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Majority of Americans Say NSA Phone Tracking Is OK To Fight Terrorism

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the don't-want-to-get-onto-a-list dept.

Privacy 584

An anonymous reader writes "While the tech media has gone wild the past few days with the reports of the NSA tracking Verizon cell usage and creating the PRISM system to peer into our online lives, a new study by Pew Research suggests that most U.S. citizens think it's okay. 62 percent of Americans say losing some personal privacy is acceptable as long as its used to fight terrorism, and 56 percent are okay with the NSA tracking phone calls. Online tracking is fair less popular however, with only 45 percent approving of the practice. The data also shows that the youth are far more opposed to curtailing privacy to fight terror, which could mean trouble for politicians planning to continue these programs in the coming years."

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584 comments

Bull Shit! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971427)

It's not true!

Re:Bull Shit! (5, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about 10 months ago | (#43971607)

I believe the poll results, but only for one reason. Because the responses were framed in the context of "to fight terrorism." Most mindless sheep would say that it is ok to sacrifice anything, to prevent terrorism.

That's not the problem. The problem is what the government can/will do with the information when the political climate is favorable to the party in charge. Say for example, pull every phone call and e-mail from a political opponent to conduct opposition research. Or find out who has a gun in their house, and enact nationwide confiscation. Or scan their e-mails for keywords to indicate someone's political beliefs, and investigating or auditing those people because they disagree with the political party in charge.

That is the danger. Not terrorism from outside, from terrorism conducted by our own government.

Re:Bull Shit! (5, Insightful)

zwei2stein (782480) | about 10 months ago | (#43971687)

"I have nothing to hide" needs to die. And goverment actions are exactly the reason:

Did judes have anything to hide from goverment before Nazis came to power?

Nope. Yet they suffered greatly because of goverment knowledge of their ethnicity.

Was being communist or friend of one crime in US before red scare?

Nope. But then red scare came and whowledge of who is fiend with who destroyed careers and lives.

Was Alan Turing doing anything wrong?

Nope. But he was still brutalized and died as a result after nature of his sexuality was revealed.

Was ownership of land of factories crime?

Nope. But then commies came to power on many countries and people were shited to prisons, prison colonies or executed outright.

In history, many people thought that their religion, political orientiation, sexual orientation, friendships and relationships, ownerships or opinions. ... that none of it would ever be issue because they are not doing anything wrong or illegal or even mean.

And they were wrong. And died because of it.

Laws change. Society changes. Rules change. People in power change. Things can be taken out of context, or put into another.

You might be completelly fine one day, and monster another.

And if list of "monsters" can be gotten as easily as simple database querry, it is best not to be part of it. And to not have any such database.

Re:Bull Shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971775)

Everyone has things to hide. It's personal privacy and is not in any way indicative of any kind of criminal intentions.

For those who think that is is, how about letting me install cameras in your house? You'll obviously say yes, unless you've got something to hide.

Re:Bull Shit! (2, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 10 months ago | (#43971839)

Was Alan Turing doing anything wrong? Nope.

Actually legally he was doing something wrong. By the standards of the day, I suspect most people would have considered his sexual activies/sexuality morally unacceptable as well. The rest of your examples have a "before" to compare them to, but that one doesn't quite fit.

Re:Bull Shit! (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#43971857)

I believe the poll results, but only for one reason. Because the responses were framed in the context of "to fight terrorism."

I suspect you're right. Poll results are notoriously sensitive to exactly how the questions are phrased. The other problem is that those polled might not understand the entire scope of the program, or have considered how it can be misused and how little protection against misuse there might be (or might not be - that's the charming thing about a secret court). Nevertheless I find the overall results very depressing. IIRC there have been polls from time to time asking people if they believed in the principles of the Bill of Rights (but phrased in such a way that it wasn't obvious they were talking about the Bill of Rights). Unfortunately what many (including me) consider the most important part of American law didn't fare well. Thank goodness the 1st Congress was filled with radicals.

