June 13, 2013

"Not just the NSA... Political candidates, political parties, Super PACS and dark-money groups are among the most ambitious data miners around."

"They use data to supercharge their fund-raising, to target multimillion-dollar ad buys and to stir passions and fears at election time," writes John Nichols at The Nation.

101 comments:

Paco Wové said...

Squirrels! Squirrels everywhere!

gerry said...

Everybody's doing it, so why be worried?

Naut Right said...

Of all those entities only one has the cultural depravity, wherewithal, tech savvy and power to edit the records gathered in data mining; central government. They can create a false record, accuse, indict, prosecute and imprison. Too much power.

Simon said...

It's different when private companies do it. I think that the chances of the government abusing this data are spectacularly overplayed, but they're non-zero. But the chances of Verizon "abusing" the data by trying to blackmail you—"I'm sorry sir, but if you cancel your service we're going to tell your wife exactly what you emailed to hot2trot18@hotmail.com last week"—are almost non-existent, and are subject to civil and criminal action.

Brew Master said...

Why do you think the IRS was asking such weird questions of the new Tea Party groups? They didn't have the data yet to structure the networks, so they didn't know exactly who they needed to target.

Now they do, so they know who to target to keep the Tea Party marginalized.

Michael K said...

Actually, the most enthusiastic data miners are the supermarkets with their "Von's Club" and "Ralphs Club" which use your purchase history and your census tract to figure out what to buy and what to promote in your neighborhood. The difference is that they are using public data sets and the information you volunteer in return for discounts.

I can't believe that lefties are that dumb.

Nonapod said...

The fact that a whole bunch of private companies and groups datamine is hardly surprising or germane to the issue of the biggest, most powerful government in the world collecting massive amounts of data about their citizens. Can a Super PAC or spooky "dark money group" audit me? Can they throw me in jail? Can they completely destroy my life and reputation easily?

Naut Right said...

To Simon: General Petraeous, Nikoula Basselley Nikoula, the IRS scandals. Welcome to Earth.

David said...

Welcome to the New Era.

The internet revolution is not all about freedom and convenience.

However, unlike the author, I do see a bit of a distinction between a politician, a business and the government. You can choose to ignore the first two, even as they surround you with pitches based on your data.

The government can not be ignored. It has jails and guns and lawyers. Even an army.

AllenS said...

Every time you buy something from Amazon through this blog, Amazon records it.

bagoh20 said...

This is worth considering when you realize how much info Google has and that they're run by an Obama fan boy who vigorous works for leftists campaigns.

This is true of most big collectors of your info. They love big, they love control, they think they know best. "Don't be Evil" really meant Don't be conservative", because leftist don't see a distinction.

That's what is most corrupting at the moment.

Simon said...

Michael K said...
"The difference is that they are using public data sets and the information you volunteer in return for discounts."

I don't think so. I think that they're using their own customer records. And that's what the government's obtaining in the NSA program: Customer records. They aren't following you around the supermarket seeing what you buy, they're just obtaining records kept by the supermarket on what your account has purchased.

Nonapod said...

And anybody who still doesn't comprehend the potential for abuse here should read this post.

Simon said...

Naut Right said...
"To Simon: General Petraeous, Nikoula Basselley Nikoula, the IRS scandals."

Which are what?

Lem said...

I know this is not directly related to PACS but it is about the NSA story... my comments have been disappearing since last night so I'm just putting this up here hoping it doesn't.

My apologies for braking the rule.

The claims by Snowden are not holding up

bagoh20 said...

"Every time you buy something from Amazon through this blog, Amazon records it."

And tells Meade, who puts it in his huge spreadsheet, which he data mines for clues about who might have bought the sex toys, has a dog, and also loves gardening.

I'd like to buy a subscription to your newsletter Mr. Meade.

Brennan said...

Data mining is how an 18% position wins the White House.

It's also why the Left is winning and will continue to win.

I would wager that 75% of the cultural material the left produces is for no other purpose than data mining. That would include the Nation Magazine which loses money and is propped up by yields from fossil fuel emitting stock holdings.

deborah said...

"At a baser, chemical level, self-assembly occurs when like atoms or molecules fall into place in a crystal. That's what Barack Obama is as a community organizer--just a seed crystal for like-minded people to nucleate around. There's really nothing "higher order" about his inorganic level of organization."

To borrow from chick's analogy from another thread, we are trapped in a crystal that has begun to come to its point.

bagoh20 said...

The fictional concept of Big Brother from the past which was seen as some horror is really less powerful than the real thing is today, and just wait till computers start deciding what to do with the info. Skynet is on the way, then a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger pops into your jacuzzi. You have been warned.

David said...

I have been in Paris for a week.

At first I wrote that this "scandal" is getting minimal attention in the French press.

No more. Now it's front paged.

Interestingly, a lot of the emphasis in the French stories is the power and supposed complicity of the big American internet and communication companies: Google, Facebook. Microsoft, Apple, Verizon. The Euros know that they have been left far behind by the innovation of these companies, and they hate the notion. Thus their aggressive interference with these businesses as they operate in Europe.

The French do not seem to be asking what their own government is doing in this area. France is traditionally very aggressive on security issues, and less circumspect in how they exercise their power.

