Friday, June 7, 2013

Privacy is So Over-Rated in a Free Country - Updated

The Patriot Act is part of legislation that no Founding Father of America nor any free country would ever sign as it grants sweeping police powers all ostensibly to protect against terrorism.  However, the most salient aspect of terrorism in the United States is it hardly ever happens, before or after the Patriot Act.  The 9/11 attack was dramatic but, in terms of the annual carnage in the United States due to all causes, it was relatively trivial.

The latest outrage is the mining of corporate sources for phone records and who knows what else.  They won't tell you what they got or where they got it as that, naturally, would be a violation of security.  Also naturally, the security agencies and relevant corporations deny it ever happened.  (CNN:  Top U.S. intel official challenges reports that spy agencies mined Internet data, Washington Post:  Documents: U.S. mining data from 9 leading Internet firms; companies deny knowledge)

However, if it is true that intelligence agencies are not mining all manner of private information then what is the need for the NSA's Utah Data Center:  the data center is alleged to be able to capture all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Internet searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital 'pocket litter'.  (Wiki:  Utah Data Center)

Part of the concern is the way security agencies have been milking Verizon for information for at least seven years.  (CNN:  Collection of phone records stirs debate: Valuable tool or 'beyond Orwellian'?)

Said an un-named Obama official, any such order would relate "exclusively to metadata, such as a telephone number or the length of a call."  Metadata?  Like hell!  The phone numbers are substantive personal information that reveal a great deal about you or why in hell would security agencies want it.

Said Senator Dianne Feinstein, D - California, "It is lawful. It has been briefed by Congress."

So what!  Much of what Hitler did was lawful, he just changed the laws as he needed and that's exactly what Congress is doing with the full complicity of two Presidents and a spineless public.  The Germans waited too long to protest as by the time people realised what was happening you would get killed for saying anything about it.

If the government theft of phone records is not a gross invasion of your privacy, just tell me what would do if a friend picked up your cellphone and started going through the names / phone numbers, text messages, etc.  Yah, you would throw the son of a bitch out a window and yet no-one does anything when the government does it.

In previous times, police could tap your telephone but only with permission from a judge when there was probable cause to investigate.  That requirement was routinely violated, specifically by the FBI and others, but those violations could be discovered via the Freedom of Information Act.  However, that kind of oversight no longer exists and the result is that the Utah Data Center has a storage capacity for one quadrillion gigabytes of data.  That's such an enormous number that it's like speculating on how much money is controlled by the Vatican, the number is so large that it makes no sense to mortals.

There is nothing political in this offensive policy as Bush started it and Obama has carried it forward, even extending it, all in the guise of keeping America safe.  No-one asks any question regarding keeping it safe from what.  It really doesn't make any difference who wins the next election as there are hardly any politicians from either party who are doing anything to defend against these gross abuses of privacy.


Anonymous said...

politicians are all the same. Whoever is in power, abuses it usually for monetary rewards but also just because they can

Alan Fraser said...

Everything those sluts do is for the money. In the sixties people would have been in the streets over what they're doing but now people just shrug and accept is status quo. There is a much bigger threat to America from what Utah is doing than will ever come from any Muslim terrorist.