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Freedom: NSA “Vacuuming Up All [Cell Phone] Metadata Indiscriminately”

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A couple years back, I had AT&T, because I wanted an iPhone.  Then, Verizon put a 3G tower in near where I worked and it was bye-bye iPhone, hello Droid X.

I imagine somewhere in an NSA harddrive somewhere are the first texts I sent on that phone, considering they are apparently getting every bit of data they can from Verizon.

Well, at least Verizon.  Probably a lot more.

Maybe all of the cell phone service provides.

Behold, your tax dollars in action:

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largesttelecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

Not “all cell phones making phone calls to known terrorists.”

ALL TELEPHONE CALLS IN ITS SYSTEMS.

You know what?

I’m embarrassed.

You know why?

When I first discovered politics, which was back in 2001, I believe I actually typed somewhere, “If you’re not doing something wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

Yep.

I’ve learned a lot since then. I’m not that guy anymore.

I’m the guy that looks at that guy like this:

Well, not exactly like this, but you know what I mean.

The fact remains, they aren’t just targeting the bad guys.

Well, in a way, they are.

They just see us all as the bad guys.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

The disclosure is likely to reignite longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government’s domestic spying powers.

Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.

The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.

The order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compels Verizon to produce to the NSA electronic copies of “all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad” or “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls”.

Imagine how that conversation went:

Judge:  ”So, tell me what you’re looking for in this?”

NSA:  ”Everything.”

Judge:  ”Sounds good.  Here you go.”

Think there was any more debate than that?

Me neither.

Julian Sanchez, a surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, explained: “We’ve certainly seen the government increasingly strain the bounds of ‘relevance’ to collect large numbers of records at once — everyone at one or two degrees of separation from a target — but vacuuming all metadata up indiscriminately would be an extraordinary repudiation of any pretence of constraint or particularized suspicion.” The April order requested by the FBI and NSA does precisely that.

The law on which the order explicitly relies is the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act, 50 USC section 1861.

Yeah, I supported the Patriot Act too.

Are there any restraints to this program?

At the conclusion of that investigation, Frank Church, the Democratic senator from Idaho who chaired the investigative committee, warned: “The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.”

Perfect.



Source: http://allamericanblogger.com/24674/freedom-nsa-vacuuming-up-all-cell-phone-metadata-indiscriminately/


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