The lack of curiosity about the French government's activities is interesting. Several reasonably intelligent people I have talked to pretty much assume that the French government is doing the same thing.

Inga said...

Keep the dogs, they'll warn you of the presence of a Terminator. Naked Arnold in my Jacuzzi.... OK!

As for our national security and the role of the government, it boils down to trust, either you do, you don't or both, which seems the best option.

Michael K said...

"They aren't following you around the supermarket seeing what you buy, they're just obtaining records kept by the supermarket on what your account has purchased."

Does that mean they miss the shoplifters ? What in the world do you mean ?

AllenS said...

Ah, Inga, did all of this snooping stop the Boston Marathon bombings?

Simon said...

Nonapod said...
"And anybody who still doesn't comprehend the potential for abuse here should read this post."

Malor fails to realize a few things that limit the use of his argument. First, the government has always had this capacity, in a more limited way. The mere possibility of abuse doesn't mean that a program must be abandoned. Second, private parties are just as capable of ruining reputations: One could just as readily say that "Conservative leaders will not be able to develop, because they will be discredited as soon as they start to form" by leaks to the Democratic party by Google.

Simon said...

AllenS said...
"Ah, Inga, did all of this snooping stop the Boston Marathon bombings?"

Did the FBI?

Simon said...

David said...
"The lack of curiosity about the French government's activities is interesting. Several reasonably intelligent people I have talked to pretty much assume that the French government is doing the same thing."

I'm sure that all governments are doing it, but the difference is that the American government is in a unique position because most of the companies whence this data can come are American and American companies are susceptible to a subpoena from American courts.

Colonel Angus said...

As for our national security and the role of the government, it boils down to trust, either you do, you don't or both, which seems the best option.

The fact that the Founders wrote the Bill of Rights is a pretty good argument as to why there is an inherent distrust of government. Those who enter elected office do so out of a desire for power, not some civic minded sense to 'serve'. Even the Founders knew that and instituted the Bill of Rights to keep them in check.

bagoh20 said...

Inga, you have to be ready to accept that when the naked Arnold says "I'll be back." he never even calls. Robots can be very selfish.

Roger J. said...

I do not trust our government

bagoh20 said...

"Ah, Inga, did all of this snooping stop the Boston Marathon bombings?"

Ahh, but the system is only in it's infancy. Eventually it will be able to correlate the crock pot purchase, the nails, the fireworks, the foreign travel and calls, and the FBI would be at their house during bomb assembly. It will be able to do this someday. So then is it worth it?

Imagine what they could do for us!

Nonapod said...

The mere possibility of abuse doesn't mean that a program must be abandoned.

The problem is that we've already have evidence of lots of abuse in other areas of government. The IRS scandal is just the latest and arguably most egregious example of such abuse. It's not so much if abuse will occur, it's when.

And yes, it's also true that the government has had the ability to target individual citizens in certain ways for a long time. But this gives them a potentially extremely powerful tool to do so on a whole other level.

And again, you can't really compare a government to a private organization in terms of destructive potential. Sure, a private organization could potentially do damage to your reputation, but it's not as if there aren't recourses and protections of any kind.

Simon said...

Colonel Angus said...
The fact that the Founders wrote the Bill of Rights is a pretty good argument as to why there is an inherent distrust of government. Those who enter elected office do so out of a desire for power, not some civic minded sense to 'serve'. Even the Founders knew that and instituted the Bill of Rights to keep them in check.

The founders added the bill of rights to guard against government abuse. But they weren’t so neurotically fearful of government, so paralyzed by the idea that the mere possibility of abuse impeaches a program, that they declined to first create the government that they then limited. The framers were not libertarians. I’m sorry, Randy [Barnett], they weren’t. Well, some were, but their views did not carry the day. The founders created the United States as a constitutional republic in the anglo-american tradition; where libertarians would simply reject government power, they gave power but sought to check that power by dividing it.

Simon said...
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bagoh20 said...

What defenders are missing is that the bad guys will get around all this data collection unless it gets incredibly intrusive and is combined with entirely unacceptable violations of privacy and other rights in the future. This method for stopping terrorism has no long-term future. It will however like most government systems, grow and become more a threat to freedom. The value will continually diminish as the cost to freedom grows.

AllenS said...

... and I asked that question because I've never noticed anyone that looked mid-eastern/Muslim being scrutinized in an airport boarding line. With all of the data that they have, I'll bet they stay as far away as possible to not profile Muslims.

IRS: "So, how long have you belonged to the Tea Party?"

FBI: "We've noticed that you belong to the NRA. You don't mind if we look around inside your house do you?"

Colonel Angus said...

The founders added the bill of rights to guard against government abuse.

Yes. The fact they did so implies an inherent distrust, not, as you say, a neurotic fear of government.

Obviously they were not libertarians since the byzantine level of regulation we face today simply did not exist at that time. Needless to say, we are far less free today due to the fact that more and more are happy with giving up liberty in return for security and entitlements.

deborah said...

http://kieranhealy.org/blog/archives/2013/06/09/using-metadata-to-find-paul-revere/

For those who didn't follow the link given by pm317 in another thread. It demonstrates the power of mathematic equations using very simple data from revolutionary days (names and the groups they belonged to).

pm317 said...

