US government is collecting millions of phone records from Verizon on a daily basis, courtesy secret court order

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In some rather disturbing news, it has been revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the telephone records of millions of Americans making calls through Verizon’s phone service. The news came from The Guardian, who acquired information from a top secret court order which was issued in April of this year. The order was signed by Judge Roger Vinson of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The order requires Verizon to provide the NSA with information about all calls made via its network on an “ongoing, daily basis.” Furthermore, it pertains to any calls made in the US and between US citizens and those of other countries. Regardless of how you feel about the situation, it’s blindingly apparent that quite a few civil liberties were violated here.

The document clearly outlines the fact that under the Obama administration the related records were being collected in bulk, which means all calls are being recorded, whether they involve communication with a suspicious individual or not.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI near the end of April, which allowed them to collect data without any constraints during a three month period which ends on July 19. That means they’re still collecting the appropriate data.

If you’re wondering what information is being handed over, it includes the numbers of both parties involved in the call, their location data, the length of the call, unique identification numbers, and the time the call was made. The conversations are not recorded in any way, but still the agencies are collecting quite a bit of information without the parties involved knowing.

Several news sources approached Verizon, the NSA, the White House and the Department of Justice on the matter with no luck. It appears that Verizon is barred from discussing the information exchange or the issued court order, and it’s likely they would incur some pretty hefty legal ramifications for doing so.

The collected information is classified as “metadata,” which in turn doesn’t fall under the definition of communications. Because of that, authorities do not require warrants to access the said information. The definition of metadata was also broadened to include location data due to a 2005 court ruling in which a judge decided that cell location information was considered transactional data and not part of communications.

At this time, it is not clear whether or not Verizon is the only wireless carrier affected. It’s possible that all major networks have been issued a similar court order. Even worse, the court documents do not shed light on whether or not this practice will be ongoing or if it will end completely after the three month period.

Senior US Senator Dianne Feinstein revealed after the information was released that the court order did exist, and confirmed the three month period in which it’s being used.

US House Intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers made a statement to reporters in which he said that the information collection process is perfectly legal, and it was also approved by Congress. He claims that the Obama administration has not abused their power to collect said information. According to him, it even helped stop a “significant” attack on the US “within the past few years.” No further information was offered by the chairman other than that.

There’s a lot more to this whole situation, so if you’d like to read more, by all means visit the source link below. All in all, I find this very troubling indeed, and I know I won’t be the only one that feels that way.

Go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments below!

[via The Guardian]

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28 comments

  1. ovl

    Interesting details about “The Economist“online.

    The owner of “The Economist” online is “The Economist Newspaper Limited” (United Kingdom, 25 St. James’s Street, London).

    According to their website at http://www.economist.com/help/about-us, “The Economist Newspaper Limited” endorsed Harold Wilson (former left wing British Prime Minister) and espoused a variety of Liberal Causes: opposing capital punishment from its earliest days, as well as more recently – gun control and gay marriage in America.

    Just one (maybe controversial) detail regarding the endorsement of Harold Wilson by “The Economist” online.

    Harold Wilson was leading a British Cabinet that was made up mostly of Social Democrats. Former MI5 officer and an English scientist Peter Wright claimed in his memoirs “Spycatcher” that he had been told that Wilson was a Soviet agent. Wright’s allegation was supported by James Jesus Angleton, Deputy Director of Operations for Counter-Intelligence at the U.S. CIA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Wright).

    So “The Economist” online is a nice place to “search for Truth”.

  2. ovl

    Interesting details about “The Economist“ online.

    The owner of “The Economist” online is “The Economist Newspaper Limited” (United Kingdom, 25 St. James’s Street, London).

    According to their website at http://www.economist.com/help/about-us, “The Economist” endorsed Harold Wilson (former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) and Bill Clinton, and espoused a variety of Liberal Causes: opposing capital punishment from its earliest days, as well as more recently – Gun Control in America and Gay Marriage.

    Interesting detail about the love affair between “The Economist” and Harold Wilson.

