What’s so “Private” about the Numbers you Phone?

I never, ever agree with Lindsey Graham. If the South Carolina senator is for something, you can bet the farm that I will loathe and abhor it. And if he’s against something, you can bet it’s one of my favorite things. So you can imagine how creepy I feel having to admit the guy is right for once!

Surprisingly, shockingly, Senator Graham expressed my opinion when he threw cold water on the latest flaming “scandal” engulfing American politics – the government’s using its subpoena powers to check out the numbers Americans have been calling on their phones. He shrugged off the noise and tumult by wondering why anyone would care about this invasion of their “privacy.” He doesn’t care, he said, because he doesn’t phone terrorists.

I don’t phone terrorists, either. Do you?

If you don’t, what’s all the fuss about?

The way I see it, if checking out my phone calls – not their content, mind you, just the numbers I call – will help law enforcement officers track down a gang of thugs that’s about to detonate a dirty bomb in my neighborhood, why, be my guest.

I don’t call phone-sex numbers but even if I did, I would still be OK with law enforcement having that information if it meant catching some punk of a terrorist.

And if I don’t care why should some foreign newspaper?

But the UK Guardian seems to care – a lot.

“Progressive” film maker and reporter Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story in the Guardian, is outraged by this invasion of the people’s privacy. He declared on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night (photo above) that anyone who dismisses this government abuse the way Lindsey Graham did belongs to the political far-right.

So I guess, for the first time in my life, I am “far right.” On this issue, anyway.

(So how come “far right” bloggers are heaping scorn on Lindsey Graham this morning?)

Greenwald  followed up the Verizon story with another “scoop” revealing that National Security spooks are also spying on our Internet activity.

Really? Uncle Sam is looking over my shoulder while I browse?

Actually, that’s not quite accurate.

Turns out that what the spooks are looking for is international communication that might shed some light on terrorists’ plans. And I wish them luck. If they happen to see that photo of our cat, Zoey, that I just posted on Facebook while they seek information that might avert another Nine Eleven, that’s fine with me.

My “privacy” is not so important that it should get in the way of potentially life-saving investigations.

It’s a dangerous world we live in, and – as Hippocrates observed so long ago – desperate times require desperate measures.

Click here for one view of the “scandal.”

Click here for another view.

Click here for Greenwald on MSNBC.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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1 Response

  1. Faye Graham says:

    You are one hell of a journalist! Bravo – keep up the good work. You tell it like it is, and it ain’t good!