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Motives Aside, the NSA Should Not Spy on Us (reason.com)
31 points by BikalpT 1367 days ago | hide | past | web | 16 comments | favorite



No, let's not place their stated motives aside and presume their premise is simply misguided. Their premise is full bologna and a palpable excuse for the uneducated.

From the article: "...But if their purpose is to protect us, why worry?..."

If their motives were that genuine and honest, why are they not freeing American girls or otherwise from slavery? arresting cartel leaders or crooked politicians or perhaps crushing insider trading?

The answer is that the NSA/CIA/FBI and all the other "alphabet soup" agencies fear the public at large and are scared and want to protect themselves and their institutions only.

I know I over-simplified but the last nation to do this was the Soviet Union and they feared their public too.


>I know I over-simplified but the last nation to do this was the Soviet Union and they feared their public too.

And this is why/result/symptom of the US collapsing. We've seen these things time and time again. An empire who has no enemies makes an enemy out of itself.

Interesting take on the US collapse preparedness from someone who experienced it in the USSR:

http://www.resilience.org/stories/2006-12-04/closing-collaps...


I can see how the purpose of structures of power is to protect us. I can also see how the purpose of a car is to transport dead insects on its windshield. But only temporarily, when I tap into the imagination of my inner child.


Shouldn't have been posted to Hacker News, solely because what it says is already obvious to most people who read here.


I think the best solution would be to have the NSA and other security apparatuses stop or significantly scale down their surveillance programs for a few years.

Two scenarios would play out:

1) Nothing happens or a maybe Boston Marathon Bombing-style attack once a year at most.

2) Bombs go off in a major shopping center or movie theatre every week, perhaps a few in the Bay Area. This is similar to what happened in Israel in the 90s.

In the first case it would mean that the surveillance really was for nothing and the matter would be easily resolved.

In the second case, we would at least be in a position to make an informed decision about whether the surveillance programs were worth the security it gained us. I suspect people would have a different opinion about the surveillance programs if scenario two came to pass - because preventing the second scenario is ostensibly the motive behind them.


If people were determined to blow up shopping centers in America they could easily. Pay no attention to the theater security that surrounds your everyday life. It means nothing.


Yes it is easy to blow up shopping centers. Hence the Boston Marathon bombing. Hence the surveillance programs that ostensibly identify and investigate and stop potential bombers.

The existence of 'security theatre', the only example I can think of being the TSA, doesn't preclude the possibility that there are real threats.


>The existence of 'security theatre', the only example I can think of being the TSA, doesn't preclude the possibility that there are real threats.

A related thought: Just because you have spend a lot on security, and there haven't been much in the way of incidents, doesn't mean the security spendings are sensible.


Um right, hence the original comment I made.


Since nobody seems to have been paying any attention or have a memory, 9/11 was sadly the information about scenario two. It's not a bloody experiment anymore.


If you think any of the measures instituted after 9/11 could prevent another mass 9/11 style attack, you're in denial. Like people who want to ban semi-automatic rifles because of school shootings. The Bush administration ignored all the 9/11 warning signs.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/opinion/the-bush-white-hou...

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/09/bush-knew-mo...


You got me; I'd also like to ban semi-automatic rifles. Give those deer a fighting chance.


9/11? You mean where building 7 "got pulled", uhhh, I mean collapsed because office furniture fires? The one were 3 letter agencies collected and "lost" the tapes of nearby private surveillance cameras? The one were some people who couldn't even fly a sports plane well flew a Boeing, which is so easy to handle and for which incredibly perfect simulators are in every mall, with precision into skyscrapers? The one where fires that turned steel into some kind of explosives curiously didn't burn the passport of one of the attackers? Where explosions where not investigated, and the debris was shipped off to China?

When bad stuff happens to skyscrapers, or any building collapses for not entirely known reasosn, normally every millimeter gets photographed. It's like a murder scene, you don't just pack it up and destroy it. 9/11 didn't even have a pretend investigation.

9/11 was informative indeed, but not about "what would happen if we got rid of the spooks in our country", though the irony of such a conclusion is of course delicious in its own way. No, it's rather a statement about how the sun revolves around the Earth if the party says so, and that's about it. Nothing any scientifically thinking individual should have even one minute for in earnest. Fuck conspiracy theories and Alex Jones, all that was needed was thinking for yourself, watching news footage (as if there was a way to avoid it) with anything resembling an attention span, and listening to politicians while also reading between the lines. That is not too much to ask for a grown up individual in a supposedly democratic society.

So that you throw out that cliche of 9/11 having been an attack that, once and for all, proved that whatever "security measures" anyone could come up with are justified, and would "prevent worse things from happening", while talking about "paying any attention or have a memory" -- I am not sure if I should find that funny or shockingly sad.

I see what you said, and raise you by "9/11 was information about the validity of the process by which the vast majority come to conclusions, and that all votes are not equal." Which is so far from anyone that can be said in polite conversation that I usually keep it to myself, but I genuinely believe it. That year I realized I'm with mostly fools, stuck on this planet in a circus, and that all my previous confusion about "how could something like the Nazis ever happen" was just adorable.


I self-censored my comment earlier, but fuck you. If you deny reality there is no discussion to be had. I want to sit in Washington square park and dance without smelling acrid smoke.


If you deny reality there is no discussion to be had.

You're projecting. That's like saying there was no point in investigating the rubble of 9/11 or the explosions because it's all so obvious anyway. It's called "conclusion prior to investigation". If you had arguments, you would mention them. So there.


I suspect people would have a different opinion about the surveillance programs if scenario two came to pass

Which is funny, because those folks will probably be the same ones who keep butchering the quote and declaring "Those who would give up freedom for safety deserve neither"




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