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So Much for Privacy

June 6, 2013 in Economics

Did anyone really believe that the secret court order that was leaked to the Guardian requiring Verizon to hand over customer phone records would be the end of it?  Late Thursday, the Guardian and The Washington Post reported that U.S. intelligence agencies have been operating a broad data-mining program that extracted e-mail, photos and other private communications from at least nine major Internet companies.  Cato scholars Julian Sanchez and Jim Harper say that while the data collection may be “well-intentioned,” the potential problems are many and significant.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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So Much for Privacy

June 6, 2013 in Economics

Did anyone really believe that the secret court order that was leaked to the Guardian requiring Verizon to hand over customer phone records would be the end of it? Late Thursday, the Guardian and The Washington Post reported that U.S. intelligence agencies have been operating a broad data-mining program that extracted e-mail, photos and other private communications from at least nine major Internet companies. Cato scholars Julian Sanchez and Jim Harper say that while the data collection may be “well-intentioned,” the potential problems are many and significant.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Officials Need to Come Clean on NSA Surveillance Activities

June 6, 2013 in Economics

By Jim Harper

Jim Harper

Asked point-blank last July whether the National Security Agency’s new, billion-dollar Utah installation would hold the data of American citizens, General Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA, responded flatly: “No.”

“While I can’t go into all the details of the Utah Data Center,” he said at the American Enterprise Institute, “we don’t hold data on U.S. citizens.”

But the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers (R-MI), tells a different story. “Within the last few years, this program was used to stop a terrorist attack in the United States,” he says.

Rogers is talking about the documented report released by the Guardian (U.K.) showing that Verizon is under order of the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to hand over “all call detail records” about phone calls within the United States or crossing the U.S. border. The order, granted on April 25, requires the phone company to submit these records to the government “on an ongoing daily basis” through July 19.

The government is accessing “metadata” about millions of our phone calls. Don’t let the technical-sounding term confuse you. That’s information about who called you, and who you called. It’s what time your conversations happened, and how long your conversations continued. If you’ve made a call in the last few months, if you called a lost love, a counselor, a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist, the National Security Agency probably has that information.

The IRS scandal reminds us that government agents don’t always have our interests at heart. IRS agents investigated hopeful non-profit groups aiming to weed out those that might challenge government orthodoxy and power. Who’s to say that there isn’t someone in the NSA — or an entire program in NSA — with these same motives?

General Alexander might say his agency is unlike the IRS. So might Chairman Rogers. But who should we believe?

If General Alexander’s statement about not having American citizens’ data is true, how can Rogers’s be? And if Rogers’s statement about this program preventing an attack is true, General Alexander’s statement must be false.

Most likely, General Alexander is equivocating on language. Being Orwellian, in a word.

When General Alexander denied having data about American citizens — or appeared to — he said “we don’t hold data on U.S. citizens.” That preposition, “on,” is perfectly ambiguous, and it exploits gaps in the way we talk about personal data.

General Alexander might argue that all he has are phone numbers. That’s not information …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Sen. Paul to Introduce Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013

June 6, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today announced he will introduce the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013, which ensures the Constitutional protections of the Fourth Amendment are not violated by any government entity.
‘The revelation that the NSA has secretly seized the call records of millions of Americans, without probable cause, represents an outrageous abuse of power and a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. I have long argued that Congress must do more to restrict the Executive’s expansive law enforcement powers to seize private records of law-abiding Americans that are held by a third-party,’ Sen. Paul said. ‘When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act, which would provide exactly the kind of protections that, if enacted, could have prevented these abuses and stopped these increasingly frequent violations of every American’s constitutional rights.
‘The bill restores our Constitutional rights and declares that the Fourth Amendment shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause.’
Click HERE to view the text of this legislation, which will be introduced when the Senate returns to session on Friday, June 7.
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Source: RAND PAUL

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NO War with Iran!

June 6, 2013 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster