Federal judge rules NSA phone surveillance legal (Update)

Dec 27, 2013 by Larry Neumeister
This June 6, 2013 file photo shows a sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. A civil rights lawyer says the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is very disappointed that a New York judge has found that a government program that collects millions of Americans' telephone records is legal. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The heated debate over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records fell squarely into the courts when a federal judge in Manhattan upheld the legality of the program and cited its need in the fight against terrorism just days after another federal judge concluded it was likely not constitutional.

The ruling on Friday by U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III and an opposing view earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington D.C. sets the stage for federal appeals courts to confront the delicate balance developed when the need to protect national security clashes with civil rights established in the Constitution.

Pauley concluded the program was a necessary extension of steps taken after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He said the program lets the government connect fragmented and fleeting communications and "represents the government's counter-punch" to the al-Qaida's terror network's use of technology to operate decentralized and plot international terrorist attacks remotely.

"This blunt tool only works because it collects everything," Pauley said. "The collection is broad, but the scope of counterterrorism investigations is unprecedented."

Pauley's decision contrasts with Leon's grant of a preliminary injunction against the collecting of phone records of two men who had challenged the program. The Washington, D.C. jurist said the program likely violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on unreasonable search. The judge has since stayed the effect of his ruling, pending a government appeal.

Both cases now move to appeals courts for a conflict that some believe will eventually be settled by the Supreme Court. The chances that the nation's top court will address it increase if the appeals courts reach conflicting opinions or if the current use of the program is declared illegal.

Pauley said the mass collection of phone data "significantly increases the NSA's capability to detect the faintest patterns left behind by individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations. Armed with all the metadata, NSA can draw connections it might otherwise never be able to find."

He added: "As the Sept. 11 attacks demonstrate, the cost of missing such a threat can be horrific."

Pauley said the attacks "revealed, in the starkest terms, just how dangerous and interconnected the world is. While Americans depended on technology for the conveniences of modernity, al-Qaida plotted in a seventh-century milieu to use that technology against us. It was a bold jujitsu. And it succeeded because conventional intelligence gathering could not detect diffuse filaments connecting al-Qaida."

The judge said the NSA intercepted seven calls made by one of the Sept. 11 hijackers in San Diego prior to the attacks, but mistakenly concluded that he was overseas because it lacked the kind of information it can now collect.

Still, Pauley said such a program, if unchecked, "imperils the civil liberties of every citizen" and he noted the lively debate about the subject across the nation, in Congress and at the White House.

"The question for this court is whether the government's bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This court finds it is. But the question of whether that program should be conducted is for the other two coordinate branches of government to decide," he said.

A week ago, President Barack Obama said there may be ways of changing the program so that is has sufficient oversight and transparency.

In ruling, Pauley cited the emergency of the program after 20 hijackers took over four planes in the 2001 attacks, flying two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and a fourth into a Pennsylvania field as passengers tried to take back the aircraft.

"The government learned from its mistake and adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world. It launched a number of counter-measures, including a bulk telephony metadata collection program—a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data," he said.

Pauley dismissed a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which promised to appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.

"We're obviously very disappointed," said Brett Max Kaufman, an attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project. "This mass call tracking program constitutes a serious threat to Americans' privacy and we think Judge Pauley is wrong in concluding otherwise."

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said: "We are pleased the court found the NSA's bulk telephony metadata collection program to be lawful."

NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines declined to comment.

In arguments before Pauley last month, an ACLU lawyer argued that the government's interpretation of its authority under the Patriot Act was so broad that it could justify the mass collection of financial, health and even library records of innocent Americans without their knowledge, including whether they had used a telephone sex hotline, contemplated suicide, been addicted to gambling or drugs or supported political causes. A government lawyer had countered that counterterrorism investigators wouldn't find most personal information useful.

Pauley said there were safeguards in place, including the fact the NSA cannot query the phone database it collects without legal justification and is limited in how much it can learn. He also noted "the government repudiates any notion that it conducts the type of data mining the ACLU warns about in its parade of horribles."

The ACLU sued earlier this year after former NSA analyst Edward Snowden leaked details of the secret programs that critics say violate privacy rights. The NSA-run programs pick up millions of telephone and Internet records that are routed through American networks each day.

Pauley said the fact that the ACLU would never have learned about an order authorizing collection of telephony metadata related to its telephone numbers but for Snowden's disclosures added "another level of absurdity in this case."

"It cannot possibly be that lawbreaking conduct by a government contractor that reveals state secrets—including the means and methods of intelligence gathering—could frustrate Congress's intent. To hold otherwise would spawn mischief," he wrote.

Pauley also rejected the ACLU's argument that the phone data collection program is too broad and contains too much irrelevant information.

"That argument has no traction here. Because without all the data points, the government cannot be certain it connected the pertinent ones," he said.

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NeutronicallyRepulsive
4.6 / 5 (14) Dec 27, 2013
The question is not much about lawfulness. Most of what Hitler did during WWII was legal, but that doesn't mean the laws were moral. So the real question is do we want this to be legal? My answer is NO *** way.
krundoloss
5 / 5 (7) Dec 27, 2013
Its not the surveillance that bothers me, its the power that the government has pooled with Homeland Security and NSA surveillance. If the US Government wants you gone, you will be gone, and there is nothing anyone can do, legally or otherwise, to stop them. Has this power been abused, probably not much. Can we trust the government with this power? Probably not. Will it stop terrorist attacks, well, sure, maybe a few.

I admire Snowden for having the courage to get the word out on what the NSA was doing. He had to sacrifice his lifestyle to do it. People like him will help keep the power of the government in check, at least until there are more drones then soldiers. Drones never whistleblow, they kill who you tell them to and they don't ask questions.
Returners
1.3 / 5 (12) Dec 27, 2013
If the US Government wants you gone, you will be gone, and there is nothing anyone can do, legally or otherwise, to stop them.


