But I don't think this is possible, once you have an administrative state, of course it's going to monitor and spy on everyone, it's going to arrest people and not give them fair trials (hello Assange), it's going to try to manipulate democratic processes and it's going to crush any force that it perceives as a threat to its own survival. In short, it will have a mind of its own, with its own goals, and by definition it will not be bound by legislative or judicial restraints.
Isn't that what democracies call "constitution"? Something that protects citizens' rights again wrong-doing of powerful entities including legislators and the state itself?
The people are "in power" just for that day while they're giving their blessing to their representative. After this, as long as things aren't too abrupt and disadvantage the regular person obviously enough to trigger a violent response, that representative can pretty much represent and defend any other point of view. Usually the one from the otherwise equal but not quite equal, much richer person. And with education being on the bottom of everyone's list, it just gets easier to cover these things up.
For things that concern interests far from home it's even easier. Freedom also means you're free to pump as much one sided information as possible. So as long as one can flood the people with Middle Eastern terrorism, Russian hackers, or Chinese human rights abuses, who's going to care about the home team doing the same even at home?
Superficially democracy is alive and well but it's like religion, most people observe it only in theory and when it matters to them personally. And when it does matter to them, it doesn't matter to enough other people. Which is why most talking points don't have a strong majority, and they're mostly dealt in a compromising way, which makes everyone equally unhappy (except a very few).
Thus the correct question to ask is "why/how did we break the system that used to work"
Following that rather than returning to a peacetime country and disbanding the associated military structure it was instead repurposed for a cold war in the face of another enemy that had sworn themselves to our complete and absolute destruction and which had the capability to do so. In the face of such constant risk of extinction almost any measure was seen acceptable to counteract the threat.
However after about 60 years the threat disappeared but the massive institutions built up to combat the threat then needed to continue to justify it's existence as careers and lives had been built upon counteracting the Red menance. Unfortunately these institutions did not cease to exist and continued the same tactics that it was profecient in despite the threat to the existence of the nation.
That's basically it in a nutshell.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Has always been this way.
> ...the problem here is that no one really wants to reign it in...
Why shouldn't it spy on people? If the state is fundamentally on our side, that is a win (fuzzy abstract principles like privacy vs. concrete benefits like stopping specific illegal activity). Ditto if the state is neutral. We have no need to keep secrets from a neutral but fundamentally principled entity. Privacy isn't really important enough to worry about if there are just a few bad actors working individually. It'd be a battle of a luxury (privacy) vs a need (security)
It is only because the state is fundamentally not on our side that people should be trying to reign it in and use concepts like privacy to do so. At some point any information the state has will be used by your political adversaries to attack.
Privacy (from the state) isn't worth anything if the starting point is that the administrative state will be a reliable, proper and responsible bearer of power.
We must ask, when agreeing to give government a new power, how to protect ourselves against their inevitable abuse of that power. The "national security" excuse circumvents that process.
According to Wiktionary, it seems to come from steering a ship.
Sadly, it seems that these institutions are prone to a kind of rot that means you can't just set them up once and forget. You need constant vigilance against these institutions corrupting themselves. Vigilance requires attention, not just from officials, but from journalists, media, the public. We're all so damn distracted that things are now rotting faster than ever.
The robots in Asimov's story are basically uncorruptable. The closest modern example I can think of is encryption + bitcoin. But governments while they can't break encryption can go after exchanges and enact harsh legal penalties thereby extending traditional power structures.
Would a neuralink+pocket AI get you out of any situation, even a government coming after you? Would personal faster-than-light ships allow everyone to escape to their own worlds?
The fact that these examples are so fanciful shows how entrenched power is I'd say. But maybe some single advancement will provide a new modality, or a continual buildup of decentralized tech like torrents, crypto, blockchain, encryption, and cheap computing power.
And as far as cultural changes, maybe that was one purpose of ancient gods. To posit a supernatural power that can destroy any man-made power. But religion also seems to entrench worldly power on the flip-side.
(sorry for the semi off-topic)
I have my own thoughts on the matter but I'm curious based on this assessment of yours what other people think about the implications of the situation.
I'm pretty sure the majority of Danes would be against helping the U.S spy on other EU nations. But it was done because the country was not asked. There are of course other things that the government wants to do that they are prevented from by popular sentiment.
Both Autocracy and Democracy are present in any system, their distribution just changes due to circumstances.
Such an agency operating outside of the visibility of those voting is by definition not democratic. But that doesn't mean the rest of the democracy isn't there.
