Briefly, I wanted to touch on the President’s comments about the PRISM program that the FBI and NSA are using to monitor traffic on telephone and Internet networks. I am increasingly disappointed by President Obama’s cavalier attitude toward the program and the public’s objections to it. But in particular, I am disappointed in the way that he and others obfuscate around an important point.
“When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program’s about,” Obama said.
It’s just “meta data,” he and others want you to think. What’s really important about your phone calls is what you said, right? And nobody’s listening to that.
But keep in mind: if you’re not plotting a terrorist attack, the content of your phone conversations is probably completely banal horseshit in the first place. Not even really important enough, in most cases, for you to remember. It is not the valuable part.
Who you call and when – to say nothing of what you uploaded to YouTube, when you tweeted, etc – is far more important most of the time than what you said. That may be different for terrorists, but remember: the government says it’s not listening.