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Here's an instructive look at what can happen when the government compiles massive amounts of personal data from millions of citizens. In this case, it's the FBI's National Crime Information Center database, and it's being mined for much more than criminals.
The New York Police Department says one of its detectives was recently caught using the NCIC database to secretly obtain personal information about two other NYPD officers. Police officials have suggested that the man, who also hacked into several individuals’ e-mail accounts, was trying to figure out “who his ex-girlfriend, also a police officer, was chatting with.”

Another police officer, Gilbert Valle, was convicted in March for using the NCIC database to “help compile dossiers on women that listed their birthdates, addresses, heights and weights,” apparently as part of a “bizarre plot to kidnap, cook and cannibalize women.” Fortunately, the authorities stepped in before the women he had profiled were harmed.

The AP reports that “authorities have accused a Memphis police officer of using the NCIC database to leak information to a confidential informant about a watch dealer who the informant believed had stolen a Rolex; a reserve patrolman in Clarkston, Ga., of running names and license plates for marijuana dealers; a Montgomery County, Md., officer of running checks on cars belonging to a woman who later reported that the vehicles had been vandalized; and a Hartford, Conn., police sergeant of supplying database records to a woman who used them to harass her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend.”

We already know about the NSA analysts who got their jollies by listening in on military service members' intimate phone calls. It's human nature to be nosy. It's also unfortunately part of some humans' nature to be vindictive and/or venal. In this case, apparently none of the eavesdropping NSA analysts thoughts turned to blackmail. And, so far as we know, no public official has decided to target a political enemy. So far as we know. So far.

The NSA argues that only 22 people have access to any of the content in the masses of data they've collected, but as Timothy Lee argues in this article, as more and more data is collected that access will almost have to expand for the mass of information to be even remotely useful. And, of course, the NSA also would have argued that a mere contractor wouldn't have had access to the reams of information Edward Snowden had at his fingertips. But considering he did have that information, and that he's just a drop in the bucket among contractors—483,263 contractors with Top Secret clearances, or even one of the 582,524 with Confidential and Secret clearance—how can we possibly think our private information is safe in NSA's hands?

1:52 PM PT: Curious to find out what information the NSA might have collected about you? Good luck. They won't tell you. Please sign our petition President Obama to issue an executive order allowing American citizens to obtain their NSA files with a Freedom of Information Act request.


Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by The First and The Fourth and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (129+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:25:12 PM PDT

  •  Right. So if something can be abused, can (8+ / 0-)

    be used illegally, it shouldn't exist. Because there is shoplifting, there should't be stores. Because one out of a million votes is cast illegally we shouldn't have elections.

    The bank regulators have access to every person't private personal and financial information. If an employee uses it for any unauthorized purpose the penalties are severe. Has that ever happened? Sure. Does that mean the agencies shouldn't have the information. Of course not. Or at least not is you want the banks to be regulated.

    Further, affiant sayeth not.

    by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:32:46 PM PDT

    •  Are you equating shoplifting to (45+ / 0-)

      shredding of our Constitutional protections?

      This is what is such a concern:  Why did NSA gather all the OWS protestor meta-data?

      Is this to protect the possible broken windows and reputations of stores -or- is it to protect our Constitutional right to protest?

      Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

      by Einsteinia on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:49:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Before talking about the Constitution (7+ / 0-)

        Further, affiant sayeth not.

        by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:03:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hmmm, interesting. (15+ / 0-)

          I have no doubts legal wrangling have tried to justify the unraveling of our Constitutional right to not to have warrantless search and seizure, which was a protection against the government's over-reach on oppositional views, BUT that does not mean we cannot overcome it in the court of law.

          I think the public's new awareness of the specter for abuse is going to give rise to lawsuits from the ACLU and EFF who have long tried to bring this suits but previously lacked evidence.  

          Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

          by Einsteinia on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:11:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, this is not recent wrangling. The (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            duhban, judyms9, thestructureguy

            Constitution does not guarantee rights in the abstract. It doesn't guarantee privacy in the abstract. It never has since 1787. What it does is guarantee that the government cannot use evidence obtained in violation of our rights to deprive us of life, liberty or property.

            So until we start hearing about cases where people were jailed, fined, or in some other way penalized as a result of a legal proceeding that uses evidence that was illegally collected, the Constitution is not involved.

            And to date I have yet to hear of any person except some folks convicted in court of terrorism related activities who have been harmed in any tangible way by the NSA data collection activities. And, in each of those cases when actual phone conversations are used in evidence, they were obtained with individualized warrants.

            Further, affiant sayeth not.

            by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:26:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Um, yes it does. (20+ / 0-)
              Constitution does not guarantee rights in the abstract.
              It is very clear that if something is not enumerated as forbidden to citizens then there is no illegality. It was set up as to prevent the abuses we are seeing now by making that clear in the text.
              •  This is not an enumerated powers question. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                thestructureguy

                Your rights are protected, express implied or otherwise, when the government tries to harm you, tries to deprive you of life liberty or property. It is prohibited from doing so in violation of the Constitution. But if it doesn't do anything to you there is no right to vindicate. Remember, Article III says the courts can only hear "cases or controversies. Please read this.

                Further, affiant sayeth not.

                by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:02:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If the Fruits of Poisoned Trees are not usable, (8+ / 0-)

                  in court, then there is no incentive to collect the fruit. Since a case like this has not been tried yet under the new FISA, gathering protocols,  nor is likely to be since the FISA files are secret, (no one KNOWS whether they have been harmed or not) you can say that the NSA is just fishing around. Just peeking inside. Just playing with hypotheticals. Just what-iffing around.

                  In other words, the NSA may think such evidence gathered by FISA court approval probably is NOT admissible in court against a US Citizen, but hey, we can try! We will just give it a go, and test it out in court,  and if we win, wow. Jackpot! Its all open.

                  Its this CHALLENGE, this enabling of a serious challenge, to the idea of the 4th Amendment, as well as the First Amendment, which is so chilling. Who are these guys? Are they really on our side, or are they really only on THEIR side?

                  Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                  by OregonOak on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:22:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If data is collected in compliance with (0+ / 0-)

                    FISA, which requires a warrant even though Smith v Maryland says a warrant is not required, the tree is not poisoned. If that data reveals a person who the FBI gets a warrant to tap based on probable cause the evidence will be introduced.

                    If they go through an exercise and nothing comes of it there will never be a determination of whether it was legal.

                    There is documentation on how this authority is used. The use is reviewed cy the FISC, Congress and the Privacy board. I'm not sure what more can be done. Maybe more can be public but most people understand why much has to remain secret.

