Should mass surveillance of American call records continue?

“The rest of the month is setting up to be pretty dramatic in the Senate,” writes NPR’s Eyder Peralta.

A key section of the Patriot Act — the part of law the White House uses to conduct mass surveillance on the call records of Americans — is set to expire June 1. That leaves legislators with a big decision to make: Rewrite the statute to outlaw or modify the practice or extend the statute and let the National Security Agency continue with its work.

More: 6 questions about the Patriot Act answered

Today’s Question: Should mass surveillance of American call records continue?

  • David P.

    I Love Big Brother

  • Scott

    I suspect it will continue no matter what laws are passed and what we’re told is going to happen. It shouldn’t continue, but it almost assuredly will.

  • Pearly

    difference, at this point does it make?

  • Jeff

    If it passes, It would be nice if they provided an audit at the end of the year so I can track my calls, etc. Seems like the least they can do.

  • Yanotha Twangai

    It was actually better when the surveillance was illegal and secret. That way the information could be used to go after foreign terrorists with the military, but it had little utility for anyone in government who might want to use it against Americans, because using it would risk revealing its existence.

  • Junebug

    Unless the $2,000,000,000 Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center (codename ‘Bumblehive!) in Utah is plowed under I have no confidence that massive surveillance of citizens by the government will stop.

    • Jeff

      Frontline did a show on how this program has produced no actionable intelligence. It was used once to confirm what the FBI knew already about a guy involved in the Mumbai terror attack. I have no idea what all this costs, but they can’t even come up with a few pennies to fix the crumbling infrastructure. I guess it’s all part of Security Theater. We feel safer if someone is out there snooping on the terrorists.

    • Gordon near Two Harbors

      Bingo. You hit the nail on the head.

  • PaulJ

    I thought they were collecting and not surveilling.

  • lindblomeagles

    I hate to say it, but we Americans brought a lot of this on ourselves. We CRAVE convenience; so when the market distributed and perfected the cell phone, we ultimately gave the federal government MORE not less reach into our private lives. Even the social media website Disqus, which we’re ALL using right now, has enabled the government to have access to our thoughts, reactions, contemplations, and frustrations. Sometimes, the classics TRULY are the best, and in this case, I’m talking about post cards and enveloped letters – sealed documents that can’t be opened and generally are much more difficult to trace in a stack of letters written by everybody. Even if we vote to restrain or stop government invasion, there’s absolutely no guarantee that some President or Party will find enough votes to overturn the law. The government probably won’t change, but we can, and the signs are everywhere telling us to change.

    • John Dilligaf

      Just so you know, the post office scans/photographs each individual parcel as it goes through the system. Feel safer now?

  • 25mil4Hillaryspeeches

    When a government can collect information on your private calls, number of them, to who, etc. all with out the Constitutional 4th Amendment Right to privacy without undue search and seizure, that_ is when a government can influence, intimidate its citizens to be silent. One only needs to read Kirsten Powers, the Democrat political analyst’s new book, ” The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech.” In that regard, most media except FoX News, is initmidated for years, they minimize stories or refuse to question , to investigate anything that the White House tells them is not to their liking. Some CNN reporters quit due to this squashing of free speech. Clinton’s friend . George Stephanopolis, White House Communications Director then Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy before departing in December 1996. Today he is chief anchor[4] and chief political correspondent for ABC News. Most never knew that he used to sit in on morning staff meetings with Obama’s chief of staff..imagine that! Your ABC news man is being shaped by your government, on what to say or how to cover their foibles.
    Many news reporters today say, ” oh, that’s a FOX story, we shouldn’t cover it” those are the stories that reveal the corruption and incompetence of Hillary, Obama, IRS, Benghazi story. Today we find out that Clinton’s pal Sidny Blumenthal, emailed Hillary to tell her the bogus story of a bad video started the spontaneous raid killing our Ambassador in Benghazi. Never mind Hillary’s email shows she was told within 24 hrs that the raid was planned ahead for over 10 days!!! The White House spokesperson is on record of calling Greta Van Susteren, host of On the Record, to tell her, since she has influence at Fox, that she_should get the FOX investigative reporter to drop the Benghazi story, this was back in 2013. Shortly after the AP journalist email was hacked and collected by the NSA government under some made up suspicious ploy.
    Hate Fox or love them, but at least they are the last to be intimidated and keep us informed. Only FOX reported Obama’s foolish speech to the Coast Guard graduating class where he said, climate change is their military responsibility and climate change is the biggest threat_ meanwhile, ISIS has now took over 50% of Syria and a third of Iraq. Since Obama pulled all troops out of Iraq on a political campaign focus to get reelected, ISIS has tripled in size, murdered/ beheaded hundreds of thousands of children, women and Christians. NSA data collection didn’t stop the Tsarnev brothers from bombing the marathon race. NSA can collect all they need when they can show that need by law under a court order..just as our Constitution so describes. Giving up your freedoms for the appearance of security is exactly what Adolph did in freedom of speech either in the name of security against the communists. The sheep got in line until millions were killed and no one spoke up.
    Rand Paul is correct on this matter of data Patriot Act turned into a false advertising now called the Freedom Act. Kinda like the name of the disaster of the Affordable Care Act_my ins. rates doubled in one year. Some affordable act that is? NOT.

  • Rich in Duluth

    I think the bulk collection of American call data, by the intelligence community, should stop. However, I worry more about big business having that data. To business, anything they know about me is just a product to be sold to the highest bidder or to be used as they please. While government could use the data to prosecute me, an unlikely scenario, business will use the data to sell to scammers and spammers, rate my eligibility for insurance, bank loans, jobs, or target me for marketing, among other uses. And, I have no control over that use.

  • Jim G

    I love this country, however I believe the collection of this data is more dangerous to our American freedoms and liberties than the armies of ISIL and Al Qaeda terrorists. This mass collection of data is a cancer hollowing out our rights. We are becoming unrecognizable to our forebears… as Americans. Becoming just become another paranoid and fearful people we lose. We lose… the heritage of courageous citizens willing to fight our enemies, both foreign and domestic, that threaten our American liberty.

  • bob hicks

    No. Benjamin Franklin said it best: Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

  • John Dilligaf

    No. No. No. No. No.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    This is an individual right. Each of us has individual rights against these warrant-less searches. They are unreasonable and there is no probable cause.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    If Americans and our government was serious about security, they would carefully screen the teaming masses flooding into this country after every crisis. Why bring people here who will NEVER fit into American culture, except at a token level? Makes absolutely NO sense. I don’t remember hearing about Americans fleeing our country during our Civil War–and very few during the Revolution.

  • Jeff

    The government raising taxes can’t fix inequality, we need an actual plan (not just taking money and giving government more power) to solve inequality.