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Member of President Obama's NSA Panel Recommends Increased Data Collection 349

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-fast dept.
cold fjord writes "National Journal reports, 'Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA and a member of President Obama's task force on surveillance, said ... that a controversial telephone data-collection program conducted by the National Security Agency should be expanded to include emails. He also said the program, far from being unnecessary, could prevent the next 9/11. Morell, seeking to correct any misperception that the presidential panel had called for a radical curtailment of NSA programs, said he is in favor of restarting a program that the NSA discontinued in 2011 that involved the collection of "meta-data" for internet communications. ... "I would argue actually that the email data is probably more valuable than the telephony data," ... Morell also said that while he agreed with the report's conclusion that the telephone data program, conducted under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, made "only a modest contribution to the nation's security" so far, it should be continued under the new safeguards recommended by the panel. "I would argue that what effectiveness we have seen to date is totally irrelevant to how effective it might be in the future," he said. "This program, 215, has the ability to stop the next 9/11 and if you added emails in there it would make it even more effective. Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened."' — More at Politico and National Review. Some members of Congress have a different view. Even Russian President Putin has weighed in with both a zing and a defense."
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Member of President Obama's NSA Panel Recommends Increased Data Collection

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  • Re:WTF?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by careysb (566113) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:26AM (#45766845)

    Seeing as how I haven't really heard anything to the contrary, this is what I expect will happen. And even if I had heard something to the contrary, this is what I would expect.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:32AM (#45766887)

    Need a crypto method that randomly inserts "FUCK YOU NSA" in cleartext.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:32AM (#45766893)

    Before anyone pipes up with "oh, this doesn't affect me, I'm just a nobody", then try thinking further ahead than the next quarter.

    You may be one among, say, millions of students, but what about 5-10 years from now when you do or invent something important and it's in conflict with what the government of the day wants you to do ?

    That's the point at which your student past is dug up and it's explained to you that unless you play ball your past will be revealed.

    Even if you are the most boring person in the world, then what about the people one or two steps removed from you, ie: members of your class. Guilt by association and all that.

    I really dislike it when people think about where they are today instead of where they may be a few years from now. People like these will sleepwalk into this future without realising it until it's too late.

  • Laugh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:34AM (#45766911)

    "He also managed the staff that produced the Presidential Daily Briefings for President George W. Bush. Morell was Bush’s briefer during the September 11, 2001 attacks, and has been quoted as saying, "I would bet every dollar I have that it’s al Qaeda."

    So this was one of the people, that ignored the 9/11 warnings, and then went even farther to lie about who did it.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:39AM (#45766963) Journal

    ... you know your doing something wrong.

     

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bondsbw (888959) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:39AM (#45766969)

    This program, 215, has the ability to stop the next 9/11 and if you added emails in there it would make it even more effective. Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened.

    This is what the terrorists want.

  • by Parker Lewis (999165) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:40AM (#45766971)
    Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:41AM (#45766981)

    I could understand that after 9/11, drastic measures were necessary to fight terrorism at the time. But now . . . ? We seem to be hunkering down, and assuming that we will need all of this surveillance and security . . . forever.

    All this stuff is purely defensive in nature: trying to prevent terrorist attacks. Despite all these security measures, it is just a matter of time before another attack succeeds anyway . . . like in Boston.

    I'd like to see a plan to reduce these threats forever . . . so we can go back to our normal ways, before the war. Now, it seems that we are preparing for an endless war on terrorism. A permanent state of war is not good for any society.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by craigminah (1885846) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:41AM (#45766987)
    You mean "free speechless".
  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:44AM (#45767005)

    Not quite.

    There are certain semi-agreed 'debate issues' in US politics. Things that the parties have informally (Or possible, conspiratorially) decided are going to get a lot of attention, be a subject of intence R-v-D warfare and generally decide elections. A lot of these are things that won't actually have a great impact on most of society, like abortion or gay marriage.

