Technology is truly augmenting ourselves and this medium "shapes the scale and form of human association and action", as Marshall McLuhan once said.
With that given said, compare a whistleblower, say 20 years ago, with one today. Snowden not only had the world's greatest communication platform at his disposal, to disseminate whatever information he cared about, but now he can still address millions of people, speaking at the world's greatest universities and giving interviews, while being in exile.
Regardless on where you stand on these privacy/spying issues, I think it's hard to deny the fact that he started a dialog, and now the entire world can be part of it.
> With the telegraph Western man began a process of putting his nerves outside his body. Previous technologies had been extensions of physical organs: the wheel is a putting-outside-ourselves of the feet; the city wall is a collective outering of the skin. But electronic media are, instead, extensions of the central nervous system, an inclusive and simultaneous field. Since the telegraph we have extended the brains and nerves of man around the globe. As a result, the electronic age endures a total uneasiness, as of a man wearing his skull inside and his brain outside. We have become peculiarly vulnerable. The year of the establishment of the commercial telegraph in America, 1844, was also the year Kierkegaard published "The Concept of Dread."
> [...] When new technologies impose themselves on societies long habituated to older technologies, anxieties of all kinds result. Our electronic world now calls for a unified field of global awareness; the kind of private consciousness appropriate to literate man can be viewed as an unbearable kink in the collective consciousness demanded by electronic information movement.
>Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth's atmosphere to a company as a monopoly.
Funny, I would say that the perception of this as a violation is something only felt by those who don't understand that the whole point of putting your nerves outside your body is to expose them to the world. If you wanted to keep them private, all you had to do was nothing.
Or to boil it down to John Oliver terms since you seem to be a fan, nobody's going to see any pictures of your dick unless you take pictures of your dick.
To put it in terms that match our political realities, no one will see your dick provided you take exceptional care to not expose your dick for even the slightest second, otherwise, there are too many people watching to make a guarantee.
> If you wanted to keep them private, all you had to do was nothing.
You are advocating for the complete repression of any idea that hasn't yet become both known and acceptable to the mainstream.
It's not going to always be pictures of your dick. To name just a few of the most obvious groups with real risks, you're effectively saying that anybody with unpopular political views, anybody LGBT, and anybody with a religious belief that isn't "Christian" shouldn't participate in modern society and the network interactions that participation requires if they want to stay safe?
Blaming the victims for not staying out of sight isn't the solution.
If you have an unpopular view, speak out. Be oppressed. Fight back against the oppression if you can, and roll over and die if you cannot. If you win, your side is and always was right. If you lose, the opposite.
This gets a Cowboy application up and running, but it doesn't tell you what to do to write your own Cowboy application, and doesn't give you a very firm understanding of either how the hello_world example works, or how to modify it to suit your needs.
As someone who's been down this road in the past, unless you're already rather familiar with Erlang and OTP's conventions, the gap between the User's Guide and the API documentation is far too large to make connecting information you learn from one with information you learn from the other easy.
I've summarized my personal struggle with the Cowboy user's guide and documentation in my other comment in the thread. Please read that comment before you downvote this one. :)
As far as I know there's no such thing as a `Cowboy application`. They're all Erlang/OTP applications. Sure, there's a learning curve associated with OTP apps, but since Erlang is a bit of an exotic language, I think it's understandable.
I guess you didn't read my other comment in this thread. Please read it. ;)
> As far as I know there's no such thing as a `Cowboy application`.
From one pedant to another: "I know that." >:)
However, there is (to put it loosely in OTP terms) a set of Cowboy behaviours. Your application is expected to implement one or more of these. While the API for these behaviours is reasonably documented, the Cowboy equivalent of the -say- gen_server "User's Guide" is so sparse as to be almost non-existent.
I generally agree that -in the absence of sufficient documentation- reading the tests and source for the project is generally the best way to learn how to use a project.
However. If the language the project is written in is wildly unfamiliar to you, and you've never had experience with a similar language, then this technique is often... less than satisfying.
