Why Won't NSA Defenders Publish Their Phone Records?

from the no-expectation-of-privacy dept

As various defenders of the NSA program keep insisting that there's nothing wrong with the data they're collecting because it's "just metadata," and "the Supreme Court has said there's no expectation of privacy in such metadata," it seems curious that none of those defenders seems willing to release their own such metadata. Former NSA and CIA boss, Michael Hayden (who led the warrantless wiretapping program) has written yet another less than honest op-ed piece for CNN arguing that the data collected is "like what is on an envelope." Of course, that's not even remotely true. Your phone (and email) metadata reveal a lot more info than what's on the outside of a mail envelope, in part because the usage is quite different. People make a lot more phone calls and send a lot more emails than postal mail -- and those calls and emails tend to be a lot more specific about their friends, lovers, family, interests and whatnot than any postal mail. Furthermore, the issue isn't just "one" envelope, but the fact that when you "collect it all," you can paint quite a picture of someone's life, including all sorts of private things.

Then you get people like Rep. Mike Rogers misleadingly claiming that the Supreme Court has said there's "no expectation of privacy in phone records." This is the same thing that former Bush speechwriter (and defender of jailing journalists and blatant censorship) Marc Thiessen argued on Twitter.

In response, we've got a simple question: if there's no expectation of privacy in metadata, and it's just like what's on the outside of envelope, when will Michael Hayden, Mike Rogers, Marc Thiessen and other defenders of the NSA program (James Clapper? Keith Alexander?) share their phone records for us to look through?

It's a simple request. Clearly they have no privacy interest (the Supreme Court said so!), so I don't see why they should refuse such a request. After all, it's "just metadata." And, yet, after asking both Thiessen and Rogers, neither seems inclined to share their phone records. It's almost like it's something that they (*gasp*!) might want to keep private.

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  1. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 26 Jul 2013 @ 9:37am

    Re: Ok, envelopes it is

    Oh and caller-id spoofing is technically illegal isn't it?


    No, it's not, depending on how you use it.

    But the thing about caller ID is that there really two different caller ID systems, the one that consumers use and the real one (ANI) that the phone company uses to identify numbers for billing purposes, for calling 911, etc. The former is not considered mission critical for anybody and can be spoofed. The latter cannot.

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