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We have rights to privacy and protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Those rights were created to prevent unfair loss of life, liberty, and property. These programs, hidden in the background, don't inconvenience you, or lead to loss of freedom or property. Is privacy good? Of course. But the incentives the intelligence apparatus have to not use any data collected here against anyone for reasons less than "real" terrorism are strong enough, that I think it's not open-and-shut.

Afforess on June 6, parent next [—]. The loss of privacy is massive in comparison to the lives lost to terrorism. More people die each year due to car accidents than have lost their lives to all terrorist attacks on US Soil. If the information that is being gathered is about safety, then why isn't the government isn't creating a massive program to strictly monitor highway speeds, traffic roadways, and increase traffic safety then?

Answer: The information gathering has nothing to do with safety. It has everything to do with power. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master. We have such a massive program, according to many; the NTSB is a big bureaucracy and a lot of people consider the whole concept of speed limits and traffic police as a encroachment upon their freedom rather than a reasonable collective decision on how to share transit arteries.

This seems a rather inappropriate aphorism, since most people here would very much like to deny the NSA access to information about their phone usage. This is an argument against censorship rather than one in support of privacy. I don't think you've really thought this argument through.

I don't think the government is so much interested in vastly expanding its powers of information gathering although as I've noted elsewhere, the government has had unlimited access to your phone records, by order of the Supreme court, since , as it is in maximizing its predictive abilities within its existing legal limits - which is also considered by many to be part of its job. It's not so much you vs.

AnthonyMouse on June 7, root parent next [—]. Let's not forget that they've been attempting to keep the existence of this program a secret. Aren't the people supposed to be the masters of the government? So our job is to convince those people of their error by espousing evidence in support of our view. Malicious governments kill drastically more innocent people than malicious individuals or small groups; excessive government power is more dangerous than terrorism.

The amount of money we spend on anti-terrorism measures is drastically out of proportion to the actual threat and those resources could be better spent on more serious issues, terrorism hype is financially supported in enormous amounts by defense contractors and other parties with a significant pecuniary interest in continued government waste, etc.

Damage to perceived 'rights' is OK, as long as it is done efficiently. They are getting a discount in this case however, as companies are doing a lot of the work for them. What do you mean? Yes, the government has "limited" access to your phone records, with a subpoena issued by a judge, after probable cause has been demonstrated. Anything else is a clear violation of the 4th Amendment. A similar view is held here in the Netherlands , where interesting new methods are created to monitor speeding.

The thing is, it's not viewed - or even promoted as - something that increases safety and reduces lethal accidents on the roads, but instead as a way for the government to make money. Similarly, the way this is portrayed and kept secret by the government and the security agencies is not to reduce and prevent terrorist attacks, but to infringe upon the privacy of people using US-based online services.

If the NSA and similar organizations were to be more open about what terrorist attacks they prevented, they would create more goodwill and would gain support from the people. Yet, branding terrorists and openly causing fear of terrorists and their attacks has two side-effects; one, it will make terrorists smarter and more secretive, and two, it happens in all the Orwellian dystopias, instilling fear of 'terrorists' and foreign nations in the populace as a means of control.

Afforess on June 7, root parent prev next [—]. I have no idea how you interpreted it that way. The quote is in reference to the government. It's from a video game, which came out in I'm perfectly aware of where it comes from, and I interpreted it according to the normal rules of English grammar. Just because it's against the spirit of totalitarian government doesn't alter the meaning of the words. After all, the NSA is not denying you information when it collects records of your phone conversations.

It's doing so when it denies engaging inthis practice, but if the NSA or those delegated to oversee it were to say 'sure, we totally collect that data! Afforess on June 7, root parent next [—]. It's impossible to have a meaningful conversation if you intentionally view anyone else's opinions in the worst possible light.

You may have a valid interpretation of what I said, but it's clearly not the interpretation I intended to convey. You cited an irrelevant quote and are invoking the principle of charity to demand that anigbrowl give it a pass. It would be easier if you just admitted that the quote is about censorship and not privacy and move on. You're weakening your rhetorical position by defending something that's obviously wrong, and not central to your point.

Weakening rhetorical position? It's like you think comments are some sort of game where you can win or lose. I think I'll just let readers read my comments and opt out of this silly game you want to play. Just callin' it like I see it. Your choice to react constructively or defensively.

So, the people would dream themselves masters of the government agency NSA. Wasn't that what government was supposed to do? Serve the people? Here's a Devil's Advocate position not necessarily my personal beliefs, so please don't downvote based on disagreement.

