At the end of the day, they're still collecting everything. And I don't want that to happen. Is that too much to ask for? Google got in so much trouble over collecting Wi-fi data, but if the governments do it, and a lot more, it's fine? Surely there have been, and will continue to be alternative solutions to stopping terrorists besides collecting everyone's information en-masse.
Also, what about the foreigners? Politicians, judges, activists, everyone is fair game for spying? I don't want to live in such a world. That's can't be the future.
Obama tries to make it seem like this is the "balance" between privacy and security. This nowhere close to a "balance". They're getting everything. How is that a "balance" for privacy? If that's the balance, I don't think I want to know what they have in mind for when they really only care about security.
I hope they give him another Nobel for just being so awesome.
Please don't disregard the other prizes: they represent real, quantifiable achievements. Peace is a simple result from political policies, but chemistry, physics, and medicine have a rich history of research and application.
Nobel Prize categories:
* Economic Sciences
I think it is ignorance that is causing this. Specifically, ignorance of the nature of information, and maybe a propensity of lawyers to attempt to "balance" security with law, and thereby destroy security.
Read my other comment here about Palantir's marketing material, how they advertise "immutable audit trails", and how that's supposed to provide transparency and whatever... and a link to a paper that says it doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work.
I don't blog, so somebody else should compile this and publish it.
civilization and government are way more nuanced than this. the answer to your question is yes, yes it is too much to ask for. you probably don't want to pay taxes, receive speeding tickets, or be subject to laws but you are...
We didn't get onto corporate power and influence in this thread (yet) but you get the idea. Is shut up and take it an option anymore when it's looking increasingly likely that governments corrupt and subvert real public debate (infiltrating organisations like Greenpeace with trouble makers), monitor everything you do on the internet and can trace it all back to you, and should the policies change under, say a Nixon, McCarthy or worse you could find the apparatus on your doorstep for a making everyone a suspected terrorist fairly soon. Turnkey Tyranny is exactly the correct terminology.
The truth is you can't trust the NSA to do the right thing and anyone with any common sense can see even in very very recent American history the powers of the state were massively abused. Freedom, democracy, these always have just been words to sugar coats a system by the rich for the rich. I the more you look at the system the more you realise that Chomsky is right about power and that you and me all need a fairer slice of the cake (both monetarily and in terms of our say in how government happens). What is good is that the means of production is coming back to the people; I can see the rich and powerful being very scared indeed by this.
The way we're taxed federally right now with corporate loopholes and crazy income tax laws is bad.
Otherwise, corporations would be able to just pay people in kind by providing them with accommodation, transport, clothing, etc, and save a giant tax bill.
If a significant sized community creates a moneyless economy, the tax man authorities will take an interest, and just start assessing transactions based on financial equivalences.
Of course all communities require something from the global external economy, but I see no reason why a community's internal transactions would have to be assessed by an external entity. Alas that is not the way of the world today.
Your comment about the military is so rude, though, that it was difficult to write a temperate response. You ought to feel ashamed of yourself.
Soldiers are, in a sense, slaves. A standing army is a vast apparatus under direct control of an executive.
But, the opposition to standing armies is long forgotten. We also forgot the reason why only congress was given the authority to declare war, which has become dead letter, and these ideas considered quaint and outdated. But 1776 wasn't that long ago in the history of human governments, and the history of human governments is the history of abusing power.
"Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever." - Cicero
The U.S. military's only oath is to the Constitution of the U.S., not the executive. They are to follow the orders of the executive to the point that they are in keeping with upholding the defense of the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Officers don't even take an oath to zealously follow orders, only to properly discharge the duties of their position.
While I'll grant that it's true that there is a lot of leeway and deference to the executive branch in what counts as a 'lawful order', it's incredibly concerning to me that so many people here have so little understanding of the U.S. military that they can claim with a straight face that the standing army is Obama's personal political tool.
Please see http://terminallance.com/2013/05/17/terminal-lance-president... for a description of how little reverence there is for the President within the military.
Mind you, there are good reasons for training soldiers this way - In the heat of combat, the Platoon Commander can't put everything to a vote. But this way of life does have its negatives.
Junior enlisted, yes, generally just follow orders from their immediate superiors.
Every NSA employee knows they're violating the constitution. Keith Alexander's statement in an embarrassment, which only calls attention to the corruption or ignorance at the top.
Except that in the US, military service is voluntary.
