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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Griper Blade: Maybe We Aren't so Supportive of the Surveillance State

If the recent Pew poll on the NSA's PRISM program showed a disappointing support for an unprecedented level of domestic surveillance, a new CBS News poll offers cheering disagreement with it. Where the Pew survey found 53% found tracking phone data to investigate terrorism "acceptable," CBS's numbers are much more what you'd hope for from Americans.

In the wake of the recent disclosure of two classified U.S. surveillance programs, most Americans disapprove of the government collecting the phone numbers of ordinary Americans, but approve of its monitoring those suspected of terrorist activity, according to a new CBS News poll.

Seventy-five percent of Americans approve of federal agencies collecting the phone records of people the government suspects of terrorist activity, but a 58 percent majority disapproves of this type of data collection in the case of ordinary Americans.

Majorities of Republicans and independents oppose the government collecting phone records of ordinary Americans; Democrats are divided.
To too many of my fellow liberals, I say pull your heads out of your butts. The concern isn't over who is weilding the power, but that the power exists. If you trust the Obama administration to use this data wisely, that's one thing. But would you have the same trust in overly ambitious liars and cutthroat demagogues like you might find in a Ted Cruz administration or a Scott Walker administration? The potential for abuse is so great and so simple that this program simply should not exist. There's nothing but a thin shred of law -- and no oversight, you don't actually have to prove anything to the court -- that would stop a president from using his data-collection powers to blackmail political enemies or read the emails of of his election opponents' campaign teams.

Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the World Wide Web, put it well; "It's the sort of power that if you give it to a corrupt government, you give them the ability to stay in power forever."

So get your hypocrisy under control, recognize that this is about the program, not the executive, and get your ass back over on the right side of history...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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