Just rip it to shreds instead! This is a valid fear, but has the government yet used surveillance to smother dissent? If you can find a solid example of this, I'd like to see one and for all I know, there could be many, I'm genuinely interested. Until the government has been caught using surveillance to stifle dissent, it seems like increased surveillance only serves to reduce crime. Of course, there are illegal things that, in my opinion, should be legal, but this is a reason to petition the government for change, not break the law Fear of government surveillance is entirely fear of smothered dissent.

We must make sure our fears of the latter are logically sound before we fear the former. EDIT: Because I love arguing with myself, I'll point out that it's possible some wrongly illegal activities may be embarrassing for some individuals, and they would be hesitant to openly campaign for them. It still feels weird to argue for privacy on the grounds that people have a right to get away with certain things, hmm Good counter, thanks.

I get really dismayed when politely-expressed unpopular opinions are downvoted, because I feel the best way to move the dialogue forward is to engage with opposing views, not hide them even if your level of engagement is comprehensive refutation, that's still useful. By the time they're using these extreme powers to smother dissent, you're fucked. It's game over and your ability to speak out using the first amendment is non-existent.

The very reason why these things should never be allowed, is because the absolute protection of freedom of speech is ultimately the last safeguard against tyranny before you get to violence anyway. Why let the guy into my house with a gun and roll the dice on whether he intends to at some point do me harm? That's crazy. We've seen enough really malevolent politicians assume power all over the world and domestically, to know better than to take such chances.

History is littered with endless examples, it's at best naive to think America can't suffer the same types of fate. This is how revolutions are started. There's no "game over. Especially in a place like the United States, where individual freedoms are highly prized and there is a rather large contingent of heavily armed and often angry population. Revolutions are much easier in homogeneous populations than they are in ethnically diverse ones.

I fear that if there is a violent revolution in a society as socioeconomically and ethnically diverse as the United States it would result in a civil war. I have no idea how that would play out in a country as developed as the United States but I don't think it would be pretty. Most my examples would be of the US acting in cases that are technically illegal and only so related directly to this kind of surveillance like ELF, bradley manning, mccarthyism not to mention other, foreign policy related or historical atrocities , I certainly do not think that, even if we pretend the US always has super great intentions, they are not always the best to have stick their hands in things.

Also, what if Malcolm X had been an issue 20 years ago? Also, this is one we know about, what about the ones we don't know about? There is no real assurance that any of these behaviors have stopped. The burden of proof is on them. This news is not reassuring. There is a difference between secrecy and lying. I somewhat OK with a cyberpunk dystopia because the closer to Ghost in the Shell we get, the cooler. AlexandrB on June 7, root parent prev next [—]. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Your argument rests on a logical fallacy. S government has not yet used surveillance to stifle dissent, doesn't mean they will never do it. Also, if in the meantime civil liberties such as privacy are sacrificed, when the time comes that they DO use surveillance to stifle dissent, it may be much too late to turn the tide, as dissent would then be required to stop their stifling of dissent. On my cell phone hi NSA!

I don't think the issue that people are up-in-arms about isn't just the surveillance thing. It's also because it seemed as if Obama understood that there should be a delicate line between sacrificing liberty for security. He also talks about people not wanting a 'big gov't But it is becoming increasingly clear that he was just talking smooth - but doing quite the opposite. Please note, I am not an Obama hater. I supported him twice - I even have a Shepherd Fairy 'Change' poster.

But this is just disgusting man. It's like someone that runs a campaign talking about how much they love guns, and how much they are going to protect gun ownership - then when they win, they talk a good talk, but then we find out that the government has been secretly buying up all the guns they can to dry up supply and closing down all the gun shops.

Yes, the government has used surveillance to smother dissent. Exhibit One: the prosecution of whistle blowers. XorNot on June 6, root parent prev next [—]. What do you call speed cameras, signs, highway maintenance, driver education, highway patrol policing, periodic public information campaigns and aggressive regulation of safety standards in the automobile industry? Afforess on June 6, root parent next [—]. Interestly enough, speed cameras and highway patrols have nothing to do with traffic safety either.

Highways could easily have camera systems to monitor the exact time when cars get on and off exits to determine how fast on average they were going during their trip. These systems have been tested and work, but the fact is that actually cracking down on speeders is massively unpopular and a political non-starter. XorNot on June 7, root parent next [—].

Or you know, that there is such a thing as safe speeding, such as when overtaking or to avoid an accident, and creating a system which would require someone to slow down and become a traffic hazard in order to avoid a fine, is absurd, oddly draconian, and likely to increase accident rates?