    Harold Wilson was leading a Cabinet that was made up mostly of Social Democrats. In 1963, Soviet KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn (who provided a wide range of intelligence to the CIA on the operations of most of the ‘Lines’ as well as KGB methods of recruiting and running agents) claimed that Harold Wilson was a KGB agent. Some of the intelligence officers did not believe that, but a significant number did (most prominently James Jesus Angleton, Deputy Director of Operations for Counter-Intelligence at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency).

    So “The Economist“ online is a nice place to “search for the Truth”.

  3. JMJ

    [@WildCat] Nice read, especially as you make your points without recourse to invective and ad hominem polemics; the mark of gentlemanly intellect rather than the Googling copy-&-paste pseudo-intellectuality of those who ‘twist words to make a trap for fools’.

    However, like in a courtroom, each side of this debate can and will conjure all sorts of quotes, statistics, real or imagined historical references and facts, not necessarily in a search for Truth but, rather, simply to win the argument. Legerdemain.

    Your Ben Franklin quote reaches the gravamen of this issue and points to a way to avoid losing sight of the forest for the trees or, for the more easily distracted, the leaves.

    A wrong was being perpetrated secretly, in the dark. Someone shone a light on that wrong. Now, the wrong and the light will be scrutinized meticulously for what each is. End of story.

    Here’s an interesting article from The Economist online: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/06/edward-snowden?fsrc=nlw|newe|6-17-2013|5918266|38555572|

  4. ovl

    [@WildCat]

    You have used 760 words and 4 quotes to justify the action of Snowden – the American traitor and the possible Chinese spy. Don’t you think that this is at least inappropriate, irrational and not intelligent when at the same time your own country – The United States – has launched a criminal investigation and is taking now “all necessary steps” to prosecute Edward Snowden for exposing secret US surveillance programs?

    So I will be wordy, likewise, because I am answering your wordy posting.

    1. Let’s start from your first quotes.

    A. Edmund Burke. I see that you did not read his letter called “Reflections on The Revolution in France, 1791”. If you read it in its entirety, you would find the following warnings by Burke: “By adhering in this manner and on those principles to our forefathers, we are guided not by the superstition of antiquarians… The interest of that portion of social arrangement is a trust in the hands of all those who compose it; and as none but bad men would justify it in abuse, none But Traitors would barter it away for their own personal advantage”.

    B. George Santayana did not say ”Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” You wrongfully misquoted him.

    The citizen of Spain Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” The phrase “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” belongs to Sir Winston Churchill (House of Commons, 16 November 1948). Also, if you don’t understand the difference between” the past” and “ history lessons” – never use that phrase.

    2. You ask me the following crazy or/and silly question: “So with your thinking, the original 13 Colonies, that had sworn oaths to England, committed acts of treason, and were traitors?”

    I hope that all grown men should understand the simple conception that each historical event must not be taken out of its specific historical boundaries, otherwise it will be looking like a full nonsense which is the core of your absurd question.

    Better start thinking about our contemporary time, and, may be, if we had this NSA program in place in September 11, 2001, 3000 people will be alive now and no one will be jumping from 72nd floor in their horrific decisions. (fyi, at least 200 people jumped to their deaths that morning). But you are talking about 17th century – yep, of course that specific time frame – 4 centuries ago – will answer all of our current questions regarding the National Security.

    3. You wrote “Not enough info is out yet on Snowden for me to make a final decision as of yet… I’ll give Snowden the benefit of the doubt for now.”

    ” What? That is a juvenile joke? FBI started its investigation several days ago because they have tons of facts to prosecute the traitor Snowden. Also, the Head of National Security Agency told the Senate committee several days ago that electronic surveillance has helped thwart dozens of terrorist attack in the U.S. in 20 foreign countries. Nobody has broken the 4th Amendment. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled on these two programmes, monitors these two programmes and has assured the legality of the efforts undertaken in these two programmes.

    So, wake up the “wildcat” or “Felis Silvestris” – btw, that is a small cat found only in Africa, Europe, and Asia, but not in America.

    4. The so-called “The Tuskegee syphilis experiment” has nothing to do with the treason committed by Snowden and does not justify his crime. It’s amazing, that in order to hide your head (like strauss, not wildcat) from the real danger which our country is facing now, you are dancing around “the syphilis experiment” and “the 17th century events”.

