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Majority of Americans Say NSA Phone Tracking Is OK To Fight Terrorism 584

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the don't-want-to-get-onto-a-list dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While the tech media has gone wild the past few days with the reports of the NSA tracking Verizon cell usage and creating the PRISM system to peer into our online lives, a new study by Pew Research suggests that most U.S. citizens think it's okay. 62 percent of Americans say losing some personal privacy is acceptable as long as its used to fight terrorism, and 56 percent are okay with the NSA tracking phone calls. Online tracking is fair less popular however, with only 45 percent approving of the practice. The data also shows that the youth are far more opposed to curtailing privacy to fight terror, which could mean trouble for politicians planning to continue these programs in the coming years."
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Majority of Americans Say NSA Phone Tracking Is OK To Fight Terrorism

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  • by liamevo (1358257) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:05AM (#43971429)

    That the majority of the public are short term thinking morons?
    It doesn't matter whether or not all that has been claimed of PRISM is true, they are happy to give up privacy and freedoms if it "helps fight terrorism"

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:11AM (#43971471)

    The majority of Americans (1) don't understand the extent of the surveillance, and (2) don't understand why privacy is so important.

    I totally believe this poll.

    This article says that 70% of Americans don't know what the constitution is: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368482/How-ignorant-Americans-An-alarming-number-U-S-citizens-dont-know-basic-facts-country.html [dailymail.co.uk]

  • by Coeurderoy (717228) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:15AM (#43971509)

    Most people are weak and prefer not to think about "bad things", and prefer security with freedom, they would not know what to do with it if they would have some...

    This said it would be interesting to ask the same questions in the following way:

    Assuming that of the two leading parties the one you like least has the majority in senat and house of representative, and presidential powers.

    Would you agree to warrent-less investigations of phones calls, emails, instant messages, social network posting, microblogging posting, private forum messages in order to fight terrorism is:
    - a good thing
    - necessary
    - undecided
    - useless
    - bad for the society
    - where is my second amendment demonstrator !

  • by eriklou (1027240) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:17AM (#43971525)

    1,004 people responding to the poll DOES NOT EQUAL A MAJORITY!

  • by abalacha (56157) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:17AM (#43971527) Journal

    Opinion poll can be easily be 'lead' into a specific conclusion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA

  • by nucrash (549705) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:17AM (#43971529)
    That pretty much sums up my opinion on the matter. Here we are bending over to the government action to "protect us." But then when the police and other government agencies get access to these technologies, what is to stop them? I think the best quote about this was the following:
    1960
    Government Agent 1, "Let's get everyone to wear a radio transceiver so that we can track their every move."
    Government Agent 2, "That will never work. People would never agree to such a thing"

    2010 Customer, "Can I get my second iPhone please?"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:18AM (#43971535)

    That the majority of the public are short term thinking morons?

    50% of the country is happy to give up privacy and freedom if it hurts the other party. That the 50% who were against it when Bush was doing it are suddenly for it now, and the 50% that were all for it when Bush was doing it but are suddenly against it now just shows how nearsighted the whole lot are.

  • I was shocked... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by belgo (72693) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:19AM (#43971545) Homepage

    ... the first time someone commented re: PRISM and other NSA directives, along the lines of, "Whatever, as long as it prevents another 9/11!" Now that it's been a few more days, I'm starting to break the habit of facepalming. We as a nation are affirming our commitment to the implementation of a police state, in the name of preventing something that was already about as statistically impossible as getting hit by lightning while claiming your Powerball jackpot.

    Inasmuch as this is the will of the majority and of the representatives in our Republic, you can bet I'll be claiming my winnings from within the safe confines of an OSHA-approved rubber suit.

