Comments

pocketlamaJune 3, 2006 1:40 PM

Speaking purely from my most primal self, I don't like this world that's being created. It makes me feel sad and uncomfortable, and I think sometimes before I do something, and wonder whether or not someone is listening...

I guess many people would say that's the ultimate end "point" of all this. I don't know, but that's certainly the way it works.

That reminds me that NOW, on PBS, had on their show, George Christian, Library Connection's executive director. According to Christian on that interview (not archived, and no transcript at this writing), and various other news sources, tens of thousands of NSA letters "requesting" information, and insisting on non-disclosure, are sent out every year.

Of all of those, only George Christian and one or two others have actually challenged their letters in court.

I guess I'm not the only one that's getting nervous.

marcoJune 3, 2006 2:25 PM

How about a description of the cartoon for those of us who dislike the inherent insecurity of the wintel computing monoculture enough to use hardware and software that does not (and apparently will never) support flash?

OldmanJune 3, 2006 2:35 PM

"How about a description of the cartoon for those of us who dislike the inherent insecurity of the wintel computing monoculture enough to use hardware and software that does not (and apparently will never) support flash?"

But then we would have to kill you.....

SecureJune 3, 2006 2:45 PM

"But then we would have to kill you....."

Well, I think, I can live with that. Please describe the cartoon. ;)

StudentJune 3, 2006 3:26 PM

Sung the tune of “I Just Called To Say I Love You��?

Each time you dial
We start a file
the private things you discuss
we then compile
The stuff we hear
Like if you are queer
Or purchase "Girls gone wild" tapes
Six times this year
You had privacy
Till recently
But now that friggin' Bill of rights
Don't mean jack to me
Now congress may
Complain all day
But they just made our boss
The head of the cia
You just called and we were listening
You just called to check in on your mom
Our encryption guys
Heard the whole thing
They think chicken soup
Is codeword for a bomb
You just called and we were listening
While you talked
We were as quiet as a mouse
You just said
You Aunt Gertrude is visiting
Now we wonder if Ossama is in your house
In your house (We are gonna check)
Is he in your house?

And a small animation of the NSA guys in a room...

RonKJune 3, 2006 4:18 PM

Kind of eerie since I just did call to check up on my mom... and since I'm calling from the Middle East, it's more likely the NSA logged or whatever....

Nobby NutsJune 3, 2006 5:41 PM

Why don't you all make a point of saying trigger words at least once on every phone call you make and overwhelm them with information?

Thankfully, I don't have the problem of your security services listening in on my every call, because I live in Good Old Blighty and you of course wouldn't listen in on phone calls of citizens of an ally in the international global war against scarey terror fear, would you? That base, Menwith Hill, not 5 miles from me here in Yorkshire and supposedly part of an operation called Echelon, is simply protecting me and my family from Evil, isn't it?

Nobby NutsJune 3, 2006 5:43 PM

Geez, that was quick, there's a black helicopter overhead already ...

Jarrod FratesJune 4, 2006 2:55 AM

I'm always amused at the "black helicopter" mentions. If a group has that much power, why do you think they can't repaint their aircraft to look like, for example, traffic helicopters? Or police or fire department helicopters? We welcome the presence of all of the above for the most part.

Ah, I love feeding the paranoiac's suspicions. :)

AnonymousJune 4, 2006 4:08 AM

[Wild starey eyes]
There are no black helicopters, Menwith Hill does not listen into my every phone call. I was mistaken. The nonexistent men in black balaclavas that didn't get out of that black helicopter that never came for me last night told me so, so it must be true.

Nobby NutsJune 4, 2006 4:10 AM

"If a group has that much power, why do you think they can't repaint their aircraft to look like, for example, traffic helicopters?"

Budget cuts?

ZnorenJune 4, 2006 5:29 AM

Check out the cartoon linked to by my name. It's in Danish, but here's a translation:

Man 1: That's the evidence! Recorded by a surveillance camera! Caught red-handed, scum bags!

Man 2: It's a movie... We're actors!

Man 3: Stop those pathetic lies. Look, you are standing right there... Next to Bruce Willis!

Caption: Some of CIA's less competent agents finally got their hands on some dangerous terrorists.

Josh OJune 4, 2006 9:19 AM

I'm still not convinced that the NSA wiretapping is illegal at all. What amazes me is that so many people decry it as outrageous, yet seem to have few of the details correct. For instance, in the cartoon, it portrays humans listening to all these calls, when of course that is impractical. How many call do you think they can listen too? Do you know what call volume is like nowadays? Furthermore, RonK believes that since he's calling from the middle east, his call was automatically monitored. As I understand, there are certain numbers being monitored based on their association with Al Qaeda. Can anyone point out otherwise.

In general, I think we have lost most of our freedoms. Unfortunately, it began about 140 years ago. Slowly we've given up many of our freedoms, as we found new non-sensical ones that appeased us and kept us quiet. Now it's already too late, and instead of getting all upset about the really lost freedoms, we're upset about little things like this.

kdJune 4, 2006 6:06 PM

Do a google on the American Bar Association point of view on the matter.

They had a research group on the matter that unanimous decided Bush broke the law by ignoring current wire tapping laws.

JungsonnJune 5, 2006 6:54 AM

@Josh

i agree the cartoon is balooning the idea, but just to make it more funny and not so serious.

