Thursday, May 11, 2006

Big Brother

Some people (I won't mention any names) seem to like big brother looking over their shoulder. You can probably guess that I am not one of those people.

It was confirmed today something that I had heard rumors about for months now - that the government is collecting data on all the phone calls you make (NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls, NSA Call-Tracking Program Sparks Alarm). They claim that they are not listening to your conversations, just collecting a list of all the phone calls you make and storing them. All of the major phone companies are involved in this except Quest (three cheers to Quest!). I can only hope that Quest expands eastward so I can change my phone service to them.

So, why am I opposed to this big brother program? After all, doesn't it make us safer from terrorist?

Well, I am against it because it is un-American and dangerous.

First of all, the government has no business recording who I call and when. I am an attorney. I speak to clients all the time. They have no reason to record to which numbers I am calling and who is calling me. It undermines the judicial process, it chills the freedom of speech and impinges on your rights.

Second, we cannot trust the government especially when there is no oversight - which this program has none. The US government has proven time after time that they are not capable of not abusing their power. We have no idea how this information will be used. Think it will be only used to track terrorist? Think again. We already know that the Patriot act has been abused to spy on religious and civil groups. That is just the last in a long line of abuses by the government. Even with the other American spying program the NSA is conducting, we don't know what the hell is going on since the NSA won't give clearance to government investigators (With Access Denied, Justice Department Drops Spying Investigation). This government has given me no reason to trust them - none. Trust is to be earned, and they have not earned it.

All of you who rail against Stalinism, but yet condone this sort of big brother programs, are putting us on the same road. And please don't respond with some sort of "well Clinton did something similar." I don't care who does it. Republican, Democrat, Mother Theresa... I don't care. It is wrong whoever does it.


tommy said...

From where I stand this seems like a settled issue as a result of echelon because there didn't seem to by any revolt to stop that. For what it's worth I thought there should have been.

To protest this program now, which seems much less intrusive than echelon, strikes me a case of it's OK if the right guy is in office, and this isn't the right guy.

MaxedOutMama said...

Where have you been? I knew about this in the 1980's when the software was being developed. Some published algorithms got classified, and that was when I knew. It was right as I was going into the white out.

I don't agree with much that has been done, but in that case hadn't we better be talking to Congress? Congress allocated the money to build the infrastructure for all of this over a period of decades.

Now, granted, we now have a spineless, supine Congress, but perhaps we should turn our attention to electing people who better represent the concerns of the people?

I don't find the program as described detrimental to liberty, but sooner or later the Echelon-type of stuff will become dangerous. This type of thing is being used by multiple countries, though. It's hardly an American innovation.

The 314(a) stuff is being applied to look for common criminals, not cast a net for people whose greatest ambition in life is to become a mass murderer. I think you are straining at a gnat and prepared to swallow the camel.

Maybe something good will come out of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Maybe the average citizen will wake up and decide to become a little more stubborn about standing up for liberty.

But that cannot happen without a stronger Congress, Dingo. Sometimes we will have to use extreme measures. The effort here is to prevent American soil from becoming a literal battleground, and if it fails you will see those now bleating about this program prepared to nuke the world and throw all the Muslims into camps. Read DU - they are tipping over. It's not pretty.