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:19AM (#43971551) Homepage
    The question is also flawed because we don't know if this really "helps fight terrorism". Do they need to tap everyone's phones and internet? Or could they do just as well targeting a few specific people who might actually be involved in terrorism? Does this kind of activity actually create more terrorism by giving people, both the stereotypical Muslim enemy they want us to believe they are guarding us against, and the homegrown terrorist such as people like McVeigh who feel a need to lash out against the government/wall street/mega corporations. The question makes the assumption that this kind of surveillance makes catching terrorists before they commit their acts, and also assumes that terrorism is actually a big problem, where most likely neither of the two are correct.
  • by fredrated (639554) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:20AM (#43971553) Journal

    Fer christ sake, more people die from nose hair complications than terrorism, what have we come to?

  • by Aqualung812 (959532) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:20AM (#43971559)

    Most people fear things that are very unlikely to happen:
    -Death from terrorism
    -Death from oppressive government

    We rant and shout with each other over which one is the bigger threat.

    Meanwhile, most of us die from lack of proper personal health (diet, exercise, etc) or automobile wrecks, all of which are 100% within our ability to control.

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:21AM (#43971567)

    Just calling to see how that new-fangled "liberty" thing is working out for you?

    Oh, you don't give a shit anymore?

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:24AM (#43971607) Journal

    I believe the poll results, but only for one reason. Because the responses were framed in the context of "to fight terrorism." Most mindless sheep would say that it is ok to sacrifice anything, to prevent terrorism.

    That's not the problem. The problem is what the government can/will do with the information when the political climate is favorable to the party in charge. Say for example, pull every phone call and e-mail from a political opponent to conduct opposition research. Or find out who has a gun in their house, and enact nationwide confiscation. Or scan their e-mails for keywords to indicate someone's political beliefs, and investigating or auditing those people because they disagree with the political party in charge.

    That is the danger. Not terrorism from outside, from terrorism conducted by our own government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:26AM (#43971633)

    1004 people gives an error in determining the percentage response for the larger pool of "everyone in the USA" of 3.2%. Therefore a gap of more than 9.6% is statistically significant and reliable to indicate that there IS a gap and the majority accept tracking.

    You would need to show that the sampling was biased toward those liable to accept or the wording was partisan and leading if you wish to call this study bullshit.

  • I call BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phoenix666 (184391) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:28AM (#43971657)

    The government has been running a full-court press on the media and everyone else to get them to shut up and get in line. Yesterday there was a poll saying the exact opposite, like 59% saying the opposite across the partisan divide, and now magically it's the other way. I've been monitoring the blogs Left & Right and even Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are tamping down since calling it a "coup d'etat" last week.

    The government is scared at how nonpartisan the outrage has been. The Whitehouse and Congress are complicit in this all-out assault on the Constitution and the American Republic. They know that if they can cow the American people into swallowing this that they will then have carte blanche. But whether the people do swallow this or not, things go rapidly downhill from here.

    And note, which party is in office is totally irrelevant here. The Republicans and Democrats have both been in on it.

    I hug my family very close these days, because it's about to get very ugly and we all could lose everything.

  • by MitchDev (2526834) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:28AM (#43971661)

    Seeing as you deserve to be modded down as a moron, I'm glad you aren't surprised.

    The government stopped being about the will of the people as soon as corporations were allowed to buy laws...

  • by Tom (822) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:30AM (#43971669) Homepage Journal

    It's official then, it's not the land of the free anymore. Because if you don't want your freedom, you don't deserve it.

    Oppressed people at least know that things should be different. They might lack the resources or resolve to fight the system right here and now, but they know things aren't right and just might stand up any moment.

    The US, on the other hand - and to be honest, lots of the west - has become the worst kind of oppressive system, worse than 1984. The kind where the oppressed believe the lies they are told. Russians knew that Prawda wasn't telling them the truth. Way too many americans believe Fox does.

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zwei2stein (782480) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:32AM (#43971687) Homepage

    "I have nothing to hide" needs to die. And goverment actions are exactly the reason:

    Did judes have anything to hide from goverment before Nazis came to power?

