Thursday, August 23, 2007

You ARE being watched

Despite the ominous scope of a program targeting the daily routines of everyday Americans, President Bush has assured the nation that the government is not “mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans.”

In May 2006, former NSA analyst Ira Winkler wrote a heated rebuttal to Bush’s assurances in Computer World:

They claim that the NSA is not receiving any personally identifying information. Frankly, you have to be a complete moron to believe that. ... By simply tying numbers together—and intelligence discipline of traffic analysis—I assure you I can put together a portrait of your life. I’ll know your friends, your hobbies, where your children go to school, if you’re having an affair, whether you plan to take a trip and even when you’re awake or asleep. Give me a list of whom you’re calling and I can tell most of the critical things I need to know about you.

When you start to understand the scope of the program, you realize why the Bush administration balked at the notion of obtaining a warrant for each individual whose information it intended to search. In order for data mining to be a thorough program, for the NSA to, as Hayden put it, “live on the network,” the government needs to have blanket access to telecommunication companies across the country.

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