How naive are you?

They could do that all along.

At the end of the day, at some point, you have to trust somebody, else you'll just drive yourself nuts.

If the government wanted to, they could simply attack your house and kill your whole family, and say you were terrorists, and most people, including the media, would believe it. It's always been like that. The few dissenters would be labelled whackos or conspiracy nut-jobs and forgotten. The ability to do or not do surveillance won't change that fact either.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (11) Dec 27, 2013
"the program was vital in preventing an Al-Qaeda terror attack on American soil."

-Let me repeat that:

"the program was vital in preventing an Al-Qaeda terror attack on American soil."
its the power that the government has pooled with Homeland Security and NSA surveillance. If the US Government wants you gone, you will be gone
If you are a US citizen, al qaida wants you gone. If you are al qaida, the govt wants you gone. Whose side are you on?
I admire Snowden for having the courage
Snowden is having the time of his life.
People like him will help keep the power of the government in check
People like him can weaken the govt to the point where it is no longer able to protect its citizens from this:

"Al-Qaeda threatens US and Europe, promises 'earth-shattering'... attacks that will be "strong, serious, alarming, earth-shattering and terrible..."

-Is this what you want?
they could attack your house and kill your whole family
-You watch too much tv.
Woland2244
1.3 / 5 (7) Dec 27, 2013
The question is not much about lawfulness. Most of what Hitler did during WWII was legal, but that doesn't mean the laws were moral. So the real question is do we want this to be legal? My answer is NO *** way.

Are you sure? Let's put aside for a second superstitions that our governments follows us us(it does), and assume that NSA does what ever it makes itself look like it does and think, is your sms to your mom about the dinner, or your friends call or e-mail about the school program is more important than anyones' security? I don't much think so... After all, do you think someone gives a s**t about your texts? None, I assure you. Regardless, every government runs this kind of program that includes searching for keywords like "government", "president", "kill", "bomb" and a billion of others. Whether you like it or not, you are being watched, you don't get a right to choose, it's a fact.
krundoloss
5 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2013
How naive are you?

They could do that all along.


Yes, anyone with power can destroy another that has no power. This is obvious.

Its not a matter of sacrificing privacy to prevent terrorist plots. When will it end? What other "sacrifices" will be made in the name of "protection from terrorists"? Keep in mind that terrorists could EASILY be hired by the government to perform the occasional terrorist attack, which scares the people and gives the government more power. How naïve are you?
Returners
1 / 5 (15) Dec 27, 2013
I want more surveillance, both private sector and government, in order to assit in prevention and capture of violent criminals, such as rapists and murderers, in addition to both domestic and international terrorists.

If we had more cameras in a larger variety of locations, and more spying on emails and such, we might catch more of these lunatics (who do school/church/theater shootings) ahead of time, instead of just cleaning up the mess afterwards. Most of them bought their guns, ammo, and other supplies legally and even online, by the way.

You might also capture some of these other wicked bastards, like Ariel Castro, who kidnap and imprison women and rape them repeatedly.

Obviously, you can't stop everything, but we DO have the technology to do a hell of a lot better than what has been done recently, that is, if the fear mongers would stop whining at the thought of their email potentially being read by a third party.

So what? They can read all my emails.

antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (9) Dec 27, 2013
A US judge ruled Friday that the National Security Agency's mass surveillance of telephone calls is lawful,

Well...there's a good example of the difference between legal and legitimate if ever I saw one.

Always remember: judges/lawyers/juries are beholden to the law - not to justice. The two are very separate things.
(In an ideal world they would coincide. But currently I see very few places on the planet where that is even marginally the case)
Returners
1.1 / 5 (13) Dec 27, 2013
Always remember: judges/lawyers/juries are beholden to the law - not to justice. The two are very separate things.
(In an ideal world they would coincide. But currently I see very few places on the planet where that is even marginally the case)


In an ideal world you would need no law because everyone would be "just". There would be no murderers, rapists, thieves, child abusers, drug addicts, con-artists, terrorists, or other abusers and offenders.

The term "justice" which we use is actually "retribution," while true justice can only exist if there is no evil in the first place.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (7) Dec 27, 2013
Still can't find the section in the supreme law of the land where it says, "These rights may be circumvented by a secret court and secret oversight during times of war against unspecified enemies."

That's because there is no such provision there—it's found in legislation known as the Patriot Act—despite what the supreme law of the land says about using legislation to abridge or circumvent those rights both enumerated and not enumerated by it. It is, however, possible to amend the supreme law of the land to provide such legal authorization.

It does not appear that the NSA has the legal authority of a constitutional amendment that would allow them to break the very law that they have sworn to uphold and defend. Small wonder.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2013
"the program was vital in preventing an Al-Qaeda terror attack on American soil."
"In interviews with this author in early March, Edmonds claimed that Ayman al-Zawahiri, current head of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's deputy at the time, had innumerable, regular meetings at the U.S. embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, with U.S. military and intelligence officials between 1997 and 2001, as part of an operation known as 'Gladio B'. Al-Zawahiri, she charged, as well as various members of the bin Laden family and other mujahideen, were transported on NATO planes to various parts of Central Asia and the Balkans to participate in Pentagon-backed destabilisation operations.

According to two Sunday Times journalists speaking on condition of anonymity, this and related revelations had been confirmed by senior Pentagon and MI6 officials as part of a four-part investigative series that were supposed to run in 2008."

So the top boogie man of the most feared te**orist group is a US employee
jerryjbrown
4.8 / 5 (5) Dec 27, 2013
OK, something being 'lawful' is not argument. It was once lawful in America to own another human. Also, alcohol was NOT lawful for a time. What about the Indian Removal act of 1838? What is right or wrong is not necessarily what is legal or illegal. And isn't it odd that getting a different judge gives you a different outcome?
Returners
1 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2013
It does not appear that the NSA has the legal authority of a constitutional amendment that would allow them to break the very law that they have sworn to uphold and defend. Small wonder.