So do google and facebook voluntarily share their data with Democrats since they are aligned with Democrats? This is what I am screaming about for days.

pm317 said...

Not any big math equations, simple matrix algebra

Simon said...

Nonapod said...
"The problem is that we've already have evidence of lots of abuse in other areas of government. The IRS scandal is just the latest and arguably most egregious example of such abuse. It's not so much if abuse will occur, it's when. "

The IRS thing is a real scandal. How far up does it go? Do you know? I don’t know. I didn’t think that we knew. Perhaps you think you know—surely this has to go all the way to the top! It must, right? It always goes “all the way to the top,” doesn’t it, in all the best thrillers? How many great movies involve a plot that goes all the way to the office of the assistant deputy commissioner for Services and Enforcement? And what a damp squib of a scandal it would turn out to be if we couldn’t connect it to the President. We've been trying to pin a scandal on Obama for years—if I hear one more bleat about “fast and furious” or “benghazigate,” I feel like I’m going to scream. The IRS thing is different; it’s a real scandal. It is. But whose scandal is it? We’ll find out.

And none of this actually gets to the fundamental point, which is this: If the IRS scandal demonstrates anything, it’s that if the IRS exists, it contains within its power the potential for abuse. Just like almost any other governmental department. Do you remember the Sacketts? The EPA attempted to bully the Sacketts into compliance by threatening them with tens of thousands of dollars in civil penalties per day until they came into compliance. Resistance might or might not be futile, but resistance would threaten complete financial ruin. Happily, the Sacketts resisted (an act of unspeakable bravery, I might add), and resisted even unto the Supreme Court, where they won last year. If the EPA exists, it contains within its power the potential for abuse. So should we shutter the IRS and the EPA? Should we shutter the DOJ, on the same theory? All power contains the possibility for abuse. If the potential for abuse precludes the delegation of power to government, no government is possible. One can certainly see how this might be appealing to libertarians.

But it should have little appeal at all to conservatives. The EPA probably should be shuttered, but not for that reason. As I said yesterday, “Of course it's tempting to take advantage of that point for its immediate utility—I would shutter most of what the federal government does today, but not for that reason. Not on that principle. That principle is dangerous; it threatens to throw out the baby with the bathwater, indiscriminately shuttering not only the activities that are progressive overreach but traditional governmental functions that are entirely appropriate and necessary.”

Simon said...

Colonel Angus said...
"Obviously they were not libertarians since the byzantine level of regulation we face today simply did not exist at that time."

Wait, wait... Point of clarification... Do you really mean to imply that libertarianism came into being with the administrative state?

Nonapod said...

When looking at the whole picture, it's just not worth it in my opinion. I don't believe the theoretical security benefit from PRISM will not be worth the tradeoffs. I don't believe this program is absolutely needed to protect us from terrorist attacks. I don't believe that it won't be abused. I think it's far too much power, far too much trust to put in the hands of unelected bureaucratic minders. I guess I'm just a crazy, paranoid conspiracy theorist for not being comfortable with all this.

Fr Martin Fox said...

"Dark money."

That seems to be the term adopted by "progressives" who are irked that there are people whose activities aren't sufficiently monitored and controlled by government.

"Dark money" refers to anonymous donations to citizen groups. Oooh! It's anonymous! Scary! Scary!

Would that a lot MORE of activities of Americans were "dark" to the government. We used to have a word for that--it was called "freedom."

Nonapod said...

Simon, I'm inferring that you believe that PRISM is worth it, that it is worth the tradeoffs for the additional security it provides?

Colonel Angus said...

Do you really mean to imply that libertarianism came into being with the administrative state?

Contemporary libertarianism, yes.

Simon said...

Nonapod said...
"When looking at the whole picture, it's just not worth it in my opinion."

But you aren't looking at the whole picture, and so you aren't qualified to have an opinion. That's precisely what I've been debating with Chip recently. Please don't misunderstand the disagreement that you and I are having. This is not a debate over whether these programs exist at the proper balance between liberty and security in which you take one side and I the other; that isn't my point at all.

My point is that the information necessary to evaluate this program isn't and cannot be available to the general public, which ineluctably situates the debate in the executive branch rather than the public at large. One summary of my position is here.

lgv said...

It's all about recourse. If private companies go too far with their mining or supplying info to the miners, then we have recourse against them.

We now have a government doing it with impunity.

pm317 said...

Thx bagoh2o Ihope more people will wake up

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colonel Angus said...

My point is that the information necessary to evaluate this program isn't and cannot be available to the general public, which ineluctably situates the debate in the executive branch rather than the public at large.

In other words, we're from the government and are here to help you.

Really ;-)

Simon said...

Colonel Angus said...
"Contemporary libertarianism, yes."

It didn't. Libertarianism is simply the estranged sibling of progressivism; they are alike the children of Liberalism, but have taken different roads from their inception to the present day. It's true that today, in the circumstances of post-new deal America, libertarians and conservatives share a party in common opposition to progressives, but that is historical accident, and we have to remember that Conservatism and Liberalism are historic enemies, and that libertarian thought, no matter what superficial similarities it may have to conservative thought, is fundamentally different from conservatism and only superficially different from progressivism. At the heart of both of them is the idea, rejected by conservatives since the enlightenment, that our guide should not be tradition but rather a vague and protean intellectual criterion, to wit, "liberty." That idea doesn't go back to FDR, it goes back centuries, and the last substantial theoretical shift in libertarianism came not with FDR but JSM.