                    Further, affiant sayeth not.

                    by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:40:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Sorry, Gary. In attempting to reason with (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Gary Norton

                      people who have decided that everything that the NSA, the President, the Supreme Court, the FISC, and the Congress does is illegal, unconstitutional, and fattening, you are doing what is known in the vernacular as "pissing up a rope."

                      We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

                      by NoMoJoe on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:49:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yup. This is self abuse day for me. Thanks./ (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        nickrud, NoMoJoe

                        Further, affiant sayeth not.

                        by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:52:58 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Not at all, NoMo. (5+ / 0-)

                        I can be reasoned with and I can even change my own opinion. I just do NOT think the Government should be in league with Corporate Interests to deny they are shaving and peeling away privacy and freedom of speech under cover of "rooting out terror."

                        For the first time, I think Bin Laden won. He managed to crap all over the Constitution by making US do it out of fear of HIM.

                        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                        by OregonOak on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:53:21 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I agree with this (0+ / 0-)
                          I just do NOT think the Government should be in league with Corporate Interests to deny they are shaving and peeling away privacy and freedom of speech under cover of "rooting out terror."
                          But not the rest of the "NSA and Obama are committing illegal and unconstitutional acts" near-hysteria that has pervaded this site since l'Affair Snowden broke.

                          And although IMO it's going too far to say "bin Laden won," that conclusion isn't far off when both the far right and the left (it doesn't even seem to be "far" left) take the position that there is no longer a legitimate government in the United States.  

                          Fortunately for the rest of us, however, the left isn't nearly as single-minded as the militia movements, as aptly described by Will Rogers many years ago: "I am not a member of any organized party — I am a Democrat."

                          We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

                          by NoMoJoe on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:11:00 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I tend to agree that Obama is as much played here (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            deep info

                            as the rest of us. When L'Affair d'Snowdon broke ground, I commented that it appeared to be like Kennedy's Bay of Pigs; a set of policies grounded in the context of a several decade struggle which could not be turned around easily or without significant danger. There are elements which would LOVE for Obama to try to dismantle the Million man-strong National Bush-Cheney Security Apparatus built in the last 12 years, because politically, it would guarantee another 20 years of "Soft on Terrorism" rhetoric from the Red Meat Republicans. Assuming he would want to. There is political danger in downsizing the Secret Information Apparatus if something were to occur.

                            So, here we are. It would appear that it is OUR job to defend the creeping Corporate-Military-Info octopus which is eating our amendments one at a time. And its not Liberals who are doing that.. the faith in the government has been trashed so thourougly by the Militia, TeaParty, Libertarian and NeoBirch movements can hardly be said to be the responsibility of Left of Center people who just want to live decently and invade no one.  So thats what I try to do.. give aid and comfort to those who wish to see us do no harm to ourselves as we fight those who might blow us up, which, admittedly, exist.

                            I am not really too worried about Obama or Holder or even Roberts using FISA or the NSA to do horrible things to the American public. I am afraid, though, that this has no time limit; that the NEXT guy, just as likely to be a crazy R as a Conservative Middle D, will be mightily tempted, or even encouraged to run, Nixonlike, to the seat of incredible power over The Left. The Anti Keystone People. The anti-Nuke people. The Anti-Corporate Occupyers.

                            And you know, this is no fantasy. It has happened before, in my lifetime, and many many innocent people died before we got it turned around. The Total Information Program of the NSA is so efficient it might be impossible this time to turn around if a skillful asshole takes the White House. That is a possibility I dont want to face, because, as Sinclair Lewis said, the despot of American will come wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross, and we can short circuit that by insisting on a limited Presidental Powers package by using our grand tradition of being uncontrollable Americans, grouchy and stubborn about every freedom we have. So if I seem to be a bit over the top about this, its because I see the future, and that one possible version, at about a 50 percent chance, is not pretty.

                            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                            by OregonOak on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:02:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Bin Laden wanted the US to abandon its freedoms... (0+ / 0-)

                          Bin Laden saw the US doing horrible, brutal, anti-democratic things around the world, most notably propping up Saudi Arabia.  He wanted to make the US abandon its "pretense" (as he would have it) of being a free country.

                          He apparently succeeded, with the help of Bush, Cheney, Yoo, Obama, Holder, Clapper, the NSA, etc.

                          That means that Bush, Cheney, Yoo, Obama, Holder, Clapper, the NSA, etc., gave aid and comfort to the enemy, by carrying out his plan for him.

                          I await the treason trials.  (OK, I don't really expect them -- remember, "if treason prosper, none dare call it treason").

                    •  But you do see how the Fourth Amendment is being (9+ / 0-)

                      tested, prodded for weakness, pushed into a smaller envelope of coverage, and potentially now, able to be extinguished if the case which is eventually tried is found to a) lack a de facto warrant, ( have a rubber stamp warrant) be reviewed by FISA (who has never declined to issue) and Congressional oversight (in secret session) yet the crime or potential crime is so horrific, or merely perceived to be horrific, that all these weaknesses are swept aside and a new protocol emerges; Collect the data of everyone willy nilly, rubber stamp a warrant, do no public oversight, and then.. railroad someone for political gain who is an extremely unsympathetic personality. And don't think they wont do it. They are working on exactly that scenario right now in order to demonstrate how excellent wiretapping everyone all the time  really is.

                      Job done. No more 4th Amendment.

                      Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                      by OregonOak on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:50:47 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Actually, this term the 4th (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        OregonOak, TheMomCat

                        held its own. The cases relied on for data go back to the seventies.

                        Further, affiant sayeth not.

                        by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:57:09 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  But the Fifth Amendment right to not self- (5+ / 0-)

                          incriminate by remaining silent got its ass kicked, I'm sure you'd agree.

                          "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                          by Kombema on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:03:09 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  For now... (0+ / 0-)

                          and still the Sword of Damocles hangs over the Constitution, waiting for the right circumstance. This NSA/FISA is a sword forged directly at the heart of the protection of liberty. To create such a sword only awaits a case and an authoritarian shameless enough to use it.

                          Without us, shrilly yelling at the new reality, those in charge will think... all is well. IF we keep yelling, there may be a time when we can craft counterweighted laws to check this new weapon in the hands of future authoritarians. We have to keep yelling.

                          Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                          by OregonOak on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:14:16 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  The gag orders are gutting the First Amendment. (0+ / 0-)

                            If you think about it, Snowden is absolutely protected by the First Amendment, 100% -- what he did was to publish evidence of high crimes, for goodness sake -- nothing could be more protected by freedom of the press!

                             But everyone expects him to be subject to a kangaroo court show trial if he comes back.

                            The Constitution is dead, the only question is whether we can revive it.

                          •  The question of Sedition or Treason in America (0+ / 0-)

                            has always been very tricky, as it is in every country with a Freedom to Speak basic law. It does often come down to whether or not you agree with the results of the action taken by the whistleblower, in a jury trial, or a military tribunal.

