Monday, May 19, 2014

The Ends do not Justify the Means

There is a very good interview with former director of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, in the New Yorker.

Metadata is the least intrusive, most efficient way to do it. You don’t want to translate millions and millions of calls; you want to get to the most efficient approach.

I think that statement illustrates the mindset most effectively.  It's not that we don't want to listen in to all your phone calls, it's just not efficient.  So what does that mean?  Will they record and translate millions and millions of calls if the efficiency improves?

To me, the question isn't whether or not these programs work, as they undoubtedly do, and well, the question is it worth it?  Is it worth it sacrificing the foundational principles of our nation for a little safety?  Face it, your chances of being killed by a fellow American are much higher than of being killed by a terrorist, why stop with them?  Seriously, if your goal is safety, we have the technology to assure it.  

Why do you find it tolerable to sacrifice your freedoms, your privacy to eliminate a remote threat but not to eliminate a more probable one? 

But I do think people need to know that we’re at greater risk, and there’s a lot more coming my way. It’s easy to stir up public emotion by saying: They’re listening to your phone calls. They’re reading your e-mails.  

It's also easy to stir up public emotion by saying: The Boogieman is coming.

Think about it. 


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