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Archive for Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Editorial: Privacy lost

We have let our privacy slip away — and it won’t be easy to reclaim.

June 11, 2013

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So, the feds are collecting phone records of millions of Americans under a secret court order, and monitoring our email. Why would anyone be surprised?

Under President Obama and his minions, the public’s privacy has been trampled, and reporting the news has been threatened to be considered a criminal activity. But whoa! Now it’s not just phone records from the Associated Press that have been ruthlessly grabbed by Eric Holder’s Chicago-style Justice Department, it’s all 121 million customers of Verizon, and presumably all the nation’s other phone companies, plus our major online entities as well, caught in a web spun by the National Security Agency under the post-9-11 Patriot Act.

In a story broken by reporters for the Guardian newspaper (some irony there), it was revealed that the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ordered Verizon to turn over — every day — to the NSA information on all land line and mobile phone calls in its system. Then came more “revelations” about Internet and email monitoring.

The administration claims the data and the scrutiny are needed for national security purposes.

There’s a blip of outrage, with even Democrats such as former Vice President Al Gore and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon raising issues. Gore tweeted, “Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?” Senate leaders, however, acknowledged that the phone-records program has been going on since 2007, and other little-known invasions of privacy have a longer history.

In reality, this amped-up, intrusive electronic snooping was begun under former President George W. Bush with screening of email and phone calls. In this specific reported instance involving Verizon, the information being gathered includes location data, the time and length of each phone call and any pertinent unique identifiers, such as the phone numbers of the calling and answering parties.

The fact of the matter is that Americans no longer enjoy any expectation of privacy. Unfortunately, our fate seems to resemble the story of the frog that was placed in a pot of room-temperature water on a stove. Gradually the heat was turned up and the frog boiled; if it had been tossed into a pot of boiling water it would have tried to jump free. We’re beyond the jumping-free point. We’re being boiled in invasive surveillance, from local offices, stores and businesses to the top levels of government, all supposedly for our own good.

And, oh, that piece of paper, that foundational thing — whatchamacallit? — the Constitution. Might as well be in the garbage can. We have met the enemy, as Pogo said.

Comments

kernal 10 months, 1 week ago

Yep, the government wants to listen in on your calls because your conversations are sooooo tintillating.

Why most of you making are making this a bigger deal under Obama than under Bush is interesting. Kind of shows your true colors.

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Steven Gaudreau 10 months, 1 week ago

I love how all the Democrats answer to this is "Bush started it, waaaaaaaaa." It's like a little kid getting caught at school "he started it." Who cares! Why can't Obama loyalists just say this was wrong under Bush and it's wrong under Obama. Come on, you can do it. Take baby steps. Even the Democrats savior Bill Mahr is speaking out against this. The repub mouth pieces are idiot loyalist, don't take a page out of their playbook Demo's, speak out for our rights no matter who is abusing them. Just because you voted for Obama does not mean u cant criticize his bad policies.

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happyrearviewmirror 10 months, 1 week ago

*Stated Apparently, formatting is not retained.

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happyrearviewmirror 10 months, 1 week ago

*Stated Apparently, formatting is not retained

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happyrearviewmirror 10 months, 1 week ago

Against the intrusive power of the state, the imagination. A poem by Wendell Berry.

Do Not Be Ashamed

You will be walking some night in the comfortable dark of your yard and suddenly a great light will shine round about you, and behind you will be a wall you never saw before. It will be clear to you suddenly that you were about to escape, and that you are guilty: you misread the complex instructions, you are not a member, you lost your card or never had one. And you will know that they have been there all along, their eyes on your letters and books, their hands in your pockets, their ears wired to your bed. Though you have done nothing shameful, they will want you to be ashamed. They will want you to kneel and weep and say you should have been like them. And once you say you are ashamed, reading the page they hold out to you, then such light as you have made in your history will leave you. They will no longer need to pursue you. You will pursue them, begging forgiveness. They will not forgive you. There is no power against them. It is only candor that is aloof from them, only an inward clarity, unashamed, that they cannot reach. Be ready. When their light has picked you out and their questions are asked, say to them: "I am not ashamed." A sure horizon will come around you. The heron will begin his evening flight from the hilltop.

by Wendell Berry

Frig the KS bigots, every one( instead of God bless them every one-- as satated in Dickens)

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avarom 10 months, 1 week ago

Privacy lost......what until you get the Smart Meters....on your gas, water and electrical...they can be read from 30 miles away.... www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JNFr_j6kdI - Cached

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yourworstnightmare 10 months, 1 week ago

Congress passes laws, not the president. In 2001, the Patriot Act passed the senate 98-1 and passed the house with only 30 dissenting votes.

The Patriot Act was re-upped by Congress in 2006 by large margins.