                            The actions of people like Snowdon are therefore a call to political action; to see how many people can rally to the cause of stopping the course the nation is on. If that is successful, he will never be convicted. Time and persuasion are his weapons.

                            Those of us who feel that America should never have been or now behave as The Empire, applaud his revelations. Those who act out of fear that we MUST be an all-seeing all-controlling economic and technological juggernaut around the world are appalled. This hurts their ambition and their vison of Pax Americana.

                            It is time for leaders and followers to articulate that vision of America which we feel can and must be sustained for the next 200 years to ensure our survival. We can continue to create enemies, alienate friends, deal in secrecy and duplicity, kill at will by drone, ravage the environment, pile up wealth at the expense of the lives and freedoms of poor people around the world, we can continue to do all that, and eventually, not that far distant in the future, face lonely annihilation. That is the fate of all Empire, and the antidote was supposed to be Liberal Democracy. It still can be.

                            We can also join those liberal forces, finally, by rejecting the last vestige of the Slave Power; Empire.

                            Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                            by OregonOak on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 05:51:02 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Here's the crux (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        OregonOak, deep info
                        a new protocol emerges; Collect the data of everyone willy nilly, rubber stamp a warrant, do no public oversight, and then.. railroad someone for political gain who is an extremely unsympathetic personality.
                        Like Snowden.  Or someone who writes pithy letters to the editor?  Or someone who is widely read on a liberal blog like dailykos?

                        Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

                        by Helpless on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:47:27 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yeah.. you suppress dissent by lopping smart heads (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          deep info

                          and the eloquent speakers, and the thoughtful and the determined and the persuaders. You simply chill them
                          by character assassination and job denial, and rumor mongering, and, well, ask Tom Paine how far his career went after all that dissentin. Not well. Not well at all.

                          Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                          by OregonOak on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:11:34 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Plessy v Ferguson said a few things were legal. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Kombema, happymisanthropy, deep info

                      That didn't turn out well.

                    •  This is incorrect (6+ / 0-)

                      First, Section 702 does not expressly require a particularized warrant though, bizarrely, it does require compliance with the 4th Amendment.

                      And again you seem to believe the privacy right only exists in the criminal context.

                      This is simply wrong.

                      •  Actually, I commented that on Griswold (0+ / 0-)

                        as an example of a liberty interest being deprived, buying contraceptives, that gave rise to the enunciation of a right to privacy. Nowhere do I say it is only in criminal case. But there has to be something, some government action, otherwise you will not be able to vindicate your right.

                        Further, affiant sayeth not.

                        by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:14:56 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  A government action (9+ / 0-)

                          deriving you of your right to privacy by invading information for which you have an expectation of privacy.

                          Smith decided that pen registers were legal and constitutional as there was no expectation of privacy regarding who you called.

                          It did not decide that you have to be arrested before your constitutional rights were violated.

                          Specifically Smith said:

                          "The installation and use of the pen register was not a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, and hence no warrant was required. Pp. 739-746.

                          (a) Application of the Fourth Amendment depends on whether the person invoking its protection can claim a "legitimate expectation of privacy" that has been invaded by government action. This inquiry normally embraces two questions: first, whether the individual has exhibited an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy; and second, whether his expectation is one that society is prepared to recognize as "reasonable." Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 . Pp. 739-741.

                          (b) Petitioner in all probability entertained no actual expectation of privacy in the phone numbers he dialed, and even if he did, his expectation was not "legitimate." First, it is doubtful that telephone users in general have any expectation of privacy regarding the numbers they dial, since they typically know that they must convey phone numbers to the telephone company and that the company has facilities for recording this information and does in fact record it for various legitimate business purposes. And petitioner did not demonstrate an expectation of privacy merely by using his home phone rather than some other phone, since his conduct, although perhaps calculated to keep the contents of his conversation private, was not calculated to preserve the privacy of the number he dialed. Second, even if petitioner did harbor some subjective expectation of privacy, this expectation was not one that society is prepared to recognize as "reasonable." When petitioner voluntarily conveyed numerical information to the phone company and "exposed" that information to its equipment in the normal course of business, he assumed the risk that the company would reveal the information [442 U.S. 735, 736] to the police, cf. United States v. Miller, 425 U.S. 435 . Pp. 741-746."

                          I think Smith was wrongly decided and think Brennan and Marshall have the better argument, one which, by the way, supports your formulation but not your conclusions:

                          "The Court concludes that because individuals have no actual or legitimate expectation of privacy in information they voluntarily relinquish to telephone companies, the use of pen registers by government agents is immune from Fourth Amendment scrutiny. Since I remain convinced that constitutional protections are not abrogated whenever a person apprises another of facts valuable in criminal investigations, see, e. g., United States v. White, 401 U.S. 745, 786 -790 (1971) (Harlan, J., dissenting); id., at 795-796 (MARSHALL, J., dissenting); California Bankers Assn. v. Shultz, 416 U.S. 21, 95 -96 (1974) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting); United States v. Miller, 425 U.S. 435, 455 -456 (1976) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting), I respectfully dissent.

                          Applying the standards set forth in Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 361 (1967) (Harlan, J., concurring), the Court first determines that telephone subscribers have no subjective expectations of privacy concerning the numbers they dial. To reach this conclusion, the Court posits that individuals somehow infer from the long-distance listings on their phone bills, and from the cryptic assurances of "help" in tracing obscene [442 U.S. 735, 749] calls included in "most" phone books, that pen registers are regularly used for recording local calls. See ante, at 742-743. But even assuming, as I do not, that individuals "typically know" that a phone company monitors calls for internal reasons, ante, at 743, 1 it does not follow that they expect this information to be made available to the public in general or the government in particular. Privacy is not a discrete commodity, possessed absolutely or not at all. Those who disclose certain facts to a bank or phone company for a limited business purpose need not assume that this information will be released to other persons for other purposes. See California Bankers Assn. v. Shultz, supra, at 95-96 (MARSHALL, J., dissenting).

                          The crux of the Court's holding, however, is that whatever expectation of privacy petitioner may in fact have entertained regarding his calls, it is not one "society is prepared to recognize as `reasonable.'" Ante, at 743. In so ruling, the Court determines that individuals who convey information to third parties have "assumed the risk" of disclosure to the government. Ante, at 744, 745. This analysis is misconceived in two critical respects."

                          ntent to monitor the content of random samples of first-class mail or private phone conversations, could put the public on notice of the risks they would thereafter assume in such communications. See Amsterdam, Perspectives on the Fourth Amendment, 58 Minn. L. Rev. 349, 384, 407 (1974). Yet, although acknowledging this implication of its analysis, the Court is willing to concede only that, in some circumstances, a further "normative inquiry would be proper." Ante, at 740-741, n. 5. No meaningful effort is made to explain what those circumstances might be, or why this case is not among them.

