NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, May 10, 2006.

  1. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #1
    USA Today

    tens of millions, with the goal of capturing all domestic phonecalls. warrantless. no probable cause.

    this doesn't sound like the country *i* grew up in.
     
  2. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #2
    This isnt the America my grandparents fought world wars to have, lets throw all these guys out now! Contact your congressman and demand action! Demand it! This President isnt above the Law!
     
  3. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #3
    Macheads get off your butts and contact your representitives herehttp://www.visi.com/juan/congress/ Let them know how you feel about everything this president is doing.
     
  4. joepunk macrumors 68030

    joepunk

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    #4
    Looks like AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth are the governments B*t*h now.
     
  5. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #5
    I know you can't tell from the topic title, but this is the exact same subject being discussed in this thread.
     
  6. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #6
    yeah, i wish i had put up mine, the one with the descriptive title, first.

    oh wait -- i did.

    ;)
     
  7. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    NSA means Now Spying on Americans. The American People are becoming the enemy it seems. Guess thats a lot easier then stopping the Mexican invasion.
     
  8. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    jack cafferty's nice and pissed. direct video link here.

    he dropped the D word.
     
  9. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #9
    And so you did. My apologies.

    I've been making a habit of putting my foot in my mouth lately. I've really gotta stop that. :eek:
     
  10. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #10
    Spying is perfecting legal... with a warrant. That means there's a reason, or at least a suspicion. With that many calls being tracked, no wonder they didn't want to go through the trouble of doing things legally. And yet people who support them still don't have a problem with it because they mention terrorism, or sometimes kiddie porn. Even though the way they've done this is completely overkill (I've used the hitting a fly with a mallet term before for good reason), and unConstitutional for a reason because of the obvious potential for abuses, it doesn't actually even help against terrorism either. According to both the FBI and the CIA, they waste their time on all of these leads to nowhere, that they can't even prosecute because the evidence was obtained illegally, it makes it harder to go after the real threats.

    Not to mention all of the harm it does to our reputation, or at least, what's left of it.
     
  11. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Kim duToit has an excellent clarifying essay, "Database Cluebat" at his website:

    http://www.theothersideofkim.com/

    One of the responsive comments speaks to a pertinent court decision.

    'Rat
     
  12. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #12
    So I assume this means you've changed your mind about whether government should be able to keep a record of your guns?

    I mean, if you've nothing to hide, why oppose it, right?

    Nice how the guy calls me clueless, Terminally Stupid, and evil too. Makes me want to believe his analysis isn't tainted by partisanship. :D What was that mantra the conservatives kept saying after the '04 elections? Oh yeah, calling your opposition stupid isn't likely to win you a lot of support!

    And he's SOOOOO sure we're not being recorded. I mean, the government wouldn't LIE to us about that, right?
     
  13. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #13
    If Kim is correct, they're not listening to the calls. They're logging phone numbers and looking for a pattern. After the weeding out process shows some pattern, and there is some cause to suspect wrongful activity, investigators then get a warrant for actual wiretap listening.

    The response likened this to pen registers, which federal courts have held are legal.

    That's what I read from the essay and that one response.

    Show me where I'm wrong, fine. Show me where Kim's analysis is incorrect. Name-calling isn't necessary, regardless of who started it. If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it. Certainly the comment about gun registration is way out in left field...

    'Rat
     
  14. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #14
    They've lied to you every step of the way. What gives you confidence they are finally coming completely clean now?

    Legal with a warrant is my understanding. Show me the warrant.

    Give me an investigation with subpoena power and I will.
    In all fairness, he did leave out 'unhinged' and 'moonbat'.
    Really? Replace 'phone calls' with 'guns' and see if you feel the same way about the program. If the government was secretely keeping records of not only your firearms purchases, but also your ammunition and shooting/hunting supplies, would you argue that you're cool with that? Come on 'Rat, it's all about privacy. You've argued that the government has no right to invade the privacy of a law-abiding citizen who wishes to purchase a firearm. Yet suddenly you claim that very same concept - magnified immensely - applied to phone calls of law-abiding citizens is fine with you? Would you trust Hillary with that power? Think she might be tempted to use her powers for evil?

    I'd like to know how big Kim's database was that he managed versus how big one would be that kept track of every phone call made over five years.

    Average person maybe makes 5 calls a day 7 days a week, 280 million people, for five years? That is 2,548,000,000,000 records with what Kim describes as only 4 or 5 fields per record. That's only some 12 trillion bits of data. Yet the claim has been made that this is the largest database in the world. I know people who work for companies that maintain larger databases. So something doesn't add up here.

    Do the math. Kim's admitted database is larger than what he says the feds have. That doesn't raise any red flags to you?

    The phrase 'tip of the iceberg' comes to mind...
     
  15. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #15
    I saw it, he has every right to be pissed at the federal govt just as every American should be pissed at our Govt for not upholding our laws and border. Congress & this president are guilty of treason.
     
  16. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #16
    Since we're linking to snarky blogs to prove whether or not this program is legal, I submit this excellent essay by an actual lawyer - who just might have a little more insight into the legality of this program than a gun-fancying ex-grocery store employee.
     
