Jan 22 2006

What Is Legal

Published by at 5:50 pm under All General Discussions

This article mirrors my previous post about the modern day ways of having to monitor communications – how to read the to/from addresses in the digital world. One point to make clear regarding this statement

The technical problem is in the fire hose of information involved, said Mark Rasch, a former Justice Department computer crimes prosecutor.

“The idea that the NSA could be sitting on every call going internationally, listening in on every possible language, for the words al-Qaida,’ ‘terrorist’ or ‘bombs’ is just fallacy,” he said. “Computers capable of doing that simply don’t exist and hopefully never will.”

But the technology does exist to quickly read just the destination or origin information.

That sort of monitoring, if done on a wide scale, creates thorny moral, ethical and legal problems because those channels are much more likely to contain the chatter of innocents than the machinations of terrorists. And it raises the question of how that traffic is used.

This is pure legal speculation. The FISA era equivalent of the to/from address fields in modern communications is the to/from address fields on an envelope. Since these are knowingle exposed for the purpose of routing, this information is not private. By definition it is public since it has to be made public to achieve the goal of having the communication connect to the designated receiver.

More than that, all the reporting from the Washington Post seems to indicate that this is what the NSA was doing. I still doubt there is anything underneath all this hot air.

One response so far

One Response to “What Is Legal”

  1. clarice says:

    You’ll be interested in this, AJ–And the Dems seem to be backstroking away.