Colonel Angus said...

Thanks for the history on libertarianism but I think if you speak with a libertarian today, the response is smaller government, minimal taxation and regulation and a rejection of interference in foreign affairs.

Simon said...

Quite so, and right now, that happens to coincide with conservative thought (foreign affairs aside), because right now, the massive expansion of the state in the twentieth century, far beyond the traditional scope of government, and the concomitant tax burden to pay for it, is a common foe. But there were libertarians before the administrative state, and they thought even then that the govenment was too big, was too apt to produce the abuse of "liberty." And there would still be libertarians even if tommorrow we shed all that extra weight. This program and the reaction to it underlines the point. Conservatives have no beef with it—save the ones whose judgment has been overwhelmed by paranoia about this President or who are very strongly influenced by libertarian ideas—because it's in the wheelhouse of traditional governmental functions. Libertarians are screaming blue murder.

bagoh20 said...

The United States was founded in a big way as a departure from tradition and toward liberty which traditionally had little value in human history. Tradition was all about central power, royalty birthrights, etc. prior to the U.S. There were Greek and Roman ideas of representative government, but the individual still had little power protected by law against the wealthy or blue blooded.

This republic was truly new, nontraditional, and liberty based. This is why there really is an American Exceptionalism and not a French one, a Chinese one, a Greek or Italian one. The world has not been adopting their values for 2 centuries, but ours, although unevenly.

jr565 said...

We can all day mine. If you have a computer you have that power. Why would you expect corporations not to use technology?
And isn't the whole idea of the free and open Internet sn endorsement of such data mining?
The Aaron Shwarz's and Megauploads of the world have no problem with data mining and spreading of data. This is often a libertarian endeavor, and yet they are the ones screaming loudest about privacy.
A bit inconsistent, perhaps?

jr565 said...

If you have a daabase you essentially data mine any time you run a search. asking why companies data mine is like asking why companies use databases.

bagoh20 said...

The whole of dystopian science fiction is based on the species getting just a little smarter than we are wise, a little more capable than careful. I think we are getting there. We are the people who will decide if dystopian science fiction is prophecy.

jr565 said...

If we all have computers, and if data mining produces valuable information, why wouldn't govt use. Data mining? Since valuable information is valuable information. It doesn't always mean some nefarious hing, though it certainly can be used for nefarious purposes.
but so can guns. But as Shane said.: A gun is a tool Marian, no better or worse than any other tool, a shovel, an axe, or anything. A gun is only as bad or as good as the man using it. Remember that."

jr565 said...

Bagoh20 wrote:
The United States was founded in a big way as a departure from tradition and toward liberty which traditionally had little value in human history. Tradition was all about central power, royalty birthrights, etc. prior to the U.S. There were Greek and Roman ideas of representative government, but the individual still had little power protected by law against the wealthy or blue blooded.

and yet the founders set up a federal govt to oversee everything. In the case of libertarians, maybe the founding fathers are the true enemy. They had to codify the laws that we are supposed to follow. Which is a restriction on absolute freedom. They shouldn't have never come up with a United States concept. because then we,d all be free.

Revenant said...

I grow tired of explaining this to left-wingers, but: private citizens are allowed to do things the government cannot.

I realize this offends the very soul of the "everything within the state, nothing outside of the state" crowd, but I'm afraid the founders of this country -- and, quite honestly, ALL right-thinking people -- wanted it that way.

edutcher said...

Ms Vanden Heuvel and the rest of the harpies are trying to cover for the Choom Gang.

Political candidates, political parties, Super PACS and dark-money groups do it withing the confines of the law.

Brennan said...

Data mining is how an 18% position wins the White House.

It's also why the Left is winning and will continue to win.


My God, what drivel.

Vote fraud is how an 18% position steals the White House.

FIFY

And, if they have to do that, it means they're losing, not winning.

AllenS said...

Ah, Inga, did all of this snooping stop the Boston Marathon bombings?

Largely because mosques aren't allowed to be snooped.

Roger J. said...

I do not trust our government

Neither did the people who created it, so you're in excellent company.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:

"I grow tired of explaining this to left-wingers, but: private citizens are allowed to do things the government cannot."
I'm not a left winger, if that was directed to me. But private citizens aren't allowed to do all things. Your natural law argument will not keep you out of jail if you violate a real law. And govt is required to do certain things that individuals cannot do.
can govt do ANTHING in your mind?

You'd probably be best served living on your own private island. Then you could live by natural law all the time.

jr565 said...

Rev, responding to Roger wrote:
Neither did the people who created it, so you're in excellent company.
-----------------------

And yet they created govt. and yet we have govt.
So even though they distrussed govt, they ultimately realized the necessity of it, and the inevitability of it.

Nonapod said...

But you aren't looking at the whole picture, and so you aren't qualified to have an opinion. That's precisely what I've been debating with Chip recently.

I work in the data consulting business and data mining business. I regularly work with very large datasets. I actually know a fair amount about the technology and the realistic capabilities of that technology. For example, I'm familiar with the software they're using for this (Hadoop and Accumulo). In short, I know what's possible.

