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Americans Don't Care About Domestic Spying ? 485

Posted by Zonk
from the you're-blocking-the-view-of-the-big-game dept.
S1mmo+61 writes "Salon is analyzing a Time Magazine article today, a piece that essentially claims Americans do not care about the domestic spying. The analysis of the Time magazine piece (which is longer than the article itself) is interesting, if only as a quick history of domestic spying in the last eight years. 'Time claims that "nobody cares" about the Government's increased spying powers and that "polling consistently supports that conclusion." They don't cite a single poll because that assertion is blatantly false. Just this weekend, a new poll released by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University proves that exactly the opposite is true. That poll shows that the percentage of Americans who believe the Federal Government is "very secretive" has doubled in the last two years alone (to 44%)'"
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Americans Don't Care About Domestic Spying ?

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  • Retort (Score:5, Funny)

    by GWLlosa (800011) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:46AM (#22782002)
    I'd write an insightful and scathing retort, in which the abundance of witticisms and the razor-sharp logic would decisively destroy the opposing position... but I don't know who might be reading this.
    • Re:Retort (Score:5, Funny)

      by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:55AM (#22782092)
      We don't need to read your retort citizen. Knowing your recently confessed ability of writing one made us extract it from your brain.

      Please wait patiently for our transport services to go pick you up.

      Err, where did you live exactly?
    • Re:Retort (Score:5, Funny)

      by Beefaroni (1229886) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:57AM (#22782112)
      i thought our calls were being monitored or recorded for quality purposes.
    • Re:Retort (Score:5, Insightful)

      by letxa2000 (215841) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:41AM (#22782510)

      'Time claims that "nobody cares" about the Government's increased spying powers and that "polling consistently supports that conclusion." They don't cite a single poll because that assertion is blatantly false. Just this weekend, a new poll released by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University proves that exactly the opposite is true. That poll shows that the percentage of Americans who believe the Federal Government is "very secretive" has doubled in the last two years alone (to 44%)'"

      I have no idea what the truth is on this matter, but the fact that "nobody cares" is not refuted by "the percentage of Americans who believe the Federal Government is 'very secretive' has doubled... to 44%." Simply put, it's entirely possible more people believe the government is more secretive--but they simply don't care.

      It's not in any way shocking to learn that people are apathetic. If you ask them whether they want a secretive government, most people will say no. But if you use an objective metric it's very easy to conclude that those same people really don't care that strongly one way or the other.

      • Re:Retort (Score:5, Interesting)

        by snowraver1 (1052510) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @10:28AM (#22782956)
        I actually had a similar confersation with my mom last night. I was arguing that on the Internet nothing should be blocked/censored, even child porn. We should be setting an example for countries like China. I'm not saying that child porn should be legal, downloaders and uploaders still need to be prosecuted, but to treat everyone like a criminal and just block access is, in itself, criminal.

        She would not agree and even went so far as to say that all porn should be filtered on the Internet. She was of the impression that filtering content from the internet was for the greater good of society. She would not budge.

        I got frustrated. She can not be the only person that thinks that way. If you believe that, then it is likely that you believe that spying on the public to catch "bad guys" is good as well. After all, "I'm not doing anything wrong, so go ahead".

        Part of freedom is freedom to break the law. After you have broken the law, you should lose some of your freedoms, but until you do, you should be assumed to be as pure as an angel.
        • Re:Retort (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @11:03AM (#22783370)
          Your mom is the prime example of the person believing in the "good government". That's not belittling her, don't get me wrong, that's how she grew up. She grew up in a world separated in two parts, the Soviet Regimes in the east and the Free World in the west. She saw and observed that she, indeed, lived in the "good" part. And despite all propaganda, even the people on the other side believed that she lived in the "good" part while they got the "bad" part.

          It was a black and white world. And in that world, the government, too, was pure and good. They defended our freedom against the evil Communists. Sure, there were things like McCarthy, but that was long ago and, lo and behold, he was found to be taking it too far and was removed. The system works. It's all fine and good.

          That's how she grew up. That's what she learned and observed throughout her life. That her government was good, that the laws her government made were good, that they were here to protect and to serve her. The goals of the people and the goals of the government were (more or less) the same.

          This generation grows up in a world where the difference between people and governments grows by the day. In attitude, in goals, in outlook on the world. We "young people" (ok, I'm not necessarily young anymore, but humor me) tend to take a more critical view on our governments and their actions, we do not trust them intrinsically, especially those of us who have been exposed to the internet and the various regulations around it. We see a discrepancy between our goals and the laws our governments make. We see our governments making more and more laws pandering to the corporations and their goal of more profit, not for but against the people the government is supposed to represent.

          We grow up in a very different world. Your mom is used to a government that observes her goals, we're used to one that blocks us in our attemt to reach ours. That's the big difference. Your mom maybe could not imagine her government passing a law that is not for the good of her, you on the other hand maybe can't imagine it passing one that is good for you. She's looking for the good a law brings, you're looking for how you get ripped off this time to line the pockets of someone.

          I don't say that things changed, I doubt it has been different under Kennedy, Nixon or Carter. But the view of things and the way people look at them changed dramatically in the last 50 years. The government isn't the good Uncle Sam anymore. It's turned into the bad Big Brother.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by drmerope (771119)

            Do you realize that you've just damned your argument?

            I don't say that things changed, I doubt it has been different under Kennedy, Nixon or Carter. But the view of things and the way people look at them changed dramatically in the last 50 years. The government isn't the good Uncle Sam anymore. It's turned into the bad Big Brother.

            So what you're saying is that "your generation" perceives the government as being the bad Big Brother. Ironically you don't seem to realize this meta point as you slide immedia

          • Re:Retort (Score:5, Interesting)

            by demachina (71715) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @01:56PM (#22785522)
            From the 40's until recently the United States was a booming country, everyone was getting richer, the standard of living was great and improving. The U.S. benefited greatly from the fact the rest of the world has been flattened by World War II. People tend to be generally happy with their government when they are prosperous. Look no further than today's Russia where people LOVE Putin because their income is skyrocketing partially thanks to the huge influx of oil and gas revenue, even though he is for all practical purposes a ruthless thug, and returning Russia to a one party state.