                          In my view, whether privacy expectations are legitimate within the meaning of Katz depends not on the risks an individual can be presumed to accept when imparting information to third parties, but on the risks he should be forced to assume in a free and open society. By its terms, the constitutional prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures assigns to the judiciary some prescriptive responsibility. As Mr. Justice Harlan, who formulated the standard the Court applies today, himself recognized: "[s]ince it is the task of the law to form and project, as well as mirror and reflect, we should not . . . merely recite . . . risks without examining the desirability of saddling them upon society." United States v. White, supra, at 786 (dissenting opinion). In making this [442 U.S. 735, 751] assessment, courts must evaluate the "intrinsic character" of investigative practices with reference to the basic values underlying the Fourth Amendment. California Bankers Assn. v. Shultz, 416 U.S., at 95 (MARSHALL, J., dissenting). And for those "extensive intrusions that significantly jeopardize [individuals'] sense of security . . ., more than self-restraint by law enforcement officials is required." United States v. White, 401 U.S., at 786 (Harlan, J., dissenting).

                          The use of pen registers, I believe, constitutes such an extensive intrusion. To hold otherwise ignores the vital role telephonic communication plays in our personal and professional relationships, see Katz v. United States, 389 U.S., at 352 , as well as the First and Fourth Amendment interests implicated by unfettered official surveillance. Privacy in placing calls is of value not only to those engaged in criminal activity. The prospect of unregulated governmental monitoring will undoubtedly prove disturbing even to those with nothing illicit to hide. Many individuals, including members of unpopular political organizations or journalists with confidential sources, may legitimately wish to avoid disclosure of their personal contacts. See NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449, 463 (1958); Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 695 (1972); id., at 728-734 (STEWART, J., dissenting). Permitting governmental access to telephone records on less than probable cause may thus impede certain forms of political affiliation and journalistic endeavor that are the hallmark of a truly free society. Particularly given the Government's previous reliance on warrantless telephonic surveillance to trace reporters' sources and monitor protected political activity, 2 I am unwilling to insulate use of pen registers from independent judicial review. [442 U.S. 735, 752]"

                          The reason it does not support your conclusion is that the NSA would be violating the reasonable expectations of privacy that society should recognize, according to Brennan and Marshall.

                          As for Griswold, I think you must recognize by nw that Douglas was hardly articulating a view that the constitutional right to privacy is only implicated by an independent deprivation.

                          And Roe is entirely unsupportive of your view, recognizing the right to privacy, not liberty, and allowing only to be breached when a compelling state interest arises.

                          I would love to see the argument for the compellling state interest for PRISM and how it is narrowly tailored.

                    •  FISA/FISC has become completely contrary to (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Nada Lemming, ukit, deep info

                      the spirit and intent of the Fourth. It is window dressing, no more. And given the federal government's proven track record of abusing state secrets claims and invocations for purposes that had nothing to do with security, it's laughable that we should be asked to trust them.

                      "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                      by Kombema on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:05:54 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  No. (7+ / 0-)

                  That argument falls into hyperbole:

                  The program is secret. You can't claim damages against secret programs. Its a sham, covered in legoistic jargonese.

                  A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

                  by onionjim on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:24:11 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The deprivation of (8+ / 0-)

                  the constitutional right to privacy is also cognizable, and not just in the criminal setting.

                  You are stating many things that are incorrect in this thread.

            •  Wow... (10+ / 0-)

              And it's that type of thinking which leads to the erosion of our rights.

              I imagine John Yoo and yourself would find much common ground.

              The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

              by Johnathan Ivan on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:45:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Bullshit (17+ / 0-)

              bullshit.

              What it does is guarantee that the government cannot use evidence obtained in violation of our rights to deprive us of life, liberty or property.
              That's like saying that the fifteenth amendment doesn't really protect voting rights but only the power of the federal government to take away house seats from states that don't let people vote.

              You're mistaking the powers used to enforce rights for the rights themselves.

              I want to see Snowden get a fair trial, an impartial jury, and the same sentence James Clapper gets for lying to Congress.

              by happymisanthropy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:51:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Griswold v. Connecticut? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Gary Norton, Kombema, deep info
              •  Exactly. Griswold makes my point. Connecticut was (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Inland

                prohibiting people from buying contraceptives. It was depriving people of a "liberty" which the court used to enunciate a privacy right that was protected. And likewise all of the subsequent privacy cases, such as Roe, involve the government depriving people of a liberty interest.

                Further, affiant sayeth not.

                by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:07:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I've tried to make the distinction between ` (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Gary Norton

                  "Privacy" and "liberty".  It's nice to see someone finally get that they aren't the same thing.

                  "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

                  by Inland on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:25:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  If you say so. (8+ / 0-)

                  But does it matter in this context?

                  Here's that old smartypants, Justice Douglas, in Griswold:

                  The right of "association," like the right of belief (Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624), is more than the right to attend a meeting; it includes the right to express one's attitudes or philosophies by membership in a group or by affiliation with it or by other lawful means. Association in that context is a form of expression of opinion, and, while it is not expressly included in the First Amendment, its existence is necessary in making the express guarantees fully meaningful. [p484]

                  The foregoing cases suggest that specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. See Poe v. Ullman, 367 U.S. 497, 516-522 (dissenting opinion). Various guarantees create zones of privacy. The right of association contained in the penumbra of the First Amendment is one, as we have seen. The Third Amendment, in its prohibition against the quartering of soldiers "in any house" in time of peace without the consent of the owner, is another facet of that privacy. The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." The Fifth Amendment, in its Self-Incrimination Clause, enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which government may not force him to surrender to his detriment. The Ninth Amendment provides: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be co

                  So if you need privacy fully to exercise a First Amendment right, e.g. to associate, you have a right to it.

                  •  Exactly (5+ / 0-)

                    Norton is just getting this completely wrong.

                  •  Couldn't agree more. But the point (0+ / 0-)

                    i was making is that Griswold was not a case about some person saying their right of privacy was violated. it was a person saying they were denied the right to do something by the government. They were harmed because they could not buy contraceptives.

                    Similarly, if NSA or FBI do not do something, harm you, impact you in some way, you can't get in to court to argue that you privacy has been violated.

                    Further, affiant sayeth not.

                    by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:24:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                      •  Tell me how Griswold is not a case about (0+ / 0-)

                        denial of the ability to buy contraceptives.

                        Further, affiant sayeth not.

