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Published: Wednesday, June 12 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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one old man
Ogden, UT

I have news for all those who are screaming about the evil NSA.

Aren't you aware WHO really has volumes of information about virtually every aspect of our lives? Don't you know who collects your personal information EVERY DAY?

They are called merchandisers -- the vaunted free market that drives our economic lives.

Every time you swipe your debit card, every time you make a purchase at a Smith's Marketplace or almost any other retail store, any time to take out an insurance policy or open an account or seek a loan at your bank or credit union, your personal information is sucked up by an enormous corporate vacuum sweeper.

And is that information secure?

Well, I can use Google to instantly find dozens of sites willing to provide me with everything known about you -- for a small fee, of course.

I can learn your date and place of birth, your SSN number, your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant, what size pants you wear, and probably all sorts of embarrassing stuff that you can't imagine.

So who do we really need to be worrying about?

But all that is the Free Enterprise system. Not the NSA.

Res Novae
Ashburn, VA

For the sake of informed discussion, I note that the letter is misinformed: the program in question does not involve wiretapping, but gathers and aggregrates metadata. There is a distinct legal difference.

The Supreme Court ruled in Smith v. Maryland (1979) that use of phone numbers obtained without a warrant from phone records doesn't violate the 4th Amendment's expectation of privacy, and therefore is constitutional. I don't see a difference between that and the data being collected here, except as a matter of scale.

This is an important issue, and we are long overdue for a robust discussion on collective security versus individual privacy rights. But that conversation has to start with facts and understanding of what is or isn't legal in this country. At this point, I don't consider Snowden a whistleblower because there was nothing to blow the whistle against. The executive is executing a law with legislative oversight, and running it through the judiciary (albeit a s secretive body). Everything is legal, no matter how much discomfort it causes. If we don't like it, we need to tell our elected leaders to change the laws in favor of greater transparency.

SEY
Sandy, UT

No, Open Minded Mormon, Bush bad & Obama bad. He's just figuring it out 12 years too late.

SEY
Sandy, UT

Res Novae: do you believe everything your government tells you?

One old man: Google isn't going to use that information to go on a fishing expedition that can find me in prison for whatever reason. I'll trust Google before I'll trust government. Government has guns and prisons, Google has spam.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

We live in a world where everyone voluntarily provides an incredible amount of personal information about themselves in the name of 'social media'. The metadata collected isn't nearly as intrusive. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge advocate of privacy, but this is kind of what we signed up for when we accepted the patriot act.

Moderate
Salt Lake City, UT

How are you going to know that these surveillance programs ended?
They'd probably just get renamed and made even more secretive.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

At the beginning of WWII many people thought that the way to fight a war was with massive ships with big guns. Fortunately we were able to realize that the era of big ships was gone and had been replaced by the airplane.

Today we are engaged in a new war that has new weapons. Yet we are still expecting to defend ourselves with aircraft and submarines.

Today’s war is a war for the minds of men rather than conquest of physical lands and oceans. We are being attacked by little bits of electricity and have yet to find a war to defend against them. We have built huge monstrosities of inter connected networks and don’t have a good way to defend them.

Electronic surveillance may not be the answer, but if it has a possibility of helping to defend our nation, Dam the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

If those who complain most about government survelliance of our lives really want to back up their words with action, then they must elect more democrats NOT republicans. Republicans love the Patriot Act. As we have seen with how it is renewed, republicans all support it while Democrats do not. So will repubs like this letter writer, red skirt, and Michael Richards vote for Democrats this next election? Don't hold your breath.

In other words, these folks will complain but won't do anything to fix the problem. Typical of the GOP today.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Open? minded
The court that oversees this was first informally put in place by Ford, but Carter (D) made it law.

But go ahead, repeat your mantra (dem good, repub bad) if it makes you feel better.

Old man,
You have a choice whether or not to swipe your card. You could pay by cash and some places still accept checks. And as SEY said, can private merchants put you in prison?

Ultra Bob,
I think Patrick Henry would have disagreed with your final statement.

Maverick,
The Patriot act would be history if BO (D), had not signed the bill authorizing its extension. Leave it to BO to turn the NSA into the Stasi

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@lost in DC
"The Patriot act would be history if BO (D), had not signed the bill authorizing its extension. "

Yeah how dare he sign that bill your party got through Congress.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Used to be if you complained about government surveillance you were told to take off your tinfoil hat. Now it doesn't seem so crazy.

I was concerned and voiced my concern about the broad nature of the Patriot Act when it was originally proposed (Bush Admin) and when it was reneued (when we had a Super-Majority of Democrats during the Obama Administration).

The Real Maverick
Your stereotype inspired claim that it's all Republican's fault is not proven true by the voting record in Congress. Look it up.

Many conservatives (not necessarily "Republicans") including most Tea-Party people loudly voiced concern about this when it was originally proposed and again when it was renewed.

All Republicans don't LOVE the Patriot Act. And all Democrats don't like it. It's not just another partisan thing. Blaming it all on "Republicans" just doesn't work when you look at the Congressional voting records.

