The question is not should the resulting data exist. It does. And it forever will, to a greater and greater extent. And therefore, the present-day question can’t seriously be this: Should law enforcement in the legitimate pursuit of criminal activity pretend that such data does not exist. The question is more fundamental: Is government accessing the data for the legitimate public safety needs of the society, or are they accessing it in ways that abuse individual liberties and violate personal privacy — and in a manner that is unsupervised.
And to that, the Guardian and those who are wailing jeremiads about this pretend-discovery of U.S. big data collection are noticeably silent. We don’t know of any actual abuse. No known illegal wiretaps, no indications of FISA-court approved intercepts of innocent Americans that occurred because weak probable cause was acceptable. Mark you, that stuff may be happening. As is the case with all law enforcement capability, it will certainly happen at some point, if it hasn’t already. Any data asset that can be properly and legally invoked, can also be misused — particularly without careful oversight. But that of course has always been the case with electronic surveillance of any kind.
I knew the conservative media was quick to latch on to any so-called Obama administration “scandal”, but it upsets me greatly to see the technology sphere hyping this one. More than that, they’re showing an enormous propensity to call everyone involved a liar without any evidence.
Apple and Google say they knew nothing about Prism? Well they must be lying. The government says Prism brought down the 2010 New York City subway terror plot? Can’t be true. President Obama states clearly that they aren’t actually reading our emails or monitoring our calls? Nope, he’s definitely fibbing.
I know for a fact that the United States government is not monitoring our phone calls or our emails or our social networking activity. They probably have a record of a lot of it, but they aren’t monitoring it. How do I know this? Not from some insider source, no. I know it because it’s simply impossible for the feds to monitor every single one of the billions of phone calls and emails and messages that are sent back and forth in this country. Impossible.