    There are also certain semi-agreed 'off the table' issues, where both sides have decided that drawing attention to them would be a bad thing for both sides. This includes defence spending and civil rights, along with such issues as corn subsidies and copyright reform. Rarely do you find a politician daring to even acknowledge these as issues, and any that do risk a backlash from their own party.

    This is one of the 'off the table' issues. If Snowden's leaking hadn't forced it to public attention, it would never have been allowed to come up, and right now both parties are just hopeing it goes away again.

  • by some old guy (674482) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:44AM (#45767009)

    Great. We now have a ringing endorsement of our current intel policy from a KGB man.

    Of course, there's no telling how many former KGB and FSB are actually advising Clapper and Alexander.

    As V.V.P. is fond of saying, there is no such thing as a former Chekist.

  • refresher needed? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:45AM (#45767013)

    For those with the short memory a reminder is needed: currently email headers and selected contents is collected. Please review once again NSA slides if you need refresher.

    So this basically represents parallel construction of justification: ahem.... we, NSA, should consider collecting emails (even though we already do).

    Somehow they magically think that the public will forget that that collection of emails has been going for the decades and will believe that somehow in 2011 collection stopped.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:54AM (#45767075)

    I'd contend that after 9/11, no measures were necessary to fight terrorism. In fact, it would've been far better to shrug and move on.

    Think about it: What better move to show the world that you won't budge to terrorism by showing you aren't intimidated, and what better way to do that than to just ignore the whole thing, except for mourning your dead and putting the building back together?

    You can always get your own back later. But nooo, you had to fight. Right away. And give up scads of freedoms to do it. And everyone else's too. And wage two wars that have now destabilised the entire area. Destabilisation that is causing yet more people to die and more terrorism to leak back into the rest of the world. These drastic measures have compounded the problem several orders of magnitude. So really, you're reaping what you've sown.

    Instead, what was necessary was to fire every last single intelligence agency in its entirety and rebuild from scratch. For they've been at it for sixty-odd years, had their feelers in every network, and... didn't see this one coming. And they still don't. But in the meantime they've grown that much more in size, power, budget, influence, access, hunger for data, you name it. The intelligence community is completely out of control. So the only fix is still, only much more so, to get rid of it entirely. That, or we'll have to get rid of the entire state of the USoA. Or we'll indeed end up with a permanent state of war.

  • by Shagg (99693) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:55AM (#45767077)

    A permanent state of war is not good for any society.

    It's good for the people in power. What makes you think that they care whether or not it's good for society.

  • by broken_chaos (1188549) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:55AM (#45767081)

    How do you 'win' against a concept?

    Terrorism isn't a person, it isn't a nation, it isn't even a religion. There is nothing to win a war against, so you cannot ever have a traditional end to a war against terrorism. If those in power wish, it's a 'war' that can go on forever, quite easily.

  • In Other News (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) <[ten.tenaprac] [ta] [cjs]> on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:56AM (#45767093) Homepage

    Chief of Security Wolf vows his pack will personally guard the Hen house

    Private prison owners: "The country needs stiffer drug penalties"

    FBI: We need surveillance to help keep you safe from the people we keep radicalising and arming!

  • by module0000 (882745) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:57AM (#45767101)

    I don't think the powers that be would like it to ever end. The expression "War is Peace" sums this up...as long as there is a constant threat of war(in this case, "terrorism"), the populace can be made to accept nearly any unreasonable demand in the name of that defending against that threat.

    Imagine if you are the commander of a military force - would you rather a mediocre budget because of peacetime? Or would you rather have a "buy anything and everything no questions asked" mandate because of the imminent threat of war? This also appeals to the sense of power the government leaders have - it allows them a constant state of martial law, effectively letting them act with impunity while "defending us" from war(or in this case, imminent terrorism).

  • by KingOfBLASH (620432) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:57AM (#45767105) Journal

    Yes but that's the scary thing about this whole metadata thing. If they tapped every backboned and could archive every packet it would effectively not matter you encrypted it along the way. They'd still know who you're talking to, where you surf online, the whole bit. Also, given how much crap snowden found, the scary question is what is so classified he didn't find it?

  • by mysidia (191772) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:59AM (#45767117)

    Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened.

