Claim: the NSA records and stores 80% of U.S. phone calls

According to the Guardian.

What do you think? True? Police state, as I’ve seen some say? Will anything be done about it, ever, if true?

I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if they were doing that.

This entire article is nothing more than the baseless paranoid speculations of a long-retired man with an axe to grind.

Given the NSA’s history of overreach, the most you can say is that there’s no strong confirmation but it’s plausible.

I’d be surprised if it wasn’t 100 percent. The government is very afraid of the people.

From the article:

No dog in this fight, but I really wish people would stop repeating this canard. Even Snowden himself has said that the NSA’s collection of metadata did prevent at least one terrorist attack – though granted, he always cites it as something that could’ve been prevented without resorting to metadata collection, as well as claiming that the NSA’s exaggerating its success in that arena.

Carry on.

The government is the people, and we have every right to be afraid.

That’s just silly. Even in an generally functional democracy, the government is a subset of the population whose incentives do not always match up with those of the population as a whole. Just because people get to have some limited influence on what the government does by pressing a button once every few years, that does not mean that they cannot criticize it or that it isn’t logically possible for the government to do something which is not in the best interest of the people.

If the government was not acting in the best interest of the people, it would rapidly cease to be the government. In this country, we achieve this revolution by doing what you so glibly describe as “pressing a button once every few years”.

This can only happen if the voters know what the government is up to, and this is information which you constantly argue should be hidden from them.

Good thing to know, because that’s ever so much better than, say, having a government that caters almost entirely to the interests of corporations and the wealthy. If that were ever to happen, we could expect to see that rapidly cease, right? :wink:

As far as the OP is concerned, the sources seem credible, and the idea is generally in line with what Snowden has been saying, so the word “plausible” seems like a good verdict.

The “source” is an individual who hasn’t worked for the government for 13 years, since before the programs he alleges even existed, who by his admission has no actual evidence of the claims he is making, and who by his own admission has a political axe to grind with the US government.

You’ll forgive me for finding his claims less than plausible.

Because when that information is made available to them, they engage in kneejerk emotional reactions which are contradictory to their own best interests.

It is in the people’s best interest to conceal information from them which would cause them to act against their best interest.

So, if people can’t be allowed to know of the actions which their chosen representatives will take on their behalf, because we do not trust them enough to use that knowledge appropriately, then how do you propose that people in a democracy decide who to vote for? Just pick the taller of the two Presidential candidates?

I don’t believe it’s plausible, actually. Storing metadata is one thing, a single phone call metadata is like one line of text data with the caller’s number, recipient number, and length of call.

But storing actual audio for 80% of all American phone calls? That requires a vast infrastructure, including massive farms of data storage, a massive collections apparatus and etc. I’m not sure it’s technically feasible. It’s technically possible given technology today, but I think the actual hurdles of building out such a system make it a systems engineering problem that I doubt the NSA has solved. I also suspect if there had been evidence of it Snowden would have had it since he basically had the keys to the pantry due to retard-level NSA IT policies and he certainly wouldn’t have spent time harping about metadata collection if he had evidence of something like this.

Actually, the claim is not 80% of US phone calls.

That’s 80% of all the fiber-optic calls in the world. Calls from the US would, presumably, be a much smaller percentage.

That seems a more fantastical claim, even.

Yep. It just surprises me how often people don’t actually read the cites here.

There’s a threshold of credibility involved for me, personally. When the claim is ludicrous to my sensibilities (80% of all U.S. phone calls as per OP) and the source is the Guardian, and it’s essentially the opinion of one guy with no evidence to back it up I didn’t deign to waste my time reading it. I question why you chose to do so.

What’s particularly questionable to me is the system to actually record everything. I suspect as cheap as storage is these days, and with compression, you could actually store all the audio with government or even large corporate resources. But there isn’t an easy system already in place to “record all”, and operating that system in real time would be a mammoth IT undertaking.

Not quite. Voting has no effect on the civil service, only the leadership. In other words, we can effect direction and funding, but it is much more difficult to change the institutional culture that has developed.

Personally, I think that’s a good thing, by and large, but it remains true that your votes have zero effect on the DMV.