"Back in June, when the contents of Edward Snowden's cache of NSA documents were just starting to be revealed and we learned about the NSA collecting phone metadata of every American, many people -- including President Obama -- discounted the seriousness of the NSA's actions by saying that it's just metadata."
The NSA and Obama aren't "discounting" the NSA's actions because it's "just metadata." They're defending the legality of the NSA's actions by saying that it's "just metadata."
The legally relevant distinction isn't how informative data versus metadata is, but who generated and controls the information that's the subject of surveillance. AT&T's metadata about your calls is generated by AT&T's equipment, stored on its servers, and is generally not even accessible to you. That not only puts it squarely within the domain of the third party doctrine, but makes it very hard to argue that it fits within even a common sense lay person's reading of the 4th amendment (which guarantees "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects."). Arguing that AT&T's data is your data is an uphill battle to say the least.
Now, maybe third party doctrine is obsolete in a world where people voluntarily give over to third parties every detail about their lives. But it doesn't contribute to that debate for Schneier to totally mischaracterize what Obama is saying.
 In my opinion, privacy is obsolete in a world where people voluntarily give over to third parties every detail about their lives, but reasonable minds can differ on that point.
Well, here's what the president actually said:
When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program’s about. As was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people’s names, and they’re not looking at content. But by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may identify potential leads with respect to folks who might engage in terrorism. If these folks — if the intelligence community then actually wants to listen to a phone call, they’ve got to go back to a federal judge, just like they would in a criminal investigation. So I want to be very clear. Some of the hype that we’ve been hearing over the last day or so — nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls.
He didn't make the "it's legal because it's only metadata" argument. He did claim that the program is legal, and that it is overseen by Congress and a secret court.
Maybe it's just a matter of opinion, but I'm very comfortable characterizing this reply as "discounting because it's just metadata."
I'm unhappy about this, and I voted for the guy twice.
Perhaps. But keep in the mind the context: "nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls"
The president spells out a specific concern that people are saying out loud. Is it "discounting" to disprove a specific concern by accurately characterizing the activity as something other than "listening to the content of people’s phone calls"? That he so happens to use "metadata" does not make his argument wrong or misleading. What word should he use?
So the people say "You're recording our calls!" And the official answer is "Well we're not actually listening to them. We analyze the crap out of the metadata, though."
I'm still OK with calling that "discounting."
In other words, Schneier's not disputing the facts, but suggesting we ascribe different value to them.
So when you say "That he so happens to use 'metadata' does not make his argument wrong or misleading," you're correct. But that also doesn't make Schneier incorrect. (Not that you said he was.)
I've seen arguments like the president's called "true lies." A technical truth that obscures the larger more relevant issue.
In this case, the real issue that people care about is that the government knows stuff about them that they expect to be private information. Whether they got that information via eavesdropping, metadata analysis or some other technique is largely irrelevant to the issue that makes people uncomfortable with the current state of affairs.
None of this is to say that I personally consider metadata harmless. I'm actually rather protective of my data privacy. I'm merely pointing out that the President's stated valuation of metadata isn't an inherently dishonest rhetorical tactic.
–John Oliver of the Daily Show on the NSA spying scandal
(I'm not convinced, though, that it's all okay... there seems to be both real and potential abuse in the system.)
It's simply not possible any more, except via face-to-face chat, to communicate with someone without turning over some metadata (or possibly data) to a 3rd party.
Letter? Envelope gets scanned. Calls? Logged and your location is tracked to boot. Internet? Tapped. What's left?
Anyway, if you're face-to-face with someone they still tracked both of your positions to/from the meeting and used cameras in the area to run facial recognition. Then they transcribed the convo to text by hijacking area mics or using the cameras for speech recognition.
If you're really important they'll land a tiny UAV on your person and literally 'bug' you. Better to just stay inside and keep your waste in mason jars...
Having ubiquitous automated surveillance is effectively the same as having someone follow everybody around with a camera and microphone, so the public's reaction to the latter should be used to determine policy with regard to the former.
The lack of privacy in public spaces is such because it's unreasonable to have an expectation of privacy. Until we're all cyborgs and have our vision automatically filtered, it's unreasonable to expect that you will remain unseen when walking through a public park.
