On the Vonage Forum (which is independent of Vonage itself) there's quite a debate going on about the right and wrong of the recently revealed National Security Agency program to obtain the phone calling records of tens of millions of Americans.
Although Vonage says they would only hand over such records with a court order and have in fact not received an order to do so, that hasn't prevented the topic from bubbling up among Vonage users who frequent the Forum.
The Vonage Forum has a thread on this issue. The thread's title is "Did Vonage Give NSA Our Phone Records?
The two most prevalent arguments I see on the 60 or so posts so far take opposite views:
One says, not with my phone calling records you don't.
The other says, if you are not a terrorist, and are not calling terrorists, what do you have to fear?
Kamnet treats the issue as a violation of privacy:
The question should not be whether or not I have something to hide, but whether the government has a valid reason to invade my right to privacy. If the government believes that I truly am a terrorist, the law does give them the right to follow up on that and see. But going to a phone company and asking them to be able to snoop on everybody WITHOUT an order from a judge? That's not investigating whether a few people are terrorists, that is what they call "fishing for evidence", and it is illegal.
Silly me, I demand that the government follows the laws that it creates, both in spirit and in body, rather than try to find ways to evade the laws it creates.
But then mbkerk writes:
Normally I want as little government intervention in my life as possible, straight down the line, but when it comes to protecting me from terrorists and their ilk, I expect them to use every tool they have.
If they want to monitor who is calling who, thats just fine with me. If John Doe in the good ole USA is getting, or placing 30 calls a week to Achmed, (fictional known terrorist) in Pakistan... Dammit, I want someone to check into it and see what the hell they are talking about!
Kamnet fires back:
And if the government has information from outside these telephone logs that John Doe and Achmed are talking a lot, and they have other evidence which suggests that one or the other may be involved in terrorism, then it is VERY EASY for them to take this information and obtain a wiretap for further investigation.
But just because John and Achmed call each other all the time, that's not proof that they are terrorist. That's only proof that a) they like to talk a lot and b) they've got the money to spend on international calls. Neither one is a crime.
There will be more volleys. Trust me on that.
Oh, and there's more cutting edge posts as well. Rants against the Bush Administration, all sorts of conspiracy theories...makes for entertaining reading. Check out the thread and you'll see what I mean.