Like a kid with a new toy, the MainPain Media has gone gonzo over discovery that the National Security Agency has gained access to phone number lists. You can hear the cries of the (permanently) outraged Blue-State Liberal demanding investigations into possible 4th-Amendment violations, and naturally the immediate halt to the NSA doing its job. It actually is a serious issue, but not for the reasons the Liberals and Democrats think.
We are at war. This is a pretty obvious fact for a lot of people, yet Democrats and the Media just seem to keep forgetting that, when they attack the Bush Administration for acting like we should be concerned about the intentions of terrorists and their supporting regimes (paging Mr. Ahmadinejad, Mr. "boom boom' Ahmadinejad ...). When the facts of the NSA's actions are revealed, it turns out that the hysteria is just that, unsupported bilge being pushed by people who know better, but are playing for political points at the cost of national security. Let's not forget that 'Able Danger' used the same sort of data mining as the NSA is doing now, and if it had been supported instead of suppressed during the Clinton years, there might never have been a 9/11 attack.
But to the facts. Does the NSA listen in on Americans making phone calls? Actually, no, these are just records from phone companies. Aha, well then they have transcripts of the calls, right? Again, no, since this is not surveillance the NSA does not know what's being said. OK, well at least they have the names and addresses of the people talking, right? Ummm, no. All the NSA has is a list of phone numbers, dates and times. As in 222-222-2222 called 333-333-3333 at 12:45 PM last Thursday.
Let's put that in perspective. Your bank already sells your private information to outside companies, like telemarketers. Things like your legal name, address, annual income, things like that.
Then there's your ISP, who may be directing ads and junk email to you based on your "preferences", and they too have some details on you from your account information. You get the idea.
And then there's your employer, who in many cases not only did a background check on you when you applied, but also mnoitors your calls and mail to and from work.
And let's not forget the IRS, who take a very active interest in all sorts of details.
All of those guys are legal, and every one of them is already pulling information on you, and selling it or giving it to someone else without your knowledge or consent. It's all legal, and every one of them is doing more to intrude on your privacy than the NSA is in checking to see if you're in contact with terrorists.
It's simple, when you really think about it. The police have the right to follow you around when you drive, to see if you aer following the law, and the NSA has the right to make sure that terrorists are not operating inside the United States, and if they are, to find out who they talk to and what they are doing. Those telephone companies which cooperate with the NSA, therefore, are not violating anyone's rights, but are helping protect against terrorism. Which means if you are using Qwest, you are paying money to a company which tracks your information and sees nothing wrong with selling it to a foreign company for unknown purposes, but who will not cooperate to protect against terrorism.
Just something to think about, the next time you're choosing a phone company.