The lack of privacy in public spaces is based on the ubiquity. If you followed someone around, the issue isn't a violation of privacy. It's harassment: the singling out of an individual for exceptional behavior. If you plant a camera and watch everyone, then it becomes a lot more OK. (Still arguably not, but you'd get far fewer "unhappy reactions".)
It's only unreasonable if you say it is. Different cultures have made different decisions with regard to what's socially acceptable to notice about others' behavior in public. It's perfectly reasonable to expect that you will remain unfollowed when walking through a public park, and ubiquitous surveillance is much closer to following everybody than noticing everybody.
If you plant a camera and watch everyone, then it becomes a lot more OK. (Still arguably not, but you'd get far fewer "unhappy reactions".)
I'd argue this is only because people aren't cognizant of the fact that planting a camera to watch everyone is the same as planting people to follow everyone. People's instincts haven't caught up with the reality that is presented by ubiquitous surveillance, so IMO the right way in this case to decide whether surveillance is acceptable is by analogizing to the closest available cultural and instinctive concept that is still fully functional.
The issue is still that you're likening surveillance to harassment more than you're likening it to an intrusion of privacy. Based on this argument alone, I'm less inclined to agree with your position, because surveillance isn't harassment.
> People's instincts haven't caught up with the reality that is presented by ubiquitous surveillance, so IMO the right way in this case to decide whether surveillance is acceptable is by analogizing to the closest available cultural and instinctive concept that is still fully functional.
You realize you're not saying anything more than, "I think it's wrong, so I'm going to go searching for a rationalization," right?
I don't disagree that the surveillance we can safely suspect is being done by governmental organizations is probably immoral and should be illegal, but what I'm not hearing is a solid, justified argument for your position other than, "It's icky." You don't even have the fallback of "everyone thinks it's icky" since by your own admission, people don't.
I'm not interested in doing that hard philosophical work, personally, so I'll leave you with a suggestion. Privacy, at its root, is really about dignity: its most ancient manifestation is the capacity to relax without tainting one's public image, whatever that image may be. It is from this foundation that all other arguments about privacy are really built. So I'd challenge you to show that ubiquitous surveillance necessarily violates everyone's dignity.
I think you'll find that more difficult than you expect, but I don't think it's impossible to come up with a reasonably sound proof.
You're still using definitions of privacy violation, surveillance, and harassment with which I do not agree. The distinctions between the three don't have to be drawn where you seem to be drawing them, and both the example I gave and invisible surveillance should qualify as all three.
By the way, would you still call it harassment if you never got in the way of the person you were following, never acknowledged your presence, and generally let them go about their business while you were busily recording everything they did? Most people would still be very unhappy.
That's not the case at all. I've raised arguments that appeal to technical people in the past, and users like rayiner jump in with a claim that "common people" just don't care about technical stuff. Now I'm using arguments that appeal to the aforementioned "common people," and you're jumping in to say they aren't technical enough :-).
Moreover, I was responding to your specific claim that "it's unreasonable to expect that you will remain unseen when walking through a public park."
I'm not interested in doing that hard philosophical work ... but I don't think it's impossible to come up with a reasonably sound proof.
I don't expect to conclude the privacy and surveillance debate once and for all in this thread. No doubt Bruce Schneier, the EFF, and others are way ahead of us on formalizing the best arguments.
... they certainly are:
Google "paparazzi". Notice the distinctions between a legal claim of privacy intrusion and the legal claim of harassment. And also, notice the legal claim of freedom of the press.
Your model of "people with cameras following you around" might sound really novel and clever to you, but we've had such people for a long time. And guess what? In public, no one considers it a privacy intrusion. It's harassment.
> Now I'm using arguments that appeal to the aforementioned "common people," and you're jumping in to say they aren't technical enough
Technical arguments are not philosophical arguments. Believe it or not, programmers do not have a monopoly on The Right Way To Do Everything. A philosophical argument can depend too much on jargon and be perverted by political spin, this is true. But you can still methodically break it down and explain it to a non-technical person if you've put it together well.
Watch http://justiceharvard.org sometime.
Failing to convince someone is your fault, not theirs.
The simple fact that it can be stripped from some (who are famous) and retained by others (who are not famous) even when they are both in the exact same public space means that some people (i.e. the non-famous) have a reasonable expectation of anonymity in public - which is to say, a certain form of privacy - where the famous do not.