    Better answer the following question: why Snowden – the fighter for our freedom & democracy is hiding his ass in the country which never knew what means the real Freedom & Democracy?

    5. You wrote: “Is our government the same as Nazi Germany right now? No, we have not tried to wipe out a whole race of people. But MANY of the similarities are there”.

    What “MANY” similarities?

    Do we have SS and Gestapo which grabbed people at night, tortured them to death and raped their women in front of them?
    Do we have the system of terror practices by the one ruling Nazi Party?
    Do we have the National Socialism which was fighting and killing blacks, lations, gipsy people, jews, mormons, gays, mentally sick, etc.?
    Do we have concentration/labor camps to hold millions political prisoners who were tortured, starved and killed in huge numbers?

    Who is taking away your right to bear arms if almost everyone in America has a gun/guns now? What specific law does it to you the poor “wildcat”? Who controls your freedom of speech if anybody in America can say anything about anybody and everything? If you cross some legal lines, you will pay the price, like for every stupid step in our life.

    6. You wrote to me “This is what many progressives/liberals have and are doing to our country”.

    That question should not be addressed directly to me at all, because I am not the one of them and never voted for them. You are facing the consequences of the last two elections when 52 % of the nation elected the wrong guy. And now people like you complaining and whipping about the predictable outcome of these elections? Also, this addressed to me question is telling me that you are politically amateur person.

    7. You wrote: “They are supposed to be there to protect the U.S. of and it’s citizens, and NOT their own pampered asses”.

    It’s nothing to add to that statement, and designed for that purposes the NSA program and betrayed by Snowden, who is selling now our national secrets to China in order to cover his pampered ass.

    8. Benjamin Franklin said: ”A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.” And he added: “A small leak can sink a great ship”. Remember these two Franklin’s quotes, too.

    And finally remember the following quote by Marcus Tullius Cicero (Roman statesman, lawyer, philosopher and one of Rome’s greatest orators):

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, but he is known and carries his banner openly. The traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in every hall of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”

  5. WildCat

    [@ovl] Start of here with a couple of quotes, the first by Edmund Burke, the second by George Santayana “People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.” ” Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

    “The Thirteen Colonies were the BRITISH colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America founded between 1607 (Virginia) and 1733 (Georgia). They began collaborating at the Albany Congress of 1754 to demand their rights and set up a Continental Congress that declared independence in 1776 and formed the states of the United States of America. Before independence, the thirteen were part of a larger set of colonies in BRITISH America.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteen_Colonies So with your thinking, the original 13 Colonies, that had sworn oaths to England, committed acts of treason, and were traitors? Not enough info is out yet on Snowden for me to make a final decision as of yet. But as it seems the President / Government has broken the 4th Amendment; which protects U.S. citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause, I’ll give Snowden the benefit of the doubt for now.

    The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African American men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment Yes, Clinton apologized. But why did it take 34 years for the first person, Peter Buxtun, to speak up about the ethics and morality about it. And then, why did it take another quarter of a century, after the experiment was ended in 1972, for our government to apologize for it?

    Is our government the same as Nazi Germany right now? No, we have not tried to wipe out a whole race of people. But MANY of the similarities are there. Free reign to the media by the current President, without any hard questions asked, check. ( Until he was recently caught spying on them. Now ‘some’ are waking up, paying attention, and showing a little more fang in their questions. ) http://main.makeuseoflimited.netdna-cdn.com/tech-fun/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/media.jpg?d3e62d Take away the “right of the citizens to bear arms” i.e. stronger “gun control” for law abiding people, check. Control freedom of speech and the right of citizens to the use of their own money, recent IRS scandal, check. And many others I won’t go into here at this time.

    What’s that old saying “If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of warm water and turn the heat on low, it will stay in as it’s slowly cooked to death.” This is what many progressives/liberals have and are doing to our country. Keeping the heat low so we don’t jump out. We have let them create a ‘political ruling class’. And that is NOT what they are supposed to be there for. They are supposed to be there to protect the U.S. of A. and it’s citizens, and NOT their own pampered asses. Best example I can give of this is Hilary Clinton’s own statement at the Benghazi Hearing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka0_nz53CcM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23tcB6BRa2o What she didn’t see, or care about, was the lives of American Citizens, that it was her JOB and RESPONSIBILITY to protect. THAT is what the difference is that she so blithely does not understand. “If certain minds cannot understand the difference between patriotism, the highest civic virtue, and office-seeking, the lowest civic occupation, I pity them from the bottom of my heart.” – General P.G.T. Beauregard ( To me, both Clintons and Obama are part of the latter of this quote.)

