Remember the good old days when, if government officials wanted information on you, they’d just heist your FBI file?

Now the stink is over the National Security Agency tracking phone calls. I’m starting to fear that my calls to the pizza place may someday be turned over to health Nazi’s and I’ll end up penned in a former drive-in movie theater lot which has been turned into a “health reeducation camp”. Or maybe it could be even worse than that.

From Reuters:

The agency in charge of a domestic spying program has been secretly collecting phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, including calls made within the United States, USA Today reported on Thursday.

It said the National Security Agency has been building up the database using records provided by three major phone companies — AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. — but that the program “does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations.”

Then later:

Among major U.S. telecommunications companies, only Qwest Communications International Inc. has refused to help the NSA program, the paper said.

Qwest, with 14 million customers in the Western United States, was “uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants,” USA Today said.

Okay, I’m starting a pool as to when Qwest will receive their warrant to turn over customer records to the NSA. I’m taking mid-November.

On the other hand, however, maybe it’ll never happen. My guess is that pretty much everybody at the NSA has by now switched their cell service to Qwest.


In the comments section, Bill helps drag all this out of the joking stage and back to seriousness with the following point well made:

Somebody help me understand the problem with this. The NSA has been tracking phone calls since the late 1950′s, and has been listening in on select calls since the 1960′s. In the 1970′s they began wholesale monitoring of phone calls, and expanded it to FAX and e-mail in the 1980′s. All this became public when they began automating it, which meant that in effect they were listening to every phone call, and reading every FAX and every e-mail. This all blew up in the 1990′s with the exposure of Echelon and Carnivore. Nevertheless, all this has been well known for at least 20 years. Why all the hub-bub now?

Ten years ago, George W. Bush wasn’t president.


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