  17. zimv20 thread starter macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #17
    from Daily KOS:

     
  18. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #18
    mac, how long back was it that "Echelon" was first discussed? About the recording of every electronic emission made (I guess excepting TV)? Three listening stations, one here, one in the UK and one in New Zealand. The UK data is sent to the NSA in the U.S., getting around the deal about the NSA monitoring US citizens.

    For years, the sequential process has been discussed: The computers search for key words and phrases. If certain combinations appear, further processing leads finallly to some human checking it out.

    I have not a clue whether the explosion in the numbers of telephones has created problems of database size. I don't know. But it might be that there is as much good to be derived from gathering patterns of phone numbers as actually recording conversations or emails as admittedly was done in the past (and might be continuing). Maybe such things a PGP have had an effect; I don't know. But it certainly would require less space to store phone numbers than it would entire conversations.

    Stipulating that Kim is not lying about his own background--and there's no reason for him to lie--then his argument has an internal logic that makes sense.

    And SFAIK, no warrant is needed for a pen register. That's what the lawsuit was all about.

    'Rat
     
  19. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #19

    I'll admit that the gun registry is not a great comparison since a gun registry would me more analogous to a phone book, showing who owns what guns instead of who owns which phone numbers.

    The phone number database is akin to the government requiring you to file papers every time you want to use your gun that states where you are going to use it and who with.

    If they are keeping audio as well it would be as if the government had to video tape you every time you use your gun.

    It's not like these databases would not exist if the government weren't compiling them. I have no doubt that my phone company has a record of all of my calls over the years (I see them on my monthly bills). However the government is supposed to get a warrant to get the information, just like they would have to get a warrant to get the records of a gun store owner to see who they've sold to.
     
  20. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #20
    Spying on your own people doesnt make us secure, doesnt give us liberty nor freedom. Its a tool of a oppressive govt that has shown they are capable of anything, even torture,secret prisons and who knows what else in the false war on terror. If this was a real war they would have closed our borders and inspect every cargo container coming into the U.S on the first day of this so called war. Its a pure Power Grab by the Federal Govt and are simply using the terrorist as an excuse for this fascist march.

    Looks like the young people of this country seem to take real Freedom for granted,clueless and blind to where Bush's policies are taking this country. They just may wake up tomorrow with no voice,no liberty and no freedom just like in Nazi Germany,Communist Russia and todays Communist China.

    Turn off your ipods for a moment and pay attention. Our forfathers didnt fight all those wars just to let a nut & his crazy we worship the dollar party take away everything we gained.
     
  21. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #21
    Eschelon was about non-US communications, no? Kind of 'out in left field' in relation to this, don't you think?;)
     
  22. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #22
    USC 3121
    I've highlighted relevant portions for the Clueless and Terminally Stupid among us. Call it my own Cluebat.
     
  23. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #23
    Hey Mactastic what does all that Lawyer gobblygook doubletalk mean in laymans terms?
     
  24. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #24
    I wuz gonna say, "Thank you," but "I've highlighted relevant portions for the Clueless and Terminally Stupid among us. Call it my own Cluebat." has me hoping it was also helpful to the writer. :D

    mac, you follow a common Internet flaw: If somebody does not fulminate against some action, you automatically assume they're a proponent. When someobdy merely seeks information, or offers an example of a differing view of events as I did, you go to name-calling and harumphing.

    The kicker in this, though, is, "(a) Application.--(1) An attorney for the Government may make application for an order or an extension of an order under section 3123 of this title..." "extension of an order" seems to me to allow a lot of extra-curricular activity.

    Questions: Could one warrant or order cover ALL phone numbers? Or must there be one warrant or order for every telephone number in existence? If this latter, how do you ever find out what telephones are being used in a plan for some terrorist act? Or should we assume that if we do no monitoring whatsoever, nothing bad will happen? Other means to avoid bad events are sufficient?

    Separately: Echelon's intake in the UK (of US-origin transmissions) was sent to NSA in the US--which is what led to the first go-'round of notice and discussion. Are we to believe that such relaying no longer occurs?

    'Rat
     
  25. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #25
    First let me talk about what 'Rat seems to be trying to argue (via duToit's website). His argument is limited to whether there was a 4th Amendment violation by using a pen register without a warrant - which was deemed legal by the SCOTUS in 1979. The court at that time held that there was no reasonable expectation of privacy - in large part because the pen register only captured a limited amount of data.

    So while 'Rat may be correct that the 4th amendment has not been violated here (or not - more on that below), there are still other issues in play. The first is that the NSA likely violated the FISA Act which requires warrants when electronically monitoring US citizens, and that such warrants may only be issued when there is reason to believe that the information gained will be relevant to an ongoing investigation.

    Another issue is that the Telecoms likely violated the Stored Communications Act at the behest of the NSA, which prevents the Telecoms from providing such information except under subpoena or court order.

    Finally I would point to USC 3121 which I posted above, which was apparently written precisely because of that 1979 decision - and which has yet to be tested in court AFAIK.

    Now, whether or not Article II trumps all law is another matter...
     

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