Re:Bull Shit! (1)

LurkNoMore (2681167) | about 10 months ago | (#43971763)

The problem is that the survey doesn't matter what level of privacy invasion is acceptable. "Some" invasion is okay. That means a lot to different people. Phone calls, internet monitoring, GPS tracking, car license plate readers and even grocery store receipts all count as privacy invasion but I'm betting more people get pissed at internet monitoring than grocery store receipt data mining. Of course, I would like to know how many terrorisms have been identified and prevented by any of the privacy invasions. Ultimately though I have to give a well thought out "Fuck you" to anyone that wants to start or continue privacy invasions for safety anyway.

Re:Bull Shit! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971815)

If its so necessary for terrorism, how did the Boston bombing happen then?

Did anyone need reminding? (5, Insightful)

liamevo (1358257) | about 10 months ago | (#43971429)

That the majority of the public are short term thinking morons?
It doesn't matter whether or not all that has been claimed of PRISM is true, they are happy to give up privacy and freedoms if it "helps fight terrorism"

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971451)

True. Lots of people accepted the TSA and Patriot Act, after all. You can't get much more moronic than that.

I'm sure that cold fjord fellow will come here and tell us that we'd all be dead without this nonsense and that none of it violates the constitution; he's a government cheerleader, after all.

I wonder what happened to "Land of the free, home of the brave"? Looks like we house sniveling cowards more than anything else.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (5, Insightful)

nucrash (549705) | about 10 months ago | (#43971529)

That pretty much sums up my opinion on the matter. Here we are bending over to the government action to "protect us." But then when the police and other government agencies get access to these technologies, what is to stop them? I think the best quote about this was the following:
1960
Government Agent 1, "Let's get everyone to wear a radio transceiver so that we can track their every move."
Government Agent 2, "That will never work. People would never agree to such a thing"

2010 Customer, "Can I get my second iPhone please?"

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971499)

To be honest, I'm at least a tiny bit surprised that it's the younger people who were more opposed. I had somehow figured the younger generations to be a bit more indifferent.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971501)

This is why we have elections.

Go vote for your buddy Rand Paul when he runs for President. Although read up about his famous filibuster where, after the Boston Marathon bombings, Paul not so famously took back some of what he said on the Senate floor about prohibiting government drones on US soil.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (5, Funny)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#43971517)

In other news, Pew Research has denied receiving a National Security Letter demanding that they release a poll with the numbers 62%, 56% and 45%.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (2, Insightful)

eriklou (1027240) | about 10 months ago | (#43971525)

1,004 people responding to the poll DOES NOT EQUAL A MAJORITY!

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971621)

In other news, eriklou doesn't understand how statistics works.

The sampling is robust. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971633)

1004 people gives an error in determining the percentage response for the larger pool of "everyone in the USA" of 3.2%. Therefore a gap of more than 9.6% is statistically significant and reliable to indicate that there IS a gap and the majority accept tracking.

You would need to show that the sampling was biased toward those liable to accept or the wording was partisan and leading if you wish to call this study bullshit.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971639)

It depends on the quality of the poll. If two or three polls from respected polling organizations came up with similar numbers that would be pretty convincing though. Even if the NSA got on the phone with their CEO, I'd expect they would simply cancel the poll or sit on the results instead of doctoring them.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971533)

I think that they are not actually idiots. I think that they are clever in that they are aware that America's dominance in the world results in a high standard of living for them. They recognise that if the American government and big corporates stopped doing the things that make terrorists angry then their own standard of living would drop because commodity prices would skyrocket.
American people are not idiots. They are complicit conspirators.

Re: Did anyone need reminding? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971691)

You think Americans have a high standard of living? You should travel more...

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971535)

That the majority of the public are short term thinking morons?

50% of the country is happy to give up privacy and freedom if it hurts the other party. That the 50% who were against it when Bush was doing it are suddenly for it now, and the 50% that were all for it when Bush was doing it but are suddenly against it now just shows how nearsighted the whole lot are.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (2, Interesting)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 10 months ago | (#43971541)

I don't think they "thinking" at all, just morons and sheep...

I'm surprised that the younger generation is so against it, given the lax attitude schools have in teaching rational thought and logic and instead focusing on "zero tolerance", and mindless memorization...

Maybe there is some hope for the future after all...

