Thursday, May 11, 2006

My Radio Debut

I was just interviewed by Open Source Radio, for their piece on the NSA Phone Call Database that will air tonight.

I said "Chimpeachment"; hope that makes it through the editing process.


From Planet Earth said...

I heard you on the Open Source program on NPR and was kind of amazed. Whatever gave you the idea that the government is listening to your phone calls with your mother? You appear to be very upset about something that is not happening; who has time to listen to your phone calls?
The NSA program you're referring to is nothing more than a computerized network analysis of phone numbers - it has nothing to do with listening to phone calls. It's non-remarkable and invades no privacy. The census bureau and the IRS are far more intrusive.

truth said...

Right, right, they've intercepted millions of phone calls, and haven't listened to any of them.


Anonymous said...

Truth - I'm trying to have a rational discussion here... The program in question does not involve intercepting a single phone call. What happened is that phone companies turned over their "calling records," which consist of lists of phone numbers. Those records do not, repeat, do not, contain any recordings of your conversations. That would requires zillions of gigabytes of data every day! What you think is happening is not happening. Please, complaints are fine but they should relate to events in the real world.

truth said...

It's always worse than it seems with the Bush Administration. We find out the tip of the iceberg. I choose to believe there's an iceberg beneath the tip. You choose to believe the tip is only an isolated tip.

We'll have to agree to disagree.

P.S., they're also datamining our internet communications; read Mark Klein's affidavit in the AT&T lawsuit.

Planet Earth said...

Truth - the problem with the iceberg analogy is that this is not even a tip. It's not made of ice. It's not illegal, not immoral, not wrong. Datamining lists of phone numbers is innocuous, period. The lists do not even include names. All of your on-the-air dismay about Bush listening to you talk with your mother was based on precisely nothing. I myself was dismayed that the host made no effort to correct you on the air, thus allowing your confusion to spead unimpeded to thousands of others. Whatever happened to the reality-based community? Doesn't anyone feel an obligation to get the facts straight?
As for datamining of internet communications, I certainly hope that the NSA or someone has a computerized process running to build network maps that could uncover attempts to blow people up. But no one is going to bother with reading your email.

truth said...

I should add that when I was interviewed for the radio piece, the interviewer asked me to describe the kinds of conversations the NSA could have been listening to. In other words, it wasn't my argument, just an answer to a question which was edited out.

Since it's the Bushies, I still think there's a lot more going on here.

And damn right, I am upset that my 4th amendment constitutional right against unreasonable search has been violated. There's no probable cause which would allow the government to intercept one blooming thing from my phone or internet records. I'm squeaky clean.

The constitution is the supreme law of the land, and this program clearly violates it. (IMHLO, in my humble legal opinion.)

Planet Earth said...

I suppose I'll have to give up here... it is not possible to get very far in a discussion if the other party really believes the moon is made of green cheese.
But to make a last attempt:
(1) The program in question, the topic you were asked about, concerns lists of billions of phone numbers. No content of the calls is included and even the names associated with the numbers were removed. There are no transcripts, no tapes. Just numbers. Maybe your interviewer was equally mixed up about this, but no one is listening to your phone calls (unless you are in the habit of calling numbers of Al Queda members abroad, in which case the NSA under an entirely different program might have obtained a special order to monitor your phone, as seems prudent).
(2) The list of numbers is not protected by anyone's 4th amendment rights. These number lists are owned by the phone companies and they freely share them with other companies. No privacy has been violated here. All that the NSA computer has is a very long string of number pairs, and that means zero to my privacy or yours.
But I know you are going to want to cling to this, and I don't think I can add any more in the way of facts or reason.