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One more angle on the Feds' big spy program - Input Junkie
June 10th, 2013
09:49 am

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One more angle on the Feds' big spy program
NPR (my primary news source) keeps having people who talk about spying on Americans, as though non-Americans don't have a privacy interest vs. the US government. They do have a privacy interest, and especially so since it's now legal for the POTUS to have *anyone* killed.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1010867.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:james_nicoll
Date:June 10th, 2013 03:09 pm (UTC)
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The US generally only grudgingly acknowledges that its own subjects are people and pretty much never does for foreigners. If they did, they'd be denied e.g. vital test populations for mind-altering drugs and lose out on vital coup practice. It's not reasonable to get upset that the US is violating non-Americans rights because it goes against most traditions of America to acknowledge them in the first place.
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From:nancylebov
Date:June 10th, 2013 03:20 pm (UTC)
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IIRC, when Obama was campaigning the first time, people in other countries didn't really seem to be part of how he imagined the world.
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From:richardthinks
Date:June 12th, 2013 06:03 pm (UTC)
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exactly so. I was a foreigner for years and I never once heard about having any kind of rights.

The critical point being that I had no constituency. In this way the whole capitalism<>democracy thing actually makes some sense: no pay, no say.
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From:richardthinks
Date:June 12th, 2013 06:05 pm (UTC)
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...or to put it another way, I really love the pirate ship metaphor for democracy: it's a small special place where you have people who matter as people. Everyone is supposed to get some sort of share and you recognize that you're all in this together.

For this golden space to exist, you also have to define everything outside the ship as cattle waiting to be exploited.
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From:ndrosen
Date:June 11th, 2013 03:18 am (UTC)
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It may not be perfectly saintly, but one expects a country's intelligence services to gather information on foreigners -- especially but not exclusively foreign terrorists trying to kill us. The CIA and NSA may need to be restrained by prudential considerations, or by fundamental moral considerations we owe even to people who are not members of our polity, but they are not bound by the Fourth Amendment, or most other domestic laws, when attempting to gather intelligence on Al Qaida, or the People's Republic of China, or Belgium for that matter. Domestic spying is a different matter, and is supposed to be limited by law.
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From:madfilkentist
Date:June 11th, 2013 11:28 am (UTC)
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they are not bound by the Fourth Amendment, or most other domestic laws, when attempting to gather intelligence on Al Qaida, or the People's Republic of China, or Belgium for that matter.


False. The fact that their objective is intelligence on someone outside the US does not give them carte blanche to ignore the Constitution. When they are acting outside the US, it's less clear that they're bound by US constitutional restraints, but their actions in the US are subject to US law, regardless of their ultimate targets.

Cleanly separating intelligence on Americans from intelligence on foreigners is impossible. Useful information may come from communication between Americans and non-Americans, or even from communication strictly among Americans. If the government can justify otherwise unconstitutional searches because it's looking for information on foreigners, it can look anywhere. And evidently it does.
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From:ndrosen
Date:June 12th, 2013 03:00 am (UTC)
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A misunderstanding, sir. I meant that when operating abroad they are not bound by U.S, domestic law.
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From:richardthinks
Date:June 12th, 2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
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and yet I think you or I still are? That is, the US might not have jurisdiction outside its borders (except to assassinate people, natch) but it can prosecute you on your return for breaking US law while abroad.
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From:ndrosen
Date:June 13th, 2013 04:52 am (UTC)
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IANAL, but I believe that laws passed by Congress are presumed to apply only in the U.S. unless the contrary is stated, although some laws -- the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or the laws against piracy on the high seas -- can apply to Americans anywhere.

But if I visit Great Britain, and drive on the left in accordance with British traffic law, I would not be prosecuted for doing so on my return, although my actions would have been against Virginia law, and possibly federal law, if committed at home.
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