This and the cost of deployment. Police, for all their foiles and failings are capable of judging a situation as another human would. Thus they can use their discretion in handing out tickets. Simple fact is that speeding is not that much of a problem.

Certainly people do it and it's dangerous, but most people obey speed limits within acceptable parameters and drive fairly safely. Present levels of speed enforcement are doing their job and greater levels would have a point of diminishing returns. Such a system would obviously be a huge privacy problem, as it would provide movement profiles of every car using a highway. So, not the best alternative spending compared to phone surveillance. That's a common miss-belief.

Its false on so many levels, but people keep believing in it even after it has been found to be false every single time it has been said. To take an example with wiretaps in US. First they said that any data found about innocent bystanders would be imminently destroyed. A few years later, they change the rules to keep it, but proclaimed that it was just 60 days.

Years later, they put out a small press release and changed it to 5 months. Or take the Swedish wiretap law. Politians and collumnist promised high and low that it would never, EVER, be used for anything but terrorism threats outside the national border.

They said that anyone believing otherwise was tinfoil hats, and just misunderstood the issue. Before a year had passed, the secret police for internal security was granted an exception. A few months later, government politicians got an exception. At the same time, the police got an exception to target serious crime.

A few months further down, and it was talks about using the data for our version of IRS. Yes, never ever indeed. Remember that British Antiterrorism laws were used to sieze assets of Icelandic banks after the meltdown of that country. I joked that the British were worried about a new Viking Age when that happened. AJ on June 6, parent prev next [—]. How is a democracy functional when a secret and parallel government has access to undisclosed powers which override those of the existing democracy?

This isn't just an issue of separation of power between branches of government -- citizens are forced through law to hide the existence of this para-judicial system, as if it is a phantom of our minds. Yes, yes, yes, yes, a hundred and ten times everyone, yes! It's one thing to do it legally. It's another to do it without approval from Congress.

It's another to do it without approval from Congress or the will of the people. Either way, you're on the right track. It's a slippery slope and as far as I'm concerned, PRISM is slippery enough to feel like I can say that without feeling silly for using the phrase "slippery slope" seriously and even worse, three times in one post.

I'm pretty sure Congress approves of this. You'd be surprised how many laws contain clauses exempting the decisions of agencies from judicial review, for example. A lot of lawmakers dislike the idea of an independent judiciary and consider Article III of the Constitution to be a design flaw. The laws may be written with judicial exemption clauses, but the SC tends to view those with the seriousness they deserve But it can take a very long time for a case to get before the SC, and the scope of article III is not unlimited.

The SC often declines to grant certiorari in cases that have to potential to result in a constitutional crisis. AJ on June 7, root parent prev next [—]. I don't know what Congress's level of approval is. Here are the specific issues that should concern everyone irregardless of what their approval or disapproval of this behavior is: 1 The existence of the spying is top secret. This isn't surveillance of a suspected serial killer or corrupt Governor.

The only reason for this to be secret is fear of political backlash. However this was leaked, if identified the individual s involved will go to prison. How can something be opposed if its existence is secret, as protected by law? I am coming to grips with the issue that there may be no turning back on the mass surveillance state. While we may be capable of barricading certain activities from surveillance, others have become integrated in to the operation of every day life, likely irreversibly.

However we have a much more chilling problem when this surveillance, by the government, is a one way mirror. If the activity is secret and that secrecy is enforced through the punishment of imprisonment, all accountability is lost. The NSA is not a branch of government, and yet it is in effect dictating what the other three branches of government must do. Congress, forced in to secrecy through law -- even if some support what is occurring dissenters can not voice their opinion, Executive, who even knows what is going on there, and Judicial, which serves as the secrecy enforcer.

I think the people in the crypto community just assumed the NSA was doing this decades ago. Now it is unquestionably reality. This must serve as a wake up call for us to terminate our relationships with Google, Facebook, and Microsoft and figure out how to provide blacked-out alternative services to our users.

If not, in 5 years, every single waking moment of your life will be available electronically and in perpetuity. No matter what happens most of it will be, which makes it ever more important that the protect-able segments are not. Email, instant messaging, and video conferencing all have a wide array of solutions and plugins, but between manual configuration and out of date code, the marketing is on par with programmer drawn graphics in video games. Snapchat may offer little more than faux privacy, but its mass adaption proves that there is a huge market for privacy.

There are promising projects, like Crypton. You, HN readers, have more influence on the direction of these things than anyone else in the entire world. Your start ups will determine what 5 years from now look like. Make Privacy a Feature and its a win-win for both business and individual rights.

