Judge endorses giving NSA unlimited access to digital information

By Himanshu Arora · 29 replies
Dec 5, 2014
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  1. The NSA should have unlimited ability to access digital data when it comes to matters relating to terrorism and other national security threats, a federal judge has said.

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  2. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TS Maniac Posts: 247   +186

    A judge is now making the "if you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide" argument. Great. Super helpful.

    This is a UK example but I'd be shocked if there aren't comparable US cases:

    In 1993 Stephen Lawrence was murdered while stood at a bus stop, just for being black. His mother campaigned for years for justice and changes to equality legislation and attitudes. She is now a Baroness for her amazing work. All she wanted was justice for her murdered son. The police and intelligence services not only didn't use their ample powers to try and find the murderers, but instead they spied on her for years to try and find something to smear and discredit her. And that was in 1993, before everyone was connected to everything.

    She did nothing wrong, so nothing to worry about, right?

    What happens when dissent or speaking out about those in power becomes taboo because we all know we're being monitored? What happens when a future, less benign government decides they don't like criticism and people get "disappeared" as Latin American states used to call it.

    I hate this attitude. Governing forces should have access to records on request, blanket surveillance is not a power that should be granted - and even if it is in extreme circumstances (such as ID cards in the UK during World War 2) it should be immediately revoked when the threat level drops.
  3. So Judge Richard Posner should not mind if we have access to all his cell phone data (every call he's made, where he's been, all his contacts, etc). I think the Judge should just post all this data on the internet and/or the Washington Post since he obviously doesn't need any privacy. If he's not done anything wrong he should not have any problems with this request. While he's at that I think he should post all personal emails and the contents of his personal computer. Heck, just unlock your doors Judge and put up an Open House sign and we'll take care of everything as long as you have nothing to hide.
    Evernessince likes this.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Just wait until he's caught in a compromising position with some crack addicted side street hooker after a night on the town he inadvertently (or purposely, even though he may be a judge, he's still human after all) got involved in then the cat pics on his phone won't look anything like the cats we're lead to believe are his pets then he'll quickly retract his rant and take a different stance on the NSA. :D
  5. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    What a quote this is. A violation of someone's right to have privacy its a big no no.
    This gets me so angry that if that judge said this to my face I'd cuff him upside the head as hard as I could.

    Invasive inaccurate comments like this prove todays leaders are just as handicapped as anyone else. There are many things people do privately that is NONE of your damn business, doesn't mean its bad. Now people are only going to be more secretive.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
    Evernessince likes this.
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,362   +2,007

    Just remember that an "endorsement" is not a legal ruling and one Federal Judges opinion doesn't determine codiciled law. From those that have answered the surveys, a majority of Americans do not mind the surveillance as long as it is reviewed, reported, and ruled on by a Federal Judge. The secret FISA court is what most object to with the 2nd objection being "constant" monitoring vs. directed monitoring via a court order that becomes part of the official record.
  7. I need to find this judge.
  8. I don't even want to believe that someone could make it through a career in Law to being a federal judge and still display so much ignorance and naivety. Hopefully he isn't the person to rule on this issue should it come up.
  9. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,946   +765

    Clearly, this judge is clueless, IMO. He should recuse himself from the case because he lacks the knowledge to intelligently rule on the matter and suffers from the misconception that everyone must be like him. Anyone with any brains these days knows that there are more reasons to need privacy than just keeping your dirt out of the public limelight.

    As I see it, he is right up there on the clueless scale with the soon to be "leader" of the senate: "Mr. I don't believe in global warming because God said he would not smite the Earth again." Did God ever say he would not let humanity smite the Earth - "Mr. I don't believe in global warming because God said he would not smite the Earth again"?
  10. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,891   +1,224

    Wow, so pretty much every one here read the story about a judge who says data COLLECTION is ok, but ACCESS should be restricted and they interpreted that as everyone would have access to everything all time. An easy comparison is a police officer's gun. They all carry them, but seldom use them, and no one has a problem with a cop having a gun on their hip. If your data is collected, but never seen is your privacy violated? I have windows on my home, and someone COULD walk up to my house and look in, but no one does, and my privacy isnt' violated just because is possible for someone to do it. Data collection is not a violation of privacy if access is restricted. If you believe everything will get hacked like Apple's cloud pics, then that's a different issue and not one we're talking about here.

    Please stop with the grandstanding about how important online privacy is. No one with an active facebook account really cares about privacy online all that much, and that covers a lot of people.
    dms96960 likes this.
  11. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    Apparently you don't care if people can access and view your private emails, data, texts, and phone calls.
    I'll jump into your PC and get some pics of your family, wife and personal items. I am sure if I get some hot pics of a daughter you might have and keep a copy for 'private use' you won't mind. Heck might even look at some of your medical records, real life morning routine and investigate why your late for work once in awhile. I am sure you won't care since you got nothing to hide, I am just looking.

    Many people don't have a facebook account for this reason, and that covers a lot of people.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,946   +765

    Come on man!!!

    This is a classic straw-man argument. It is not actually that simple. Just because no one does look into your windows, does not mean no one will or no one ever has. If they do come up to your house and look into your window, I would imagine that in most places they are legally trespassing, and, therefore, you would be well within your rights to charge them with trespassing. Otherwise, you would have no legal recourse against them being there all the time, would you? I would certainly imagine that you would not like someone looking into your window all the time, would you?

    In addition, if they are taking pictures of you or your loved ones when they are naked, then they would be charged with violating a "Peeping Tom" law. Otherwise, you would have no legal recourse against them being there all the time and getting their thrills, would you? Would you like them being there all the time for this purpose?