Also, it is easier to check for Russian spies in a government from outside, than from inside. For example, soviet agent in Germany government, called "D-104" in memories of Yurii Drozdov, is still not found. I suspect Schröder, which works for Russian Gasprom now, but he may leave a replacement agent, to work after him. (Merkel?)
Such countries do not extend democratic values to ~other countries~. In fact, they may actively erode democracy in other countries.
If the power structure of a country no longer extends democratic values to other countries, the power structure ~may~ no longer understand democratic principles and have deep problems within its own nation as a result.
The nation state hasn't ceased to be democratic, but its internal autocratic state is running amuck overseas.
Um... no. Why "of course".
Just like American torture is good torture, because we only torture the bad guys.
To express my gratitude I'll help boost your economy with some ad revenue today and aid the good fight. The profits should trickle down to you eventually.
On a more serious note, I think (possibly in my naive ignorance) the geopolitical implications are quite different. I have the impression that American cultural influence has become increasingly prevalent throughout Europe, since of course WO2 and especially since the dawn of the internet. A non-negligible part reads and writes more English than their native language, and the majority consumes mostly US media; for entertainment at least .
This is one of many reasons leading me to believe that US-EU interests and popular opinions are even more aligned relative to other potential geopolitical/economical US "adversaries" than is obvious already (modulo the rep hit from the last 4 years). This may be only tangentially related to what you're saying, but I wonder whether the degree of spying on European countries and vice-versa is more of a low-profile intel maintenance thing as opposed to full-blown strategic warfare. I.e. I'm not sure to what extent I should consider this to be problematic.
Okay, I'll help you: By doing this shit, the US is losing goodwill and Germans will align more with Russia, e.g. by building pipelines instead of buying US gas.
Russia is a long-term threat to the expansion plans of the EU and is hindering us at creating a true union across all of Europe.
The US is a threat to our economy. China is becoming our biggest economic partner. We cannot trust them, but by doing shit like this, the US shows time and time again, that we cannot trust them either.
China and Russia are ultimately not to blame for the big migration crisis caused by ISIS filling the power vacuum left behind in Iraq and Syria. This is causing real consequences for us over here.
So Germany is more and more pushed towards aligning with Russia and China. Of course culturally we are much closer to the US. We condemn what these countries do to their own people. But in the end unfortunately, the US is stupid enough to make itself look worse and worse, when it comes to outcomes for our own people.
This cannot be what the US wants. Once you have fully lost Germany, you are basically done in Europe and can go look East and see if you can hold on to Korea, Japan and Australia.
I think, it would be much easier for the US to stop doing shit like this and keep the countries, which already kind of think like you, and would want you to stay number 1.
Libya civil war also probably CIA. And then you have Iraq.
These wars created multiple migration crises to Europe.
And not only that, by funding and training rebels in Syria it lead to a hotbed for terrorist, some of these terrorist slipped into Europe and committed terrorist attacks, like the Paris 2015 attacks (130 murdered).
No but honestly: while the US had some interest with the Kurds, they didn't engage to cause the Syrian civil war nor did they were able to stop Russia from gaining influence.
And I am not really sure if your mixing up ISIS supporters in your narrative. I haven't heard that they were links to the CIA for any terror in Europe connected to Syria.
And every US bombing campaign against the Syra regime de facto helped ISIL/ISIS.
Turkey, a NATO member, trained their own rebel groups and also made sure to have allow every jihadi to pass into Syria. Turkey is strongly anti-kurd. (Parts of this jihadi militia was this year sent to Azerbaijan by Turkey to fight against the Christian Armenians)
It is almost impossible for us outsiders to know what rebel group fought with what group and what objectives CIA actually had, however just the fact that US helped create a terrorist hotbed in Syria, together with a NATO ally, which in turn lead to terrorist attacks in Europe. Or the terrorist hotbed that was sprung up in Libya after the fall of Gaddafi.
Depending on the level of trust you have for American intelligence services you could either say that because of unintended consequences it resulted in terrorist attacks due to incompetent management or that working with the enemy of my enemy is part of their tactics and collateral damage is part of the game.
On the surface it looks like a failure for CIA because Bashar al-Assad is still in power, however it was not a failure for the coalition behind US/CIA, like Israel and Saudi Arabia, e.g. Israel has now permanently annexed the Golan Heights from Syria. Syria war was proxy war against Iran, which is an ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, see the Yemen war.
That's not rare at all. See also: IS, Al Quaeda, vast swaths of Africa (which are now being ceded to the Chinese) and Latin America. The world is littered with failed CIA plots, and the fall-out of those will last for decades.