            People tend to hate their government if A. their standard of living is bad and declining or the B. repressive measures impact them directly. If America's standard of living continues to decline American attitude towards their government will change. Ranting about peoples indifference wont change it, putting them in the poor house will. People also tend to be indifferent to spying unless and until it directly impacts them (i.e the get arrested for something).

            Widespread spying has an extremely corrosive effect on good government but most people don't realize that or are to indifferent to care. As with Nixon and Hoover it almost inevitably is used to find dirt on people. In the case of politicians that dirt is then used against them to make them vote the way the people who have the dirt on them want them to vote, or to drive them out of office. Spying is almost inevitably used to destroy Democracy, that is why its bad. In the case of vocal opponents and protesters its used to silence them and lock them up. Widespread spying is a great way to find little indiscretions like drug use, infidelity, sexual indiscretions and tax evasion.

            You need to look no further than Eliot Spitzer. He was caught by the fact that there is now widespread spying on EVERYONE's bank accounts. Any transaction over $10,000 in your account is reported to the government. ANY transaction some bank employee decides is a little fishy can be reported through a SAR(Suspicious Activity Report). The fact Spitzer was destroyed by something as innocuous as flings with a prostitute, almost certainly came about only because of spying on his bank accounts. All politicians are especially closely monitored. It is quite possible some powerful people decided to destroy Spitzer because of his crusade against the thieves on Wall Street who have been quite obviously stealing this country in to poverty. You have to wonder if Spitzer had his money in a bank where the bankers decided to retaliate for his crusades against Wall Street.
          • by Tungbo (183321) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @02:21PM (#22785868)
            She also grew up watching these PR programs for the CIA and FBI.

            It's amazing to me that we find it entertaining to watch agents of US government work to overthrow foreign governments by any criminal means handy. If another nation did that to us, we'd immediately label they as renegade nation and now-a-days, terrorists ( the all-purpose bogeyman ).

            These agents never had moral qualms. Afterall, they were the good guys, so any means is well justified. But I wonder how Eliot Ness would feel visting the liquor stores of today, would he thought his effort was worth while?

            The only TV program of that era to challenge the validity of the spying appartus was: The Prisoner - still a landmark today.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Chode2235 (866375)
            You're just a cynical Gen-X Hipster. Your attitudes are typical of those in your generation.

            We Millenials (along with the boomers) are much more comfortable with and trusting of the 'Good Government'

            Your view is probably the better one to have, but the attitudes of Gen-X are mostly limited to them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by lawn.ninja (1125909)
          I find that I hit the same walls with family and friends about this issue as well. The problem is that nothing really bad has been done with the info yet. Historically it takes something really bad to wake an American from their Mc Donald's induced coma. Yes, I am American, but I am increasingly ashamed of the people living in my country that also refer to themselves as Americans. I truely believe that we are well on our way to a police state. It took about 4 years of planning and 2 of execution to for Hitl
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        it's entirely possible more people believe the government is more secretive--but they simply don't care.

        I'm not even sure "more secretive" has anything to do with domestic spying. It could be simply that most people don't much care that the government does secret things, but still don't want the government to spy on them.

        You could argue that the two go together, in that if the government wasn't secretive, they couldn't spy on us. But think about your neighbor -- you probably really don't care what they do

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by quantaman (517394)

        'Time claims that "nobody cares" about the Government's increased spying powers and that "polling consistently supports that conclusion." They don't cite a single poll because that assertion is blatantly false. Just this weekend, a new poll released by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University proves that exactly the opposite is true. That poll shows that the percentage of Americans who believe the Federal Government is "very secretive" has doubled in the last two years alone (to 44%)'"

        I have no idea what the truth is on this matter, but the fact that "nobody cares" is not refuted by "the percentage of Americans who believe the Federal Government is 'very secretive' has doubled... to 44%." Simply put, it's entirely possible more people believe the government is more secretive--but they simply don't care.

        It's not in any way shocking to learn that people are apathetic. If you ask them whether they want a secretive government, most people will say no. But if you use an objective metric it's very easy to conclude that those same people really don't care that strongly one way or the other.

        The summary chose a poor poll to quote, there were a number of better ones that actually back up Salon's argument

        "By a 76-19 percent margin, American voters say the government should continue monitoring phone calls or e-mail between suspected terrorists in other countries and people in the U.S., according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. But voters say 55-42 percent that the government should get court orders for this surveillance."

        and

        "Red states, where President George W. Bush's ma

      • Re:Retort (Score:5, Interesting)

        by The Angry Mick (632931) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @11:59AM (#22784068) Homepage

        It's not in any way shocking to learn that people are apathetic. If you ask them whether they want a secretive government, most people will say no. But if you use an objective metric it's very easy to conclude that those same people really don't care that strongly one way or the other.

        Nobody cares until its their business being snooped.

        So the lesson here is use an emotional metric. Ask them why they spent three hours on the phone with their mistress/lover discussing whether or not "this feels wrong", or, why they felt a need to buy a 50 count box of Preparation H at the Kroger on the corner of West and Spring the other day, or, why they felt a need to withdraw $1000 dollars from their checking account on a Friday night at around 11:53 P.M. and who was that woman standing next to them at the ATM on 5th and Pine?

        Ask these kinds of questions, explaining that all the information came from readily available sources, and I guarantee you'll see some outrage.

  • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:47AM (#22782006)
    Talk to most people about domestic spying or the abuses of the Patriot Act, and they say something like, "Well, if you're not doing something bad, who cares if the government is watching?"

    I think that's a completely shortsighted and borderline insane viewpoint, but it's the one I most frequently encounter with most Americans.
    • by taskiss (94652) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:15AM (#22782284)
      People go to great lengths to post everything conceivable about themselves on facebook or other sites these days. Pictures of folks breaking laws are as hard to find as porn. Occasionally you hear of attempts at prosecution for these self incriminatory, self published bits of evidence of illegal activity, but mostly you see under-age kids drinking and taking drugs and nothing is done.