I've always been against it. Not it's goals... but it's tactics. But I realize why many politicians think we need it. I know current administrations may not abuse it... but there could be administrations in the future that would.

ugottabkidn
Sandy, UT

Sorry but the NSA, Booz Allen, or the Carlyle group couldn't care less what your say on Facebook or even on the DN opinion page. All these groups are in cahoots to drain your pocket book. Edward Snowden was an employee of Booz Allen which is a subsidiary of Carlyle. The current Director of National Intelligence is an ex employee and a Bush 43 DNI is a current employee of Booz Allen. Bush Sr was on the Board of Directors for Carlyle after he left office. Dick Cheney is a former CEO for Halliburton another No-Bid contractor that is responsible for electrocuting GI's in Iraq. Do you a trend here? Mitch McConnell has increased his personal wealth from 4 mill to 25 mill on a salary of less the 200k. How does that happen? All of this and more because we were convinced we need to be in a constant state of fear over something that has less of chance to happen than killing ourselves in the bathtub. Let's fix the system that has overpopulated our leadership with Flim Flam men.

airnaut
Everett, 00

I used to think the Patriot Act and warrantless wiretapping were good ideas, but in light of the massive abuses of power such as wiretapping of innocents' cellular phone conversations, Internet surveillance and spying on the press, I have changed my mind.

=======

In other words...

I liked Bush and the Republicans passing the Patriot Act,
I don't like Obama and the Republicans expanding and extending the Patriot Act.

FYI --
When I call baloney on this 12 years ago - I was told to sit down and be quiet,
I was also told I was NOT Patriotic.

He who has the laughs last, laughs best.

HaHaHa!

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "one old man" I can get around having the merchants track my purchases by going cash only. Explain how a person can do anything in this modern world without using the telephone or email. The NSA is not only listening in on your phone conversations, but is also recording them along with your email.

So, imagine that in the future you say something to a high ranking politician. They now have the ability to look through all of the records they have on you and dig up anything that is questionable, and arrest you for it.

To "airnaut" you do know that numerically, more Democrats voted to expand and extend the Patriot Act.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

atl134
you mean the bill would have renewed by itself if BO had not signed it?

I think you need to retake your US government class.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@lost in DC

Those words came from Admiral David Farragut during the Battle of Mobile Bay. I have adopted them to use in the Battle of America against conservative and republicans.

airnaut
Everett, 00

@RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "airnaut" you do know that numerically, more Democrats voted to expand and extend the Patriot Act.
12:15 p.m. June 12, 2013

========

To "RedShirt" did you do know that numerically, your argument falls completely flat?

Patriot Act 2001
Yeas Nays

Republican 2113
Democratic 14562
Independent 11
TOTALS 35766

Re-Authorization 2006

Yeas Nays
Republican 21413
Democratic 66124
Independent 1
TOTALS 280138

Re-Re-Authorization Extension and Expansion 2011

Yeas Nays
Republican 21027
Democratic 65117
Independent
TOTALS 275144

If it makes you feel any better --
Rep. Rob Bishop committed political suicide by siding with the DEMOCRATS the last 2 times in opposing it. I applaud him for voting for Freedom and the Constitution,

...as opposed to Bennett, Hatch, Chris Cannon, and Jason Chaffetz who vote FOR it, under both Bush AND Obama.
But go ahead and blame Obama for signing what our representatives in Utah gave him.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

When we are small we believe making the right decision is a choice between good and bad. As we get older most (some talk show hosts excepted) come to realize making the right decision is often a little more complex. For example sometimes choosing the right involves a decision between bad and worse.

Government monitoring who we call = bad

Bombs exploding in grocery stores = worse

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

The foolish argue whether the government was "justified". They completely ignore whether the government violated our rights.

The 4th Amendment says:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Before the foolish continue to tell us that the government was "justified, perhaps they should show us when and where the "warrants" based on "probable cause" were issued. Perhaps they should cite those warrants, the name of the judge, the name of the prosecutor, and exactly what that "probable cause" was.

We are Americans. The Constitutiton protects us from the government. The Constitution protects us from "surveillance" by the "government. The "Patriot Act" does not replace the 4th Amendment. No Amendments have been ratified giving the government the authority to record the numbers or the conversations that we make via telephone, cell-phone or computer.

Either stand up for your rights or sit still while those rights are violated.

airnaut
Everett, 00

Sorry - my comment did not format as expected:

To "RedShirt" did you do know that numerically, your argument falls completely flat?

Patriot Act 2001
...........Yeas...Nays

Republican 211.....3
Democratic 145....62
Independent........1
TOTALS ....357....66

Re-Authorization 2006

..........Yeas...Nays
Republican 214....13
Democratic .66...124
Independent .......1
TOTALS ....280...138

Re-Re-Authorization Extension and Expansion 2011

.............Yeas.. Nays
Republican ...210....27
Democratic ....65...117
Independent
TOTALS .......275...144

Doesn't matter anyway,
your world doesn't rely on facts or reality.

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