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You're not the NSA; defending mass surveillance by them is not incompatible with not trusting you with one's email account.

Not that I defend mass government surveillance, I'm just tired of that pseudo-argument.




The NSA is made up on individuals like you or me and Edward Snowden has made the case that there's little preventing any insider from accessing what they want on whomever they want. As the surveillance state becomes an accepted part of modern society there will be those who seek involvement in it expressly for the purpose of abusing or exploiting their power.

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They are individuals, yes (though they are certainly not random people), but they still operate within a structure that shapes their actions. For example, while I oppose it on philosophical grounds, I don't see an NSA operator exploiting my email credential for any personal purpose. But some random guy on HN - who knows? He might just post them on 4chan for the lulz.

It's simply a facile argument that weakens the real arguments against mass state surveillance.

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It's not a bad argument, there's just better ones.

For example, while I oppose it on philosophical grounds, I don't see an NSA operator exploiting my email credential for any personal purpose.

It's perfectly possible to be crushed by a system without any of those operating the levers knowing or feeling anything personally about you. Systemic exploitation, a corrupt system if you will, is hardly better than corrupt individuals within a system, and the most horrific things in history all were rather apersonal, that's kinda what allowed them to reach an otherwise impossible scale, ferocity and longevity.

People distrusting people while trusting faceless agencies is the problem, not the solution.

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Actually, I don't think Snowden has made that case. He's asserted it, certainly, but things like the PRISM slides don't back him up.

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> defending mass surveillance by them is not incompatible with not trusting you with one's email account.

How on earth can you make that argument? Ostensibly, by giving him the credentials you trust something to keep your privacy private. With the feds, you have no choice.

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I'm sorry, could you please rephrase that? I don't understand what you mean.

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