      Nothing.

      So, you think it's "shortsighted and borderline insane" to believe no-one cares? There's no evidence that there should be a reason to care.
      • by plague3106 (71849) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:43AM (#22782526)
        Well, they won't care, until down the line it prevents them from getting a job. Or perhaps the government uses that information to disparage a future MLK before they even get a chance to get going. But of course the government never watched people like MLK, never probed into his life, and never, ever tried to undermine what he was doing. Because our government is good.
        • by StCredZero (169093) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @10:56AM (#22783282)
          Many Americans don't care about their government's interventionist policies, until the resentment turns into violence, and then their only response is more violence. Many Americans don't care that their public primary educational system is a joke among modern industrialized nations, until the ignorance gives rise to crime and violence, and then their only response is more violence. (More police, harsher sentences.)

          It would be easier if all of us were like that. But many of us do care. And many of us know that violence is not a good answer. Violence is only an answer like a tourniquet is a treatment -- it is a desperate measure and the situation is probably already a tragedy if you have to use it.
    • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:16AM (#22782300) Journal
      Talk to most people about domestic spying or the abuses of the Patriot Act, and they say something like, "Well, if you're not doing something bad, who cares if the government is watching?"

      Not in the bars I drink at!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sixtyeight (844265)
      Yes, there's a gem of an idea that's lodged itself firmly in the American mindset. But where did Americans learn such a distorted premise from originally? I'm sure it couldn't have been the media in its sycophantic and passive treatment of politics over the last several decades.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        But where did Americans learn such a distorted premise from originally?

        From their childhood.

        As children we are told, over and over, that there are "bad people" and "good people". Bad people do bad things, and good people do good things. If you're good you can't do bad things, and if you're bad you can't do good things. It's all very simple. It's also quite obviously completely wrong.

        The trouble is, secretly in their heads, a lot of people never, ever, get over this viewpoint. Ever.

        Criminals are bad. Terrori

        • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @11:08AM (#22783436) Journal
          Where it gets really dangerous is when you still divide people into "bad people" and "good people", even though you start to realize that good people can do bad things, and vice versa.

          At which point, you believe that you can be a "good person" even if you do bad things -- and thus, you should be exempt from all of the things done to "bad people". At which point, you're not above using bad tactics to keep yourself looking like a good person...

          And of course, good people are allowed to do bad things openly, if they do them to bad people.

          I would imagine that most politicians fall into this category, which is why it's so dangerous.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          We're not "civilized" or "advanced" in any sense of the word, as a race. We're just one step up (if that!) from the rest of the animals on this planet, and as a race my point is proven over and over every single day that passes. Come back to me in about another 1,000 to 10,000 years and try that "advanced" and "civilized" bit, perhaps someone will be able to make an argument to make it stick -- but not today.
        • by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @12:32PM (#22784462)

          The trouble is, secretly in their heads, a lot of people never, ever, get over this viewpoint. Ever.
          Which is exactly what the powers that be want. Everything in this country, from the public education system to our laws and even the authorities themselves, are largely designed to produce a nation of docile and servile followers who do what they are told, don't ask the wrong questions, and generally magnify (unwittingly) the power of the elites who are really in control of this nation. The children of the wealthy, the powerful, and the politically well connected, who are often one in all the same, receive an entirely different education from the rest of us, one designed to position them as the future leaders of the followers. The proper functioning of a democracy requires well educated, sophisticated, and advanced citizens who engage with their government as equals in the marketplace of ideas and this is at the heart of the problem with our democracy today. The level of the public discourse, at least among the masses, has eroded and declined substantially to the point where most of us, if put to it, would rather be alive with full stomachs and watching the latest season of American Idol than truly free...bread and circuses [wikipedia.org] friends, we have seen this before. People are basically saying, "I don't value my freedoms very much, or at least not enough to be made uncomfortable or be inconvenienced in their defense."
      • where from? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheMeuge (645043)
        You ask where Americans learn such a distorted premise of privacy?

        Let me make it easy for you: "24". Certainly, it's not the only place, but it's a good example. There, we learn that regardless of what we're told, everything is being watched and monitored, whether for our safety, or our oppression. But the cause does not matter. What matters is that we're repeatedly hammered with the concept that for better or worse, there is nothing we can do to prevent our government from abusing its power. In the media,
    • by eclectic4 (665330) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @10:06AM (#22782766)
      "Well, if you're not doing something bad, who cares if the government is watching?"

      Agreed, I hear that on occasion too. I simply remind them that freedom is nothing more than a state of mind. Yes, it's a dangerous state of mind in some places on this Earth, but it's nothing more than a state of mind nonetheless. Each bar that is put in place like domestic spying, arrest without due process, cameras EVERYwhere, cops pulling over people without probable cause, etc... builds the prison a little more, and forces me to feel less free, and that's the tragedy. This, coming from the country that's supposed to be spreading this sort of "freedom" around the world? Yikes...

      No, if you understand the power of freedom on the human will, things like this should make you cringe, even if you aren't doing anything "wrong".
    • by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @10:08AM (#22782778)
      "Well, if you're not doing something bad, who cares if the government is watching?"

      The problem that most humans have is they don't understand the difference between good and evil and legal and illegal.

      As the overly but not enough quoted Cardinal Richelieu stated "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged."

      This basically means, the everyday Joe goes about his business based on his set of morals and simply thinks "If its good or 'not evil' I won't be arrested for it".

      However, I'd wager if I followed the around all day with a video camera and then had a team of people watch it for the slightest infraction we'd find at least one or two things to fine them for or if we are lucky have them arrested. And when the person stands before the judge they will of course say "But I've always done this! My parents did this! How can this be wrong? I didn't even know it was illegal!" and then the judge will reply "Ignorance of the law is no excuse! Guilty!"

      So if you ever get into an argument with someone about this, ask them to write everything they did that day on a piece of paper including the most private details (including things as mundane how much toilet paper they used and how many times they flushed the toilet). Now they might get the point right then and there that thats no one elese's business, but if they do write everything down look for something that could get them arrested or at least fined such as speeding, copyright violation, or violating water laws (for those that live in drought areas in the south... hence why I mentioned the toilet) and even if they cursed under their breath at the driver of another car (death threat).