From your comments, it appears that you have more than a passing familiarity with Erlang/OTP. You have to admit that it would be substantially harder to understand both Elixir and Phoenix without your understanding of Erlang. :)
I'm actually wondering what would be more reliable: a physical button or a digital one. I would like to see a comparison.
Of course, one could argue that in both cases it depends on the implementation. Nonetheless, I think it's fun to think about what kind of buttons would the average person prefer, when their life is on the line.
I was thinking the same thing - sure, it's cool to have a glossy touch screen and futuristic touch panels, but I can't count the number of times touch screens / buttons have gone wonky on me with everything from my cell phone, to my tablet, to my microwave, to my fridge, whereas the light switches in my house are about 50 years old and have yet to let me down...
The only 'problem' now are the 'drug' dealers on so many corners of downtown Lisbon who sell fake drugs to tourists. They come up in your face and try to sell to you a few times per day and it's really annoying. Now, I spot them from far away and already make the no signal with my index finger w/o looking at them, but this doesn't always work. Once I was way in the back of a restaurant but with a clear view of the front door/street. One such dealer stopped at the entrance and pointed to his nose (to mimick snorting) until I shook my head so he'd go away. Since they sell fake drugs (basically to tourists but also they try with locals), the police can't do anything.
A minor problem, all in all, considering what has changed here regarding decriminalization, but thought I'd share.
A variation on this theme occurs in most major cities I've visited though, whether it's fake designer sunglasses, candy, demo CDs, or bootleg DVDs. I suspect this has less to do with decriminalization and more to do with earning some quick cash.
It's interesting to see that these people (1) installed the bust in such a way that it can be easily removed without damaging the existing structure and (2) went to great lengths to ensure that the new design is honoring the aesthetics that were already in place.
One can argue otherwise, but I think this is a very creative and considerate form of protest which btw is also non-violent.
As I said in another response: it's a political statement made with public art. As far as Parks and Rec is concerned, it's big heavy piece of vandalism, the integrity of which they know nothing about.
To put this in a programmer's perspective: imagine if artists wanting to make political statements suddenly started littering your linux kernel with binary blobs which caused your boot screen to flash an image of Snowden. Let's pretend that this version of the kernel is hosted on an otherwise trusted package cache, and nobody is actually verifying checksums and so thousands of unsuspecting developers now have this tainted kernel. Funny? Innocuous? Ingenious? Perhaps, but I'd be amazed if you all didn't wipe your disks right then and there.
Edit: I don't mind downvotes (this is my most downvoted chain of comments so far). However if you do, please take some time to contribute to the discussion with a substantive argument. I fully support Snowden, these artists, and the Parks department here. My argument here is only an attempt to make better sense of what people seem to be ignoring for the sake of a political argument which many of us want to support.
Vastly different. In this situation, it's very clear what you need to do to remove the addition to the sculpture park.
In your example, the presence shows that the integrity of your system has been compromised. If this sculpture showed up inside of a high security museum display case, then your analogy would make sense.
Well as someone who lives right nearby, visits the park from time to time, knows people who work in the park... the integrity of their system has been compromised. Sure, the threat may be considered pretty mundane (by non-sculptors at least; anyone who has watched art students attempt large sculptural installations may get a twitch) but I think that you are massively underestimating the expectation of infrastructural safety in public parks.
I think he's saying that if it weren't handled as a political statement, there's no realistic defense against trash being brought into the park. It's the responsibility of the maintainers to notice - not people to prevent the natural flow of life from happening.
People leave cool stuff places. It happens. I mean how many times have cell phones been left somewhere on accident say, which if it was on purpose doesn't matter either -- OH NO, PARK BENCH SSL CERT MITM ATTACKED, PURGE YOUR LUNCHBOXES
No, it's an object left/put there. So unput it there. That's what parks & recreation does all the rest of the time. Now it's a rad piece of art, not a cell phone, not an umbrella, etc.
I think the point is that people are carrying binary blobs and littering the "kernel" (park) 24/7. That they were able to sneak a political statement onto a pedestal in a public place isn't shocking or fundamentally security-breaking.
