Traffic Analysis - Part III
Well now I've done it! I've exposed a secret government plot to record our telephone calls, expose our crimes and peccadilloes, and build a wall around the USA not just to keep them out, but to keep us in. Right. And I have some great photos of the aliens in the freezer at Area 51 not to mention the magnetic vortex generator at Wright-Pat. In fact, I have little patience with and even less belief in "conspiracy theories." They make fine entertainment when embodied in fiction, but are quite tedious when promulgated by axe-grinding, irrational bozeaux with vestigial critical faculties and even less of a sense of humor. To avoid falling into this category, let me undertake some self criticism.
What parts of the preceding two items on traffic analysis are true?
Unlike my notion of using nuclear waste to heat your pool, which I revealed to be satire, I don't think there's anything in this series that conclusively isn't true. I have no pipeline into our national security apparat, have nobody to ask, and would be extremely unlikely to receive an answer if I did. So let's try assessing this ourselves:
Q: Is it even possible for NSA to get access to
all this telephone data?
Q: How certain are you of just how much
data has to be stored?
Q: Are you really concerned that someone
named Hayden was nominated as DCI, (and confirmed since you started
publishing these blogitems)?
Q: Intelligence officials, administration
officials, and legislators have all said that NSA is acting within the
law. Are they all lying?
Q: Do YOU believe that they are lying?
Q: Wait a minute! Aren't the
telephone companies all claiming that they are NOT cooperating with the
NSA in providing telephone records. Are they lying to protect
themselves from the inevitable lawsuits?
Q: Well, then, what about the fact that all
these calls are being recorded. Doesn't that concern you?
Intelligence agencies are positively compulsive about collecting information. While one might argue that vigilance against privacy encroachments is an ever increasing requirement, one could also make a good case for that war having been lost many petabytes ago. I do not despair, not because I have nothing to hide, but because everybody has something to hide. I'm insufficiently paranoid, notwithstanding having been declared so by the NY Times, to think that they will "get" me first, or alone.
In "The Dead Past," Isaac Asimov foresaw a situation where everyone's past was an open book. He ended the story with the expression "Happy Goldfish Bowl." It's sad that we are being driven by terrorists to a society where the goldfish bowl simile seems apt. But if it's inevitable, at least it seems to be for a good reason.