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Old Jun 21, 2013, 06:12 PM   #26
citizenzen
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If the government setup an array of parabolic microphones aimed at the windows of your house/apartment and digitize the signals from the mic-array and store that information on a hard drive, and used a voice-to-text program to convert that data to digital text, and then used text-mining software programs to scan the digital-text in order to analyse the content and context of that data, is that really "spying"?
Here's a distinction ...

You "own" your voice and the ability to broadcast it through your body. So if the government is gathering everything uttered through my mouth, then I see that as intrusive.

But I don't own the phone lines. I have to rely on a commercial enterprise to broadcast my voice through this method. I have to purchase the right to do so. While I own my voice, I don't own the vocal transmissions carried over a phone line.

AFAIK, the government worked with the phone companies and came to an agreement to gather data. So likewise, if the government came to me and we came to an agreement that they could monitor my vocal utterances then that would not constitute spying.

Without that agreement, it would.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 06:24 PM   #27
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I ask, because I wonder how far your privacy has to be invaded in order for you to consider it spying.
I guess my point is that privacy isn't a simple yes/no proposition. We have different levels in the expectation of privacy for various elements of our lives and with whom we share that data.

I'd also say that, if 9/11 had never happened, and I'd not seen the sometimes absurd over-reaction of much of the American public to that event, I'd have a much worse opinion of the NSA program.

But its pretty clear to me that the American public has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy towards (shall we say) Islamic terrorism. We still sorta turn a blind eye to kids shooting up classrooms or nut cases burning down women's health clinics. And the good folks of Boston didn't care too much about terrorism when it was IRA "freedom fighters" blowing up Harrods shoppers. But thats a discussion for another day.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 06:28 PM   #28
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Here's a distinction ...

You "own" your voice and the ability to broadcast it through your body. So if the government is gathering everything uttered through my mouth, then I see that as intrusive.
I'm following your logic, so far... But I'm not sure what legal basis there is for "ownership" of one's voice...

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But I don't own the phone lines. I have to rely on a commercial enterprise to broadcast my voice through this method. I have to purchase the right to do so. While I own my voice, I don't own the vocal transmissions carried over a phone line.
Ooops I lost your logic flow.

First, nothing (other than background noise) is transmitted via a phone line (from you end) unless its first "uttered through" your mouth.

So by your logic, if someone writes an original song and sings it over the telephone are you claiming the telephone company would own the copyright on the song since it was "carried over a phone line"?

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AFAIK, the government worked with the phone companies and came to an agreement to gather data. So likewise, if the government came to me and we came to an agreement that they could monitor my vocal utterances then that would not constitute spying.

Without that agreement, it would.
Well, by my count, there are three parties involved -- you, the phone company, and the government.

Were you part of the negotiation between the phone company and the government regarding access to your data?
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 06:45 PM   #29
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So by your logic, if someone writes an original song and sings it over the telephone are you claiming the telephone company would own the copyright on the song since it was "carried over a phone line"?
I'm suggesting they own the transmission, though not the intellectual property within the transmission.

And I believe the telecom companies definitely own the meta data: the data that records when the call was made, for how long, the number called and the number calling.

One of the details that I'd love to know is whether the government paid the telecom companies for the information. I wouldn't be the least surprised if they did.

I suspect the government negotiated with the companies to obtain that data. And if the government negotiated with you to record your voice through your window, then I'd see that as a parallel.

If the government took the meta data against the telecom company's will or without their consent, then I'd definitely see that as spying.

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Were you part of the negotiation between the phone company and the government regarding access to your data?
I don't believe I have any ownership of my meta data.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 06:48 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by citizenzen View Post
Here's a distinction ...

You "own" your voice and the ability to broadcast it through your body. So if the government is gathering everything uttered through my mouth, then I see that as intrusive.

But I don't own the phone lines. I have to rely on a commercial enterprise to broadcast my voice through this method. I have to purchase the right to do so. While I own my voice, I don't own the vocal transmissions carried over a phone line.

AFAIK, the government worked with the phone companies and came to an agreement to gather data. So likewise, if the government came to me and we came to an agreement that they could monitor my vocal utterances then that would not constitute spying.

Without that agreement, it would.
It's not an issue of ownership; it's an issue of privacy.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 06:58 PM   #31
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It's not an issue of ownership; it's an issue of privacy.
The phone companies already sell off your privacy in different ways.

Do you object because kind of data they're selling?

Or do you object because of who they are selling that data to?
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 07:03 PM   #32
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... I don't believe I have any ownership of my meta data.
Why not? Metadata could contain information that some might consider to be private information.