The president is using his legal authority to battle terrorists. At the same time, he is openly saying that this is too much power for a president to have, and is calling for a greater discussion in Congress on the subject. Remember, that Congress that actually passes law.

Yes, he could unilaterally refuse to execute the program. Can you imagine the response this would have gotten from Congress and the media had he done that?

It is clear Obama is calling for Congress to re-examine the law that underlies phone data records and the NSA.

It's time for Congress to act and to begin debate about the Patriot Act and its provisions. If they don't like certain aspects of it, such as phone records going to the NSA, they can pass laws to change it.

I don't like what is happening with phone records, but to blame it on Obama is just ridiculous. It was a law proposed by Bush and passed, twice, by Congress.

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oldbaldguy 10 months, 1 week ago

they would have cancelled his ticket. in the 60s and 70s we would have too.

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James Minor 10 months, 1 week ago

I wonder how China and Russia would deal with this NSA whistleblower if he turned in their government? I am against all of the intrusiveness but it does help America be safer? If there was communication between the Boston Marathon bombers and affiliates, would we still frown on knowing ahead of time and preventing a tragedy? I would guess we would appreciate the effort and the prevention.

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jayhawklawrence 10 months, 1 week ago

What concerns me is that none of these news sources seem to value enough the concept of unbiased reporting.

Americans, caught in the middle, have to try to sift out what is true no matter how tedious the task may be.

I think my point is that we have entered a period where sometimes Fox News has been a better source of information than MSNBC.

Obviously, MSNBC has been actively promoting the liberal agenda and trying to to sell positions on the issues that most Americans do not agree with.

I think most Americans wish these news outlets would stop selling their political views and just give us the facts including what the government is hiding. These people have become so arrogant that they believe we have to have the news filtered, massaged and then told how we should think.

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jayhawklawrence 10 months, 1 week ago

Before the gun control issue and before the NSA scandal, I was not watching Fox news. Now I am.

That should concern a lot of Democrats.

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Carol Bowen 10 months, 1 week ago

Questions:

  1. Would we have found Osama bin Laden without this technology?
  2. Would we have found the Boston bombers and their affiliations? Note that we were more conscientious than th Russians.
  3. Folks are willing to share their personal trauma on TV, and still others like to watch. Do we really value privacy?
  4. iCloud is cool. Didn't it occur to anyone that their lives are hangin out there?
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oldbaldguy 10 months, 1 week ago

got news for you NSA was doing this in 1975, that is why the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act came about. Judges are now supposed to look at a warrant. My experiences with warrants are unless it is really screwed up, a Judge will sign anything. The Judge is relying on the person who presents the warrant. What the NSA is doing is pattern analysis for future use if and when a bad guy pops up. We used to do this to the Russians and everyone else to identify military units. Should the NSA be doing it on this scale against Americans? This deserves a public debate. I am tired of being fisked everytime I get on a plane. How about you?

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seebarginn 10 months, 1 week ago

The Obama-hating name-calling (translation of "minions"= the US Congress, the Judicial System, the US citizens who support the surveillance with their tax dollars whether or not they disagree with it personally) is old hat in these LJW rants and I won't bother to try to reason with someone who's been throwing tantrums since 2008. However, a few facts about Eric Holder--he is not a product of Chicago politics; he started service in the federal judiciary in 1976, when Gerald Ford was in office; Ronald Reagan appointed Holder as a federal judge in 1988; among Holder's many honorable achievements are the prosecutions of corrupt Democratic, I say Democratic, politicians such as John Jenrette and Dan Rostenkowski.

The surveillance program is troubling, even traumatizing, but hysterical, factually incorrect, and stupid editorials like this one won't do anything to make the situation better.

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jonas_opines 10 months, 1 week ago

I would have wished, after the hope of transformative change that swept Obama into office, that stuff like this would finally be convincing people that there isn't any substantive difference between parties and politicians at this point. I think that whatever their initial intention, they are just cogs in the machine, and at the best they have limited ability to effect change, and at worst are complicit and thus duplicitous in their stated intentions.

Sadly, it does still appear that desperation is leading to a continuance of partisan denial from a lot of parties.

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jayhawklawrence 10 months, 1 week ago

Everything that we have been doing with chips and software since the internet began has been opening us up to being spied on. The more recent push to put everything on the cloud along with online server storage is just a way to put all the details of our lives into the public realm. I have heard from people directly over the years about some of these spying operations so it is no surprise. I have also wondered about whether the chips themselves have a backdoor routine built into them sometimes and this is something between the government and companies such as INTEL.

The point is that before last week some of the questions you might ask as a citizen would give you strange looks, such as telling someone about your alien encounters and too many questions might lead someone to question whether you are schizophrenic or not. After this week, any question about how we are being spied on is a legitimate question and now needs to be answered by our government which currently is still angry because of the parts we found out that were supposed to be secret.

