Obamaworld: Total Information Awareness program on Steroids, EPO, and Growth Hormone
Isn’t it interesting that when the Total Information Awareness program was shut down, it was due to a great media outcry over devious government intrusion, spying, and constitutional violations?
And now that things have gotten far worse… crickets. (Crickets, at least as compared to the outrage TIA generated.)
Or to summarize: four legs good, two legs Bush (and also consider that some Presidents are more equal than others).
The bumper-sticker summary of what’s going on:
The [new record-gathering] rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them…
Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others…
The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own…
“It’s breathtaking” in its scope, said a former senior administration official familiar with the White House debate.
But to paraphrase from Some Like It Hot, aren’t there laws, conventions, and traditions against such things? There are, but they’re toothless (and ignored).
…the Federal Privacy Act allows agencies to exempt themselves from many requirements by placing notices in the Federal Register, the government’s daily publication of proposed rules. In practice, these privacy-act notices are rarely contested by government watchdogs or members of the public. “All you have to do is publish a notice in the Federal Register and you can do whatever you want,” says Robert Gellman, a privacy consultant who advises agencies on how to comply with the Privacy Act.
To fix problems like these that had cropped up since the [2009 underwear-bomber] Abdulmutallab incident, NCTC proposed the major expansion of its powers that would ultimately get debated at the March meeting in the White House. It moved to ditch the requirement that it discard the innocent-person data. And it asked for broader authority to troll for patterns in the data.
Well, it’s all for our own good, right? And it makes us safer… right? (Emphasis added.)
At the Department of Justice, Chief Privacy Officer Nancy Libin raised concerns about whether the guidelines could unfairly target innocent people, these people said. Some research suggests that, statistically speaking, there are too few terror attacks for predictive patterns to emerge. The [real] risk, then, is that innocent behavior gets misunderstood—say, a man buying chemicals (for a child’s science fair) and a timer (for the sprinkler) sets off false alarms.
An August government report indicates that, as of last year, NCTC wasn’t doing predictive pattern-matching.
So we’re left with this question: why does the Obama Administration spy on its citizens? The answer is it’s for the very same reason the Administration pursues its other failing progressive (progressive is code for totalitarian) policies. Because it can.