I'm not saying I have the "whole picture". Obviously I don't know the fine details of the program or what successes it has had in terms of preventing attacks, but I am aware of the capabilities.

I think it's foolish to simply just blindly trust that the government simply knows best in this area. And I think you're perhaps being naive in assuming that what we don't know won't hurt us.

jr565 said...

Edutcher wrote:
Largely because mosques aren't allowed to be snooped.
---------------------
So wait, should I be for the NSA program if they search the mosques too? Or if I'm all for privacy rights shouldn't I have a problem with govt snooping on mosques?

jr565 said...

NOnapod wrote:
I think it's foolish to simply just blindly trust that the government simply knows best in this area. And I think you're perhaps being naive in assuming that what we don't know won't hurt us.
------------------
Well no one is saying we should blindly trust govt. that is your argument as to what's happening.

The better question, since you know all about the dangers of this technology, should we trust you? Or your company?
Or maybe we should turn over our surveillance to your private corporation since we can't trust got to do it. How do we know you won't abuse that trust? How do we know you haven't done so already?

deborah said...

Puts the Obama phones in a whole new light.

jr565 said...

The only real solution is govt shouldn't have the technology to data mine. Only if they can't use that technology, we shouldn't allow them to do surveillance because they won't be able to do it better than corporations that do have that technology. Do you trust your privacy with Google handling surveillance instead?

jr565 said...

NOnapod wrote:
I think it's foolish to simply just blindly trust that the government simply knows best in this area
--------------------------
See, now you're getting into a fundamental function of govt. who else is going to do surveillance and spying? A private corporation? You could make that argument about the Post Office, but security of this country is perhaps the primary function of govt. if we can't trust got to do that, then there is no one else to do that.
Do you know best? If you were determining what our surveillance program was it would still be handled by govt since that is govts role.
Its like saying we shouldn't trust govt to pass laws. Who else is going to do it?

edutcher said...

jr565 said...

Largely because mosques aren't allowed to be snooped.

So wait, should I be for the NSA program if they search the mosques too? Or if I'm all for privacy rights shouldn't I have a problem with govt snooping on mosques?


You can be anything you want (and I think you are).

All I did was answer Allen's question about why the surveillance didn't catch the Marathon bombers.

Or Major Hasan, for that matter.

Nonapod said...

Or your company?
Or maybe we should turn over our surveillance to your private corporation since we can't trust got to do it. How do we know you won't abuse that trust? How do we know you haven't done so already?


Oh jeeze, I wish people would stop attempting to equate private companies with the US government. If my little company was anywhere near the equivalent of the sovereign power of the government of the United States of America I certainly wouldn't trust me. Can I personally throw you in jail or confiscate your wealth without you having any realistic recourse? Can I declare war? Do I command killer drones?

jr565 said...

Edutcher wrote
:
All I did was answer Allen's question about why the surveillance didn't catch the Marathon bombers.

Or Major Hasan, for that matter.

it sounds like YOU are saying surveillance would work better if it were more intrusive and violated even more rights.

Then don't couch it in libertarian right to,privacy terms.

jr565 said...

NOnapod wrote:
If my little company was anywhere near the equivalent of the sovereign power of the government of the United States of America I certainly wouldn't trust me. Can I personally throw you in jail or confiscate your wealth without you having any realistic recourse? Can I declare war? Do I command killer drones?
-----------------------------------
Are you questioning the govts ability to put people in jail and confiscate wealth? Or declare war, Or command killer drones? Yeah, you can't do those things. Because that is the role of govt.
How can we trust govt to wage war or do drone strikes or put people in jail, when they might abuse those powers?
Obama may put innocent filmmakers In jail and I may object to that treatment but that doesn't mean that we can't trust got to put people in jail and enforce laws. Because who else is going to do it? And do you think govt should put no people in jail, or have no ability to wage war, lest someone abuse that power?

Mitch H. said...

Skynet is on the way, then a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger pops into your jacuzzi.

Sometimes I wonder whether the computer scientists will be able to create AI with a sense of humor. I suppose we'll find out when *all* the killbots show up off the production line with Arnie's face and mid-Eighties build.

Or possibly Woody Allen's.

Nonapod said...

@jr565: Good lord dude, I'm not advocating anarchy here. I fully realize government necessary. You seem to be making the argument that since I oppose this PRISM program I therefore must be a paranoid anarchist. I'm an advocate for a smaller, smarter, less intrusive government than what we have now. That's it.

Simon said...

bagoh20 said...
"This republic was truly new, nontraditional, and liberty based. This is why there really is an American Exceptionalism and not a French one, a Chinese one, a Greek or Italian one. The world has not been adopting their values for 2 centuries, but ours, although unevenly."

