TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: The Balance Between National Security and Privacy?

Re: The Balance Between National Security and Privacy?
16 May 2006 08:06:23 -0700

Danny Burstein wrote:

> The very way the question was phrased is misleading, as it sets up a
> yes/no, black/white dichotomy between "National security" versus
> "privacy".

Actually, the question sets up the opposite: it's an area with many
shades of gray -- far from absolute black or white.

> Of _course_ people are going to think highly o national security.

As you could see from other postings that is not necessarily the case.

> But ... there ain't _nothing_ in the original claims that shows any
> validity to the arguments that stomping on privacy rights, oh, and
> violating the laws left and right (allegedly, to be sure, but it
> certainly looks like it) and shredding the US Constitution (same
> disclaimer) has anything whatsoever with making us safer.

"Constitutional rights" are complicated and fluid and anything but
black and white. The rights evolve over time based on Supreme Court
interpretations. The WW II forced Japanese-American relocation was
upheld by the Court. The McCarthyism-era actions were initially
upheld by the court. In the mid 1950s the court changed (with Warren)
and the interpretations and attitudes changed significantly; a lot of
McCarthyism-era cases were thrown out at that time.

I am not familiar with the specific details of current laws nor
specific details of exactly what was and was not tracked. Indeed, in
all the hubbub I don't think too many people actually understand the
legal details. Perhaps someone who is familiar with those details can
fill us in.

The separate issue is effectiveness for protection. The ACLU is suing
(so far unsuccessfully) to stop random searches of bags on NYC transit
lines, claiming the random searches won't deter an attack. Are you
saying this NSA research won't protect us?

> My third grade civics teachers would be embarrassed for anyone putting
> together a survey like this, and would cry over the lost minds of
> people using arguments in this manner.

Sorry you don't like this discussion, but I don't agree at all. The
question is perfectly reasonable and the ensuing discussion of varying
opinions is more enlightening than merely a flood of copied news

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