...By the way, nice to see ya back.
The Caucus - The Politics and Government blog of The New York Times
June 11, 2013
Poll Finds Disapproval of Record Collection, but Little Personal Concern
By ALLISON KOPICKI
In the wake of the exposure of two classified surveillance operations, most Americans expressed disapproval about the United States government’s collecting phone records of “ordinary” Americans. Yet, most showed little concern about their own Internet activities or phone calls’ being monitored.
A majority, 57 percent, said that the leaks about the surveillance programs would not affect the ability of the United States to prevent future terrorist attacks, while 30 percent said the fact that the programs had been made public would weaken the government’s efforts to prevent terrorism.
According to a CBS News poll released Tuesday evening, nearly 6 in 10 Americans said they disapproved of the federal government’s collecting phone records of ordinary Americans in order to reduce terrorism. However, three-quarters said they approved of the government’s tracking phone records of Americans suspected of terrorist activity. Nearly the same number approved of the United States’ monitoring the Internet activities of people living in foreign countries.
At the same time, a slim majority, 53 percent, said that collecting Americans’ phone records was a necessary tool to find terrorists, while 40 percent said it was not necessary.
The poll found that almost 6 in 10 Americans are very or somewhat concerned about losing some of their privacy as a result of the federal government’s efforts to combat terrorism. However, 46 percent said the government had achieved the right balance between privacy and security concerns, while 36 percent said it had gone too far. Another 13 percent said the government had not gone far enough, with Republicans and independents more likely than Democrats to say the government had overreached.
A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted in April, after the Boston Marathon bombings, found a similar number of Americans saying the government had achieved the right balance between intrusion and privacy, but only 20 percent said it had gone too far, and 26 percent said it hadn’t gone far enough.
When it comes to their own communications being tracked, 6 in 10 Americans said they were not very or not at all concerned about the government’s collecting their phone records or monitoring their Internet use. Nearly 4 in 10 were somewhat or very concerned, and again, Republicans and independents expressed more concern than Democrats.
The CBS News poll of 1,015 adults on cellphones and landlines was conducted June 9-10 by live interviewers. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Quote:There is much more to fear from people who constantly cry "wolf" and "the sky is falling" than there is from government.
Tell that to the people of Vietnam, 2+million dead, Frank. Tell that to the people of Iraq, 1.5+ million dead, Frank. Afghanistan, 1 million?? dead.
Don't you find it odd that the US never keeps track of the numbers of "oppressed people" it slaughters when it propagandizes that that's the "mission"?...
So that whole 4th Amendment thing was a waste - just the Founders being naive? It's not the business of the government to track the phone calls of law abiding citizens as a preventive measure, nor to tell the phone companies that they force the information from that they'll go to jail if they tell the truth about what's happening. It's absolutely contrary to the spirit of America and I want it stopped.
NEWSER) – All the furor about real-life Big Brother-esque surveillance has a lot of people reaching for the fictional version. As of this morning, Amazon sales of George Orwell's 1984 had jumped 6,021% in 24 hours, NPR reports. The dystopian classic is now No. 164 on the online bookseller's charts.
orry, Hawkeye...I am not worried about the government as much as I am about all the conspiracy theorists who are moaning and groaning about damn near everything these days.
There is much more to fear from people who constantly cry "wolf" and "the sky is falling" than there is from government.
As we all scramble to become cybersecurity scholars, here's a handy guide to Section 215, the part of the Patriot Act that authorized the National Security Agency to collect cell data from Verizon and also possibly data for its PRISM program.
What is Section 215?
To understand Section 215, you first need to read Section 103(a) of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established the FISA court system that grants the government permission to conduct electronic surveillance.
The relevant section:
The Chief Justice of the United States shall publicly designate seven district court judges from seven of the United States judicial circuits who shall constitute a court which shall have jurisdiction to hear applications for and grant orders approving electronic surveillance anywhere within the United States under the procedures set forth in this Act, except that no judge designated under this subsection shall hear the same application for electronic surveillance under this Act which has been denied previously by another judge designated under this subsection.
Under Section 215, the government can apply to the FISA court to compel businesses (like Verizon) to hand over user records. Here's what Slate wrote about Section 215 in a 2003 guide to the Patriot Act:
Section 215 modifies the rules on records searches. Post-Patriot Act, third-party holders of your financial, library, travel, video rental, phone, medical, church, synagogue, and mosque records can be searched without your knowledge or consent, providing the government says it's trying to protect against terrorism.
As Section 215 stands today—in the reauthorized version of the Patriot Act passed in 2005—"tangible things" (aka user data) sought in a FISA order "must be 'relevant' to an authorized preliminary or full investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a U.S. person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities." It also established congressional oversight for the FISA program, requiring the DOJ to conduct an audit of the program and the "effectiveness" of Section 215, and to submit an unclassified report on the audit to the House and Senate Committees on the Judiciary and Intelligence.
That was during the Bush administration. How has the Patriot Act changed since President Obama was elected?
Not very much. Sen. Obama voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act in 2005, a decision he defended on the campaign trail in 2008 with the caveat that some provisions contained in Section 215, like allowing the government to go through citizens' library records, "went way overboard." But in 2011 President Obama signed a bill to extend the Patriot Act's sunset clause to June 1, 2015—with Section 215 intact in its 2005 form.
Did the NSA also use Section 215 to obtain Internet data for its PRISM program?
This is less clear, but the leaked PRISM program documents seem to indicate yes. The PRISM presentation seems to imply that Section 215 applies not only to phone metadata but also to email, chats, photos, video, logins, and other online user data. Referring to the type of data the government is allowed to collect as "tangible things" allows a pretty wide berth for interpretation.
I would like to hear some experts talk about how likely it is that trained terrorists would get caught in this surveillance...it sounds like they would have to be country bumpkins. if this is the case then my theory that SAFETY! is being used as an excuse to build a police state just got more evidence for it.
The one difference in the situation now and the situation which exploded under Bush was that the Bush administration was conducting surveillance with a presidential order signed in 2002 without warrants or the FISA courts. The spying done now is done in accordance with the Patriot act and with warrants from the FISA courts.
The data they're getting is not surveillance. These aren't recordings of phone calls, or even necessarily the text of E-mail messages.
There's too much data for them to watch everything you do.
Which may be why some senators want the FISA to be more transparent "when possible." Not to be too factitious, but if it is secret how do you know it hasn't ever, not one time, denied a warrant?
Just the very idea of a so call secret court in the US make one blood run cold as that is something you would expect to see in the former USSR or Nazis Germany not here.
The FISA court is hardly new, been around since the 70's.