Revisionist nonsense. Of course the constitution represents evolution—it could scarcely avoid it. But the notion that the Constitution stands apart from the anglo-american tradition is sheer nonsense. Indeed, the Constitution can scarcely be comprehended apart from that tradition—"the judicial power," for example, which is granted by article III, consists not in empty words; "Both by what they said and by what they implied," said Justice Frankfurter in Coleman v. Miller, "the framers of the Judiciary Article gave merely the outlines of what were to them the familiar operations of the English judicial system and its manifestations on this side of the ocean before the Union." So also the executive power—it is true that the framers split the atom of executive power, placing some of it in Congress, and in this regard what they did represents organic growth and development in the tradition. But in recognizing the concept of an "executive power," and vesting it in a single man, what they did represents organic continuity in the tradition. That is why, for example, the President has the power that we today call eminent domain, a power that is limited, not created, by the fifth amendment: Whence comes it? There is no "eminent domain clause," those who would impose a fundamentalist protestant methodology on the constitution will say, so whence comes that power? It comes from the vesting of executive power in the President, an executive power that had always, in the anglo-american tradition, included the power of eminent domain.

Simon said...

deborah said...
"Puts the Obama phones in a whole new light."

Very astute. If the government is itself a service provider, the government qua market participant can provide its business records to the government qua regulator.

bagoh20 said...

"and yet the founders set up a federal govt to oversee everything. In the case of libertarians, maybe the founding fathers are the true enemy."

I don't know any libertarian who think like that. There is little liberty under anarchy, and most understand that. They want a government that enforced law, they want contracts enforced, and criminals caught and prosecuted. The want national defense and most of the things the founders saw as necessities.

jr565 said...

Trust is the wrong word. Even if I don't trust it, its going to happen. The functions of govt require govt to carry out actions. And they need to have the power to carry out those actions and enforce those laws.
A jury of 12 has an awful lot of power. Their very decision can put someone in jail for life. Should they not have that power? Well then how do give people fair trials? Should we have no trials, because jurors are fallible?
Govt will have a surveillance program. And it will use technology that best achieves their aims. Its not going to work on abacuses and old punch card machines or rotary phones when the rest of the world is digital. You may say there need to be more safeguards in place, but even if we adopt those safeguards govt will still have a surveillance program. How do we know that those safeguards are the right ones? will the next whistleblower reveal THAT program ,because he doesn't like those safeguards and thinks those are violations of 4th amendment even if the courts are going along with the program the whole time?
You're questioning a fundamental power of govt and thinking simply because you disagree that govt must reign in its power. Even if govt is working within its framework legally.

Achilles said...

Simon said...

Quite so, and right now, that happens to coincide with conservative thought (foreign affairs aside), because right now, the massive expansion of the state in the twentieth century, far beyond the traditional scope of government, and the concomitant tax burden to pay for it, is a common foe. But there were libertarians before the administrative state, and they thought even then that the govenment was too big, was too apt to produce the abuse of "liberty." And there would still be libertarians even if tommorrow we shed all that extra weight. This program and the reaction to it underlines the point. Conservatives have no beef with it—save the ones whose judgment has been overwhelmed by paranoia about this President or who are very strongly influenced by libertarian ideas—because it's in the wheelhouse of traditional governmental functions. Libertarians are screaming blue murder.

6/13/13, 12:05 PM

Obama is just the proof that is bringing people around. Government simply cannot be trusted with this type of power. You might be able to elect 1 or 2 or even 10 good presidents but eventually one will get elected that uses the government to stomp on his domestic political enemies. Obama is obviously using the federal government to abuse the law abiding citizenry. Give this power to the states. I have no problem with that. But the federal government needs to be more limited.

Also do you mean to say that Benghazi is a non-scandal? That throwing an American citizen in Jail to buttress a lie you made up is nothing? To cover your administration's sale of weapons to Al Quaeda, the people that killed our embassy workers and razed our consulate, is nothing? Or that selling weapons to Mexican Drug Gangs and resulting deaths of 2 US field agents and 300ish Mexicans to support the presidents claim that US guns are responsible for Mexican crime is nothing?

jr565 said...

But you are arguing that Nonapod. You wrote:
"I think it's foolish to simply just blindly trust that the government simply knows best in this area" about a fundamental power that govt is required to perform. And you're saying that govt doesn't know best in such an area. Or that govt can't be trusted with the function of surveillance be aue its too much power. But that's like saying govt can't wage a war because the ability to take life is too much power for any govt to have.
Govt is going to wage wars of it determines it needs to wage wars. You can disagree with the action itself, but that's far different than saying we can't trust to perform the action itself

bagoh20 said...

Simon,

Nothing in human history has or ever will abandon tradition wholesale. With all that wasted verbiage you could have just said simply some tradition survives. Of course it does, and it remains the foundation anytime things evolve, but seeing the overnight evolution that became the United States as tradition is like seeing humans as bald apes because they share 97% of their DNA.

DADvocate said...

Working at a marketing research company, I suppose we do a lot of "data mining." Our company is a member of CASRO and follows CASRO standards on confidentiality which includes not disclosing information that makes a respondent individually identifiable. We require our clients to agree to meet CASRO standards and get this in a signed contract. All the information we gather is gathered from respondents who are fully aware they are sharing information with us. Often they receive some form of financial consideration for their efforts.

We follow the ethical standards all most to a fault. The one time a person violate the standards, he was fired the same day his violation was discovered.

There's a huge difference between gathering information and analyzing it based on age/gender/ethnic/geographic groups and the government surreptitiously seizing the phone records and other information (spying and what should be illegal search and seizure) that can specifically tied to individuals. Whether Nichols is confusing the two is hard for me to tell. To conflate the two is foolishness and stupidity.

jr565 said...