I am failing to see the relevance of this - shared culture does not mean shared interests or shared benefits, the world is full of conflicts between states with shared culture, see Russia and Ukraine.
In terms of cultural sympathies the internet have opened the door for the European public to understand and pick sides in the internal debates that happens inside of America which further limits the influence the American state/establishment have on European public opinion, and the general disgust most Americans feel for Washington is shared across the pond where it gets amplified by the fact that Europe's geopolitical interests is radically different from the dominant neocon/neoliberal agenda's that dominate Washington policy making.
Are you sure American guys only torture the bad guys?
Simple. If the US tortured/drone striked them, they are bad.
If not though, this is the most facile definition of good and bad imaginable, echoing back to the history of might makes right and what I want is good and all who appose me are bad.
IMHO there is a difference between the two.
In one case you (hopefully) have good, secure infrastructure for a society's general needs. In the other you (potentially) have fragile infrastructure that may not be under your control.
I personally don't have too much of a problem with governments doing targeted operations at certain individuals, especially if they are important members of other governments.
Doing large-scale dragnets that catch innocent people who pose no risk or do not have any strategic/tactical value to your goals is something else. (Which the NSA has been guilty of doing in the past.)
Huawei spying is a scam. No evidence whatsoever.
This is reality. Confirmed multiple times and corroborated.
Let's not drag a perfect fine private company to the same level of shadiness of the most corrupted national government.
Of course I present facades posting here. If you think what the comments represent one thing or another, then that's just your mind interpreting one aspect of the comments.
BTW, put your words into action, citing any of my old comments that prove your point. I have no idea myself what those comments could be interpreted by a stranger. A good opportunity for me to calibrate. Thanks in advance!
Only if we abandon the oxford dictionary and head over to DoD where defence means "defend ourselves, our allies, or our interests, or the interests of our allies" which is basically power projection.
You don't need 11 carriers to defend yourself, you need them to play world police, support Japan in conflict with China, etc. You could argue it's necessary, but that's a different argument.
EU taken together has a larger airforce and navy than Russia does, army has better training and equipment. China is too far away to be a credible threat. France has it's own nukes and missiles.
All of Europe, whereever one might draw those borders, is larger still.
The only credible counter argument is that EU military is not united and doesn't act as one, but whether Latvia will spend 2% or 200% GDP they can't beat Russia.
Recently the UK has gotten 2 carriers, with a lot of lobbying from US, while at the same time cutting ground troops and army equipment, so we are sacrificing European defence for power projection.
That is a very American point of view. Many Europeans see it more as "The US pay a bigger part than we do in bolstering American control of the western world", which is exactly as it should be. IMO the US should pay exactly 100% of the bill for its own defense and enforcement of its power projection. The US does this to protect the US, not Europe. Europe is only interesting if it is pro-US and as a buffer and economic zone. Old Cold war plans even had plans to nuke Europe to show the USSR that the US meant business in the event of a USSR invasion..
What we see here is a perfect example why I (as a Danish citizen) have heard Denmark called Little America and Scandinavia's answer to the USA by both Swedes and Norwegians. Often living here feels more like living in a satellite or puppet state than a free country:
Do F-35s match our need? No not at all but we better break our own laws to make a contract that only the US can win. Do citizens want a US base the Danish military isn't allowed to monitor for nuclear weapons? No but we still got one (and even though not allowed it still had nukes). Do the people want a NSA like intelligence system? No but even the average elected politicians can't get access to any information about FE and what they do (only leaks like this tell them what is going on). And so on and so forth.
The latest Democratic Perception Index (chaired by the Danish former NATO general secretary Anders Fogh) found when asking people "Who is the biggest threat to democracy in the world?" most rated the US as the biggest threat (if I remember correctly, northern Europeans especially had this viewpoint).
This is just a situation of the puppet doing as it was taught.
You're not wrong, but NATO members have also agreed to spend 2% of their GDP on defence. Which few do.
> In 2006, NATO Defence Ministers agreed to commit a minimum of 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defence spending to continue to ensure the Alliance’s military readiness.
If anyone wants to spend more than that, like the US does, that's something else.
Does this happen? Has China faced sanctions after spying on US citizens or stealing trade secrets? Has Russia?
Yes, it does happen. I've read many news about US claims that Chinese government-backed hacker groups or corporations spying and stealing. And they are embargoed.
You can refer to Huawei case.