    Nope. Yet they suffered greatly because of goverment knowledge of their ethnicity.

    Was being communist or friend of one crime in US before red scare?

    Nope. But then red scare came and whowledge of who is fiend with who destroyed careers and lives.

    Was Alan Turing doing anything wrong?

    Nope. But he was still brutalized and died as a result after nature of his sexuality was revealed.

    Was ownership of land of factories crime?

    Nope. But then commies came to power on many countries and people were shited to prisons, prison colonies or executed outright.

    In history, many people thought that their religion, political orientiation, sexual orientation, friendships and relationships, ownerships or opinions. ... that none of it would ever be issue because they are not doing anything wrong or illegal or even mean.

    And they were wrong. And died because of it.

    Laws change. Society changes. Rules change. People in power change. Things can be taken out of context, or put into another.

    You might be completelly fine one day, and monster another.

    And if list of "monsters" can be gotten as easily as simple database querry, it is best not to be part of it. And to not have any such database.

  • by MalachiK (1944624) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:35AM (#43971699)

    The article that you link to in the Daily Mail panders to a peculiar kind of 'stupid american' stereotype that we Brits cling to when we want to feel better about the end of empire and the decline of our military and industrial might. You could replace the questions with ones of similar obscurity from British history and get a similar set of responses from a random selection of British folk. Try going out onto any street in the UK and asking the yokels about the 1689 Bill of Rights. Or get them to point to the location of the Battle of Trafalgar / Waterloo / Balaclava on a map.

    The average guy on the street is just as ignorant everywhere in the world.

  • Congratulations! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by no-body (127863) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:35AM (#43971701)
    Mission accomplished - brainwashing succeded.
  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:37AM (#43971717)

    Well, did it?

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:40AM (#43971751)

    The question is also flawed because we don't know if this really "helps fight terrorism".

    And we're not going to find out, because the program is classified. It could be wildly successful and thwarting a dozen bomb plots a day. It could be a total failure, resulting in dozens of arrests of innocent people a day.

    The thing that baffles me is not that people are willing to give up freedom if it "helps fight terrorism," it's that they believe what the government does in the name of fighting terrorism is working, when they don't believe anything else the federal government does is working.

    I wonder how different the poll results would have been if Snowden had released the documents six months after the Boston bombing instead of six weeks after.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:45AM (#43971807) Homepage

    It's rare that I quote a famous figure, as so often it's cliche to the point of deserving a cluebat-induced coma. However, I think this quote from Sam Adams accurately describes the state of America (better than the famous Franklin quote so often cited here) and how so many would sacrifice their rights to ensure their happy consumerist lifestyles:

    “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:48AM (#43971839) Homepage

    Was Alan Turing doing anything wrong? Nope.

    Actually legally he was doing something wrong. By the standards of the day, I suspect most people would have considered his sexual activies/sexuality morally unacceptable as well. The rest of your examples have a "before" to compare them to, but that one doesn't quite fit.

  • by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:51AM (#43971879)
    When it comes to rights, you can't use public opinion polls. The Bill of Rights is designed to protect the minority from the majority. Phone tracking is not a threat to most people. The government has no reason to be concerned with them. But the few who are a concern have the right to live their lives without unnecessary oversight from the government.
  • by fonske (1224340) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:54AM (#43971909)
    This is the headtitle of some European editorials.
    For the younger people: Stasi (Staatssicherheit) archived "information" on *everybody* in former DDR.
    1 on 50 in former DDR was linked to Stasi as one of 90000 employees or 200000 informants.
  • by internerdj (1319281) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:56AM (#43971931)
    Half of American households make $50520 or less a year. When my household was below median income, I know we had bigger things to worry about than privacy. It may be important but it isn't pressing for most people.
  • Poll taker (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jitterman (987991) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @08:57AM (#43971959)
    I was one of those who was surveyed. I am happy to report that in this case I was one of the minority - in fact, I'd say this level of invasion is akin to terrorism itself, in that many are terrified that this egregious act of domestic espionage is only the tip of a very large iceberg.
  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rubinhood (977039) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:00AM (#43971987)

    "I believe the poll results"

    Well I don't. The kleptocracy that can invade everyone's privacy at will can easily sway statistics as well.

