Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Friday, May 12, 2006


This is coolbert:

This latest "spy scandal" concerning the National Security Agency [NSA] seems to be a big nothing.

NSA has PURCHASED from various telephone companies the phone records for a period of years. Tens of millions of records have been bought.

Presumably these records are going to be used as part of a data mining project.

Such as the alluded to in the Able Danger program from 2001. Search a vast data bank using sophisticated algorithms to find "connections" and "dots". The much ballyhooed "connect the dots" type of thing.

To uncover possible terrorists in ADVANCE, allowing them to be STOPPED.

Person is calling into a radio talk show this morning. Man says that he graduated from law school in 2002. The very subject of phone records WAS covered in law school class.

It seems that the subject of telephone records is settled case law.

YOU as the user of a telephone are NOT entitled to considerations of privacy regarding your telephone records.

Telephone records are deemed as 3rd party property.

YOU, the initiator of the phone call, is the 1st party. The recipient of the phone call [the person at the other end], is the 2nd party, and the phone company, keeping records of the phone call, is the 3rd party.

We are talking here about phone records only. Just a record of what number called what number, and when. NOT the actual conversation itself.

To record the actual conversations WOULD require a warrant. BUT NOT THE RECORDS. NO WARRANT IS REQUIRED. Police make such telephone record checks on a daily basis in the process of routine criminal investigations.


Several Senators, Leahy and Durbin have gone ballistic over this "unwarranted intrusion" into the privacy of the average person. They are lawyers. Surely they know this is settled case law??

I think the objection is that data mining MAY result in unwarranted conclusions regarding an innocent person. A person not involved in terrorism.

And I also think that the perspective as to the actual danger that Al Qaeda and affiliates pose is also at question here.

If you feel that there IS a grave threat, then this sort of data mining is warranted.

If you feel that there IS NOT a grave threat, then this sort of data mining is unwarranted.

Perception is what counts.

MY own perspective. Al Qaeda and affiliates are a mortal danger period. More or less whatever is done to stymie their evil machinations is within bonds. Persons that want to detonate atomic bombs, radiological weapons, and release smallpox in American cities are malevolently evil and must be stopped beforehand. Data mining is a useful tool to this end.



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