Technically, the Commerce Clause gives Congress a hell of a lot more power over the internet and transport than what they have ever exercised. There is absolutely no legal reason why the Federal Government can't tax and read literally every email sent on the internet, and tax data in general by the bit or byte, because the 4th amendment doesn't supercede other articles of the Constitution, as precedent has not placed the 4th amendment above the Commerce Clause, from what I've seen. Such regulation is a fundamental power of congress explicitly stated.

If they have the power to confiscate land, and change the routes of rivers, which they do and have done on several occasions, then monitoring the internet is peanuts in comparison.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (6) Dec 27, 2013
Technically, the Commerce Clause gives Congress a hell of a lot more power over the internet and transport than what they have ever exercised.

Technically, all the power Congress has at all is derived from the people, in order to form a more perfect union, etc. High time the people stopped voting for the lesser of two evils, and started voting for the greater of two goods. Or is that still too outside-the-box?
Returners
1 / 5 (7) Dec 27, 2013
Technically, all the power Congress has at all is derived from the people, in order to form a more perfect union, etc. High time the people stopped voting for the lesser of two evils, and started voting for the greater of two goods. Or is that still too outside-the-box?


What you consider necessary and reasonable might not be the same as someone else. Unfortunately, the law is and must be open to interpretation, which is the job of the Court, because you actually don't want fundamental law that is too specific to an age and time, due to changes in technology which make such laws obsolete.

Is it necessary for the Government to be able to spy on people, in order for the executive branch to carry out it's primary functions of protecting the people and enforcing the law? Absolutely. There is no way in modern times to prevent terrorism and other organized crimes without the ability to spy on electronic communications.

cont...
Returners
1 / 5 (6) Dec 27, 2013
Since you don't know "who" the terrorists are, whether domestic or foreign, until either they attack, or you are lucky enough to intercept a communication, then you cannot expect to stop their crimes.

The President of the U.S. takes an oath to PROTECT from threats foreign and domestic, not just to punish offenders or clean up the mess afterwards. There is no practical way to PROTECT against terrorists without spying on quite literally everyone. Therefore not allowing the executive branch to spy on internet is literally making it impossible for the executive branch to perform it's primary functions.

PROTECT means to cover or shield from danger. It's an active, pre-emptive concept.

REACT is to get pissed after the terrorist succeeds and kills a few hundred or thousand, and then punish his buddies.

PROTECT is to intercept the communications, and then the actual person, preventing the act from being successfully carried out.

PROTECT cannot be done without spying.
dogbert
5 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2013
One federal judge rules it is illegal. Then this federal judge rules that it is legal.

The forth amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


The NSA is not obtaining warrants for these searches and seizures. There is no probable cause. There is no Oath or affirmation nor description of the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

This activity violates the fourth amendment in every respect.

There has been no amendment to change or delete the fourth amendment. Only an amendment to the constitution can change the constitution.

The NSA is simply seizing all the power it is capable of seizing without any regard to the law.
PoppaJ
1 / 5 (1) Dec 27, 2013
I wonder what they got one the judge to get him to lie since the other judge and the commission said just the opposite about its effectiveness. I can't wait Until the supreme court gets there hands on this.
PoppaJ
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2013
I want more surveillance, both private sector and government, in order to assit in prevention and capture of violent criminals, such as rapists and murderers, in addition to both domestic and international terrorists.


Yea I agree! Give up all freedom and right to privacy. After all if were not doing any thing wrong what do we have to hide. We should be happy to have big brother cloaking us in his warmth.

Dangerous desires my friend. Keep in mind what you want may come to pass. If it does you will not benefit from it. It may perceive you as a threat for your outspoken thoughts. Then what?

There is a vile price for freedom, privacy, democracy, and capitalism. The price is worth it and worth dieing/killing for.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2013
Since you don't know "who" the terrorists are, whether domestic or foreign, until either they attack, or you are lucky enough to intercept a communication, then you cannot expect to stop their crimes.
The te**orists are easy to find. They are on your payroll
Mimath224
1 / 5 (2) Dec 27, 2013
I am not an American but my government is an ally and what with the 'leaks' it seems that the problem is an international one now. We all want, and NEED, protection from those who would attack us and we look to the authorities to do that. But we have to pay a price. 100% privacy means a possible high risk while 0% privacy means...I don't want to get polictical here.
If @dogbert is correct then it seems to me a question of interpretation of 'The forth amendment'. Under which part of the forth amendment are electronic systems (and EM) covered? '...secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects...', 'effects' perhaps?
I would like to ask if there is a 'watchdog' who has the job of making sure that the NSA and the like, invade our privacy for the right reason? If not why not? If there is then perhaps it is not doing the job it was set up to do.

Returners
1 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2013
There is "probable cause", but you fail to see the problem.

Because you don't know who a terrorist is in particular until they reveal themselves, OR you intercept communication, there is no way to fight the crime of terrorism under YOUR interpretation of the law...the government would be completely helpless, and every manner of criminal communication and scheming could be done right under anyone's nose, and they'd have no power to stop it (the next attack) from happening.

If you believe the executive branch job descripton is just to clean up the mess of murders and terrorism after the fact, then fine, stick with your "rights", as you perceive them.

Your so-called "right" to privacy does not, and should not supercede other people's right to LIFE.

You're literally turning the 4th amendment into a violation of other people's more fundamental human rights, i.e. "life", for the sake of your "privacy". After all, if the government can't intercept terrorists then "life" isn't protected.
Returners
1.1 / 5 (8) Dec 27, 2013
There is a vile price for freedom, privacy, democracy, and capitalism. The price is worth it and worth dieing/killing for.


