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Do You Trust Your Government?

By - January 30, 2007

Read this. (ZDnet)

The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed.

Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords.

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12 thoughts on “Do You Trust Your Government?

  1. Bob Jones says:

    I understand America was founded on the principals of freedom, but sometimes you have to learn when to let go.

    This kind of wire-tapping, mass-surveilance, has been happening in Britain since the IRA, we’re still alive and free from the government – it isn’t as big of a deal as The New York Times might have you believe.

    Plenty of countries don’t have a US-style constitution, which allows them to carry out mass-surveilance, and they don’t fall apart or turn into a facist government.

    I always saw the constitution as undemocratic, after all I think if people want to elect a president who is tough on terrorism and needs these tools to safe-guard the country, isn’t it better to let the people give him the powers than have the constitution block the will of the people?

  2. Dempsey says:

    Yeah Bob, I see your point about the Constitution undermining the current will of the people. I see a few problems with it.

    1) A president hasn’t run on the platform that he’ll undermine the Constitution, allow law enforcement to spy on us, etc. Nobody has voted for that yet.

    2) The first European settlers came here to get away from intrusive governments and unchecked law enforcement agencies. You might say it is in our DNA.

    I’m not slamming the other countries you mention. They’re doing fine and that’s cool. We’re just different (in case you didn’t notice ;-)).

  3. Bob Jones says:

    This debate is probably more important now as anti-terror raids were carried out in the UK, in the Birmingham area, with 8 Muslims detained.

    No doubt the British police used all tools availible to them …

  4. Mike says:

    My 15 year informed me just yesterday that he sees no problem with FBI or NSA listening in or looking in on his phone and internet activities. To quote him, “we are at war and if it helps them look for the bad guys I don’t have a problem with it”.
    I am proud of him. Unfortunately lilly-livered libs. and other confused civil rights defenders feel that if the FBI and NSA and co. get a “foot in” the next thing you know they will do away with the Fourth Ammendment. This is an absurd notion.
    It’s obvious now the war on terror is in full swing in the U.K.. Plots have successfully been uncovered by U.K. security forces only because of some “constitutional” rules have been bent a little. No one there is complaining to loudly right now!
    I have asked myself this question often lately. How many 9-11’s will it take before the haters, worrywarts, confused libs and their media mouthpieces willfully grant the government their right to employ the full range of investigative tools? I have concluded that some of them will NEVER understand what’s really at stake!

  5. epictum says:

    Based on everyone’s comments, I think the larger issue of this discussion is not about helping “them look for the bad guys.” It’s about the general public’s unawareness that a wealth of personal information is being tracked, stored and analyzed. It seems like we’re simply accepting that this is the way it’s done — no probable cause needed. The government knows what it’s doing. (If you believe this, please READ THIS. Not anti-government… just saying that you always need accountability.) And so, to end my daily diatribe, I’ll leave you with a quote from a veteran journalist who’s won several Emmy’s and a Peabody Award… Mr. Dan Rather: “Limiting access, limiting information to cover the backsides of those who are in charge of the war, is extremely dangerous and cannot and should not be accepted. And I am sorry to say that up to and including the moment of this interview, that overwhelmingly it has been accepted by the American people. And the current administration revels in that, they relish that, and they take refuge in that.” (full story here in from a British source)

  6. Tom Nocera says:

    I may be in the minority here, but, I’m siding with those Americans who throughout our history have considered the preservation of the Bill of Rights and the document it appends, worth fighting for. The ignorant, those who would foolishly sacrifice liberty for some false sense of security, deserve and may well find themselves with neither.

  7. Harry says:

    I’m sorry, but spying on citizens outside the Constitution rubs me so wrong. Dempsey’s right, Americans are just differnet, and I think our strict adherence to a very limited rule of law is what sets us apart from just about everybody, and why we are so prosperous. Our success in America is directly related our unique and powerful restraint on our government’s powers, in everything, including surveillance. And when the govn’mt gets out of line, the First Amendment, freedom of the press (particularly blogs now), keeps it in check. It works. We can keep the terrorists at bay without bastardizing our Constitution.

  8. BODY GUARDS says:

    Here lies the technical reasons why this is being done

    /// Call it the vacuum-cleaner approach. It’s employed when police have obtained a court order and an Internet service provider can’t “isolate the particular person or IP address” because of technical constraints, ….

    You intercept first and you use whatever filtering, data mining to get at the information about the person you’re trying to monitor,” he added….

    You collect wherever you can on the (network) segment,” … “If it happens to be the segment that has a lot of IP addresses, you don’t throw away the other IP addresses. You do that after the fact.”

  9. mano says:

    I’ll leave you with a quote from a veteran journalist who’s won several Emmy’s and a Peabody Award… Mr. Dan Rather:

    puhleeese spare me !!!

  10. Dempsey says:

    Here’s a quip I’ve come up with (based on “those who would give up liberty for security deserve neither”):

    People who think it’s okay for the government to spy on your private life should move to Cuba or Saudi Arabia where the governments agree with you.

  11. lady says:

    We need freedom of the world. Then the government dont need to spy.