I hate it when people say "but our government is democratic" as an excuse to justify opposing limitations on its power. This is the same argument made by Prop 8 supporters in California, the same argument used by Oliver Wendell Holmes in justifying some of the worst civil rights abuses in early twentieth century.

Fortunately, the "activist" courts of latter years have for the most part rejected this horrible logic that majority has a right to put any of its ideas into law, irrespective of the rights of others. Yes, our government is democratic : it is not, however, an absolute majoritarian government where any action that majority favours can and will be put into decree and acted upon.

Yes, we have elections, but we also have bi-cameral legislature, separation of powers, and a constitutions. We hold elections and let majority at times a simple majority, in other cases -- like amending the constitution -- a supermajority of our elected representatives decide which laws will pass. We don't do so because of an a priori commitment to majority, we do so because we haven't found other forms of government that respect civil liberties and other human rights to the same extent that a representative democracy would.

In other words, elected government is the means to an end a society where the strongest individuals or the biggest gangs cannot violate others' rights to life, liberty, and property without repercussions , not an end in it of itself. I realize this isn't an invalidation of your points: while I disagree with you yes, intelligence agencies should be allowed to exist; no, they can not be allowed to snoop -- even accidentally -- on US citizens or permanent residents without due process , your point is salient and doesn't require making such a dangerous argument "as long as our government is a functional democracy, we shouldn't worry about governments' intrusion on our rights to x" where x in this case is "privacy".

Information from intelligence programs has already been used in non-terrorism cases, like those of Petraeus and Spitzer. EvanKelly on June 6, root parent prev next [—]. I don't know about Spitzer though he was Governor of New York , but someone holding blackmail leverage over Petraeus is certainly a matter of national security concern. This is a ridiculous post hoc justification. EvanKelly on June 7, root parent next [—]. I'm not making any justification in my post.

There are security interests in monitoring people who hold clearance. I'm not making any statements about unlimited wiretapping and data collection. The problem is when things get "tough" certain individuals will use this for political purposes or some other gain. It is like IRS targeting "tea party" - but much more scarier. But I grow up in Eastern Europe, so I'm unreasonably concerned and paranoid. It will not happen here because we are so special. If more people knew their history, they would understand that this is a modern age Star Chamber, tied into a network that would make the Stasi envious.

I wonder if Americans will ever have their own BStU. I fear that may never happen. It is easier to destroy encryption keys than it is to shred paper documents. As many have stated, the problem is with inevitable abuse of power. It may or may not be happening now, but it will. I doubt it was deliberately ordered by the administration, but someone, somewhere thought it was a good idea.

Search queries alone will probably tell you which way a person is leaning in an election. That by itself is not good in a democratic process hinged on secret ballot. What if the information of everyone that voted for a given candidate is collected, passed under the table to another "bad guy" in another agency, such as IRS, and then used to inflict financial harm. Yes, very far fetched, but such power is an enabler. It seems that having courts grant warrants provides a necessary level of review by a psudo-independent body, as to sufficiently protect against undue invasion of privacy.

Based on the description in the article, I'm not sure if there are a lot of protections against personal use, like spying on a girlfriend. When I used ChoicePoint for background investigations, it only recorded my "permissible purpose" selection, but no real validation, just an audit log of the search.

Tea party groups weren't targeted for audits. Groups that applied for tax exempt status on basis of providing social welfare were sent for additional screening to ensure the group was not primarily a political group. There were over applications sent for additional screening. The whole problem was the selection criteria for being reviewed - based on the name of the group. Which was a problem because its nearly impossible to review these groups properly anyway - the criteria are so broad that it's practically a subjective decision.

Of course, Congress could amend the tax code to provide clear instructions to the IRS on what should and should not trigger review and what should be reviewed, but that all sounds a little bit too much like actually doing their jobs. Perhaps ironically, the latter's first major action was to campaign for gun control after Newtown.

In other words, the parameters of c 4 organizations were already well established, and being primarily "political" when you think about it, a rather vaguely broad term is just fine, you're focusing too much on the words of art "social welfare" vs.

That is the kind of thing that can kill a country, letting half its citizens believe that they no longer have full political rights. I cannot find that anywhere. It is not just the problem that they were targeted based on name I actually think that's pretty reasonable but the questions that were asked, the time it took to get approved or denied and the fact that IRS lied to congress about it.

