Breaking down PRISM and the wiretapping controversy

So originally, this was going to be something like “Everything you wanted to know about PRISM but were afraid to ask” but I’m feeling the snark building up and the polite/nice me is done for the night… I blame stupid comments (especially on social media) so let’s get it started!

A quick note: this was done while drinking two beers and in 30 min (the amount of time I gave myself to vent) — I did not proof read (I should go to sleep) so please take the following ~900 words with a grain of salt, thanks RF&B

The Washington Post article and the Gaurdian

I ain’t clicking on some link — what is Prism?

Seriously? Fine, quoting from CNET’s FAQ: “It’s a covert cybersecurity program started in 2007 by the NSA and the FBI to monitor the Internet data of “foreigners” using major U.S. Web sites. The secret program was first reported by The Washington Post, which received a leaked top-secret document detailing PRISM. It has now been acknowledged by the Obama administration.”

So it’s only foreigners and not real amuricans… I’m fine with that

Good god, it’s if they can make a case that one of you isn’t American, but this is a thin thing and almost every person with a brain is thinking that this is used for domestic spying.

Ah, I know this… it’s the NSA with Verizon — don’t worry I have AT&T

You think that it’s only Verizon that is giving info? Bull. Every company is doing it and no this is mainly about the Internet… not phones

Is this legal?

Very good question! Probably, but not definitely. This is in a legal gray area, I don’t believe anyone can truly say if this is legal or not and it will probably (eventually) be brought to the Supreme Court. The Atlantic has a good piece on this.

I have nothing to hide why should I be worried?

First, I’m betting you have something you want to hide from someone… but maybe you aren’t thinking about the government. What if the government starts prosecuting drugs crimes, prostitution, illegal downloading and streaming of music/tv shows/movies — maybe even jaywalking. If you have not done ANY of these things and nothing wrong… you should probably live a little.

OK, I’ve done bad things… but the government won’t be worried about that stuff — they will only pay attention to terrorism

Do you believe that will last? Once they can prevent all the things they will go and do it.

How does this work?

CNET: “The attorney general issues a secret order to a tech company to hand over access to its servers to the FBI. The FBI then hands it over to the NSA.” So there is basically no oversight.

Government spying on us… are people surprised by this? Did they read the Patriot Act?

I don’t think many people are surprised by this (although some are… I’d assume likely due to partisan politics [Obama would never do what Bush did]). Most are just happy that we have some facts, you sound crazy making accusations without facts (even if you are right).

So what does Barack Obama have to say about this?

From the Gaurdian: “When I came into this office, I made two commitments that are more important than any other, Number one, to keep the American people safe. And number two, to uphold the constitution and constitutional rights to privacy and to civil liberties. These programs are secret in the sense that they’re classified. But they’re not secret in the sense that—when it comes to telephone calls, every member of Congress has been briefed.”

Some points on this:
• Congress being briefed doesn’t mean they have any say
• As a President, Obama has been awful on civil liberties at least as bad as Bush

Obama: “In the abstract you can complain about Big Brother and how this is a program run amok, but when you actually look at the details, I think we’ve struck the right balance … The program does not allow the government to listen in on anyone’s phone calls”

The second part might come back to haunt him… it may not be this program but still.

Also: if Obama is just asking us to trust him, the NSA and Congress… that’s stupid. The public’s trust of government is very low.

So is how much is Obama like Bush?

Read this piece, yeah they are very similar.


(Note: this is actually a comment I saw on my facebook page)

First: WE can’t impeach him. The house need to bring the articles and then the Senate is the jury. Convince the politicians to do it

Second: You think Biden is going to stop this… Puh-lease

Third: What makes you think it will be successful?

Wait, so Bush and Obama agree on something? Everyone must be in favor of it

Just because the two major parties might agree doesn’t mean every person agrees with it. It’s why we need more than two parties and means that this isn’t going to change soon.

Is this part of Obama’s second term curses?

I don’t believe in curses, but it isn’t like much like the other scandals in that Congress isn’t jumping on this issue — I’m betting that a large portion of the Congress are in favor of PRISM.

So does anybody care?

Some people, by no means everyone. Most people are willing to give up liberty for security (although the argument can be made that they deserve and will get neither). People seem to like wiretapping

Have these programs helped catch terrorists?

I honestly don’t know the answer to that. Probably but how many potential terrorists is it worth? I can’t answer that.


~ by realfactsandbeer on June 8, 2013.

2 Responses to “Breaking down PRISM and the wiretapping controversy”

  1. I think the big thing here is facts and guidelines. What they are doing could be very helpful to spot patterns and “chatter” as it is called. The secret part is worrisome but as long as our “elected” representatives agree that there are rules and guidelines. If people aren’t ok with that, then maybe they should look more into who they elect and what their actual positions are

  2. One of the major problems in my mind is that the two major parties agree with that and refuse to debate and discuss this in an election. If a major funded political party were to use this then I would agree with you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: