Big Brother is listening |

Big Brother is listening

USA Today broke the news recently that tens of millions of phone calls made by Americans over the last 3 years have been to private records. I already tried to transfer my local service to Qwest, unfortunately it isn’t available here.

Right away President Bush attempted to placate us by explaining that “we are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of Americans; but that is exactly what Big Brother is doing. Tracking all calls placed, creating a huge database of phone numbers (when you call your senator, mother, or order pizza…ever give out your credit card number over the phone?), then choosing which ones are “suspicious” enough to listen to. Cisco Systems Cisco Unified CallManager, a civilian company, and large GOP campaign contributor compiles the database. In 2003 USA Today ran a story on the vulnerability of Cisco Systems to hackers.

Are you comfortable with employees of a company being privy to your personal phone records? The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution 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.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll reported that 63 percent of Americans support the NSA “phone program.”The faux news shows (does anyone actually research the “news stories” they are fed before airing them?) picked up on the story and ran with it. They neglected to read the entire poll and the misleading (even untruthful) way the questions were written. Below is the main question verbatim. It’s been reported that the National Security Agency has been collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. It then analyzes calling patterns in an effort to identify possible terrorism suspects, without listening to or recording the conversations. Would you consider this an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

——- Acceptable —— —–Unacceptable ——

Total Strongly Somewhat NET Somewhat Strongly

5/11/06 63 41 22 35 11 24

24 percent respondents find it strongly unacceptable, 22 percent find it somewhat Acceptable. How many of the people would have been more apt to find it unacceptable had they been given the complete truth of the data mining? I remember recently President Bush saying “Our efforts are focused on Al Qaeda and their known associates.” Evidently we are all in cahoots with terrorists. Big Brother is indeed listening.

Donna Cobb lives in Grass Valley

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