Tag Archives: right to privacy

The NSA and Kevin Bacon…

Since we’ve returned to caring about being Surveilled…

Let’s climb into our time machine and travel all the way back to 2013, when we told you so.

An unprecedented, at least to me, move by No Such Agency has brought the Director to an open briefing on Capital Hill.

So I’m listening.

But, there are two things which I would like to hear…

Mr. Alexander is very careful to remind everyone paying attention, which appears to be very few, that the NSA does not listen to the content of these calls collected under this program.

I’d like to focus on the “…under this program.” part of his repeated statement and reassurance.

There are many programs within all government operations, many of which overlap. This is practiced for various reasons. Some of them funding, some of them compartmentalization. Some, simply because of turf and time on scene.

So, I would like to hear someone ask; “Mr. Director, is anyone at NSA listening to the content of the calls collected, or reading the e-mail and text messaging?”

Another aspect I find interesting is the “connection to a known, or suspected terrorist” requirement Mr. Alexander has reassured us exists prior to looking at your information.

On this I bring up Kevin Bacon. Yes, the actor.

There exists a mathematical formula which connects us all.  It has been around for 80 years but has recently been popularized through something called the Kevin Bacon Game.

Six degrees of separation, a theory developed by Frigyes Karinthy in the year 1929, proposes that an individual is only six connections away from any person in the world.

Read the last five words in the above sentence again.  “…any person in the world.”

That would include Terrorist A-holes.  Yep… if you’re just catching up, YOU are separated by the most horrible person on earth by only 6 degrees.

The exploration of the degrees of separation between individuals communication, or connections, is called “spidering“.

So, my next question would be; “Mr. Director, how many degrees of separation from the suspect do you find acceptable to explore?  In other words, do you stop at say Two?  Four?  Six?”

Because stopping at “Six” means they have given themselves the authority to Spy on “…any person in the world.”  (Even “Five” should make most of us physically ill… “Three” only marginally better.)

There is also the issue of freely denying that anyone can listen to your phone calls.  I have seen this in practice first hand… when a suspect is apprehended, say a burglar, the police cannot legally go through his cell phone.  Yet… they do.  What “legally” means is whatever information found there is not admissible in court.  It does not mean that some amazing physics come into play preventing the very action of going through the person’s cell phone.  Remember folks, words mean things.  The world becomes much clearer when you listen carefully.

Finally, I am intrigued by what is considered “civilian” over-sight.  In this case, the “civilian” oversight is being performed by ex-military appointees.  One might ask, is this a difference without a distinction?  I understand the argument could be applied to the President on down, but those are elected positions.  I would like to hear someone explore how Civilian oversight has any impact after the person performing that service has retired from a Government entity.  In other words, once you’ve completed serving the Government Mission for many years you can take Retirement and then serve the Citizens interest by overseeing the very programs you may have been associated with the day before.

While I deeply respect those in the military as a rule, it does not change the fact that many of the most horrid Statists known to man have come directly from there.  Seems like the checks and balances are not served in a way that is as reassuring as possible… at least to me.

It will be interesting to view the transcripts of this hearing once complete.

My overall feeling here is They are intentionally missing the point… as They know Domestic Spying IS the point, not catching Foreign Terrorist A-holes.

The Red Herring is the reiteration that all the information being used is Public and available to Private Companies, so No Problem.  It is a blatant attempt to blur the definition of Public as it is meant.  In this case, Public means out in the open… not Government Property.  The fact the information is available to PRIVATE companies is irrelevant.  If this information is truly “out there for all to see” then the Government should not need to demand it from any Private entity.  But it is not… and the Government sees fit to use their power to compel certain Private entities to supply it to them.

All of our information is not available, nor should it be available, to GOVERNMENT without direct legal cause, free of Constitutional restriction.  That is a very, very important distinction here in the “Freest Country on Earth”.  (Damn that Constitution is SO restrictive…  it tells them what they CAN’T do to us, but not what they CAN do to us…)

It’s amazing how quickly one sobers up when listening to our Spooks…  Unless you’re an elected representative in the room with them, then it appears you fall asleep. (You’ll have to watch the hearing to see what I’m typing about here.  I want you to watch, so I won’t ruin it by showing you.)