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 10 months ago | (#43971551)

The question is also flawed because we don't know if this really "helps fight terrorism". Do they need to tap everyone's phones and internet? Or could they do just as well targeting a few specific people who might actually be involved in terrorism? Does this kind of activity actually create more terrorism by giving people, both the stereotypical Muslim enemy they want us to believe they are guarding us against, and the homegrown terrorist such as people like McVeigh who feel a need to lash out against the government/wall street/mega corporations. The question makes the assumption that this kind of surveillance makes catching terrorists before they commit their acts, and also assumes that terrorism is actually a big problem, where most likely neither of the two are correct.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (3, Interesting)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 10 months ago | (#43971731)

The German government has stated that collecting connection information beyond 1 week is unreasonable and unjustified to fight crime and terrorism. If you have reasonable suspicion, convince a judge and get a warrant, then you can wiretap as you wish, and you have the recent history. If not, don't store the data.

The German government has a guideline for all IT projects promoting the principle of collecting the least data ("Datensparsamkeit" ~= "data frugality").

Data tends to be illegally used for other things then intended. And it is not effective. It costs the government and companies real money. And it costs people their privacy without seeing something in return besides promises.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (5, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 10 months ago | (#43971751)

The question is also flawed because we don't know if this really "helps fight terrorism".

And we're not going to find out, because the program is classified. It could be wildly successful and thwarting a dozen bomb plots a day. It could be a total failure, resulting in dozens of arrests of innocent people a day.

The thing that baffles me is not that people are willing to give up freedom if it "helps fight terrorism," it's that they believe what the government does in the name of fighting terrorism is working, when they don't believe anything else the federal government does is working.

I wonder how different the poll results would have been if Snowden had released the documents six months after the Boston bombing instead of six weeks after.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971665)

Did you think they werent doing this anyway? Where have you been the last 30 years?

Pussies (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 10 months ago | (#43971769)

Is what it really comes down to. The older they get the more Americans want a "dad" or "mom" to take care of them. OMFG terrorists! Their chances of winning Lotto are better. Add in that older people remember a time when the government was preceived as "more trustworthy" (true or not) and you get these types of results. Not to disparrage Pew, but I have also seen surveys leaning slightly the other way. The real figure is probably a pretty even split.

Re:Did anyone need reminding? (1)

nickmh (2496180) | about 10 months ago | (#43971795)

OK, No problem. BUT. Do they realise it will be used against them during the next crisis from which they elect a saviour that says "I will protect you from the people and organisations that caused your grief", "I have all the tools I need to prosecute the criminals that caused this damage to our beloved father land"? It's not Obama. The saviour will be cleverer than that! Obama is just another getting you used to the idea of giving up freedoms and rights in the name of security. You know you don't need "terrorist laws". What a lot crud that is. You only need a functioning "Common Law" system. As Common Law is clearly not in practice and the people are clearly clueless as to it's operation and intent?.... The people of the USA should fear themselves and the world should fear the United States. Any population that has the Firepower, and still industrial power of the USA that thinks like this, is a worry for the rest. Those that give up their natural freedoms for the promise of security provided by others deserve neither!

And? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971461)

This shows that 62% of Americans surveyed are morons and 56% of Americans have no clue how invasive this project is.

Stupidity at its finest - give'em bread and circuses and they will do exactly what you want...

Captcha: bewitch

Majority don't understand the extent & issues (5, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 10 months ago | (#43971471)

The majority of Americans (1) don't understand the extent of the surveillance, and (2) don't understand why privacy is so important.

I totally believe this poll.

This article says that 70% of Americans don't know what the constitution is: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368482/How-ignorant-Americans-An-alarming-number-U-S-citizens-dont-know-basic-facts-country.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Re:Majority don't understand the extent & issu (2)

0ld_d0g (923931) | about 10 months ago | (#43971597)

I think that's because most of the prosecution under the BS Espionage act isn't very public. I think some celebrity should get sued by the government so that it would be written all over the popular trashy magazines... :)

Re: Majority don't understand the extent & iss (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971625)

That's the Daily Mail. It's a tabloid. Half of everything they say is made upi.

Use some common sense. If 70% of Americans didn't know what the constitution was, thhere wouldn't be so much a backlash evrytime someone mentions gun control.

That's the heart of the issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971629)

The majority of Americans (1) don't understand the extent of the surveillance, and (2) don't understand why privacy is so important.

I totally believe this poll.

This article says that 70% of Americans don't know what the constitution is: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1368482/How-ignorant-Americans-An-alarming-number-U-S-citizens-dont-know-basic-facts-country.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Yes, exactly! That's the heart of the issue!

Recently, I had a very interesting conversation with a relative who's a bank economist.

To make a long story short ...

The reason why college costs have risen so much in the last couple of decades is because our colleges are doing the job that our k-12 schools should be doing. That's why college has become the new "high school diploma" is because high school sucks - our public schools have failed. They are not teaching the things they need to teach and as a result, our colleges and universities have to take up the slack.

This survey and the parent comment shows the problem with this.

And one of the reasons why our schools are failing is that instead of educating am electorate, they have been pushed into educating workers - and still failing at that.

Re:Majority don't understand the extent & issu (5, Insightful)

MalachiK (1944624) | about 10 months ago | (#43971699)

The article that you link to in the Daily Mail panders to a peculiar kind of 'stupid american' stereotype that we Brits cling to when we want to feel better about the end of empire and the decline of our military and industrial might. You could replace the questions with ones of similar obscurity from British history and get a similar set of responses from a random selection of British folk. Try going out onto any street in the UK and asking the yokels about the 1689 Bill of Rights. Or get them to point to the location of the Battle of Trafalgar / Waterloo / Balaclava on a map.

The average guy on the street is just as ignorant everywhere in the world.

Re:Majority don't understand the extent & issu (1)

idji (984038) | about 10 months ago | (#43971833)

It's very simple. Just make sure no American teenager studies the Constitution or their rights in school.

When was this study? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971473)

No mention of when this most recently was conducted. I imagine most peoples' attitude was "Well, I know they aren't tracking me, I do nothing wrong (or bad enough)."

I have a feeling that more people are starting to wake up to the fact that it doesn't matter if they did anything or not, they are under 24 hour surveillance.

Well played, Slashdot (0, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | about 10 months ago | (#43971475)

Click bait for the countless 14-yo libertarians who infest these boards.

And who be just OUTRAGED, that somebody dared to point out that the government is the collective will of the people, and may actually have our interests and safety as their core mission (as opposed to merely making a handful of rich people richer?)

Now having made this comment, I'm sure I'll be modded down into a smoking crater. But I suppose there's a little pride to be had in being reviled and hated by idiots.

Re:Well played, Slashdot (4, Informative)

stanIyb (2945195) | about 10 months ago | (#43971497)

Click bait for the countless 14-yo libertarians who infest these boards.

What about the 14-yo non-libertarians who whine that there are countless 14-yo libertarians on Slashdot?

And who be just OUTRAGED, that somebody dared to point out that the government is the collective will of the people, and may actually have our interests and safety as their core mission

Collective will or no, the government isn't supposed to violate the constitution; the majority do not and should not have absolute power, and neither should the government. Individual rights need to be protected, and I probably couldn't even be considered a libertarian.

Re:Well played, Slashdot (1, Insightful)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 10 months ago | (#43971661)

Seeing as you deserve to be modded down as a moron, I'm glad you aren't surprised.

The government stopped being about the will of the people as soon as corporations were allowed to buy laws...

Which majority? (1)

Crimey McBiggles (705157) | about 10 months ago | (#43971477)

When you ask the right people the right question, you'll always get the right answer. "Majority of Americans", really? There is no way they managed to poll all voting Americans in this study.

Re:Which majority? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971537)

With the magic of statistics, that is indeed possible!

Re:Which majority? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971645)

Majority of 1004 adults polled. Whole article is full of this nonsense.

Cycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971493)

Human civilization seems to run in cycles.

What goes up ...

Most people are weak and prefer not to think... (4, Insightful)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about 10 months ago | (#43971509)

Most people are weak and prefer not to think about "bad things", and prefer security with freedom, they would not know what to do with it if they would have some...

This said it would be interesting to ask the same questions in the following way:

Assuming that of the two leading parties the one you like least has the majority in senat and house of representative, and presidential powers.

