NSA doesn’t threaten privacy

Published: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 - 1:10 pm

Re "Obama should have NSA emphasize quality, not quantity of data it gathers" (Viewpoints, Jan. 7): Eugene Robinson's recent articles on the National Security Agency have been off the mark. Robinson wrongly believes that the NSA sequestering telephone "metadata" invades privacy. Such surveillance includes the numbers called and received and the date, time and length of calls. But the NSA's possession of metadata doesn't affect anyone's privacy more than does the telephony provider having the exact same data. In fact, because the data is readily available at NSA for cross-searches against international calls, our freedom from domestic attack may be enhanced. Fundamentally, the NSA is tracking calls, not conversations, which is good. In juxtaposition, Robinson uses the Fourth Amendment as his policy directive. I agree that policy work is needed to rethink and redirect the NSA's range of authority. But it is key that policy reform be done in the context of current threats, rather than those perceived by the writers of the Constitution.

-- Darryl Johnson, Granite Bay

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