(1) Completed or attempted desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years.
(2) Other cases of completed or attempted desertion.
(a) Terminated by apprehension. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 3 years.
(b) Terminated otherwise. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 2 years.
(3) In time of war. Death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.
The draft register is still around but the draft itself was eliminated in 1973 (or thereabouts). So, that U.S. military force propping up NATO and facing down the U.S.S.R. during Reagan's saber-rattling in the 1980s? ALL VOLUNTEER, believe it or not.
Friedman had no qualms about describing himself as a libertarian and not a conservative, and his influence in the Reagan administration was considerable, even outside of economics.
I find it strange that so many conservatives admire Reagan as their ultimate hero, but ignore any libertarian influence in his administration.
But clearly, this isn't the basis of my comparison. A soldier is completely subject to the arbitrary will of his superiors, without any real legal protections.
See also: Ratio of reported rapes vs. prosecuted rapes, scandals of enforcement agents.
And post-2009 when active operations in Iraq were ending and the economy really went to shit it's gotten even harder to join. You essentially can't even get into the various Officer Candidate Schools without being either in peak physical shape (Army/Marines) and having good grades, or having a GPA of 3.4+ with good physical scores (Navy/Air Force).
This is technically true, but ignores the fact that it's a totally rigged game. You have a news media that's intent on dividing people over relatively small issues and pushing certain narratives. You have contractors who are paid to do the same online. You have a system of surveillance that could be used to discredit (or worse) promising political figures, and intimidate journalists. You have a large part of your government that operates in secret, under secret laws, preventing any kind of meaningful debate beyond "we need more transparency." All of this makes it incredibly difficult to get a majority to agree with anything that established powers don't approve of. It can be done (like we're seeing with marijuana legalization), but it requires a Herculean effort.
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
What utter self aggrandizing tripe.
I wouldn't blame anyone for taking more interest in gay rights than the NSA. The emerging widespread acceptance of gays as fellow human beings is probably unique to human history. It is hard to overstate the significance of that. But at the same time, I wouldn't give too much credit to the news media. It was a convenient wedge issue, but I suspect established powers were largely indifferent as to the outcome.
He added that if a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A. "could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back."
I think reasonable minds can differ about which characterization is appropriate.
Taxes, social security and healthcare are important, but they are not more or less important than privacy on an absolute scale and they are not on the same axis to begin with. You can have a perfect police state with social security, healthcare and low taxes and 0 privacy.
Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
What good is it to have the right to abortion, gay marriage, immigration amnesty etc. if tomorrow you can be taken away and locked up for the rest of your life, without any due process, all because of an email you wrote?
Also, your hypothetical is disingenuous. It wraps violations of due process in with monitoring of e-mail. I'd imagine most people would consider the real outrage in your hypothetical to be the "without any due process" part, not the "because of an e-mail" part.
The majority are disengaged, disinterested and apathetic.
Furthermore, the particularly abhorrent feature of these programs is that their existence was kept secret. Secret courts issuing secret orders to secret services to work in secret violating citizens' right to privacy.
Without these leaks, citizens lacked the capacity to change this system, because they had no idea this system even existed.
Total surveillance is one of the many tools, that the political elite uses to prevent the majority from changing the system.
This is false. The NSA considers itself outside the realm of law:
> "NSA does not have a statutory charter; its operational responsibilities are set forth exclusively in executive directives first issued in the 1950s. One of the questions which the Senate asked the Committee to consider was the "need for specific legislative authority to govern the operations of...the National Security Agency."
> According to NSA's General Counsel, no existing statutes control, limit, or define the signals intelligence activities of NSA. Further, the General Counsel asserts that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to NSA's interception of Americans' international communications for foreign intelligence purposes."
We'd have to overthrow the "government" as it's existed for the past 50 years or so to get rid of the NSA.
I admit I regret my phrasing. Instead of "but it is not surprising that officers in the military do not understand what liberty means since they have not lived a life of liberty" I should have said "but it is not surprising that an officer in the military may not understand what liberty means since they have not lived a life of liberty"
What was it, aside from "mob rule" of the majority, that passed amendments 14, 15, 19, 24, and 26 to the Constitution? Those would be the amendments that specifically expanded the freedoms of minorities (on the basic of race, sex, wealth, and age)
EDIT: oh, and I mean the supermajority & state level process required to amend the Constitution.