    That is why our Constitution starts out “We the People…” and why there is a 2nd Amendment. For WE the people are the FINAL “check and balance” between the citizens of this nation and our government. Or as Abraham Lincoln said: “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress & the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

    To sum this up I’ll use a quote said over 200 years ago. One that should be, with ALL of the President’s/Government’s recent scandals, on the mind of every U.S. citizen. “Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither. Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

  6. ovl

    [@JMJ]

    If you compare your current American Government to the Third Reich Government ruled by Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and do not see any differences between these two entities – you are totally wrong and totally blind (read the documents of The Nuremberg Trial, 1945-1946).

    In 1997, President Bill Clinton formally apologized and held a ceremony for the Tuskegee study participants. It’s nothing to add to that apology.

    Is elected by you Obama going to apologize for this NSA program, too? And for Benghazi blunders, and for IRS prosecution of his political opponents?

    Regarding your last pathetical question: I will never betray my country, especially in place of Snowden – the sick, amateur and misguided individual, the man who has gone to portray his decision to reveal National Security Agency surveillance programs as an act of conscience. Even your famous democrat – Sen. Bill Nelson said re Snowden: “This is not a whistleblower. What he did is “act of treason!”

  7. JMJ

    [@ovl] I totally get what you are saying and, in principle, agree with you.

    Betraying, lying, stealing, violating oaths, breaching contracts and agreements are all reprehensible acts. It appears Snowden is guilty of each and every one of those acts. It also appears that he did the right thing. It is his, your and my duty to resist ursurpations by our Government. The Declaration of Independence says so much better than I. The Contsitution codifies that idea no more clearly than in the first ten Amendments, the Bill of Rights.

    I ask myself questions like these: If I were a German soldier at Belsen-Bergen circa 1942 – 1944 would I have remained loyal to my oaths to my Country and Leader and followed orders? If I were a U.S. Public Health Service employee circa 1932 and working on the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, would I have remained true to my oaths when I learned that human beings were being used as non-consensual guinea pigs?

    Would you?

    Government is of the people and is supposed to be for the people. Snowden was part of that Government and, when he learned that it was acting AGAINST the people, he did the right thing.

    Please tell me: In his place, what do you think would have been the right thing to do?

  8. ovl

    [@JMJ]

    “The leaker, Edward Snowden, based on my reading of articles in the New York Times, BBC Online and the Washington Post, appears be one of the Good Guys” (in capital letters)… “I doff my hat to him”.

    Whether you think Edward Snowden was justified or not, the fact is he is a traitor. He did betray his country, the United States.

    Not only did Snowden willingly and knowingly has stolen the classified information and distributed that information to the unauthorized persons, broke the Law, broke his Vow, uncovered illegal and unconstitutional behavior, undercut intelligence relationships for the US around the world and likely put people at danger.

    He is now certainly the guest of Chinese Intelligence Services to whom he is providing more information.

    If he returns to the US, Snowden will spend, probably, a lengthy part of the rest of his life in jail. No security agreement contains a clause allowing those with a security clearance to release classified information if the government is behaving badly. Certainly there is nothing that allows anyone with a clearance to pass an actual Secret/No Forn (No Foreigners) document to the Guardian, a UK (i.e., foreign) newspaper.

    Every era, every country has traitors and turncoats, individuals who claim to be helping the greater good while they break laws and hurt their motherland/homeland.

  9. JMJ

    [@Seamus McSeamus] I don’t know; too many of us remember how Jack Ruby was *allowed/engaged* to silence Lee Harvey Oswald to allow Snowden to quietly disappear or develop an instant case of terminal cancer.