    Because "YOU THINK"? That is a good enough reason to rape Americans' of their privacy?

    And if we station armed soldiers at every interstate entrance and exit, every state border, every entrance and exit to every major cvity, to interrogate all travelers, strip search everyone driving -- demand to see and record the "metadata" (identification of all vehicle passengers, and their reported origin and destination) --- just maybe we stop the next 9/11 or carbombing too.

    The terrorists will just have to use a different technique...

  • Uh... right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ImOuttaHere (2996813) on Monday December 23, 2013 @11:59AM (#45767119)

    Let me see if I get this right: Three letter agencies refuse to work in compliance with the Constitution and pre-Bush era FISA law... where few people can remember why the original FISA was passed (look it up, it has everything to do with illegal three letter agency data collection on US citizens during the early to mid-20th century, very much like what we're facing now)... where people forget that NSA lawyers were directed by Darth Cheney to find every means of justifying to the secret court (what? a secret court in America? really???) four (that we know so far), count 'um, four illegal spying programs... which the aforementioned secret court accepted with few, if any limits!... so Baby Bush could wave a court signed piece of paper that granted his illegal spy programs legitimacy... and that anti-American "socialist" Obama continually supports... where citizens of the Formerly Great Country of the USA demand safety in nearly gleeful exchange for freedoms... and not one single person involved in these clearly illegal activities has been put on trial... while the US Government hunts those who might reveal aforementioned illegal activities...

    Problem? What problem? Oh. Right. Ice cold Busch and NASCAR await. Gotta go...

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @12:02PM (#45767141)

    So is the Tea Party, the group that wants to severely cut the Federal Government, sill a bunch of idiots. Or have they been right the entire time and the rest of you are finally catching on.

    The Tea Party like the rest of the Republicans doesn't give a flying fuck about curtailing the so-called surveillance society.
    What they want is to eliminate people's rights by cutting any kind of economic support the government has for its citizens.
    But when it comes to curtailing the military industrial complex oh you're so naive. These guys would spend trillions of $ to expand the military while at the same cuting the already strained social safety net. As if weapons were more important than people.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday December 23, 2013 @12:04PM (#45767151) Journal
    I'm a trifle surprised that a former CIA director apparently doesn't know how 'empiricism' works: "I would argue that what effectiveness we have seen to date is totally irrelevant to how effective it might be in the future"...

    Yeah, there's somebody you'd give a job related to intelligence gathering to...
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Monday December 23, 2013 @12:12PM (#45767195)

    Actually, the "drastic measures" were largely a reaction to the events. As a country, we went into shock and some people took advantage of this to push security theater that would make them rich and/or would score them votes.

    All that was really needed was three things beyond pre-911 security:

    1) Lock and reinforce the cockpit doors so a terrorist couldn't burst in and take over.
    2) Instruct pilots that, in the event of a terrorist trying to take over, they are to report it, fly to the nearest airport, and make an emergency landing. They are NOT to unlock the cockpit doors no matter how many people the terrorists kill. Pilots would be shielded from being sued for the loss of life while they tried to make an emergency landing. After all, if the terrorists get into the cockpit, everyone might as well be dead.
    3) Passengers were not to simply "do as the terrorists say" as they did in pre-911 times. Back then "hijacking" meant you go to some other location, spend some tense hours being captive, and then more likely than not get returned home safe and sound. As long as you just cooperated. Now, "hijacking" means you are dead if you don't stop them. Passengers will now rise up and oppose the terrorists. Even if they die doing it. (See Flight 93.)

    If we were to reduce airport security to pre-911 levels with the above exceptions, we'd be just as safe from terrorists as we are today and wouldn't be sacrificing as many freedoms.

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday December 23, 2013 @12:24PM (#45767313)

    Why does the public let go unchallenged the claim that there will be a "next 9/11" to prevent?

    The 9/11 attacks were the most ambitious terrorist attacks in history. They certainly terrorized the United States, and government officials obviously remain terrorized to this day. So in that sense, they were kind of a success. They also had massive blowback that Al Quaeda might not be keen to repeat.

