Metadata includes who a surveillance target is calling,
emailing, what websites they visit, and, when location
data is available, a person’s movements.
This is a frustrating time we live in. Far too few are taking the necessary steps to prevent this serial erosion of, what just some years ago, was common privacies and judicial rights.
Having been on both sides, it is difficult to see the good they are doing, because they are shrouded in secrecy due to necessity.
Let them. I've never been to I dunno, North Korea, I have no plans to go there, let them know whatever they like about me. It's a problem however when a government that DOES have some say over my life does it.
Collect data on a foreign nation's citizens, preferably the only global hegemon, which also happens to have internal constraints on what it can collect on its own citizens.
Then play Let's Make a Deal. Trade personal data for foreign aid, arms deals, oppression of rivals, etc.
Anyone on the planet should be concerned about personal data collection by anyone else on the planet, whether that be North Korea, Google, or anyone else.
Countries are kinda defined by border control, in some sense. Unless you're posting from some alternate reality where the Korean People's Army is free to march on Times Square.
> Enemy nations can then go rampant
The main enemy of the FVEY agencies has always been the population of the FVEY countries. This goes back a long time - in the era that US Republicans actually did believe in smaller government and Stimson was shutting down the Black Chamber, British intelligence was manufacturing the Zinoviev letter to bring down the Labour government in 1924. Peter Wright discussed more modern efforts by MI5 against the Labour party in Spycatcher, especially in the 1970s, and this has been discussed in other sources.
Similar machinations were happening in the USA in the 1970s, with Nixon using ex-CIA operatives to, among other things, break in to the national Democratic campaign headquarters in order to rig the election his way. That's against the background of COINTELPRO, spying on blacks seeking their civil right to vote and such, or that part of the electorate that wanted to withdraw from a war in Vietnam that the top brass and chiefs were privately saying was a lost cause. FVEY intelligence also helped bring down Gough Whitlam's Australian Labour government in the 1970's, an American, Christopher Boyce went to jail for, among other things, revealing this news to the Russians.
Insofar as enemy nations, England has had a litany of enemy nations in the 20th century - Indians who wanted independence, Argentinians who wanted the Malvinas returned, Irish who wanted English troops out of Ireland and on and on - think of John Cleese in the Meaning of Life waning on about efforts to "keep China British!"
US intelligence caused Daoud Khan to turn his back on the Soviets who had helped propel him to power, and when the Russians backed another horse and their former friend was ousted, the US said the "enemy nation" of Saur Afghanistan with Soviet backing was "going rampant", so the US helped launched a mujahideen-led jihad against secularizing Afghanistan, financing and arming Osama bin Laden and other proto-Al Qaeda and Taliban forces. Then years later the US decided to plant military bases in Saudi Arabia, causing this Arab nationalist to send his fighters with planes into the Pentagon.
Now we're told we need we need to work and be taxed to finance these FVEY agencies to protect us from these dangers which they themselves created. Whereas the real enemy they are fighting against is their own populations - as MacDonald, McGovern and Whitlam could all attest to.
Of course, none of the details can be revealed for operational reasons, so the more paranoid fill in the blanks with 1984-style dystopian fantasy. It's unfortunate, as they really are doing good work.
Why is it true to say? I doubt there would have been more terrorist attacks. They definitely would have mentioned at least one such planned attack that was stopped as it is in their best interest to change public perception.
> They definitely would have mentioned at least one
> such planned attack that was stopped as it is in
> their best interest to change public perception
Any details at all on plots that have been found and stopped via surveillance would lead to changes in behaviour of bad actors.
eg: Except that the government has claimed that they have foiled attacks and those claims have been shown to be bullshit.
So, given that they have made these claims and they are false, what conclusions should we draw?
A. The government gave us false information to reassure us that their blanket information gathering programs work, they cant tell us operational details or made some other mistake(even though operation details of various programs leak like a sieve.)
B. Their argument is specious, and someone made a list to prop up a program they do not have evidence for.
Just trying to understand as Point A and B lack the same evidence.
There is no need to argue for balance in the discussion to protect our government, they clearly can operate these programs without our approval or understanding.
I too have worked on both sides of the game and the irony is that outside of the government it's far easier for me to get raw collection simply by buying a feed from one of the provider(s).
I've taken data from marketing firms that have extensive details on users that have been linked and culled from a myriad of databases sold by the big brokerage firms like Experian. There is far less governance when profitability is involved.
I only hope that in 75 years 1/10th of the work done is shared. Not everyone in the government is evil despite what people project.
now you do not know if that person in a box is a terrorist or not and by terrorist, a bad person who will impact others right to life.
So not knowing you can only tell if you look in a box, well if they are not and you look you are lambasted, if you look and they are then your just doing your job.
Now from a PR perspective, it gets down to let us not look as if they are not we get lots of people upset at us, and bad media more so if we get it right.
Which is fine but with one cavet, if you do not look and they are a terrorist then that box can go off and take out all the boxes around it.
So I call it schrodingers terrorist in a box and with that, you see the perspective more clearly.
That is why they look, and yes for those who are not terrorists/bad people it can be intrusive, but most if not all will not even know they are looking. Though many presume the worst and equally it is that mentality of the populous that also carries on in the security services and mentality of presume the worst, hence they look.