My bad, not audits, but still Think it through! Every politician, not just the conservative ones, was happy when somebody finally noticed this story. IRS agents have done whatever they wanted to private citizens, with no consequences, for decades. Then they questioned they didn't fine, prosecute, garnish, imprison, or confiscate political groups that claimed to be educational groups, and as a result the agents got censured, fired, and prosecuted. The media and most people are too lazy to think through the inevitable consequences, but don't dream that the politicians are.

Will political groups ever be investigated by the IRS again? When Germany introduced their ubiquitous wiretap law, they saw the actually cost of introducing such law. The most notable change in peoples behavior was that hot-lines, priests and lawyers started to see fewer phone calls as people reacted to the surveillance. To the contrarily, rival political individuals can map, with the help of ubiquitous wiretap, which people are a threat to their power.

From that they can redirect police "focus" to either crack down on such threat directly, or any support group they might have. Political figures are commonly the second largest requester for domestic intel, only second to the secret police. ColinCochrane on June 7, root parent next [—]. I would certainly be interested in seeing the evidence to back up this claim. Ah yes, because data gathered by intelligence agencies have never been used for political and personal gain.

And everything that goes on in politics is transparent, above board and immaculately honest through and through. Nepotism, cronyism, corruption, and the like only exists in hollywood movies. And they never get the wrong guy. They always get the right guy. As long as nobody is inconvenienced it can't possibly be bad. Spooky23 on June 7, parent prev next [—]. How do we know that we have a functioning democracy? If I run for congress against a candidate strongly favored by this or a future administration, how do I know that my telephone call records aren't being leaked to the opposition?

Or worse, how do I know that the people running these programs aren't using a decade of collected data to influence vulnerable politicians? Who is watching the watchers? Some kangaroo secret court, who the intelligence community has had broad authority to ignore? What really bugs me about this discussion is that all this has been going on for years for foreigners, and nobody denies it. It's apparently ok that these companies and agencies spy on everyone but US citizens. Don't get me wrong, it's bad that they do this to US citizens, but at least it's your government doesn't make it better, I know, but still.

I want those rights too. I might have them on paper since it's a democracy here in Europe as well, and there are agreements , but it seems like nobody in charge cares either way. I cannot run. I'm not from the US. I can't even vote.

I can try to make my government do something about it, but you know how that goes. That is the problem with this sort of argument. Things done to catch terrorists usually wind up being used for law enforcement purposes years down the road. Terrorism just is not common enough to justify the expenditure; eventually, after the well-connected companies and contractors have laughed their way to the bank, some politician comes in and says, "This is a waste of money, but it would be less wasteful to use it to help our poor, overburdened cops!

I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your comment. But even if the scope of this program were somehow limited in perpetuity to large-scale terrorism, the massive, centralized storage of every online citizen's Internet history should be frightening to everyone. In other news today, it was revealed that Chinese hackers targeted the Obama and McCain campaigns in ' What happens when there is a breach in the NSA surveillance database and your individual Google search history is posted openly alongside your browsing history, emails, and Skype chats?

The power of the system. The peoples sentiment and the position of society as it pertains to not uprising against the leeching system of power that sits on top of the people is what they are after. In more direct words; the military-industrial complex that profits from Warren Buffett isn't a valid reference on nuclear terrorism, first of all. Second, his calculation is bogus, amusingly enough.

The odds of the actual event occuring don't improve every year that goes by. That's assumes everything is static and unstoppable to begin with, among other false assumptions embedded into it. It'd be like saying: given enough time, a nuclear bomb will go off in Greenland. That's not true at all, but if you calculated using Buffett's false premise, then yes, after N years it would have to happen because his premise is that there's N chance per year, and then he treats the equation like a coin flip, where eventually it is supposed to be In actuality, a nuclear attack could just as easily occur tomorrow morning as 80 years from now, and that completely debunks Buffett's point.

Do you think these ultra-high value targets - the ones with these ex-Soviet nukes or weaponized anthrax stored in their basements - are posting on Facebook, using gmail, or using traceable mobile phones? They didn't even stop a couple of dumb kids with a pressure cooker.

If I, the Hacker News reader, decided to run for Congress tomorrow, I would run against an incumbent whose district has been gerrymandered to statistically guarantee his reelection and whose colleagues in the House can distribute nationally-raised money to in case that's not enough of a guarantee. If I, the Hacker News reader, voted for a guy who spoke convincingly in favor of civil liberties and against warrantless wiretapping, I would have discovered that once he was elected, he had been lying to me all along.

If I, the Hacker News reader, ever gained enough power and influence to really affect things, who's to say I won't be found dead? Then I just turn into a harmless, martyred caricature rather than as a living, thinking human being--nothing subversive there. If we still have a functioning democracy, then try and convince the people that there's nothing to fear from these kinds of programs. If the NSA has nothing to hide, it has nothing to fear.

