What the NSA can do with cell phone data

He knows when you’ve been sleeping.  He knows when you’re away.  He knows if you’ve been bad or good.  So be  good for goodness sake.  Apparently, Santa Clause works for the NSA.  He also knows who you associate with.  And where you are.

This story from the Washington Post (after the jump) tells how the National Security Administration uses massive data from cell phones to not only track suspected terrorists but to identify other suspected terrorists based on the numbers they frequently call.  They can also use cell phone data to determine where these people are at any given time!  (Combine that with drone technology. . . .)

The information about what the NSA is capable of doing with cell phone data is fascinating.  You can see how it is a potent anti-terrorism tool.  But imagine how a government could use this technology to trace, say, a dissident political network. [Read more...]

NSA tracking porn visits to discredit enemies

According to a document leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA has been tracking visits to porn sites and other questionable activities as a way to discredit or perhaps blackmail suspected Muslim terrorists.  Read about it after the jump.  Is this a brilliant tactic that should be expanded to combat the pornography plague or a dangerous precedent-setting invasion of privacy?  Or what? [Read more...]

Making the military cool again

Literature, including and perhaps especially the more popular varieties, does more than provide escapist entertainment.  It can also shape people’s imaginations so as to influence the actual world.  Case in point:  the recently departed author Tom Clancy, who, according to veterans Erin Simpson and Phillip Carter, was largely responsible for making the military cool again, after the disfavor it fell into with the Vietnam war, and inspiring lots of young readers to sign up. [Read more...]

Madness and death in the nation’s Capital

A man doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire on the National Mall in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.  Though bystanders, quite nobly, tried to put out the fire, the man died of his injuries.  As of this writing, no one knows who he was or why he did what he did.

The day before a mentally ill woman drove through a barricade at the White House, hit a Secret Service agent with her car (though he was not seriously injured) and started a car chase with Capital police that scattered tourists and put Congress in a lockdown.  The chase ended near the Capitol Building when the woman’s car went through another barricade and got stuck on a median whereupon she was shot dead.  It turned out she was unarmed, with a one-year-0ld child in the car. [Read more...]

International terrorism

Islamic terrorists attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing as many as 65 people and wounding some 200.  Also this weekend, Islamic suicide bombers attacked All Saints Anglican Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing (at latest count) 81 people and wounding 140. [Read more...]

The legacy of 9/11?

On this anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we’ve got to ask ourselves:  Did the terrorists win?  Or did America win?  And what did those attacks do to us?  Considerations after the jump. [Read more...]


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