Absolutely, you can define this act as vandalism. And although I appreciate you framed your analogy such that it can be understood by the HN audience, it does not account for the nature of these two systems, Linux kernel vs social groups. You cannot always transfer the techniques or properties which work in one world, to another, and expect similar results.
The Linux kernel represents a collection of modules, which are predictable and fairly reliable, and as such the Linux kernel is to a certain extent fairly deterministic. A small change compromises the integrity of the entire system, as defined by its checksums.
People on the other hand are not as predictable and not at all reliable when compared to code bases. Therefore, a collection of individuals is a fairly probabilistic system. And as such, a small change in someone's, albeit not harmful behavior, will do little to compromise the integrity of our society.
And by the say, the Linux kernel you were talking about (for which supposedly you have the checksums) is static, whereas you could better describe our society as a dynamic, ever evolving system. You wouldn't compute the checksums of a running program, now would you?
Indeed, the analogy is rough and probably reveals that I am not a programmer by trade. As with all analogies, one hopes that others can lift them into slight abstraction in order to find the meaning and reach a similar conclusion or line of thought at least. Even if I could be helped in improving it, analogies are virtually never airtight– in this case comparing a physical park to software is not without difficulty. Sadly I can't think of any prankware that would really get the message across here.
Edit: Re-reading your comment I might have missed a few parts so I'll reply back while waiting for paint to dry (fun day).
I wasn't trying to equate the two systems or their intricacies and behavior. Rather, we are given some system with rules which govern what we expect it to "be". (I could say do, but consider this the "state" of the system; if it is code, it is not executing but just lines of code in files.) When that system is changed in a way we do not expect by an action that we had prior expectations for, we generally try to revert that action. You are responsible for your system, so you can do what you like. Parks and Rec is responsible for this park, and all of its users and rightly intends to remove this unexpected modification, regardless of its origin or meaning.
I'm just realizing what a missed opportunity to be hip it was– when you let a friend provision your vagrant images with unknown docker containers with [insert unexpected behavior] just before distributing it to thousands of users... (The potential danger of the thing would be a side-effect though so this one's not so good either. I tried!)
Depending on what you mean by "otherwise trusted", I would either not care or freak out worrying that I got something other than the Snowden blob.
Just displaying an image would be easy to verify with a disassembler. And it's misleading to use 'binary blob' as an analogy to a simple statue. Most binary blobs are effectively impossible to examine fully.
And whose fault is that? As a professional you should at least be aware (just aware, no need to be any kind of expert) of the pipeline you use. Which in this case is anything from your high level language of choice, all the way down to the actual electrons.
Knowing that, you should realize that a disassembler is just one or two of those steps reversed, the "assembler" steps, which should make if pretty much self-explanatory.
Read my analogy again (despite it's flaws). It isn't mainline kernel development has been breached. It is more like *Ubuntu accidentally set `APT::Get::AllowUnauthenticated "true";` and then thousands of users upgraded from a tainted mirror. Regardless of how you lay blame, Canonical would have a responsibility to undo that action.
 I don't use Ubuntu so maybe it doesn't fully apply here. On Arch using pacman, the list of mirrors/caches is mostly commented out so that people can choose their own. They are "trustworthy" essentially until they're not, but we have signature checking to fall back on. In the physical world we don't have this, thus the setup of my (again, flawed) analogy.
Any more involved than that and it's missing the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I admit that the disassembler response made me chuckle.
I'm not sure what your objection is to my post. If Ubuntu sets AllowUnauthenticated, then it's Ubuntu's job to check the server logs and at least attempt to analyze what the kernel module actually does. If they find out it's two lines of code and is completely harmless, they can tell all their users that.
The point is that you're using 'binary blob' to sound scarier than it is. With a statue there's no reason to fear it (for reasons explained in other posts). With an image displayer an expert can poke it and then announce there's no reason to fear it.
You're telling me I should be ready to wipe my disks then and there, even though it's just an image displayer, but that's an overreaction. Your analogy just strengthens the point that the park shouldn't panic.