It's almost impossible for a human alive today to truthfully live free from oil - even if they are exceptional. How much harder would it be for an ordinary person who actually lives in US society?
 Edit: And enlisted men and women!
Sadly, I suspect one day you'll have to recall this statement.
That may be a reasonable response to the PRISM/FAA702 disclosures. But in relation to the blanket domestic phone-metadata surveillance? The program which was based on an very expansive interpretation of the FAA business-records provision? The program which was kept secret from not only the US electorate but most of the US Congress? As was the legal interpretation justifying it? The program which even the US Congressmen who had heard about it and found it objectionable were not permitted to inform anyone about? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=HNm...
It would be much better to have someone from reddit or HN in charge of the NSA. It could be decided by upvotes. Does anyone want to start a poll?
I'm getting really tired of hearing this defense from U.S. officials. Just because something's legal doesn't mean it's constitutional and/or morally right. I don't think anyone's still arguing the legality of these programs - we're saying that they shouldn't be there because they violate the spirit (and arguably, the letter) of the 4th Amendment.
But it is possible for a thing to be legal - and constitutional - and in breach of rights which don't need to be named on any paper to still be rights. Like the right to privacy.
What they mean is that there's no reasonable, fair social contract they can imagine that lacks those rights. It's perfectly possible for a social contract to lack certain "inalienable" rights, though. All you need is a pure, unconstrained democracy to see that.
Unfortunately, interpreting the Constitution as a living document and reading new rights (like the "right to privacy") into the Bill of Rights and/or the 14th Amendment -- "because of course the founders would ideologically agree with us that individuals have new rights A B and C" -- leaves the door open not only to good interpretations of rights, but bad interpretations of rights dictated by the majority against minorities, or dictated by powerful minorities against a disinterested majority.
There certainly have been cases where "rights" conflicted. One would be the "property rights" of slave owners (slaves being the property in question) vs. the innate rights of the slaves themselves. However, I see this problem of "bad rights" as having been solved by the 14th amendment. What bad interpretations of rights could you see that do not conflict with an existing amendment?
As for the bigger picture, in my mind the debate over whether or not the Constitution is "living" is silly. Of course it is living. Unless you can send every case back to 1787 you'll never know what the founders intended. You interpret the meaning of what they wrote through the context of your modern life. Trying to use their writings of the time for context just exponentially increases the text that can be construed for any purpose, and you still end up reading the context through the context of modern life. And the founders almost certainly had different and unique interpretations of the constitution that they all voted for.
If a religious majority took over all three branches of government, then what can you do? The constitution won't save you. The constitution grants them the power to look at it through their own lens. No other lens is possible. The constitution is "living" then whether you want it to be or not.
It's ignorance of history that holds us back.
The enumeration of rights was practical. Without a concise list of important ones to point at, I think we would have been worse off.
In that sense, it is extremely helpful to have a document that attempts to make a permanent record of what are rights are and what we should expect from our government. The fact that such a document is (necessarily) incomplete does not make it any less valuable.
Well, much of our current conception of "right to privacy" was invented by the Supreme Court itself so it is true that the Constitution can be interpreted to mean different things as time goes by.
But as you point out, I don't see that happening with this Supreme Court. And to get such a right enshrined there would need to be a case to be brought to the Supreme Court in the first place.
The court doesn't invent rights. Rights are not listed, enumerated, ordered, or limited. It says so right in the part of the US federal constitution that was feared could be mistaken for a list of rights.
“Assuming you don’t know exactly what the government did, how could you possibly have a lawsuit that provides any sort of relief and provides and effective remedy?” Samp asks, “How could the plaintiff know what remedy to ask for when he doesn’t even know what’s happened?”
--Richard Samp of the Washington Legal Foundation
This is the same tone the CPSU/NKVD/KGB would use to defend their tactics, their manipulation, their ultimate power.
The "heroes" are the ordinary citizens. It is their ordinary lives the NSA is commited to defend: especially their ORDINARINESS, more and above their lives.
You do not want to live: you want to be free. This is what motivated the independence war, you know? People preferred dying to living under the Crown.
Nowadays nobody in the whole world is free from the NSA.
This has to end. As soon as possible.
Sorry to say but Goebbels, Beria and so on come to mind. And of course, Mayakovski...
The only people who uncritically buy statements like these are people that want to buy them because they are already invested in believing...