This is why you have private data collecting organizations as well, including your own cameras and microphones, to compile your own evidence in the event of a false accusation or legal mix-up. The concept is not unlike hiring a private investigator, or a defense attorney, except you plan ahead of time.

If everyone is spying on everyone else, then it is much harder for both lunatics and fanatics alike to execute their evil plans.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (3) Dec 27, 2013
Because you don't know who a terrorist is in particular until they reveal themselves, OR you intercept communication, there is no way to fight the crime of terrorism under YOUR interpretation of the law...the government would be completely helpless, and every manner of criminal communication and scheming could be done right under anyone's nose, and they'd have no power to stop it (the next attack) from happening.
You're obviously working for some organ the US government, you fearmongering bullshitter

You wouldn't know a terrorist from a florist
Returners
1 / 5 (10) Dec 27, 2013
You wouldn't know a terrorist from a florist


Hey, the 911 hijacking was preventable, given adequate intelligence. It is precisely because of the 4th amendment that the government was unable to do it's job adequately to detect and stop the terrorists.
Mimath224
not rated yet Dec 28, 2013
Hey, the 911 hijacking was preventable, given adequate intelligence. It is precisely because of the 4th amendment that the government was unable to do it's job adequately to detect and stop the terrorists.

That is quite a bold statement. Can you show that '9/11' was preventable? On the one hand you are agreeing with the (US) government but on the other, damning their ability to act. If the 4th amendment is that powerful why bother intercepts at all!? As an outsider I don't agree that the gov was powerless to act but perhaps it chose that particular course for reasons only 'they' know. Perhaps we all had to learn a lesson from that fateful day and the NSA is one of them!
Another point is that we all know various govs have agents on the 'inside' and perhaps they too depend on depts like NSA (Mi6 and a bit) to continuously monitor/intercept so that information can get to those who need it.
If the 4th amendment is out of date how can it be changed? Do Americans want it changed?
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2013
Oh my goodness, somebody PM the Ira, he likes watching heads explode and mine's about to burst.
Hey, the 911 hijacking was preventable, given adequate intelligence

You're damn straight is was. There were NORAD/FAA hijack intercept protocols in place well before 9/11/01 (DOD order 7610.4J, "Special Military Operations"). As it turned out, only the Green Mountain Boys made it to the scene, about 3 minutes too late but they came all the way from Burlington, VT. Where were all the other national guard units all over the northeast and half the east coast? Fuck sake, where were the ACTIVE DUTY units based in close proximity to the major airports where the hijacked aircraft departed?

The only people successful in stopping some of the terrorists that day were citizens on Flight 93, armed with nothing more than cell phones. The very same kind of people the NSA insists it must spy on. What outrageous repugnance!
ShotmanMaslo
5 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2013
The amount of terrorist attacks perpetrated in the US, and developed world in general, is miniscule. If there was some epidemic of terrorism then I would change my tune, but as it is now, Id take more liberty over more security. Besides, if terrorists arent complete amateurs then communicating anonymously over the internet using some form of encryption is easy.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2013
In an ideal world you would need no law because everyone would be "just".

There are other functions that fall under the heading of justice. E.g. compensation for damages caused by others - even by accident or negligence. This can happen even if everyone is perfectly 'just'. For these cases you still need guidelines.

Then there's the issue that different people find different things justified/justifiable - as there is no universe-wide definition of what the word 'just' might mean.

Still, the notion of 'legal' has the connotation of somehow being legitimate. And this is something people need to unlearn. Legal simply means: put into law. Whether that law was for justice or for creating an advantage to a select group is another issue, entirely.
davidivad
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2013
i guess it all boils down to whether or not you have something to hide. what if i am cussing out my partner or doing insider trading. what could i possibly be doing that the government is going to intervene? will they tell my friends all my dark secrets? it makes no sense to be afraid of my private data unless they are selling it to corporations. this would be too much of a conspiracy. so i call bob at five and then am gps tracked to wallmart; what reason would they possibly have to misuse this information? who cares? i prefer that they are doing this because this is probably what overseas hackers are doing to us anyway.it is what it is; a countermeasure.

Returners
1 / 5 (9) Dec 28, 2013
Daviddivad:

You can surely believe both China and Anonymous are stealing any and all information they can, about anything they deem valuable or useful for their goals, same as the hackers who stole the credit card data from Target.

The ACLU interpretation of the 4th amendment would give every thief, murderer, hacker, and terrorist an insurmountable advantage over law enforcement, because it's essentially saying the government must be 100% transparent about everything, while the criminals are allowed 100% concealment. It's insanity.

It's not even a matter of the 4th amendment anyway. Article 1 gives the Federal Government all the power it needs. The 4th amendment doesn't even apply.
dogbert
5 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2013
The ACLU interpretation of the 4th amendment would give every thief, murderer, hacker, and terrorist an insurmountable advantage over law enforcement, because it's essentially saying the government must be 100% transparent about everything, while the criminals are allowed 100% concealment. It's insanity.


Not true. The fourth amendment means that the government must use due process and that there must be a specific reason for search and seizure. It does not mean the government must call up a terrorist and say "We are watching you!". That would be insane.

Protoplasmix
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 28, 2013
You can surely believe both China and Anonymous are stealing any and all information they can

Returners, your lack of technical prowess is exceeded only by your intellectual ineptitude. Either you're helping humanity to get past this fear-inspired insanity, or you're helping to perpetuate it. Exactly how is it possible for anyone to be anonymous considering the extent of the NSA's data collection? The NSA has either paid or strong-armed all the experts to install back doors in both software and firmware, and to lie to customers about the integrity of sabotaged encryption software. As for the well-intentioned kiddies who were entrapped into participating in ddos attacks and the like, does the term "agent provocateur" mean anything to you?
davidivad
not rated yet Dec 28, 2013
proto;

we have two ways to fight the terrorists. if we remove the government's spying abilities, then we have to give up more of our children. what the government is doing is taking soldiers out of the battle field and putting them on the cyberfront. this is logically superior to losing lives on both sides and allows more time for us to convert those who are influenced by religious fanatics. diplomacy only works with time and cooperation, not when you are killing family members. we now have a choice; in a war of the future, vastly fewer people have to die.

