A good step toward reining in the NSA

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  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Jan. 20, 2014 12:54 p.m.

    We need security, but until the data collected is kept completely separate from the person being monitored, there will be abuses.

    We need a system where everything I do that is monitored and analyzed occurs under a pseudonym. Those analyzing the data just know that JohnDoe1234 did X, Y, and Z. They can determine if anything in that list is suspicious and try and link it to other suspicious behavior from other data collected, but they still don't know who I am.

    Only after convincing a judge that X, Y, and/or Z constitute a threat to national security, can the intelligence community find out that JohnDoe1234 is really me. Likewise, the entity that knows that I am JohnDoe1234, does not know anything about what is being monitored. Keep them separate, require a court order to put the two pieces together.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    Jan. 19, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    Unreconstructed Reb has a point. I just read the 18 page letter from Judge John Bates to Senator Feinstein directly addressing some of the issues at hand.

    I found it an interesting trip into the head of the man in charge, and an enlightening explanation of the courts "work". It also put some substance into what I previously held as merely personal suspicions.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 19, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    It's a fine line between keeping Americans safe and infringing on their rights, and the line is fluid and subjective. We're fortunate we have an honorable, secure President willing to openly address the chanllenges and risks assiciated with this issue. At the end of the day we have to sacrifice some freedoms for security but the questions is how much?

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    Jan. 19, 2014 6:50 a.m.

    We have the ability to demand change. But before doing so, it's necessary to understand exactly what is being done by NSA and its underlying legal and structural justifications. It's very clear from the comments that more public understanding is necessary on:

    -The Fourth Amendment and associated jurisprudence/caselaw (especially issues like what a "reasonable, articulable suspicion" means, and when a warrant is or isn't needed, because several commenters are simply flat-out wrong);

    -What NSA was authorized to do in post 9/11 executive orders;

    -What FISA is, what its scope is, and how it has been amended by the Patriot Act, the Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 and other subsequent amendments;

    -How FISA has been interpreted in cases like In re Directives;

    -How the FISC courts operate;

    -The role of Congressional oversight; and

    -Telecommunications laws that are sorely in need of updates for the 21st century internet

    Yes, that's a lot of information. But it's necessary to have at least a cursory understanding of it to understand exactly what needs to be reformed and how to do it. And it makes one sound far less ignorant when commenting on this issue.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    Jan. 18, 2014 9:30 p.m.

    The speech I heard mentioned some easy work-arounds for the NSA. Secret Court permission (notice "warrant" with its requirements was not said) can be bypassed in emergency and via National Security Letter. Put the responsibility to hold the data in 3rd party hands plus NSL equals plausible deniability to NSA continued access behavior.

    Oh but wait! We have a watchdog group of folks in the secret court who can't really participate, due to security concerns (or who are part of the system). And they will not take part at looking at existing things going on, only new stuff. NSA work-around for that is "can we do it again?"

    We still have a secret no fly list.
    We still have the ability to administratively apply the "terrorist" label to anyone.
    We now have yet another secret list of foreign leaders we won't spy on.

    Where is reining in?

  • Cowboy Joe Encampment, WY
    Jan. 18, 2014 3:44 p.m.

    People are naive to think the government is the only one spying on us. Business are just as dangerous, think of all the data Google, Facebook, et. al have on everyone. They sell this data to companies to market to us. Ever heard of big data? It's all the rave now. I imagine the dnews js also watching what we each do with every click on their site.

  • Star Bright Salt Lake City, Ut
    Jan. 18, 2014 2:40 p.m.

    OK Deseret News if you believe that I have some swamp land in........

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 2:30 p.m.

    My hope is that any and all restrictions put on our Federal government also apply to any and all private entities under American control.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Jan. 18, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    I watched Pres. Obama's entire speech on the NSA, and I found his explanation of the need for change and the suggested changes themselves to be compelling and comprehensive. I was greatly rellieved that the proposed changes were limited and reasonable. His use of executive power was more contained that at any other time in his presidency. I know it won't last, but for 45 minutes he sounded presidential and moderate.

  • Tommy2014 Atlanta, GA
    Jan. 18, 2014 2:03 p.m.

    The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to according to our Constitution. There is no public oversight. There are no public rules for what data is collected, how it is stored and how it gets attributed to a person, and how the aggregate data is analyzed and who is the beneficiary of that information. We also do not know what the rules are when private information is discovered and stored that could be used to blackmail someone. Do note this has already happened.

    I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under. Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded.

    Government is not the target, our system of government is sound. Our corrupt and criminal leadership is what must be removed.

    Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be. I do not want to live in a world where there is no privacy.


  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 18, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    Obama claims to be a Constitutional Scholar. He taught about the Constitution on a university level, yet he doesn't seem to have a clue about the Constitution. The 4th Amendment states: "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."

    I asked a 12-year-old grandson to explain that to me. He saw that a warrant had to be issued that described the place to be searched and that fact that there had to be probable cause.

    Obama gets and "F" for his failure to understand the Supreme Law of the Land, the Law that he has taken an oath to defend: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

  • bluecollar Kearns, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    "The trick also is to be nimble enough to respond to changing technology and practices...

    Obama deserves credit for laying out a plan that attempts to walk this tightrope, and for acknowledging that privacy concerns need to be constantly debated and analyzed going forward."

    Wouldn't want to be in Obama's shoes. Just think; what would Romney do? If Romney was president the situation would be the same, just a different person to take the heat. What would McCain have done to limit NSA abuses? Interesting to think about; just would have been a different person to blame.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Jan. 18, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    What difference is there whether the gov.stores it or someone else stores it the info has still been collected? I think the nazis had the same story.

  • liberty or ...? Ogden, UT
    Jan. 17, 2014 2:46 p.m.

    This man has no shame, First he denies the NSA was doing any of this. Then when the evidence became blaringly obvious he defended it to the teeth. Not until his crony lap dogs at Google, Facebook, and Amazon among others started griping and we discovered these companies were in bed with the goverment and passing information to the NSA did they voice any fuss (Don't believe it ask Google why they updated their privacy policy this last year and many of these web service and online community sites would never deny or confirm the NSA demands or authroity to access and view users content). And why? because their customers started getting angry. Now the media gives him a pass as the Savior coming into correct the problem as if he had nothing to do with it. Can we finally say the media has become Pravda?