Friday, January 17, 2014

Obama talks about the NSA

And talks and talks and talks.  And doesn't say anything of substance.  He will appoint some new bureaucrats, he will set up more paperwork.  There will be study committees.  He will coordinate with Congress over changes to be made. The US will only spy for virtuous purposes, like counter terrorism, and never for evil purposes like commercial advantage.  We will stop eavesdropping on foreign leader's personal phone calls, but we will continue to intercept their non personal calls. I'm sure that makes foreign leaders feel exceptionally secure. But they will continue the "meta data" program, the scarfing up of everyone's telephone/cellphone billing information and keeping it forever. 
   If it were up to me, I'd terminate the "meta data" program, right now.  Having Uncle Sam keep a record of every phone call I ever made is scary.  Was I ever brought into court, the government could win a conviction merely by showing that I had telephoned some scumbag, any time in the past, and poof, my credibility is shot with the jury. Bang, convicted.  Over the span of a life time you accept telephone calls from lots of scumbags, for instance telemarketers,   politicians, scam artists like Bernie Maddof, whatever.  Plus even Uncle Sam admits that this massive "meta data" program hasn't caught any terrorists.  
   Shut down means removing the electronic taps the NSA has into telephone company computers.  Companies (especially telephone companies) are forbidden to give any customer data to anyone without a specific court order, said order limited to a single individual over a specific length of time.  Such court orders are matters of public record and may be disclosed to anyone, including the targets.  And, erasing the zillions of phone records already in NSA hands.
   And get rid of this "FISA" court to which the NSA and Obama keeps pointing.  "It's OK, the FISA court said so."   The FISA court is a mere rubber stamp, it always approves everything brought before it.  Its proceedings and rulings are secret so nobody knows what's legal and what's not.  Secret courts, star chambers, have no place in a democracy.  Make government officials liable to civil and criminal prosecution for illegal spying.  Unless the accused can show a recent Congressional law saying it's legal, bang, guilty, five years in slam.    

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