I''m not entirely sure why Snowden is getting so much personal credit. I remember watching an episode of Frontline on PBS that discussed “Room 641A” . A few quotes from the cited wikipedia page, emphasis added:
”[the room] is fed by fiber optic lines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbone traffic and, as analyzed by J. Scott Marcus, a former CTO for GTE and a former adviser to the FCC, has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building, and therefore 'the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic.”
”[the program] was originally broadcast on May 15, 2007. It was also featured on PBS's NOW on March 14, 2008. The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode 'The Spy Factory'.”
I admittedly watch more PBS than the average person. I was talking about Room 641A and concept of the NSA directly siphoning every call, email, text and url sent from the AT&T Pacific data center several years ago. Snowden’s revelations were news and he provided theretofore unnknown details. But they weren't completely out of the blue.
People knew that the NSA was collecting data on an unprecedented scale before Edward Snowden. These programs aren’t new, they didn’t start last year. Snowden unquestioningly gets credit for coming forward, he deserves praise for taking such a risk. It’s clear that he provided us with a paper trail and evidence that no one had in May of 2007. But our knowledge of the NSA’s activities is not “entirely because of information provided to journalists by Edward Snowden” as the NYT OpEd alleges. People had the knowledge years ago. The outrage is recent.
We'll see if the future holds substantive policy reforms or presidential pardons. Cautious optimism never hurts.
As for the article, I'm thankful. If my relatives won't listen to me, maybe they'll listen to the New York Times editorial board.
I hope you don't give your government that much credit and really are not that naive. Considering the NSA and CIA's history, why would think anything other than they were actively using technologies to eavesdrop on the general population?
Conspiracy nuts have been screaming this from the rooftops for years and suddenly because of Snowden they're finally listening? Sure he deserves credit for the evidence he's released, but this is not something new by any stretch of the imagination.
Yes. For example, they were called "conspiracy nuts" before.
Those of us paying attention knew something was going on, yes. For my part, I believed that there was much more spying going on than they were letting on. It seemed clear that the FISA court was a rubber stamp, and the refusal to release exact numbers of wiretaps approved pointed to them hiding a surprisingly large number.
However, the revelation that there was, in effect, just the one giant umbrella wiretap authorization, came as a big surprise to me. I never dreamed that the extent could be that great.
"we are only spying on terrorists and military targets."
"The postal secret will never be violated. Mail and emails by extension are safe forms of communication."
"A warrant is needed to listen in on a telephone call. Telephone call is a safe form of communication."
"Building a database on the citizens political affiliation is illegal, and ground for political dismissal of officials."
"The ISP, email provider and telephone company is only a common carrier. They are not allowed to watch."
"Warrants and subpenas are directed at individual. Collective punishment is wrong, illegal, and something only other countries do."
"The government job is to protect people. If the government know of a serious vulnerability in society, they will inform people in order to protect them."
"Only criminals breaks into computer systems."
knowing that the US government could lie on all those points is not the same as knowing that they are. Tinfoil hat was define as such because they thought the government lied on those points, based on the fact that the government could do it.
if i say 'twenty' every time, eventually i'll correctly predict the outcome of a d20. this doesn't make me good at doing so, nor does it mean that you should have listened.
This site lists articles going back to 1982 about the NSA domestic spying programs. A whois lookup on the site puts the information on the site around 1997. It's fascinating to me people seemed to have no idea, yet the information had been out there for years and years.
I liken it to Jose Canseco. For so many years he was telling people guys in the MLB were all juicing. He got blacklisted and people hazed the crap out of him for the mere suggestion. A few years after his book came out, every player he named was confirmed as a steroid user.
Pretty much the same thing in my mind. . .
It's essentially been common opinion in the tech community for decades that the NSA looked like they were building the capability for mass surveillance, and that in all likelihood was probably doing it.
Snowden provided a greater degree of proof, but anybody that was really surprised by what was going on wasn't really paying attention...
An in my very amateur opinion, Mr. Snowden receives the personal credit simply because he has provided the world with evidence of that previously "known" activity.
Let's not underestimate the value of a singular face to focus sentiment vs. a room.
Not sure what your point is as to how that relates to Snowden.
Personally I disagree with the parent quite strongly -- the recent revelations made it quite clear that the NSA's data hoovering is making the State Department into a frivolous formality. Diplomacy is irrelevant when you already know the internal political structure of your allies/adversaries, and it takes 'real politik' to the extreme (like playing a game of poker with the cards revealed to a powerful few). The loss of privacy in diplomatic correspondence is a far greater blow to the peace of the world than the revelation of your torrid love affairs or your weak financial integrity.
But, much like war, when people are fully informed, that tacit acceptance goes south. When people realize that "some unelected, uanccountable government employee has access to my phone calls and my emails including the ones to my (lover/bookie/doctor)", or put another way, "The government spies on ME" that is a much more powerful thought than just "Eh, the government spies on people".
It's because Snowden made for a good messiah. Better PR trumps good journalism.
No it wasn't. It was well suspected by a few. Snowden provided hard evidence which each and everyone could see. To many, if not most ordinary americans, that is a huge difference.
True, but the point the parent comment is making is that as people learn more, more people will support what Snowden did / want NSA reforms. I think it's clear that will happen but we'll see what public opinion does over time.
Anecdotal I can say that members of my family (the type that barely use a computer) had only a vague notion of the NSA's domestic spying until the Snowden stories broke through the everyday media noise.