Well the IRS may just decide to target you:D The problem isn't so much the collection of the data, it's that checks and balances that are in place are completely opaque to public scrutiny. Everything is classified.

I respect Warren Buffet, but since when is he an expert on predicting nuclear attacks in America? Well as someone with a history degree let me explain I think that misses the historical abuses here. The question is who decides what is a big fish or not and on what criteria. Additionally what happens to the bigger fish when they are just good enough at hiding evidence that they cannot be prosecuted for bigger fish crimes or more to the point when the NSA thinks this is what is happening?

Don't you think that at that point, those vast archives would not be repurposed to answer the demand to "find me the crime? The problem isn't in prosecuting people who unambiguously broke the law. The problem is in making those vast resources available to carry out the fight against the "bigger fish" by any means necessary. This enables an environment where "show me the man and I'll find you the crime" becomes an acceptable way to deal with "bad people" but "being bad" is unconstitutionally vague as a criminal statute.

This sort of thing is entirely common in history, from the Star Chamber to the FISC, and from antiquity to the present. Ok, so suppose a senator starts leaking classified information of this sort. Do you think that such archives might be useful for ensuring that all manner of vague federal felony prosecutions could be used to silence and discredit him? Does he become a big fish at that point? Sure, it's a virtual certainty given enough time.

However, suppose we get incredibly unlucky and one gets through every years or so. The personal risk to an American is insignificant compared to all manner of things we take for granted every day such as driving home from work. Saying this makes us safer just doesn't cut it. The KKK has been called terrorist before in fact Justice Thomas said as much in one of his dissents, where he argued that cross burning was unprotected by the first amendment , but if we give up the first amendment regarding terrorism don't we go right back to the McCarthy era before Yates v.

United States was decided and terrorism and sedition prosecutions were common for the mere act of distributing writings of Karl Marx? The facade of one at least. We all know who is really in power and it is not the people. Being in Indonesia, in a place obviously corrupt, and seeing how things function, has given me a very different look at corruption in the US. I don't concur with your assessment about corruption.

Americans are just a lot more refined about it. If you are so sure that the system isn't corrupt, then who do you think would get a harsher sentence in court, the poor black man with three grams of crack cocaine or the suburban white man with 20 pot plants or 50 grams of powder cocaine? Defence atty Billy Murphy has sometimes said that drug legalization is working for the upper classes because they just get probation and treatment, and so it is time to bring it to the lower classes.

Moreover every attempt to make the system more predictable just pushes the actual decisions to smaller groups of people. Mandatory sentencing for example shifts power from judges to prosecutors. A government of laws is thus nothing more than a convenient fiction we use to avoid holding certain people accountable. That's totally false. As you put it, terrorism is politically defined. Giving the government dragnet surveillance powers in the fight against a politically defined and vague thing essentially restricts political freedom.

No you wouldn't and you couldn't after HPL v Holder. But you can't differentiate any of this from what our country went through with the Smith Act before it was castrated thankfully by the Supreme Court in Yates v. United States. In the words of singer-songwriter Jack Warshaw in a song written about another era, They came for Sacco, Vanzetti, Connoly, and Pearce in their time They came for Newton and Seale, and the Panthers and some of their friends In Boston, Chicago, Santiago, Warsaw and Belfast And places that never make headlines, the list never ends They say that here we are free to live our lives as we please To march and to write and to sing as long as we do it alone But do it together with comrades united and strong And they'll take you away for long rest with walls and barbed wire for a home The song echos essentially a fear of the use of law enforcement powers generally to be used to crack down on groups deemed politically troublesome Sacco and Vanzetti were tried for murder but there has been a long tradition of seeing them as innocent targets due to their anarchist affiliations, Connoly and Pearce were involved in the Easter Uprising in Ireland, Newton and Seale were prosecuted for various things related to their involvement with the Black Panthers.

There is a long tradition in this country of seeing certain groups as political prisoners whether the Panthers or the Molly MacGuires and a tradition which is founded on actual experience whether Martin Luther King or the Communist Party USA. The fears are real and whether in any individual case historicaly there may or may not have been real justice done the fact remains that political prisoners have existed in our country at various times there are reasons to think that Sacco and Vanzetti may have actually been guilty of murder, but their trial was not fair regardless, and there is no doubt that people were thrown in jail at one point for merely distributing Marxist literature.