The same people who go to social media sites are the same people against the governments acquiring of data. these sites actually take the data and sell it to anyone who will pay top dollar for it. even when you are not connected with these sites, they are using cookies to gather your data. we would rather have to send more of our children to die than give up our data, yet we give it freely to greedy people who do not care.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2013
The NSA has either paid or strong-armed all the experts to install back doors in both software and firmware

Good point - and one emphasized way too little in the media (if at all). I can't really believe all these companies were like "Sure, we'll install a backdoor for you/intentionally break our own code. No problem. Just say by when you want it."
There had to be a lot of (illegal?) pressure being put on these companies to do all this - and then even more (illegal?) pressure to keep them quiet.
davidivad
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2013
face it people, this is a fight on U.S. soil. we can either choose to relinquish our information as our own contribution to the fight against terrorism or watch people die. this is a modern day version of the citizens of the country from past wars giving up materials or time for the cause.

my only other suggestion would be to throw your cellphones and computers away and only buy at farmer's markets. information security is a natural progression from information technology.
TopCat22
5 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2013
All power corrupts. All that can be done is to put in place strong controls over that power so that when it is abused (as it inevitably always will be) the abuser must pay most dearly for the abuse.

We do not have enough controls nor sufficient penalties for abuses of power, That is the real problem. That information that can be abused exists somewhere is not the problem.

You cannot stop information from being gathered this way. You can stop it from being misused by having sufficient punishment in place so that the information will not be misused.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2013
[qThe amount of terrorist attacks perpetrated in the US, and developed world in general, is miniscule. If there was some epidemic of terrorism then I would change my tune, but as it is now, Id take more liberty over more security Dont you think this is because of the successful efforts of western military and intelligence gathering? What would you say if we were hit a lot? You want lots of people killed before something is done? Is 5000 on 9/11 not enough for you?
You're obviously working for some organ the US government, you fearmongering bullshitter
Well youre obviously working for spetznaz. And watch the profanity - aa will be offended.
aroc91
5 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2013
Big brother sympathizer and a creationist? You're going to make a lot of friends here, Returners.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2013
aa spreads more manure
I can't really believe all these companies were like "Sure, we'll install a backdoor
"From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data." "[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users' Internet activity on such a scale is completely false."

"RSA has "categorically" denied that it knowingly incorporated a... "back door" for the NSA"

"Yahoo has never given access to our data centers to the NSA or any other government agency. Ever."

"The company does not help government agencies defeat its email encryption, says Microsoft's general counsel"

-With only a little effort I found lots of companies which have denied this bullpoop and none which have done this. I am smelling only more dog droppings here aa.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 28, 2013
till, the notion of 'legal' has the connotation of somehow being legitimate. And this is something people need to unlearn
Translation: even though a U.S. District Judge has found the nsa activity legal and necessary, aa thinks this judge needs to 'unlearn' something just because he doesnt like it.

But I think you need to learn that you ought to clean up your own nest before you soil someone elses.

"German spies have also been sniffing around online - and on a large scale, not just in cases of concrete suspicion. The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is legally allowed to rifle through up to 20 percent of the communication between Germany and other countries, and monitor certain Internet search terms."
ShotmanMaslo
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 28, 2013
Dont you think this is because of the successful efforts of western military and intelligence gathering? What would you say if we were hit a lot? You want lots of people killed before something is done? Is 5000 on 9/11 not enough for you?


No, I think it is primarily because the danger of terrorism is vastly overstated and even if the US would give up most of its surveillance the amount of people that would die as a result would be relatively very small. We dont need mass spying and until many people actually start dying (and they wont) I dont think we should have extensive surveillance. Also, there are many other ways to increase security that dont involve breaches of privacy.

Get a court order if there is a probable cause and then you can spy.
Returners
1 / 5 (9) Dec 28, 2013
We dont need mass spying and until many people actually start dying (and they wont) I dont think we should have extensive surveillance. Also, there are many other ways to increase security that dont involve breaches of privacy.

Get a court order if there is a probable cause and then you can spy.


This makes you are a complete fool.

Guess what? You do not have the right to deny me, or any other citizen, due and reasonable protection, which this country's government is sworn to provide.

Without spying, you cannot establish probable cause on someone who is plotting a terror bombing. This ought to be fricking obvious, but you've never really thought about it very much, I'll wager.

Besides, "Probably Cause" is almost always an "after-the-fact" thing. You get a warrent for someone's arrest because you suspect them of having already murdered the victim, who's body you've already found.

That doesn't make sense in any way in the modern world, given modern tools to PREVENT crime.
Returners
1.4 / 5 (10) Dec 28, 2013
Your so0-called liberty isn't more valuable than even one life, in my opinion, nevermind the potential of hundreds or thousands.

Don't like it? Tough luck, baby, you most likely aren't directly related to anyone who died on 911, and you seem to have no comprehension of how defense actually works.

You can't "defend" an attack without information, which you only get from either spying on people yourself, or from hoping you somehow get tipped off from a turn-coat. The second option there is at best pathetic and unreliable.

Your hypocritical ass would probably be the first one trying to poach the president or congress if you actually did lose a close relative in a terror attack.

Wow. "wait till more people get killed, then do something," he says.

My God.

You're damn near as evil as the terrorists themselves, that or just plain dumb as hell.
kochevnik
not rated yet Dec 28, 2013
We dont need mass spying and until many people actually start dying (and they wont) I dont think we should have extensive surveillance. Also, there are many other ways to increase security that dont involve breaches of privacy.

Get a court order if there is a probable cause and then you can spy.
@Returners This makes you are a complete fool.

