Cringley drops science on wiretapping in the U.S.

24 Jan

Robert X. Cringely did some homework on the freedom-through-wiretapping issue, and gives the current debate over the Bush administration’s use of the NSA some historical perspective:

What led me on this quest in the first place was the fact that I simply couldn’t understand why the Administration felt the need to go beyond FISA, given that the court nearly always granted warrants and warrants could be done retroactively. But does it really matter? I didn’t know whether to be outraged or bored, and I feared that most Americans were in similar positions.

Along the way he uncovers the fun fact that New York City-based International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT) continued to run the German phone networks during World War Two. Its CEO spoke with Adolf Hitler every week during the war as the dictator sought to confirm that this necessary piece of infrastructure remained up and running.

You may remember* ITT’s involvement in another scandal involving a right-wing dictator in the early 70s.

*Not me, though. I just learned about it today through Wikipedia.

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