Wow, I was expecting a way bigger disaster ... you guys are doing reasonably good job on the politics side ... only deleted a few post for that. Now if you can just stay away from insulting one another, we might be able to keep this open for a little bit.
I don't have a big problem with the whole telephone meta-data thing from the other day, that's just stuff like phone numbers and call lengths without the personal info ... when you get right down to it, that's really not 'your property'. These records are actually the property of the phone company.
I find this latest news about the internet servers quite a bit more troubling. However, at this point, I've yet to see an article that actually contains 'sources'. Everything stems from Bart Gellman at WaPo, and that article is woefully short on citations of HOW he 'knows' ... what he's saying he knows.
I do know that many of the companies he's citing are coming out and saying this article is baloney, and I have to think that the smarter move at this point for these companies, if the story of this NSA/Server Backdoor thing is TRUE ... would be for them to keep their mouths shut rather than coming out and LYING to us all. At least if they said nothing, if it turns out to be true, they could all say 'well, we couldn't tell you it was true ... nat'l security and all that'.
So on those grounds, I consider Gellman's WaPo article that started this whole discussion to be pretty suspect because if it were true, it'd be unbelievably dumb for companies like Google to come out and flat DENY that this is happening ... when it really is. The backlash will be WAAAAY worse for them if everyone finds out that they've flat-out lied like that.
As it stands now, the Constitution protects us w/respect to our 'persons, property, effects, and papers', and not much else. The Founders had no concept obviously of electronic conversations. So a real problem here is ... things like our emails and chats are quite easily argued as being not really being 'our property'.
I think that what we really need is an Amendment to the Constitution that places 'cell phone, email, chat, etc' into the same legal category as the US Mail and regular land-line phone communications (which I believe were added to count as 'property' via court decision in the early 20th century).
I.E. without some sort of high-level federal law that protects our e-communications outright, we as citizens don't really have a leg to stand on, legally speaking. We really don't have 'constitutional protections' for our emails and chats and such unless and until they are actually formally recognized as being 'our personal property'.
Lastly ... there were TONS of 'US' (meaning I'm one such person) that were warning everyone that the Patriot Act would likely lead to this kind of stuff, but everyone ELSE was so a'skeert after 9/11 that they wouldn't listen, and I had tons of arguments online w/people back at the time who were defending the USAPA.
So now I'm going to say ... I told YOU so Edited by brettjv - 6/7/13 at 2:32pm