(Also! For the record, I love our Spooks.  But much of what they do should stay, or be returned to being, illegal… just in case.  I know this Borrows their argument about why they want to store all of OUR info… we might need their actions to have been illegal down the road.  That’s a real check.  And, they answer to us not the other way around.)

(061813)

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It’s Fine to Spy on the Little People…

… just not the People in Power.

The Politicians are ANGRY!

How DARE the NSA Spy on THEM!

But… wait… what?

Are You Little People confused?

Of course you are… or at least, you should be.

Your confusion stems from our wandering so very far away from our Founders intent.

The reason for this confusion is we were founded in such a way where the Individual is always supreme over the Government.  And the Government is not only LIMITED in it’s power, it’s powers are intentionally Separated.  Limit and Conflict were BUILT INTO THE SYSTEM to PROTECT THE INDIVIDUAL.  It’s quite simple really.

Which brings us to the fact that The Newly Found Political Fury over Sweeping Mass Collection of data by Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies should be directed at the Intrusion upon, and Violation of, Individual Rights of ALL Citizens… Not Politicians specifically.

Frankly, I have less of an issue with Politicians spying on each other than I do Force (Government) spying on the Citizenry.

Let me make this as Clear as possible…

The U.S. Government can and should be Spying on other Countries.  It’s their Job.

Other Countries will be attempting to Spy on us, the U.S.  – It’s not a matter of being ‘OK’ with it, it’s their job… as it is ours to deny them that ability.

What is Not ‘OK’?

The U.S. Government Spying on Individual Citizens without a specifically crafted warrant to do so.  (The only argument worth having here; “Are Politicians considered Individual Citizens?”  It could also be useful to remind the NSA that their Love interests also fit into the ‘Citizen’ category… and some of the things they are doing is considered stalking at a minimum.)

Of course they are…

But the current framing of the ‘Offended’ is that they are ‘special’.  And while I might agree that they are special, I would offer that they are most often the kind of special that requires a helmet when walking outside.

In the end, the reason you should be more concerned about the U.S. Government Spying on you and not China, Korea, Israel or Google, is because none of the latter have yet found a way to show up at your door and throw you in jail.  (Although Google is probably working on it.)

The Politicians should be reminded of their place in society… which was always intended to be servants to those who are not in power.

This will be interesting to watch as most genuine Conservatives do not like being Spied upon, and most Democrats have spent huge amounts of time and money convincing their Useful Voters that they too believe in a Right to Privacy.

Can anyone spell Dissonance?

 

 


Mixing the Kool Aid…

The Democrat National Committee would like you to try out their latest Election Season Cocktail.

They’re filling the Trough as we Speak…  So…

Whip out your Red Solo Cup for a hefty serving of Grape Flavored Medicine.

And of Course,

It’s Free…

(Just make sure to drink it quickly. It tends to have a Bitter Aftertaste.)

Done?  OK… Wipe your mouth.

Here we go:

Is the War on Terror Over?

Is Your Healthcare Cheaper?

Is the National Debt Smaller?

Can you Keep Your Doctor?

Can you Keep Your Insurance Plan?

Is the Economy Better?

Are Prices for everyday things Going Down?

Do you think the Bill of Rights has a Number of Serious Problems?

Do you agree that you’ve never built anything?

Are you Making More Money?

Is Gitmo Closed?

Are all of our Troops Home?

Does North Korea still not have Nuclear Weapons?

Does the Constitution Live and Breathe?

Is Crime Going Down?

Are Race Relations Better?

Is Unemployment Going Down?

Is Russia just Peacefully helping out the Countries around them?

Is Job Creation Going Up?

Are Mom and Pop Businesses Thriving?

Are Welfare Rolls Going Down?

Does Calling yourself a Liberal mean you Care more about Everything?

Do you think Jobs is a three-letter word?

Is Education Getting Cheaper?

Do you believe that the Human Species is not a part of Nature?

Does the World Love us?

Is it Easier to Start A Business?

Do you think all Species on the Planet Today should be Saved except for the ones you don’t like?

Should All Debt be Forgiven?

Is it Cheaper to Travel… Anywhere?

Is Your Privacy being Protected?

Do you think it’s OK your Government is spying on you and saving All of your stuff for Future Use?

Do you Feel More Free?

Is it easier to Voice Your Opinion without Fear?

Do you believe there are 57 States?

Are your Taxes Going Down letting you Keep More of Your Money?

Are you able to Save More?