And further arguing that it's okay because most people won't know they were violated is like saying a plastic surgeon is justified in violating every unconscious patient in surgery just in case they would have wanted it anyway. Not a good direction for society to go.
The apologists are out in full force on this thread.
I'm not arguing its ok, I'm stating the situation. your plastic surgeon analogy does not map onto this problem and bit strawman in posture.
As for you labeling people apologists for wanting to discuss a situation clearly indicates a bias in perspective and step back and look at both sides of the problem.
There is no cookie cutter solution to this, and it requires a balance, otherwise you might as well scrap all security services as you are effectively replacing them with police who equally would not be allowed to do any form of surveillance or anything that might possibly entail the potential that they are looking into innocent people. You see the problem now.
So please, look at the problem from all sides, don't just dismiss and label, as we have facebook for such level of discussion.
All hail General Krupp.
-Signed, Little Girl
.. which it's illegal to tell anyone else. And if you find evidence of abuse the only way you can do anything about it is to flee to a country from which you can't be extradited.
This is why we can't have a discussion about this and as much as possible needs to be moved from "intelligence" (secret, unaccountable) to "evidence" in courts.
The only sensible answer to "how many terrorist plots have been prevented" should be a count of convictions.
At the July sentencing hearing the presiding judge, Richard D. Bennett of the Federal District Court, issued harsh words for the government, saying that it was "unconscionable" to charge a defendant with a list of serious crimes that could have resulted in 35 years in prison only to drop all of the major charges on the eve of trial. The judge also rejected the government's request for a large fine noting that Drake had been financially devastated, losing his $154,600 job at the NSA and his pension.
Sounds so easy.
In the unlikely case these aren't pranks, they would almost certainly be GCHQ astroturfing accounts. Of course, the astroturfing itself is of so poor quality that they probably outsourced the job to either some apathetic social media/perception management firm, or clueless interns.
I could easily see a social engagement platform that's primarily used to spam Disqus comment sections also having support for HN, just for the sake of ticking the box.
More like anyone who creates two fresh accounts within minutes of each other, one replying to the other in agreement—is either astroturfing, or trying to make it appear as if they are.
Personally, I think you're just a decent troll. If so, at least it was creative.
You're correct in that I do not wish to believe that astroturfing either directly or indirectly commissioned by GCHQ could be so incompetent. It sullies their good name.
Granted, what you're doing would actually qualify as somewhat competent if the goal was to simply to derail meaningful discourse.
I get why you used a throw away. I'm not against civil discussions, I just hate when people don't use logic and take all evidence with a grain of salt. I don't for a second doubt parts of the govt. are hiding valid evidence for the conversation any more than the media is lying to sell their narrative too. Bottom line is the media has the upperhand, they can make baseless claims and choose what to say knowing damn well that the Govt. can't refute it.
What's problematic is when there's two throwaway accounts created at the same time, replying to one another in agreement, using the same writing style, and advancing same the narrative that's worded as if it's straight out of a public relations office.
HN has seen at least one NSA employee and one American intelligence community member posting in the wake of Snowden, and both were overwhelmingly treated with respect by the community despite their views. I myself often express views here that are staunchly anti-Snowden in nature.
The throwaway accounts you're defending received such hostility because they were perceived as being insincere due to their suspicious posting behavior. It was not due to their views or opinions.
Better luck next time.
My argument is it's pretty ballsy to call people out about transparency knowing they can't argue and that there are likely contradictions or at least further details being omitted by hand selecting documents for dissemination. It's really the same issue on both sides. Neither are telling the whole story.
I would argue your comment "Its all too easy to give out just enough info to get people chasing after the wrong thing." is a correct statement for both sides.
No, because that's absurd.
A "limited hangout" is fundamentally a damage control measure. At the time Snowden went public, there wasn't any damage to control. Most of it had already been done many years prior with the 641A scandal.
If you want to suggest that Snowden was an overarching plan to somehow influence public perception in the NSA's favor, then perhaps /r/conspiracy would be more receptive.
His first application to join TAO as a remote operator was denied due to personality conflicts (the interviewers felt he was cocky in his responses and weren't sure of his ability to fit in with the rest of the operators.) This was circa 2011 when he was working with the CIA in an NSA joint Billet.
Early 2012 during expansion and hiring within TAO Hawaii, he was given a second chance to prove technical talents in a test designed to pre-empt RIOT (Remote Interactive Operator Training). He failed the test twice both at NSAH and NSAW. His only option was to transition as a contractor at BAH where he was the equivalent of an R&T analyst even though he was in a network administration billet(he was never assigned to TAO directly, because his administration billet supported missions he was asked to fill a critical shortage of manpower). The technical requirements to become an R&T analyst while high, were well below those that perform as Interactive On Net operators (ION). As an analyst he worked projects targeting the exact groups he leaked information about. During his time working his targets he submitted numerous plans that were rejected and greater HQ at NSAW began to ignore is operations proposals. His projects were ultimately removed from him and placed in the hands of capable analysts. It wasn't long after that he decided to lash out. So no he was never offered a job within TAO (which has multiple groups), when he did work with BAH interacting with them he failed miserably.
Wikipedia is wrong.