Would you agree to warrent-less investigations of phones calls, emails, instant messages, social network posting, microblogging posting, private forum messages in order to fight terrorism is:
- a good thing
- necessary
- undecided
- useless
- bad for the society
- where is my second amendment demonstrator !

Bull shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971513)

BULL SHIT. Did you someone on staff get a call last night from a suit?

Pew Research... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971515)

So... the needs of the many outweigh the rights of the few?

Re:Pew Research... (1)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about 10 months ago | (#43971747)

So... the needs of the many outweigh the rights of the few?

No, the desires of the few (1%) outweigh the rights of the many (99%).

I think the key difference is the "everyone" (-1, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | about 10 months ago | (#43971519)

The two questions from TFA were:

NSA getting secret court orders to track the calls of millions of Americans to investigate terrorism

and

Should be able to track everyone's email to prevent the possibility of terrorism

Well since there are 7,000,000 muslims in the USA, of course ">millions of Americans" should be monitored. These people follow a belief that explicitly calls for the destruction of non-Muslim societies and the establishment of a world-wide caliphate, and are responsible for many terrorist attacks, so it would be daft not to monitor them. Most other Americans are not a threat to society so monitoring them is not justified.

Re:I think the key difference is the "everyone" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971579)

so it would be daft not to monitor them.

All citizens have constitutional rights. Just because they have a particular belief system (and far from all of them actually resort to violence) doesn't mean their rights should be violated.

Re:I think the key difference is the "everyone" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971681)

Christians and Jews have done more to harm amerika than Muslims ever did. They're the ones we should be monitoring.

When was this taken? (1)

Jody Williams (2948369) | about 10 months ago | (#43971521)

No mention of when this most recently was conducted. I imagine most peoples' attitude was "Well, I know they aren't tracking me, I do nothing wrong (or bad enough)." I have a feeling that more people are starting to wake up to the fact that it doesn't matter if they did anything or not, they are under 24 hour surveillance.

'Leading' questions? (3, Insightful)

abalacha (56157) | about 10 months ago | (#43971527)

Opinion poll can be easily be 'lead' into a specific conclusion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA

no problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971531)

I don't have a problem with it as long as the FISC and congress stay informed. By law and executive order the NSA can't target a citizen unless there is authorization from the FISC. Collecting records is not the same as targeting specific individuals or organizations. In order to act on the information they still have to get another warrant for each individual or organization that is investigated.

Re:no problem (1)

alci63 (1856480) | about 10 months ago | (#43971573)

Mind, people outside the US are also citizens (of their own nations). And they deserve some privacy also. Regarding only basic self-interest, maybe these people will be thinking twice before using US driven technologies...

It's all about the questions... (2)

Knightman (142928) | about 10 months ago | (#43971539)

You can strongly influence the result of questionnaire by using leading questions.

For example:
o Do you believe it's OK for the government to track and monitor private citizens email and phone calls so they can fight terrorism?
vs.
o Do you believe it's OK for the government to track and monitor private citizens email and phone calls?

The general population has been more or less brainwashed to give up their rights as soon as the phrase "fight terrorism" or "war on terror" is used.

The majority of Americans (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971543)

Know nothing of history.

I was shocked... (4, Insightful)

belgo (72693) | about 10 months ago | (#43971545)

... the first time someone commented re: PRISM and other NSA directives, along the lines of, "Whatever, as long as it prevents another 9/11!" Now that it's been a few more days, I'm starting to break the habit of facepalming. We as a nation are affirming our commitment to the implementation of a police state, in the name of preventing something that was already about as statistically impossible as getting hit by lightning while claiming your Powerball jackpot.

Inasmuch as this is the will of the majority and of the representatives in our Republic, you can bet I'll be claiming my winnings from within the safe confines of an OSHA-approved rubber suit.

Give up freedom to fight terrorism? (5, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | about 10 months ago | (#43971553)

Fer christ sake, more people die from nose hair complications than terrorism, what have we come to?

Re:Give up freedom to fight terrorism? (1)

mortonda (5175) | about 10 months ago | (#43971635)

Proof that the measures are protecting us from terrorism, right?!

