrants. I don't know if there are and I'd be interested to hear from any legal expert about the matter. What happened subsequent to Olmstead vs US? ) (Edit: I found this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katz_v._United_States)

    In the first place, court decisons about wiretaps may merely uphold laws that require warrants for phone taps. That wouldn't mean that a contradictory law would be unconsititutional. If that's the case then protection from wiretaps without warrants isn't due to the constitution. It's only due to current law.

    In the second place, who is protected by laws against wiretaps? Is it phone companies or individuals? Is it the phone company who may require the warrant? Is a warrant required if the phone company doesn't demand it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
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