                        by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:01:31 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  To apply the reasoning to the current (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          deep info

                          situation:  If your right of free association and your right to express your political beliefs are chilled by FISA spying on your communications, I believe the Griswold court would conclude that the FISA spying affects the "life and substance" of those rights.  I suspect that they'd use the Fourth Amendment language to hold that your right to be "secure...against unreasonable searches and seizures" also mandates that the FISA spying be declared unconstitutional.  

                          That's why I'm saying that the distinction you're drawing is not meaningful in this situation.

                          Hi, Armando!

                        •  It is. The "right to privacy" is a term of art (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          deep info

                          for some personal autonomy of action, from what language to teach your kids to whether to have kids to medical procedures.

                          I don't see how anyone can say it's "a right to never have the government know".  Really, is that what Roe wanted: to make people stop talking about her abortion?  Or to have one without criminal punishment?

                          "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

                          by Inland on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:42:40 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  It's a case about privacy rights (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          deep info

                          being denied by state restrictions on contraceptives.

                          The action is the privacy right violation, not some independent deprivation.

                •  Griswold does not make your point (5+ / 0-)

                  A privacy right breach does not have to stand on a deprivation of an activity.

                  It is the breach of the privacy right itself that is at issue.

                  You are just wrong in your analysis.

                  What you seem not to understand from Smith is that the key question was whether a privacy right actually existed, not whether it was deprived.

                  •  It doesn't make your point (0+ / 0-)

                    which is that rights exist in a vacuum. In an academic discussion we can all say that. But you will find no court agreeing with that in a case. Douglas' discussion in Griswold is premised on the facts of the case. If he had been asked the question outside the context of those facts or any other facts it would be an abstract discussion of rights, something I love to do, but not a decision.

                    At this point it is clear that you attitude is getting in the way of comprehending what I have written and the limits that I have made clear on what I have written. The courts do not recognize rights in the abstract. Lawyers discuss them ad nauseum but that does not a Constitutional violation make. Unfortunately many lay people think it does.

                    Further, affiant sayeth not.

                    by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:10:23 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  That's not what Roe or Griswold said (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  happymisanthropy, DeadHead, TheMomCat

                  It is the Roberts theory of a privacv right.

                  But no case has adopted that view YET.

                  You are incorrect again.

              •  Ninth Amendment, i.e. Griswold and Lawrence (3+ / 0-)

                clearly supporting the implied right to privacy that some conservatives (and some Obama WH apologists here) believe doesn't exist because it's not enumerated or spelled out explicitly in the Bill of Rights. But even though it took two centuries, the Ninth Amendment is finally helping support inexplicit Founders intent. CLEARLY they were very interested in protection of privacy.

                Ninth Amendment

                The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

                "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                by Kombema on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:41:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  This is incorrect (6+ / 0-)

              Privacy rights stand apart from use in criminal proceedings.

              You are mistaken.

        •  Sometimes quantitative increases lead to... (14+ / 0-)

          ...qualitative jumps.  (BTW I learned that reading Lin Yutang but I can't find it on the web).

          So Verizon has data about us, so does Experian, so does Blue Cross.  Lots of data.

          Now the NSA has all this data in one place with orders of magnitude faster computers.  So this quantitative change brings a qualitative jump.  The NSA is no longer a bigger Verizon or Facebook, it is something very different.  They can correlate data in ways that none of these corporations can.  They have ALL the data and their computers are larger and faster.  So they can do things that are difficult to comprehend but possible.  These things cannot be done by anyone else.

          Curiously, because of Moore's Law, in 10 years even Brazil and certainly China, home of the fastest supercomputers nowadays, may be able to do the same thing.  Should we set the example in a negative way or in a positive way?

          Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

          by Shockwave on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:34:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  opinions vary I guess (10+ / 0-)

          here's the ACLU's
           http://www.aclu.org/...

          The lawsuit argues that the program violates the First Amendment rights of free speech and association as well as the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment. The complaint also charges that the dragnet program exceeds the authority that Congress provided through the Patriot Act.

          Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

          by greenbastard on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:47:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Do you disagree with the ACLU? (0+ / 0-)
          •  I agree with what they are trying to (0+ / 0-)

            achieve, which is tighter controls and greater transparency. I also know that they are using the suit to get more information and I hope  they are successful.

             I don't think the NSA meta data program, if it is as described, violates the 4th. I think they are also going to have a standing problem, which they are obviously aware of. FISA has only been challenged twice and both times it invoked people who could articulate some harm

            Further, affiant sayeth not.

            by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:37:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (8+ / 0-)

        may have something to do with this, the part about assasination of "domestic terrorists" is interesting

        Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy

        "In a mad world only the mad are sane." ~ Akira Kurosawa

        by humanunit on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:15:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. The Govt Goons wanted to put the JackBoot (15+ / 0-)

        on the neck of OWS (a free speech movement). So they simply declared OWS to be a Terrorist org.

        Who's next? GreenPeace? KXL pipeline protestors? The Raging Grannies for Peace? It's limitless now with secret proclamations by secret courts.

        Early stage of Fascism IMO.


         Cool Image

        No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle.

        by CitizenOfEarth on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:29:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is just silly. (16+ / 0-)

      False equivalences don't deserve debate.

      The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

      by Persiflage on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:53:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you read Laura's article. It is about (6+ / 0-)

        a police department maintaining a database for legal purposes, to catch bad guys. Then some rogue employees use that database in violation of the law for their personal benefit. They will go to jail for what they did. But since some of its officers violated the law should the database be shut down?

        The fact is that things are done every day that can be abused. You give your very personal financial records to your bank every day. There are laws designed to prevent the bank or its employees from abusing that data. Sometimes those laws are broken and people's financial information is compromised. Does that mean the banks should not be able to collect the data?

         

        Further, affiant sayeth not.

        by Gary Norton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:15:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh yeah, that's going to happen (20+ / 0-)
      If an employee uses it for any unauthorized purpose the penalties are severe.
      Especially when the whole system of NSA data collection is hiding behind the pretext of "state secrets."

      "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

      by Cassiodorus on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:09:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This so dumb it deserves mockery. (4+ / 0-)

      So here you go.

      ~Points and laughs~

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:42:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The data would exist without the NSA anyway. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, judyms9

      It's already out there in the commercial realm.

      I'm sure it's available to the highest bidder.

      •  Actually it would be pretty much impossible (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, KenBee, deep info

        for any one company or organization to collect all the data we're talking about, other than the NSA.

        •  Particularly confidential corporate information. (0+ / 0-)

          Corporations are rather careful about that stuff.  Nobody except the NSA has the power to crack it.

          The NSA is a goldmine for corporate espionage.  Any of those 500,000+ contractors could have a second income collecting information for corporate competitors.

          The NSA dragnet must be shut down.  The fact is that major corporations want it shut down too.  I think we can shut this down.

