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Richard Clarke, former national security adviser to three administrations, has weighed in on the PRISM business. What he says is that it would have been easy to require private companies to store all that data for years. Then FISA could give law enforcement rights access the databases. He also says that nobody at the company would have to know what they were looking at.

Wow. Richard – you really don’t understand this very well.

First –  the simple one – anything done on a computer can be recorded. And if it wasn’t? What possible meaning would the FISA court restriction(s) have?!

Second – Dude. That would be so much less secure! All of those log ins would have to be from outside. That means that it would be possible for anyone who knew the logins to get access to those databases. Hackers anyone? What kind of record does private industry have for protecting access? If it wasn’t recorded? Oh, man. Any hacker on earth could log in, do whatever, and nobody would ever know!  I mean – COME ON! China wouldn’t even need to do its own data collection! Ding! Bottom of the class Richard.

Third – You think corporations are more ethical than NSA? Are you fucking kidding me?!!! What planet do you inhabit? Not this one. Corporations with a big data archive like that would be sorely tempted to make use of it. And who could stop them? Law enforcement? How are they supposed to know anybody is accessing it? With data storage becoming cheaper every year? Not too long and you will be able to walk out with petabytes of metadata in your pocket.

Fourth – If you think that tempting a target wouldn’t go unacquired, you are kidding yourself. Corporations can be bought and sold. Any entity that gets control of a corporation can put its own people into all positions of importance. Then they can run the same sort of algorithms for all sorts of nefarious purposes. They could use them to figure out how to trade stocks, bonds, and who is going to get acquired. Who thinks hedge fund managers wouldn’t do that? Who thinks Romney wouldn’t do that to make $100 million?

They could also spy on private parties and blackmail them into doing their bidding.

 So I think that inside the NSA is a far safer place for that data. If we are going to have an archive that’s where it has to be.