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Do you think the U.S. operation to monitor Internet users and phone calls is necessary for national security?

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The U.S.A. is rapidly becoming a 21st century of the USSR. Little by little, freedom is being eroded away.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

I don't know if it is necessary, per-se, but I think the country is safer with it than without it.

It's not like they have people reading through your personal emails or listening in to your private calls just for a giggle. If you have nothing to hide, I don't see what the problem is.

If liberals want to take away the country's ability to monitor the internet and phones, then that's fine, as long as they don't complain when the country is attacked again.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

I don't like it, but I'm not doing anything illegal. We could intercept the one asshat with a backpack nuke trying to get it into one of our cities.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@Herr Smurf what do the Liberals have to with it? it doesn't matter who is in power, the lobbies and the companies who own the politicians make it happen. Every thing you say will be used against you in a court of law.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

For those with nothing to hide - freedom is not being eroded away. Stick to the laws of the land. As Peter says, if ONE, just ONE bomber is caught this way its worth it.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Like the saying goes, "Ultimate power corrupts ultimately." Next step, it becomes the ultimate power for thought police which nobody wants.

Here is another one, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

I bet Ben Franklin is rolling in his grave right now.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

If liberals want to take away the country's ability to monitor the internet and phones, then that's fine, as long as they don't complain when the country is attacked again.

This spying did not prevent the Boston bombing! Similar spying did not prevent 911.

Franklin was right; Americans have neither freedom nor security!

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

The question is what does one mean by "National Security"? Invasive tracking of citizens does not necessarily equal "National Security". It's a matter of degree. I'm willing to trade Liberty for Security to a fairly high extent, probably higher than most of my fellow citizens. I'll look after my own security, and where I can't, I'll take my chances - if that means more liberty.

I've heard a lot of talk about information overload resulting in not much more than noise, but this is a dangerous assumption. With current computers far more data can be mined than most presume to believe, and the problem is reliance on analysis with highly arbitrary triggers, like mere keyword searching, and then locked-in resultant action. We've already seen this with copious no-fly errors.

All that said, we're well past entry into a new age where older notions of privacy simply can't be made to apply any longer. What we need is a new definition and standard for protection of personal information.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This spying did not prevent the Boston bombing! Similar spying did not prevent 911.

But it has prevented countless others.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

"National Security"

easy... GUN CONTROL.

Americans have neither freedom nor security!

SEE THE ABOVE.

what? you want to argue with me? argue with the rest of the world!

but I think the country is safer with it than without it

you are right. which means little by little they take away your so called "freedom", what seems OK today may be used against you in the future. You may have nothing "illegal" to hide, but would you rather have some stranger overhearing your phone conversation about your constant genital itch?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

overhearing your phone conversation about your constant genital itch?

How the heck did you know about that...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They are also monitoring people from other countries... and, despite the Foreign Secretary is saying, GCHQ in the UK may be using the NSA's PRISM software to spy on British citizens. I may start agreeing with Falsflagsteve about a police state u_u

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They are also monitoring people from other countries... and, despite the Foreign Secretary is saying, GCHQ in the UK may be using the NSA's PRISM software to spy on British citizens.

That's something I've been thinking about... in other times, a foreign government monitoring the communications of the British people might be interpreted as a very aggressive act. Those British people with knowledge of might be labelled "traitors" and tried for treason.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But it has prevented countless others.

REALLY! Show me the numbers please. And I'm not talking about the FBI's entrapment cases. Also, 911 was an inside job. Building #7 people!...............Shit, my computer screen just flashed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How the heck did you know about that... @ PeaceWarrior: Funny!

@PapaSmurf: You had me until the liberal/conservative crap. As if only conservatives want security for the country via tapping electronic communication.

The issue isn't catching and preventing the terrorists from acting! I can't imagine anyone but the terrorists being concerned about that. The issue is for folks who have serious disagreements with government actions and voice it. If those same folks take action to voice their disagreement and go further to try to legally stop government activities for which they disagree, an administration can attempt to characterize their activities as anti-government. For example, if it were possible for someone to organize a country-wide boycott of banking and investing in the NYSE. Such an act would be considered very harmful if you have millions of people doing it. Such a rabble-rouser could be seen as attempting to cause serious harm to the government. Which a boycott of the banking system would do because the financial sector would be hit hard. With social media, such a person could reach millions very easily and if enough like minded folks sign on it could be trouble.

I understand the need for electronic surveillance. I'm just uncomfortable with a government potentially using the exercise of free speech to characterize it as anti-government especially with potentially millions being able to sign on to a act virtually instantaneously.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What doesn't exist in the USA, or for that matter in most places elsewhere, is a government accountability mechanism; leaks are pretty much the only current means of discovery, and that's messed up. According to the ideals of the Founding Fathers of the USA, The People are supposed to check government, but increasingly, post WW2, this has become difficult to ensure.