If the metadata from John S.'s phone records show that on Monday he called a VD hotline, then his next call was a call to his doctor, then the location data shows that he called three women while at his doctor's office, you don't think this qualifies as information that most persons would consider to be "private"?

While the government may not care or take particular of John S.'s data, once John S.'s metadata has been seized by the government and stored in a database what assurances does John S. have that this database won't be hacked into at some point in time or end up on the hard drive of some government agent's laptop that might be stolen?
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 07:07 PM   #33
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I'm suggesting they own the transmission.
Just for arguments sake why do the cell phone companies require immunity and from what exactly. If they technically own the data and are complying with legal orders then there doesn't seem to me there is anything they need immunity from.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 07:39 PM   #34
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Just for arguments sake why do the cell phone companies require immunity and from what exactly. If they technically own the data and are complying with legal orders then there doesn't seem to me there is anything they need immunity from.
Does the concept that "the telephone company owns your metadata" have any sort of legal basis?

Since 1996, "federal communications laws have required telephone companies to protect the confidentiality of your telephone calls. Under the law, carriers are obligated to ensure that your Customer Proprietary Network Information, or CPNI, is not disclosed to third parties without your consent. (Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. §§151 et seq.)" (source)

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When you pick up your telephone and punch in a number, you expect that the contact is just between you and the person you call. Sure, you know your telephone carrier logs your phone’s activity. After all, a record of your mobile phone calls appears on your monthly telephone bill. And the bill for your landline phone includes information on calls made to phone numbers outside the local zone. But, what you don’t expect is that someone could use your calling history to pry into your personal life, even to physically harm you.
From the FCC's page, Protecting Your Telephone Calling Records:

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Both a law passed by Congress and FCC rules impose a general duty on telephone companies and VoIP providers to protect the confidentiality of your customer information. Telephone companies and VoIP providers may use, disclose or permit access to your customer information in these circumstances: (1) as required by law; (2) with your approval; and (3) in providing the service from which the customer information is derived.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 07:57 PM   #35
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Does the concept that "the telephone company owns your metadata" have any sort of legal basis?
Sounds like something the courts will decide.

If they rule against the NSA practice, I won't lose a moment of sleep.

Please don't interpret my discussing the issue as being a proponent of those practices.

I honestly don't have enough information to reach any conclusion.

But I do appreciate your posts.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 09:13 PM   #36
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The phone companies already sell off your privacy in different ways.

Do you object because kind of data they're selling?

Or do you object because of who they are selling that data to?
Actually, I'm not sure i object at all. The comment about ownership, though, just seemed to miss the point to me.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 09:20 PM   #37
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Sounds like something the courts will decide.
What kind of court? A secret court? Or an non-secret court?

If you think you'd enjoy reading something on the subject the NSA twisted domestic spying program, I'd suggest this one: A Review of the NSA Phone Surveillance Program

Quote:
So the NSA has the authority to seek and obtain (through the FBI and FISC) telephone metadata. It also has a legitimate need to do so. But that’s not exactly what they did here. Instead of getting the records they needed, the NSA decided that it would get all the records of all calls made or received (non-content information) about everyone, at least from Verizon, and most likely from all providers. The demand was updated daily, so every call record was dumped by the phone companies onto a massive database operated by the NSA.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 09:24 PM   #38
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Actually, I'm not sure i object at all. The comment about ownership, though, just seemed to miss the point to me.
I'll admit, "ownership" is a problematic term.

How about ... they keep and maintain the records.

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What kind of court? A secret court? Or an non-secret court?
Isn't the ACLU taking this case up in the non-secret courts right now?
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 09:43 PM   #39
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I'll admit, "ownership" is a problematic term.

How about ... they keep and maintain the records.[COLOR="#808080"]
It's only problematic in the sense that it's 100% incorrect.


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Isn't the ACLU taking this case up in the non-secret courts right now?
Yes, and Google has filed a first-amendment request with the secret court.
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 10:06 AM   #40
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It's only problematic in the sense that it's 100% incorrect.
Are you really 100% sure?

I'm not one for arguing absolutes.

Issues are usually more complex than that.
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 04:11 PM   #41
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Are you really 100% sure?

I'm not one for arguing absolutes.

Issues are usually more complex than that.
I'm simply saying that "ownership" is a bizarre term to use in the context to this issue. You used the term to imply that ownership was (absolutely) owned by the telecos, i.e, the telecos own 100% of the transmission and the metadata. I would argue that the range of (possible) paradigms used in regards to data ownership are normally very complex, e.g., claims of ownership would normally involve examination of both the type and degree of contribution by all the parties involved in the creation of a given set of data.
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 05:38 PM   #42
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I'm simply saying that "ownership" is a bizarre term to use in the context to this issue. You used the term to imply that ownership was (absolutely) owned by the telecos, i.e, the telecos own 100% of the transmission and the metadata. I would argue that the range of (possible) paradigms used in regards to data ownership are normally very complex, e.g., claims of ownership would normally involve examination of both the type and degree of contribution by all the parties involved in the creation of a given set of data.
I'll give you some hypotheticals that I believe are parallel.

