Thursday, June 6, 2013

US Government Seizing Verizon Phone Records????

I don't have very much to add about the below story. It grows out of the Patriot Act, which was initially passed under President Bush and extended/expanded under President Obama. All I can say is IF this is true then it once again proves my point that when you give government expanded power to investigate you, violate your privacy and keep a watch over what you're doing, government will use it. This is not just about President Obama and/or his advisers and appointees having a disregard for privacy or limited actions to discover leaks or criminal wrong doing. Although in my opinion they certainly do have that disregard. No the problem here is that under the Patriot Act and associated legislation this is probably all completely legal. The only limitation to executive branch snooping is not the law or divided government but the caprices or morality of various people in the executive branch. This is not how our society is supposed to work but you know what I'm starting not to care any more. The Patriot Act was passed and passed again. People just don't care about civil liberties.

IF this report is true and that's a big IF it would just be another nail in the coffin of limited government and privacy. Again, this isn't just about "bad people". If I had powers to do things like this I couldn't be trusted either. No one could which is why historically the power of the state to invade your privacy had to be done under warrant, had to be specific to an action that you allegedly took and had to have some sort of probable cause.  I honestly think that eventually we ought to just get rid of the Bill of Rights, or at least the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments. Because IF this story is true, it's not as if anyone in power cares much about them...with the exception of whoever leaked this story.
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April. The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing. 
The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19. 
Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered. The disclosure is likely to reignite longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government's domestic spying powers.
Welcome to surveillance society. But don't worry. I'm sure the Republicans would have been worse on this issue. Or something like that. Big government is your friend. And we know that the Administration will get to the bottom of this. No expense will be find out who told the Guardian and Glenn Greenwald about all of this...IF it's true. I keep saying IF it's true because after all we know the government would NEVER grab up millions of phone records just because it could...right? Can you hear me now??


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