      There are so many things you could get arrested for that most people aren't aware that they are breaking the law on a daily basis and if there were 24/7 monitoring life would be unpleasant for them.

      From a personal prospective law and justice was always intended to punish those who took things to an extreme. When speeding laws were passed it was never intended to instantly fine everyone who went one mile per hour over the limit nor were it to arrested anyone who said something ill tempered at someone else. It was for those who always went to far (as in going 20 miles over the limit and those who wrote the letters and stalked other people).

      But the way that most laws were written was so that judges could make the call. Unfortunately, it didn't specifically say that people who weren't in the extremes were not to be punished. It was never considered that technology would allow all crimes to be caught instantly with the new obtrusive technologies.

      So pretty much it will get to the point where the government knows everyone is a criminal and will just selectively haul people away at any given moment regardless of justice and more for either personal or political reasons.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @11:13AM (#22783510)
      And that's the tricky part in it all. Who cares about spying if you don't do anything wrong?

      Who said what you do isn't wrong? Just because it is not wrong yet? You don't mind registering every weapon you have, because you're allowed to have it? Who says that you are? Your constitution? Yeah, it says "right to bear arms", but does it say what kind? Who said you may have automatic rifles? Who said you may have assault rifles? Who said you may have shotguns? Who said anything about any gun besides muzzle loaders? That's an "arm", you have the right to have that muzzle loader, now hand over everything else!

      I know you have one! It's registered!

      Would you mind registering your TV set? Why not, it ain't illegal to have one. While we're at it, register that sat receiver too. Hey, what's the big deal, it's legal to have one! Where does it say you have the right to receive foreign news? Freedom of speech? Sure, say what you want, who said anything about your right to listen to what you wanted? So report to our local office with your sat receiver to have it modified to comply with the new "clean airwaves" bill.

      I know you have one! It's registered!

      The problem with "having nothing to hide" is that laws can and do change. And currently, they don't change for the better, or for more liberty.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      My last response to that mindset? I live in Utah where 60% of the population are members of the LDS church. My example (this is from a couple months ago) was that say Huckabee went all the way and was elected. Since most evangelicals believe the LDS church is a cult (the profitable kind, not the murderous rampaging killing spree kind), it's not stretching too far to say:

      What if Huckabee needed his own scapegoat?
      What if he decided that the LDS church needed to be "watched"?

      Suddenly a little over a milli

  • Statistics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BaphometLaVey (1063264) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:47AM (#22782010)
    I'm not sure how I like how the summary contrasts "Do you like domestic spying?" with "Do you think federal government is very secretive?". You can clearly think the government is very secretive and still not care about the spying. That isn't to say that people do or do not care, I just don't like the summary's cheap attempt at swaying people.
    • by Bob9113 (14996)
      I'm not sure how I like how the summary contrasts "Do you like domestic spying?" with "Do you think federal government is very secretive?". You can clearly think the government is very secretive and still not care about the spying. That isn't to say that people do or do not care, I just don't like the summary's cheap attempt at swaying people.

      Completely agreed. The summary is crap. However, if you RTFA, the conclusion is very well supported.
    • by qoncept (599709) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:10AM (#22782226) Homepage
      I thought the summary did a pretty good job of trying not to sway anyone. You know -- when summary said the article didn't cite a relevent poll, and then the summary itself didn't cite a relevent poll.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by barocco (1168573)

        Dear Citizen,

        You have recently misspelt a common word in your exchange with other citizens. Please note that the adjective meaning "having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand" is spelt as "relevant", not "relevent".

        Please do not reply as this is an automated message. If you would wish to unsubscribe from this free service, you may appeal here [mailto].

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    • Yeah, I think it's called "grasping at straws". Time magazine doesn't have any straws but I think it's fair to say the pollsters haven't bothered asking the question, which itself is a sort of survey that is indicative of a general lack of interest (at least amoungst pollsters).

      Of course, a servey of American slashdotters would show a different picture.
  • "Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it." -- (Don't remember who said it).

    It's called propaganda, folks. "Tell a lie long and enough and loud enough and sooner or later people will believe you." -- P.T. Barnum, I think.

  • by rahmrh (939610) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:50AM (#22782046)
    If you want a certain answer on a poll, if you ask the question in the correct way, you can usually get the answer that you want. Like: Does it bother you that the US govt increased domestic spying to keep you safe from the terrorists? Rather than: Does it bother you that the US govt increased domestic spying is keeping track of everything that you do? The first one will get a more positive answer against domestic spying than the second one, and I would bet the polls questions being used are heavily loaded to get the answer the poll taker wants.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by presarioD (771260)
      exactly the point, it took sometime for people to become skeptical about their governments, now we are crossing the other mark where people become skeptical about their "news outlets" and what overlords they serve. Before you know it people who admit their source of information comes from the traditional media, something that will immediately show up anyway in their regurgitation of the official propaganda line (eg. talk to an american about the israeli/palestinian issue and then talk to a european, notice
  • As a coworker of mine says whenever the subject comes up, "That's what I pay my taxes for. I want them to be doing this." I feel like slapping him silly when he says that. What's worse is that he truly believes it.
    • by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:13AM (#22782256) Homepage Journal
      "That's what I pay my taxes for. I want them to be doing this."


      Not that it will make one difference to someone who thinks like that, the next time this comes up, ask them if they agreed with the former Soviet Union spying on its citizens, listening in on phone conversations and having a network of spies to find out who might have subversive ideas.

      If they say no, ask them why it's not ok for them to do it but it's ok for the U.S. to do it. Sit back and watch them stammer as they try to find an excuse to justify their position.

      Huh, what do you know. I didn't Godwin the conversation.

      • That's the thing. He actually is a fairly intelligent guy who just happens to have this overly patriotic streak running through him. I've asked about the Soviet Union doing it to their citizens, and he responds with something like "Well, that was different. Here we're only going after the bad guys." He doesn't think that "his" government could do something that wrong.
      • by Comboman (895500) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:50AM (#22782592)
        Huh, what do you know. I didn't Godwin the conversation.