    Eisenhower's nightmare has come true. The monster that was created against the foes of both World Wars has turned against the society that created it. It's become the reason for its own existence.

  • by kbolino (920292) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:05AM (#43972045)

    There are other factors in determining the "robustness" of a poll besides how the questions are worded and how many people were surveyed. For example, what people were surveyed, and what population they represent. Pew surveys homes (not individuals) with landline phones (which younger people don't bother with) that are listed in the phone book. That is not even a representative sampling of households, nevertheless of individuals.

  • by garyoa1 (2067072) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:11AM (#43972127)

    Years ago we would call this communism. Strange how language changes. Orwell would be proud.

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thud457 (234763) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:14AM (#43972151) Homepage Journal

    Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
    -- philosopher George Carlin

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:19AM (#43972239) Homepage

    According to that PewResearch article [people-press.org], 56% are in favor ofr un-Constitutional, unwarranted and illegal spying, and 41% against*.

    That initially sounds pretty damning, but in triuth it is a pretty slim majority, considering how these polls are typically rigged. [youtube.com] It's a useful number that politicians can point to, but I'd wager that it doesn't accurately reflect what most people feel about the situation. Those polls have leading questions that almost force you to agree with whatever the pollsters (or their employers) are supporting, and leave no room for dissenting opinions (for example, sure somebody might support telephone monitoring if it were used to stop a terrorist attack, but do the pollsters ask if the querents mind if that information is used for /anything else/?)

    If there were a single-question poll made of the US public ("Are you in favor of the US government monitoring every communication you and every other American makes?") I think the results would be quite different.

    * presumably the remaining 3% want monitoring for some, miniature American flags for others [imdb.com]).

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:20AM (#43972245)

    I was talking to my co-workers yesterday about the ben franklin quote (they had never heard of it; but they were not from here, they were from india and china and other asian countries). I was the only one at our table who knew of the franklin quote (trading liberty for security, etc).

    they were ALL FOR the spying if it 'saved any lives'.

    I could not convince them that this is not what america was all about.

    thing is: in the bay area, at least, native born US citizens are the minority now! those who KNOW what the american culture was about and was supposed to be about, we are now the minority and our voices are not even heard anymore. the guys from overseas were all happy to submit to surveillance. note, they were all married guys and those people tend to 'think of the children!' more than us single folk. they don't think rationally if they think their little snowflakes could be harmed, someday, even if its the most remote chance, less likely than being hit by an asteroid. they don't care, they buy the 'safety talk' hook, line and sinker.

    over time (in certain areas of the country) the conciousness of what america stood for is deteriorating. its no wonder that we sell our liberty out to FB, google, NSA, etc etc. there are so few americans left (experienced americans) in america, afterall.

    kind of sad to see my country be destroyed by those who aren't even fully familiar with what we used to be all about.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:23AM (#43972287)

    your quote reminded me of this quote:

    two wolves are up on a hill, looking down at the bunch of sheep. one says to the other, lets run down there and get us a sheep! the other says, no lets WALK down there and have them all.

    for some reason, it seemed appropos.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:26AM (#43972331) Homepage Journal

    True. Lots of people accepted the TSA and Patriot Act, after all.

    Are you basing your statement on what the people around you were saying at the time or some actual study?

    I'm not sure how many people "accepted" the TSA and Patriot Act. If by "accepted" you mean, "didn't riot in the streets and attack law enforcement" then you're right, but if you mean, "thought it was just fine", then I'm not so sure. I remember most everyone I knew at the time was pretty clear on the "Patriot Act" being a bullshit power grab and gift to the private industry contractors who were to implement it.