I have only surface-level knowledge, but wasn't this case because Huawei was selling components to Iran? Or was it related to spying?
> How naïve you are!
Why the hostility? I've asked a handful of questions in good faith and another commenter politely corrected me on a few issues I was not aware of.
It sounds like you have a better understanding of the issues at hand so I'd invite you to correct me rather than insult me.
Controversial? Yes, to the extent that Denmark managed to piss off every single neighboring country. Also, Denmark is actively trying to avoid shutting down some illegal monitoring of its' own citizens, and this is pouring more fuel on that fire.
Spying on Germany caused a political shitstorm the last time it was im the Danish news and now it has been revealed Denmark spied on others too, I suspect that circus will be repeated.
The best way to understand the relationship between the US and Europe is that it is an American Empire in all but name. The provinces of the Empire have a lot of autonomy, but in matters of defense and security they are tied to the Empire.
If you realize that, a lot of things make sense.
They have a list for just this question:
So this is Danish intelligence services helping Boeing securing contracts against Airbus and Saab. This is rightfully causing some much needed debate, even if it was a surprise to approximately no one.
And this is by design as the US military "tech transfer" projects like the JSF/F-35 is explicitly designed to lock recipients into an bond with the US military/strategic establishment.
This is short term thinking. It only helps those who wants to weaken the links between EU and the US.
It's all just the oligarchs fighting for who gets to momentarily sit at the top of the pile.
So, I agree with what you're saying, but being realistic, citizens can't really change anything in a modern democracy. Doubly so if any of the magic words can be invoked in relation to the thing they are trying to change ("terrorist", "paedo", "organised crime").
And they absolutely can't change anything in relation to the security services - I seriously wonder if even the government could change anything there, or if the security apparatus really is
Until they decide otherwise.
> Bernard Squarcini, head of the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur (DCRI) intelligence service until last year, told French daily Le Figaro he was “astonished” when Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was "deeply shocked" by the claims.
> “I am amazed by such disconcerting naiveté,” he said in the interview. “You’d almost think our politicians don’t bother to read the reports they get from the intelligence services.”
> “The French intelligence services know full well that all countries, whether or not they are allies in the fight against terrorism, spy on each other all the time,” he said.
> “The Americans spy on French commercial and industrial interests, and we do the same to them because it’s in the national interest to protect our companies.”
> “There was nothing of any real surprise in this report,” he added. “No one is fooled.”
> The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, reportedly monitored email addresses at the White House with a list of some 4,000 selector keywords between 1998 and 2006. Other targets included the US Department of State and Department of Treasury, as well as a number of defense agencies including the US Air Force and the Marine Corps, and the NASA space agency.
But the gist of the article is "yeah, of course they're going to do it, if we give them the opportunity".
We european countries really shouldn't be giving the US so much opportunity to spy on us.
That's the kind of thing you can't just write out of nowhere without any reference.
A quick search gives me this article as evidence: https://www.france24.com/en/20110104-france-industrial-espio...
But I admit I don't have strong reference to back my statement up.
Looks like everyone is dirty as hell in this one.
> The FE also cooperated with the NSA on spying operations against the US government itself.
And I would say it had a decent part in the Anti-USA sentiment in Germany.
Denmark is in Nine Eyes, so they’ll happily sell out members of Fourteen Eyes (like Germany) to get closer into the circle.
What I like about the signals-intelligence-only focus is that I can leave my phone at home, hop on an ebike with a legally mandated helmet obscuring my face from cameras, and I'm completely invisible to the state. I just don't exist. Unlike East Germany there's no HUMINT apparatus in the west or in China.
Nobody telegraphs their intentions like the Stasi did, but to believe that no state has developed coordinated efforts to get people to snitch on each other (the most effective Stasi tactic) is...let's say seeing things through an extremely rosy lens.
I think I wouldn't want to rely on that assumption
You are very mistaken. Just because HUMINT are more discreet does not mean it does not exist.
Also, some of the stuff they do are very blatant. Just look at cases like Assange and Jake Appelbaum. Clearly HUMINT efforts.
Can you link to the bike helmet you are referring to?
> German media later reported that the NSA had provided German intelligence services with spying software in exchange for data sharing. Consequently, the BND and it domestic intelligence couterpart, called the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), were accused of assisting the NSA in its global surveillance programs.
> More than two-thirds of all 3,300 targets monitored by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) foreign intelligence service were on diplomatic representations of EU and NATO member states around the world, according to a parliamentary committee report seen by German news agency dpa.