        We need a new law that replaces Nazi analogies with Soviet analogies. "Godwin's Law 2: This time it's Commies"

    • by MoonFog (586818)
      Then sit down and explain it to him in simple words he'll understand. I've met people with such a naïve outlook, and the best thing in my opinion is to try and educate them. If we, who are passionate about this, don't, then noone else will.
  • heh. (Score:3, Funny)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:53AM (#22782072)
    they might of got a different answer if they had surveyed /. readers.

    thanks heavens I live in the UK where government spying on the populace is strictly for... oh wait.
  • Americans DO care (Score:5, Informative)

    by BirdDoggy (886894) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:54AM (#22782078)
    I've posted this before, but here's a survey that shows Americans are against Warrantless Wiretaps, Blanket Warrants, And Immunity For
    Telecom Companies.

    http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/safefree/mellmansurvey_jan2008.pdf [aclu.org] [aclu.org]
  • Better question: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sixtyeight (844265)
    Why the hell are our news sources giving us anything other than news? Uneducated man on the street opinions (I already know my opinion thanks, and don't trust your statistics on everyone else's), corporate advertising for new products billed as a science and technology item, known political chicanery and fraudulent press statements passed on without any actual scrutiny or independant research, and then a fluff piece to take our minds off it all. Oh how nice, you left some money for me on the bed, and now
    • They make more money that way. There are some journalistic ethics left, for whatever good they do, but those with them don't run the news.

  • by khakipuce (625944) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @08:57AM (#22782104) Homepage Journal
    The problem with polls is that it is all about the way the questions are phrased: e.g. a survey on Captial Punishment may ask:
      "Do you agree that it is OK to mistakenly execute an innocent person?"
    alternatively they could ask:
      "Should serial killers remain a burden on the tax payer for the entirity of their natural lives?"

    People also habitually exagerate and lie when responding to surveys, and I know professional pollsters should be able to weed this out but they have often failed. A survey on food habits asked people to keep a record of all ingredients used over a period of many weeks. To make the lives of the participants easier, if a ready prepared meal was eaten then they could just keep the packaging. The survey found that the consumption of ready meals was much higher than any one ever thought...
    • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:25AM (#22782372) Journal
      Only blatantly dishonest ones.

      "Do you agree that it is OK to mistakenly execute an innocent person?"
      alternatively they could ask:
          "Should serial killers remain a burden on the tax payer for the entirity of their natural lives?"


      Both are blatantly dishonest questions. That's why you need to see the raw data to make a determination of whether it's a legitimate scientific poll that seeks to desciver, or whether it's a PR sham. The honest way of asking the question would be "do you believe murderers should be executed?"

      A good poll asks the same question in different ways, and the researcher studying the results can get a far better picture. All three versions would be asked, plus one or two more, and a lot of other questions that may or may not even have anything at all to do with what you're studying.
      • by ibwolf (126465) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @10:39AM (#22783070)

        The honest way of asking the question would be "do you believe murderers should be executed?"
        No the honest way of asking that question is "do you believe that people convicted of murder should be executed?"

        I don't have a problem with executing murderers. I do not, however, have sufficient faith in the legal system to automatically equate conviction with guilt. Until even unreasonable doubt is removed you should err on the side of caution.
    • by Insipid Trunculance (526362) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:48AM (#22782574) Homepage
      With apologies for the blatant plagiarism

      Sir Humphrey: "You know what happens: nice young lady comes up to you. Obviously you want to create a good impression, you don't want to look a fool, do you? So she starts asking you some questions: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "Are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "Do you think there is a lack of discipline in our Comprehensive schools?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "Do you think young people welcome some authority and leadership in their lives?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "Do you think they respond to a challenge?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "Would you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Oh...well, I suppose I might be."

      Sir Humphrey: "Yes or no?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "Of course you would, Bernard. After all you told you can't say no to that. So they don't mention the first five questions and they publish the last one."

      Bernard Woolley: "Is that really what they do?"

      Sir Humphrey: "Well, not the reputable ones no, but there aren't many of those. So alternatively the young lady can get the opposite result."

      Bernard Woolley: "How?"

      Sir Humphrey: "Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "Are you worried about the growth of armaments?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "Do you think there is a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "Do you think it is wrong to force people to take up arms against their will?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "Would you oppose the reintroduction of National Service?"

      Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

      Sir Humphrey: "There you are, you see Bernard. The perfect balanced sample."

  • by DigitalisAkujin (846133) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:00AM (#22782142) Homepage
    It doesn't matter whether or not "most" people care or don't care.

    The issue is that there isn't an overwhelming backlash from this expansion of surveillance power.

    The sad part is that America is losing it's democracy without realizing it.

    When FDR tried to pack the supreme court the United States Congress saw it for what it really was; the undermining of the checks and balances instituted to prevent abuse of power.

    Today, I think, with great sadness if the same thing happened it would hardly be so adamantly opposed. Whichever party the President belongs to would simply support it to further their agenda.

  • There hasn't been any indications that information gained by illegal surveillance has been used in an attempt to prosecute someone. Without that, any claim of illegal surveillance fails to incite anyone. As a matter of fact, using illegally obtained evidence is specifically prohibited from being used, so our rights are preserved.

    Just because a tree COULD fall in the woods doesn't mean folks should go around holding their hands over their ears to prevent themselves from hearing it.

    Can you hear me now?
    • Lots. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fantastic Lad (198284)
      There hasn't been any indications that information gained by illegal surveillance has been used in an attempt to prosecute someone.

      What about the course of U.S. government since its inception?

      The whole point of blackmail is that it exists in the shadows. The stage production of justice is a silly thing to point at when trying to downplay the impact of domestic spying, because the whole point of that kind of leverage is that both the abuser and the victim fight in their own ways to keep it out of the justic

  • Wag the Dog (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drneal (1258196) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:11AM (#22782234)
    Is it that Americans don't care about privacy, or that the mass media is intentionally keeping the issue out of the limelight?


