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

2cents's picture
2cents

“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.”

Is reality only the perception of another's determination? (2cents, June 2013)

Darkhorse

We don't have a free country anymore. There is no privacy. Big brother is constantly on surveillance. We are turning into China.

2cents's picture
2cents

“Reminiscing the Capitalist Empire”
By (2cents 2025)
ISBN 1931859256

Doug7880

“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” a quote from Benjamin Franklin

deertracker

Well Ben is safe where he is and has all the liberty and freedom he needs.

Contango

Eliot Spitzer's dalliances with a hooker were uncovered through banking records procured by the Patriot Act.

Paula Broadwell's affair with former CIA Director David Petraeus was uncovered as a result of phone metadata.

The American Political Ruling Class uses Intel to destroy it's enemies.

"We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends."

- Barack Obama, Oct. 25, 2010

"They'll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices."

- Pres. Obama, May 5, 2013

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

- "The Wizard of OZ"

The Big Dog's back

Repeat.

JudgeMeNot

The age of privacy has ended. Get over it. Big data has ended privacy as we know it.

Contango

I just 'happened' to catch a story on RT and discovered that there was a protest in DC over NSA spying.

NOWHERE in the U.S. news media did I see or read about this.

The Big Dog's back

Repeat.

Contango

^^^ "Repeat." :-7

Centauri

"NOWHERE in the U.S. news media did I see or read about this"

I have to go to foreign sources to get the truthful news. American people have the internet. They should use it instead of Facebook and other social networking.

Some time ago, I asked the readers what happened to all of the ammunition. I have been watching the supply and there still is a shortage.

http://www.natchezss.com/ammo.cf...

DHS denied that they were buying up all of the ammo. DHS is now saying the opposite.

http://beforeitsnews.com/alterna...
"DHS Changes Story On 1.6 Billion Round Ammo Buy"

http://www.globalresearch.ca/1-6...
"1.6 Billion Rounds of Ammunition: Homeland Security under Investigation for Massive Ammo Purchase"

"DHS officials have repeatedly denied stockpiling ammunition, but AP reports claim that the agency plans to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the next four or five years, and has already bought 360,000 rounds of hollow point bullets and 1.5 billion rounds in 2012.

DHS claims that it is buying ammo in bulk to save money, but experts have pointed out that hollow point bullets cost nearly twice as much as full metal jacket rounds. They also explode on impact for maximum damage, which has caused some Americans to wonder what purpose they would serve the DHS domestically. Purchasing 1.6 billion rounds of ammo would also give DHS the means to fight the equivalent of a 24-year Iraq War. Members of Congress say the DHS has repeatedly refused to tell them the purpose of procuring such large amounts of ammo."

Hollow point bullets for target practice? Hollow points do a LOT of damage to the human body. Why is the Department of Homeland Security refusing to give information to Congress? Who is in charge of the USA?

SamAdams

The point is not now, nor has it ever been, whether or not you have anything to hide. Most of us don't have anything criminal to hide; almost all of us have something embarrassing we'd prefer to keep secret. But that, too, is immaterial.

K. Ron Bailey is right. This is a clear and egregious violation of the Fourth Amendment, and neither statutes nor executive orders can legally change that. In fact, fear can't change that, either. Nor SHOULD it!

Look around, both in history and in the present day. Is anybody out there prepared to say that no government official has EVER misused data? Is anybody out there willing to agree that no corporate bigwig has EVER used such data for borderline or outright illegal purposes? And don't even TRY to tell me, "Well, yes, but that can't happen here..." It IS happening here, and it's happening right now.

For those of you too lazy to google Martin Niemoller, here's a handy dandy link for you: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/arti...

Doesn't affect you? Okay. You therefore don't care? Bad, BAD mistake...

The Big Dog's back

9/11/2001. The day right wing wing world went nuts. They are afraid of their own shadow. They gave the reins to GWB and the Cons to do whatever they wanted. Guess what? they did. Now the right wing is crying because these things are coming back on them, not just those "dark skinned" guys.

Contango

Re: "Now the right wing is crying,"

Like the "right wing" ACLU and a whole host of Congressional Democrats???

"Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed 'simply based on an analyst deciding that.'"

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_...

The Big Dog's back

What's your point?

Contango

Re: "...'dark skinned' guys."

“Spoken by a true racist.” - The Big Dog's back, 5/24/13 :-7

grandmasgirl

I hope that you aren't bringing "race" (dark skinned guys) into this subject. Sounds like it to me.

The Big Dog's back

When do you think this whole thing started?

meowmix

Big Dog--you're absolutely correct. Thank god GWB had our backs when the Patriot Act was created, but now that that feared socialist, commie, muslim took office we really must run to K-mart and buy we'uns another weapon in which to protect ourselves with when they's come to take our women folk and chilren's.

Restless1

Leave your house for a half hour and try to guess on how many cameras your walk or ride was recorded on. Add to that license plate readers on our roads, electronic gizmos you carry, tweets you send all over the place, etc. You might as well leave that bathroom door open.

nonconformist

Publicly putting out your own business on social media sites and understanding that everything you do once you leave the PRIVACY of your own home is extremely different than government intrusion and a clear violation of the 4th. If you don't understand that, you really should educate yourself a bit more.

