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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Extension of remarks: When the NSA gobbled up SLC ...

Insane time: Spying on Games, Utahns wrong — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Utah politicians, who learn to condemn the excesses of the federal government before they can walk, have been handed a perfect opportunity. They have a chance to go ballistic over news of unconstitutional excess, centered right in Salt Lake City, that reportedly happened even as federal officials were promising Utah’s leaders that no such thing was going on. ...

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... In a story first broken by The Wall Street Journal, we became aware this past week that the National Security Agency and FBI were not only blanketing Salt Lake City with their presence during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, they were also monitoring Utahns’ Internet traffic and text messages. Current and former state officials, who generally make a practice of denigrating the federal government for everything from energy policy to health care to gun regulation, have managed no more than a collective "Meh." ...

Former Salt Lake mayor: NSA snooping is the scandal of the century: Anderson calls for prosecution of those involved — Lee Davidson | The Salt Lake Tribune

Rocky Anderson — the mayor of Salt Lake City during the 2002 Olympics — says a report of the National Security Agency monitoring the content of all email and texting in the area during the Winter Games amounts "to the greatest scandal so far of this century." ...

Elseweb:

Human rights are for losers — George Pyle | The Salt Lake Tribune

... As more and more information is leaked, dragged and pried out of our government about the breadth of its global data-sweeping programs — kept improperly secret so that we can’t even make an intelligent judgment as to whether they are effective or even remotely constitutional — about the only current or former leader with the guts to call it wrong is a one-term president whose name has become synonymous with political impotence.

Only Jimmy Carter has had the courage to say that all the goings-on that we aren’t even allowed to discuss effectively render our democracy non-functional. And he said it in Germany, where no Americans were listening. ...

Should the NSA have asked for permission? — Deseret News Editorial

... In the context of the time — five months after the Sept. 11 attacks — it is reasonable the government deployed resources to guard against an assault on such a high-profile international event. But again, it isn't what the NSA did, but how it did it. The agency positioned itself with the help of Qwest Communications to intercept virtually every email and text message out of Salt Lake City for six months, without notifying local authorities and without apparently any judicial oversight.

The action effectively turned upside down the premise of constitutional protection against unwarranted search and seizure. In essence, for six months, everybody in the Salt Lake metropolitan area was considered, de facto, a suspect. ...

Surveillance court must be reformed — Denver Post Editorial

... The volume and diversity of the problems, which only got worse with recent disclosures, and the admitted limitations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in providing oversight make a strong case for reform. ...

With NSA spying, connecting dots hasn’t been easy — Dallas Morning News Editorial

... So as we struggle to connect the dots, we must conclude that blinding the overseers makes a program ripe for abuse and that self-policing is no way to manage anything with the size, breadth and scope of the NSA’s data-gathering.

Smart phone searches by police should raise alarm — San Jose Mercury News Editorial

The more we hear about President Obama's attitude toward privacy, the less we like.

The latest eyebrow-raiser is the administration's argument that the Fourth Amendment allows warrantless cell phone searches. The president last week asked the Supreme Court to resolve the issue, arguing that a cell phone is no different from any other object a suspect might be carrying, such as a notebook, calendar or address book.

Hogwash. ...

To make journalism harder, slower, less secure. That’s what the surveillance state is trying to do. — Jay Rosen | Press Think

War on Leaks Is Pitting Journalist vs. Journalist — David Carr | The New York Times

The NSA paid Silicon Valley millions to spy on taxpayers — Brian Fung | The Switch/Washington Post



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