    When the first vote came up to congress on 13-Feb-2008, the only thing covered on every news channel was the baseball steroids scandal. There was no mention of the congressional debate or vote.
    http://www.hackerfactor.com/blog/index.php?/archives/151-Wag-The-Dog.html [hackerfactor.com]

    When the revised bill came up to congress on 14-March-2008, it was not covered by the mass media. Instead, they repeatedly covered a "captured Al Qaeda leader"... who isn't a leader, wasn't captured recently, and isn't even missed by Al Qaeda.
    http://www.hackerfactor.com/blog/index.php?/archives/164-No-Respect.html [hackerfactor.com]

    If more people knew about the domestic spying bill, more people would be mad. And if more people knew about the government's manipulation of the mass media, more people would be furious.

  • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:11AM (#22782236)
    I find Massimo Calabresi's article to be odious in the extreme. Suppose that his assertion was true, that nobody cared, would it then be okay for illegal domestic spying to occur? That seems to be his unwritten position, and I find that to be disgusting logic. There are numerous examples throughout history of the dangers posed by unregulated spying, some of them (like those uncovered by the Church Commission) right here at home.

    I mostly liked Greenwald's response, but he does seem to tilt slightly by Calabresi's points. I think that will make it difficult for his article to be persuasive to those not already persuaded. However, he does link this excellent piece in the LA Times:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-op-sanchez16mar16,0,4039194.story [latimes.com]

    That might be more approachable to most.

    I'd also like to add a bit of insight from Molly Ivins, paraphrased. She said that moderates sometimes fret that when they give the government increased spying powers that they'll end up spying on the girl scouts. But this is wrong: they don't end up spying on the girl scouts, they don't end up making a mistake, they ALREADY ARE. Gotta keep tabs on those nonviolent Quakers, etc. It's not "what if" the government abuses its authority, it's by how much.
  • WTF am I thinking! This is /.

    He basically says that Time lied . Yep. So, in other words most Americans care about the Bush administration's illegal wiretaps and Time is making up data to support an opposite conclusion.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:18AM (#22782316) Homepage
    I wonder how many Americans actually know that the CIA has absolutely no legal jurisdiction to spy on the American people. In order for it to spy on the American people, it has to break a whole host of laws.

    The FBI, one of the most thuggish law enforcement agencies in the United States, however, has quite a lot of ability to spy on you.

    The truth is, the people likely to be spying on you, are the people who should scare you because they are law enforcement, not spooks.

    I love the shock on others' faces when they say "I have nothing to hide," and I respond, there is no innocence in the sight of an evil man with power. This is especially amusing when I point it out to other Christians, generally who support Bush and "strong-on-this-or-that" policies. There is nothing worse than an evil man with unchecked power because when his attention turns to you, he will, by nature, try to turn every good you have done into an evil thing in order to enjoy his power.
  • I agree with the TIME editor on this one. And by saying that Americans don't give a squat about it, he obviously talks about Americans in general, not that the entire population holds this stance.

    As for the poll that was mentioned in the Slashdot summary that claims the direct opposite:

    [..]shows that the percentage of Americans who believe the Federal Government is "very secretive" has doubled in the last two years alone (to 44%)

    How is this direct proof of the opposite? And how can we know that the poll was conducted in an unbiased manner?

    There is little evidence that [the average] American cares about these issues. We rarely see any protests

  • by Rooked_One (591287) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:25AM (#22782368) Journal
    they do the president. The media, which at one point was probably controlled by liberals has now shifted into some sort of... monster. Republicans don't control it - Murdoch does... that guy is probably one of the many possible anti-christs but I digress :P

    For the most part, the millenials (those born after 1980) don't care much about politics, and those who do mainly have skewed, false information.

    Did anyone see the california train derailment that happened in cali? I would have never known about it if my brother, who ordered something from newegg tracked his shipping details and it said "train derailment" and called and told me.

    The millenials don't care about things unless it jumps up and smacks them in the face. Its sad, really.
    • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @10:29AM (#22782966)
      Actually the Millenials (weird name, btw) are often better-informed than we think. Watching The Daily Show and the Colbert Report exclusively gives you a better knowledge of what is actually happening than does CNN and Fox News.

      The downside is that the Millenials don't really care. They're more amused than outraged. They think you can't change it, because the system is too far gone, too corrupt, whatever.

      Also, it's not "cool" to be all that involved. It's okay to have an opinion that so-and-so is an idiot, but to get really pissed off, go to rallies, and be a real-life activist loses the cool-points you garnered as a laid-back, amusingly cynical do-nothing.

      It's hard to be a concerned American right now. We're realizing that American's don't actually have an innate moral sense. The indifference to wiretapping is the least alarming of the current apathies. Wasn't torture wrong, just last week or so? What happened to that?

      Now there are entire movie franchises (Saw, Hostel) where our best and brightest go to watch torture FOR AMUSEMENT. For you Jack Bauer fans (torturer par excellance) there is even a guide to Christian living written in the context of that show--Jack Baeur is Having a Bad Day, or something like that.

      I have to explain to my kids why I won't rent them these movies, and how they have influenced military members serving at Abu Ghraib, etc. I miss the days when the "moral issue" consisted of explaining to your daughter why she shouldn't show her boobs to the world. Now our culture is to the point where we have to "have a dialog" about torture. Thank you, John Yoo.

  • Editor Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by malsdavis (542216) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:28AM (#22782398)
    Talk about a biased summary:

    They don't cite a single poll because that assertion is blatantly false


    Can't we be left to make up our own minds on the validity of their assertion. This isn't Fox News is it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by squiggleslash (241428)

      You are being left to make up your own mind on the validity of the assertion. The statement - that the assertion is blatantly false - is a matter of fact, and it is correct journalism to report facts, especially if the story is that someone is lying.

      There is no brainwashing going on. Slashdot is not inserting thoughts into your head via telepathy or any other suitable technology. You are being presented with facts about Time being, yet again, a bunch of spineless liars who mindlessly repeat Beltway talki

  • I always assume that all international phone calls are tapped, if not by the U.S. Government, then by foreign governments such as the Chinese, the French and the Israel. This used to be the way the U.S government did it all the time, get some foreign government to do the tap then pass on the info, thus avoiding any pesky laws passed by Congress.

