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I’ve always thought - I don’t care if the NSA is spying on US citizens because their job is national security. The problem is when those tools trickle down. All of a sudden you have a local cop with too much time on their hands spying on you. But if you’re not doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t have anything to hide, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes?



> But if you’re not doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t have anything to hide, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes?

The problem is that "wrong" can be anything arbitrary, and what's not "wrong" today, it can be "wrong" tomorrow, however arbitrary it is. Somewhere it is wrong (illegal) to call someone a "n*zi", even online.

Also anyone who tells me that they have nothing to hide, I ask for their password. For some reason they don't give me their password. Interesting, huh?


Nothing to hide from the law != nothing to hide from you.


Law? These are people who have access to your data, how am I, a stranger, any different from any other stranger who have access to your data? Would it be OK if I indirectly obtained your password and use it to access your data or something?

Mind you, I was speaking in general about people who claim they don't care about their privacy, or about these companies collecting their personal data, or having a history of their private messages, etc.

How can you not care about them saving your conversations in plain text, but then suddenly care about it when I ask you to show it to me? The only difference seems to be that I'm actively, personally, directly asking you for it, but ultimately it would be the same outcome.


> Mind you, I was speaking in general about people who claim they don't care about their privacy

We are talking in a thread about NSA having your data vs other companies having your data.


> The problem is that "wrong" can be anything arbitrary, and what's not "wrong" today, it can be "wrong" tomorrow, however arbitrary it is.

(Un)fortunately you can't be prosecuted for crimes which were not illegal at the time of the offence.

Of course this doesn't take into account activities retroactively deemed "wrong" by The Great Twitter Mob which can have some serious effect on your livelihood because you made a Richard Gere gerbil joke some 20 years ago.


Or worse, at some point that information is available to people who actively want to hurt or stalk you. Every bad divorce leaves at least one person with an axe to grind. It’s only a matter of time before collected information gets to adversary hands.

As someone who recently left a very abusive, toxic workplace, I see this as a reality.


I'm going to have to dredge it back up, but I was just reading a rather alarming tale from a medical assistant. She had a child come into her practice, saw obvious signs of abuse, and filed a supposedly anonymous report - as she's legally mandated to do.

The abuser of the child, a parent, apparently harassed the agency that received and forwarded the report until they gave up that "a medical practitioner had filed the report", which narrowed it down to a single practice.

At which point then the abuser was able to call the practice, get a record of who had seen the child, and even get their work schedule.

Even tiny leaks are a major problem in these cases.


And really only adversaries will be willing to go through that trouble.


> I don’t care if the NSA is spying on US citizens because their job is national security

Since when is the NSA supposed to spy on their own citizens by default? They should only target individuals that represent risk anyway. (if they were respecting the constitution)


> They should only target individuals that represent risk anyway. (if they were respecting the constitution)

If they were respecting the constitution, they should only target individuals for which they have a warrant (assuming we're talking about US citizens). Even then, it's my understanding that this is the job of the police, rather than the military.


Thank you for understanding this. I've been looking for someone to point this out.


I've always thought that the NSA should respect their statutory mandate and not spy on US citizens.

Why are you comfortable with casual lawlessness?


Must be a nice way to live, having full faith that your government will always do the right thing. Relaxing.


We literally have thousands of years of proof that governments always abuse their power when they think someone is their "enemy". So it's strange that people default to "trusting their government." I blame this on America's blue-team/red-team political thinking, which forces one to stick to a party no matter what.

The standard for "enemy" could also be as low as they choose it to be, which is also weird that people think the government wouldn't go after them because they are "innocent", as if these people get to decide who is innocent and who isn't.

No, it's the government that does that. Courts may have the final say in the end (unless you're indefinitely detained for multiple years first), but until then the government can do a lot of damage to your life if it comes after you. Even putting you through years of lawsuits, stress and money spent on lawyers would be bad enough. You may win in the end, but it will be a Pyrrhic victory.

And that's if you don't take their plea deal first when they scare you with multiple bogus charges that you think shouldn't even apply to you but you're too scared of the 50 years in prison sentence they're threatening you with.


It's more a matter of focusing the discussion. Once you bring government into it, it makes the conversation a lot more complicated. This is not a complicated issue.


But it is the Government that complicates the thing: USSR, China, Fascist regimes: they persecute OPINIONS not deeds.


Welcome to Denmark.


Their job is national security... within the confines of the constitution. I don't get how an entity egregiously violating the supreme law of the land can ever be dismissed with an "I don't care" by anyone who claims to care about the rule of law.


COINTELPRO. Learn your history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO


Wrong is too subjective for that to be a good enough reason to let these sort of entities spy on everyone. Let's say I disagree (I do) politically, legally, ethically, and morally with this invasion of privacy. Those collecting the data may see it as "wrong" that I feel this way and seek to punish me in some way for it, because this data point among others may give them power to oppress me. Within a democratic society I should have the freedom to peacefully disagree in this way, and that freedom is being eroded on a daily basis by these people and organizations.





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