Privacy: What's the big deal?

So the government is snooping on you. Federal officials apparently have phone call records for everyone in America. Why should you care?
Tom Jackson
Jun 16, 2013

Some people apparently don’t.

Responding to revelations about the National Security Agency collecting phone call records for all Verizon customers — and apparently customers for every other phone company, too — “Time” magazine senior national correspondent Michael Grunwald Tweeted: “Oh, no, the government knows I made a 74-second phone call to my mom on March 22! This is outrageous because...um...um…”

Civil libertarians argue that view is shortsighted.

“You should care about privacy because privacy isn’t secrecy,” author Cory Doctorow says. “I know what you do in the toilet, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to close the door when you go in the stall.”

Leaks to a British newspaper, the Guardian, and follow-up reports elsewhere apparently show the NSA is collecting “metadata” from U.S. phone companies such as Verizon. The data includes the length of the calls, what phone numbers were called, the time of the calls, and the location of the person who called.

Apparently,  the NSA does not routinely record domestic telephone calls, although nobody can be completely sure because information on NSA snooping is secret and NSA officials are not always candid in public. ABC News reported in 2008 that NSA employees listened in on overseas phone calls from U.S. citizens abroad who were phoning friends and family at home. In some cases, NSA employees listened to “phone sex” calls from U.S. soldiers.

Nick Worner, a spokesman for the ACLU’s Ohio chapter in Cleveland, said the collection of such data is still a major intrusion onto a person’s privacy.

“There is no doubt that the so-called metadata can tell the government and whoever has access to that data much about you,” he said.

What if the phone records show telephone calls to an addiction recovery center? Or to a suicide hotline? What if they show repeated telephone calls to a woman who isn’t your wife? What if information about those calls is leaked?

“Think of the numbers people are calling they might not want people to know about,” Worner said.

Even if the phone calls are not what they seem — you’re calling the help line on behalf of a friend, or that woman you keep calling is your sister — in the hands of the malicious or the ignorant, private information can be misused.

“If the data says you’ve done something wrong, then the person reading the data will interpret everything else you do through that light,” said Doctorow, who recommends watching a short documentary, “Naked Citizens,” available at http://boingboing.net/2013/05/27...

“Once a computer ascribes suspiciousness to someone, everything else in that person’s life becomes sinister and inexplicable,” Doctorow said.

Even if your life is so innocuous and boring you don’t mind everyone knowing everything about you, you probably know someone who has a legitimate reason for keeping part of his life private, Doctorow said. 

“You know people who can be compromised through disclosure: people who are gay and in the closet; people with terminal illnesses; people who are related to someone infamous for some awful crime,” Doctorow said. “Those people are your friends, your neighbors, maybe your kids: they deserve a life that’s as free from hassle as you are with your lucky, skeleton-free closet.”

The bedrock protection against unfair disclosure of your life is the Fourth Amendment. It’s part of the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment: “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.”

Sandusky defense attorney K. Ron Bailey, past president of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said this week he sees the disclosures about the NSA as an attack on Fourth Amendment rights.

“They’re now saying, oh, it’s OK, we can violate the Constitution because we passed a statute that says we can violate it,” Bailey said.

“You can’t change the Bill of Rights by passing a statute,” he said. “The only way you can change the Bill of Rights is have a Constitutional amendment. The people haven’t approved to amend the Constitution so that you can snoop on our emails and our cell phone conversations.”

Comments

Centauri

Thanks for posting that link. Sadly the simpletons will not read it because they don't care. Many around the world wonder why MOST Americans are so stupid. In other countries, the people fought for freedom. I recall the Hungarian Revolution.

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSA...

Others who cherish freedom cannot understand why Americans are willing to give up their freedom. They ask why are Americans so stupid?

I read various forums and wonder the same thing.

Why are some Americans so stupid?
Why are some Americans so ignorant?

You can find the answers on the internet.

2cents

In my email this morning.
________________________________________________________________

This, one sentence editorial appeared in the Peoria Journal Star

"A pen in the hand of this president is far more dangerous than
a gun in the hands of 200 million law-abiding citizens."

Then Clint Eastwood added his words;

"We Americans are so tired of being thought of as
dumbasses by the rest of the world that
we went to the polls this past November and removed all doubt."

Clint Eastwood:

Contango

"What they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self rule is somehow just a sham with which we can't be trusted."

- Pres. Obama, May 5, 2013

"You (bleeped) up! You trusted us!" - Otter, "Animal House."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z...

The Big Dog's back

Don't need the internet for that answer. Between the right wingers and teabaggers, that alone drops our average I Q.

Contango

Re: "That alone drops our average I Q."

