A great article about why President Bush's warrantless spying program, and the recently revealed phone record database, are a bad idea. I'm all for catching terrorists but let's not through out the baby (democracy) with the bath water (murderers). cue cliched use of Jefferson quote about trading freedom for security. What really ticks me off the most is when the Whitehouse whines about how we've let "the enemy" know about this weapon. Well excuse me, but I thought we lived in an open society here. And in other news, open source programmers are worried sick about Microsoft reading their code, possibly finding bugs. Duh, that's just part of the deal. The idea is there are more of us working on solutions than there are of them breaking stuff. Introducing heinous policies like these is like saving a tree from a diseased branch by chopping it down. Yeah, that's bound to work out well.



Franklin said it

It was Ben Franklin that said the one about trading liberty for safety.
(Your point still stands, I agree 100%) :)

re: Franklin said it

I found it attributed to both Jefferson and Franklin with wildly differening versions. That's what I get for referencing such a hackneyed phrase, I guess.

I am not sure how the NSA wir

I am not sure how the NSA wire tap program infringes on your freedom and/or democracy. Did it stop you from posting this message? Are you robbed of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness? Does this stop you from voting in your local, state, or federal elections? The answer to all these questions is No. This program was started by President Jimmy Carter and was used extensively by President Clinton.

Expanding on your example of the infected tree this would be akin to documenting which branches are connected. When an infected branch is found you can make sure to get all the sickness.

Re: I am not sure

Well, if Jimmy Carter did it, it must be good. Or not.

Has it impacted me? We simply don't know. There's no judicial oversight, so how can we be sure that the whole thing is on the up and up? I don't suspect that President Bush is up to anything nefarious, despite many reservations I have about him. I'm certain he honestly thinks he's doing what's best. But what if this same power were in the hands of somebody of ill repute? Would you trust that your liberties would still be protected?

I think Sen. Jon Kyl, a strong supporter of the NSA domestic spying program, said it best: "We have got to collect intelligence on the enemy." I fully agree. But the enemy numbers in the hundreds at best. the NSA is collecting data on hundreds of millions of people who are clearly not the enemy. These numbers speak for themselves.

Also, from Bruce Schneier:

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy." The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that's why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

The nature of goverment requi

The nature of goverment requires us to trust other with certain responsibility. In other words I might not trust my neighbor to unbias in a property dispute so we turn to a third party. Likewise I would not trust a friend with nuclear weapons yet we trust the federal goverment every day with them.

When it comes to the "domestic" spying program there are two parts that people talk about.

The first one to come out was that the NSA was analyzing call made to and from know terrorist. Sometimes those call are places to US citizens in the US, sometimes it was US citizens calling the terrorist in forgein countries. It is doubtful all the calls contained vitial information. The majority are probably benign. Uncle Amar calling to wish a happy birthday, etc. All calls are to known operatives. The FBI uses "domestic" spying to listen to calls of the mafia, drug dealers, etc. IMHO this is a non-issue.

The second issue is the call database. This one is a little more shady. The EFF says they have a verizon tech who told them that homeland security has a database of every call made from every phone to every phone. Details are scetchy at best. The major carriers all deny it. The federal goverment is staying quite. They don't want to give out details of intelligence operation. A good way to tell the enemy what you are doing is telling them everything you are not doing.

It all comes down to trust. Do yo trust the goverment?

Now for the quotes. Sen. Jon Kyl stated the number of enemies number in the hundred at best. Well the number of airplanes that have been hijacked number far fewer then even that. Yet millions of people have to watch past guards and thru metal detectors. Is a metal detector an invasion of privacy? Does the TSA need to know if I have a keys in my pocket?

I am a big fan of Bruce Schneier, I am a subscriber to the CRYPTO-GRAM news letter and have "consumed" all his books with a passion. He makes a lot of sense. I have never thought of it as a "security verus privacy" battle. Everyone talks about how we should have complete freedom to do whatever we like, but feel we should be protected from others actions. People want to burn the flag (IMHO that is a right but that is another day), people want to parade down the street proclaiming their sexual perference (once again OK by me). We have more liberty then any other place on the earth. Even if there was a call database I don't see how that intrudes on your privacy.

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