    Before 9/11, bin Laden was a folk hero in some parts of the Muslim world because he fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. After the atrocity he masterminded, most of his financiers and sympathizers dropped him like he was radioactive. Middle Eastern governments that had formerly turned a blind eye to Al Quaeda started shutting down its finance network and jailing its contributors, raiding training camps and arresting radical clerics. Then there is the US armed response, which was deeply misguided in important ways but which undeniably brought ruin on Al Queada and the Taliban government of Afghanistan. Since at least the battle of Tora Bora, Al Quaeda has been struggling to survive. It's hard to see how redoubling American resolve, just now when the public is war-weary, cynical, and worried about the war debt, would advance the aim of a global Caliphate.

    It has also been said that the 9/11 attacks were self defeating in the sense that exactly because they were so devastating and well-planned, they are nigh impossible to surpass. Next to them, just bombing an embassy looks like small time. So the effectiveness of typical terror attacks may actually have been diminished because the public's expectations have been raised.

    So, even if any organization could pull off "another 9/11", I seriously question whether they would want to. I believe the radicals' current objective is to get the US out of Afghanistan so they can rebuild their safe haven there. In other words, to pick up the pieces from the blowback from 9/11 and get back to where they were on Sept. 10, 2001. There is considerable doubt whether this is possible: the US will definitely pull out, but its drones will still rain Hellfire missiles from the sky day or night, and the US-backed Afghan army is in a position to keep the pressure on for a good long while.

    Which brings me back to why preventing the "next 9/11" is something we should be worried about. If bin Laden had 9/11 to do over again, knowing the consequences for his organization and his agenda, would he go for it? I have to go with "no." Why can't any politician stand up and say that? Claim some credit for the progress in the "war on terror" instead of jumping at shadows?

    Of course, I can answer my own question. The bogeyman of terrorism serves the authoritarian purposes of the government, so they refuse to abandon it. But please, let's start calling them on it.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @12:29PM (#45767337)

    So is the Tea Party, the group that wants to severely cut the Federal Government, sill a bunch of idiots. Or have they been right the entire time and the rest of you are finally catching on.

    Obama in his own words [youtube.com], worse even then Bush. Everyone try to see past their partisanship and their racial justice "payback". Obama is dangerous, to everybody.

    The Tea Party like the rest of the Republicans doesn't give a flying fuck about curtailing the so-called surveillance society.

    Concern about civil liberties is not a partisan matter. Statism is the enemy, not the RP, and the DP is at least as bad as the RP on civil liberties (not to be confused with civil license).

    What they want is to eliminate people's rights by cutting any kind of economic support the government has for its citizens.

    There is no "right" to use the govt to force one group of people to economically support another group. That's vote buying with tax dollars, not freedom. Besides no one of any consequence is even talking about eliminating all govt charity programs.

    But when it comes to curtailing the military industrial complex oh you're so naive. ... As if weapons were more important than people.

    Weapons protect you and your lifestyle. If you don't understand that, then you are a child.

    These guys would spend trillions of $ to expand the military

    No one of any consequence is even talking about expanding the military by trillions of dollars.

    while at the same cuting the already strained social safety net.

    The social safety net is not strained. Spending on govt handout programs is dramatically up across the board in the last 7 years. The govt runs adverts to try to get more people to sign up for the programs. Of course, every dollar spent on handouts is taken out of the private sector and taking money out of the private sector reduces job opportunities so the best way to keep from straining the safety net is to quite spending so damn much money on it. If govt spending is not reduced, then the country will soon be bankrupted, there will be widespread civil unrest and a police state will be instituted in order to restore order. It may be hard for some to accept, but that is exactly what Obama and his backers want. Obama isn't intent on releasing a bunch of convicted criminals from prison for nothing - every would-be dictator recruits a private army from low-level street criminals, people devoid of conscience, willing to brutalize the law-abiding and live off them like parasites.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @12:39PM (#45767439)

    I really dislike it when people think about where they are today instead of where they may be a few years from now. People like these will sleepwalk into this future without realising it until it's too late.