For example, Nonapod Achilles makes your argument in the very next post:

"Obama is just the proof that is bringing people around. Government simply cannot be trusted with this type of power."
Can govt be trusted with the power to wage war? How many people have died in wars? Many innocent. That's an awfully horrific power to have. Should govt have that power?
Shouldld the Intelligence community not have the power to gather intelligence (whatever that power is determined to be) because gathering intelligence is a type of power that is just too powerful.

edutcher said...

jr565 said...

All I did was answer Allen's question about why the surveillance didn't catch the Marathon bombers.

Or Major Hasan, for that matter.


it sounds like YOU are saying surveillance would work better if it were more intrusive and violated even more rights.

Then don't couch it in libertarian right to,privacy terms.


I'll couch it in any terms that answer the question.

Achilles said...

Also do you mean to say that Benghazi is a non-scandal?

Benghazi is the Thing That Never Dies.

If any one thing alone eventually brings down the Choom Gang, I'm betting it's that.

jr565 said...

DADvocare wrote:
Our company is a member of CASRO and follows CASRO standards on confidentiality which includes not disclosing information that makes a respondent individually identifiable. We require our clients to agree to meet CASRO standards and get this in a signed contrac

according to Lindsay Graham when the NSA is doing its searches names are removed from the search so they are only dealing with numbers. Until the get the warrant and narrow down the search of the offending number.

Nonapod said...

But you are arguing that Nonapod. You wrote:
"I think it's foolish to simply just blindly trust that the government simply knows best in this area" about a fundamental power that govt is required to perform. And you're saying that govt doesn't know best in such an area.


Maybe that wasn't as specifically worded as it should have been. When I said "blindly trust that the government simply knows best in this area" I was intending to refer specifically to the PRISM program (the "area") not as in the "area" being national security. I'm sorry if that was misleading.

Let me clarify, I trust the government on many issues of national security. And when I say "trust", I'm not talking about an absolute unquestioning trust. I realize that abuses will occur from time to time. That's human nature.

I believe this PRISM program goes to far. I believe it's simply too much. The abuses that could potentially occur under it would be too great.

I concede that I don't know everything in terms of possibilities and I could be wrong. Maybe this program is critically necessary to stop a terrorist from setting off a nuke in a major American city. I honestly don't know. But my instincts tell me that this level of surveillance is overkill and unnecessary.

DADvocate said...

according to Lindsay Graham when the NSA is doing its searches names are removed from the search so they are only dealing with numbers. Until the get the warrant and narrow down the search of the offending number.

Somebody has the names matched up to the numbers or getting a warrant would be meaningless. Plus, it's the government delving into everyone's records in secret, i.e. not our consent, with no reason to suspect us. A warrant for an ordinary wire tap couldn't be gotten under those conditions.

Nonapod said...

Let me put it this way, everyone has a breaking point in terms of intrusive security. For example, if we really wanted to be secure every American citizen could get subdermal RFID tags by law for quick identification by law enforcement. We could all be required by law to wear GPS tracking devices at all times. We could have closed circuit cameras placed in every room in our homes and all public areas that are all routed to the NSA. We could have a national curfew. Every citizen could be required to have monthly sessions with government therapists to assess our mental health on a constant basis. We could require

A lot of people may find those measures absurd, but then again some might think that it's worth it if it stops terrorists attacks or nutjobs from shooting up a school or movie theater.

I guess my breaking point is a bit lower than some of yours.

jr565 said...

DADvocate wrote:
Somebody has the names matched up to the numbers or getting a warrant would be meaningless


You're wrong. govt gets the list of calls from the carriers. That just contains numbers, no names. They then take specific number that they have, which might be attached to a terrorist, or which we find in a terrorist camp, something that we think is linked to a terrorist. Nd then we say, please provide a list of all numbers that this number has called, and what numbers did those numbers call. Then, they narrow down the information and figure out who belongs to those numbers.
As David Simon mentioned,must exactly what they did when monitoring drug dealers in Detroit. They take a public phone, or a pager and just start collecting data on all the numbers those numbers called.thry don't know yet who those numbers belong to.they are simply collecting cts. Some of those numbers will be people not related to drug dealing.

But judges have already signed off on that being legal because they aren't actually listening to the calls themselves. They don't need names on the numbers to start data gathering.

jr565 said...

DADvocare wrote:
"Plus, it's the government delving into everyone's records in secret, i.e. not our consent, with no reason to suspect us. A warrant for an ordinary wire tap couldn't be gotten under those conditions."


You're wrong. Here's David Simon showing that such warrants were routine when he was working as a cop in Baltimore (albeit for different reasons). They didn't even need to know the name of the person the cell phone belonged to when getting the warrant . They tracked all calls between numbers, simply because they thought that the phone was being used by drug dealers:

"Allow for a comparable example, dating to the early 1980s in a place called Baltimore, Maryland.

There, city detectives once began to suspect that major traffickers were using a combination of public pay phones and digital pagers to communicate their business. And they took their suspicions to a judge and obtained court orders — not to monitor any particular suspect, but to instead cull the dialed numbers from the thousands and thousands of calls made to and from certain city pay phones.