And that's not the only fault with the "you have no reasonable privacy in public" line of thought when it comes from people who say that technological advances have, in effect, made us all famous. The assertion is valid only if reasonable expectations are limited by what is and is not technically possible, which is not the case. In truth, we need a sense of privacy to function as free humans. You can't have a working democracy without it. To the extent that it's reasonable to expect whatever level of privacy a functioning government of the people, by the people, and for the people requires, you maintain a reasonable expectation even when advancing technology renders you vulnerable.
Ultimately, the thing that keeps people from kicking in our doors isn't the thickness of our doors, but the strength of the laws that restrain those who would do the kicking.
To date, we've been able to rely on technical hurdles to protect our absolutely essential sense of privacy. If technological advance means those days are behind us, then we need the law to do what previously it didn't have to deal with doing. That transition still needs to happen. But at no point in the course of this transition does the reasonable expectation itself go away. Indeed, it becomes even stronger no that it can no longer be taken for granted.
People keep saying that in this debate, as if it's some sort of self-evident principle that must not be questioned, but is it anything more than a meaningless tautology? Aren't you in public by definition in places where you have no privacy? If so, then being in public is defined by how we define privacy.
The public/private distinction has never been absolute, such that everything about you and what you're doing is either in public or in private at any given time. We're sharing our thoughts on a public forum on the Internet, but at least one of us is physically sitting in his own home while doing so. I have different expectations of privacy for what I'm saying on HN vs. the conversation I just had with someone in this room.
The lines are similarly blurred if we go out. For example, in most jurisdictions you do not give up all rights to privacy just because you went out your front door. If a guy follows you around with a video camera and tries to watch you enter security details when you're paying for stuff at a shop, he's probably going to get in trouble. If a public venue installs video cameras in its bathrooms or changing rooms, it's probably going to get in trouble. If some pervert tries to film up your or your wife's/sister's/daughter's skirt, he's probably going to get in a lot of trouble. These things are all easily possible with technology, and all happen in a "public place", yet I think almost everyone would still consider them unacceptable invasions of privacy and the law in many places would prohibit such behaviour.
Maybe as technology that can be used for surveillance and data mining evolves, we need to evolve our understanding of what should be considered private as well, in order to maintain effective protection of the same underlying values. If metadata alone can now be used to determine sensitive details about us that we would consider to be private if collected directly, then perhaps the collection and use of that metadata should be controlled in the same ways as direct collection and use of the implicit data. If sensitive data is collected for one purpose with consent but can now be repurposed more easily for additional uses, maybe there need to be explicit safeguards to control that risk.
Taking creepshots is totally divorced from the private/public issue. It's kind of like trying to make S&M into a private/public debate.
If there are egregious violations of privacy and freedom then we won't be seeing the admissions of guilt/reform, but instead we'll be seeing recriminations and diversions. There needs to be punitive measures in place to deter that kind of negligence and recklessness, in addition to the punishment for actual violations.
Rehabilitation and recidivism are very serious issues that need to be focused on, especially because those who disregard privacy will do so on an ideological level -- it's part of their personal belief system.
Seems to me there are a number of legal bugs where our laws fall apart at scale. The 2nd amendment is all well and good (my opinion) but arms tech scaled way beyond anything imaginable at the time and some line needed to be drawn on what qualified. Privacy law is having a similar issue as society shifts all its important data to digital storage and into third parties. Who could've imagined that centuries past?
As a programmer it makes me wonder what the common anti patterns of law are.
Aren't those records of companies, not of people?
This seems wrong. People have been giving details about their lives to their doctors, lawyers and priests for centuries, relying on convention that they keep it private. Why we cannot continue with the same convention in Facebook age?
Giving your details to Facebook is the pre-Facebook equivalent of putting an ad in the paper with your details. You're not just giving your details to Facebook, you're giving them to everyone who has access to your page.
I think people just want to communicate with each other, and the Internet is the best way to do that right now. If we can build an Internet where we can easily do that without giving all this data to 3rd parties, people would use that, but until then they don't have much choice.
As Schneier says, advising people to "quit Google" or Facebook, is not really a choice in today's Internet. But if developers and the architects of the Internet realize what a problem this is, then maybe we can come up with other more secure alternative solutions.
Essentially, we're going back to computers in the house doing everything, since the network can't be trusted, and encryption can't be trusted.
