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ETpro's avatar

The NSA versus the ACLU. Which do you trust more?

Asked by ETpro (34605points) December 23rd, 2013

This YouTube video humorously casts a team of Santa suited Saint NSAs as constant “minders” like a journalist might be assigned when visiting North Korea. They know when you are sleeping and see when you’re awake. They know when you’ve been bad or good. Are you on their list, for goodness sake? Which side are you on? Do you trust the NSA more, or the ACLU?

How much warrantless wiretapping, cellphone tracking and data mining do you think we need? It’s a complex question. There is no doubt but that terrorist pose a threat to life and security. But it is equally clear that governments can run amok and begin “disappearing” all political opponents in an effort to establish permanent dictatorial rule. So it’s really a question of which threat you think poses the greater danger.

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24 Answers

bolwerk's avatar

What is to not trust about the ACLU? Even if you disagree with them, they don’t exactly hide much.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am not sure I trust either, necessarily but I would rather support the ACLU.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I have nothing to hide, so why should I live in fear of either? Over it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Love the attention this is getting.

@KNOWITALL Would you please send me your bank card info, transaction history, and every email you’ve sent out over the past year? I know you don’t have anything to hide. But this isn’t about what someone is or is not hiding. This is about what I have the rights to see.

You probably know me better than you know anyone in the NSA. If they have a right to see your privies, then give it up girl. Show me the goods.

bolwerk's avatar

What a boring life you must lead if you have nothing to hide!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m not willing to give up freedom for security.

Rarebear's avatar

I’m one of the people who actually think that the NSA feels that they’re honestly trying to protect this country. That doesn’t mean that they haven’t gone overboard with what they have been allowed to do, it’s just that I don’t think they’re filled with evil men with thin mustaches going “Bua ha ha” as they hack into your email.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You get in more trouble going to Target and using your debit than with the NSA.

@bolwerk Boring? Maybe, but I’m not a terrorist or causing anyone any harm. I feel more like @rarebear on this one.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Trust? What sort of brain-dead individual would trust ANY agency in the business of gathering information? I’ve worded that wrong. Yes you can trust the NSA, just as you can trust a tiger with a collar that reads “man-eating tiger” You can trust the tiger to eat you, even if it purrs in a lovely contralto that it isn’t hungry. The NSA may be trying to protect the country, but if you think for one instant that your privacy is to be respected by an agency that prides itself on snooping, then you are beyond naive. I’ll take the ACLU any day.

MadMadMax's avatar

@KNOWITALL “I have nothing to hide, so why should I live in fear of either? Over it.”

Oh no, don’t think that way.

Are you willing to bet the cost of sitting for ten years in solitary confinement in some prison because they claimed you broke a law – nobody is aware of all the laws out there. You could have broken ten laws you’re not aware of.

To many people on death row are found innocent. Too many don’t get the chance to prove they are innocent.

No, I do fear the NSA.

flutherother's avatar

The ACLU knows nothing about me and respects the law.
The NSA knows everything about me and ignores the law.

kritiper's avatar

I trust the NSA more. The ACLU is too one-sided.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@kripter Exactly. It’s their job to be one sided, and I would prefer to put my faith in the outfit geared to protect the INDIVIDUAL. The resources of the state are enormous, and our “state” has consistently demonstrated that it is prepared to roll over the individual without so much as a “how do you do?”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@MadMadMax I guess I am willing to risk it because I don’t do anything to break laws. I think it’s weird that so many people choose to live in fear.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@KNOWITALL It would be prudent to fear the state. If you think you are “safe” merely because you haven’t broken any laws, you haven’t been paying attention. The prisons are FULL of people who haven’t broken any laws, and they should be an object lesson to those of us without the financial wherewithall to mount a “competent” defense.

Blondesjon's avatar

Doesn’t the ACLU fight to protect NAMBLA’a rights?

It’s like a choice between a hangman’s noose and a firing squad.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Yep NAMBLA, and even the Klan. Even jackasses have rights.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

It’s not about the trouble @KNOWITALL. It’s about the rights. I have a right to privacy.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The NSA took a big steamy u know what on the constitution. That’s also called treason. I’d like to see some people face jail time for what they are doing.

ETpro's avatar

@bolwerk Excellent point. The ACLU is pretty transparent about their intentions. They fight to protect our Constitutional rights.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Good point. “Trust, but verify.”

@KNOWITALL As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” What’s the first move any would-be despot makes? They set up a massive, invasive secret police agency. Hitler has his SS. Stalin had the KGB. They aren’t looking for law breakers. They are looking for anyone who disagrees with their political hegemony, and they kill them. If you haven’t read George Orwell’s 1984, you should. If you’ve read it but forgotten what “Big Brother is watching you.” and thought crime means, read it again. We’re moving into a time, technologically, where Big Brother really is watching you. All we need is to elect some psychopathic leader like Hitler, Papa Doc Duvalier, General Galtieri, Stalin, or Mao and our Democracy is dead unless we pour into the streets, pitchforks in hand, to fight for it. Why let it get to that?

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies True though it it, that only illustrates the half of it.

@ARE_you_kidding_me I’m completely with you in not being willing ti trade essential liberty for temporary security. As Benjamin Franklin correctly noted, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” He could easily have added that they get neither, as well.

@Rarebear I’m sure you are right that most of the agency’s personnel are honestly directed at rooting out real terrorists. But this question about current news shows how easily corporate power and money could merge with the power of government to create a new fascist movement cast in the mold of Mussolini and Hitler’s Corporatism. The bottom line is you cannot defend the constitution by running it through a shredder.

@stanleybmanly Agreed.

@MadMadMax When secret police agencies really get going eliminating any and all political opposition, people don’t end up charged with crimes. They are just “disappeared.”

@flutherother Very well said.

@kritiper If I have to pick a one-sided organization; it will be one that sides with Constitutional protections of our freedoms, and not one that shreds the Constitution.

@Blondesjon As soon as you limit Constitutional protections to groups or people you like, there is no more Constitution. There is just being part of the in group. That’s precisely what the US was set up to escape.

@stanleybmanly Exactly. Like them or not, we have to respect their Constitutional rights. Otherwise, there is no such thing.

@ARE_you_kidding_me Exactly the point. Their job is to defend it, not crap all over it.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I trust the ACLU much more than the NSA. 5–6 years ago, the NSA collecting mass data was a “conspiracy theory.”

Has anyone pondered the possibility that one day, files will be publicly leaked containing all of your data in one place that is being collected?
As shown with Manning and Snowden, things can not always be kept a secret.

fredTOG's avatar

ACLU Is way better

stanleybmanly's avatar

I guess the best way to get a handle on this question is to ask who will be in your corner when your own interests conflict with those of the state?

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