    A universal truth: people don't care about politics unless and until they believe that it either affects or will affect their daily lives.

    Most people don't think in abstractions, beyond the particular, and most people are just too busy living their lives to constantly wring their hands about every potential threat from the govt. That's probably a good thing overall. The govt shouldn't be the center of people's lives. It's frustrating, though, when a real threat is building ...

  • by Immerman (2627577) on Monday December 23, 2013 @12:50PM (#45767545)

    Mmm hmm. How exactly do you suggest I encrypt the routing information (metadata) of my emails, phone calls, and mail? And still have it reach it's destination I mean? The ISPs, phone companies, email providers, etc. could do such a thing if they chose - but under current law they're all in the back pocket of the NSA and their secret orders anyway, so it wouldn't defend against the elephant in the room (though it would still be a good defense against every *other* privacy-invading parasite monitoring internet traffic.

    Sure, it's good advice to encrypt the contents and deny them the ability to dig deeper (though I don't see phone scramblers catching on any time soon), assuming of course you can find an encryption algorithm that hasn't been compromised by the NSA or other spooks, but it accomplishes exactly nothing in terms of the topic at hand.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonehead (6382) on Monday December 23, 2013 @01:16PM (#45767705)

    the question of whether government surveillance is a bad thing.

    There is no question.

    Government surveillance is more harmful than anything it might conceivably be used to prevent.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @01:38PM (#45767907)

    Sounds good in theory, like the free-market social Darwinist..
    Until they realize that they are pudgy 40 year old 5 foot tall asthmatics who just had all their shit stolen and wife taken by force by a 7 foot tall thug with more muscle than brain.. Who just 'appropriated' their shit by pulling your dick out through your mouth. You know, survival of the fittest, and you my friend are NOT one of them. What? You expected POLICE to help you? You don't have the RIGHT to a government police force. Get off your lazy ass and grow a few feet and put on 100 pounds of muscle and protect your own damn self.

    Armed support from the government doesn't protect anyone's rights, it just costs $$.

    You see, there is what some kid in their basement thinks about the world, and then there is reality.

    The reality is that it costs less than $3,000 a year for foodstamps. But prison costs between $35,000 and $65,000 per year.
    In the real world, when there are 3 people for every 1 job, it is simply cheaper to help the poor than it is to punish them for having the fucking gall to be fired because someone with millions decided to move to commie china and get a tax break to do it.

    In the real world, compassionate programs for things like drug treatment, food security, and basic housing is not just the christian thing to do ( and exactly what little baby Jesus would want). It is also the most cost effective to the taxpayer. And the reduction in thefts and increase in law and order is also very good if you are someone who wants to keep your shit without having to employ armed guards. Or sell shit and expect to get payed, or walk about without getting killed.

    Or, you know hey, we could stop the economic support of rich fucks by raising minimum wage to a level that puts people above the poverty line and hence outside of the welfare system. If we adjusted minim wage to inflation it would be about $20.. There is the real issue.

  • I'd like to see a plan to reduce these threats forever . . . so we can go back to our normal ways, before the war. Now, it seems that we are preparing for an endless war on terrorism.

    What if I told you the threat of terrorism was so low even lightning strikes or falling down in the bathtub are more serious threats to American lives?

    9/11 killed one sixth the number of people who die from the flu every year! That means since 9/11 the flu has proven 60 times more dangerous than terrorists. Accidents and heart disease kill 400 times more people every year than a 9/11 scale attack. [cdc.gov] We need proportional protection from threats. 1/6th or 1/60th of what we spend on anti-flu vaccines should be spent on anti-terrorism. The threat is just a fear narrative to get the people to do whatever the government wants. You accept that life is dangerous when you drive to a fast food restaurant, and face a far greater risk than terrorism yet we demand no War on Cheeseburgers and Cars. The war on terror will end when the people stop being afraid of pathetic threats. Accept the risk of being free. It is minimal compared to every other threat you face.