Of course, this won't prevent the NSA from doing what it has always done: "We're snooping. No, you can't tell the user. No, you can't do anything about it." but that is another issue, one that we can hopefully resolve with a bit of legislature and oversight.
Granted some data you put on facebook you obviously intend to make public or semi-public but not necessarily all of it.
Some countries have laws that limit the use of the information in public records. Even if some party is allowed to collect the information, like phone company, they are not automatically allowed to use the data in any way they please.
There is also huge difference of having access to data you need and keeping and collecting records of people using publicly available data.
US has very backwards privacy laws. Basically once your data is out there anyone can do anything they please with it. This does not mean that this should be the case or that rest of the world acts like this.
It's not convention. Those conversations are privileged (literally 'under private law' and the notion is relatively recent in legal terms. Until 1840, for example, a lawyer in Britain was not expected to defend a client that he knew to be guilty.
Speaking of straw men...ha.
While your assertion here may be true, the world you describe (in which people - as in all nearly all of them - hand over EVERY detail) is not the world we live in. Not even close. You're knocking down a figment of your own imagination. In other words? Yup, a straw man.
Meanwhile, back in reality, lots of people have plenty to hide and do their best to keep their secrets. And this isn't just criminal activity. It's also their private feelings, impolitic thoughts, confidential business plans, romantic intentions, parameters of negotiating positions, health concerns, etc. Very, very obviously, they do not share "every detail."
To the extent that indiscriminate openness can be used against people, there are always going to be people who want more of it. For these assholes, the evaporation of privacy lowers the cost of abusing others while making the abuse itself far more profitable and / or intimidating. And obviously, there are a lot of businesses and government agencies that would love to see privacy norms, laws, and technical barriers rolled waaaay back. To the degree there's been natural erosion, they've seen how profitable and efficient this erosion can be. Of course they want moar, Moar, MOAR! Power and profit depends on nothing less!
And one of their favorite ways of getting it is by insisting that privacy is already dead, that protecting its ghost is a fool's errand, so honestly, why not give up already? Just submit! Why won't you submit?
>The school district’s move has raised privacy concerns, with some comparing it to government-sponsored stalking.
But on the other side of things, there is targeted collection of public data, where teens trashed a home in New York and caused over $20k in damages.
>"parents of the hundreds of teens who broke into and destroyed former NFLer Brian Holloway's upstate vacation home are threatening to sue him for outing their brats on Twitter — saying he's spoiling their chances of getting into college."
I don't understand why vandals would post on twitter to boast publicly (in a way that can be easily linked back to their name) about their deeds. It seems to me that the school being proactive is morally wrong [TM] while someone trying to piece together who was present at the home at the time of the vandalism is right [TM].
[TM] my personal interpretation of right vs wrong. Not a legal opinion.
I disagree. Just because some people give out personal data does not mean that I should lose my rights to privacy.
The surveillance done by the big marketing firms today has nothing to do with "give over voluntarily". It is digital stalking done with very little consent from the subjects. "Give over voluntarily" means the subjects actively provides information. "Stalking" means the system monitors the activity of the subject with no active participation other than (maaaybe) clicking once "I agree to the terms" five years ago, probably on a different ToS anyway.
You left out the part where he knocks it down with 9 different articles from various credible sources on the VERY NEXT LINE. Who is trying to deceive people here?
the good thing is: since then, nothing changed. keep calm, people.
Entire national strategies for surveillance in wartime were entirely based on "just" metadata. (Japan in WWII. Back then, it was called "traffic analysis.")
The big questions here are simple.
1. If any organization holds your data, is it still your data, or have you surrendered ownership of it?
2. Is there a concept of ownership for record-oriented data, captured by a third party?
If you store a copy of a screenplay you're writing in the cloud, you haven't surrendered ownership of it. The cloud provider cannot just copy your data and hand it to someone else, who now has ownership of it.
Let's say you are generating a novel by writing short paragraphs, which are then recorded by your cloud provider as records -- time and content. The contents of the fields are created by you. Can the cloud provider simply provide a copy of that data to anyone who asks?
There's not much difference between a phone call record and my time-content example. Most (all?) fields in a call record are generated as a result of the user, who is more or less the author. And as the author of the information in those phone records, do you hold the copyright?
This isn't AT&T's data. It's my data, or your data. When press the dial button, we are creating these fields of data. It is an act of creation. We expect that AT&T will use this data to bill us (and we find that acceptable). We do not, for example, expect AT&T to sell our call records to some company, for marketing purposes. If the data is owned by AT&T, then they would be perfectly free to do that.