> The report found a "low two-digit number of people" - including heads of state and government, ministers and members of their offices and military institutions - were spied on until October 2013. That same year, Chancellor Angela Merkel had complained to US President Barack Obama that spying on friends was "not done."
> The BND was also found to have spied on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the aviation and space industries, as well as the arms trade, transport, media and consultancy.
The truth is that allies spy on each other all the time, it's not just normal but prudent to do so.
Thank you for the sanity. I certainly have problems with the surveillance state and authoritarianism in the US, but this is the most relevant take on this report. All spying is not all bad. Western countries give each other intel all the time. I would be more concerned if there were only one or a few set of eyes on things rather than more.
It's like... BREAKING NEWS: McDonald's found selling burgers!
Bellum omnium contra omnes, "the war of all against all".
It’s all about plausible deniability. No matter how implausible it is.
The current spin from other countries being outraged begs the question: how are you collaborating with the NSA?
The scandal here isn't that the NSA is spying on people, that is their job; everyone should expect every government other than their own to spy on them if they can. So then the scandal must be that the FE were helping spy on their allies. If the Danish people don't like this operation they should vote for new politicians. But don't be surprised when the new politicians get into office, have a discussion with the FE about why they cooperated with the NSA, and then choose to continue the activity (which the public won't discover for another decade). Denmark gets a benefit from it too. They open the doors to the NSA, and the NSA uses some capabilities that a smaller organization like the FE doesn't have. Then the NSA shares information back to the FE. Denmark's politicians end up better informed due to this partnership and are less likely to be caught off guard in negotiations with their neighbors.
Remember, every other country is spying on Denmark as well. Don't believe for a second that when Germany (or whomever) complains about their Prime Minister's phone being tapped that they've never tried to intercept communications from other countries. That's all just posturing; this is a giant stone throwing competition in a giant glass house. In public, every politician from every country is throwing accusations and hoping they aren't next up to have a whistleblower reveal what they are doing. No politician is going to stop their country's spying because it puts them at a disadvantage. They are elected to protect their country's interests.
Tl;dr: the only surprising thing here is that the public found out, this isn't going to stop even if you elect new politicians because this is what they are elected to do.
I think they still prefer that option and won't change their stance in the near future.
I should start learning Mandarin to be competitive in upcoming future workforce.
There is a Nordstream 2 angle here that I have yet to figure out.
"If Europe had invented Facebook, they would have invented Facebook".
Longer term, TLS, OpenVPN, and WireGuard all need to standardize post-quantum key exchange (such as Chrome's TLS experiment to run Curve25519 and RLWE key agreement protocols in parallel and run both outputs through the final key derivation function). But, for today, the main problem is deployment.
If they do, how does NSA break encryption without having secret keys?
Frankly, we can’t blame NSA only.
Regardless, just monitoring IPs talking to each other will have you some idea what sites / services they are using.
Also 10 years ago HTTPS wasn't everywhere yet.
Doesn’t she have a competent security team, advising her about OPSec?
It’s not just metadata. US spied on communication content.
The point is, tools are there; you need to be able to defend yourself against attacks.
The tools are there... But have you successfully convinced all your friends to use signal?
I know Merkles connects to family and friends might not seem critical, but it's probably stuff like that they are aggregating. But just recording phone numbers.
But also just getting IPs let's you know what services a person is using.
It's my impression that much it the SIGINT Snowdon revealed was metadata.. of course for a target like Merkle there might be more.
It allowed them to remove a heap of troops from forward bases in the region.
You may think that this accordance of like-mind was spontaneous, but it has clearly been a half-century long project of the United States.
No wonder their disappointment when their main man inside the bloc, the UK, elected to leave.
The problem is how the information is utilized and whether the staff and bureaucracy are professionals or pro-liars.
Professionals have integrity, operate in a facts- and data-based manner, possess a moral code guided by people's benefit, are fully accountable for their actions to an internally transparent independent oversight mechanism with legal repercussions.
Pro-liars are fabricators, blackmailers and betrayers, with zero integrity, adopting sloppy collection techniques, coercing cooperation, reacting on opinions that confirm their biases, abusers of the power they have, and of their targets, working in a constantly shifting amoral environment, guided by power and revenge, without oversight or accountability, and inoculate themselves to legal repercussions by hiding within secrecy protections.
All this official "shock and horror" comes across as crocodile tears, and would be better channeled into internally reforming the bloated security/intelligence bureaucracy (globally, not specific to any one region) that, although peppered with pockets of professionals, is also poisoned by the snake-tongued cancer of pro-liars.