    I guess that got to be too inconvenient, hence the recent controversies.

    Foreign governments are going to spy regardless of any possible law or supreme court decisi

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:33AM (#22782446) Homepage
    First, RTFA. The summary picks the least useful poll in the entire article as its example of the otherwise very strong support the article gives for the author's position.

    Reading the popular media, you might get the impression that the people don't care that our government is at war with our country. But then, that may just be the media pushing its preference for a stable tapestry on which to paint transient images of sex scandals. Those people who supposedly don't care have also been giving tens of millions of dollars a month, in individual amounts betraying the fact that they are not members of the ruling class and in numbers demonstrating an extraordinarily broad base, to one presidential candidate who does not represent business as usual.

    If you look to establishment journalism for serious critique of the establishment, should you really be surprised if what you find is not truth, but spurious defense?
  • Those that give up Liberty to have temporary
    Security deserve Neither - Benjamin Franklin.
  • seems obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by youngdev (1238812) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:45AM (#22782540)
    but I may as well point this out. I think the reasons Most Americans don't care is because they understand the program beyond what it is being called.
    1) The media likes to call it "Domestic Spying" but the truth is that the authority only covers calls where one party is outside the US. In that case, calling it a "Domestic Spy Program" is deceptive.
    2) Americans understand (even if the eggheads in the media do not) that the US is at war. And during war time the US policy needs to be nimble enough to combat a faceless enemy. In a world where terrorist cells operate almost completely autonomous, you can't say "Well we can't listen to this conversation because we don't have a warrant. We'll get a warrant for the next one." There may not be a next one. Buildings could just start dropping from the sky.
    3) As far as abuses of the patriot act go, you really need to look at this in a historical context. In WW2, Roosevelt interned 120K Japanese-Americans out of fear that they might try to sabotage US efforts against Japan. In June 1942, 8 German saboteurs were caught trying to enter the US to sabotage the US efforts against Germany. By July 8th, All eight were sentenced to death by a military tribunal. By August they all smelled a little too much like burnt toast. Lincoln is famous for his rape of the constitution. After the civil war, 2nd amendment rights in the south were abbreviated, Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus, etc.

    So you see, this is the nature of war. I will be more concerned about these programs if they exist long after American boots have left the middle east. In the meantime, I want my uncle and brother to be as safe as possible over there.
    • Re:seems obvious (Score:4, Insightful)

      by shiftless (410350) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @03:10PM (#22786532) Homepage
      How is this interesting? Just the same tired, flawed arguments being repeated ad nauseam.

      "The media likes to call it "Domestic Spying" but the truth is that the authority only covers calls where one party is outside the US. In that case, calling it a "Domestic Spy Program" is deceptive."

      How is it deceptive? There are large numbers of US citizens who place calls outside the US on a regular basis. I just called a business in Canada this morning, and thus placed myself at the risk of being spied upon.

      "Americans understand (even if the eggheads in the media do not) that the US is at war. And during war time the US policy needs to be nimble enough to combat a faceless enemy. In a world where terrorist cells operate almost completely autonomous, you can't say "Well we can't listen to this conversation because we don't have a warrant. We'll get a warrant for the next one." There may not be a next one." ...... and that's why FISA allows government agencies to get a warrant AFTER a line has already been tapped, and HAS allowed that since long before 2001. If the government agencies can't justify their actions, then FUCK NO they should not be tapping phone calls. The police don't (or shouldn't) arrest people "just in case" they're criminals, so why should government agencies spy on citizens "just in case" they're terrorists?

      "As far as abuses of the patriot act go, you really need to look at this in a historical context. In WW2, Roosevelt interned 120K Japanese-Americans out of fear that they might try to sabotage US efforts against Japan. In June 1942, 8 German saboteurs were caught trying to enter the US to sabotage the US efforts against Germany. By July 8th, All eight were sentenced to death by a military tribunal. By August they all smelled a little too much like burnt toast. Lincoln is famous for his rape of the constitution. After the civil war, 2nd amendment rights in the south were abbreviated, Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus, etc."

      "Well all those OTHER people were speeding, Officer, so why are you writing ME a ticket?"

      "So you see, this is the nature of war. I will be more concerned about these programs if they exist long after American boots have left the middle east. In the meantime, I want my uncle and brother to be as safe as possible over there."

      How is turning the US into a police state going to keep your uncle and brother safe on the other side of the world?

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:54AM (#22782626)
    "Hi! I'm a Mac." "And I'm a PC."


    You've all heard that one. --A very pure example of one of the most insidious and powerful advertising techniques in the biz. It's not about this feature over that feature. It's not even about the perception that one is cool and the other not. Nope.

    The true intent of such advertising is never stated or obvious. What is the true intent?

    To program people with regard to how they identify themselves to themselves. It's not, "Hi! I USE a Mac." --Which is powerful enough, especially when the human brain is lulled into low revs on the EEG meter as a direct result of gazing at a flickering CRT, Television viewing instantly puts every person into a clinically measurable hypnotic state where suggestion becomes defacto reality to the personality. Even when you know intellectually that owning a PC is no different than owning a can opener, that part of your brain is short circuited and a deeper part of your personality is affected, no matter how strong your personal resolve, by the emotional knowledge that you are not young and hip in whatever way is being provided as the benchmark. (In this case, by a Mac user who uses faux love and respect to deliver demoralizing comments and knife jabs. The latest in a long stream of sick tactics in the game of social power.)

    What has this got to do with Time Magazine?

    The article in question doesn't report so much as it instructs.

    It tells us the abuse and it tells us that we do not care. Humans are social creatures; on an instinctive level we need to belong to the group, and so we will generally adopt whatever behavior is prevailing just to remain in the tribe, to stay part or the pack. Time Magazine is perhaps the top selling magazine in the U.S. Everybody knows this on some level; if Time speaks, it does so as an important voice of our tribe. So when it tells us what we think, on a deep level, we listen and for those who don't actively learn how this kind of programming works, we very often obey.