Think about it. There is certainly a public expectation of privacy when you pick up a pay phone on the streets of Baltimore, is there not? And certainly, the detectives knew that many, many Baltimoreans were using those pay phones for legitimate telephonic communication. Yet, a city judge had no problem allowing them to place dialed-number recorders on as many pay phones as they felt the need to monitor, knowing that every single number dialed to or from those phones would be captured. So authorized, detectives gleaned the numbers of digital pagers and they began monitoring the incoming digitized numbers on those pagers — even though they had yet to learn to whom those pagers belonged. The judges were okay with that, too, and signed another order allowing the suspect pagers to be “cloned” by detectives, even though in some cases the suspect in possession of the pager was not yet positively identified.

All of that — even in the less fevered, pre-Patriot Act days of yore — was entirely legal. Why?

Because they aren't listening to calls"

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Bagoh20 wrote:
"I don't know any libertarian who think like that. There is little liberty under anarchy, and most understand that. They want a government that enforced law, they want contracts enforced, and criminals caught and prosecuted. The want national defense and most of the things the founders saw as necessities"


I want those things too. And yet im not a libertarian. Many modern libertarians seem to want no govt. or seem to think they can pick and choose laws to follow, or that the Internet should be free and open and thus support the files sharing companies or AAron Shwartz's of the world rather than the companies they are stealing from.

Every time I get into an argument about such matters its always with a far lefty or libertarian. Most conservatives would not be for a truly open Internet that undermined legitimate companies working in the Internet. Bit many libertarians would be.

It sounds like you are describing more of a classical liberal or,conservative. Libertarians are not that.

Many libertarians are for truly open borders. How does that jibe with following and enforcing laws. us law enforcement advocates are describes as fascists. I can only go by who is arguing with me and how they are defining themselves. But libertarians ain't conservative.

The last libertarian who ran for president had foreign policy views that made Obama look like a conservative he so far to the left.

DADvocate said...

You're wrong. Here's David Simon showing that such warrants were routine when he was working as a cop in Baltimore (albeit for different reasons). They didn't even need to know the name of the person the cell phone belonged to when getting the warrant . They tracked all calls between numbers, simply because they thought that the phone was being used by drug dealers:

1) Apparently, I'm wrong regarding wire taps in Baltimore (and other places, I'm sure)

2) Things are worse than I thought.

Lydia said...

bagoh20 wrote:
The United States was founded in a big way as a departure from tradition and toward liberty which traditionally had little value in human history.

And yet the French revolutionaries' rallying cry was liberty, equality, and fraternity, while ours was life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Note the prominence of "life" in ours.

Civilis said...

And yet the French revolutionaries' rallying cry was liberty, equality, and fraternity, while ours was life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Anyone can make up a slogan; compare the slogan of the French Revolutionaries to their style of governance, or note the number of "democratic republics" which tend to be neither.

I'm a bit ambivalent on the whole issue; the US has had worse and has recovered. The issue on this point is taking the NSA surveillance as part of the larger picture.

We're being told that this NSA surveillance is necessary to protect us from a threat at the same time we're being told (and the government is acting) as if there is no threat. Major Hasan was just 'workplace violence' and the government has been ignoring actual warnings about individuals like the Tsarnev brothers, yet this massive surveillance net is necessary to protect us.

Either the government needs to be straight with us about the level of the threat (and a couple of wannabe Islamic Unabombers don't constitute a systemic threat large enough to warrant this level of surveillance) or we're right to call the government to tone down the amount of surveillance.

Robert Cook said...

To the degree terrorists and terrorism is a threat to us, it is a minor threat.

However, it serves as a convenient replacement for our former bogeyman--the Soviet Union--as the omnipotent, omnipresent, omnimalevolent menace that we can only defend or prevail against by total militarization of our society and total paranoia all the time. In other words, it is a great excuse for all those making money (and aggrandizing their power) from the "terror war business" to keep the business a perpetual growth market , baby!

Revenant said...

I'm not a left winger, if that was directed to me.

It wasn't.

But private citizens aren't allowed to do all things.

A person sufficiently fluent in English would realize that "private citizens are allowed to do things the government cannot" does not mean "private citizens are allowed to do all things".

Rev, responding to Roger wrote:

A person sufficiently fluent in English would also realize that "Revenant" is not spelled "edutcher". :)

Revenant said...

Here's David Simon showing that such warrants were routine when he was working as a cop in Baltimore (albeit for different reasons).

David Simon was never a policeman. You might be thinking of his writing partner, Ed Burns?

Revenant said...

1) Apparently, I'm wrong regarding wire taps in Baltimore (and other places, I'm sure)

Not really, although it is certainly the case that drug warriors led the way in shredding the Constitution's fourth and fifth amendment protections. The practice Simon described has nothing to do with what the NSA is doing. jr565's just kind of a dumbass, and thus easily confused.

The cops asked for, an obtained, warrants for calls made to and from a phone proven to be heavily involved in drug activity. The NSA, in the Verizon case, asked for every phone call made to or from every Verizon phone in existence whether it had any connection to any crime or not.

The parallel would be if the Baltimore PD had asked for and obtained a list of every phone call made by every phone in Baltimore, on the grounds that drug dealers exist and sometimes use phones.