Such as having a job that depends on them being able to justify what they are doing to themselves.
This has to end. As soon as possible.
Yes I'm aware everybody doesn't use the internet, and yes I'm aware slavery is still quite prevalent, however my point stands -- slavery is an affront to self-determination and so is suspicionless surveillance.
How do we get to a state where an actual value is ever given serious political weight? Ending slavery took a major war.
It's almost like he WANTS us to read between the lines and realize the laws are too permissive.
Now on to what he actually said.
>we provided over 50 cases to both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees that show the specific contribution of these programs
>The challenge of these leaks is exacerbated by ... little awareness of the outcomes that our authorities yield
We see on full display the "ends justify the means" attitude that the NSA argues. It is not an invalid argument, but it is one that I'm sure the vast majority of the HN audience would disagree with. Hopefully this attitude is debated in the national spotlight alongside the validity of the programs themselves.
>Through four years of oversight, the committee has not identified a single case in which a government official engaged in willful effort to circumvent or violate the law
Again, there's that "willful" keyword we've heard so much. That's a loophole you could drive a train through! If Keith is so confident in his mens rea defense , I'm sure he welcomes the spotlight being shined on his organization's workings.
>Leadership ... is now engaged in a public dialogue to make sure the American public gets the rest of the story
Like I said, it is fantastic that this - the goal Snowden described - is being acknowledged. I look forward to Greenwald's continued leaks (such as the imminent release describing the NSA's collecting of the contents of 1 Billion cell phone calls every day ).
> We need you to focus on our primary mission of defending our nation and our allies
Keith seems to be worried that these leaks are taking a toll on his organization's morale. I sincerely hope that this does not impact national security - I doubt it will - but, reading between the lines, I think he's petrified that Snowden's heroic leadership in this area will inspire more leaks. One can only hope.
It read, to me, like nothing but a blowhard spouting hot-air and empty rhetoric, while desperately hoping to spike morale and discourage the next Edward Snowden from doing The Right Thing.
I mean, it's already well established that the NSA operates with almost zero effective oversight: given that the FISA courts are nothing but a rubber-stamp, Congress is lied to and accepts the lies - or engages in willful ignorance - about this whole situation (well, up until it breaks to the public thanks to Snowden), and the NSA operate under their own interpretation of the law anyway.
There's no real judicial oversight of the NSA, there's no Congressional oversight, so that leaves the Executive branch... and does anybody trust them to exercise restraint???
I think he's petrified that Snowden's heroic leadership in this area will inspire more leaks. One can only hope.
...given that the FISA courts are nothing but a rubber-stamp
but that doesn't pass the "smell test" as far as I'm concerned.
It's easy to explain the 0.03 figure if there are a large number of routine boilerplate small scale requests. It seems highly plausible that this is the case.
The fact that the figure is plausible doesn't rule out the possibility that abuses might be being rubberstamped, but the truth is that we don't know, not that it's a 'given'.
For all practical purposes, it is a given that the FISA courts are a rubber stamp. Just because there is some amazingly-low-probability and unlikely scenario to explain that away, is no reason not to accept the utter and obvious truth.
Imagine there are something like 800 actual terrorist suspects - people who have been identified via human intelligence, e.g. Known to have met with terrorist cells, visited training camps, etc.
Of 10,000 requests, it's easily possible that the vast majority could be simply following up on the immediate network surrounding those people - e.g. 'Suspect X called person Y, person Y is new to us, let us check whether person Y is linked to other suspects by phone or email'.
Requests like that would be made using a boilerplate form, and would be correctly rubber-stamped as long as they were closely connected to suspects identified by other means. We should expect many of those kinds of requests to be being generated every day by analysts.
The .03 needs to be put in the context of the number of non-routine requests that are being approved. It doesn't seem at all unreasonable that for every 10,000 boilerplate followups generated by desk clerk analysts, there are 10 more speculative ones generated as a result of more specific investigations, and of these 30% are deemed overreaching.
The vast majority of requests are likely to be boring inquiries generated by bureaucrats following procedure, rather than Jack Bauer like rogues constantly overstepping their authority.
But I still think the number probably indicates that there is a serious problem. Further investigation is certainly warranted.
The secrecy of the process is definitely harming the government's image here, but I can also see that if the exact limits of what could be approved were public, terrorists would be able to develop communications strategies to counter them.
