Phone Files: Why You Should, Shouldn't, Be Angry

Reaction is all over the map to Verizon story
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2013 12:41 PM CDT
Phone Files: Why You Should, Shouldn't, Be Angry
Verizon has been handing over phone data to the government on orders of the NSA.   (AP Photo/Dima Gavrysh, File)

So just how creeped out should we be that the NSA has been collecting phone records about Verizon users? Reaction ranges from shrugs to outrage:

  • Alex Pareene, Salon: It's "equal parts shocking and unsurprising." That the NSA can do this under the Patriot Act is old news, but we have for the first time seen one of the "very top secret" warrants. This could lift the veil of secrecy on how the whole operation works, as civil libertarians have demanded. "But the recent history of the US and domestic surveillance suggests that knowing more won’t lead to doing anything about it."

  • Andrew Sullivan, the Dish: "I’m neither shocked nor that outraged," he writes, because while the NSA got data from the calls, it didn't do any eavesdropping. "Meta-data is not the content of our phone records."
  • Conor Friedersdorf, the Atlantic: He's appalled that more people aren't outraged that the US "is assembling the most sophisticated surveillance state in human history." And that lack of outrage "does not befit a free people."
  • Al Gore: In his widely circulated tweet, he asks, "Is it me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?" (In a similar vein, the ACLU calls it "beyond Orwellian.")
  • Blogger Joshua Foust: The NSA did nothing illegal. "No one will respond to this by voting out their representatives or senators during the next election because, despite the temporary outcry, Americans (including the congressmen and senators who tried to add amendments) don’t care about this very much."
  • The Week has more reaction and analysis.
  • BuzzFeed is having fun with Verizon ads.
(More Verizon stories.)

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