Lion of the Blogosphere

Should we care about NSA phone tracking?

Is there any evidence that even a single non-terrorist suffered any bad consequences because of this NSA phone tracking?

People should be more worried about dying in a car accident which kills more than 30,000 people per year in the United States.

And with respect to privacy, I am more worried about Google than the NSA.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 1, 2015 at 11:01 AM

Posted in News, Technology

42 Responses

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  1. American narcissism and inflated self-importance.


    June 1, 2015 at 11:14 AM

    • However, yes, non-terrorists have likely been affected.

      They get incriminating information through illegal surveillance, which is then used as a “cheat sheet” to launch a “legal” investigation. It’s used for drug offenses now.

      It will be used by the thought police in our lifetimes – this is what the Millennials have been trained to do since birth and when the Boomers pass them the baton…watch out.


      June 1, 2015 at 11:29 AM

      • Yep. And the defendant won’t know about the fact that SIGINT tipped the police off; it’s illegal for him to know, in some cases.


        June 1, 2015 at 2:24 PM

  2. OT: looks like the NYT is trying to follow quotas for its Room for Debate panels (since its contributors are always pictured, it’s easier for the bean-counters to attack).

    You can’t help but notice that the contributors who are there to fill a quota are especially out of their depth.


    June 1, 2015 at 11:18 AM

    • Ha! That piece is really quite appalling.

      “The most promising avenue for ending ISIS is for their temporary Sunni allies to turn against its brutality and extremism, and realize they have no future in the Islamic State. That will break down the Islamic State from within, an outcome that is inevitable over time.”

      Mon Dieu!


      June 1, 2015 at 3:45 PM

      • “Mon Dieu!”

        Edit Piaf had a good song by that name. I once wrote a short story taken loosely from that song’s theme.


        June 1, 2015 at 10:11 PM

  3. Yes we should be worried; hopefully not for ourselves but because it has a chilling effect on journalism when presidents & governments can so easily get dirt on media figures who expose them. I’m aware of no proof that Obama has ever done that, but the lesson of the Nixon era was that presidents do abuse power in this way.

    You’re very concerned about big corporations transferring value to themselves but you don’t seem to mind big government transferring power to itself, even though the public has more direct control over the former than the latter. And governments transfer value and status to themselves; look at all the servants & luxuries of a sitting president.


    June 1, 2015 at 11:19 AM

  4. This entire discussion about NSA collection of phone metadata is ridiculous from top to bottom. The program is legal, constitutional, and if we had it in place, it could have prevented 9/11 (see the book The Shadow Factory by James Bamford).

    There isn’t even any loss of privacy involved. I can only assume it’s a status political position, rather than a reasoned and thought out one.

    Mike Street Station

    June 1, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    • The program is legal, constitutional, and if we had it in place, it could have prevented 9/11

      According to the government itself the program has failed to prevent even a single imminent terrorist attack. According to counter-terrorist officials, the program has only tipped them off to a few potential terrorists that they didn’t already know about from other programs. At best, the program has been an effective way for the government to gather data. And that’s it.

      There isn’t even any loss of privacy involved.

      According to the NSA general counsel “metadata tells you absolutely everything about a person’s life,” and according to the ex-NSA chief, “we kill people based on metadata.”

      How’s life in the just world?


      June 1, 2015 at 2:36 PM

    • There are many dangerous precedents you should be concerned about. The very same government that spends trillions on mass surveillance won’t even lift a finger about illegal immigration.


      June 1, 2015 at 8:34 PM

      • Illegal immigration and phone bill records are two different things.

        Mike Street Station

        June 1, 2015 at 10:21 PM

      • More people in US/Europe are victimized by immigrants than terrorism. From crime to demographics the impact is a far bigger threat than jihad. Even flag waving conservatives like Anne Coulter think so as well.


        June 2, 2015 at 12:03 AM

  5. Shouln’t the govt be more concerned about road safety than terrorism? Roads are deadlier.


    June 1, 2015 at 12:14 PM

    • Roads are more dangerous than even real war. More people have been killed in traffic accidents than in ALL U.S. wars combined, including the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

      Massive research into autonomous cars can save a lot more lives than shutting down ISIS.

      • And pedestrians and bicyclists have an even greater chance of being killed by an automobile and its driver than the typical driver does.

        All this, plus paying many of the financial costs, without getting the benefits of the automobile.

        Is any other minority treated this way in the USA?


        June 1, 2015 at 2:32 PM

      • Right but roads aren’t threatening to kill us or our allies. Our military is necessary to keep us from being attacked from other people. Roads will never attack us, take over our country or overthrow our government.


        June 1, 2015 at 2:36 PM

      • Technology has diminishing returns and autonomous cars would make the US vulnerable to attack. By destroying a few satellite control systems everything would be paralyzed. When society advances too much it also becomes soft and fragile. Most people can’t survive a day without their cell phones anymore.


        June 1, 2015 at 8:59 PM

      • Is there any evidence that even a single non-terrorist suffered any bad consequences because of this NSA phone tracking?

        The program is worthless as long as the government allows Muslim immigration and doesn’t doesn’t use its spying abilities against Muslims: How many ignored warnings about the Tsarnaevs did Russia and Saudi Arabia give our federal government?

        The Undiscovered Jew

        June 1, 2015 at 10:53 PM

  6. In some dim, theoretical way I care about it. But really, nah. I don’t care about it.


    June 1, 2015 at 1:07 PM

  7. Do you think this blog will be shut down, because of its controversial/unsavory comments of the “powers to be” and their gullible minions?