The internet has been a wild and crazy development and the rules have been hard to figure out. We have allowed ourselves to be taken advantage of because we wanted the rewards that come from this technology. Now we have to make privacy and individual rights a much greater issue than it has been up to now or, as this editorial implies, we may not be happy when we realize what we have lost and we have to realize that we are not enjoying the same kind of freedom that our parents enjoyed. Much of our freedom along with our privacy is now gone.

The question most Americans should be asking is whether the technology is worth what we are having to pay for it and if we are not able to go back to the days before this technology existed are we now ready to at least fight for a new kind of Bill of Rights to protect us in the internet age before the power of our government and the financial power of our largest corporations buy and sell every shred of freedom and privacy we have left.

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HomeSlice 10 months, 1 week ago

So Bush started it, Obama continues it....

If Obama can do no wrong, that implies that Bush started something worthwhile and Obama is extending it? Or were Bush's policies flawed, and as Obama promised 'change', does that mean real change? Then that means Bush was wrong, and his policies should be rejected and undone. They why are they being embraced? .

By all appearances, he not only endorses the Bush policies, he has extended them. Drones, more wire tapping, etc. On my what to do, what to do. Will you Liberals denounce Bush's policies, and therefore Obama's? Or will you denounce Bush, but give Obama a pass for continuing and furthering the Bush agenda?

TIme to take a side.....

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Milton Bland 10 months, 1 week ago

Obama was correct when he said the war on terror is over. He surrendered. The terrorist won. Our government is now as corrupt as any mid-eastern country.

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Darrell Lea 10 months, 1 week ago

Lots of hyperbole, hand wringing and posturing in the editorial, but no solutions offered or alternate strategies presented.

Privacy doesn't really exist in this modern world. Hasn't for a long, long time. I surrender my right to privacy by connecting to this site. It's nice that the ads are tailored to my algorithm, but how do they know that? Both the ISP and LJWorld dot com know where I'm typing this from, unless I bother to use a proxy service. If I stop off for a Coke on the way to band practice tonight I'll be stored on video, and if i use a credit or debit card my movement will be tracked that way as well.

Welcome to the New World Order. Try to lead an exemplary life.

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weiser 10 months, 1 week ago

Maybe he meant change his socks. That's one you would believe.

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jack22 10 months, 1 week ago

I'm so upset about the government doing this that I think I'm going to start a protest on my facebook page to let everyone know how I feel about this invasion of my privacy.

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Agnostick 10 months, 1 week ago

weiser, with the right t-shirt or avatar... you can change just about anything...

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weiser 10 months, 1 week ago

I wonder how long they will blame Bush for their failed, socialist, policies . He said he was going to "change" the country. Too bad that's the only promise he is moving forward with.

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littlexav 10 months, 1 week ago

Wow, this isn't what I expected from LJW - I guess just like in Topeka the "editorial board" has ZERO in common with everyone else in the city?

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Carol Bowen 10 months, 1 week ago

Does anyone remember governor brownback's team sniffing tweets last year. A high school girl got into trouble at her school because of tweet-sniffing at one of the governor's gatherings. I doubt that was a homeland security issue.

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Alyosha 10 months, 1 week ago

"Chicago-style Justice Department" is another clue that the editorialist is wholly out of control of his writing — and by extension his thinking.

What is it about this President that renders otherwise (presumably) rational people a quivering bundle of emotions?

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boiled 10 months, 1 week ago

Administration strategy is brilliant. Overwhelm clueless Boehner and McConnell and it will eventually just all go away....all 4-5 scandals. Well one Dem already declared IRS scandal as over and settled. Oh well, another day in DC. Obama could govern but has a small window now, in spite of neutered Repubs.

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verity 10 months, 1 week ago

"There’s a blip of outrage, . . ."

Looks to me like there's more than a blip. Even many members of congress are outraged that they were kept in the dark.

I just hope that the outrage will lead to some action before we move on to the next scandal.

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boiled 10 months, 1 week ago

Too much flexibility is not always a good thing and this administration is in a steep decline.

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fmrl 10 months, 1 week ago

That frog has been in the pot for a very long time. J Edgar Hoover said that there was a conspiracy so vast that few would believe it. Things started getting real bad with HST and the creation of CIA/Mossad. I have a glimmer of hope that enough people will come out of their hypnosis for the "hundredth monkey" effect to kick in. If it does then the party is over for the cabal.

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Alyosha 10 months, 1 week ago

That this writer is blinded by partisanship, and hence neither serious nor worthy of being listened to, is clear from his use of the term "minions."

The writer would do well to employ his critical faculties as a counterweight to his emotions.

