Intel Official: Say Goodbye to Privacy
Nov 11, 2007 11:39 AM (ET)
By PAMELA HESS
WASHINGTON (AP) - A top intelligence official says it is time people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.
Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguards people's private communications and financial information.
Kerr's comments come as Congress is taking a second look at the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act.
Lawmakers hastily changed the 1978 law last summer to allow the government to eavesdrop inside the United States without court permission, so long as one end of the conversation was reasonably believed to be located outside the U.S.
The original law required a court order for any surveillance conducted on U.S. soil, to protect Americans' privacy. The White House argued that the law was obstructing intelligence gathering.
The most contentious issue in the new legislation is whether to shield telecommunications companies from civil lawsuits for allegedly giving the government access to people's private e-mails and phone calls without a court order between 2001 and 2007.
Some lawmakers, including members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appear reluctant to grant immunity. Suits might be the only way to determine how far the government has burrowed into people's privacy without court permission.
The committee is expected to decide this week whether its version of the bill will protect telecommunications companies.
The central witness in a California lawsuit against AT&T says the government is vacuuming up billions of e-mails and phone calls as they pass through an AT&T switching station in San Francisco.
Mark Klein, a retired AT&T technician, helped connect a device in 2003 that he says diverted and copied onto a government supercomputer every call, e-mail, and Internet site access on AT&T lines.
I survive silly students, with a few days off. I can even manage poor driving skills demonstrated daily on the roadways and freeways in Los Angeles. What I find distressing is the above.
How much distress I have - a lot. Anger toward politicians, democrats, republicans, leaders, followers, intelligence, courts, the far left, left, moderates, academics, and not so academic. It didn't need to happen, but it has. It wasn't Bush alone, that drivel is for the left-wing nut bags who have the brains of a turtle, it was much more and it never needed to happen. For that I am most especially distressed with the ACLU and courts - heaven forbid we pick on someone, lest we pick on everyone equally. Well, that's where we are and we won't be moving back to a privacy based society. I am distressed at Republicans for allowing it, at conservatives for foolishly and wrongly telling their audiences that there has never really been any change and we haven't lost any freedoms.
I am very distressed by the willingness of the masses - Hillary, Kerry, Edwards, Obama, Boxer, and the entire left wing, Soros, Move-On.org who feign passion for privacy and have put us smack dab in the middle of this bloody mess with foolish commentators telling us nothing has changed and not to be paranoid.
Imagine your little brother or sister, literally little as well as figuratively, comes running in to your room and says 'my little friend is bothering me, he's coming to beat me up' and you tell him that his little friend is small enough he can take care of by himself. he begs you to help and finally you relent and pull yourself up and walk outside while talking to your sibling (looking down) and asking him where his little friend is. He opens the door and replies 'in front of you' as you look up and see a 7 ft 425 lb giant in front of you with a fist coming at your chest.
In that one moment you realize you are screwed, out of luck, way over your head, and in deep trouble - then it hits you and you're unconscious. By the time you opened the door it was too late. Your realization was much too late.
The door is opened and only fools still tell us nothing has changed and not to worry.