Privacy and the NSA – Independent Thought is Needed!

September 7, 2015|Posted in: Constitution, National Defense, Uncategorized

Christopher Soghoian: A Brief History of Phone Wiretapping — and How to Avoid It


America Has the Intelligence Gathering/Privacy Debate Wrong

Should the United States government collect/monitor our data to protect us from threats foreign and domestic?  Should we adhere to strict privacy for individuals and observe the 4th amendment?  The error of the first question lies in the assumption being presented by party politicians.  More on this later….

An Example of the ‘Fight’ between both sides of the debate

The best example of this poorly defined debate was on stage in Cleveland when Governor Chris Christie and Senator Rand Paul had an intense argument over this issue.  The reality is they both have fair points to support their views.  Watch the debate if you are unfamiliar with the “Main Stream” arguments.

Governor Christie vs. Senator Paul

The Pro NSA Republicans Never Articulate a Constitutional Argument

Governor Christie, like many Republicans who are pro NSA, offer decent points but orate a negligible Constitutional argument.  NSA proponents frame a logical argument that phone data must be monitored to protect us from terrorists.  NSA proponents continue to fail at arguing a Constitutional standard Senator Paul can strongly articulate.

What pro NSA Republicans should articulate on a CONSTITUTIONAL basis is, “We need the NSA to do our Constitutional Role of Insuring the Domestic Tranquility and Providing the Common Defense.”

How we Insure the Domestic Tranquility, Provide the Common Defense, and Observe the 4th Amendment should be a robust American debate.  All 3 are important elements to our founding documents.  We should settle the issue with a transparent law to the American people based on an accurate understanding of the situationUnderstanding has not yet happened (Read On).

Furthermore, we should consider a Constitutional amendment on the issue to make sure our laws do not conflict with the Constitution.   Clarity, consistency, and dependability of our founding document is very important.

My Revelations from Continued Exploration

I’ve continued to explore the merits of both arguments.  What I have found is the American people are very passionate (both ways) on the issue.  However, I have determined most Americans are debating the question under a false assumption.   The failed assumption is that the two competing interests are the US government monitoring our data and individual privacy of their information.  This failed assumption is based on a failed understanding of telecommunication devices and a clueless media narrative provided to the public.  This TED talk video will help you understand telecommunications infrastructure and the capabilities of all entities with current cell phone specifications.  This video helped me frame two new questions that I believe are more pertinent to the “NSA/Individual Privacy” debate.

Are you in favor of WORLD governments (Including US), terrorists, organizations or other citizens being able to gather data/spy on your calls?

Are you in favor of the government dictating the architectural standards of how companies build their communication devices?

One Expert

Christopher Soghoian is a telecommunications expert. I believe this TED talk will enlighten the ‘Average Joe’ on how telecom works and will be useful to my followers who enjoy Independent discussion to find a better answer.

He makes two strong points that I believe most Americans have not considered. 

More entities (Not just the US government) will have access to gather data on you if you diminish individual security of devices. 

Modern day technology would have to be built to a new standard dictated by government to enable easier monitoring.

Would Pro NSA individuals be for monitoring if they knew the Chinese (they seem to be more successful in 21st century data gathering) were the ones monitoring your phone?

Would Pro NSA individuals be for dictating the architecture private companies use to build their devices to enable a government to monitor phone calls?

These are questions/statements that I think change the perspective of the average American engaging the quesiton.

American representatives should not duck the question and leave this unsettled in a structured Democracy.  We are settling this issue.  Unfortunately, the issue is being settled on a false understanding of the choices.  Let’s pick the path as a nation (Congressional vote), accept the consequences, and move forward together known a vigorous debate was had and a decision was settled upon by a democratic process.  Finally, let’s continue to strive to meet all 3 Constitutional goals and realize this is a very sticky issue.

Some Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, Christopher is for individual privacy.  He makes a very strong argument for his position in a respectful manner (he acknowledges the threats).

I have yet to find the complete answer that protects privacy (4th amendment), Insures the Domestic Tranquility, and Provides the Common Defense.  This maybe an unrealistic goal on this issue.

My hope is intelligent debate based on an accurate understanding of the choices may lead to breakthroughs in achieving all 3 Constitutional goals.  I hope this blog will further the understanding of the choices at hand.

Christopher is one more expert (not party boss/not donor) I choose to listen to for the benefit of the people.  I hope you find his presentation helpful in understanding the situation at a deeper level.   Let’s have a robust and respectful debate on the topic WITH AN ACCURATE UNDERSTANDING of the choices we are making!