    June 1, 2015 at 1:07 PM

    • I’m more worried about Google.

      However, the danger is that there are so many laws that everyone is guilty of something, giving the government unlimited power to punish political enemies.

  8. The problem is not the threat it poses today, but the threat it poses tomorrow. It’s a bad step towards the surveillance state, which will only become a more pressing issue as technology becomes more advanced.

    You need to draw the line early to nip these intrusions in the bud.


    June 1, 2015 at 1:15 PM

    • That sounds compelling enough on the first read, but upon greater reflection I wonder if these slippery slope style arguments have anything else to them. Yeah, and same sex marriage will lead to men marrying goats.


      June 2, 2015 at 12:29 AM

      • @Vince:

        Let’s check back in 15 years and see.


        June 2, 2015 at 8:14 AM

      • Slippery slope arguments can be valid. You just need a long enough time frame.

        In the 50’s and 60’s there was a movement to have “no fault” divorces. The blue hairs and other uptight people wailed that it would weaken marriage and the family. Good thing that didn’t happen!

        Oh wait…

        The gay marriage slippery slope arguments have not had time to percolate yet. Gay marriage isn’t even legal in all fifty states yet. But already polling shows that public approval of polygamy has doubled. Given enough time, all of those gay marriage slippery slope pins will come falling down. But of course by then it’s both too late and we won’t care. How dare anyone suggest that a man’s relationship to his goat shouldn’t be a valid life choice embraced by society with legal and social approval?

        Mike Street Station

        June 2, 2015 at 9:43 AM

  9. Is there any evidence that even a single non-terrorist suffered any bad consequences because of this NSA phone tracking?

    Is there any evidence that even a single terrorist suffered any bad consequences because of this NSA phone tracking? No.

    People should be more worried about dying in a car accident which kills more than 30,000 people per year in the United States.

    This critique applies to virtually every political opinion.


    June 1, 2015 at 2:11 PM

  10. In the hands of a Hoover it could be real bad.


    June 1, 2015 at 2:18 PM

  11. If I don’t like Google, I can use a site like Duck Duck Go which does not track me. Plus, Google can’t throw me in jail. On the other hand, I’m stuck with the Federal Government. When Eric Holder became Attorney General, I didn’t get to choose a different person for me. I would rather people like him did not access my phone records.


    June 1, 2015 at 3:46 PM

    • 1. Google doesn’t have to follow the Constitution. 2. If Google wants to harm you, they can do a lot of bad things to you, including passing evidence to the DOJ that could put you in jail.

      • So then the DOJ is the problem. Google relies on the government for the actual heavy lifting, i.e. guns and jail.


        June 1, 2015 at 7:24 PM

      • So the government, which writes and applies the rules, is bound by them in a way Google isn’t? That’s silly and naive.


        June 1, 2015 at 7:27 PM

      • It would be hard to imagine Google reporting LoftB to the authorities, for its titillating content about proles, and anything that is deemed prolish, which is just about everything under the sun, where it shines in America. I could see your site being taken off at the request of Google, because of your heed to others, to avoid being a victim from a value transference scam, whether as an employee or a citizen paying taxes.


        June 1, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    • You can also use or which taps results from Google, which are more often than not superior to DDG or ixquick, unfortunately.


      June 2, 2015 at 9:49 AM

  12. Is there any evidence that even a single non-terrorist suffered any bad consequences because of this NSA phone tracking?

    A stupid interjection.

    Like asking whether there’s any evidence that blue whale children are conceived via sex.

    It’s simultaneously incredibly unlikely that it isn’t happening, and overwhelmingly plausible that it would not be directly evidenced.


    June 1, 2015 at 4:03 PM

    • If you state that an invasive program is necessary for blue whale children to be conceived via sex, then you should have evidence that it furthers that purpose enough to justify the invasion.

      Your analogy is “a stupid interjection” because the relationship between massive programs that invade privacy and deterring terrorism is not like the “one-assures-the-other” relationship between sex and conception.


      June 1, 2015 at 4:20 PM

    • Oh, I thought this was a response to my post. Mea culpa.


      June 1, 2015 at 4:29 PM

  13. It’s too bad the motoring helmet never took on.


    June 1, 2015 at 4:41 PM

  14. I actually don’t think government surveillance is really that big of deal right now, but it may be in the future.

    Way the fuck off topic: Education doesn’t matter at all to a country’s development, which surprises every genuine HBDer (not!)

    Can we extrapolate this to the individual level? That a person’s education matters not a whit to their success and their genetic endowments mean everything?

    Lion of the Judah-sphere

    June 1, 2015 at 5:32 PM

    • No, it can’t be extrapolated on an intranational level, certainly not in the United States where one’s career track is highly correlated with one’s education. Someone with a 150 IQ will probalby have a crappy career without a college degree. There can only be a small handful of people like Bill Gates.

      • But even at the individual level, a person with 150 IQ without a college degree probably suffers from at least one of several genetically-derived personality deviations: extreme laziness, extreme non-conformism (eccentricity), poor social skills, high psychoticism, etc. Of course it’s not the lack of a degree that causes these things, it’s merely a signal for it.

        Lion of the Judah-sphere

        June 2, 2015 at 4:25 AM

      • “an intranational level”

        You mean individual level.


        June 2, 2015 at 5:30 AM

  15. @Jeff
    “Roads will never attack us, take over our country or overthrow our government.”

    Neither will ISIS.


    June 3, 2015 at 6:28 PM

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