I've been reading a number of thoughts about the scandal involving the NSA downloading huge amounts of domestic email and phone records, and have a few thoughts.
First, by going to China with apparently a fair amount of data about the system, Mr. Snowden may have effectively shut it down. Since China has got to be one of the key targets, and also interacts with other key targets, them being on to "us" may be game-ending.
Second, it appears that "technically" the practice may be legal, as earlier court decisions affirm the legality of recording addresses on envelopes and such, but in that day it wasn't practical to accumulate this kind of database. Perhaps the relevant court decisions need to be reviewed in light of the fact that this "Panoptikon" may be, for the first time, practical.
Third, one big reason that we want to keep any government databases limited is exactly what Mitch refers to here. It's a potent form of blackmail.
Finally, can it work? I can see a lot of terrorism that could have been prevented or mitigated if we'd taken a better look at young, Muslim, male immigrants and visitors. Young, Muslim, male Verizon customers?
Not so much.
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