Any repository worth trusting would have exactly zero binary blobs, and a strong policy to ensure this. If you get your kernels from blob peddlers, displaying an image seems a lot more benign than something like iwlwifi. Disabling the former won't impact your work, the latter holds a part of your hardware hostage.
By otherwise trusted I simply mean that it is included by default, not that you specifically trust the source.
Is the the park's reaction much different from using a disassembler? They cover it up so until someone can come to inspect it and then remove it. You can't just look at it and say "yep, that's a perfectly normal bronze sculpture alright" without inspecting it (requiring removal).
No, it's the universal sign for "this is the thing that needs to be removed". Unfortunately they don't have cones which read "unauthorized object subject to removal immediately" which would get the point across while preserving people's ability to see it until it was removed or properly evaluated. That would make the whole issue of removal look even more Orwellian though, would it not?
The reason why I brought up the potential danger of the statue is not because I or anyone expects it to be dangerous. (For a relevant incident though, remember the Boston Aqua Teen Hunger Force stuff... that got a terrible reaction, even though anyone who has ever played with electronics could tell that they were harmless. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Boston_bomb_scare ) I bring it up because it is both department policy and perfectly valid from the perspective of anyone who works to ensure safety in parks. If some circumstance, however crazy, causes someone to become injured by the installation then it's going to be a much bigger headache to Parks and Rec than a bunch of us calling them fascists/communists/whatever else is going on in here.
Edit: In case I wasn't clear, the point of my analogy is that... as far as you know it's just an image on the boot screen. As far as you know, it's just a sculpture that's properly installed and isn't going to just roll off as soon as some kids try to climb it (park employees try to stop this too, but it's still common esp. at this park). If it was an official installation, presumably Parks and Rec would have enough confidence in the work itself to say "this is fine" and then take responsibility for it in the future. Perhaps a better analogy would've been if someone pulled a similar stunt on NYPL's public computers or something, shrug. (I have no righteous love for my own analogy here, I just thought it would make the issue a little more clear. I seem to have been wrong about that.)
Something getting on my computer has massive potential to be malicious, and has bypassed security to get there.
A statue stuck in a park has no more potential to be malicious than a random rock, and has not bypassed meaningful security.
That's a big difference.
The argument of "it exists, therefore it 'could' be malicious" is trash. They 'could' alter anything in the park to be malicious. In the computer scenario I'm not worried because I know they put the image there. I'm worried because I know they could have put a malicious payload anywhere in the system, and I wouldn't be able to find it. But a park never has security. It's always true that someone could bring a malicious object into a park and stick it somewhere random.
It's okay to remove the statue, it's foolish to act like it's scary, and it's annoyingly political that it gets ultra-top-priority and covered with a tarp.
And just because department policy is to overreact doesn't make it valid to overreact. I hope Boston is mocked forever for their reaction to blinking lights, especially because they were doing it out of fear of blame. Fear of blame is a terrible motivator.
- Smuggling a heavy bronze statue into a park has bypassed
security (yes, parks have security).
- Statues have potential but very small likelihood of being
- Heavy statues have great potential to cause physical harm when
not properly built or installed.
- This potential for harm is considered minimal to non-existant
when the sculpture is commissioned or otherwise created by people with
- When some idiot goes into a park and stabs somebody, it's a
- When a passerby (or some idiot trying to climb it) gets hurt by
large, official looking part of the park, it's a city issue (lawsuit).
A random rock that's 100# and 8' off the ground is, potentially, a dangerous rock.
Your reasoning around my analogy actually illustrates my point fairly well– I'm afraid there isn't much I can do to bridge our disagreement there.
Rather than the city of Boston be mocked for their overreaction, I would be much happier if we improved our education in electronics. And other things, because education is the best way we know how to conquer fear in an institutional setting.
The idea that this had "ultra-top priority" because of its political nature is, while possible, extremely unlikely. The chance that its political nature was even noticed by the people responsible for removing it are incredibly slim, and if anything I'm surprised at how long it took for it to get a tarp over it. I've seen much quicker removals of defacements in parks across the city, by park officials to plainclothes police. Despite this, the political nature of the message is wholly irrelevant to the actual issue at hand.