Minuteman

Why are we tasked with educating adults in this country on their rights and freedom? Has the public school system been compromised that badly? I was taught about these things in 5th and 6th grade. You would think with the mindset in this country concerning civil rights, that this would cause a march on Washington D.C. I'll bet many of these folks who don't mind the snooping are only approving because it fits the political stance they have been led into, like sheep. Next you'll be told how many kids you "should" have.

The Big Dog's back

"Next you'll be told how many kids you "should" have." That ship has already sailed with the religious right wing trying to ban abortions.

KnuckleDragger

You should want it banned too since it is nothing more than black genocide. Do some light reading and then come back and tell me a little bit about the background of Margaret Sanger and the Negro project. Do you really think she cared about womens rights?

deertracker

Black genocide? Your posts get more ridiculous with each one. The topic is PRIVACY!!!!!!!!!!

Nemesis

You should research what he says before being so dismissive.

Truth or Dare

Try to catch Fox Sunday News and the interview with Dick Cheney. It's airing as we "blog". See, I like to hear from the horse, what comes out of their mouth, not the mainstream media's spin of what's said. He seems to have no problem with our govt. and LE going house to house w/o any kind of warrant! Not too surprised there! He probably just loves the whole Drone project! He had the audacity to use the word "trust", stating we must trust our Government. Don't know about anyone else here, but as they shred our Constitution to pieces, thinking no one is really paying attention or is capable of realizing how far reaching the NSA program and others like it are, my trust lies with no man/woman, no principality/government, be they Republican or Democrat. They both outright lie and mislead through their smooth talking lips, and we wonder why as a country we're broke, getting broker? Please! Costs a lot of taxpayer $$$$'s to support govt. programs within programs, agencies within agencies, oh, and war in other countries.

Is anyone really all that surprised there was no coverage of protests of the NSA in D.C.? Remember, "when you own the news, you can bend it all you want", or just withhold it altogether. Until of course someone has an attack of conscience and chooses to leak it!

SamAdams

You bring up a really valid point. The power-hungry of BOTH parties are perfectly okay with this kind of thing.

Those who mention that 9/11 started this whole mess are both right and wrong. 9/11 didn't start anything. It accelerated the heck out of it, though! Most of the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were a long-standing federal "wish list." They just couldn't get away with the blatantly unconstitutional provisions of the Act until 9/11 gave them the perfect excuse.

At the time, I'm sure many of you remember that people from the ACLU to librarians to much of the liberal left screamed bloody murder. I did, too. And we were all RIGHT! But now that the Obama administration has ratcheted up the surveillance and expanded it, too many of those on the left seem to think it's all okay. Thankfully, the widespread phone records scandal finally has attracted the ACLU's attention!

The facts are unchanged: Broad government surveillance and the suspension of civil liberties under the Bush administration were WRONG, no matter the reasons behind them. I maintain that they're STILL wrong. So. Where are those of you who criticized John Ashcroft and George W. Bush now? Probably too busy defending Eric Holder and Barack Obama! Hypocrites.

"May your chains rest lightly upon you, and may history forget you were ever our countrymen..."

nonconformist

Some people apparently don't care? Of course not. It's called the dumbing down of America. As long as they have their reality TV shows and they feel safe and secure they could give a rat's *ss. It is pathetic that some people don't even know the first thing about or understand the constitution and what it means when government slowly breaks it down by these very tactics in this whole privacy thing - check out the video link. People are ignorant. The government isn't ruining it for the rest of us. Stupid Americans are! Please educate yourselves people.

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

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's picture
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's picture
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's picture
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.

The Big Dog's back

Still rootin' for that traitor ehhh pooh?

Contango

Re: "no conversations were listened to!"

How in the h*ll do you think that they caught CIA Director Petraeus and Eliot Spitzer in their dalliances?

And politicians and bureaucrats NEVER lie do they? Talk about naive.

A good rule of thumb in business in dealing with unknown people:

It's not that I don't trust you, I just wanna keep you honest.

The Big Dog's back

I'm just an average man
with an average life
I work from nine to five,
hey, hell, I pay the price
All I want is to be left alone
in my average home
But why do I always feel like
I'm in the twilight zone and

I always feel like somebody's watching me
And I have no privacy
I always feel like somebody's watching me
Tell me is it just a dream?

When I come home at night
I bolt the door real tight
People call me on the phone,
I'm trying to avoid
But can the people on TV see me
or am I just paranoid

When I'm in the shower
I'm afraid to wash my hair
Cause I might open my eyes
and find someone standing there
People say I'm crazy,
just a little touched
But maybe showers remind me
of Psycho too much
That's why...

I always feel like somebody's watching me
And I have no privacy
I always feel like somebody's watching me
Who's playing tricks on me?

Michael Jackson from 1984. Who was President?

Contango

meowmix writes:

"Thank god GWB had our backs when the Patriot Act,"

Didn't like it THEN, like it even less NOW.

KURTje

That was Rockwell (British)