Regarding the subject of the HN headline, "at most one terrorist attack might have been foiled", Inglis said:
"There's a candidate for that, which is the plot that was exposed in San Diego. I think we were able to essentially tell the FBI that an individual was materially involved in terrorism that they had, three years prior, investigated based on a tip and kind of laid that case to rest.
And but for the 215 Program, which we essentially tied that individual to some foreign terrorist activity overseas, the FBI would have let that case lain fallow for quite sometime. Now I cannot tell you that that wouldn't have turned up some other way. There wouldn't have been some other tool in the tool kit."
What if they did foil many terrorist attacks? I might feel different if me or mine had been affected by such an attack, but I'd like to think that I would still be against mass surveillance, simply because the dangers of that are not offset by being safer.
He didn't take much from me: my phone (big deal) and wallet (easy to cancel credit cards.) Along with that phone he got a lot of photos - memories - of things and at that moment I wish I had automatically backed up to a private G+ album. But I didn't because I'm pro-privacy, I think.
When I filed the police report, the detective walked up and down the block with me, seeing if there were any cameras to see where the person went, or to identify them. Ordinarily I would be part of the anti-mass-surveillance crowd, what is this, England? but at the time I might've appreciated a few cameras along that block so to maybe deter my mugger.
I often think about this when it comes to discussions of surveillance. I, like so many hackers, want privacy, anonymity, and for the government to just go away and let us enjoy the ability to live private lives. I want Google to stop trying to save all of my personal emails, photos, text messages, and location data to the cloud.
And then I say "but it would've been nice if there were a police security camera on that block." Or "I guess I have principles about google plus but I'm still out my photos."
I don't think it's so unreasonable, in a sense, for someone to feel that, if in fact these efforts are foiling peoples' ability to do us harm, that they're fruitful. What is the essential difference between wanting a stronger police/watch/community force in my Brooklyn neighborhood versus the surveillance we're talking about here?
Obviously there is some difference. But what is it?
We tell ourselves that having security cameras will deter criminals, because we say "well, it won't entice them will it? ". But there are two points about this:
- How effective is this? If installing cameras all over the city of London stopped one person from being mugged, is it worth it?
The big issue with trying to measure this is two-fold. Firstly, the notion of "stopped" is a bit hard to measure. Obviously, the number of people caught thanks to evidence on the cameras counts, but if there were eyewitnesses as well, does it still count? Inversely, what about the chilling effect brought on by the cameras? How do you count the number of people who don't even think about mugging thanks to the cameras? And who's to say that the crime isn't simply displaced? Society is pretty bad at figuring out general supply demand curves (an example: We would think that raising wages would entice people to work more, but a decent amount of arguments exist to say that after a certain wage level, increasing the wage would decrease the number of hours we work (substitution effect with leisure) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backward_bending_supply_curve_o...)
-How do we measure effectiveness? I get mugged and lose a $200 phone. I think I would be slightly irked by it, and quantifying this as merely a $200 loss might insult me (especially considering I'm not very used to being mugged and I would consider it a traumatic experience).
A terrorist attack has a similar quantification problem, there are widespread psychological effects (even just the loss of loved ones, beyond the macro "security theater" stuff which induces circular reasoning). And the economic damage can be longterm.
So enemies of the surveillance state rejoice, there are cameras everywhere, the footage they record however is worthless. And I dare say the thief had figured that out for himself.
Right. How about just having a sane and humane foreign policy instead of blowing up people all over the World? How about NOT creating hostility against the US in the first place? Did that ever cross your simple minds?
Oh sorry, I forgot - this would make the NSA/military less important, so that's no option, I suppose.
If the Utah data center is not closed down/sold off, where they plan to keep all the data on everyone on Earth, forever, then they haven't ended anything, regardless of what Obama will say on TV next week.
If the US is in fact using domestic surveillance effectively to generate informers, and thus prevent terror attacks, then US alphabet-soup spokesmen might plausibly be very slow to mention much about it in response to questions asked about specific attacks being directly detected through surveillance, both because a) the question as phrased doesn't cover such operations and b) you want at almost any cost to say nothing about them. Though on the other hand, if you aren't having success in those operations you wouldn't feel like saying much about it anyway, partly because it means you're failing at counter-terrorism ...
