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Old 11-07-2013, 03:23 PM View Post #1 (Link) Government Spying
Spiders (Offline)
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https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/timeline

Interested in what people think about the NSA's activity over the last several years; what there is to justify/condemn it and what should be the government's next steps following the revelations surrounding it.
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:27 AM View Post #2 (Link)
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I am not a fan of any kind of spying. Why have a constitution if the government's just going to disregard it? How can we claim that that document has any power to help govern us?
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:30 AM View Post #3 (Link)
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I don't believe in spying at all. It's one of the most cruelist rights to infringe upon. If I may ask what happened to our freedom, and everything that the constitution said. We have no constituion anymore. We have become a confined country, with no privacy, and it'll only get worse.
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Old 11-08-2013, 02:32 AM View Post #4 (Link)
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I would definitely agree with the above posts. What the NSA has done is simply overstepping their moral rights (if not legal ones too.) The over-referred-to "1984" is an excellent example of where security turns into "control freak" and no one has any privacy. I don't believe the role of the government is to work directly to prevent crime, but rather to punish crime, and by so doing indirectly prevent crime.
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:45 AM View Post #5 (Link)
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While I agree that spying is, particularly in this case, wrong, I would also say it's necessary for the security of a country. But the NSA have gone far, far further than the extent that is necessary, IMO.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:29 PM View Post #6 (Link)
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Originally Posted by Spiders View Post
While I agree that spying is, particularly in this case, wrong, I would also say it's necessary for the security of a country. But the NSA have gone far, far further than the extent that is necessary, IMO.
Can you explain why it's necessary? I've seen both viewpoints stated as the gospel truth but not the basis for them. (Though Dabs mentioned a bit for the anti- camp; that is, the Constitution.)
My gut reaction is anti, but I haven't heard the evidence from the pro camp (just a lot of spout). And as usual, I'm apathetic; it'll all work out.
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:11 PM View Post #7 (Link)
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Can you explain why it's necessary?
I'd have to do more research into the specifics, but I view the world as being full of mistrust, and while we wouldn't have to spy on an ideal world, we do not live in an ideal world; hence we can be blind-sided if we do not have the kind of intelligence that can only be obtained through internal/external espionage, since it cannot be collected in any other way.

I would use the term 'necessary evil'. In the war killing is pretty necessary in a war where the enemy want to kill you, spying is necessary in the kind of world we live in today. What would be the alternative?
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Old 11-08-2013, 02:56 PM View Post #8 (Link)
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Originally Posted by Spiders View Post
While I agree that spying is, particularly in this case, wrong, I would also say it's necessary for the security of a country. But the NSA have gone far, far further than the extent that is necessary, IMO.
If something is wrong, don't do it. I think it's as simple as that. If spying on one's nation is really and truly wrong, regardless of how spying could help that nation, I say don't do it. If you back away from that, where do you draw the line in morality? Unless by "wrong" you simply meant "unpleasant" or "unconstitutional."

In the war killing is pretty necessary in a war where the enemy want to kill you, spying is necessary in the kind of world we live in today. What would be the alternative?
An enemy in wartime is, by its very nature, something to be fought against, to be infiltrated. A government's job, however, is to watch over its people. So killing in war is an obvious necessity; wiretapping one's people is not. Proving that is not difficult in the slightest. Did the extremely successful and powerful Roman Empire wiretap the nation's phones? Of course not. They didn't have any phones. There would be no real way to spy on everyone all at once before the internet and phones and all that. And now that we do have all those things that make widespread spying possible, what has changed to make it so important for the government to do? Basically, look at most empires before the digital age, and you'll find that, largely, the masses were not spied upon, and the countries did great.

I say all that just to ask, can you prove it is a "necessary evil," keeping in mind all the previous nations that have done great without it ?

Of course, I must admit, as in every debate about wrong and right, everything rests on a particular viewpoint. I as a Christian, for example, see that the government is explicitly given by God as a "Sword" to punish "evil-doers." That, in my opinion, is the role of the government (making me very old-fashioned and narrow-minded, I guess ) Thus, turning the government into an "Spy" that will "silently and surreptitiously spy on the good guys in case the bad guys do bad stuff" is totally wrong, being precautionary rather than reactionary. Just where do you stop? Other religions and philosophies would result in different viewpoints. For example, atheism would say that government is a system that resulted through random chance, and has no meaning or divine authority. Thus, government has no specific role to fill, and can spy if it desires.

So the root question: what is the role of government?
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:24 PM View Post #9 (Link)
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A while ago, my uncle revealed his contempt for people like Snowden. He grunted and said, "We need to find those terrorists. How else are we going to protect ourselves?" That was about as much as I understood from the pro-spying side for a while.

I hate this particular argument for it though, like my own mother, who just shrugs and says, "It's okay. I have nothing to hide. If you have nothing to hide, why bother?"

I would love to say that it's completely wrong and all that like everyone else. I started thinking otherwise when I saw an interview of a government official on David Letterman. David asked him about Snowden and the NSA spying and all that. The official said, "You know, Dave, everyone complains about spying but when you're working behind the scenes like I do and listen to the threats that this country gets every single day - it's scary. It's really scary." Essentially, he said that spying is inevitable but spying on our own people is of course invasion of privacy, so he did agree with Snowden. So I think there's a middle-ground we can all agree on. The government has its duty to look out for us but to an extent.

Ben Franklin, good ol' guy, once said that a country that sacrifices privacy for safety will earn none and deserve neither.

But then again, let's think to how the times have changes drastically. I can't imagine they would have understood the power an individual can attain now to bomb a plane of innocent people.
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:26 PM View Post #10 (Link)
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Honestly, we're still being blind-sided. Some of the shootings in recent years involved people who were mentally ill or had some criminal history. James Holmes's weapons pile could have drawn government attention. (I don't say it should have, but this is the sort of thing they're watching for.) I understand the goal of the program is to stop these things. If that's not the point, what is? What good does it do?

The alternative would be to take care of the original problems, to fix specific issues instead of tapping the masses. There's what bothers me, more than the idea of being spied on. Money and effort is poured into watching all of us, but the government doesn't address the reasons they feel the need to watch us. If spying doesn't resolve these issues or catch potential killers, what does it do?

Edit; it's always possible spying saves more lives behind the curtains than we know. Which is part of why I asked Spiders to explain; I'd like to hear something quantifiable from that side.
  
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