Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lindsey is Listening


When I was doing my business this morning and reading the latest news on my (now obsolete) Gallaxy S3, I discovered an article titled More People Have Cell Phones Than Toilets, U.N. Study Shows.

Out of the world’s estimated 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to mobile phones. Far fewer — only 4.5 billion people — have access to working toilets. Of the 2.5 billion who don’t have proper sanitation, 1.1 billion defecate in the open, according to the study.  U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said in a statement that this is a global crisis that people “don’t like to talk about.” He said the U.N. is trying to cut in half the number of people without access to clean toilets by 2015 and eliminate by 2025 the practice of open defecation, which is linked to many diseases.

I searched my phone for the “flush” app but instead got a Breaking News flash; my cell service provider, Verizon, has been giving out my telephone number to the NSA for seven years (along with its other 121 million customers info as well).  

I thought about calling my 100 best friends with Verizon phones and taking a survey. The first five said they were considering opting out of their contracts. I said "read the fine print. The Verizon Standard Contract says:

We may disclose information that individually identifies our customers or identifies customer devices in certain circumstances, such as:

·        to comply with valid legal process including subpoenas, court orders or search warrants, and as otherwise authorized by law;

I assumed that Verizon was not alone and that almost certainly AT&T, Sprint,  & T-Mobile  and the myriad other phone companies have been forced to surrender their customers’ info since 2006, too.  NSA must be an equal opportunity federal agency and certainly wouldn’t leave any phone company out. 

So-called "experts" say Verizon customers who are upset about the company turning over phone records to the government have little recourse." Maybe. Maybe not.

If you are "upset" enough about your privacy versus your security (or insecurity)  ... a Verizon customer or not, take a look at the DNI Statement on Activities Authorized Under Section 702 of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act posted yesterday on the NSA website.

The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.

Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.

Activities authorized by Section 702 are subject to oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Executive Branch, and Congress. They involve extensive procedures, specifically approved by the court, to ensure that only non-U.S. persons outside the U.S. are targeted, and that minimize the acquisition, retention and dissemination of incidentally acquired information about U.S. persons.

Section 702 was recently reauthorized by Congress after extensive hearings and debate.

Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable foreign intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.

The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.

The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.

James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence

Get together with the other  121 million Verizon customers, pick up your disambiguous super-duper recently de-leakproofed Galaxy S 3, 4, 5 or 6, or you I-Phone 5, 6 or 7 and call the NSA or Senators Feinstein, Graham, Chambliss and Durbin and any other member of Congress who says they think it’s okay to force any company to give the NSA or anybody else our telephone numbers without our permission. Call The White House and ask The President if he really thinks you should trust Congressional or Judicial Oversight.

Remind them that Cyber-hackers stole $45 million in the biggest bank robbery in history and ask them what they will do when the NSA is hacked?  

I get that the NSA is trying to track bad guys based on telephone call patterns, but the NSA is made up of humans … what is to prevent one or more of them from abusing the information collected (spying on spouses, etc.)?  I think everyone wants to thwart terrorist and criminal activity (except terrorists and criminals), but where does the line get drawn?  Anybody remember Soviet Russia or Ceaucescu’s Romania?

I don’t agree with the experts why say there’s little recourse.  Start calling, emailing and snail mailing the politicians who think this is a good idea.  Here’s a start:

Dianne Feinstein at 202-224-384
Lindsey Graham at 202-224-5972
Saxby Chambliss at 202-224-3521
Dick Durbin at 202-22402152
Jim Clapper at The NSA, 301-688-6524

Leave your name and telephone number, in case they don't already have it and tell them you are upset and would like to talk with them. 


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