A secret hacker reported earlier informing how the US uses unreliable NSA cell metadata to drone civilians, yet we have US officials denying spying activities conducted by the NSA, we had President Obama asserting,
“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls.” “What the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls – they are not looking at people’s names and they are not looking at content,” he said then.
NSA had claimed earlier that its sweeping collection of phone and Internet records should not concern people because it is only the metadata that is retained, which is anyways bogus.NSA-Data-Collection-saves-data-to-attack-anyone
However, Stewart Baker, NSA General Counsel, feels otherwise when he said earlier,
“Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.”
The defenders of the surveillance program argued it is not only the NSA, Facebook also collects data.
While the debate about what information NSA collects and what it does not is yet to reach a conclusive stand, we hear from an ex-NSA Chief that US does ‘kill people based on metadata.’
Michael Hayden, former Director of both NSA and CIA, admitted this during the Presidential Event debate, The Price of Privacy: Re-Evaluating the NSA, with David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, at Johns Hopkins University.
During the debate, Cole called for stronger regulations to preserve privacy of American citizens while Hayden defended the NSA surveillance programs.
Arguing against the collection of metadata by NSA, which claims not to be collecting the content and hence not violating people’s privacy, Cole said,
“But metadata alone can provide an extremely detailed picture of a person’s most intimate associations and interests, and it’s actually much easier as a technological matter to search huge amounts of metadata than to listen to millions of phone calls.”
He also quoted Baker’s assertion about metadata’s importance and the information it leads to. Strangely enough, Hayden agreed with Baker’s assertion during the debate.
Hayden said, “We kill people with metadata,” and then was quick enough to defend his comments, “but that’s not what we do with this metadata program.”
“It’s really important to understand this program in its entirety. Not the potentiality of the program but how it’s actually conducted. The NSA under very strict limitations can access the lockbox of surveillance data,” Hayden added.
The debate, presented by the Foreign Affairs Symposium (FAS), was moderated by Major Garrett, Chief White House Correspondent for CBS News.
Cole’s strongest argument against NSA was “it conducts surveillance in secret and violates Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.”
In contrast, Hyaden felt secrecy is vital to optimize security.
“Transparency shaves points off of operational efficiency. In order for you to be a bit more comfortable, you are going to be a bit less safe.”
But does that still justify drone killings???