    There are wealthy suburbs in many parts of the US where the major industry fueling these extravagant lifestyles is Intelligence/Homeland Security. It's a bigger cesspool of graft and corruption than defense contractors. In fact, a lot of the big defense outfits have gone into cyber-spying because that's where the big money is, and you don't even need to really build anything.

    Those of you who run IT departments know what I'm talking about. There are certain words you can use to get the CFO to cut loose with money. Imagine how much easier it would be if you could accompany your funding requests with a fat check in an envelope as a "contribution", or host an expensive "retreat" for the bean-counters in some luxurious place. And, if it was all somebody else's money. It would make those budget requests a lot easier, no?

    That's what the Security/Industrial Complex multi-nationals have going on. And they can do it over and over in every country on Earth.

  • Worded all wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:27AM (#43972347)

    I'm reading these questions and they are completely misleading:

    "Should the government be able to monitor emails if it prevents future terrorist attacks?"

    How much more misleading could it get? At the very least it should read:

    "Should the government be able to read YOUR emails in an attempt to find terrorist activity?"

    or better yet:

    "Would you give up your constitutional rights and the rights of your children and grandchildren to change your chances of dieing in terrorist attack from 1 in 20 million to 1 in 20.1 million?"

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:29AM (#43972375)

    People are slow to learn from History, a government spying on its people if allowed will be abused, governments will use patriotism against you and even get your children to spy for them as was done by Germany during WWII. Researching and storing information on people is dangerous too as Germany used their own and captured census data in invaded countries with IBM Hollerith machines to sort the Jews from the general population, round them up and send them to the death camps. These are far from the only examples.

    "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."

    -- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

    Why do you think they called it the "Patriot Act" and congress voted for it unread? Almost unaminously at that.

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:46AM (#43972607)
    The only problem is nobody knows exactly what they're keeping us safe from, except freedom of course..FUDFTW
  • by F.Ultra (1673484) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:47AM (#43972621)
    Actually I think that if they had been wildly successful then we would hear about it, and hear about it alot. Consider all the plots that they have "caught" and how quickly that was posted to the media, and how unlikely plots they really where, to me that indicates that they are desperat to publish every success.
  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hydian (904114) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @09:53AM (#43972691)

    That isn't even the immediate problem. Those are simply potential problems that will occur when the system is inevitably misused.

    The immediate and very real problem is the Steve Jackson Games problem. Since they are using the overly broad data that they collect to look for connections that may or may not exist, everyone is in danger of being violated in the name of fighting terrorism just because someone they have had contact with has had contact with someone that is on a list.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:03AM (#43972843)

    This type of snooping is only practiced in states like the 3rd Reich, the DDR and Northern Korea. US Americans seems to be unaware what extreme risks come with it.

    Also, this does not help against terrorism at all. No, not one bit.

  • by s.petry (762400) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:03AM (#43972847)
    Exactly. Welcome to propaganda media 101. Yesterday, watching CNN people were given 1 opinion over and over with no facts. The opinion of course was that Snowden was a dangerous person needing to be imprisoned. No mention of the crimes he's revealed of course. I'm guessing other media this morning will follow suite, and provide a similar opinion without facts. What's really sad is that so many don't question our propaganda.. er media.. system.
  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tilante (2547392) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:30AM (#43973221)

    The monster that was created against the foes of both World Wars has turned against the society that created it. It's become the reason for its own existence.

    As Orwell put it, "The object of power is power."

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:31AM (#43973237)

    He was doing something illegal, which isn't the same thing as wrong. No amount of moral relativism will ever convince me that the actions of 2 consenting adults is "wrong" in an ethical sense.

  • Doublethink (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:31AM (#43973239) Homepage Journal

    "We must sacrifice our freedoms, in order to secure our freedoms."

