Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Friday, August 23, 2013

Interesting Question

Since we are all NSA all the time, here's a question:

If your communications are scanned and analyzed by a computer with no humans ever reading them and then deleted, does that constitute an unconstitutional violation of privacy?

That's not a snarky question.  If we read TPM's summary of what the NSA has been revealed as doing, very rarely do human eyes come into contact with any of our communications.  Most of the 'reading' appears to be done by AI programs.

While we have seen some FISC oversight, it's weak and hampered by asymmetry in capabilities; the NSA can hide more than the FISC can find.  But when it finds things wrong, it can compel the NSA to change what it's doing.

It seems to me that what we are dealing with is a new definition of surveillance, in that it's being carried out by computers rather than actual people.

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