Guess what? You do not have the right to deny me, or any other citizen, due and reasonable protection, which this country's government is sworn to provide.
The protection you need involves sedatives and a straightjacket

And yes people have the right to deny you protection, you security state fool. I think members of this board are not willing to pay $trillions more to chase your imaginary "te**orists"/"freedom fighters". A name you change more often than a prostitute changes panties
Protoplasmix
4 / 5 (4) Dec 28, 2013
-With only a little effort I found lots of companies which have denied this bullpoop and none which have done this. I am smelling only more dog droppings here aa.

Even the NSA has denied it when asked using the obviously ineffectual congressional oversight. What does denial have to do with Snowden's revelations to the contrary? Other than that type of deceptive behavior being considered wrong, improper or counter to normative social influence on most levels—legal, social, moral, ethical, psychological, historical, etc. Ghost, are you in that group that thinks if you keep telling lies over and over, people will eventually believe you?
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2013
Even the NSA has denied it when asked using the obviously ineffectual congressional oversight. What does denial have to do with Snowden's revelations to the contrary?
So... You are willing to believe one sensationalist news article with no specifics, about uncorroberated revelations about alleged back doors, vs sworn testimony by govt officials as well as written declarations from people like bill gates and Marisa Mayer that these allegations are FALSE?

You're not even willing to do even a little research which might support your conclusions.

Why is that? Are you so gullible, so lazy, so DIM, that you're willing to accept whatever you're told just because it's fashionable??

Hey Solzhenitsyn

"Fifteen people died and scores were wounded Sunday as a female suicide bomber struck at a railway station in southern Russia, officials said, heightening concern about terrorism ahead of February's Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi."

-maybe you better walk to work.
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2013
With only a little effort I found lots of companies which have denied this bullpoop and none which have done this

There are gag orders in place. Google is going up against that (in a relatively mild way. But for my money the act of going up against it itself is the point: it makes it public that something like gag orders do exist in these cases)
http://www.csmoni...ag-order

Simlar gag orders are in place for:
Microsoft
Yahoo
Facebook
PalTalk
AOL
Skype
YouTub
Apple
Verizon
AT&T
(and who knows who else. Many of which HAD to deny their involvement with the spying - which has since been shown to be false)
http://upstart.bi...page=all

http://news.cnet....nied-it/

TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
There are gag orders in place. Google is going up against that (in a relatively mild way. But for my money the act of going up against it itself is the point: it makes it public that something like gag orders do exist in these cases)
I see. So the existence of gag orders is all you need to conclude that
I can't really believe all these companies were like "Sure, we'll install a backdoor for you/intentionally break our own code.
-even though many of these companies have declared it untrue.

Over here we have this thing called 'innocent until proven guilty' (I'm sure you experts know the proper Latin name) and this covers warrantless accusations by foreign news media and traitorous expats. Alleged.

So for the moment I'll assume Marisa Mayer and bill gates are being truthful. In part because they haven't run off to Russia or equador or Brazil.
gjbloom
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
"This blunt tool only works because it collects everything," Pauley said.

Explicit in that justification is the assertion that it works. Up to this point, we haven't seen ANY evidence that this domestic spying has accomplished ANYTHING. Extraordinary powers require extraordinary justification. As things stand, this domestic spying is more of the usual power-grabbing by a government organization, in clear violation of both the spirit and the letter of the constitution, and bearing a remarkable resemblance to the pattern and color of totalitarian regimes everywhere. Absent clear and overwhelming evidence of its value, it is dangerous and antithetical to our culture and government for this to be allowed to continue for even one more day. It is time for the NSA to prove that this power they have taken from us without our consent is fully justified by results. And even then, the ends do not necessarily justify the means.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
Explicit in that justification is the assertion that it works. Up to this point, we haven't seen ANY evidence that this domestic spying has accomplished ANYTHING
Another bald-faced LIAR.

"the committee chairman, Democratic Dianne Feinstein of California, contends the program helped disrupt a 2009 plot to bomb New York City's subways and played a role in the case against an American who scouted targets in Mumbai, India, before a deadly terrorist attack there in 2008."

"On June 18, NSA Director Alexander said in an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee of Congress that communications surveillance had helped prevent more than 50 potential terrorist attacks worldwide (at least 10 of them involving terrorism suspects or targets in the United States) between 2001 and 2013, and that the PRISM web traffic surveillance program contributed in over 90 percent of those cases."

... and to repeat:

"federal judge in Manhattan...cited its need in the fight against terrorism"
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2013
So... You are willing to believe one sensationalist news article with no specifics, about uncorroberated revelations about alleged back doors, vs sworn testimony by govt officials as well as written declarations from people like bill gates and Marisa Mayer that these allegations are FALSE?

It's been a fairly steady stream of revelations over the past few months. I believe the whistleblower providing proof, not denials from those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
You're not even willing to do even a little research which might support your conclusions.

You know me better than that.
Why is that? Are you so gullible, so lazy, so DIM, that you're willing to accept whatever you're told just because it's fashionable??

Fashionable? You can't tell from the tone of my posts I'm outraged? I wish it were just fashionable. But it's the truth, and it has become a major distraction—and you don't see it as the "terrorists" winning? Whose side are you on?
Shakescene21
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
"This blunt tool only works because it collects everything," Pauley said.

CORRECT. The critics of NSA fail to realize that NSA is only scanning for signs of terrorist activity. All other information is ignored. I am happy that NSA is scanning my email along with everyone else because I have nothing to hide.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (1) Dec 29, 2013
cont > There ought to be laws against what the NSA is doing! Oh wait, there are...
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2013
I am happy that NSA is scanning my email along with everyone else because I have nothing to hide.

You would be surprised how easily one of your innocent emails can trigger a filter and create a 'false positive'. It is the type of setup where people are being put under surveillance just because they match a certain behavioral pattern (read: guilt through profiling) - and remain indefinitely so.