Hypothetical 1. The NSA has reason to believe that a suspected terrorist frequents 7-Elevens. They request video footage from the surveillance cameras to see if they can identify their suspect and pinpoint his location.

Doesn't 7-Eleven "own" that video? If a FISA court was called to issue a warrant would they issue it to every person depicted in the video? I don't think they would.

Hypothetical 2. The NSA has reason to believe that a suspected terrorist frequents Sears stores. They request receipts from Sears in the hope of finding a purchasing pattern that might identify their suspect.

Doesn't Sears "own" those receipts? If a FISA court was called to issue a warrant would they issue it to every person who shopped at Sears? Again, I don't think they would.
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 06:13 PM   #43
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I'll give you some hypotheticals that I believe are parallel.

Hypothetical 1. The NSA has reason to believe that a suspected terrorist frequents 7-Elevens. They request video footage from the surveillance cameras to see if they can identify their suspect and pinpoint his location.

Doesn't 7-Eleven "own" that video? If a FISA court was called to issue a warrant would they issue it to every person depicted in the video? I don't think they would.

Hypothetical 2. The NSA has reason to believe that a suspected terrorist frequents Sears stores. They request receipts from Sears in the hope of finding a purchasing pattern that might identify their suspect.

Doesn't Sears "own" those receipts? If a FISA court was called to issue a warrant would they issue it to every person who shopped at Sears? Again, I don't think they would.
I really don't see how A is comparable. How can anyone realistically compare video being recorded in privately owned public space (7-11) to data collection in cyberspace? For example: Http: is public (no expectation of privacy implied). Https: is not (privacy is implied).

As for B: This ventures into the "hotwatch” orders" arena, e.g., tracking credit card purchases through a centralized system without a warrant, which could be considered a 4th Amendment issue. It's a journey down the same slippery slope as blanket metadata collection...

I really can't see "ownership" as a key factor in either example.
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 07:51 PM   #44
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I really don't see how A is comparable. How can anyone realistically compare video being recorded in privately owned public space (7-11) to data collection in cyberspace? For example: Http: is public (no expectation of privacy implied). Https: is not (privacy is implied).
I've been talking about phone call records, not the internet.

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I really can't see "ownership" as a key factor in either example.
Didn't think you would.
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 08:32 PM   #45
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I've been talking about phone call records, not the internet.[COLOR="#808080"]
I used the term "cyberspace", which includes systems other than the Internet (see quote below). However, the https/http example I cited was Internet related...

Quoting from Bruce Sterling's introduction to The Hacker Crackdown (1992):

Quote:
A science fiction writer coined the useful term "cyberspace" in 1982, but the territory in question, the electronic frontier, is about a hundred and thirty years old. Cyberspace is the "place" where a telephone conversation appears to occur. Not inside your actual phone, the plastic device on your desk. Not inside the other person's phone, in some other city. THE PLACE BETWEEN the phones. The indefinite place OUT THERE, where the two of you, two human beings, actually meet and communicate.

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Didn't think you would.
Nope. You haven't convinced me that "ownership" is an issue.
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 08:34 PM   #46
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Nope. You haven't convinced me the "ownership" is an issue.
Someone needs to remind me why I think it's possible to discuss anything in these forums ... exchanging ideas simply to exchange ideas.

Never mind.
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Old Jun 22, 2013, 08:57 PM   #47
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Someone needs to remind me why I think it's possible to discuss anything in these forums ... exchanging ideas simply to exchange ideas.

Never mind.
Well I'm sorry, but your opinion alone isn't enough evidence to convince me.

Cite some source that backs up your opinion that this issue boils down to a question of "ownership". A court case, an op-ed, something, anything...

I've stated my opinion and cited several sources to back up my contentions regarding privacy and warrantless searches, etc.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 09:33 AM   #48
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Someone needs to remind me why I think it's possible to discuss anything in these forums ... exchanging ideas simply to exchange ideas.

Never mind.
You have been here long enough to know the rules about PRSI.
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Old Jun 23, 2013, 12:37 PM   #49
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The phone company doesn't know what I talk about on those phone calls. And I'd be outraged if they did.
But they have the potential to listen in on your conversation if they wanted to. After all, you're talking on their phone line.
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