There's a pretty simple principle that could be followed: If the cloud provider or telecom company wouldn't grant access to the information to any member of the general public, access shouldn't be granted to law enforcement without a warrant or review of some kind. If the government can convince a judge that access is warranted, then go for it.
To do otherwise creates an environment where it's far too easy to harass or pressure "regular" people.
The UK has had similar discussions over new laws being introduced - people wanting the new laws have been saying "It's just metadata; it's not the content".
I've been feeling a bit jaded with the Schneier posts on HN lately. Between the reposts of his columns from other newspapers (sometimes a couple of weeks later) and generic meta summary posts with a dozen links to what others are saying, I'm finding it a bit hard to pin down the really insightful Schenier pieces.
Maybe it's impossible for him to keep posting superb stuff all so often. Or maybe many of us expect each of his posts to be superb nonetheless. Or maybe both :)
Personally, I like this approach because it exposes the reader to more sources which one can then subscribe to.
But ultimately this is the problem with inventing "privacy rights" out of thin air and duct-taping them to the 4th amendment, which has no such broad concept of "privacy." There's no broad principles to rely on, just case-specific hacks.
A free society can only accept the obsolescence of privacy if there's a suitable replacement that affords the same level of independence of thought and action.
Two strawmen and a falsehood.
AT&T's equipment doesn't randomly go about generating customer metadata (given that much of the information is used for billing purposes, that's fraud). Rather, it is recorded based on the actions of customers AND those contacted by, or contacting, customers. Which is to say, it's a detailed record of activities of third parties (a large number of whom are not even AT&T customers).
In the case of data which merely transits AT&T's equipment, neither party need be an AT&T customer (instead some other telcoms provider is).
And the data collected is available through privacy rights, subpoena, or other processes.
In these types of analyses, the doctrine of reasonable expectation of privacy is a good candidate to supersede the third party doctrine. The argument would be: I reasonably expect that the third parties whom I entrust with my private data and metadata will not disclose it except as required by the courts.
The question then is whether this expectation is reasonable. One theory holds that any time you give your information to anyone else, it's the same as giving it to everyone. You have no reasonable expectations that someone else will keep your data private.
But that theory seems outdated to me. Participation in modern society is preconditioned on trusting others with our private data. It's not optional. (The response that "you can always live in a cave instead" is neither realistic, humane, nor consistent with the values of a free society.)
Not only must you allow third parties access to your private data, you rarely have a meaningful choice about which third party, or the ability to negotiate the terms. Where I live, there is exactly one ISP. There are a number of cell phone providers, but to my knowledge, none offer a privacy guarantee, and I can't negotiate for one.
Because we have no choice but to trust third parties, it seems morally right that we should have a reasonable expectation of privacy when we do so. You can voluntarily surrender your privacy, and that's fine, but you shouldn't be forced to do so in everyday circumstances. This is a subjective judgment, but it's one I make based on what I consider widely held beliefs about the nature of a free society.
> In my opinion, privacy is obsolete in a world where people voluntarily give over to third parties every detail about their lives
The relevance or obsolescence of privacy is a spectrum, not a binary choice. Right now, we have less privacy than we used to, but we are far from the point of it being wholly obsolete. Have you really thought through what that world would be like? Are you OK with the idea that your every word and action is recorded forever and potentially subject to scrutiny by everyone who will ever live? (Extreme as that sounds, it's what we mean when we say privacy is truly and wholly obsolete. Anything less that that is just partway along the spectrum. So be careful when you say something like "privacy is obsolete" without any qualification.)
Consider the stress imposed by 24-hour surveillance. Every moment of your life, you would have to dedicate part of your consciousness to calculating how your actions may be interpreted by others, some of whom may be hostile to you.
When you search for something on Google, do you want your coworkers, bosses, friends, and enemies making inferences about your thoughts? Do you want to give potentially hostile parties the opportunity to build a damaging narrative around what are in truth innocuous searches?
When you begin typing a sentence, and then revise it because the first version didn't express what you wanted it to, do you want your critics to be able to read the first version and make claims about your "secret, true intentions?"
When you have a drink with your friends in the privacy of your own home, and you make an off-color remark, do you want to be the victim of an Internet witch hunt after it gets posted to YouTube?