And it has been noted before:
When they came for the Fourth Amendment, I did not say anything - because I had nothing to hide.
When they came for the Second Amendment, I did not say anything - because I did not own a gun.
When they came for the Fifth and Sixth amendments, I did not say anything - because I had committed no crimes.
When they came for the first Amendment - I could not say anything.
(author unknown)
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
@antialias -- The US is not Nazi-era Germany. The NSA is not coming for people who are not terrorists.

Even if a filter triggers a false positive, NSA cannot surveille a specific individual without the approval of a special court. The over-worked NSA staff will not even bring a case to this court unless they have received very strong signals that the individual is suspicious. And I have confidence that NSA investigators would conclude from surveillance that I am not a terrorist.
I am not worried in the slightest, and I sleep better knowing that the internet is being scanned for terrorist communications.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 29, 2013
The US is not Nazi-era Germany.

Nope. But it's heading that way at frightening speed (and has surpassed it in some respects already). As someone who has been forced to sit through endless history lessons on this I can tell you: the signs are all there.
- secret courts
- constant surveillance
- political stalemate
- a polarized populace that don't trust each other
- a rapidly growing social divide

NSA cannot surveille a specific individual without the approval of a special court.

Yep. And do you knwo how many of those requests for surveillance have been denied by that court in the past 35 years? 0.03 percent. That's not a court. That's a rubber-stamp machine.

And I have confidence that NSA investigators would conclude from surveillance that I am not a terrorist..

Ignorance is bliss, eh?

Shakescene21
1 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2013
"do you knwo how many of those requests for surveillance have been denied by that court in the past 35 years? 0.03 percent. That's not a court. That's a rubber-stamp machine."

@antialias -- Where did you find that statistic? I could be wrong, but I thought that court permission was very hard to get.
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2013
"The US is not Nazi-era Germany."

"Nope. But it's heading that way at frightening speed (and has surpassed it in some respects already). As someone who has been forced to sit through endless history lessons on this I can tell you: the signs are all there.
- secret courts
- constant surveillance
- political stalemate
- a polarized populace that don't trust each other
- a rapidly growing social divide"

@antialias -- This is not 1930s Germany. In 21st Century America those conditions are more likely to result in collapse of the US Government rather than a police-state government. (However, I'll admit that a collapse (or impending collapse) of the US government might lead to the country in an ugly direction.)
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (1) Dec 29, 2013
You're not even willing to do even a little research which might support your conclusions.

My conclusions? My conclusions??!

"At a congressional hearing in March last year, Alexander denied point-blank that the agency had the figures on how many Americans had their electronic communications collected or reviewed. Asked if he had the capability to get them, Alexander said: "No. No. We do not have the technical insights in the United States." He added that "nor do we do have the equipment in the United States to actually collect that kind of information"." See: http://www.thegua...tamining
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
@antialias -- I checked Wikipedia and it presents a data table with the data you cited. So you are correct that the FISC court very seldom denies a NSA request for surveillance.

However, the total number of requests is pretty small -- only 1,789 in all of 2012. The number of terrorist using the internet is surely far more than 1,789. Compared to a US population of 310,000,000 or a global population of 6,000,000,000 the number of surveillance requests is very tiny. I am positive that NSA has an internal bureaucracy of "gatekeepers" who must approve an analyst's recommendation to ask the FISC court for permission to surveille an individual. Probably most analysts' request for surveillance are shot down by NSA's own gatekeepers, so that only the most iron-clad requests are actually submitted to the FISC court.
kochevnik
not rated yet Dec 29, 2013
"Terrorist" is a com0pletely subjective term. Therefore it is useful for US/NATO's unending war, because, as long as someone somewhere is terrified, the Western war machine can continue to murder with impunity

Russia has real terrorist events, not the contrived entrapments of dumb patsies sponsored by FBI/CIA, yet they are not used as an excuse to return to communism
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
My conclusions? My conclusions??!

Look at that, you're making me stutter. So, Ghost, even if you're the United States Congress, the NSA will look you straight in the face and tell you, "No, no, it's a warm spring rain. We're not pissing down your back." That's not what you want, is it Ghost? I know you better than that—you just wanna see me get my caps-lock key stuck, doncha?
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2013
"Russia has real terrorist events..."

@kochevnik -- I am deeply saddened by the cruel murder today in Volgograd of 16 innocent people, and the maiming of many more. This sick terrorist curse on humanity is likely to continue or even expand despite the best efforts of people who care. I'm glad the Russian and US governments are cooperating in this effort, and I wish we cooperated even more.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2013
Probably most analysts' request for surveillance are shot down by NSA's own gatekeepers, so that only the most iron-clad requests are actually submitted to the FISC court.

Rumor has it one of the analysts got caught by a 'gatekeeper' at work playing online games. When confronted, the analyst said, "No, no, there may be terrorist orcs and elves here communicating." And a whole new NSA program ensued and much additional funding was had by all.

@Ghost—there's research to support the rumor, at least the part about playing online games looking for "terrorists".
kochevnik
not rated yet Dec 29, 2013
"Russia has real terrorist events..."