This comment really does an excellent job of articulating why this sort of surveillance is a bad thing. I find it really frustrating when people question why we'd want to prevent the government from having unlimited ability to spy on the citizenry - because it's been tried before countless times and it generally doesn't go so well. The fact that we're able to do it even more efficiently than ever should make people more concerned, not less.

Let's see. Besides the scary terrorists they have phone records going back to at least of reporters talking to sources, government and business whistleblowers, all kinds of business negotiations, powerful people calling prostitutes or drug dealers, political rivals, activists and protesters and on and on. It's every other phone call made. And we are not allowed to know what protections they have on database access or what their data retention is.

It's almost guaranteed it will be abused if it hasn't already, which we wouldn't be allowed to know either. The Patriot Act has been used in drug cases more than terrorism. Well, our collective democracies are less than perfect; easily swayed by money and special interests, not least the special interests of government agents and other civil servants. Like many most? Normally, we might direct our attention to our systems of checks and balances to redress any imbalance of power, but these systems were designed in an age where modern technological capabilities were simply inconceivable, much less effectively planned for.

We are only starting to tentatively explore the potentially monumental implications of this shift in the balance of power. Whilst it pains me to admit this, my advice is to admit defeat, to recognize that our privacy and with it, our freedom has been irrevocably compromised, and to do what we can to ensure our own individual survival over the coming decades: to wit, offer our full-throated support for whatever objective the agencies claim to be currently pursuing, and to learn to be more guarded and more circumspect about what we say and think.

But the incentives the intelligence apparatus have to not use any data collected here against anyone for reasons less than "real" terrorism are strong enough How do you know this? I remember seeing a leak a while ago. They're not widely hated. I just polled my family: wife, mom, dad, and infant. None of them care. I don't really either, though I guess all else being equal I'd prefer it if they didn't collect this information.

Anecdotal, I know, but I'd hazard a guess its representative. Everything is a certainty given enough time. In addition, Mr. Buffet may be a great investor, but what exactly how much would he know about terrorists or nuclear weapons?

Probably as much as you and I. No, everything is not certain given enough time. Because the facts of each iteration can completely alter the whole chain. This is the argument that if you flip a coin enough times, heads MUST come up.

But that is in fact not true. Each flip is completely independent of the last flip. Given enough time, there is in fact no law that says heads must occur. Real life events work much the same way. Any given event can be interrupted. The 'everything is certain' premise doesn't work if a human exists and can stop or alter the process with free will in any number of a zillion variable ways.

For example, Buffett's calculation says that after, say, years a nuclear bomb essentially must have gone off, but that's not true at all, because people can always stop it from happening and interrupt the theoretical math calculation which only actually exists in a 'vacuum'. In any given year, the odds are N, but that does not in fact compound into following years inherently. Buffett via Berkshire Hathaway has made huge amounts of money selling insurance against catastrophes.

This includes natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods, as well as other catastrophic events including terrorism. This also implies he has vested interest in convincing people more catastrophes are on the way to sell more insurance. You realize insurance companies make the most money by selling policies that never get exercised, right? Yes, of course. I was pointing out that Buffett has thought more carefully about terrorism risks than most people, since his business has written very large insurance policies providing limited terrorism coverage.

I'm sure he has thought very carefully about how to maximize his profits be convincing people they need terrorism insurance. Spooky23 on June 7, root parent prev next [—]. Acts of war and nuclear disasters are excluded from insurance. Which is why acts of 'terrorism' are no longer covered under almost any insurance policy unless you pay through the nose for an additional rider. Right, you probably wouldn't get terrorism coverage as part of your homeowner's policy. However, terrorism insurance is big business!

That's because terrorism wasn't specifically defined as an "act of war" for general risk policies under the underwriting standards of the time. Terrorism is a broader concept. The information being collected is sufficiently broad and inclusive to give law enforcement more than enough leads they would not have already had.

The discovery process required to determine if such a system were misappropriated for anything more than these national security concerns would be overly burdensome for any defendant in a court of law, especially when said defendants are spending every penny on just trying to remain free.

Such a long, weak argument deserves only one retort: because they have no moral right to take or erode my life or liberty. There's no convoluted justification you could ever come up with to rationally argue otherwise. Jesus I dont even know where to start. Do you even live in America?? Because most people do not like when bunch of geeks are laughing at their pillow talk or sex talk with wife over the phone? Because we have a right to privacy, like most human beings..? And you know this because of what??

Just exactly what was the last time you heard government proudly announcing they were able to stop a pathogens spread attack? Or nuclear weapon being recovered? Give me a break! They couldn't even stop two morans with pressure cookers in Boston and you trying to tell me they will track some pathogens that vanished from a lab??