    In both of these cases, your right to privacy is guaranteed against those who do not subscribe to honorable practices.

    This is also a sweeping straw-man argument. As I understand things from a non-facebook user standpoint, there were a lot of people who complained to facebook that they had no way of restricting access to their facebook material, and, if I am not mistaken, facebook does have privacy settings that allow facebook users to restrict their material in some manner. So, check out facebook, and if you find someone who has set all or parts of their account to "friends only," then I would imagine that you have a facebook user that IS concerned about privacy. Facebook, in the past at least, has shown that they could care less about users' privacy, though, so IMO, anyone who uses facebook and expects any privacy has likely misplaced their trust.

    As I see it, you used the same argument as the judge in this case - because you don't engage in it and it has not happened to you, then it happens to no one and no one engages in it. Hooey!
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  13. Isn't there a "Cliff's Notes" for Orwell's 1984? Or maybe a book on tape version to listen to while in court?
  14. He was probably forced to do that. If not, he is an absolute *****.
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,745   +3,710

    I do have a problem with it because facts can be twisted and the more they know the bigger the twist can be.

    We are currently caught in a local dispute where the police chief is changing the fact of a case. It is a sad story when the police chief removes physical evidence from a crime scene. And then have the balls to have the complainant committed over a falsified story, all because of hatred toward a religion. And this is local. I couldn't imagine the scale of corruption in congress.

    On a side note the complainant in the crime is a reverend that has nothing to hide. He has been in a roller coaster ride for a year over police harassment because of his religion. He is currently wearing an ankle bracelet and is practically hiding. Because it seems he can be arrested when a specific woman happens to drive down the same road he is on while trying to conduct business of his own. Luckily the judge threw that out, but it still landed him in jail and caused him grief.

    The laws the judge in this article is trying to pass will only make matters worse for everyone.
  16. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,891   +1,224

    Of course I care, go look back at my original post and note that I used caps to try and distinguish between collecting data and accessing data. If my pics were collected by the NSA, kept in a lock box in a bank vault where no one could ever see them, then no, I wouldn't care. If they were posted on a website for the world to see, then of course I would care. This judge was talking about COLLECTING the data, not accessing it. My whole point was that no one is seeing the difference and you responded by again, not seeing the difference.
  17. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,891   +1,224

    If you disagree with the examples (or straw man arguments, or analogies, or whatever) then fine, but let's not get away from the point and start arguing about peeping tom laws and facebook.

    See my above post for the point I was (clearly unsuccessfully) trying to make. If you want to discuss whether data that's collected could be accessed by the general public, then let's do that, but don't use my poor analogy as a means to ignore my point. Whether it was intentional or not.
  18. Matt12345170

    Matt12345170 TS Booster Posts: 106   +31

    Okay. So your data has been collected. Now what, is it okay for a program to scan through your **** to try and find probable cause? What happens when the data is accessed by people that are not authorized to do so, nothing is so secure that is it out of the realm of possibility.

    Sounds like spying to me. Find probably cause first, and I don't give a **** if they collect data on a person. This is collecting intelligence without any grounds.
  19. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,891   +1,224

    What happens when the data is accessed by people without authority? No worse than today, when someone without authority steals your credit information etc. We accept the risk of criminals getting our data, is the govt worse? (ha, maybe right?)

    it does sound like spying, you're right. But weigh it against the possible benefit. Make a balance scale with your hands in the air, like you're trying to weigh two alternatives.... on one side is the knowledge that your meaningless texts are in a database somewhere next to billions of other meaningless texts, and on the other side is the possibility that maybe, even if it's a 1 in a million chance, a record system can stop a mass shooting. You're really gonna say your perceived privacy is more important?

    In reality, what'll happen is this... the govt will collect everything and not ever put it good use. No one will have their privacy violated, but no one will be helped either. Eventually we'll accept the record keeping as the price of being online all the time, just like we accept car accidents as the price of driving, and we'll move on and forget about it.
  20. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,745   +3,710


    Our search for violence only spawns more violence. If you don't believe me, come snooping around my **** and I will show you how violent I can get.
    Bubbajim likes this.
  21. Matt12345170

    Matt12345170 TS Booster Posts: 106   +31

    We do kind of have a moral obligation to do so, but we might as well rewrite the constitution. edit: That being said, we are putting ourselves at risk to be exploited. I'm not even saying it is going to be them to do it, but that is so much power over people.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  22. AnonymousSurfer

    AnonymousSurfer TS Guru Posts: 452   +40

    It's sad that American politicians have changed their views on government from "stay out of my life" to "if you've got nothing to hide then we should be monitoring your life". Hopefully someone will realize whats going on.
  23. "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"
    "If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me."
    Possibility that maybe a 1 in a million chance... Wow. That's a lot of ifs, don't you think?

    But anyway, pretty much everything that MilwaukeeMike guy posts is utter nonsense.
  24. While we're at it, shame on all those rape victims for wanting to hide their pain and for anyone with prostate, colon, cervical or testicular cancer for not freely and gratuitously spreading both the word about their cancers as well as pictures. Oh wait, privacy does has a role in our lives aside from helping us to maintain the image we want to present to the world. I wonder what judges do in their chambers that are kept private from the rest of us. By this judges own words, it must be something pretty horrific and disgusting.
  25. It seems more and more that government employees, politicians and law enforcement have a right to privacy where as for the common citizen, it's only a privilege. Unfortunately privileges can be revoked at any time.

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