Ofcorse they arn't listening to us in blue vans next to your house, but the everything is stored, for later use, and maybe even realtime proccessed to filter out keywords or things like that. I don't wanna go in the movie plot area so i keep my imagination basic for now. But this is really the price for the so called "freedom" you guys have in the U.S. The way it is arranged in the U.S. does not differ from a dictatorship, or a communistic china, or like Iran (who is doing what it's want to do, and every right IMO) IMHO the U.S. is a bit ignorant of other countries who also have the right on freedom, and choice.

jmrJune 5, 2006 1:43 PM

@Josh

I think it's time for Civics 101:

Governments exist to remove freedom, and replace those freedoms with some other desirable thing, usually "security". The balancing act that is the Constitution is founded on historically accurate premise that not all those in a position of publicly provided power use that power for the public good. Hence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights outline ways in which government can restrict freedom and ways in which it cannot.

The Framers of the Constitution did not trust that they could create a government that the people could trust. What a brave act, to admit one's failings! Instead, they outlined a mechanism where the government could only act with the repeated consent of the governed. Part of that mechanism is the separation of powers between the Executors of the government and the Legislators.

The Constitution says that the Executive branch of government cannot take certain actions, INCLUDING search or seizure without a warrant issued by the Judicial branch of government, on of whose roles is to verify that the Executive branch is acting in a way the Legislative branch agreed upon, AND who verifies that the Legislature is not itself creating illegal "laws".

Courts have repeatedly ruled that wiretapping is a form of search. Therefore, wiretapping on ANY scale without a warrant is not "merely" illegal according to the Legislature, but un-Constitutional without an amendment thereof.

So what's the big deal, the government's listening in, right?

Well, remember the underlying premise of our form of government: The people who form the government may be untrustworthy. If a person who acts with disregard to the law is in a position of power to stop further political activity that is against that person's interests, it would be well that that person is forced to obey the law by others in that government.

Mr. Bush is in just such a position. He could theorically break up any opposition to his policies that are expressed via telephone simply by causing the persons involved in those conversations to be arrested, possibly secretly, and held without trial. What guards against this? As our Legislature (who holds Impeachment power) and Judicial branches are right now not stopping the Executive branch, only our votes in the upcoming elections prevent this.

Even this is tenuous, as the power to disrupt organized political campaigns may remove the ability for the constituency to voice their say effectively.

Now, if the telephone monitoring did not exist, the ability to disrupt political campaigns becomes much more difficult, because you can no longer have certainty about who is involved in such a campaign! That's the beauty of disallowing searches without warrants. The right to present your ideas to your peers about how your government should work without disclosing those ideas to the government is fundamental to preserving the People's role in deciding the actions their government should take.

My argument may sound alarmist, but do consider that there are some reports by respected news organizations of other illegal behavior by the US government INSIDE the United States, including alleged kidnappings.

jmrJune 5, 2006 1:50 PM

I still don't get why people don't understand why it's right to be paranoid about the government. Do they really not understand that the government is made of people who are not infallible, and who are often looking out for their own interests? We hear stories about corruption, people complain about how the big guys in Washington or their state capitols don't understand the little guy, but so many people still want to place ultimate trust in their governments.

Wake up! You can't live both sides of that argument and expect to get what you want!

kashmarekJune 6, 2006 12:03 PM

Interesting observations about NSA collecting data on telephone calls. How about data on the U.S. mail? They have the date/time mailed, the return address (sender), target address (receiver), and perhaps a description of the mailed item (maybe even the contents). Gee, do you suppose the terrorists could be using the mail?

PatriotSeptember 3, 2006 1:18 PM

When your rights are being violated, refer to the SECOND Amendment. That's why it's there. Government gains NO power except BY THE CONSENT OF THOSE BEING GOVERNED.

Franklin said (and rightly so) that those who are willing to give up freedom for security deserve neither.

The more three letter agencies we get, the less freedom we have. Do we really NEED a Department of Homeland Security? Do we not already have the FBI? We never had a National Security Agency until AFTER WW 2. Do you ever wonder just what it is that we learned from those Nazis we pulled from the fire in Operation Paperclip? You can bet it was a lot more than we're being told.

Liberalism has pussyfied the average American into sheep. Had the conditions in America today existed in say 1950, there would have been a civil war. Now, we whine like petulant children, but we accept it like SLAVES. And so we are.

The government does not need to electronically eavesdrop on millions of conversations to get the info they need. All they need to do is eavesdrop on the segment of the population most likely to cause the problem, which right now is MUSLIMS. Not Arabs, Pakistanis, but Muslims period. Not only that, they don't have to broadcast to the whole WORLD that they're doing it either. Just freakin' DO IT. When the threat diminishes, STOP. How simple is that? Gripe about profiling all you want. Too bad. If you're Islamic, clean up your house. Then you won't have the government snooping.

If Swedish terrorists blow up something, then we watch the Swedes. Get the picture?

Instead, we watch the chickens while the fox raids the henhouse. America wake up and resist.

JimJanuary 22, 2008 4:55 PM

Check out John St. Clair Akwei's lawsuit against the NSA if you really want to learn the extent of the NSA's spying on Americans. Something which given the advanced technology the NSA has access to and deploys by way of satellite, far worse than the American
people realize.

If they were to collectively learn of this technology, they would seek to abolish the NSA and completely restructure the US Federal Intelligence community.

JimJanuary 22, 2008 4:55 PM

Check out John St. Clair Akwei's lawsuit against the NSA if you really want to learn the extent of the NSA's spying on Americans. Something which given the advanced technology the NSA has access to and deploys by way of satellite, far worse than the American
people realize.

If they were to collectively learn of this technology, they would seek to abolish the NSA and completely restructure the US Federal Intelligence community.

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