    •  I think we should err on the side of caution (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, native, deep info

      Although, technology already makes aggregation of basic tax-related and otherwise public data on individuals a bygone conclusion today (i.e., go to any "public record" or arrest history search site), the types of data we're talking about now are distinct aspects of one's personal finances, communications, etc.

      The argument we're hearing is that companies and backbone providers can be compelled to give up this data to the NSA for practically no targeted reason, essentially offering a gold mine of data that can be searched and teased out to minute degrees heretofore unknown in human society.  This puts every citizen or resident on notice that their data can and will be used - or abused - at some point in the future, based on judgement or whim of someone entirely distanced from their situation.  That is, some person or persons who don't have context to better understand that data.

      Some data aggregation and collection can be useful for census-related studies, but not general sweeps that get horribly intrusive.  I don't care that companies provide these technology-based services: if we opt out of sharing detailed data on our use of their products and services, it should apply to the government as much as other businesses.

      How careful must one be in their purchases at the hardware and pool stores before someone profiles you as a potential explosive device builder, for example?  We have no idea of which set of data points will come together to incorrectly make that identification and expose an innocent person to intense, legal turmoil in the heavily funded war on terrorism (or, drugs, etc.), but we do know that the possibility uniquely arise because of this level of data collection and analysis that is happening.  This will inevitably lead to both abuses and a scared, paranoid genpop.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:08:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Look at the people wrongly convicted. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton

      Time to do away with police, and courts.

      "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

      by Inland on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:12:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That would get rid of -- everything. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, deep info

      But --- the point is well-taken anyway.

      Some things are just too full of harrassment potential to be available.  Certainly too much to be available without having to lose a leg and skip rope while reciting Beowulf from memory.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:26:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ignoring the potential for abuse (5+ / 0-)

      is pretty dumb don't you think?

    •  Agreed, IRS agents could potentially (0+ / 0-)

      do the same kind of spying on their fellow citizens, and probably do at times--given the number of agents out there.

      So, should the IRS no longer be able to exist? or preserve information?

    •  There are remedies for what you listed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deep info

      There are no remedies for actions taken in secret.  That's the POINT.

    •  I am less afraid of a shop owner (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, deep info

      then the entire apparatus of the government--a government that is pretty much fully owned by a small cadre of corporate monopolies and cartels.  This information will not be used to find terrorists, unless there is some PR value to be gained by catching the next underwear bomber--that's a contextual decision.  No, it will be used to target and silence citizens, also known as terrorists, for sticking their heads up and criticizing or protesting anything that infringes on corporate profits or civilian control.

      In the GOP your status is inversely proportional to your integrity.

      by anothergreenbus on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 06:13:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To answer the question: (20+ / 0-)
    how can we possibly think our private information is safe in NSA's hands?
    It's not safe. Human nature being what it is, abuse of this info WILL happen. Inevitable...
  •  Confidential data (8+ / 0-)

    such as medical records and birth certificates, collected by the government in some cases, can include information about things like substance use or domestic violence. It is not impossible for this information to be misused or for confidentiality to be violated, but there are also a lot of good things that come out of having the data available for research and reporting purposes.

    The government collects census data as well. Michelle Bachmann managed to get that particular survey stripped down to next to nothing because of fear about the government data collection. Now there is a sample survey to collect essentially the same information that businesses, local governments, and researchers need.

    •  Census data is an opt-in system (9+ / 0-)

      Here's the problem:  The secret dossiers on innocent citizens that can be J. Edgar Hoovered into trumped up charges on any whim.

      It's not just what they take, but it is the massive scale, the massive cost, the massive illegality, and the massive specter for abuse of power.

      Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

      by Einsteinia on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:50:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really (3+ / 0-)

        Census data are supposed to be universal (the response rate is very high supplemented by door knocking data collectors), and birth and death certificates certainly are not opt-in, they are universal.

        I'm not really commenting on the NSA stuff, just disagreeing with the idea that it is bad for the government in general to collect data.

      •  What's that got to do with metadata? (0+ / 0-)

        If J.Edgar Hoover could do it with party lines and rotary analog phones, exactly what are you scared of?  Not the collection of metadata.

        "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

        by Inland on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:14:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  beyond metadata (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, Klusterpuck, deep info
          Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft -- they all get together with the NSA and provide the NSA direct access to the back ends of all the systems you use to communicate, to store data, to put things in the cloud, and even just to send birthday wishes and keep a record of your life.  And they give NSA direct access that they don't need to oversee so they can't be held liable for it. I think that's a dangerous capability for anybody to have but particularly an organization that's demonstrated time and time again that they'll work to shield themselves from oversight.
          and the issue seems to be the constitutional issues, as raised by the ACLU

          as well as, the general lack of oversite

          Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

          by greenbastard on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:17:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay. So? (0+ / 0-)

            Seriously, someone has to explain the connection with J. Edgar Hoover.  

            "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

            by Inland on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:19:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the connection is the same as Chris Hayes brought (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              deep info

              up:

              http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/...

              When you construct a massive surveillance apparatus, history tells us that it will be brought to bear not just on, quote, "the enemy" but on the people who threaten society's power structure. On whoever exists at the political margins, whether it's Martin Luther King Jr. or some Occupy Boston protesters. It's not some Orwellian abstraction. It's America's history --- and America's recent history ---and left unchecked I fear for America 's future.
              Essentially, especially when the oversite is little, these programs, this data of the various programs brought to light, can be used in blackmail, political wrangling, corporate espionage, etc.

              Not to mention the illegality as argued by the ACLU

              Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

              by greenbastard on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:22:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "America's History" from two examples? Really? (0+ / 0-)

                You might as well say that we're going to imprison the Japanese again and use that as a reason to not have a defense department.

                It is, exactly, an abstraction, since nobody knows how or why or by whom this horrible oppression of "people threatening the power structure" takes place.  It's a simple equation of Surveillance = Abuse, and more surveillance = more abuse, althought noboody can figure out how metadata lends itself to abuse.  Believe me, I've asked.

                "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

                by Inland on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:34:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  now we're circling around (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  deep info

                  remember the comment above, titled, Beyond Metadata

                  which you replied, "so?", which I answered and then you circled back around on to metadata, so I'm going to go ahead and assume you aren't serious about a discussion, just disruption. Carry on.

                  Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

                  by greenbastard on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:37:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  excellent diary --thank you!!!! (15+ / 0-)

    and couple this with Snowden's interview from today;

    Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft -- they all get together with the NSA and provide the NSA direct access to the back ends of all the systems you use to communicate, to store data, to put things in the cloud, and even just to send birthday wishes and keep a record of your life.  And they give NSA direct access that they don't need to oversee so they can't be held liable for it. I think that's a dangerous capability for anybody to have but particularly an organization that's demonstrated time and time again that they'll work to shield themselves from oversight.
    and it isn't too hard to see how abusive this can become as a means of blackmail, and political and corporate espionage, as well as, it being used against desenters to the status quo, as Chris Hayes pointed out.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:02:50 PM PDT

  •  Say -- (9+ / 0-)

    Isn't it official FBI policy to confuse anarchism, a philosophy with centuries of tradition, with terrorism?  So we can expect a wild ride if we're letting really confused people, as such, have vast databanks of information on everyone.  No?

