Thursday, May 11, 2006

NSA Domestic Spying, Part Deux

Today there is a report in USA Today that claims the "National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth."

According to one of their sources, this is the "largest database ever assembled in the world." The data are being used, according to another source, to "analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity."

Let's not forget, when the hullabaloo over the NSA domestic spying program started, President Bush said it was only focused on calls going to or coming from international numbers. These new revelations appear to contradict that. This newly disclosed program does not involve actually listening in on conversations, it is only concerned with the call records themselves. The major phone companies say they have not handed over any personal customer data other than phone numbers, which is cold comfort considering the fact that the NSA would have little trouble tying a name to a phone number if they were so inclined.

When I first heard about this new spying program, I was appalled. But then I heard E.D. Hill take a minute out of her immigrant bashing to explain it all away on Fox & Friends this morning. "It's not domestic surveillance," she said, "because they're only looking for terrorist activity." And how are they doing that? Through domestic surveillance!

With all the fuss over the national anthem recently, you'd think more people would be interested in trying to maintain that whole "land of the free" thing. Alas, this is just another argument for going cellular.

It did just occur to me that the whole terrorism angle might be a smokescreen. I saw something on MSNBC last night about whether the voting system for American Idol is fair. Perhaps the NSA—in conjunction with FOX, of course—is doing a little research on the AI voting habits of the nation.

On a Tangentially Related Topic: Here's the best comment I heard about Chris' reaction to getting booted from Idol last night: "He looked like someone just told him Scott Stapp wasn't Jesus."
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