Are Your Kids Self-Sufficient and Living on Their Own?

Do you think it is a Good Idea for your Government to Sell Guns to Mexican Drug Cartels?

Does any part of ‘Spreading the Wealth Around’ make sense to you?

Is Al Qaeda on the Run?

Are Beheading’s in the Name of Islam typical workplace violence?

Is it OK that Illegal Alien Children are being placed into the Public Schools, where your kids go, without any Medical Screening?

Do you like the Idea that those same Children can choose what school They want to go to, but Your Kids Can’t?

Do you think allowing Millions of New Workers into the United States while Raising the Minimum Wage will Increase Jobs?

Are you pretty sure you’re Smarter than almost everyone except the people you vote for?

If the answer to ANY of the above is ‘No’, you will need to have another Glass…

…and Try Again.

If you have answered ‘Yes’ to all the above, whether it’s true or not, you are Ready to Rock the Vote.

You’ll just need to keep drinking the Kool-Aid for another six weeks until the Election.

Remember, the Liberal Progressive Socialist Democrats are depending on you.


“…What’s Happening Right in Front of Us.”

What do you say about the self-proclaimed “Most Transparent Administration in History” when you find out they are spying on American Citizens who have done nothing other than go about their lives?

If you found a way to defend that…

Then what do you say when you find out that the few, pathetic, rules restricting the access and use of the private information collected by the NSA were removed in 2011 by that same “Most Transparent Administration in History”?

Well… they did.  Full Story: Here

I must confess that I am not surprised…

The story held nothing that I haven’t already accepted to be true.

So why am I posting this?

It was a comment.  A small comment.  A comment that must be addressed.

JonQCit
9/7/2013 10:21 PM MDT
Does the US Constitution mean anything anylonger? Seems like so many of our elected officials have taken a pair of scissors and cut out sections they don’t like of it leaving it in a cut up pile on the floor. Change has been brought to us, I am not sure many like it however.
 
mhenriday
2:26 AM MDT
The short answer to your question as to whether the US Constitution means anything any longer, JonQCit is «No». Then we could have a lengthy discussion about how long it’s been this way ; my suggestion would be at least since very soon after WW II, when the US government begain initiating and/or participating in foreign wars without the Congress, as is its duty under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, declaring war (the last time the US Congress declared war was on 5 June 1942 on Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania ; how many years has the US been at peace since that time ?)…
Henri
maifgm
3:39 AM MDT
job, it’s the people fault, we have become so ideology driven we can’t see what’s happening right in front of us. (emphasis mine)
just read some comments, we have a government that is spying on us, they have reversed restrictions secretly and people still defend them, that’s why we have these problems.
It’s not JonQCit’s rhetorical question or mhenriday’s assertion.  It was the product of our government schools, maifgm, that made me feel sad.
I’m going to assume that maifgm meant “ideologically” when making his statement.
While I don’t disagree with the problems he identifies, it is not being driven by ideology which has brought us here unless he is speaking of Socialism.
In fact, it is the abandonment of Ideology and the rise of Compromise which have handed the Socialists their greatest victories.  It is exactly the Spirit of Compromise which handed them maifgm and probably the friend maifgm drinks with.  It is Bipartisanship, the Why Can’t We All Get Along mentality, that is happening right in front of us.
Depending on maifgm’s age I might not dump ton’s of derision upon his head… I suspect everything he thinks sounds nice with a little ecstasy and a techno music bed, but it is an illustration of profoundly confused thought.  It is the absence of critical thinking that must be corrected everywhere we look.  First with ourselves, then with our friends… particularly those we drink with.
Ideology is the answer.
Free-Market Capitalism is the only Ideology which protects us from Tyranny.
It’s time we embrace it.
If you don’t think so, I suspect you too are a product of our Government Schools and the intentional confusion they were paid to administer upon you.  But don’t feel bad because you’re not alone.
Because maifgm is right on one important point, “it is the people’s fault”.
However, it’s now up to you to correct it.

