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On tracking terrorists and other unwanted individuals

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by Obamanation, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. #1
    I normally don't post a link without quoting some large portion of the content contained at the link, but this article is simply too good to sully by clipping in only a small part of it. If you are a math fan, a big data fan, or simply a fan of articles written tongue in cheek that leave you thinking, you will love this.

    http://kieranhealy.org/blog/archives/2013/06/09/using-metadata-to-find-paul-revere/
    Obamanation, Jun 11, 2013 IP
    ryan_uk likes this.
  2. robjones

    robjones Notable Member

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    #2
    Damn, and I get beat up for my blog posts being too long and complicated. :p
    robjones, Jun 11, 2013 IP
  3. Obamanation

    Obamanation Well-Known Member

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    #3
    Yah, its a little long and geeky, but still stunning how little raw data was required to root out the traitor Paul Revere. Just imagine how many enemies of the state could be gleaned by applying a few additional axes like party affiliation, group donated to from your tax forms, articles you've facebook "liked", links you've forwarded in your GMAIL, sites you've Tweeted or Texted.

    The NSA could be far more effective than the Stasi ever was.
    Obamanation, Jun 11, 2013 IP
  4. Bushranger

    Bushranger Well-Known Member

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    #4
    So what's your take on the leaker? Same as Bohner? (I heard him earlier)
    Bushranger, Jun 11, 2013 IP
  5. Obamanation

    Obamanation Well-Known Member

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    #5
    Nope. There is a huge difference between Snowden and Manning. Manning's information releases, while probably done on principle, had no revelations, uncovered no crimes, and put the lives of people in danger.

    Snowden's revelations, on the other hand showed several very concerning things:

    1) They showed James Clapper lied to congress when he testified that no such programs exist:


    2) The existence of such programs is, in my opinion, a direct violation of the fourth amendment which makes such programs illegal per our own governing documents(the constitution), yet our government is actively engaged in and justifying such programs via rulings from the FISA court which are also likely illegal.

    3) In consideration of other nefarious scandals surrounding the Obama administration at the current time, including the IRS using confidential data it collected to target organizations based on their political beliefs and the allegations of treason against journalists for doing their job, the possible uses and abuses of the data collected by the NSA program become more than scary. They become possible if not likely.

    At a minimum our laws need to change. People should be fired. Some people may need to go to jail, but Mr. Snowden is not one of them.

    He can easily be prosecuted for treason as the law stands right now, unless his revelations create enough political will to get the government to classify him as a whistle blower. Considering the three points above, I hope that happens.
    Obamanation, Jun 11, 2013 IP
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  6. Bushranger

    Bushranger Well-Known Member

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    #6
    I disagree. Just because nobody was charged, Manning's revelations made us aware of many coverups and crimes. Maybe because you weren't being affected personally by Mannings revelations?

    Both are just as bad, or just as good, imho.

    However, good to see you're waking up. :)

    Ftr: I believe throwing money at these organisations without setting limits has caused the problem in the first place. Everybody was trying to do the best possible job over-riding the moral cause of it all. Nobody stopped them from being dilligent.

    Your military has a very similar problem imho. Too much money and a vehicle without brakes.
    Bushranger, Jun 12, 2013 IP
  7. Obamanation

    Obamanation Well-Known Member

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    #7
    @Bush: I'm not sure if you saw, but yesterday Snowden revealed the US was actively engaged in hacking campaigns against China. To me, that is treason. I have never doubted the US was hacking China, any more than I've doubted that China is hacking us. I have no doubt Russia has spies within our borders and we have spies within theirs.

    These are the normal games state organizations feel they must play to protect their people and remain competitive. Revealing secrets surrounding such activities benefits nobody but those from competing states, and therefore qualifies as treason. Bradley Manning's disclosures fell into this category.

    Snowden's earlier release of information showing the US was spying on it's own citizens is, on the other hand, whistle blowing. I hope you can recognize the difference.
    Obamanation, Jun 13, 2013 IP
  8. Bushranger

    Bushranger Well-Known Member

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    #8
    You're saying national secrets are okay to let out. International secrets are not. He's now crossed the line?
    AFAIK the spying is worldwide, not just China. You're okay with them spying on me but not on you? You'd prefer I didn't know about them tracking me but you should know if they're tracking you?

    You don't think it's just as cheeky to listen to me as it is you?