    "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

    by Cassiodorus on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:12:23 PM PDT

  •  Having one out of every 315 Americans spying (4+ / 0-)

    on others is repulsive and a sign of highly perverse priorities.

    "The way for man is the way of brotherhood, close co-operation and mutual trust and service. This is the only way. All else has failed." - World Teacher Maitreya

    •  That was true when Bush (0+ / 0-)

      was in office. Not any more. Now it's good sense if you want real security.

      “Washington has become our Versailles. We are ruled, entertained, and informed by courtiers -- and the media has evolved into a class of courtiers." - Chris Hedges

      by Klusterpuck on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:04:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, I'd keep that info away from cops. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ROGNM, judyms9, Klusterpuck

    They can be kind of nuts, especially with regards to women and jealousy.

  •  I would expect that big city departments would (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zed

    have the resources to provide proper oversight to the files.

    It's in the small town and small county police operations that damage can be swift; the population base that rogue operators spy upon is also smaller.

    Small town politics can be ugly and knowing things about your opponent yields great power.

    Notice: This Comment © 2013 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:39:43 PM PDT

  •  seriously? (2+ / 0-)

    so your 'point' is that because investigative techiniques can be abused we shouldn't use them?

    Well I guess we are going to have to go back to the sink or swim test cause you can't wiretap, you can't look up criminal records or driving records hell you can't even interview people.

    In the time that I have been given,
    I am what I am

    by duhban on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:39:56 PM PDT

  •  what's not being mentioned is securities (6+ / 0-)

    The potential for cyber spying in the financial markets is very interesting. If someone has the ability to read and parse all of a too-big banks' emails there's some serious money to be made. Regardless of VPN or encryption.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:43:53 PM PDT

  •  22 people (4+ / 0-)

    Yes, I'm sure.  And they are related to the 57 communists in the State Department that Joseph McCarthy indicated.   Related in that both numbers are completely made up.

  •  The reason we have the 4th Amendment (15+ / 0-)

    is to balance the right to privacy against public safety. That is what probable cause is all about.

    Supposedly the way you get in the FBI crime database is because you have had some sort of run in with law enforcement. You get in medical records because you need medical care.

    What appears to be happening with the NSA is that they are collecting tons of data on people simply because it is there. The activity bears no relation to the needs of the people involved or to demonstrated concerns about public safety. It presents great risk with minimal benefits.

  •  Just something to consider... (5+ / 0-)

    Corporations are people too (according to some).

    Any secret ruling on the ability to collect data on U.S citizens (people) would logically apply to corporate personhoods.

    I wonder how big business feels about the reality that all of its internal and external communication with all clients anywhere in the world on every aspect of their business (including finances and R&D) is also being analyzed by the government. I certainly hope that multi-million dollar secrets are never inappropriately shared with one's competitor by a random, underpaid analyst.

    ... or is a certain "kind" of person somehow exempt from the purpose and scope of PRISM?

  •  This is a red herring. Nefarious personal actors (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thestructureguy, nickrud

    are a minor problem.

    It's when large, institutional actors get involved that it becomes really scary.

    HBGary Federal and the CoC is what we really need to focus on - that stuff is systemic. This is petty crime.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:21:12 PM PDT

  •  But if his girlfriend wasn't doing anything wrong (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbastard, 3goldens, Klusterpuck

    What did she have to hide? What's the big wup?

    /snark

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:21:51 PM PDT

  •  My only problem with finding out what they know... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans

    about me...

    Is that its likely to severely deflate my ego and sense of importance...

    But that said... yeah, would be nice to know. And it'd be nice if we could stop them from collecting it all.

  •  Public officials being blackmailed? (0+ / 0-)

    Amazingly, none of our public officials seem the slightest bit concerned by that.

    And, so far as we know, no public official has decided to target a political enemy. So far as we know. So far.
    And this is an important point: despite the romantic aspirations of some kossacks to be persecuted by the government, it is, indeed, public officials, candidates and high ranking civil servants who are the most likely target of abuses.  And if they aren't worried, neither am I.

    "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

    by Inland on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:22:57 PM PDT

    •  but they are (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PJEvans, Klusterpuck, deep info

      http://www.emptywheel.net/...

      read the whole article, but:

      Remember, however, the day after the first leak on this, Eric Holder testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Barbara Milulski, who (as a tremendously powerful Senator representing NSA) had not previously publicly ever met NSA surveillance she didn’t like, was up in arms about the possibility the government was surveilling her communications.

      Those concerns had been placated by the time Keith Alexander testified a day or so later.

      So while Snowden is clearly trying to push the debate, it is also quite likely that the immunity comment is true.

      - See more at: http://www.emptywheel.net/...

      Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

      by greenbastard on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:27:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Those concerns had been placated". Your link. (0+ / 0-)

        eom

        "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

        by Inland on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:18:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The "congressional immunity" is a fraud... (0+ / 0-)

        Given what we know about how the NSA system indiscriminately sucks up everything, it's clear that the NSA can spy on Congress any time any analyst feels like doing so.  

        The line about "congressional immunity" is presumably a line of bull spun to placate Congressmen.  I have no doubt that the NSA people are spreading such a line of bull, and have some ineffective, out-of-date filter which carefully avoids recording records which are identified as coming from a Congressional office, using a conveniently out-of-date list of phone numbers.

    •  That's actually one thing that I am most worried (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, deep info

      about.

      Having such a massive database on people opens up too many possibilities for abuse.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:01:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the question is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deep info

    what can go right if the govt collects data on you?

  •  How shall I harrass thee? Let me count the ways. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Klusterpuck

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:24:38 PM PDT

  •  People should have that right... (0+ / 0-)

    and it would be interesting to see and then judge the extent of the surveillance on innocent activity.

    Another possibility is that one might find it is not as intrusive as imagined.

  •  My imperfect understanding about the Founders (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans, judyms9, Lawrence, deep info

    is that they feared a standing army because of potential abuse by the executive. I would imagine they would have similar feelings about an all knowing data collection agency.  

    "...on the (catch a) human network. Cisco."

    by hoplite9 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:32:33 PM PDT

  •  This is why the Singularity won't work. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Klusterpuck

    Sorry, Ray.

