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Spy On Me, I'd Rather Be Safe

From the Panel


  • Potential Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
    Testimony of Stewart Baker before the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence United States House of Representatives, October 29, 2013Why NSA collection is justified and why the reaction is not.
  • Oversight Hearing on FISA Surveillance Programs
    Statement of Stewart Baker, Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, July 31, 2013Collecting data isn’t the same as actually looking at it.
  • Why the NSA Needs Your Phone Calls
    Stewart Baker, Foreign Policy, June 6, 2013On June 6, the Washington Post revealed the existence of PRISM, which allows the collection of Internet data on a massive scale. Does this mean the end of privacy, law, and the Constitution?
  • Report: NSA’s MUSCULAR Program Taps Yahoo, Google Data Centers
    Stewart Baker, The Takeaway, October 31, 2013Baker, former general counsel to the NSA, says that American citizens should be relieved by how closely the agency is tracking potential threats in order to maintain security.
  • Stewart Baker: Why Privacy Will Become a Luxury
    Julia Angwin interviews Stewart Baker, The Big Interview, The Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2011There’ no doubt there’s a privacy concern when so much information is available, but Baker’s worry is not government misuse, but the fact that information is so widely available that anyone can misuse it.
  • Skating on Stilts: Why We Aren’t Stopping Tomorrow’s Terrorism
    Stewart Baker, Hoover Institution Press, 2010Read a free online version of this book, made available under a Creative Commons license.
  • Skating on Stilts
    Stewart BakerBaker’s blog on technology, privacy and national security issues.


  • NSA Spying Scandal Is Bad for Business
    Richard Falkenrath, Bloomberg TV, November 1, 2013Falkenrath discusses the ramifications of NSA spying.
  • Who Are the Losers in the NSA Spying Scandal?
    Richard Falkenrath, Bloomberg TV, November 1, 2013All the leaders of cloud computing stand to lose the most from the NSA spying scandal.
  • Obama on His Heels About NSA Surveillance
    Richard Falkenrath, Bloomberg TV, June 17, 2013Falkenrath predicts the program will be unchanged in a year, and in five years, changes will occur through the Supreme Court rather than legislation.
  • Domestic Intelligence and the Boston Bombings
    Jonathan Masters interviews Richard Falkenrath, Council on Foreign Relations, April 25, 2013The Boston Marathon bombings offer lessons for future U.S. counterterrorism efforts.
  • The Right Call on Phone Records
    Richard Falkenrath, Washington Post, May 13, 2006On Thursday, USA Today reported that three U.S. telecommunications companies have been voluntarily providing the National Security Agency with anonymized domestic telephone records -- that is, records stripped of individually identifiable data, such as names and place of residence. If true, the architect of this program deserves our thanks and probably a medal.
  • Against: DAVID COLE

  • Professor David Cole on NSA’s Surveillance
    David Cole, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, June 15, 2013The NSA disclosures are stunning and raise serious questions about our governance and our privacy. It is doubtful that anyone thought the Patriot Act authorized the government to pick up phone data every time any American picks up the phone to call anywhere.
  • Secret NSA Program Gives the Agency Unprecedented Access to Private Internet Communications
    David Cole, The Nation, June 6, 2013Privacy makes it easier for terrorists and other criminals to pursue bad ends. But privacy also makes it possible for the rest of us to live our lives with intimacy, to develop our personalities and ideas and associations without fear of government oversight, and to think and act for ourselves.
  • It’s Worse Than You Thought: NSA Spying and the Patriot Act
    David Cole, The Nation, June 6, 2013The Supreme Court long ago ruled that phone call data enjoys no Fourth Amendment protection. Justice Sonia Sotomayor has suggested that this doctrine needs to be reconsidered, but until that happens there are no constitutional impediments to such wholesale vacuuming up of data without any individualized basis for suspicion.
  • The National Security Agency's Domestic Spying Program: Framing the Debate
    David Cole and Martin Lederman, Indiana Law Journal 81, 2006The NSA spying program not only violates a specific criminal prohibition and the separation of powers, but also raises serious constitutional questions under the Fourth Amendment.
  • Keeping Watch on the Detectives
    David Cole, The New York Review of Books, December 22, 2011If, as the Obama administration would have it, the state can engage in such monitoring without first developing any objective basis for suspicion, privacy may become as “quaint” and “obsolete” as then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales once characterized the Geneva Conventions.


  • Former FBI Agent Mike German Talks About the NSA
    Faith Braverman interviews Michael German, The Daily Caller, November 5, 2013Snowden's information shows this is not just a violation of our rights, but a waste of resources.
  • No NSA Poster Child: The Real Story of 9/11 Hijacker Khalid al-Mindhar
    Michael German, Defense One, October 16, 2013The actual facts make clear that the NSA doesn’t need an enormous database of everyone’s phone records to track a discrete number of terrorists -- the NSA just needs to use the traditional tools it has to investigate its targets.
  • The Government Is Spying on You: ACLU Releases New Evidence of Overly Broad Surveillance of Everyday Activities
    Julia Harumi Mass and Michael German, ACLU, September 19, 2013For years, the ACLU have been warning that the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative would lead to violations of our privacy, racial and religious profiling, and interference with constitutionally-protected activities…. The ACLU, joined by 26 other organizations, called on the Justice Department, FBI and two other agencies responsible for Suspicious Activity Reporting to adopt stricter standards so that individuals' innocent activity will cease being reported, shared and maintained for decades in anti-terrorism databases.
  • America, NSA Surveillance is Bad for Business
    Michael German, ACLU Blog, August 13, 2011This ubiquitous government surveillance harms more than just our personal privacy, and American businesses need to pay particular attention.
  • Fusion Centers: Too Much (Bad) Information
    Michael German, ACLU Blog, October 3, 2012The official verdict is finally in, thanks to a congressional report out today: state and local law enforcement intelligence “fusion centers” funded by the Department of Homeland Security are failing to safeguard both our constitutional rights and our security.
  • Unleashed and Unaccountalbe: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority
    ACLU Report, September 2013There is evidence the FBI’s increased intelligence collection powers have harmed, rather than aided, its terrorism prevention efforts by overwhelming agents with a flood of irrelevant data and false alarms.


  • FOR

  • Simple Tests for Surveillance
    James Lewis, Center for Strategic & International Studies, June 12, 2013All nations surveil communications. Surveillance reduces risk. This makes it worthwhile if the political risks can be managed and minimized.
  • NSA Surveillance Vital to Our Safety
    Michael Chertoff, USA Today, September 11, 2013The evolution of the intelligence community since 9/11 has helped protect Americans from al-Qaeda.
  • We Need NSA Surveillance
    Gerald Walpin, National Review, August 16, 2013The NSA examines only the addressee and sender on e-mails, and telephone numbers called and called from. The Supreme Court has long held that such information is not privacy-protected by the Fourth Amendment.
  • NSA Surveillance in Perspective
    Roger Pilon and Richard Epstein, Chicago Tribune, June 12, 2013The critics would be more credible if they could identify a pattern of government abuses. But after 12 years of continuous practice, they can’t cite even a single case.
  • NSA Surveillance, if Ungentlemanly, Is Not Illegal
    Michael Barone, Washington Examiner, June 11, 2013With increased computer use, technology is seen as empowering individuals rather than Big Brother. And with an increased threat of terrorist attack, government surveillance is seen as protecting individuals.

  • NSA Spying Is Making Us Less Safe
    David Talbot interviews Bruce Schneier, MIT Technology Review, September 23, 2013The NSA's actions are making us all less safe. They're not just spying on the bad guys, they're deliberately weakening Internet security for everyone—including the good guys.
  • Time to Rein in the Surveillance State
    ACLUThe ACLU has been at the forefront of the struggle to rein in the surveillance superstructure, which strikes at the core of our rights to privacy, free speech, and association. Here's some of what they are doing to roll back the surveillance state.
  • Claim on ‘Attacks Thwarted’ by NSA Spreads Despite Lack of Evidence
    Justin Elliott and Theodoric Meyer, ProPublica, October 23, 2013Intelligence officials, media outlets, and members of Congress from both parties all repeated versions of the claim that NSA surveillance has stopped more than 50 terrorist attacks, but there’s no evidence that this figure is accurate.
  • NSA’s Vast Surveillance Powers Extend Far Beyond Counterterrorism, Despite Misleading Government Claims
    Trevor Timm, Electronic Frontier Foundation, November 11, 2013Counterterrorism is only a fraction of the NSA’s far broader authority to seek ‘foreign intelligence information,’ a menacing sounding term that actually encapsulates all sorts of innocuous, everyday conversation.
  • NSA Snooping Matters, Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’
    Julian Sanchez, Mashable, June 14, 2013It’s slow and subtle, but surveillance societies inexorably train us for helplessness, anxiety and compliance.