    FTR: I don't actually care who listens in as long as they don't steal my ideas.
    Bushranger, Jun 13, 2013 IP
  9. r3dt@rget

    r3dt@rget Well-Known Member

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    #9
    I agree with onation on most things, this is not one of them. Bill o'Reilly had a national security attorney on as a guest tonight and he made a very valid point about this whole situation. If an individual with security clearance doesn't like what he finds, there are routes to take and procedures to be done. Spilling your guts to the media is the last resort, only to be used if all the other routes are exhausted. The attorney represents guys like Snowden.

    What Snowden did was absolutely illegal and he should go to jail for it. He is no hero, and what he uncovered is not illegal. Obama and many other higher ups have defended the program, asserting that the depth of the records is not surveillance, rather data mining. They take huge amounts of records from these phone companies and use computer software to sift through them trying to locate patterns or match up key numbers and connections that they might be looking for. Your individual name/number is not being picked apart and spied on.

    Lets say Muhammad is a terrorist. The NSA gets his cell phone number and wants to find out who he is working with, who he is contacting, etc. Using their large records database of caller metadata, the NSA can let their software find out if any numbers in the US have been calling him. They could potentially trace a line to a terrorist inside the US that is planning on making an attack somewhere. That is why the NRA is doing this. They don't care about your conversation with grandma.

    The NSA having your phone records is the last thing people should be worried about. Smartphones are a governments best friend. Modern phones all have GPS and the apps they use like Google, Facebook, etc. all have location data. The government knows how often you leave home to visit your buddy across town, who your friends are, maybe even if you are speeding while driving to work. Our lives have become completely recorded. Does anyone really believe the government is not looking at this data as well?
    r3dt@rget, Jun 13, 2013 IP
  10. thesickearth

    thesickearth Active Member

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    #10
    Really, is he? If that is the case how he managed to have a cellphone? He got probation? You do realize that only the court of law, and not some cheeky bastard with sunglasses, can declare a man to be a criminal, right?
    thesickearth, Jun 13, 2013 IP
  11. r3dt@rget

    r3dt@rget Well-Known Member

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    #11
    I'll consider my point missed. Muhammad is some theoretical dude over in Iraq screaming jihad and the CIA is following him trying to figure out what he is doing. The CIA gets a phone number and then searches for connections to that number or name or location or some other pattern in the database the NSA keeps. Now software can tell the NSA who Muhammad has been talking to over in the US. Now they have reason enough to get a search warrant and further investigate.
    r3dt@rget, Jun 13, 2013 IP
  12. gworld

    gworld Notable Member

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    #12

    What government does by killing Americans without a trial, is not unjudisial execuation, they are simply stopping them from breathing. :rolleyes:
    gworld, Jun 13, 2013 IP
  13. r3dt@rget

    r3dt@rget Well-Known Member

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    #13
    There is a big difference between collecting metadata from phone companies and a federal agent listening to your phonecalls. You've got a pretty simple choice, just like with Google's location services. If you don't want big brother watching, don't use the services.

    I say all of this because we have already gotten to this point and there is no turning back. Without the patriot act this would be a much bigger deal. Do I believe it is ok for the government to get phone records of millions of people? No. But under the current law it is legal. Americans voted the people in that allowed this whole situation to happen. It's a little to late to whine about it now.
    r3dt@rget, Jun 14, 2013 IP
  14. robjones

    robjones Notable Member

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    #14
    The focus on whether Snowden is a hero or a dog is a waste-o-time rabbit trail. The more important point is that Director Clapper, with a full day's notice to decide how to answer the question, chose to lie thru his teeth to congress, under oath, claiming they do not collect data of ANY KIND on millions of citizens.

    If it wasnt a problem, he wouldnt have lied.

    I honestly dont care if people think snowden is good or bad. He may be flawed in many ways, he may have broken the law, but we wouldnt be having the conversation without his actions, so for that part I'm grateful. I'm a lot more concerned why the government is lying about their attempt to shred the 4th amendment than I am the character of the messenger.
    robjones, Jun 14, 2013 IP
  15. earlpearl

    earlpearl Well-Known Member

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    #15
    This revelation is the result of the patriot act put into law by the US Congress in October 2001 and signed by then President Bush who strongly supported the legislation. The Patriot Act and portions of it were extended by President Obama during his term.