That's what the founders would have done.

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Leslie Swearingen 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"His code name is Condor. In the next 24 hours, everyone he trusts will try to kill him."

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/three_days_of_the_condor/

This movie was made in 1975.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Always been spies, always will be. Always will be spies to catch the spies.

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Jason Johnson 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Edward Snowden is a hero. If I were in a position where I could do what he did, I would do so in a heart-beat.

I hope this is the straw that finally pisses off Americans enough to act.

I'd like our Constitution to be reinstated, please!

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tomatogrower 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Has any information been used to arrest someone for their political beliefs? Has anyone been arrested for disagreeing with the administration? Has any of the information been used to bust a pot smoker? Has any of this information been used to arrest hookers? Has anyone used these records to prove a marital affair? People put their whole lives out on Facebook everyday, but they want their phone calls kept private?
I agree that in the future someone could misuse this power, but I guess I'm just disgusted that all of the sudden people are outraged. This has been around since the Patriot Act was enacted. So far, it hasn't been used against us, and has probably stopped some terrorists. If an administration starts to use it to oppress people, then there will be a problem. I guess then there might be a revolution. But right now, Bush wasn't a dictator with far reaching powers and neither is Obama.

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rtwngr 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Intelligence gathering is one thing but using private information against one's political enemies is quite another. Branches of the government operating under secrecy and then refusing to come clean when caught are the hallmarks of this administration. This president assures us that there is "congressional oversight". How's that working with the DOJ and the IRS, citizens? It's fine when they are going after your enemies but what about the day when someone else is in control and then they are coming after you. Quite a different feeling I'm sure. When any freedom is lost for one of us, it is lost for all of us. I don't want to hear Bush started it because this president said he would end it. Instead he has escalated it. Perpetuating the wrong does not correct it or excuse it.

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boiled 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm hoping......just hoping that all the current fiascos in the administration may have, maybe, possibly, just maybe......put the "It's W's fault" school of thought to bed once and for all......maybe---just maybe.

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boiled 10 months, 2 weeks ago

And people ask me why I stopped ALL social networking activity and closed each and every account about a year ago. I'd ditch the iPhone too if it weren't so darned neat!

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 10 months, 2 weeks ago

So let me get this straight. You are in favor of letting islamic terrorists communicate freely and plan their attacks on Americans? You are in favor of letting self-appointed "whistle blowers" operate freely and endanger our efforts to protect the American People from terrorist plots??

I bet you are also in favor of letting the Republican Legislature and governer of the state make laws obstructing the work of Federal law enforcemtnt officers.

Right????

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Agnostick 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Let me guess... you guys just dug up an old editorial from 2001 and did a reprint today, right?

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Satirical 10 months, 2 weeks ago

This is a much ado about nothing. After all, a Democrat is in charge. And we all know Democrats have good intentions. Big Government is good in the right hands!

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jhawkinsf 10 months, 2 weeks ago

From the interviews I've seen so far, Democrats and Republics not on the intelligence agency committees are outraged by the scope of the information gathering while those on the committees dealing with intelligence are outraged by the actions of the leaker. Of course, this is highlighted by Bush's support for these types of actions when he was President and Obama's similar response.

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boiled 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Current administration makes U.S. Grant's administration look more pristine than a big breath of fresh mountain air. Will go down as most corrupt in US history, in spite of how acolytes try and try to do re-writes.

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boiled 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Yup. GWB's fourth term marches on. What was that famous quote from P. T. Barnum?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"In a story broken by reporters for the Guardian newspaper (some irony there)"

Irony? Really? Please explain.

So, will the JW call for freeing Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, who have done much to inform us of a good deal of government and corporate misconduct?

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BigAl 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Welcome to the party. I was outraged when this all began under the Bush Administration and am still outraged. I remember well how Fox News and their "minions" (including Bill O'Reilly) downplayed this as necessary. Now, under the Obama Administration, Fox News and a lot of conservatives are outraged. O'Reilly is finally saying that this is against the Constitution. I agree with him. It was against the Constitution when Bush started it and it is still against the Constitution. Again, welcome to the party.

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Bruce Bertsch 10 months, 2 weeks ago

C'mon Dolph. This was hardly a secret. It was begun back when Bush was POTUS; remember the Patriot Act? It was reported on and then ignored. Folks in the IT world have known about this for years. The methodology was secret, but the data mining certainly wasn't. Also of note, there is no legal right to privacy except for that distilled in a Supreme Court decision known as Roe v Wade.

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snitty 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Does the outrage expressed in this editorial mean that the JW is taking a firm stand against data mining? Does the JW support those whistle-blowers who have brought these programs out of secrecy? What will the editor do when the NSA comes calling for their records?

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