How about this: terrorism is when you secretly drone a group of people in Afganistan and as a "collateral damage" you kill some 8 year old boy. Then his father happen to build up anger against americans, board a plane and walk to Times Square to detonate his vest.

He is a terrorist, right? I mean, you barely heard about some children being droned by accident, and then you have Manning facing possible capital punishment for releasing materials like Apache "mistake" attack on civilians. But sure you will hear about that fanatic detonating on us soil. You want to stop terrorism? Immidiately withdraw ALL troops from ALL foreign soils: Iraq, Afganistan, everywhere where americans are sticking their nose where it doesn't belong to! How on earth are they protecting us soil by occupying Iraq, for crying out loud??

Once you stop invading countries, dronning innocent people, you will all of sudden see nobody cares about coming to america and blowing themselves up. No we don't. Money buys power, power buys money. When you big and powerful enough, you are innocent regardless of charges.

You are "too big to fail", or other crap. You are given billions of tax payers money to survive while others bankrupt. Democracy ended in 60s. Oh okay so for that reason let's stop the human kind progress here and just gave up everything because since we are not following example of some African countries, then everything will always be fine. How about this: while system broadly is corrupt, some individual politicans are not. They are made by entities; government entities. You watch news lately?

Bengatzi 9 months later - no answers, no one guilty, no one brought to justice, Rice promoted. Fast and Furious - One US marschall dead -- noone found guilty, noone brought to justice, IRS -- same story plus individual taking 5th. Read the definition on Wikipedia. We are in fact very close to it. Sentiments like this bring despots to power and further cultivate erosion of the democratic process. I can only applaud to secret agencies for this fine job of creating a favorable public opinion on the matter that would had been deemed atrocious only a decade ago.

MPSimmons on June 7, parent prev next [—]. Yes, because those things are all entirely unknown in the history of Senate races in the US. It seems odd to claim both that: - This government program is widely hated - We have a functioning democracy. The US is a republic. Was a Republic. I think it could be argued that the US is no longer fully governed by the Constitution. The only debate, in my opinion, is when the Republic died. Yes; a democratic republic, to be precise. Non-democratic republics include 18th-century USA, where only white male landowners could vote.

Democratic non-republics include the UK, which is a monarchy. Or they could be mildly inconvenienced and get a warrant. If you give the government these powers you are assuming there will never be someone in charge of this information who is corrupt. But corrupt people are already in charge of it! This will only get worse. Buffet probably has no idea what would be involved in pulling off a nuclear attack. Hint: "dirty bombs" is just made up nonsense.

If I had the money to make it interesting for him, I'd take a long bet on this one and even leave it open ended. I'm sure we'll all be dead before it happens. Terrorism isn't a legitimate concern for the US. Over the last 30 years, we've had around deaths per year. That about a drop of piss in the ocean.

Not worth even thinking about for one second. Us all those resources to do something that would have an effect like fighting cancer, making highways safer, etc. Fighting terrorism as the US does is like doing extreme chemo therapy for a sniffle.

Go look up some executive orders that have come out of the president's office past as well as present. This paragraph is more a hope about how things should be then proof of how they are. Ask yourself how you can know any of it's true. It's legal to take pictures of cops, yet if you do it you could end in jail anyway. It's illegal for cops to rape and murder, yet it happens and often enough with no real consequence to the cop. Then why bother? We're only giving corrupt people unchecked power to lord over us and we're getting back a small chance that we might possible prevent some attack that might possibly happen but if you look at the actual history of terrorist attacks, they usually fail from their own incompetence.

Then why would we assume any exist. The onus is on those who violate us to prove it's providing some value. Of course they do. They expose we to the whims of low paid morons on power trips. Complete and utter bullshit. Have you actually looked at e. Hint: terrorism is line noise in the application of that act. It's used for almost anything but. Hacker News new past comments ask show jobs submit.

US intelligence mining data from 9 US Internet companies in broad secret program washingtonpost. Sven7 on June 7, root parent prev next [—] Big data is hard to ignore. PavlovsCat on June 7, root parent next [—] I don't know what quote you are referring to, but here is my favourite one.

Taylorious on June 7, parent prev next [—] I laughed at how incredibly shifty the General is when he "answers. Edition Number : 1. Number of Pages : XII, Skip to main content. Search SpringerLink Search. Conference proceedings info: MCSS Buying options eBook EUR Softcover Book EUR Learn about institutional subscriptions. Table of contents 21 papers Search within book Search.

Page 1 Navigate to page number of 2. Front Matter.

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