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:37AM (#43973291)
    I disagree, I think the sheep willing to give up anything to prevent terrorism IS the larger issue. It ensures that politicians will always be there to make that deal with them. Getting elected by playing to people's paranoia is much easier than getting elected by leading people to actually improve the country.

    Politician A: We need to fix the budget. We are spending a ridiculous amount of money on national defense, way too much for how much we're raising in tax revenue...

    Politician B: OMG DID YOU HEAR THAT?!?! He wants to RAISE TAXES and CUT THE MILITARY! At a time when terrorists are threatening your children!!!

    Politician A should win, but politician B will. That's already going on on a massive scale, while the possibility you present doesn't seem to be happening as much right now. And our grandchildren will be paying it off.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:42AM (#43973349)

    You do realize that the NSA is not quite the same thing as your grocer? In particular, you do realize that a major part of the outrage is exactly because the NSA defies being watched? The grocer knows everything about you and you know everything about the grocer, that makes for some symmetry in the power structure. The NSA knows everything about you but prevents you from knowing anything about it. Also you might consider that the typical grocer does not have a police force and an army.

    And no, freedom is no illusion. By your standard, dryness is an illusion. Clothes could only be truly dry if we banned water from the planet. You don't need "absolute dryness" in order to have dryness, and you don't need "absolute freedom" to have freedom.

  • by PortHaven (242123) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @11:08AM (#43973705) Homepage

    And followed by "Are you aware that the Russians called both the FBI and CIA to inform them the Boston terrorist was a threat. And both times regardless of the Russians concern, the U.S. agencies failed to conduct a thorough investigation.

    Here is my proof, why Americans should basically burn PRISM to the ground.

    ***

    FBI/CIA informed of a signficant potential threat. But apparently cannot be bothered to track or monitor threat. But want threat as an excuse to monitor EVERYONE in the U.S.

  • Anonymous eh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Almost-Retired (637760) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @11:28AM (#43973989)

    Anonymous my ass, this was planted by some government drone specifically to make the justifiably worried sheeple think its ok.

    Well, this is one of those sheeple who doesn't think its ok. Not on this planet,not even in this universe.

    When our, and other governments are carrying on such activities in the name of safety, go back to a traitor named Benjamin Franklin, who once said that those who would give up a little liberty for safety, will have neither. Ben wasn't exactly a dummy. As for the traitor part, I expect the King of England considered him a traitor, to be hung where ever he could be found. So were a lot of the other names on our Declaration of Independence.

    We have already apparently given up, because it seemed convenient and less hassle to the sheeple to let it happen than to go find somebody (or be that somebody) who would actually do something about what has become in my lifetime, a nearly complete dictatorship simply because it was too much trouble to call the trouble makers out and remove them from public office by whatever means that reduced them to standing on the corner shouting about some subject they aren't qualified to pronounce. If they still sucked air enough to do that.

    We now have all these 3 letter agencies that don't have to answer to anybody, not even the president, costing us untold billions, even trillions in productivity interference of the public at large, each justifying their existence on selling this magic thing called safety.

    What has this so-called safety got us? Because we are disarmed for the most part (in the name of safety of course), we get the Columbines and Sandy Hook scenes simply because somebody who needed to be contained or stopped long before their thinking became that errant, wasn't stopped with a busted butt or nose when it would have done some good, but today some idiots can't be stopped until they actually DO something, at which point its too late.

    I can imagine that 100 years ago, these similar personalities likely would have not made it past their first drink in a bar as they would have been 'educated' right then and there by somebody who did know the difference between right and wrong. But we can't do that today because we'd spend 20 to life in a lock-up for removing such a person from the gene pool before he/she went on a rampage, taking 10 + other lives before somebody decides its time to stop them by whatever means is hanging on the belt, or on the back window gun rack of the pick-up truck.

    As for the terrorists, lets all agree that the 2nd amendment says exactly what it says. And let nature take its course, get the law the hell out of judging who's right or wrong in such cases. I'll help them meet those 72 Virginians they are so hell bent on meeting, its absolutely not a problem to me.