The War on Nose Hair (3, Funny)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 10 months ago | (#43971663)

Hush! Don't give the government its next pretext for an expansion of the police state! I can see it now: "nose hair complications are *deadlier than terrorism*"!

Rename this place to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971557)

Slashbait or SlashAd.gov

A majority want to blame someone else (4, Insightful)

Aqualung812 (959532) | about 10 months ago | (#43971559)

Most people fear things that are very unlikely to happen:
-Death from terrorism
-Death from oppressive government

We rant and shout with each other over which one is the bigger threat.

Meanwhile, most of us die from lack of proper personal health (diet, exercise, etc) or automobile wrecks, all of which are 100% within our ability to control.

Re:A majority want to blame someone else (2)

stanIyb (2945195) | about 10 months ago | (#43971637)

Most people fear things that are very unlikely to happen:

Both of those things are rather unlikely to happen, but the mere act of violating people's rights is evil. The government need not kill you in order for their actions to be evil. The government doesn't need to kill you, either; they could abuse their powers in other ways.

Re:A majority want to blame someone else (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | about 10 months ago | (#43971743)

I don't disagree with you, I was simply making the observation that we spend a great deal of energy worrying about this in comparison to working on our own actions that have a far greater impact into the enjoyment of our lives.

Benjamin Franklin said it very well (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971565)

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin

Hi cousins! British 'subject' here... (5, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about 10 months ago | (#43971567)

Just calling to see how that new-fangled "liberty" thing is working out for you?

Oh, you don't give a shit anymore?

Re:Hi cousins! British 'subject' here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971659)

Just calling to see how that new-fangled "liberty" thing is working out for you?

Oh, you don't give a shit anymore?

Mod this up.

This is possibly the most powerful phrase I have read in years.

I am going the have to copy this.

Re:Hi cousins! British 'subject' here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971797)

We used aliens' weapon to redefine reality, so freedom means fuhrerdom under the hood. It kind of works for now.

But will that be all it's used for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971583)

We need a debate to decide if the risk of the govt using this data for something bad is worth the benefit of using it for something good.

Pew asked if it is ok to use it for something good, but didn't mention the risky part.
    (Also, even on the 'good' part, if a three letter department is paid to fight terrorists, then there is a tendancy to call every thing bad an act of terrorism.)

We need a defined, high bar for what qualifies as terrorism, and auditable/visable safeguards to make sure this data is not used for less noble goals.
    The current anything qualifies definition, and friendly oversite scheme are not up to the task.

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 10 months ago | (#43971591)

to purchase a little Temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

This, this, a thousand times this.

Also opposed are loner computer nerds (1)

Andover Chick (1859494) | about 10 months ago | (#43971603)

Also opposed to curtailing privacy is loner computer nerds who fear their voracious appetite for kinky will be unveiled, many of whom are readers here.

Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971619)

That's because americans don't know statistics.
http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2980

Obvious push poll (1)

Aug Leopold (1218486) | about 10 months ago | (#43971627)

Just like the Gallup poll that showed that 90% of Americans supported universal background checks, it takes a lot of mental gymnastics and creative verbiage to consider 550 people a "majority of Americans".

Statistics (0)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 10 months ago | (#43971631)

"62 percent of Americans say" means that all Americans have been polled.

I certainly have not been polled.

I doubt the validity of these statistics.

NO WAY (1)

HannibalRex (2940617) | about 10 months ago | (#43971647)

This makes me sick. If anything it only proves the Terrorism-Propaganda is working, now anytime the gov't wants to get something by the public, they strap a "for terrorism" label on it, and it flies right through. This is a sad time right now, I'm ashamed to be an "American" and sick that ANYONE could be complacent or accepting of this type of privacy intrusion.

Re:NO WAY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971739)

Poor libertardian baby!

Almost as disturbing as the act itself (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 10 months ago | (#43971653)

is the lack of anything approaching a healthy reaction on a sufficiently large scale, by people, by officials, by media. Then you have the apologists for the current administration, and those who try to paint Snowden as some kind of traitor - many of them representatives of the US government (and notice my sardonic use of the word "representative"), and now this survey - I have seldom been more disgusted with my former country.