When a gay middle schooler visits itgetsbetter.org, do you want the bullies at their school to know about it?
When you read a political blog, do you want your boss with diametrically opposed political views to find out about it and pass you over for promotion, never telling you why?
You may think these scenarios are far-fetched. But they are all logical implications of privacy's obsolescence. As I said before, anything less extreme would be an adjustment to our current notions of privacy, not the obliteration thereof.
Now, if you're arguing for the latter (adjustment not obsolescence), that's different. It's only realistic to believe that ideas of privacy change over time. And we must think carefully about how they're changing, and whether it's for the best. But that's far, far different from surrendering to the idea that privacy is obsolete altogether.
That stress only need exist when the lack of privacy is asymmetrical. When everybody has dirt on everybody else, it gets a whole lot harder to shame someone.
I do find myself wondering what a completely post-privacy society would look like and how/if it would function...
That point of view is a credible hypothesis. Despite being a defender of privacy, I too have wondered whether perfect knowledge, perfectly distributed, might lead to some kind of utopia that we can hardly imagine.
But that's all speculation. I don't want to count on it. It seems equally plausible to me that the abolition of privacy will lead to a nightmare scenario in which everyone has dirt on everyone else, and it's ruthlessly exploited. Everyone is throwing stones from their glass houses. In that scenario, people would no doubt adapt. They would learn to calculate their every action, every facial expression. This is the source of the stress to which I alluded.
Not really. The bounds of what we know about eachother's behavior would just widen from "the things everyone shares about themselves" to "the things everyone actually does." There would still be people who's behavior falls within 1 standard deviation of the average/default/acceptable everyman. And they'll still shame everyone who does not.
It also puts a whole lot of glue onto the current social structures. Imagine in a society intolerant of homosexuality with no privacy. Unless the dictator and most of his inner circle are gay, the fact everyone has dirt on everyone doesn't stop him from killing all the gays. When people can't express their secret orientation to eachother in private, there is no way for gradual acceptance to be a thing.
Sure it's a contrived example, but someone already wrote about these problems  more clearly than I can in a quick break form work.
You could argue that this wouldn't be a problem in some societies. Even if we posit that it could work under some conditions, the properties of necessary for it to work are not guaranteed by the abolition of privacy. And they sure as hell don't exist anywhere in the world today.
Over time the importance of all those corner cases has expanded, and the increased rate of growth of that importance is downright dizzying in the last decade or two.
In today's world we have our old fashioned physical privacy (for the most part), and HIPAA to cover some narrow issues. That is it.
In our brave new world, we do not really own our financial transaction records. For the most part those are privately owned records in the hands of various profit-driven corporations, and some of them happen to send us a copy of a subset of those records every month.
rayiner (above) discusses this topic rather well. But I want to emphasize a different point: we can have privacy but we need to recognize we are basically starting from scratch. Trying to bemoan that the laws have been broken is counterproductive -- the spies have good lawyers and they have correctly identified gigantic legal loopholes. Even if privacy advocates win a few battles, the spies are still going to win the war, until we change the basic rules of the game with new legislation.
Perhaps more fundamentally, we haven't found business models to sustain the practice of thinking about digital tools in that way.
Well we've reached the point where the government is arguing whatever it wants to do is legal.
Of course metadata is surveillance, it is pretty darn obvious it is. It is just easier to spin.
So yes, metadata is very much "content", and can be very, very dangerous in the wrong hands.
Finding the high value targets requires good detective work. Blowing up acquaintances is destroying good leads. The metadata creates leads, and helps narrow them down to a more promising and manageable subset.
(features Winston Churchill, Alan Turing and Theresa May)
Land of the thief home of the slave
Grand imperial guard where the dollar is sacred and proud
The Cold Continent latch key child
Ran away one day and started acting foul
King of where the wild things are daddy's proud
cos the Roman Empire done passed it down
Imported and tortured a work force
and never healed the wounds or shook the curse off
Now the grown up Goliath nation
Holdin' open auditions for the part of David
Only approved questions get answered
Now stand your ass up for that national anthem
- Brother Ali, Uncle Sam Goddamn
... I usually never listen to rap, but if you think the US is screwed up, you have to listen to this: it's gold! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO18F4aKGzQ
Even a compressed copy of your telephone conversation isn't the actual call, just the 'metadata' describing how it is compressed...