Now that's actually a quote from a presentation about bike helmets and the culture of fear around cycling (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS9UhHf7GsQ) but I think equally applicable to the culture of fear surrounding terrorism.
Mussolini: '' Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.''
It seems each 'reform' that these authoritarian sociopaths put forward just further enables/legalizes their crimes.
The word "corporatism" in this context is not a very good translation. It's a real quote, but "corporation" in Mussolini's time would be more accurately translated as "guild" or any arbitrary hierarchical group of people with common interests. Corporations as we know them (commercial enterprises) weren't a thing as far as Mussolini knew.
As much as I appreciate the sentiment this quote carries, it's just not applicable to anything today. Snopes thread about this:
From the Guardian article: ''Obama’s White House staff were meeting representatives of tech firms on Friday, concluding a packed week packed of meetings with surveillance stakeholders''
I damn well think you could call corporate surveillance stakeholders a ''guild'' or an ''arbitrary hierarchical group of people with common interests''.
I have the same contempt for these people as you do but if we always let off-context quotes, righteous as they may feel, go unchalleneged, it's a shame on all of us.
The context of the Mussolini quote was not uttered with a commercial enterprise in mind. Commercial enterprises called "corporations" were not a real thing in Mussolini's world. That's all I have to say here.
Liberal left wing types that supported the bombing of Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds ('we have to bomb them because if we don't then they will all starve') did not imagine for one moment that the talk of 'terrorist training camps' was utter bullshit. It was all true - to them when Donald Rumsfeld was telling them. They thought that bombing them would only encourage the terrorists.
So where are they?
There are plenty of immigrants fresh from Afghanistan in London, the ones you meet work hard for a living driving taxis and doing jobs white people don't like doing. So if the NSA/GCHQ have not caught any of them for being unduly fundamental-extremalist and none of them have come here to join terror cells so they can blow up thousands more innocent babies and puppies, what is going on?
As a taxpayer I expect more from this clash of civilisations. I have not had any days of work due to terror bomb threats, no postcard sites have been blown up and I have no idea what the colour coded threat level is for the day.
I think you're confusing your political parties.
>There are plenty of immigrants fresh from Afghanistan in London, the ones you meet work hard for a living driving taxis and doing jobs white people don't like doing.
Nice casual racism.
>As a taxpayer I expect more from this clash of civilisations. I have not had any days of work due to terror bomb threats, no postcard sites have been blown up and I have no idea what the colour coded threat level is for the day.
While I question the notion of a "clash of civilisations[sic]," you're saying this like it's a bad thing.
In the UK liberal refers to more socialist and inclusive policies (I think in the US it refers more to people being allowed to take care of themselves?).
Sarcasm and humour in general is usually not the way we deal with serious things like the war, even here on HN.
This is a pity as humour, even if it is British rather than American (or German) is a great way to make big, scary, difficult-to-understand-things a bit easier to talk about. It is a tactic and we should be taking the piss out of the politicians and the spies, rendering them to being pathetic 'Peeping Toms', tantamount to being dirty perverts, lowest of the low.
...I am genuinely surprised at how we have been able to kill whomever we like in The War Against Terror with a lack of reprisals from those we bombed. I am sure soldiers in Afghanistan do not see it that way, but for the folks in UK/USA there is practically zero terror threat.
To all intents and purposes those we have attacked and tortured are like unwitting subjects for a follow up to the MKULTRA type of things that went on 50 years ago. I do wonder if there are those in the military that see it that way, testing new weapons by killing a few people with them.
Fortunately those we bomb are people as opposed to complete psychopaths, so they don't have the mindset of those in the arms business.
By that standard, saying that black people have dark skin is racist. I could say all sorts of things about different racial groups that nobody would find offensive except guilty white people who know nothing of real class struggle.
You don't mess with a black girl's hair. Asians are more family-oriented than most. White people tend to be higher-minded in ways that often look out of touch. Latin culture idolizes a certain ideal of the strong male patriarch. Africans are extremely practical.
