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I Transcribed Glenn Greenwald's 30C3 Keynote (github.com)
253 points by poppingtonic on Dec 30, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 53 comments

Greenwald's speech was great, but so far the most interesting one to me has been Jacob Appelbaum's speech where he gives a lot more technical details (including new information) about how the NSA is hacking systems and how far they are willing to go, like wanting to create a "Great Firewall of Earth" or even radiating people with up to 1KW in order to get what's in their computer, which just proves how out of control and power hungry the NSA is and how indefensible their actions are, despite what some of the NSA HN users around here or their supporters might say.

Highly recommend it:


Why isn't there a video of this talk on media.ccc.de?

How was part 1 by Claudio Gaurnieri (@botherder) and Morgan Marquis-Boire (@headhntr)?

There will be, but the conference only concluded today, so it may take some time to be post-processed.

Reading this (and others) makes me conclude that we the people (or any country, but especially here in the US) are truly and royally fucked. For every brave person who stands up there are a hundred thousand who refuse to the see the sun rises in the east and continues to believe what they are being told, that it rises in the west.

We are only if people give up. Progress is a long road, at times. Not to directly compare the two, but look at the history of the civil rights movement in the US, from slavery, to Lincoln, to the 60ies and to the present day. That has been a fight carried out over generations, but things have gotten better.

It's interesting that privacy enabled many previous, successful movements like civil rights.

this is a great point when arguing with the "nothing to hide" people

Technology will be the solution, not politics. Cryptography is the only way out of this hell.

Crypto to what degree? Are your medical records safe? Correspondence with other secure on the other side? Credit card history? If you drive, your license plate being scanned to track location? Do you have a cell phone? Do you send postal mail (envelopes are now scanned).

Et cetera.

Crypto is great, but if the population as a whole doesn't care then it's more an exercise in keeping your journal entries secret (possibly).

We need to foment public anger over this, and have a clear course of action to channel that anger.

This is primarily a political problem. Talk to people who really understand the capabilities of state-level adversaries--applied cryptographers in particular--and you'll invariably get "well... what can you do?" Entities like the NSA are too powerful for you as an individual to defend against.

Crypto will help, and it will put a dent in dragnet surveillance, but it is dangerous to think we can "just put SSL in everything" and be done with it.

Exactly the opposite. The NSA already had firmware exploits for BIOSes, harddrives, mobile phones in 2008. They have won on the technological front - if they want to track your communications, they'll find a way.

Only laws could rein them in. There's simple no computing platform that can be trusted to do your encryption on.

what about the loongson laptops? they run on their own proprietary silicon, designed and built in china. yep, this is where we're at in 2014...the technology designed in a communist country is more trustworthy than the stuff designed here.

Cryptography is one big part of it, but I think all of counter-economics is the real hope.


Crypto is a tool, not a solution.

"How are we going to push this nail into this board?"

"We can use a hammer."

"A hammer is a tool, not a solution."

The question is "How can we build a house on a solid foundation that helps us live free, happy, healthy lives."

Hammers may be a part of the toolset, but they won't solve issues like siting it on the edge of a sand dune, or that the septic tank is currently in the master bedroom.

The foundations of our building are crumbling, causing all the wood beams to fall out of place.

Do you use a hammer to right them all?

It'd be great if it were that simple, but it isn't.

Technology makes things more efficient, in general. That means those in power have a heightened ability to abuse that power. The idea that technology is a democratizing force is based on wishful thinking.

Technology is not, and has never been, a solution to the concentration of power.

I say that as someone who would absolutely love for this not to be true by the way.

Indeed. Perhaps the most hopeful thing to say about technology is that it is a disrupting force, and at least offers some interesting new avenues to explore (both for good, and evil, though).

Were it that simple we wouldn't have the problem in the first place.

They then just subvert those implementing the crypto like Hushmail, Skype, or iMessage.

How the hell is James Clapper still in office?? Isn't what he did so obviously perjury?

The America of 2013 is absolute bullshit. I can't even fathom how corrupt this country is.

>How the hell is James Clapper still in office?? Isn't what he did so obviously perjury?