Congress, as representatives of The People, is supposed to fulfill this role, but who can deny their complicity in a lot of this stuff? There's still some sensibility for this in Congress, but less and less, it seems - mostly because they're wrapped up in their own foolishness, and aren't paying attention, or they're part of the problem. What's needed is a civilian watchdog, but what government in its right mind would want that?

Who's role is it to say: wait, is this really necessary for "National Security"? Who's enchartered with an ability to engaged the brakes? Supposedly Congress, but are they really doing that job? Fear has granted the Executive branch a blank check, Congress shies away from calling them on it, and The People don't know wtf is going on. This is what happens.

Oh, and for those who hew the line: I'm not dong anything wrong... history shows time and again, that if absolutist trending governments are allowed to freely pursue their agendas, eventually you will be guilty of something they don't like. By that time, it's often too late.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The monitoring is of foreign nationals, so I don't give two hoots about it. If you want to use our data trunks, you're going to have to accept that we're monitoring your data. Life's tough. Deal with it. As others have said, if it results in even one attack being thwarted, then it was well worth it.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Nice, but let's put the quote in context. The quote was so dangerous that Franklin never admitted to writing it when it was published. Dangerous? Yes, because the sentence appeared 16 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed and therefore while the Colonies were still under British rule. It was aimed at colonists giving up their little freedoms in order to have the "safety" of the British army amongst them. I guarantee had you questioned Mr. Franklin on the same subject after independence was obtained you would have received a different response. In fact, here's an excerpt from the Constitution Convention's letter to George Washington upon submission of the final draft:

It is obviously impracticable in the Federal government of these States, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all -- Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest -- The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was encreased by a difference among the several states as to the situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.

(my boldface, but the text already was set off with the double hyphens)

Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin - Appendices page lxxiii http://books.google.com/books?id=W2MFAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA270&lpg=PA270t#v=onepage&q=lxxiii&f=false

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

This is not going to catch any "mad bombers" sneaking a "backpack nuke" into a city.

Now that the "mad bombers" (if they exist) know that Big Brother is listening they will find ways around it.

Like a code, for example.

"Did you bring the "baby," Patrick?"

"The baby? What baby?"

"You know, the "BABY!"

"Oh shoite! I left the "baby" on the bus!"

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

FadamorJun. 11, 2013 - 04:22AM JST The monitoring is of foreign nationals, so I don't give two hoots about it.

And this is what I love about Americans. Your government lies to you about nearly everything... then they get caught lying and you forgive them... then they lie some more... and get caught again... and you forgive them.

You're like puppies, wagging your tails and coming back for another kick. I admire your eternal optimism and willingness to forgive those unworthy of forgiveness, but at the same time I can't help but feel sorry for you.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

If there is even the slightest chance that they pick up some intelligence regarding a terrorist attack that allows them to stop it means If I have to accept the government reading my e-mails to friends about how much we hate the Boston Bruins, or have them see how many videos of cats doing silly things I watch, then I'm okay with that.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Frungy,

You're like puppies, wagging your tails and coming back for another kick. I admire your eternal optimism and willingness to forgive those unworthy of forgiveness, but at the same time I can't help but feel sorry for you.

Perfect!

You put it beautifully.

Thank you!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

You're like puppies, wagging your tails and coming back for another kick. I admire your eternal optimism and willingness to forgive those unworthy of forgiveness, but at the same time I can't help but feel sorry for you.

Indeed, that was beautifully put. Though, I would not have been able to be as kind and calling it "eternal optimism".

Congress, as representatives of The People, is supposed to fulfill this role, but who can deny their complicity in a lot of this stuff? There's still some sensibility for this in Congress, but less and less, it seems - mostly because they're wrapped up in their own foolishness, and aren't paying attention, or they're part of the problem. What's needed is a civilian watchdog, but what government in its right mind would want that?

Congress is certainly part of the problem, they are baught. Dylan Ratigan put it nicely a couple of years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU2B_HgyKNU

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

It worked so well that it prevented the Boston bombings. There is such a thing as information overload. If you look at everything, you look at nothing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Time to start using more encryption?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Zichi we talking about the NSA here, they are the code maker and the code breaker.

They are the one who make all the commercial encryption, they already have the Master Key, lol

I like when Americans justify when they invade other country in the name of freedom, but they don't even have freedom in they own country anymore.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The_True, While your comment is mostly true I think even the NSA can't always crack all encrypt ions. But anyway, which would be quicker, to scan one million normal emails which they can quickly discard ot one million encrypted emails which they would have to decrypt every single one only to discover they are meaningless. It would both slow them down and frustrate them. Civil disobedience and taking back out privacy which so many died for so we could have.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The scarier part of this whole issue is that a good chunk of Americans believe it's not just fine but necessary. 1984 around the corner.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Rather than dwell on preamble, here are some choice quotes from the session, wherein we learned that the President of the United States is totally cool with your privacy being shot to smithereens without your knowing for the last, say, six years. And a one and a two and a:

"Every member of Congress has been briefed on this program." "What you've got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress and repeatedly authorized by Congress." "These are programs that have been authorized by broad bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006." "You can't have 100-percent security and then have 100-percent privacy." "I don't welcome leaks, there's a reason these programs are classified." "There are some tradeoffs involved." "Modest encroachments on privacy." "Your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we're doing."