    We don't need the wiretapping spying at all. Omnivore, Carnivore [wikipedia.org], ECHELON, and PRISM's Room 641A existed BEFORE 9/11. [wikipedia.org] The NSA's spying apparatus has failed to prevent every terrorist attack since the 60's, including 9/11. We gave them more powers and they failed to prevent the Boston Marathon Bombing.

    The spying programs are expensive and useless for the protection of American lives. It's too easy to track the tax funds so the CIA gets a large portion of its black-ops money through investments. The cold war machine lost its raison d'etre, and like any business or other cybernetic being it didn't want to die. So in order to keep itself fed with massive funds the spying apparatus must manufacture threats to deceive the public with. [youtube.com] There was never a suspicion of WMD's there was only the need for a threat narrative to fuel a war machine. Just like Vietnam, Just like McCarthyism, The Red Scare, etc. There is no threat to us anymore from countries defined by borders since we have mutually assured nuclear destruction.

    The National Reconnaissance Office gifted NASA two Hubble Sized spy satellites because they're launching far more impressive spy satellites with the biggest rockets in the world. [youtube.com] Hubbles aimed at Earth! That's PLENTY of spying capability to be content with. No force on Earth can move against us without us knowing instantly, the wiretap spying isn't needed at all. If the flu, cars, and cheeseburgers are a more serious threat than terrorism, but domestic spying can yield information that can be used for insider trading, and that's how black-ops are funded...

    Occam's Razor says Snowden is right: [washingtonpost.com] "These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power."

    Citizens have changed from collateral damage into the prime targets themselves in the new age cold war. Borders are largely safe now. The developing world is used as the outlet to expend the war machines output. Great stockpiles of the machines of war are burned to make room for new spending. [rt.com] Black-ops instigates new proxy wars. [wikipedia.org] The CIA carries out economic warfare at the behest of Corpora [youtube.com]

  • Re: WTF?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Monday December 23, 2013 @02:05PM (#45768101)

    That's not the surveillance harming you. It's the driver of the black SUV, the corrupt arresting officer, or even the flag-raising system, none of which should ever have access to the database without judicial review.

    Only a fool thinks that "having access" is something that can be properly enforced. I have personal experience of how relatively low-level people can use and abuse data that they "don't have access to". And if you don't believe me, then consider Edward Snowden.

    Only a fool thinks that black SUVs are likely to go around randomly without some level of higher-level control or that there will never be a time when that higher-level control won't intersect with the set of people who do have access.

    Only a fool thinks that you have nothing to hide if you are innocent, because "innocent" isn't an absolute. You can always be found guilty of something, even if it's only complaining about the weather. Someone else gets to determine whether complaining about the weather is legal, and someone else will make the determination of whether your comments about the heat and humidity make you guilty.

    The surest way to prevent abuse of data is not to collect it at all.

    The second-surest way is to put as many obstacles in the path of getting it as is possible, making clear audits and controls, checks and balances. This is what the FISA courts were supposed to be part of. They failed. This is why demanding real-time feeds of telephone and email meta-data is not as good as having it obtained from the telcos and ISPs on display of a specific warrant.

    The third-surest way is to put a define set of bounds on the data. In particular, data should be destroyed after its immediate applicability, not retained forever "just in case". Just in case some statistical analysis happens to turn up that you were standing within 500 meters of a Socialist Workers rally (on the other side of a 10-foot brick wall) when you were in 5th grade and one of the rally participants turns out to be the next Osama bin Laden 15 years later.

    If we have to destroy our way of life to "preserve" it, then manifestly the whole democracy experiment has been a failure and we should stop with the hypocrisy already.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonehead (6382) on Monday December 23, 2013 @02:09PM (#45768137)

    What? You expected POLICE to help you?

    Why would anybody expect that? That's not what they do.

    They are there to mop up the mess after the fact, and to fill out the paperwork so you can make an insurance claim.

    If you ever find yourself in immediate danger and expect protection from the police, I suspect that you will find their response time to be a rather rude awakening.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @02:39PM (#45768409)

    Weapons protect you and your lifestyle. If you don't understand that, then you are a child.