    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

    by itsjim on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:36:52 PM PDT

  •  After reading all the comments on how the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Klusterpuck

    government can be so repressive maybe the NRA has a point.  

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:46:05 PM PDT

  •  Oh what could ever possibly go wrong with the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit

    government having massive data bases on all of us?  It isn't just about the 4th Amendment anymore.

  •  Yep. They did. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deep info
    We already know about the NSA analysts who got their jollies by listening in on military service members' intimate phone calls.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:55:26 PM PDT

  •  Science fiction writers have warned us about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Klusterpuck

    this issue of information banking for whatever purposes.  There is a certain inevitability of misuse built into every tool.  By the time all those who are arguing fall over in exhaustion we will have moved on to making down payments on cloaks of invisibility.  We've been warned, but Pandora's Box is irresistible to the curious mind.  The most important thing is to determine who is friend and who is foe and take measures to defend against the latter and betrayal by the former.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:58:35 PM PDT

  •  A lot can go wrong, obviously. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deep info

    Most worrisome to me, however, is the potential of corporations blackmailing or preventing the election of politicians by acquiring data that they absolutely should not have access to.

    Why the hell are we outsourcing our high level security activities anyway?  It just makes no sense.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:04:42 PM PDT

  •  A petition...seriously? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deep info

    I appreciate the sentiment behind DK's effort to affect change in a seemingly simple, forthright and very reasonable request to our leaders that any American should have access to his or her information on file with the NSA.

    But this is a president whose administration is even more cloaked in secrecy than its immediate predecessor.  An administration whose Justice Department pulls memorandums decreeing the suspension of citizens' due process rights out of its collective posterior, then refuses to be held accountable when congress attempts to exert its oversight authority.  An administration that has taken this country well past the point of no return concerning the loss of civil liberties and constitutional protections.

    We all saw what happened as the Occupy Wall Street movement and activity on college campuses nationwide was efficiently put to rest as the rest of us sat quietly on the sidelines blindly loyal to political partisanship and our heads firmly buried in the latest big thing from Apple.

    It's admirable that DK is doing something, anything, to push back, against the tactics of this oppressive government.  But it's difficult to rationally believe that those who truly value their civil liberties will ever find those freedoms restored.  

    "The highest patriotism is not blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain." --George McGovern

    by Progressive Pride on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:22:04 PM PDT

    •  They won't be restored by this government (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Progressive Pride

      Our civil liberties will be restored when too many people are hungry and unemployed, and they overthrow the government, whether at the ballot box or otherwise. The new government will probably provide civil liberties just to make a contrast.

      •  Optimism on steroids... (0+ / 0-)

        I like your "optimism," I really do.

        But when (even more) people become hungry, unemployed and further disenfranchised by their leaders, won't they become less integrated in the workings of government and less confident about their power to influence meaningful change?  If government has been so (easily) successful with suborning our constitution and civil liberties now, why wouldn't it be even more brazenly successful at curtailing voting and other rights as the people become more militant?  Anyone remember the "free speech zones," i.e., chain-link cages set-up several blocks away from the last few Democratic and Republican presidential conventions.  What an amazingly innovative concept to begin demonstrations after, rather than before  incarceration!

        When our streets fill with violent protesters clamoring for economic justice, as is inevitable, I wonder how a few large stones and baseball bats will fare against the micro-armies now in place in large cities across the country, and armed high-altitude surveillance drones capable of blowing you and I to pieces.  

        "The highest patriotism is not blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain." --George McGovern

        by Progressive Pride on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 07:52:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  In The Age Of Big Data, Would Like To See Laws (0+ / 0-)

    concerning unauthorized access to personal data and laws concerning the misuse of it. Heavy penalties should be involved. I would be more comfortable with the government and private industry collecting data if there were standards for the use of it.

  •  It Is Hard To Get Worked Up Over The NSA (0+ / 0-)

    when there are millions of people out of work, children losing out on going to head start and seniors losing meals on wheels.  I am not that worried that some government spy is going to listen in to my conversations with my husband.  If they do go for it because I don't give a crap.  They will waste valuable time on nothing.  Snowden is not a good person.  He himself said that leakers should be kicked in the balls.  I agree with him.  The world is not perfect, some people are bad, and yes I believe that our government is not all bad when it comes to keeping us safe and secure.  Should we keep our eyes open, definitely.  Not everything is black or white, sometimes it is gray.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:29:24 PM PDT

    •  Hopefully (0+ / 0-)

      Very few people share your views.




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
      ~ Jerry Garcia

      by DeadHead on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 05:07:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's all part of the same government disaster (0+ / 0-)

      The government is wasting billions of dollars, literally, on spying in on your conversations with you and your husband.  And hiring over 500,000 people to do so.  

      That's money which could go to Head Start, could employ people doing something useful, could provide meals on wheels, etc.

      yes I believe that our government is not all bad when it comes to keeping us safe and secure.  
      Wake up.  The federal government is entirely bad and entirely worthless on that matter, and has kept us unsafe and insecure for at least 30 years.  This is the government which paid Osama bin Laden and funded the Taliban back in the '80s!

      Sure, my local government may keep me safe and secure.  Has the federal government ever done so?  Maybe it did once, but certainly not since Reagan.

  •  Interesting study from a few years back (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, marina, KenBee, deep info

    A German news site built an application, based on actual metadata collected about a Green party politician, demonstrating how phone metadata can be used to track your movements and combined with internet metadata to provide context.

    Green party politician Malte Spitz sued to have German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom hand over six months of his phone data that he then made available to ZEIT ONLINE. We combined this geolocation data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the internet.

    By pushing the play button, you will set off on a trip through Malte Spitz's life.

    http://www.zeit.de/...
  •  A major collection of WTF stories (0+ / 0-)

    As if domestic spying isn't bad enough, we have these yahoos.

    Thank you Ms McCarter for bringing this to our attention.
    Thank you very much.

  •  The government speaks with one voice: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, deep info

    "It's not my fault reality is marxist." - Che Guevara

    by Cassiodorus on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:39:49 PM PDT

  •  Yes! This is the thing (0+ / 0-)

    Talk about giving con people and stalkers the ability to do their dirty work very very easily!

    I can think of so many ways this information can be used, from blackmail to stalking, from identity theft to manipulating co-workers.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 11:41:45 AM PDT

  •  And this, in the WaPo article, is just (0+ / 0-)

    individuals going after individuals.  Bad enough, of course!  

    But 'twill be much, much worse next time we have a Joe McCarthy.  In his time, many innocents were accused of traitorous activities, and it was made impossible to clear one's name.  Such people were restricted to a county or state for years afterward.  Their friends and associates were scared for many years afterwards.  This can happen again, and because of all the databases, it can be much, much worse.

    The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

    by DSPS owl on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:45:05 PM PDT

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