So just to be clear: It's okay because we've known about it all along. In other words:

"It's cool that I'm strangling you with my bare hands, I'm totally aware that I'm doing it and my mom said it was okay." — Brian Barrett (@brbarrett) June 7, 2013

Everyone outside of America can always use Tor no problems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most people in the U.S don't care about this or think that it is ok. They will see what the future holds for them, their kids and grand kids.

The world is no more dangerous than any other time in the last two centuries. Many Americans are so blind to this, that they honestly believe they live in the land of the free. No way. land of oppressed, millions in prison and millions reliant on welfare. No worries, it's all good, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Every member of Congress has been briefed on this program." "What you've got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress and repeatedly authorized by Congress." "These are programs that have been authorized by broad bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006." "You can't have 100-percent security and then have 100-percent privacy." "I don't welcome leaks, there's a reason these programs are classified." "There are some tradeoffs involved." "Modest encroachments on privacy." "Your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we're doing."

If it goes against the constitution then it is not OK nor congress have last word on it. The final judgement will be carried out by the Supreme court of law in which the case will be the people against the state.

It's called the separation of powers and both executive and legislative branches should know that they can not take all power into their own hands.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Basically it is just theft of ones Constitutional rights and the parties eavesdropping know this and understand they are liable. The secret Kangaroo court rubber-stamping the requests is also un-Constitutional. Using the illegally gotten information to target reporters and others is/was criminal. Since this is a criminal issue people should be going to jail including the President.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No Way! Compiled over a decade, most anyone can be "profiled" in numerous categories. Boston Bombers had no security interception even with direct intel from Russia. Obviously we have flaws. Do you want more?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

as if the really bad guys don't use encrypted telecommunications.... all they do is data mine innocent people and eavesdrop on the public. The first major carrier that incorporates a fully encrypted product line will be the start of a new digital era.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd say yes it is necessary as long as there is a warrant issued with enough evidence showing the person being monitored is planning to do harm. Believe it or not the NSA has stopped over a dozen terrorist acts, one which many may not have heard about include a small group of former US military personnel planning on taking down the "system" although they murdered 2 of their own members due to some internal conflict which led to the intelligence agencies monitoring them. And that was just a few years ago.

Monitering is useful but only if the necessary steps are taken to show a person or group of people should be monitored in the first place and a warrant is approved.

As for those worried the US is becoming another USSR, the NSA and others don't even have enough storage to keep over who knows how many petabytes of information from the possibly trillions+ of information that goes through phones and online in the US not to mention the information going in and out from other countries. Get a clue, if something sets off a flag then someone will be monitored. Enough with the tin foil hats, just make sure you know your rights if you get wrongly accused of something and take them to court on it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It depends who is monitored. GWB originally wanted to monitor only islamist terrorists .. that was shut down with a howl of protests (just google for the media reports on "warrantless wiretapping" at the time).

Now Obama monitors everybody (with the exception of mosques, which have been made taboo by pressure from CAIR), and that is supposed to help national security.

Well, it did not help identify the Boston bomber brothers; that fact should speak for itself.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

they are also trying to make it legal to spy on other countries. Ambassadors in the states phone calls and internet, email will also be analyzed. USA made a bad move on this one. USA now owns the auto industry, travel industry, and now our texting, FB, email, phone calls?? There is no more privacy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Those that think the U.S. government spying on it's own citizens is OK have their heads where the sun doesn't shine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The biggest problem with creating the Orwellian state is how quickly it can morph into something it was never intended to be. America has incrementally been giving up it's rights to the point where I no longer recognize it anymore. The Tea Party is right to push back against big government. It has gotten so large and so omnipresent so quickly - it's gotten out of control. I don't want the government tracking my phone calls and internet use. I don't want the IRS to ask me the content of my prayers - or if I pray at all.

From a security standpoint, the only alternative to the Orwellian omnipresent government is very very strict immigration laws and enforcement. Unfortunately, the US is going in the other direction.

In North America there is a country called the United States of America. The name doesn't match the ideals it was founded upon. It's citizens are becoming more and more detached from their nation and from what it means to be an American.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There can be no national security when the people are being secretly monitored. I've been the the USSR and saw how that sort of thing perpetually frightened people and how this made them behave. I expect to see the same in US after the Snowden leaks. People will be more circumspect and silent after this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The NSA did reveal a terror plot on New York City's stock exchange in Wall Street that was foiled before it happened. But my mind is still boggled that the NSA & Homeland Security had failed miserably to stop the two bombers in Boston before they successfully carried out their attack. National Security at it's finest, folks!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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