Thursday, September 05, 2013

NRA finally wakes up, sues over NSA snooping program.

Strange bedfellows, the NRA joins an ACLU lawsuit against the NSA supersnoopers. Interesting reason too.

In a brief filed in federal court, the NRA argues that the National Security Agency's database of phone records amounts to a "national gun registry". "It would be absurd to think that the Congress would adopt and maintain a web of statutes intended to protect against the creation of a national gun registry, while simultaneously authorizing the FBI and the NSA to gather records that could effectively create just such a registry," the group writes.

Well, yeah. That's why they're doing it.

"Under the government's reading of Section 215, the government could simply demand the periodic submission of all firearms dealers' transaction records, then centralize them in a database indexed by the buyers' names for later searching," the NRA writes.

The group claims that Congress could never have meant to authorize such a vast surveillance operation because it has repeatedly rejected proposals to create a national gun registry.

The NRA's brief also claims that the phone record program violates its members' First Amendment rights to associate and communicate freely. The group argues that people could fear retribution for associating with the gun-rights group if they knew the government was monitoring their phone records. 

Of course the truth about the NSA effort is that they can create a registry of -anything-. They don't just have phone call records, they also have credid card transactions, email, IP activity, all of it. If they want to know who bought a couch in a certain floral upholstery pattern on any Sunday in 2004, they can find out. Like, find out in under an hour and have a picture for every name on the list..

If they want to know exactly where every single person on that list is right now, as in right this second, if the people have a cell phone the NSA can do that too. Then turn on that cell phone and listen in to what's going on. Maybe even shut your car off and lock you inside if you have OnStar or a similar service installed.

So yeah, they can and I fully expect DO have a complete surveillance of everybody in the NRA, and everybody who's bought a gun in the last ten years. Plus, does anyone really, really believe that the FBI doesn't keep a complete record of every transaction on their NICS (National Instant Background Check System) even though they -promise- not to? The NSA for sure does, and even if the FBI purges ever bit on the NICS servers, with just a phone call I'm sure they can get the whole enchilada from NSA.

Nice to see the dog finally barking.


Alyric said...

Hey, Phantom - this isn't related to the post (and I apologize for that), but I wasn't sure if you'd seen this article (via Drudge).

Basically, 107 year-old man is holed up in a room (alone) with a weapon, SWAT feels the need to break in and kill him. Part of the reason I'm pointing this one out to you is because, right now, most of the top comments are all saying the same things - 'since nobody was in immediate danger, why not wait for him to fall asleep', and 'guess the SWAT teams just wanted to use their toys'. (One of my favorites was "When you have a cool SWAT team, you want to play SWAT!").

Thought you might like seeing that you're definitely not alone with those sentiments!

The Phantom said...

Just read that Alyric. Not being some kind of super SWAT expert, and only having the dozy-ass news readers word for it, its hard to say if they went over the top.

But on the face of it? Who the hell shoots a geezer that old? I'm thinking the same kind of guy who shoots a fucked-up teenager on an empty streetcar.

On a kind of global policy basis, it does seem that there's a whole bunch of half trained dorks out there on a power trip doesn't it? Getting to be the penalty for not instantly obeying police orders is death.
I guess just waiting until the old bastard gets tired is a hell of a lot less exciting than chucking in a flashbang and then machine-gunning his ass.

BUT, on the other hand, when the RCMP finally showed up to that Greyhound bus that Tim McLean got killed on, we all wanted to know why they let Vince Weiguang Li out alive, didn't we? They left old Vince-baby on that bus for FIVE HOURS, eating Tim McLean's body the whole time. I'd have popped that fucker in a heartbeat.

But then Vince-baby was no threat to the cops, was he? Just another crazy for them to taze, bag and tag.

On the third hand, if the 107 year old geezer had blasted some kid through the door, or waxed a cop, we'd all be screaming for his head.

So its pretty complicated, isn't it?

On the whole though, I have to say I'm not very hopeful on the kind of decisions getting made by police on the street or by their policy wonks in the boardroom. We're seeing a lot more 107 year old guys killed than cannibals allowed to live these days. It all seems kinda Soviet to me, and getting more so every day.

Alyric said...

I agree about the lack of information in the article - for example, it sounds like he chased two people (described as 'victims') out of the house - if I had to guess, I'd say he got confused and wandered into a house that wasn't his, and thought he was chasing out intruders - then SWAT showed up, and the rest is history.

But that's just speculation at this point.

It still leaves me wondering why they couldn't just wait him out, though. I doubt many 107's have superhuman endurance. Same deal with the story you posted about a while back, with the guy in a nursing home.