Short Attention Span

I’ve already forgotten:

We’re bankrupt.
We’re printing money, and paying bills with it, because we don’t have any.
We’re playing with the unemployment numbers and the best we can do is call it “crappy” where it was once called “criminal”.
We’ve Socialized Medicine and it’s costing all of us more money than ever before… but Socialism always works, so no problem.
We’ve sent Assault Rifles to Mexican Drug Cartels and it’s OK.
We have a new “unspoken” policy of allowing our Diplomats overseas to be Murdered.
We have completely given up all Rights to Privacy and apparently condone the NSA spying on us.
We believe the IRS should be able to target Americans based on their political beliefs.
We agree that we need a Domestic Military, called DHS, designed to apply force within our borders.
We enjoy being groped at the airport by the individuals who could not qualify to be police officers.
We continue to believe the housing market collapse was caused by “greedy” banks.
We think there are still people starving in the United States while facing an Obesity Epidemic.
We’ve decided that what used to be called welfare is actually an earned benefit.
We think a consensus is an appropriate replacement for the scientific method.

We believe it when our politicians tell us they will do something.

What was I talking about?


Where’s the DHS?

…or, Suspiciously Absent.

So here’s an interesting question;  Where is the Department of Homeland Security in this NSA Domestic Spying debacle?

The FBI is gleaning information from Innocent Citizens records courtesy of the NSA.  It goes without saying that the NSA is enjoying information from Innocent Americans records, it’s their program.

But where is DHS on this?

You must believe the agency supposedly tasked with the internal safety and security (formerly a FBI responsibility…) might be mildly interested in the type of data mined from your credit card purchases and phone records, not to mention your e-mail.

Yet, no word about their involvement.

Are they not involved?  Or, would that be the last straw as it would be extremely difficult to spin a tale the internal (read domestic) security service has legal, and constitutional, legitimacy to know everything about you… all the time… forever?

I have no information to say they are involved. None.

But it is the eerie silence… a complete absence of mention.  At the very least I would expect someone from DHS to slip out a quiet press release saying they have nothing to do with the bounty being harvested over at the NSA, unless…

We’ll see.


Google Can’t Shoot You

… and claim the Patriot Act was on Their side.

So stop trying to justify the NSA’s collection of Citizen’s Personal Data because Google, and others, do it.

Did the Democrats buy information from Google for President Obama’s Election and re-election Campaigns?  Yes, they did.  But it’s not their fault the Republicans were too stupid to make the same investment.  Data Mining is something that should aggravate you when conducted by private companies… like Google, Bing, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, etc…

But it should incense you to the point of demanding jail time for those responsible when Data Mining is conducted by the Federal Government using, unconstitutionally obtained, innocent civilian personal information.  Not only that, the fact that the government is storing every communication prior to a crime being committed should make you want to vomit.

Private companies can do whatever they want… so long as it’s legal… and they are willing to face the public. In other words, the fine folks at Google can be put in jail, or watch their share prices drop at a minimum.

We enjoy NO SUCH RECOURSE when dealing with the government. You cannot sue the Government.  The Government Employees never go to jail.  You can’t put the Government out of business.  The best we ever get is a hearing or two with the promise that “steps have been taken to make sure (whatever you’re complaining about) will not happen again”.  Frankly, We consider ourselves lucky to get an “I’m Sorry.”.

There is a VAST difference between PRIVATE and GOVERNMENT.

We were not founded as a Nation that was supposed to “Trust the Government”.  In fact, our founding documents were specifically designed to limit Government power exactly because Government was not to be trusted… ever.  Never.

Another Argument is; “We’ve been doing this for a long time… almost a decade.  And we haven’t seen a problem…” -Charles Krauthammer.

SO WHAT!?  The U.S. Government has been wasting our money for far longer than they have been Spying on the Entire Nation… so it’s OK?!  Unbelievable.

The last, and latest, argument to try to make you feel okay is; “Judges have signed off on these seizures of data.”  The fact the Eric Holder had to go “judge shopping” until he could find one to sign off on whatever he wanted, particularly the seizing of data from 100 AP reporters, should illustrate what a farce the FISA courts are.  It is not beyond a very simple imagination to think those courts could be stacked with exactly those types of judges.  It is worth noting that reportedly, of the 34,000 requests currently sent to FISA courts only 11 (eleven) have been refused.  Eleven… eleven… holy crap.

I find the reaction, and offered defenses, of what is going on to be astounding, and frightening all at the same time.  As should you.

Grab a pen, and start keeping track of those Politicians, Advisors, Talking Heads and Government Employees who defend such behavior.

You’ll need that list come election time.  You’ll also need a bottle of Bourbon… no glass, it’ll just get in the way.