    What is this nonsense?

    Every country must provide for its defense or it will be conquered. Even without being conquered, a country with an inadequate military can be severely impacted by the actions of other nations. Nothing nonsensical about that. If you don't understand that, then you are a child. If you think diplomacy is a substitute for the ability to use force, then you are a child.

    In the land of the free and the home of the brave, freedom and small government should reign.

    Absolutely. One of the few legitimate functions of the federal govt is to provide for the national defense, that's why the FFs wrote that into the Constitution.

    By the way, small government means that you don't engage in preemptive wars

    Not necessarily true. I don't support the way the US involves itself in everything nowadays, particularly in the ME, but a little military action by France and Britain circa 1938 or so might have saved a heck of a lot of govt expansion throughout the Western world.

    or spend ridiculous amounts of money maintaining a military.

    What is "ridiculous" is a matter of opinion. Military spending is not what is putting a strain on US finances no matter what crap your teachers may have fed you. At least with the military, spending produces things, including foreign policy clout. I don't like the current size of US military commitments, but I would rather see a little too much pissed away on a new weapons system than have the same money spent bailing out irresponsible banks or lining the pockets of the people running phony "green jobs" companies who then kick back part of their corporate welfare as campaign contributions.

    including making statements like yours and missing the point

    I don't see that I have missed any point. I was responding to a poster who was vomiting the usual leftist tripe about the military-industrial complex starving a withering social safety net while puking out nonsense about some imaginary effort to expand the military by trillions of dollars. The safety net is bloated, not starving and no one is trying to expand the military by trillions. Redirecting money from military spending to social handout programs may or may not reduce the security of American interests, but it will, without a doubt, hasten the conversion of productive areas in the US into more Detroits. The moral hazards of charity have destroyed entire cities, but the left continues to insist that doing more of the same would somehow be a good thing. Better to reduce spending to stimulate the economy and get people out of the safety net.

  • Re: WTF?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chas (5144) on Monday December 23, 2013 @02:45PM (#45768457) Homepage Journal

    In short: "If you want to monitor me, in any way, shape or form, GET A FUCKING WARRANT!"
    If you want to just hoover ALL data, on the off chance that you might catch A. Random Badguy?
    Fuck off and die.

  • by NotSanguine (1917456) on Monday December 23, 2013 @03:08PM (#45768613)

    There were numerous reports about the 9/11 hijackers doing things like learning to fly jets and many of them were already on terrorist watch lists.

    The issue wasn't a lack of information, it was apathy and incompetence. Gathering *even more* information about innocent people won't help stop anything. Having competent people who do their jobs can.

    All that said, freedom isn't safe. If we want to be free, we have to understand that there are those who are unbalanced, criminal, or just downright nasty out there. We need balanced laws and competent people to address this, but spying on everyone isn't the answer. That is all.

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by s.petry (762400) on Monday December 23, 2013 @03:43PM (#45768943)

    I expect this from a shill, but not from an educated person. Governments can not be the whole of economy, it does not work that way. As the old saying goes "when something appears to be too good to be true, it probably is" comes to mind. A Government has no money of it's own. A Government's money is based entirely on the productivity of society. It is therefor impossible for a Government to "multiply" money by spending money. It is a logical contradiction at every level, often dressed up to appear "good" to someone uninformed.

    In short, a Government is not and can not be a producer. A Government is a taker, and can only take from society.

    This is not _my_ opinion, this opinion comes from countless economists. Read and Comprehend what Milton Friedman says about the same subject. Mr. Friedman was kind enough to also explain to the uneducated how people gamed systems with things like Keynesian principles, and why those principles are wrong (even giving examples of failures due to those policies).

  • Re:WTF?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by s.petry (762400) on Monday December 23, 2013 @03:50PM (#45769043)
    The Boston Marathon demonstrates without question that he is not correct. This program has been running illegally for quite some time, and it has not prevented anything. Making it "legal" or trying to make it acceptable won't change that.

"The greatest warriors are the ones who fight for peace." -- Holly Near

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