These statements are uncontroversial and I discovered them through direct interaction with the cultures in question. It's once you start organizing these observations into a racial narrative that purports to explain why one race is 'better' than another that your motivations become suspect.
Swing and a miss. Assigning job preference to a race is just a lazy version of explaining what you really mean, and we try to be above that.
Your response, for instance, is all over the place:
>You don't mess with a black girl's hair(1). Asians are more family-oriented than most(2). White people tend to be higher-minded in ways that often look out of touch(3). Latin culture idolizes a certain ideal of the strong male patriarch(4). Africans are extremely practical(5).
1 - I don't know what this is. 2 - do you mean "as a entire ethnic group" or "people from the Asian continent?" 3 - I don't even know where to start with your statement of white people being "higher-minded" and I'm pretty sure I don't want to follow you down your impressions-of-races rabbit hole. 4 - you hedged this comment by refining it to the "culture." 5 - by referring to the entire continent of people, this is such a strange generalization.
That's not racism.
>While I question the notion of a "clash of civilisations[sic]," you're saying this like it's a bad thing.
I don't see where he assigned a value to this prediction. It seems to me that you've done that for him, both in this comment and the one accusing him of racism.
He stated "doing jobs white people don't like doing." How do you interpret this? This is, by definition, stating that by being white alone, the population carries a characteristic.
>I don't see where he assigned a value to this prediction.
They're independent clauses ("I question that this event is occurring _and_ it seems as if by the preposition 'as a taxpayer', you expect a little theatrics instead of quiet aversion of harm.").
Only if you're a twat.
He was making a general observation: that minorities tend to do jobs that white people don't want to do.
And he's right. That's a simple observation, one which carries no value judgment. It just is.
That's not being racist; it's making an observation. If you think that any statement which differentiates between the races in any way - even if only tangentially - is a racist statement, then frankly, you need to get over yourself.
You're adorable. You must be the life of parties.
A great many went to Iraq.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/opinion/iraq-a-school-for-... and many more.
At most 1 person may have been killed by the official making that statement.
At most 1 child may have been abducted by journalists mentioning Snowden's name.
Nice trick. Wonder if it'll catch on with other officials?
As a lower bound, the lifetime earnings of an individual are $1m and up: http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/acsbr11-04.pdf
To wit, to offset that $40b loss we could either a) prevent a 9/11 scale attack or b) prevent at most 40,000 deaths of any cause. The operative difference being 1) we know for a fact that many more than 40,000 preventable deaths will happen in the next year alone and 2) we can make a good prediction about what the cost would be to prevent them.
My reason for entering the debate is I think people generally don't think about the true cost of a successful terrorist attack. For example, a successful attack on a nuclear power plant would cost $700 billion. Even if people were thinking about costs accurately, I recognize even then there will be disagreement and I'm happy to have that debate about whether anti-terror or anti-smoking is the right place to spent money. I'm just pushing for people to think more accurately about costs because the usual level of discourse is how cars kill more people than terrorists and thats just not the whole story.
This is a statement that applies to terrorism, not to all-cause mortality. Statistically, it is a given; we can spend $Xm addressing Y different causes of death, watch how death rates respond, and have a pretty good idea which was the best investment. That's the whole reason the various departments have this dollar figure for a human life; they do this sort of analysis all the time.
Trying to apply that sort of economic analysis to a statistically nonexistent phenomenon like major terrorist attacks is utterly useless by comparison. It doesn't matter how accurate or inaccurate our assessment of the costs is, because we have no idea how likely they are to occur in the first place, and no framework to assess what the cost of preventing them would be.
That's complete bunk! What's so special about terrorist attacks that make them so hard to model, as compared to other things governments routinely model like inflation, technology transfer from NASA programs, etc? An absolutely ludicrous assertion.
Your turn: In 2014, what will the inflation rate be? How many people will be obese? How many major terrorist attacks will occur?
Approximate answers are fine.
Well, there's no way for me to argue with that. Good talk.
If you want to talk money and not lives, then by your citation we're spending the equivalent economical impact of a large terrorist attack every month to prevent something that is more rare than being struck with lightning from happening.