Yes, what he did clearly meets the statutory definition of perjury. He's still employed by the government because our officials, elected and appointed, are almost completely unaccountable to the public due to the political process being broken down by a corporate-controlled media and corporatocratic (see: Mussolini) system of government. The law is no longer equally applied - wealthy, important, and powerful people are "too big to fail", while even the most urgent concerns of average proles is generally beneath notice of those in charge. The only exception to this is when the proles' concerns become so widespread that a movement forms and majority demand for democratic change might result. In these cases a number of pacification strategies are adopted, like co-opting the proletariat movement with well-spoken placebo change agents who offer strong messages of hope, and have absolutely no intention of following through with them, or discrediting the movement by airing the dirty laundry of those movement leaders who cannot be corrupted or co-opted.

If Clapper were removed from office, his successor would have to take the damage on. Clapper will be scapegoated for as long as this fracas lasts.

A good summary of events so far, in a general sense. More important stuff to check out from/on Greenwald, one of the most important journalists in US history, at least by the nature of what he's helped publish (but of course more than that):

Conversations with History: Glenn Greenwald - https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-qlF... ~2011

Glenn's "Frequently Told Lies" page - http://web.archive.org/web/20131007002618/http://ggsidedocs.... (it's currently down, both on archive.org and the original page)

The American columnist who can't live in America - http://amanpour.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/10/the-american-column... (this is before the striking down of the gay marriage law in question, I think)

How Glenn Greenwald Became Glenn Greenwald - http://www.buzzfeed.com/jtes/how-glenn-greenwald-became-glen...

Believing oppression only happens elsewhere - https://theoldspeakjournal.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/believin... (the original blog is down)

Endless War, Radical Presidential Power, and a Rotted Political Culture: A Talk by Glenn Greenwald - http://translationexercises.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/endless... [28 Mar 2013]

nice work, maybe you would like to contribute it to the subtitle team effort?


specifically here: http://subtitles.pads.ccc.de/5622

Seems someone already did it, thank you.

I think you are mistaken. The official crowd sourced transcripts for the CCC were more or less complete prior to your efforts. Refer to the timeline for this event's transcript here: https://subtitles.pads.ccc.de/ep/pad/view/5622/latest

It would be nice if you could contribute back, by making any corrections, as these are the transcripts that are linked to from the CCC's website and probably most people will find.

Thank you, tipped (he has a Bitcoin address in the README).

It's a sad era indeed when we have a whole network of American journalists living outside of U.S. borders for fear of imprisonment and other reprisals from their own government.

Hi, I just synchronized with the blockchain. Thank you for your donation! You just gave me my first Bitcoins ever! You truly represent what's good in the world. Thank you again.

'Applause' at the end is an understatement. He got a long standing ovation for his contributions to expose the NSA's war on people.

Playing an unfortunate devil's advocate, all this ludicrous surveillance state gadgetry seems to be less of an attempt to be the United Stasi of America and more of a ridiculous over the top reaction in fear of being accused of going soft on terror.

I don't like it, and I don't agree with it, but I acknowledge that if a 2nd 9/11 level event were to occur after the government relented and imposed reasonable limitations on data collection that the party out of power at the time could easily scream bloody murder and take all 3 branches of government in a single election cycle. I'd previously only expected this from the party of Kang, but Obama's stance on drones and NSA surveillance has revealed the party of Kodos is no better.

Which is to say I think the surveillance state is a symptom more than the disease. America has lost all sense of perspective.

~30,000 automotive deaths (of which ~10,000 resulted from drunk driving) annually.

~11,000 gun deaths.

~6,000 deaths from falling off ladders.

~3,000 people died on 9/11.

Ergo we should ban ladders, guns, alcohol, and cars: it's the only way to be sure, no?

> more of a ridiculous over the top reaction in fear of being accused of going soft on terror.

As you wrote yourself, terrorism is a minor issue in the US. Most of the fear is fueled (and some of it created) by the government, because it's so convenient for manipulating the population. Therefore the government itself cannot be driven by the fear of being accused of going soft in this matter, because if that was the case, it'd simply stop perpetuing this fear of terrorism.

I'm sorry, but there is no cheap way out for this goverment. It's fundamentally evil and corrupt, it uses terrorism to keep a certain elite in power and to channel taxpayers' money to the pockets of the military-industrial complex. That's the only logical explanation I've seen so far.

Please read the transcript in its entirety. Specifically the latter parts about trade agreements and bi/multilateral negotiations. Placement of liability (w.r.t. the US common law) makes reform hard to envision yes, but that is just a minor concern in the bigger picture.

