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NSA phone call database: Does it matter?

I heard a statistic on National Public Radio news tonight that 63% of Americans polled didn't mind that the National Security Agency had compiled a database of phone call records from the phone companies. Hard as it was for me to believe, it's true: Washington Post/ABC News Poll, 5/11/06.

Well, that might explain the total lack of outraged response to my LJ post from yesterday. I've also realized that the phone database is not exactly news, since we started learning of the phone surveillance in December of 2005. That makes me Johnny-come-lately. I'm a bad blogger.

On the other hand, a CNN.com QuickVote from yesterday reports that 75% of respondents thought the NSA's phone call database was "creepy." Likewise, MS:NBC's Question of the Day for May 11th indicates 76% of respondents care if the goverment has our phone records. So I have no idea which one is right. It's worth noting that the CNN QuickVote is self-selecting and has no mechanism to prevent people from outside the U.S. from voting.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
animist
May. 13th, 2006 10:19 am (UTC)
Total criminilization
I just kind of assumed they were already doing that, so there's no element of surprise to get me worked up.
altivo
May. 13th, 2006 10:51 am (UTC)
I suspect people will be a lot more outraged if the cost of all this idiocy is revealed. If the data from this latest fiasco is indeed what they say it is, merely which numbers called which numbers and for how long, the analysis would be so costly as to make it all worthless. Yet I'm sure they're trying to analyze it. There's no rationality in the paranoid fascist mind.

A genuine reaction has to come from people feeling that they are directly affected. So far all this domestic surveillance (which I think is probably unmatched since the days of Richard Nixon at least) has left people thinking that it doesn't really apply to them.

On the other hand, the laws being violated are quite clear. The phone companies have broken the law in surrendering this data without warrant, the government agencies have broken the law in requesting it without warrant, and the ground is ripe for class action lawsuits. There are always some greedy lawyers ready to file those, and I'm sure the paperwork is being developed even now. Should be interesting.
ferndalealex
May. 13th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
A result, no doubt, of the idea that "Only the guilty have something to hide." As a people we've drifted away from the idea that people have a right to privacy that should be peirced only with some good reason.

The American public seem to have no understanding that, as Uncle Benny once said: "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." (Benjamin Franklin). And with the fear mongering of the Repuglicans, many are willing to let the erosion of privacy continue with the idea that we are safer. But someday, Big Brother could exert it's power and democratic pluarlism in the US could be supplanted with a Christian Oligarcy [sp?].


But this here, is preaching to the choir...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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