It is amazing what the politicos on the Hill think we will swallow when they assure us there won’t be abuse of data mining. Where there is data there is the opportunity for abuse…just ask the IRS! Two prime examples below, especially the second!
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the PATRIOT Act on the House floor in 2001, has declared that lawmakers’ and the executive branch’s excuses about recent revelations of NSA activity are “a bunch of bunk.”
In an interview on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Wednesday morning, the Republican congressman from Wisconsin reiterated his concerns that the administration and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court have gone far beyond what the PATRIOT Act intended. Specifically, he said that Section 215 of the act “was originally drafted to prevent data mining” on the scale that’s occurred.
Sensenbrenner, the current chairman on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, suggested that the secret nature of the FISA court has prevented appropriate congressional oversight over the NSA’s activities.
When asked whether he agreed with those in Washington calling leaker Edward Snowden a traitor, Sensenbrenner responded, “No, I don’t agree,” and said that he would not have known the extent of abuse by the FISA court and the NSA without Snowden’s disclosures.
The congressman has earlier said he believes the PATRIOT Act needs to be amended to protect Americans’ privacy.
And from ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5987804&#.Ubkcx5vn-pp
Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans
Oct. 9, 2008
Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia.
US Soldier's 'Phone Sex' Intercepted, Shared
Faulk says he and others in his section of the NSA facility at Fort Gordon routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted, alerting office mates to certain time codes of "cuts" that were available on each operator's computer.
I worked with some who were in data mining (not a new concept by centuries). They had access to content and, over beers, shared the more juicy tidbits they came across albeit occluded in nuance and the innocence of being bored…..and that was many, many moons ago. Point is some did it then and I am sure some do it now. The difference is that there may be a corrosive political virus within our political system now that feels using the data against their political foes in justified. Therein lies the danger today. Such abuse becomes the basis for a fascist state where the government can do harm to keep the people down.