Nobody voted for the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971655)

There was no NSA candidate in the last elections, Obama promised to reign in this surveillance crap, and he did the opposite. The only poll that mattered was the election. This is just marketing, trying to make it acceptable to throw away the constitution.

1. This secret was know to low level defense contractors, but the Judiciary, the branch of government supposed to keep the executive branch in check, couldn't even get the count of pages in the documents that discussed the program. How can the voters make a choice if they're fed lies?

2. Lying to Congress is a crime, Clapper lied to Congress. He denied data was regularly captured on Americans. This is why he's bringing charges against whistleblower Snowden. He's afraid the politicians will turn on him, and make him the scapegoat, so he's trying to make Snowden the scapegoat first. But Snowden is a whistleblower on a crime, and Clapper is a liar.
http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/7/a_massive_surveillance_state_glenn_greenwald

3. The congress critters are scared. Here's one asking Holden if they spied on congresscritters in any way that might give the executive branch leverage over them Holden declines to answer, the answer is yes, their phones were recorded, and the graph algorithm would rank the Paul Revere figures among them as influencers. In other words the executive branch knows who is who, who is important, who are the influencers in the party and what dirty secrets they have.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/jun/07/verizon-phone-records-holder-video
(See the 18:00 mark, he lies to congress and his body language is that of a liar)

4. What has this got to do with terrorism? It monitors speech, messages, emails, text, discussions. Terrorists don't discuss terror in public forums. People, ordinary people discuss stuff openly.

5. All US cloud services are subject to these warrants, are they with the Bill of Rights? Or Clapper Feinstein and Holden? Which side are they on? It seems the they're on the bad guys side. If Page had gone before Congress, would he have lied to them too?

6. There is no enabling law for mass surveillance. The Judiciary have been kept out of the loop in this, the legal claim is a joke.

I call BS (3, Insightful)

Phoenix666 (184391) | about 10 months ago | (#43971657)

The government has been running a full-court press on the media and everyone else to get them to shut up and get in line. Yesterday there was a poll saying the exact opposite, like 59% saying the opposite across the partisan divide, and now magically it's the other way. I've been monitoring the blogs Left & Right and even Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are tamping down since calling it a "coup d'etat" last week.

The government is scared at how nonpartisan the outrage has been. The Whitehouse and Congress are complicit in this all-out assault on the Constitution and the American Republic. They know that if they can cow the American people into swallowing this that they will then have carte blanche. But whether the people do swallow this or not, things go rapidly downhill from here.

And note, which party is in office is totally irrelevant here. The Republicans and Democrats have both been in on it.

I hug my family very close these days, because it's about to get very ugly and we all could lose everything.

land of the free, my ass (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about 10 months ago | (#43971669)

It's official then, it's not the land of the free anymore. Because if you don't want your freedom, you don't deserve it.

Oppressed people at least know that things should be different. They might lack the resources or resolve to fight the system right here and now, but they know things aren't right and just might stand up any moment.

The US, on the other hand - and to be honest, lots of the west - has become the worst kind of oppressive system, worse than 1984. The kind where the oppressed believe the lies they are told. Russians knew that Prawda wasn't telling them the truth. Way too many americans believe Fox does.

Phone tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971683)

The phone company records this already.
My cell phone bill includes a list of every phone number and the cities we were in.

If the phone company is recording and saving this, why wouldn't the Government have access to it if they needed it?

Re:Phone tracking (3, Informative)

moeinvt (851793) | about 10 months ago | (#43971771)

The government can have access ... IF they have probable cause that you are involved in criminal activity AND they obtain a warrant precisely describing what information they want to seize.

They CANNOT just copy all of your personal data and save it for future use.

We fought a revolution partly because we didn't want the government to be able to arbitrarily spy on innocent people and the Fourth Amendment clearly elaborates this prohibitions on government.

Why the Secrecy? (1)

dataxtream (1292440) | about 10 months ago | (#43971705)

Why are the government being so secretive? If they want to spy on everyone for the (supposed) benefit of the nation, then just say so. After all, "if you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide." Isnt that what they keep telling us?