    Nope. Snowden will be returned from Hong Kong, as I doubt it, Iceland or China will grant him political asylum. Besides, it appears that he wants a full hearing and has the character and determination to handle the consequences of his actions, which consequences will not be as harsh as one would imagine: The powers-that-be will try to make it easy for him not to push this any further than it absolutely has to be at this point. I am going to go way out on a limb and hopefully predict that he is indicted, returns, stands trial and never sees the inside of a prison.

  10. Seamus McSeamus

    [@JMJ]

    If Snowden is returned home for trial, it will not be public. Too many embarrassing details are likely to come out to suit the government. More likely, he will be “disappeared” somehow long before being returned to US soil.

    It totally amazes me how many people are okay with the government having its tentacles in every aspect of their lives, all in exchange for the *perception* that they are somehow safer for it. Fight for your rights, people, or you won’t have any left.

  11. JMJ

    [@ovl] The leaker, Edward Snowden, based on my reading of articles in the New York Times, BBC Online and the Washington Post, appears be one of the Good Guys.

    He claims that he was very selective and discrete in choosing what documents to copy (steal) and to make public, always mindful of minimizing risk of harm to individuals and to his Country. If this is true, I doff my hat to him.

    I hope that he is returned to the United States for prosecution and trial. The airing out of this dirty laundry may do my Country good.

  12. ovl

    “On an optimistic note: Governments are made up of People, some (most?) of whom, like whoever leaked info about these secret Court orders, Do The Right Thing.”

    The Guardian (British daily newspaper) has published a story that the individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

    Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

    Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg (former member of the Johnson administration who leaked secret government documents about the Vietnam War to the New York Times)
    and Bradley Manning (a United States Army soldier who was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of passing the classified material to the enemy).

    In May, Edward Snowden lied to his NSA supervisor that he needed to be away from work for “a couple of weeks” in order to receive treatment for Epilepsy, a condition he learned he suffers from after a series of seizures last year. Instead of going home to Hawaii, on May 20 he boarded a flight to China (Hong Kong), where he has remained ever since (8,000 miles away from his home).

    Chinese government is ready to question Snowden, viewing him as a useful source of information for their Intelligence agencies. So far, China refused to extradite him to the U.S.

    In 2003, Snowden enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: “I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”.

    Snowden said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva when as CIA operative he attempted to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car. When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent Snowden seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment.

    Edward Snowden views his best hope as the possibility of asylum in China or Iceland.

  13. WildCat

    [@JMJ] Thanks for sharing the info on that. I’d heard something about it but not all. Good quote BTW. Thought I’d share a few more with you all by one of my favorites: Edmund Burke
    “All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to do nothing…”
    “Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality.”
    “It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.”
    “Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government.”
    “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
    “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
    “Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”
    Another quote I’ve run across recently that I like is by Claude Frederic Bastiat. If I remember correctly, he was also one of the ‘fathers’ of the Libertarian Party(?)
    ” When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”

    If you’d care to read more quotes by either of these men then you can check out: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/17142.Edmund_Burke

    http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

  14. JMJ

    [@AFPhy6] This is a bit off-topic but what you say is exactly what happened to Dotcom and Megaupload. They were served with a ‘secret’ warrant to provide info concerning 37 files that alleged IP violators who were storing on Megaupload servers. Further, Mega was specifically ordered to do nothing to alert the targets, either directly or indirectly, including removing the subject materials. Megaupload fully complied with the order. Seven-to-ten months later, another secret warrant was obtained, this time alleging that Megaupload was in possession of IP-infringing material. This was the warrant we all have read about being executed in New Zealand by the FBI aided by local police. The materials in question? THEY WERE THE SAME 37 FILES MEGAUPLOAD ORIGINALLY HAD BEEN ORDERED NOT TO DISTURB.

    Many good and loyal Americans said nothing when, for example, in the name of national security, “enemy combatants” were (are) incarcerated and subjected to “enhanced interrogation” without any hope of due process. Not enough of us said and did enough when “They” came for “them”. How surprised really can we be that “They” are now coming for us?