Ironically if his happened, the government would probably react by escalating to broader approvals. So the secrecy might actually be helping to limit the scope of the surveillance.
I do think that the "ends justifying the means" will resonate with most of the US population. And I think that's one reason it won't be a big deal in this country over the long haul. As it is, even among my less technically sophisticated senior-citizen in-laws the attitude is really, "Why is this news? Of course we're doing this!"
I think there is a bit of naivete with a lot of the HN crowd. It's sort of the same naivete that the RIAA has. You can't stop the flow of information. The information will find its way into the hands of the determined. You can't transmit data over virtually public networks and not expect it to be observed.
This all goes together with the discussion between on-site and cloud storage. If you want your data to be private, don't hand it to a 3rd party. That 3rd party includes Google, Verizon, ATT, or Comcast. Once you hand your data to a 3rd party, all bets are off.
This needs to be the way we think about data. We should learn the lesson from the RIAA that fighting a losing battle, just puts us in worse shape when we come to our senses. We should start teaching people that their data over these networks isn't private. Even if the gov't didn't look at it, someone from Google/Facebook/Verizon can do the same -- and is potentially more likely to sell to foreign nations.
This battle is over. Most Americans know this. The tech sector ironically seems to be the ones who are having the most trouble seeing how this plays out.
Everything we do is tracked, recorded. Our information is sold without our consent. Zero privacy and it only gets worse.
Stupid false choice BS spread by modern media. You can have safety, privacy and security all at the same time.
You can have safety, privacy and security all at the same time.
Total surveillance has nothing to do with the security of the average citizen...
One of the problems is that surveillance can be used for both purposes.
However neither of your statements are an actual attempt to answer my question.
And, as you alluded to, the majority of us here seem to disagree with the premise, making the overall argument invalid. Probably not the case for the rest of the country th ough. I'd like to think that we represent the "thoughtful minority", but doesn't everyone.
>security and liberty.
Since when did the USA stand for security? Job security? Nope. Home security? Nope. It' supposed to be a free nation, not a secure nation.
911 was a very nasty wakeup call and to me the government reaction following that just shows how badly shaken the USA was to that.
Who would have thought before 911 that the USA would use torture, or surveillance of US citizens, or assassinate USA citizens - all government approved?
Unless the USA can step away from this precipice I don't think it would be a big stretch to say that the terrorists won and USA lost.
The content is embarrassing. The constant references to 9/11 and to terrorism more generally. People have for years poked fun at this particular proclivity of officials, and the statement reads like a parody.
The references to "foreign intelligence" are embarrassing. To those of us who are foreign to the United States, having widespread violations of our right to privacy justified by the fact we are "foreigners" is despicable. It might placate some US citizens, but this episode is a diplomatic catastrophe for the US, and rightly so.
The very fact gross human rights violations are being justified in the name of "security" is embarrassing. The fact officials are not in damage control mode, acknowledging the gross misconduct they have presided over and seeking to rectify matters, but are instead seeking to continue business as usual.
Everything about this statement is embarrassing.
I don't have any evidence to support this, but I bet most NSA employees would rather see Snowden brought up on charges vs. using him as a lightning rod for revolt. The majority agree with what they are doing on a day to day basis, not the opposite.
On the contrary, I suspect a great many recognize, as Snowden did, that the work they are doing is morally questionable, but would rather turn a blind eye, keep doing what they're doing and taking home fat paychecks than express dissent and face the wrath of the state, knowing better than most the capacity it has to destroy their lives.
Snowden, a fairly unremarkable sysadmin, was allegedly taking home compensation of around $200k pa.
To be honest, even I'd probably turn a blind eye if I were being paid that much.
I'm hoping the smart ones will see through this, and if they do know of other illegalities/wrong doings, they come forward. If it's ever the time to do this, it's now, when the government is most vulnerable. It would help if they were in higher positions inside the agency.
"To address this shortfall and protect the nation from future terrorist attacks like 9/11, we made several changes to our intelligence efforts and added a number of capabilities. Two of these capabilities are the programs in the news. They were approved by the Administration, Congress, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court"
Sounds suspiciously like an official admission that the information available in public is both correct and reasonably complete, at least as far as those two programs go.
Also, that there are other "capabilities".
The decision to declassify would come from the top.
The statement from the 'guy at the top', on the other hand, would have been routed through his boss and the NSA General Counsel to ensure that it's only referring to declassified programs.