Active vs. Passive (1)

moeinvt (851793) | about 10 months ago | (#43971709)

Looking on the bright side of things, I believe that the opposition is far more angry than the supporters are enthusiastic. If there was massive protest against this, I find it hard to imagine a counter-demonstration supporting it.

The MSM is also doing their part to brainwash people into thinking it's all good. I don't watch TV, but I heard two stories on the radio this morning which were basically blowing the whole incident off and saying that public "might be" OK with this.

Well, as part of the minority, I'm at least going to be steadily e-mailing, calling and writing snail-mail to my elected asshats.

The story also suggested that certain members of Congress and the Senate were fully aware of this, but could not legally reveal the details. I'm trying to find out WHO exactly. Was it the entire intelligence committee in both houses? If your Rep or Senator was aware, maybe it's time for a recall? Or maybe have them arrested by the state police?

DID THIS SPYING PREVENT BOSTON? (5, Insightful)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 10 months ago | (#43971717)

Well, did it?

Re:DID THIS SPYING PREVENT BOSTON? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971853)

No, but that's because they don't track us *enough*. That's their reasoning believe me.

PATRIOT Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971721)

I can't help but feel that everyone has forgotten that the US government has the right, under the PATRIOT Act, to monitor and record all electronic communications(within the US). Which was signed by President Dubya. In addition, the government doesn't need a warrant for such monitoring or recording, and they don't have to notify the person(s) they're monitoring that they are monitoring them.

In the before time, the government would need a warrant to initiate such monitoring. And even then, after 48 hours they would be obligated to notify the parties being monitored that they have been monitored.

All I'm saying is that this news about phone records is not news. The government has had a right to our electronic communications for over a decade now.

Re:PATRIOT Act (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 10 months ago | (#43971801)

Actually the government always required a warrant to monitor communications, even under the Patriot act. That's what the Fisa court is for....in fact the Patriot act was amended when abuses were found to ensure warrants were obtained and that only terrorist related communications and not all communications monitored.

So your post is wrong.

What is this thing you call "privacy"? (1, Interesting)

eggstasy (458692) | about 10 months ago | (#43971781)

Privacy is not a universal value. Different cultures have different notions of privacy. In some places, people use the toilet with the door open. In some other places, anonymous feedback is frowned upon, and people want to take responsibility for their criticism.
Slashdot must be completely detached from reality: the average person wants to be famous, voluntarily puts their entire life on Facebook etc.
People's lives are all the same and extremely boring. If you can't understand this, it's because you've never spied on people :D
Whenever I stumble upon people complaining about targeted advertising etc... I'm like... have these people never lived in a traditional place, bought their stuff at a traditional grocer, who knows everything about you and your parents and grandparents etc.?
Have you never lived in a small town where everybody knows each other? You do realize that is the norm, right?
Most cities are small, and truly large cities are an artifact of mechanized agriculture, having become widespread only in the past 50 years or so.
When you ask yourself, "Who watches the watchers?", do you not realize that you, yourself, are also a watcher? And that it is only by watching each other that social norms are enforced, so we don't descend into barbarity and chaos? Ever noticed how the anonymity of a rioting mob compounds upon itself and leads to more and more vandalism and looting? I could go on. Freedom is an illusion. You can only be truly free of obligations if you can isolate yourself from society and be totally self-sufficient. Which is not how normal people work.

taking the oath seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971787)

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me.

It seems pretty clear he took the oath seriously, and recognized there is a reason defending the constitution comes before blindly following orders.

we have an ignorance problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43971799)

I bet that same 62 percent can't tell you what the first ten amendments are.

In the words of Sam Adams (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | about 10 months ago | (#43971807)

It's rare that I quote a famous figure, as so often it's cliche to the point of deserving a cluebat-induced coma. However, I think this quote from Sam Adams accurately describes the state of America (better than the famous Franklin quote so often cited here) and how so many would sacrifice their rights to ensure their happy consumerist lifestyles:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

Idiots (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 10 months ago | (#43971859)

I conclude then that the majority of Americans are idiotic sheeple willing to give up their freedoms for only a small amount of security in return. I'm reminded of the saying, "Those that would willingly give up liberty for secure deserve none and get neither." That is somewhat paraphrased but you get the gist.
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