Thursday, May 18, 2006

Question for Supporters of NSA Snooping

I've heard from many people that I shouldn't be alarmed that the NSA is establishing a massive database of every call made in the U.S. The reasons offered to pacify me come down to the argument that the NSA isn't actually listening to the content of the calls, but simply collecting the time stamp of every call. This suggests I shouldn't worry because the NSA isn't collecting anything of any real substance that might be able to accidentally railroad me in the future.

So, my question is...if the data being collecting is really that insignificant, then why bother collecting it at all?

On the other hand, if the information being collected is useful in nabbing criminals, then how can I see this as anything other than a threat to my own liberty?

Some NSA supporters will argue that its no different than if a credit card company bought the information in the course of doing market research. But that point ignores one fundamental difference between an ordinary, private sector firm, and the NSA: the NSA'a mission is to find reasons to throw people in jail. What the NSA is doing whenever it investigates anything is to initiate a process designed to take away a person's liberty. Collecting information on you and me is demonstrating the beginnings of a process designed to rob each and everyone of us of our liberty. Granted, in pursuit of bona fide criminals, this wouldn't be objectionable. However, you and I are not terrorists, so there is no legitimate reason for the NSA to be collecting such data on us. So, innocuous or not, such activities should be resisted on principle.

2 Comments:

Blogger Brian Duffy said...

The NSA is not a law enforcement intelligence agency it is a military intelligence agency. We are at war.

You whine about the NSA, yet everyday Google collects more information about you than the any intelligence agency; and yet you do not even bat an eye.

The private sector collects more information on you through phone records, cookies, credit transactions and purchase than the government. Your freedom was squelched the day you got that social security number brother. If the government wants to data mine in order to determine who known terrorist in the US are talking to, I say fine. Again this is war.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Libertarian Jason said...

You whine about the NSA, yet everyday Google collects more information about you than the any intelligence agency; and yet you do not even bat an eye.

Brian... In typical conservative fashion, you overlook what was said in order to further your own State-Worshipping justificiatons and other thoughtless mantras.

The difference between the private sector and the NSA - or any state agency - is that the private sector isn't looking to THROW ME IN JAIL.

There is only one reason for any State agency - to punish people and take away their liberty. When the State starts collecting information, it is looking for evidence of a crime so that it may punish "wrong doers". When it begins collecting information on me...it is attempting to build a case to take away my life, liberty, or property.

I know you have this cozy little vision of the State, where altruistic and Saintly politicians are benign and serve "the public". You trust the State.

I don't.

I am not a terrorist. The State has no business collecting information on ME. Every second they spend looking at my behavior, is one second they could have been using to focus on real terrorists.

But the State (and Conservatives) have no interest in fighting terrorism. It's all about controlling "fallen man". Liberty, it would seem, is a dangerous thing.

7:52 AM  

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