The surveillance state was never intended to stop terrorism, it is the true terrorism. This malice cannot be explained by incompetence.

I wanted to thank the poster for their work in transcribing this! I personally really appreciate it.

I REALLY dig doing this via github as well. I submitted a pull request with some spelling changes.

Did you do this by hand or use a tool and then touch it up afterwards?

Thanks, I did it by hand. Emacs+Amarok. While I worked on this, I Googled for transcription software, but couldn't find any packages or readily available POSIX pipelines that I could use from Ubuntu, let alone web services that don't require a credit card. Maybe I didn't look very carefully. Took two days to complete, though. This is something that should be easily doable now, so here's my personal RFS: fix transcription software. A user should be able to either upload an audio file directly, use a Dropbox folder, or provide a link to an s/OGG/MP3/whatever, and get a text file in return. They can then listen to the audio while they make whatever edits that they need.

Aaaah! Why should a remote application be involved? It sounds completely unneeded to limit this to a web browser running software controlled by others.

Just let the user select a media file and provide keyboard controlled playback controls plus a text editor. I think some software like this is available for subtitle editing.

You must be really sensitive to horrible design choices. Sorry about that one.

in a discussion about the surveillance state it just seems wrong to suggest web apps. :)

Thanks for calling me out on that. With that comment, I basically lowered the quality of a discussion that I started (being the poster), and for that I apologize.

I'm very skeptical of Glenn Greenwald. I'm surprised by how many will readily accept whatever he says. That's kinda scary. There's a question of credibility when you don't fact check[1]. Makes you wonder what else is Greenwald exaggerating or not fact checking.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2013/06/1...

That article is textbook character assassination based on an unimportant nit-pick the washington post itself couldn't even "fact-check". Instead, Booz Hamilton provided Snowden's base salary - not how much he actually earned, which could have included overtime, bonuses, any other kind of allowance. It seems entirely likely to me that Snowden's actual take home could have been well above the base rate. Certainly no-one has tabled any evidence otherwise.

So you're basing your skepticism on what? That he used the word salary instead of income? That's why he has lost all credibility? Not to mention this personal detail has nothing to do with the actual allegations.

Congratulations, you swallowed this textbook hit piece hook, line and sinker. Its entire purpose was to make people "skeptical", of course, and it obviously worked.

Broadly stated: independent sources cross-confirming each other is the best way to ensure reliability (an old scientific, police, historian, and journalist principle). Simply because we agree with a single source's statements and viewpoints doesn't guarantee the single source is right.

However, a variety of people over the years (Drake & others) have also remarked on the over-the-top surveillance. It's also true that the NSA has admitted certain of Greenwald's accusations. So at least in principle, Greenwald has been confirmed.

But the NSA has not admitted certain of Greenwald's accusations[1]. Greenwald's journalistic integrity has also been questioned before[2]. So, as I stated, makes you wonder what else he can be exaggerating or (intentionally?) not fact checking. I honestly can not see how someone could not be skeptical Greenwald.

[1] http://thedailybanter.com/2013/06/nsa-story-falling-apart-un...

[2] http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/08/1192256/-The-Final-...

Well, the big problem is that the default state of a secret spy agency is to deny everything and to classify everything. So their denial means very little. I would expect them to deny what they could. GG may, in fact be right in part but wrong on some details; he may be right in principle but wrong in fact; or he may be wrong, period. The preponderance of evidence of NSA behavior (going back to the 90s), the previous whistleblowers, and the admissions to date indicates that in principle, GG is correct. He may be wrong in detail or in facts, but his story is generally consistent, if more than expected.

Of course, it would be nice if Congress forcibly opened the archives and let the truth out into open air - then we could see clearly and make educated decisions! Until then, we have to rely on the somewhat foggy environment of leaks, whistleblowing, and journalists.

From [2]: "...he mixes high-concept political commentary with the lowest forms of tabloid propaganda in service to a religiously anti-Obama narrative" yea, this person has no idea what Greenwald is about.

Thank you

Thank you.

watching the video, at some points there seems to be audio lag...

I even wonder if the NSA actually tried to DDOS the skype call conference.

They did not. For unknown reasons, the switch in the Conference hall got manipulated (unplugged). It carried both the Skype call and the stream to the outside world.

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