Is the United States a surveillance state?

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J.Spano
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Is the United States a surveillance state?

Post by J.Spano » 16 Aug 2014 16:32

Support your stance with evidence as to why it is or is not.

I will weigh in once things have kicked off.
| Joseph Spano |

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Cass
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Re: Is the United States a surveillance state?

Post by Cass » 16 Aug 2014 16:40

All I will say is that I'm glad I'm Canadian.

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Jeremy
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Re: Is the United States a surveillance state?

Post by Jeremy » 17 Aug 2014 15:19

I would say that the answer is no, or at the very least, when you compare the US to other countries in the area of citizen surveillance, it is much closer to the best countries than the worst.

I think the other thing worth noting is that most of the surveillance is essentially passive. A lot of data is collected, but the vast majority of it will never be looked at, some never even subjected to any data analysis, unless people investigating a specific issue think it might help them. Even in the data that is looked at, there isn't anybody trawling through it looking for general incriminating evidence. There are computers searching for very specific terms, but there's so much data, it would be examine it in a holistic manner.

That's not to say that from time to time there are abuses, or to say that a higher degree of transparency wouldn't be a good thing, but I think the vast majority of surveillance is benign, and indeed if it were turned off for a year, I doubt anybody would notice.

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Jeremy
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Re: Is the United States a surveillance state?

Post by Jeremy » 17 Aug 2014 15:20

Sorry no edit. My last sentence in the second paragraph should contain the word "impossible" somewhere.

Pasquar
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Re: Is the United States a surveillance state?

Post by Pasquar » 08 Sep 2014 08:33

I agree with Jeremy that there is a mass of surveillance recorded, but only a fraction of a percent is looked at. In that sense, we're not a "surveillance state" like 1984 or anything, but I definitely feel there are factors that overreach going back basically to the PATRIOT Act.

When Edward Snowden leaked the NSA information about a year or so ago, it was IMO a wake-up call to a lot of people who weren't already aware of the capabilities and reach of the NSA. When I heard of the stuff Snowden leaked, it was like "Didn't we already know this?".

In short, yes we collect bulk data that is not necessarily just, but is legal under the laws we have. No, most of it is not gone through meticulously and the Feds aren't listening in to phone conversations.

HOWEVER, when you're involved in resistance in many forms, whether it be through an extremist/terrorist group or group seeking change through non-violent direct action, there is likely to be some kind of surveillance that is actually sifted through.
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