@kochevnik -- I am deeply saddened by the cruel murder today in Volgograd of 16 innocent people, and the maiming of many more. This sick terrorist curse on humanity is likely to continue or even expand despite the best efforts of people who care. I'm glad the Russian and US governments are cooperating in this effort, and I wish we cooperated even more.
The highest levels in he West and East cooperate, unfortunately, in creating these events because after the fall of communism they were threatened with unemployment. They need new boogie men. Journalists who dig more deeply into these questions tend to end up with a bullet in the head. Yet there are many clues
Shakescene21
1 / 5 (4) Dec 30, 2013
@Protoplasmix-- Good one. However, I suspect you don't work in a bureaucracy, or you would be calling the guy who caught the analyst a "snoop" rather than a "gatekeeper". In a bureaucracy a gatekeeper is a guy who must approve an analyst's work or it can't go forward. He would of course include the first-line supervisor, but he would also include the entire chain of command (adminstrative assistants as you go higher up) as well as parallel parts of the agency such as the legal officers and international relations specialists. Gatekeepers don't generate anything themselves, but they must approve the analyst's report or it gets sent back.
Protoplasmix
3 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2013
War is not the answer. It's good for absolutely nothing. These days you can spot it coming like predicting the rain, anywhere in the world. Stop the fear. Stop the insanity. Have a look at a little of what the future holds: http://www.kernel...-of-war/

BTW, does NSA have an exit-strategy for this nonsense, or a timetable? Or do they have a different view of humanity and the future where treating each other like animals never ends?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2013
You know me better than that
Thats a silly thing to say from a noob. I only know what I read. And when I read
Snowden's revelations... that type of deceptive behavior being considered wrong
I know that youre willing to believe a traitor who violated his secrecy agreement, committed many federal felonies, stole secret documents, gave them to our enemies, and then ran away rather than defend himself here; over sworn testimony and public statements from honorable citizens in spite of the FACT that your info comes from one very dubious source - the guardian, champion of lies for profit.
They need new boogie men
Hey do you guys need any help with these boogy men?

"They plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land," he said. He called on followers "to use maximum force on the path of Allah to disrupt this Satanic dancing."

-or do you think you can handle them all by yourselves?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2013
War is not the answer. It's good for absolutely nothing
War is INEVITABLE as long as religion-based cultures continue to restrict women to doing nothing but making and raising babies. This is why teddy roosevelt called it 'warfare of the cradle'.

Youll forgive us for accepting reality and proactively defending ourselves, rather than wait until they are overrunning our allies and landing on our shores wont you?

"On March 11, 2005, Al-Quds Al-Arabi published extracts from Saif al-Adel's document "Al Qaeda's Strategy to the Year 2020...
1) 1.Provoke the United States and the West into invading a Muslim country by staging a massive attack or string of attacks on U.S. soil that results in massive civilian casualties.

"... a global jihad led by al-Qaeda and a Wahhabi Caliphate will then be installed across the world..." collapse of US: "If this sounds far-fetched, it is sobering to consider that this virtually describes the downfall of the Soviet Union."
antialias_physorg
3 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2013
This is not 1930s Germany. In 21st Century America those conditions are more likely to result in collapse of the US Government rather than a police-state government.

..and that is exactly what happened before the Nazis came to power. The stalemate of the Weimar Republic (along with crushing debts) effectively collapsed the state. Sound familiar?

That something of that sort almost happened in the US...well... there's the 'Business Plot'. Whether that was real or a hoax - you be the judge.
http://en.wikiped...ess_Plot

But in any case. Time magazine named Hitler man of the year. The american business elite were in love with his idea(l)s. That business elite has not gone away since - if anything it has grown in power. They'd love nothing more than to have a fascist regime in the US (in anything but name, of yourse), because there you can just take any amount of money you want.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2013
What aa utterly fails to APPRECIATE is the threat the world now faces from a very similar nazi-like ideology. Let me repost what he didnt read:

"... a global jihad led by al-Qaeda and a Wahhabi Caliphate will then be installed across the world..."

"Al-Qaeda is intolerant of non-Sunni branches of Islam and denounces them ... as heretics and have attacked their mosques and gatherings."

-Except that because of its inherent growth rate and religious bigotry, it is far WORSE.

Aa should look in the mirror and see the face of those who ignored the threat of fascism and refused to do anything about it until it was Too Late. The word for it in english:

"Appeasement... is a diplomatic policy of making political or material concessions to a (potential) enemy power (or powers) in order to avoid a threatened conflict. Appeasement was used by European democracies in the 1930s who wished to avoid war with the dictatorships of Germany and Italy."

In german I believe it is Feigheit.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2013
Aa entertains a conspiracy?? Reallleee??

"A New York Times editorial dismissed Butler's story as "a gigantic hoax" and a "bald and unconvincing narrative... "perfect moonshine". General Douglas MacArthur,... referred to it as "the best laugh story of the year." Time magazine... scoffed."

-But in contrast, islamist jihad is an existential threat.

"suicide bomber in Volgograd... Caucasus militants over the last dozen years have killed hundreds of civilians in attacks on airports, trains, subway stations, schools, hospitals and theaters"

"Iraqi police broke up a Sunni protest camp west of Baghdad Monday, leading to fighting that killed at least 10 people."

Sudan civil war... two million people have died... war, famine and disease... the Muslim central government's pursuits to impose sharia law on non-Muslim southerners...Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has issued a statement defending the government of Sudan whose President was recently indicted on charges of genocide"

-Every day.
jdbertron
5 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2014
This is a classic 'the ends justifies the means' argument.
Preventing terrorism with 100% certainty requires 100% surveillance, of course.
Preventing totalitarian government rule requires 100% freedom from surveillance.
The founders added the 4th amendment against unreasonable searches to the constitution because of that second threat, which we seem to have complacently forgotten. Only the realization that neither threat can be completely eradicated can yield a solution, in which 'reasonable' search no longer implies collect-everything and only use a little bit of the data.
Remember, judges don't work for you anyway, they work for the Judicial monopoly that is the state.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (2) Jan 01, 2014
Preventing totalitarian government rule requires 100% freedom from surveillance
Ahaahaaa where'd you get THAT nonsense?
The founders added the 4th amendment against unreasonable searches to the constitution
Right, because the foundrs assumed that there would be police who in the course of their duties would be watching what the people were doing. This is called surveillance. The founders sought to reasonably limit it, not eliminate it.

The cops will still be looking out for speeders and public drunks and people carrying ticking satchels at raiders games. This sort of surveillance is essential in any healthy, functioning society.