    I had to look up the author but I did remember his words: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” — Wendell Phillips

  15. AFPhy6

    [@JMJ] (and all others):

    One aspect of these orders that the government is obtaining “in the name of security” that is most disturbing to me is that each of them contains phrasing dictating that if the company (or individual) ever admits the mere existence of the order it can be severely sanctioned. Thus, if I were to ask my carrier what they are tracking and what information they have handed over to the Feds they have to act completely dumb, eg., “what order?”. We citizens are not being allowed to understand the extent of the spying the government we empowered is conducting on us. Ought we accept this?

    The ramifications of this extraConstitutional structure that is rapidly growing in the deep shadows are enormously disturbing.

  16. WildCat

    Hmmm… this looks familiar. But if you think that’s ‘scary’ then check out: The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading
    U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and
    connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document
    obtained by The Washington Post.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/us-intelligence-mining-data-from-nine-us-internet-companies-in-broad-secret-program/2013/06/06/3a0c0da8-cebf-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html … or how about this… USA to legalize rootkits, spyware, ransomware and trojans to combat piracy? http://www.emsisoft.com/en/kb/articles/ticker130606/?ref=news130606&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_content=tec130606&utm_campaign=news130606 Seems like we have forgotten how to pay attention to history. Some great men warned us to pay attention. “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress & the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” ~ Abraham Lincoln “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” – Thomas Jefferson “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” ~ James Madison

  17. JonE

    [@Seamus McSeamus] I’ve stated many times that the United States is no longer, and we the citizens no longer live in a Republic. We the citizens need to be better informed and elect leaders of integrity.
    What disturbs me most about this is that we have a judicial branch named “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.” Seems to me that this is a means to bypass the judicial branches already in place. And when our government keeps these kinds of secrets from us they then turn around and say “trust us” we have your best interest at heart. This is a government we’re supposed to trust and have confidence in? Hmmm!
    And the judge who signed this controversial ruling “Roger Vinson” is listed as a judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Seems to me that this is a conflict of interest on his part.
    Oh I could go on, I just don’t have the time. No matter how you look at it this is disturbing and leaves considerable doubt about the trustworthiness of our leadership, both legislative, judicial, and administrative, and their commitment to our best interests. I’m thinking it’s their own best interest they serve.
    But, that my biased opinion.

  18. JMJ

    [@Seamus McSeamus] Indeed, where? We’ve been in long, steady decline from the lofty values espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the (original) Constitution. I’ll put back on my tinfoil hat after I say this: I believe there is and almost always has been two Americas: The one we dutifully work and vote in, defend and enjoy day-to-day and the unseen one that is run by secret elites and corporations. As he left office, Eisenhower warned us about that Secret America’s growing power. Roosevelt and Churchill positioned Communist Russia to be the bogeyman that we spent trillions “defending” against for fifty years and, when that construct collapsed, we “discovered” so-called Islamic terrorism that now provides a good excuse to do all sorts of horrors… including invading Iraq and now tapping our phones.

    I love my Country but, I swear, sometimes I think of renouncing my citizenship and moving to Greenland.

    By the way, Why did I think you were an Aussie? ;)

  19. Seamus McSeamus

    But Obama said to reject the voices suggesting that there might be any government tyranny. The government is our friend, caregiver and provider. Mother and father.

    If people don’t get pissed off about this and demand the government stop snooping and spying on the citizenry, then we are lost as a nation. And it’s okay for cops to take DNA from people who are merely arrested and never even convicted of a crime? Where is my America?

  20. JMJ

    This is stunning. I’m curious how the Guardian learned of the existence of the court order in the first place. Does anyone know?

    I suppose its existence was leaked from a governmental source, which means, if my guess is correct, that there is no way to know how many other phone carriers, package delivery services, email providers, etc., etc., are also providing information secretly. And, unlike this Order’s giving blanket authority to spy, if one wants to file a Freedom of Information Act request to learn of others, then one must specify the precise information being sought. If you don’t know exactly what your looking for, then you have no way of learning if, in fact, there is anything to look for!

    This is really frightening because this order is probably one of many, many others and there is no simple way to learn the truth about their (possible) existence.

  21. AFPhy6

    I am very angry about this. One major question I have that I would like feedback from others about:

    How does this differ from the phone info that the Bush administration was collecting? Does it differ in scope? As far as whose data is collected? What…?