    Abuser to the victim: "I'm going to rape you until you rupture, and you're not going to complain. You're even going to defend me against potential rescuers."

    Stockholm Syndrom; When separated from the rest of the world for even a short time, fear and the instinctive desire to survive, causes people to automatically try to learn the rules of the tribe, (in this case the culture of hostages and power keepers), and fit in so that they are not rejected by the tribe leaders. (i.e., shot in the head.) So when the rescuers did arrive, they were actively fought by the hostages themselves. Stupid, but that's the human machine, and advertisers and media conglomerates know this fact well.

    If Time Magazine wanted to serve humanity, it would not tell us what we think with endless polls and such. It would tell us what is happening in the world and would remain unbiased at all times. You know. Responsible journalism. Instead we get the popular kid telling us what all the cool people think.


    -FL

  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:54AM (#22782636)
    The issue here is that both the article and it's criticism start with an incorrect premise. That is that the TSA is actually "Domestic Spying".

    For the original article, the reason people don't mind "Domestic surveillance" is because they see right through the slanted polls.

    If I may geek-out for a moment, it's rather like the episode of Star Trek TNG where Data thought a small repair robot had developed sentience. Nobody believed him and they tested the robot by setting up a situation where if the robot didn't flee the area, it would be destroyed. Of course, the test was a fake-out. When the robot didn't flee when it ostensibly should have to save it's own life, everybody concluded that it wasn't sentient. What Data discovered was that the robot SAW RIGHT THROUGH the test, realized it was a fake-out, and kept working.

    When you ask most people about the "Domestic Spying Program" most people know you are talking about the Terrorist Surveillance Act. Since they disagree with the premise that it is "domestic spying", they answer that they have no problems with it. Thus you get an article like the Time's article.

    However, if you ask a more nebulous question such as "Should the Government be spying on it's own citizens?" You will inevitably get an opposite result. OF COURSE people don't want to be spied upon by their government. However, they DO NOT agree with the false premise that the TSA is "Domestic spying".

    I'm not going to get into the reasons why the premise is wrong, I've no patience for the Bush Derangement Syndrome of the tinfoil hat wearers that comprise part of the Slashdot community. I just thought I'd take a moment to clarify the apparent dichotomy of the results here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)
      This is the same American people who still think that we found WMD in Iraq? Or that Sadaam orchestrated the 9/11 attacks?

      It's not that the American people are stupid, as peoples go. It's that we're as vulnerable to fuzzy thinking and misinformation as anybody else.

      The problem isn't that there is proof that the Executive branch has been spying on Americans -- at least if we're not counting the by now well documented fact of FBI use of national security letters; or the fact that NSA domestic surveillance
  • by mi (197448) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:55AM (#22782652) Homepage

    Just this weekend, a new poll released by Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University proves that exactly the opposite is true.

    Uhm, exactly the opposite would be: "Americans do care about domestic spying". Is that what the supposed counter-argument asserts? No, it is not:

    That poll shows that the percentage of Americans who believe the Federal Government is "very secretive" has doubled in the last two years alone (to to 44%)

    Believing, that the government is secretive, does not equate to being bothered by it — plenty of people think, the government should be more secretive in its fight against our enemies (whether they are right is besides the point).

    And 44% — 22% a year ago? — is still less than a half...

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @10:21AM (#22782918) Homepage Journal
    TimeWarner owns _Time_ magazine and one of the biggest broadband networks, that carries millions of Americans' Internet, TV and also telephone. Of course its political propaganda magazine is going to lie about those Americans not caring that TimeWarner is spying on them without legal entitlement.

    All this handwaving by Bush, his Republican Congressional minority (that was the majority that successfully hid these crimes for years of their joint reign), and the media corporations that all colluded to criminally spy on us are just more proof that they're guilty of those massive crimes. They're not covered by the existing laws that would have given them immunity from liability, if only they had even the slightest respect for the law. Instead they just did whatever they wanted, for the money and power it brings. And they plan to invade privacy as a top priority [slashdot.org] , which they've planned for quite a while [slashdot.org].

    Of course the corporations spying on you will lie to you about whether you care that they're spying on you. It's up to you: if you don't care that they're also lying to you about it to protect their own ass (and their ongoing, expanding criminal enterprise), then it's your fault, too.
  • by theendlessnow (516149) * on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @11:56AM (#22784022)
    It's an interesting premise to consider that going back to the past (the days of "freedom") might end up with another 911 terrorist attack.

    One might argue that since the terrorists (presumably under the "freedom" days) are already among us, that there's no good way of identifying them in order to stop their activities.

    We live in a world where many people do not know their neighbors, nor do they even have the desire to know their neighbors. We have taught our children now from youth that all strangers are DANGER. Is it any wonder that terrorist groups can operate effectively without fear of discovery? In addition to "stranger danger", we've also adopted things like "don't ask, don't tell" and "mind your own business" to the point of where neighborhoods are no longer controlled by the populace (we no longer even desire to "tar and feather" and "have em' ride the rail" out of town.. not that I'm advocating mass witch hunting either). Now we fully expect our own gov't or police to be the sole entity in determining who is "ok" and who is "not". And when those gov't/policing entities fail us, we sue them.

    And we WONDER why we don't have the freedoms we used to? We don't have those freedoms because we have acted irresponsibly with regards to our duties as citizens to train our children to do what is right and honorable. Instead we set up examples of lewd living, cheating, piracy and CLAIM that we want "privacy" mainly to protect the deeds we have done that aren't "right" or "honorable". Sigh...

    To make matters worse, to combine irresponsible living with no policing just continues moral degradation and chaos.

    Want to go back to a "freer" time? Time to teach again what is right and wrong and THEN live it out! Not with justice... for no one would survive but with grace and mercy so that everyone can understand that the desire is for everyone to work together to do what is right. For those that are unteachable and have caused much harm to society.... time for them to "hit the rails!"

    Anyone who believes that the "fix" is to stop the current policies needs to understand that building back responsible human behavior is NOT an easy or quick task. Policing must continue until the populace takes back ownership and their own responsibility for policing themselves.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde

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