    So lets hear it from those who do give a shit about freedoms. Pew Research indeed. Figures lie, and liars figure out the stats they way they want them to be, every time. And I think this is one of those times.

  • by anegg (1390659) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @11:34AM (#43974091)
    Many years ago, when I was a computer science student (1980 or so), I thought a lot about predictions of a loss of privacy due to computerization of record keeping. I postulated an argument similar to yours - perhaps the computerization of all records is merely returning our overgrown towns and cities to the previous status quo, when everyone knew (mostly) everything about everyone else. Then I realized that there was a big difference. In the small town, everyone knows everything about everyone else; its reciprocal. But with widespread electronic record keeping, there will inevitably be a state where a few people (relatively) know just about everything about most people, yet the bulk of the people will know next to nothing about those few. That is the inequity. I think its even more troubling that the mining of these massive quantities of data may be used to justify discrimination and further scrutiny against people who would otherwise not be suspected of evil thoughts. Who will watch the watchers, indeed? If the watchers are all hidden behind secrecy laws, and even the watchers interpretations of laws are secret, what is the basis for the two-way communication of knowledge that is found in a "small town"? How can we agree to be governed by laws that don't mean what we believe them to mean on their face, but which have secret meanings that are used to carry out activities many would believe illegal if those secret interpretations were made public?
  • by fishnuts (414425) <fishnuts@arpa.org> on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:05PM (#43974543) Homepage

    Everyone who hates the US is loving this news, just like they cheered when they heard we all have to take off our shoes and have our nuts inspected at airports.

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by idontgno (624372) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @12:17PM (#43974713) Journal

    Since they are using the overly broad data that they collect to look for connections that may or may not exist, everyone is in danger of being violated in the name of fighting terrorism just because someone they have had contact with has had contact with someone that is on a list.

    "And that's a small price to pay, as long as it it's them, not me. And it'll never be me. I'm a good American."

    It's never "me" until suddenly it is.

    The sad lesson of the past: the sad lessons of the past apply to everyone, but no one will believe it applies to them until reality proves it to them. People (rightly) complain about American exceptionalism, but exceptionalism applies to individuals and small self-identifying groups (e.g., "right-thinking patriots") as well.

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tragedy (27079) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @01:10PM (#43975523)

    Two things: First, George Carlin was not a philosopher, but rather a profane leftist comedian,

    Have you ever actually listened to George Carlin? He was a philsopher. Not many qualifications are actually required to be one, and he was one. He was also a comedian, and a profane one at that (imagine that, a popular comedian who uses profanity, unheard of). Describing his as leftist is ridiculous pigeonholing, however

  • Re:Bull Shit! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @02:49PM (#43976821)

    . I do have a problem with the government publishing how many firearms I have in my house because that puts me and my neighbors at risk of home burglary or getting into the situation where I need to defend myself with said firearms.

    Sorry to derail the thread a bit, but this is truly delusional.

    Why is it only the people WITH firearms are up in arms that "criminals might know that you have guns"?

    The people without firearms are the ones who are relatively defenseless if they get robbed. But they aren't complaining. They aren't worried about it. Why aren't they worried?

    But you, the one with a bunch of guns, is worried? Why are you worried? You have a house full of guns, and presumably know how to use them. Why exactly would you be at increased risk of burglary? Particularly relative to those who don't have firearms?

    Why would criminals target you if they knew you had guns? Because they want to dramatically increase their odds of getting shot? Because they crave the adrenalin rush of a shootout?

    Or is it because they want your guns? Why wouldn't they just rob softer targets and use the cash to buy guns? They could buy them legally, or even black market... its not like the black market for guns is primarily supplied by robbing random firearms from gun owners one or two at a time. You do know all this right?

    So what exactly is your fear predicated on here?

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