So…The NSA and FBI have been Spying on us…


…and that’s news? Worthy of sudden outrage?

Let’s face it- massive intercept of communications has been going on since at least “the cold war”. Yes, maybe it died down a bit…or simply seemed to, in the lull between “the cold war” and “the war on terror”.

And clearly Bush helped ramp things up to new levels, which have been continued by Bush. But what has really changed is the method and volume of communications in our world. And hence- the methods of intercepting them.

This new outrage reminds me of a friend from the “gray hat” hacker world. They had gotten one of those t-shirts that says “I Read Your E-Mails” . To which he added to the back “And God You’re Boring”.

In other words- the government is not interested/doesn’t have the resources to do anything with the bulk of the information. Have you seen such things come into play in the Boston Bombings? The School shootings? Various hate crimes? Drug cases? No- because for better or worse virtually all resources have been moved to the “war on terror”.

Not to imply these new “revelations” are trivial- the potential for abuse is real. But this has been going on for decades. And is very much reminiscent of the “First they came…” quote from Martin Niemoller….

Really- the bigger concern for people should be the very companies the NSA and FBI are getting the data from. The very companies whose business models are often not providing you with a service- but providing you a service to collect your data. Data that is sold on the open market with few if any restrictions. Companies that legally track you around the web. And using the location data from your smartphone or laptop- around the world.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook etc- they know far, far more about you then the government does.

Let’s see- just this site alone. How much info did you give WordPress? Your real name? Your real birthdate? An email address that you actually use for other things? Besides WP, Google Analytics is tracking your activity here. As is Quanticast, As is Kiss Metrics. As is Gravity.  As is Optimizely. and…well- you get the picture.

Sorry- but I really don’t get the sudden outrage. Except to note that is coming from two fronts- the left and libertarians who have been tilting at windmills over this issue for decades. And the right- who embraced such actions for decades- until a black, kenyan, msulim, communist/socialist/facist became president. How many times have I heard the same people feigning outrage say “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about”?!

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About drugsandotherthings

I am a criminal. Because I have used cannabis and psychedelics extensively. I have tried many other drugs, but never cared for the uppers, downers, or dissociatives. I love craft beer, and absinthe, but don't care much for alcohols effects- which quite frankly, are boring and dangerous. Science is my religion. I am in my 40's, and have travelled extensively. And often forced myself outside of my confort zone. I am employed, a respected member of my communtiy, an animal lover, an environmentalist, a political junkie, and the realities I have experienced continue to push me further to the left of the political spectrum.
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3 Responses to So…The NSA and FBI have been Spying on us…

  1. Barneysday says:

    To me, there are two major points. The first is the volume. Every Single call via Verizon is being given over to the govt. Millions of calls per day. And if its going on with Verizon, its going on with ATT, T-Mobile, etc. Everyone. This is a volume that was never discussed in the origional Patriot Act discussion. What reason on gods green earth can the govt say they need all this data? And if you believe Feinstiein, et al that indeed these searches have prevented terrorist attacks in the US, then I have a bridge in New York, and another in San Francisco that I’ll sell you very cheaply.

    The second is the lie that a US judge is ruling over this. What judge can look at this volume and say it is all, ok.

    Another thought…Our govt in assuming that all 300 million of we citizens are potential terrorist.

    Another…Freedoms are taken away, one small step at a time. They’ve never admitted the amount of data they are collecting, now they admit that, but say they aren’t using it. Want another bridge? And even if they aren’t using it today, how long until they do?

    I’m sorry to say that Obama has morphed into GW Bush, and the more denials he comes out with, the more he sounds like him, too.

    • I should say maybe my views are tempered by the reality of my upbringing. I had family and family friends at the very, very, very highest levels of the CIA and NSA- including those who ran the precursors to these programs.

      And yet- in 30+ years of these abuses I have yet to see any real evidence that these particular powers have really been abused. Indeed- they have seemed so overwhelmed with their main focus- and the sheer volume- that this has not trickled down.

      So yes- I am far more concerned with the private companies. And indeed- the very real possibility that they start selling their data to lower agencies- such as state police agencies.

      Don’t get me wrong- I don’t approve of what the Feds have been doing for decades. But I think the real threat is is at the private, state, and local level.

      • Barneysday says:

        I would say 6 people in jail for “leaks” Private Manning, Wiki Leaks, drone strikes including killing of American Citizens, etc might be an argument supporting abuse. The argument really is the growing. I still see no justification whatever for capturing EVERY phone call, AP records retention, Fox news record grabbing.

        This is a growing threat to freedom. Bush famously, if not stupidly said once, we are taking away freedoms to protect freedom. Is the current theory that once they have taken away all our freedoms, we will be a free society?

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