    The obvious reason for the law was the 9/11 attacks closely followed by attacks by mail of letters poisoned with anthrax on government officials. The law was developed quickly and overwhelmingly supported by then members of Congress. Most of the small minority that were against this legislation at the time were democrats. Ron Paul was unique among the GOP being against the patriot act in 2001, against its extension in 2005 and thereafter.

    In my mind with these laws and extensive programs of surveillance being used in so many ways and targeting so many folks both domestically and foreign the test of its measures of effectiveness versus its potential for violating the rights of American citizens simply can be found in the 11+ year history of its application.

    How many Americans have been jailed, detained, arrested on suspicious behavior, inappropriately hounded and accosted because of this law and its application during the almost 12 full years of its life?

    As far as I can tell very few. What are the cases? How were they resolved? Whose lives were destroyed or ruined because of false accusations?

    Again, as far as I can see not a lot or of significance over the almost 12 full years of its application.

    The actual application of more intrusive wiretapping and snooping on individuals is legally only available through court orders. meanwhile the mass aggregation of data is used for security reasons.

    If there were extraordinary examples of abuse in these last almost 12 years I'm sure we would have seen them again and again. I simply don't recall them.

    In its application over the last almost 12 full years I'm simply not aware of the violations and abuses at a great level.

    Alternatively during World War II the US rounded up the entire population of Japanese and US born children of Japanese and essentially imprisoned the entire population moving them to remote camps far from any population bases. Alternatively during WWII there were no similar actions taken against the entire US population of Germanic heritage.

    Since the enactment of the Patriot Act there have been no actions on a mass scale similar to what occurred in WWII to people of Japanese ancestry, or outrageous and patently false actions taken against people on an individual basis.

    I'm simply not overly concerned about these revelations at this time as the exercise of these laws has been to balance security and prevention of attacks similar to 9/11 against personal rights.

    To date I have not seen people's rights outrageously abused in the almost 12 long years of the life of the Patriot Act.
    earlpearl, Jun 14, 2013 IP
  16. Obamanation

    Obamanation Well-Known Member

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    #16
    Jesus Earl, are you sure you don't have any practice lying to congress, because your post sounds a lot like the congressional testimony given by people like Eric Holder, Lois Lerner, and James Clapper. With all the provisos and disclaimers, one has to wonder if you are confident of anything. Is the Earth round? Is the sky blue?

    Lets try honesty for a moment.

    The fourth amendment protects people from illegal search and seizure. These warrants that cover every last American who uses some means of electronic communication, with no probable cause or suspicion of criminal activity are direct violations of the 4th Amendment, no matter what secret government court issued the warrant (without adverse representation, which makes the court itself illegal). You don't need a law degree to see the obvious truth of that.

    You used the internment of the Japanese as a comparison to show that these programs don't compare, specifically using the words "actions on a mass scale". I'm sorry, but the Germans didn't bomb Pear Harbor. Targeting Japanese may not have been right, but at least FDR didn't round up all the Irish, Italians, and English, as Obama's justice department is doing with this course of action. In many ways, this violation of our constitutional rights is MUCH larger than anything done in WWII.

    Regarding what you "know" or "have heard of", prior to Edward Snowden, nobody outside of those in government knew or had heard of the government hacking the emails, tweets, posts, and phone call meta data of every last American. Now we have, and it REALLY begs the question of what else is there to know.

    Prior to Snowden, the people who proposed that such activities might be going on were referred to as "black helicopter conspiracy theorists". I hate to break it to you, but the world just got turned upside down in America. The credibility the government had on such issues just evaporated, which casts an unbelievable shadow of doubt on practically everything else they have to say on the matter. You can't put the toothpaste back in a tube, any more than you can un-kill someone.

    You may not be aware of any abuses by the government because you weren't applying for 501(c)4 status in the years 2010,2011, or 2012, but there were MANY people you were "not aware of" complaining that they were being harassed and that they were being subject to unethical treatment, unprecedented scrutiny, and unreasonable demands by the IRS(Seriously, "Name everyone who has attended one of your metings"? REALLY?)

    Up until the IRS flatly admitted to the activity, everyone ignored those people as well, telling them they were imagining it, or calling them conspiracy theorists. Just close your eyes and you won't have to witness any abuse whatsoever by our omniscient and benevolent government. I nominate your bedroom as the first to have a government camera installed.

