“In a democracy, people are entitled to know what techniques are being used by the government to spy on them, how the records are being held, and for how long, who will have access to them, and the safeguards in place to prevent abuse. Only then can they evaluate official claims that the correct balance between fighting terrorism and preserving individual liberty has been struck, and decide if they are willing to accept diminished privacy and liberty. If Americans have been slow to recognize the dangerous overreach of the N.S.A.’s phone surveillance, it is largely because they have scant information to judge the government’s conduct.”
“The Alarming Age of Surveillance,” NYT Editorial Board
I would add that we also have to know how successful the surveillance is, if it’s really stopping terrorist acts. If it’s not accomplishing anything, obviously we haven’t struck the right balance because we’re giving up something without getting anything in return.
Correct!— we area giving up something with out getting anything in return .we here so infrequently about catches and thwarts,the ones that went right or wrong.
So little information.
“In a democracy”, what a quaint idea. Since I was traveling and didn’t hear much about this story so I have been catching up on the details. It seems to me that most of the media is missing the big story which is that our national security intelligence services have been almost entirely outsourced to private companies. The National Security Intelligence Industrial Complex that has rapidly developed since 9-11 is just one more step in the crony capitalism that has taken control of the government agencies. Our government is no longer capable of providing the services that we (at least those of who are a little older) expect should be provided by the government. Since the Reagan administration began their government bashing and privatizing everything they could, we have created a government that can no longer function, including fighting a war, without outsourcing to the private sector. The reports keep saying that this is a N.S.A.’s phone surveillance program and they are collecting data on Americans. While the N.S.A. may be the client they are not the ones collection the actual data as far as I can tell. So when the NYT Editorial Board says there is scant information to judge the government’s conduct, they are not looking in the right place. We know enough to judge the governments conduct, because they are the conduit for funneling tax dollars to these private corporations that are doing the actual data collection. To be sure the intent is that the N.S.A. will be able to access the data at a later date. But the real discussion we should be having is, should our national security be outsourced to private companies that have different priorities, namely to make a profit? Of course the more data they collect the more they can charge and the more indispensable they become to the government.
Great quote, thanks.
and I must say, I am unimpressed so far by the assertions that “lots” and “many” and “dozens” of terrorist attacks have been prevented. Show me, as they say, the money.