Thursday, May 11, 2006

We are shocked, shocked to find data-mining going on here

Okay, so maybe we weren't surprised at the revelations in today's USA Today that the NSA has a massive database of American phone calls.

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.

"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added.


The one bright spot? The phone company Qwest, which unlike the other big three, refused to participate in the program, despite the potential for lost business with the government.

Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.

The NSA's explanation did little to satisfy Qwest's lawyers. "They told (Qwest) they didn't want to do that because FISA might not agree with them," one person recalled. For similar reasons, this person said, NSA rejected Qwest's suggestion of getting a letter of authorization from the U.S. attorney general's office. A second person confirmed this version of events.


Bravo, Qwest, for respecting the Constitution. If only our government did.

Sara in Philly

4 Comments:

Blogger Sheikh Mahandi said...

"They told (Qwest) they didn't want to do that because FISA might not agree with them," one person recalled. For similar reasons, this person said, NSA rejected Qwest's suggestion of getting a letter of authorization from the U.S. attorney general's office. A second person confirmed this version of events.

So basically -
(NSA) We want your records.
(QWEST) IS that legal, can we check with FISA ?
(NSA) FISA? No, they would probably say you don't have to.
(QWEST) OK, well how about the Attorney General ?
(NSA) Umm, no, he would probably say you don't have to either, but all the others are doing it !

Yes, well done QWEST

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Keanus said...

Sometimes I'm grateful for being a customer of someone other than the Baby Bells (other than Qwest). This is one of them. Our phone company is that giant of central PA, D & E, of which no one has ever heard. Now I feel like thumbing my nose "ya-ya-ya, you don't know whom I've called" at Dubya.

5:26 PM  
Blogger RADAtheist said...

We've told our son: If you have to ask if what you're doing is wrong, it probably is.

So is this an extension of a "don't ask, don't tell" policy? We can get away with it as long as no one finds out?

Bush has already come out to reassure us that the government isn't prying into personal details, and we have nothing to fear.

Luckily, we know we can trust the president, since he's been so honest with us about WMDs, the Iraq connection to 9/11, the fact that they weren't doing warrentless wiretaps, and that we're doing everything we can to catch Osama.

I feel so much better knowing we can rest assured they won't use the database for, I don't know, finding out who their political opponents might be calling.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Sheikh Mahandi said...

I don't think it is even so much a case of who their political opponents have been calling, it seems to me more a case of tracing who is leaking information they don't want to get out, after all it would seem to be a simple matter to get the numbers of who called Joe Maldonaldo for example, then cross-reference those numbers and you have your "whistle-blower" (terror suspect).

8:22 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home