Perspective

According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, Americans hold a fairly nuanced view of national security as it relates to privacy, but buried deep at the bottom of this story is this choice quote:

“Tracking my phone calls is not as big of a deal as the fact that I don’t have paper and pens in my classrooms,” said Ashley Grimaldi, 28, a high school teacher from West Norriton Township, Pennsylvania.

No shit.

Only 6 percent of respondents said the NSA’s collection of phone call metadata (number dialed, duration of call) was “completely unacceptable.”

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  • Clancy

    I feel like a terrible liberal for not thinking (what I have learned thus far) is that big of a deal. Partly, this is because I believed that this sort of information gathering was already taking place, but also because I don’t consider this kind of gathering–largely for the purposes of creating predictive models–is all that intrusive to my personal privacy. What is more, it seems far less intrusive than what I’ve already volunteered of myself to my credit card companies, insurance provider, social network sites, cable provider, and grocery store. Is it more intrusive than the government requiring (under penalty of law) that recipients fill out the American Community survey–which also reveals extremely private details about one’s self and family?

    When discussing it with a friend, I likened it to the county conducting a traffic survey at an intersection. Instead of merely counting the cars, they’re also noting the vehicle types, makes, models, color, speed of travel, and taking down license plates. Is collecting this information really hindering the freedom of movement of any of the cars’ operators? Probably not. However, I understand why people might not trust the government to not abuse the knowledge they might gain about any individual’s driving habits.

    If the metadata information gathered starts getting used to prosecute people, then I would likely feel differently, but for now, I fear I’m with the large sector of Americans that probably don’t care too much about it.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Overall, like the majority of folks it seems, I’m not concerned enough about it to take any action beyond posting comments to web sites. I figure there is such a massive amount of information being gathered that any related specifically to me is lost in the flood. (Yes, our safety lies in exactly that which has gotten some folks very concerned: the massive amount of info being gathered.) And if anyone does focus in on me, specifically, then they’d be coming after my info in particular whether it’s the only info out there or a single drop in that flood.

      What I do find bothersome is the “Hey, I already give a lot of info to my credit card company, so what’s the diff?” argument. There is a vast difference between information I willingly give to a business and information taken without my knowledge (and possibly against my will) by a government.

      I can choose not to do business with a company who wants too much information. Or often refuse to give it to them with no effect on their willingness to do business with me. (I’ve not filled in the “Social Security Number” space on 99% of the forms I’ve filled out and no company has ever cared.) Or give them bogus info if they make it a required field on an online form. (Lots of companies have my phone number as 999-999-9999.)

      But the gov’t we don’t get to avoid. Providing false info to the gov’t is often illegal. And businesses don’t have the vast powers available to the gov’t.

  • mrbrink

    Ashley Grimaldi is obviously parroting the White House talking points and is experiencing some form of female hysteria.

    She hasn’t been properly shamed and bullied into voting against her interests, yet.

    Go ahead and scream all you want, America. We’re miles away from giving a shit!

    • D_C_Wilson

      I’ll be she uses birth control, too!

  • Victor_the_Crab

    “Tracking my phone calls is not as big of a deal as the fact that I don’t have paper and pens in my classrooms,” said Ashley Grimaldi, 28, a high school teacher from West Norriton Township, Pennsylvania.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      I guess GIFs don’t work here, huh?