This is a self inflicted wound that they are refusing to accept responsibility for. While I am against domestic data collection without cause period, when it happens there should be informed consent, not blind trust that they won't abuse the privilege. Furthermore, the handling of any of this data, whether domestic or foreign by defense/security contractors should be banned. Add any other entity that would have an economic incentive to secretly abuse said access to that information to the list.
The NSA needs to be cleaned out and the White House does as well.
> Your dedication is unsurpassed, your patriotism unquestioned, and your skills are the envy of the world.
Your patriotism unquestioned! I wonder, is there any democratic country outside the US where patriotism is so much a thing? What does it mean, really? I love my country, so I'll do.. what? What would I do that I wouldn't do if I didn't love my country? Are those things actually always the right thing to do?
I'm not really getting to a point here. I'm just surprised that a term as strong as "patriotism" is used to casually. Do common people in the US really identify with being a patriot? Or is this just army-speak?
Patriotism originally meant you were willing to sacrifice something for your country. Presumably the smallest measure of that sacrifice would be spending your time developing well-founded opinions about how the country should operate. (Just take a look at the federalist papers: 85 long, dense articles arguing in favor of the minutest details of the constitution. And the expectation was that people would actually read them!)
Unfortunately patriotism doesn't mean sacrifice anymore. It means something akin to a fingers-in-the-ear, uncritical fanboyism. Just plaster everything with flags and soaring eagles and call it good. It's not sacrificing everything (like Snowden did), it's something you do instead of sacrificing _anything_, even the time it would take to educate yourself on what your country is doing. And as a bonus you get to flaunt that very ignorance as an additional point of pride.
And yeah, common people here in the US definitely do embrace it to a nauseating degree.
Yes. That's why Snowden is a patriot, not fat bald men sitting around in a climate-controlled building in Utah, listening to mp3s of private conversations (and posting them to Youtube -- we're certainly not very far from this).
Those NSA characters don't sacrifice anything. They probably look like Newman of Seinfeld fame. Calling them "heroes" is hilarious (as well as Orwellian, but we're used to that).
So it is not possible to be fat and bald and still be willing to sacrifice for your country?
What Keith is going for here, is , "My Country, right or wrong", blind following.
That's the ENTIRE issue here: security is being placed before liberty.
This document just confirms that.
They knew that what they've been doing is wrong and this is in no way believable when one considers the amount of lies coming out of the US government these days.
Secret judges. Secret courts. Secret police. Extrajudicial assassinations. Torture.
Sounds like a Nazi regime.
We did no harm to anybody."
EDIT: The parent has vanished... It was in the same vein as my comment: "no harm done, what a (dirty) joke."
If you have to pretend we are at war to make a convincing argument, you've already lost (war is obvious).
9/11 without question hurt America as a nation. But in the case of the Boston marathon event -- was national security threatened in that instance? If so, was national security threatened by the various mass shootings that happened in the year preceding the Boston marathon?
Similarly, perhaps one could argue that Bradley Manning, because of his disclosures, threatened national security. But does Julian Assange?
A foreign enemy shooting you on the battlefield: sure. But a guy recording himself making pro-Jihad speeches?
Russian moles probably count. But sympathizing free thinkers?
yup, no problem at all violating the data from foreign people. No problem at all. This will help american based business.
Welcome to the balkanisation of the web.
I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.
About the BBC TV series by the same name: "The Californian Ideology, a techno-utopian belief that computer networks could measure, control and self-stabilise societies, without hierarchical political control, and that people could become 'Randian heroes', only working for their own happiness, became widespread in Silicon Valley...but that the Californian Ideology had also been unable to stabilise it; indeed the ideology has not led to people being Randian heroes but in fact trapped them into a rigid system of control from which they are unable to escape."
The Terror Meme is A Weapon, Gone Loose.
Anyone alive today, who is making a daily business of the commitment to ideas such as that populations must serve Terror, must be immediately taken off their positions of power.
The only possible hope is that the American people realize just how much responsibility they have to take in order to de-Throne their new masters. If you are not willing to burn the curtain, not just look behind it, then you must take responsibility until you are willing, citizen.
The right of the true enemy to keep secrets must be revoked. The absolutely certain result will be more peace, because Peace happens when people reveal secrets to each other with the intention of making Peace. To Make Peace, Communication: and destroy all barriers to doing so.
