Tag: data-mining research program

Why you can not take them seriously

Where’s the anger from the perpetually mad leftists these days? Man, did the left howl about the Patriot Act when that was passed. Evil Boosh-Hitler and his fascist government tactics violating the rights of terrorists! Never mind that fascism is a disease of the left, and Bush while a big government lover, never rose to the level of the left and their desire to have government control all aspects of the rube’s lives, or that terrorists really are dangerous and deadly. Team Obama decides to ratchet up the scary government in what seriously amounts to a near fascist move, and we get nothing….

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. intelligence community will now be able to store information about Americans with no ties to terrorism for up to five years under new Obama administration guidelines.

Until now, the National Counterterrorism Center had to immediately destroy information about Americans that was already stored in other government databases when there were no clear ties to terrorism.

Giving the NCTC expanded record-retention authority had been called for by members of Congress who said the intelligence community did not connect strands of intelligence held by multiple agencies leading up to the failed bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas 2009.

“Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counterterrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of datasets from various agencies that contain terrorism information,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement late Thursday. “The ability to search against these datasets for up to five years on a continuing basis as these updated guidelines permit will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively.”

The new rules replace guidelines issued in 2008 and have privacy advocates concerned about the potential for data-mining information on innocent Americans.

Look, while not comfortable with it, I think some aspects of the Patriot Act where necessary because the terrorists need to be dealt with, but my support was always predicated on the premise that someone was really paying attention and the first time government abused these powers, there would be hell to pay. After all, it was obvious that the LSM so desperately wanted to help their partners in crime in the democrat party nail Bush, that even the appearance of impropriety would result in massive coverage implying the most negative possible scenario, and that would keep these powers somewhat in check.

Fast forward a few years, and not only is the Patriot Act still around, but now the LSM doesn’t quite care that much about improprieties. And when the left decides to do some seriously scary things like this, and there is no way you make the case that collecting information on citizens using the weak argument that a database you can mine might help you catch a terrorist, it results in nary a peep. Oh, privacy advocates are worried. Shit, this is the time to scream about fascist moves by government people.

“It is a vast expansion of the government’s surveillance authority,” Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said of the five-year retention period.

The government put in strong safeguards at the NCTC for the data that would be collected on U.S. citizens for intelligence purposes, Rotenberg said. These new guidelines undercut the Federal Privacy Act, he said.

“The fact that this data can be retained for five years on U.S. citizens for whom there’s no evidence of criminal conduct is very disturbing,” Rotenberg said.

“Total Information Awareness appears to be reconstructing itself,” Rotenberg said, referring to the Defense Department’s post-9/11 data-mining research program that was killed in 2003 because of privacy concerns.

The Washington Post first reported the new rules Thursday.

Tracking suspected or know terrorists and keeping data on them is one thing. If carefully scrutinized to prevent abuse, and abuse is punished, I can live with that. It’s an unfortunate consequence of the horrible times we live in and our inability or lack of desire to really do what would break the terrorist’s will to keep doing these sort of things. But collecting information on people – and we are unclear if the intent is to collect information on everyone or just certain people, but I am inclined to assume that once they can do a few, they will just do all people – is a whole other sort of game. It is frightening. Even if it is just for 5 years.

Tyrannical government starts with 2 things: the first is the attempt to disarm the populous, and the second is the collection of information about the people so you know who will give you grief and needs to be dealt with. Fast & Furious anyone? And now this. And yet, no anger from the LSM or the left. After all, Obama will just use it to sick Media Matters on conservatives or to see whom to hit up for donations in these idiot’s minds, and all that stuff is awesome.

Look, I am not saying that the right doesn’t do dumb things, but shit, and yeah, this is a hypothetical where I reverse the order of the political party holding the WH when things happen, if I was insanely angry at Obama for Passing the Patriot Act, and he was followed by Bush whom did something like this that takes it to a whole new level of scary, I would be howling at Bush too. My guy or not. Not gonna happen on the left though, because the anger was never over any fear of government abuse of power, but simply because the guy in the WH had the wrong letter next to his name.

The Obama administration said the new rules come with strong safeguards for privacy and civil liberties as well. Before the NCTC may obtain data held by another government agency, there is a high-level review to assure that the data “is likely to contain significant terrorism information,” Alexander Joel, the civil liberties protection officer at national intelligence directorate, said in a news release Thursday.

Yeah, sure. Because there isn’t any history at all of government, once it has access to a gimmick to bypass the proper process, has never abused it. The argument that we should collect data on everyone and that they will only look at it when they suspect something suddenly, with all kinds of precautions to prevent abuse, might appease some, but if you didn’t like the previous ability to collect information on suspects and actual terrorists, this expansion of power should leave you even more scared and angry. And I am not getting any of that from the usual suspects, when to me now the power and the ability to abuse definitely have crossed a threshold of tolerability.