    @Target: Yes, what Snowden did was illegal, but it needed doing, which qualifies him for whistleblower protection. Why? Because there are millions of people with Top Secret clearance in this country, operating by the rules. I find it hard to believe not a single one of them has tried to push this up the chain of command without being intimidated or perhaps dying in a car accident. Nobody was going to break this story via the chain of command. James Clapper was asked under oath and he directly lied to congress about it's existence. Besides, as Rob says, discussion of Snowden's criminality are nothing but distractions. The real issue is the information we are all now aware of.

    Regarding the Patriot act making this "legal", nothing could be farther from the truth. Whether a court order is required or not for a wire tap, law enforcement offices still needed probable cause. That requirement was not changed by the Patriot act. As the IRS investigation of Joe the Plumber proved, any jackass in government can go on any fishing expedition for any reason they want. It doesn't make it legal.

    Oh, and nobody since the invention of the Telephone has ever said, "If you don't want the government listening to your calls, don't make them", so I don't get how the argument can possibly be made, "If you don't want the government reading your email, don't write them". It can't. It won't.

    Its anecdotal, and I can't tell you exactly how I know, but let me assure you with a high degree of certainty, the Snowden NSA disclosure is the tip of the iceberg. Domestic spying operations include much more than meta data. They include recorded conversations of practically every phone call made on a public cellular network, and quite a bit more. Its too much data to parse in real time, or at least it used to be, but it is there, waiting for a need. If you ever find life to be boring and uneventful, you should get a few of your friends together and make phone calls to each other making frequent use of the words "bomb", "government", and "weapon".
    Obamanation, Jun 14, 2013 IP
  17. gworld

    gworld Notable Member

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    #17
    Are you really that naive? It is not a question of simply opting out of Google location service or not having a smart phone. Every mobile phone can be triangled with 3 towers that it connects to any moment independent if you have a GPS in your phone or not. All your locations and all your phone calls are taped on the servers of the phone company and phone companies are forced to keep them for at least 2 years.
    Hoover had all the presidents and politicians scared for a long time by simply using FBI to manually collect information and make a file for each of them. There is no one who doesn´t have a secret in life and with a type of information that is collected, the future politicians and government officials will be in the hand of those who control the information collected. The danger of such activities is not only to individual freedom and rights but to the whole society and democracy.
    gworld, Jun 14, 2013 IP
  18. Obamanation

    Obamanation Well-Known Member

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    #18

    "I can't think of a single example of government abuse of power." - EarlPearl
    Obamanation, Jun 14, 2013 IP
  19. earlpearl

    earlpearl Well-Known Member

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    #19
    O-nation: I put out that I'm not that bothered by this leak, whether found to be illegal or not. I don't care how it is adjudicated. A guy in the middle of it spilled the beans. Let the legal guys figure out if its illegal or not.

    You wrote a very long response. You quoted me saying I was not aware of any specific abuses with regard to the Patriot Act, wherein Americans were harassed, arrested, etc.

    And you couldn't quote a single example.

    ....and in such a long winded endlessly verbose post, no less. Guess there aren't any.

    BTW: all that other stuff you pontificated about have nothing at all to do with the Patriot Act and this potential surveillance...that may be deep targeting individuals if such a request by law officials was approved by a judge (as far as we know). I guess you don't have examples either.

    ...and after 12 years O-nation. what the H is the matter with you? can't you turn up real examples?

    The IRS thing is completely different. To date Congress, (what an incompetent, do nothing of substance joke they are) has been holding secret hearings on the issue and won't publicly reveal their findings. The GOP guys are claiming crimes galore. The dems are providing testimony stating that this program came totally out of the single office in Ohio and was bureaucratically inspired; possibly by managers that are self proclaimed members of the GOP. Why won't Congress hold public hearings. What the H did we elect them to do...blow hot air and do nothing. If they can't hold hearings on this issue that are public they are nothing less than a worthless body of partisan politicians who couldn't give a rats @ss about the well being of Americans.

    O-Nation: I know you want to spread hatred at the existing government regardless of any impact on US citizens and the health and well being of the population...but if you can't give examples...and can just blow hot air...

    well that pretty much describes worthless provocateurs...of which there are plenty in Fundamental Islam.
    looks like you fit right in.
    earlpearl, Jun 14, 2013 IP
  20. r3dt@rget

    r3dt@rget Well-Known Member

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    #20
    Not true at all. Those Ohio IRS officials are mad as hell because all this has been blamed on them. They have already told investigators that Washington worked with them on tea party targeting.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324069104578527713122409302.html
    r3dt@rget, Jun 14, 2013 IP