I agree. Reading Pres. Obama quotes does drop one's IQ. :)

abigbear

only bho can hide his records

Contango

"CNN Poll: Obama approval falls amid controversies"

"President Barack Obama's approval rating dropped eight percentage points over the past month, to 45%, the president's lowest rating in more than a year and a half,"

"Six in 10 disapprove of how Obama is handling government surveillance of U.S. citizens,"

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn...

deertracker

When are you guys going to accept that a BLACK guy outsmarted all of the so called well educated White guys and beat them FAIR and SQUARE? It happened! Move on and get over it already! Regardless of any poll or opinion, he is the President any I will be happy when he finally tells his HATERS to eat lint!

2cents

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com...

Things like this make me wonder about the whole thing!

Contango

Re: "FAIR and SQUARE?"

Put the tired, old "race card" back in the deck.

Smelled the stench of political corruption long before you back in IL during his campaigns against Bobby Rush and Jack Ryan.

Enjoy your cult of personality true believer. Light a candle at your altar for me. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o...

deertracker

What you smelled was fairness. Why was he corrupt when he won but it was FAIR when he lost in Il? The cult is in your lame so called mentality. If you are drenched in rubbing alcohol, I will gladly light that candle for you!

Contango

Re: "What you smelled was fairness."

And you obviously also enjoy the "bouquet" of garbage. :)

Corrupt outside campaign money propelled Mr. Obama in IL (ACORN, etc.)
and beyond.

Good to know that you support crony capitalism.

Also, he promised the people of IL that if elected to the U.S. Senate that he would serve out his term.

An easy enough lie to prove.

Enjoy your man-love crush.

deertracker

This affects you how? Acorn? Give it a rest. Don't project your man crush on me! I just give the man his props, since he EARNED them Hater!

Contango

Re: "ACORN"?

A discredited and criminal org that once received taxpayer funding with the help of Mr. Obama.

Yea, Mr. Obama came from IL, a state known for it's honest style of politics. :)

Ralph Nader: "Has There Ever Been A Bigger Con Man In White House?"

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/ralph...

The Big Dog's back

We won pooh. Get over it. Move on.

Contango

Re: "We won"

YOU "won" squat.

"54% say they disapprove of how Obama's handling his job," - CNN Poll

Looks more like your Messiah is LOSING. :)

deertracker

Please get over it.

Contango

So are you OK with the Nobel Peace Prize Winner-in-Chief gettin' involved in a new war?

The Big Dog's back

Yes.

2cents

If you think the opposition or so called freedom fighters are running the show you are way wrong! I have first hand knowledge from Syria what is going on and the US will be sorry if they put a new leader in power. It will be all women covered and radical rule. Many family of friends are US bound with what they are aloud to take. These so called freedom fighters kidnap innocent civilians and ransom them back to their families to raise money. Real freedom fighters??

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-...

Darwin's choice

Big Dog, did you really just say you favor more Americans dying for Muslims? You are pathetic.....

The Big Dog's back

Assad has weapons of mass destruction. He's used them on his own people. He's made threats to us. Sound familiar? Oh yeah, Eyeraq.

Nemesis

But it's OK as long as it's your guy in charge. Got it.

You're such a partisan hack. You'd worship John Wayne Gacy if he had a D after his name, and execute Gandhi for putting an R after his. As long as your Kool Aid has a donkey on the label instead of an elephant, you don't care what's in it. You'd eat a turd with the DNC logo on it and turn your nose up at a steak from the other party.

You actually think there's a difference between the two parties. That's just what they want you to believe.

kURTje

Knuckle glad to see you acknowledge Sanger. Put Prescott Bush (W's dad) with her & the T-4 programm (Nazi Germany) Real sick true stuff.

Centauri

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...
"Obama Defends NSA Surveillance Program, Says It's 'Transparent'"

Contango

"If NSA algorithms (are) so good at detecting spies, how did Edward Snowden go undetected?"

http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=8239

Another BIG GOVT. waste of money; no wonder Pres. Obama loves it.

meowmix

If I have to read or hear that damn Ben Franklin quote one more time I'm going to SCREAM!!! Folks who type it or say it should really do some research as the quote does not mean what they think it means. Franklin was not describing some tension between government power and individual liberty. But the major difference is he was talking about LIBERTY---not PRIVACY---big damn difference between the two don't you think????

Contango

Re: "...he was talking about LIBERTY---not PRIVACY---big damn difference..."

So is there no longer any need for the Fourth Amendment?

And the American Revolutionary War was fought why?

Perhaps you'd do well to read a list of the Colonists' grievances:

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits...

meowmix

I also have to add that conveniently no teabagger is still acknowledging the fact that no conversations were listened to! I don't give a damn anyway! If they want to see that I called my 89 year old aunt in Washington state, big deal! I find it more offensive that I have to wear a seat belt or turn my headlights on when it's raining now or face consequences. And for Mr. Snowden, hopes he's found a really good hiding spot, he's managed now to pi$$ of a few other countries now with his blabber mouth--and they may not bother just wanting him extradited...

Contango

Re: "Mr. Snowden"

He's become inconsequential.

Mr. Snowden said that he wanted to start the debate, Mr. Obama said that he welcomed it.

So where's the high level debate?

Wire-tapping laws are almost forty yrs. out of date.

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