The US has to have a serious look at its secrecy policies, and there must be a serious attempt, by the People, to demonstrate to the world that Peace itself, has still yet a chance to prevail. Make no mistake: on the other side of US Military Secrets is a reason for the US Military to be removed from post. Always.
That's also why Obama administration has been so hard on leakers and whistleblowers in general. To serve as a clear message to those who would talk about what's been happening at the NSA: we will punish you. The reason for clamping down so hard is because the scope, both in the amount of surveillance and in the sheer number of people who knew (in the military, government employees, contractors, and private companies NSA is collecting data from) had gotten so out of control.
The questions in my mind are:
How much of a systemic change has this program caused to the federal government already (e.g. clamping down on whistleblowers)?
How often have the capabilities of NSA been used to track down whistleblowers of any kind already (ironically employing what's causing the problem in the first place as part of a "solution")?
Have these capabilities been used to settle political scores already? I'm thinking of Petraeus. Interesting how those dots were connected. Interesting also that by then both Obama and Hillary Clinton had reason to be upset with him.
> When the mind establishes itself in a groove, in a pattern, haven't you noticed that it is always prompted by the desire to be secure? That is why it follows an ideal, an example, a guru. It wants to be safe, undisturbed, therefore it imitates. When you read in your history books about great leaders, saints, warriors, don't you find yourself wanting to copy them? Not that there aren't great people in the world; but the instinct is to imitate great people, to try to become like them, and that is one of the factors of deterioration because the mind then sets itself in a mould.
> Furthermore, society does not want individuals who are alert, keen, revolutionary, because such individuals will not fit into the established social pattern and they may break it up. That is why society seeks to hold your mind in its pattern, and why your so-called education encourages you to imitate, to follow, to conform.
> Now, can the mind stop imitating? That is, can it cease to form habits? And can the mind, which is already caught in habit, be free of habit?
— Jiddu Krishnamurti, Think on These Things (This Matter of Culture), Chapter 16, Renewing the Mind - http://books.google.it/books?id=IsldnzHkxpsC&printsec=frontc...
But power granted is not easily revoked. I'm not as worried about the current administration and their motives. However, the future can be predicted by no man, and where this nation is in 10-30 years, no one knows. This power can easily be used for not just subjugation of this nation, but possibly the world. In the wrong hands, this could be a tool of unfathomable power. And that is something I'm absolutely NOT okay with.
If revoking these programs, we open truly open ourselves to more attacks, so be it. That is the price to be paid for limiting of government power.
All of this stuff happened for a reason, and that reason was not that the NSA chief or Obama or Bush or anyone else was an evil person drunk on power who just couldn't help themselves because they're just that bad (or stupid, or whatever). This stuff happened because the electorate and the media and politicians went apeshit after 9/11 trying to point fingers and figure out why none of the intelligence services were able to "connect the dots" and prevent 9/11 from happening. Absolutely everyone was convinced that it was such an eminently preventable catastrophe, and everyone was blaming everyone else to deflect blame from themselves or make it look like they're on the ball.
The electorate demanded it, ate it up, and demanded more. This is why we have Gitmo. This is why we have torture. This is why we have the Patriot Act and why we have to take our shoes off at the airport and why we've had so much more domestic wiretapping in the past 12 years. None of this stuff is news, and if it is news to anyone they haven't been paying attention. Like, at all, on any level. If any of the Snowden stuff is revelatory to you, you have been woefully oblivious to current events for like the past 12 years and are part of the problem.
The thing is, none of this stuff is the product of individuals so much as it's the product of the system and the electorate. If people were half as vocal about civil liberties as they've been about perceived security then we wouldn't be in this situation. Demonizing the people in charge is a natural response, but for the most part they're just people trying to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. The real problem is the system itself (meaning, pressures within the government and between the government, the media, and the electorate) and the general lack of focus on, or understanding of, the importance of civil liberties among the population.
If the outcome of this is nothing more than a bunch of people get pilloried or lose their jobs, but the core legal framework that allowed this to happen remains in place, then all of this will have been a huge waste of time. It doesn't bother me that the NSA exercised powers that they were given and were instructed to use, it bothers me that all of the lawyers who went over this stuff with a fine-toothed comb concluded that this was all perfectly OK given current interpretation of constitutional law.
"People who sacrifice essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither."
The head of the NSA should consult with us here on reddit and HN before doing anything since we actually understand geopolitical realities.