It's a couple feet tall and entirely inside the width of a large pillar. It's not going to fall on anyone.
Education about electronics is good, but I think fighting back against "fear of blame" is also an important thing. I'm sure someone in the organization knew that blinking lights don't make bombs. Why didn't that message get to management?
> It's a couple feet tall and entirely inside the width of a large pillar. It's not going to fall on anyone.
You're probably right, but that's a very naive way to approach public safety and accountability. If it was still visible right now there would probably be a few people climbing up to it to get a selfie with Snowden.
> I'm sure someone in the organization knew that blinking lights don't make bombs. Why didn't that message get to management?
That's not how bureaucracies work. (The fear of blame point is very valid though.)
You are literally inventing problems that either don't exist or have an exceedingly small chance of occurring. Yes, a tornado could sweep through and blow the bust onto a passing baby stroller, but the saying, "don't borrow trouble," comes to mind.
I am not inventing them; it is their (Parks and Rec) responsibility to handle contingencies that could cause them or their users trouble. You don't know what chance it [the sculpture causing harm] is because you know absolutely nothing about it except what the article has told you. But they're responsible for it and what it does under "normal conditions".
The tornado example is funny because though it would probably be considered an "act of god", maybe then certain things that shouldn't get blown off would. Why? Because it's literally hydrocal glued onto a column...
"Don't borrow trouble" would be just as appropriate in response to the more conspiratorial views which I am trying to refute.
The best possible outcome of this would be that someone at the next commission meeting brings a proposal (or sends one to Laurie Cumbo, or the conservancy) to reinstall the piece. Probably couldn't go in the same location because doing anything with Preservation takes... forever... but I wouldn't be surprised if Fort Greene could muster up support of locals (as long as they don't mind attending plenty of evening meetings).
I was born here in the '90s so I'm pretty sure I missed the whole phreaking scene, but your statement is a strawman regardless. I am advocating for this sort of public intervention. I support it 100%. Do I have to repeat that again? 100%. But reality will catch up with your ideals, and it's someone's job to take concerns that aren't yours and apply them in the best interest of the public [as determined by an imperfect, slow, and but at least somewhat democratic process]. Sometimes they fuck it up by overstepping their bounds and acting in ways they are not authorized to. This is not one of those times. This is the domain of Parks and Recreation, and they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do, for completely boring but sensible reasons. I have even more respect for the artists for knowing this in advance and planning for it. It is an act of defiance. Your act of defiance does not trump everyone else's way of life. I look forward to them (hopefully) releasing their 3D model for all of us digital yuppies to go and 3D print on our fancy printers while paying higher and higher rent so we can continue to live and work in our fucking city, you know? I just happen to like our parks, respect the people working in them, and find the whole blame game distasteful. They put up some art, it got taken away, political or not it's absolutely no surprise.
In summary: It's their job. You want to give change what they do? Great! We've got a process for that, and it happens every third Monday of the month (Community Board 2 @ Brooklyn Law School). When Parks and Rec starts browsing our emails for dick pics, maybe then people can "take to the streets" with their coup. The Memorial would be a fitting location.
> This is the domain of Parks and Recreation, and they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do, for completely boring but sensible reasons.
> Sometimes they fuck it up by overstepping their bounds and acting in ways they are not authorized to.
> I fully support the artists here– but it is precisely the job of Parks employees to assist in the removal of any form of unauthorized modifications to the park.
Deep breath. Okay, here we go:
As someone who deals with building codes every week, I understand the reason why codes exist, the reason why inspections exist. Yes, the Parks department is doing their job, of course. No big deal.
But here's the thing:
Processes of authorization, verification, etc. is just one of many ways to deal with the world and with unstable processes. It's not the way to deal; it's just one of many ways. It may appear to be a default mode of operation (get a protest permit, get a sound permit, get a building permit), and yes, it often works to maintain order, but it's not the only way, nor is it a default way. It's just one way.
What authorization/permitting processes do is that they are explicitly law-oriented (laws are not the only way to create social order within a society), and thus enforce order in a negative, punitive fashion (if you don't do this, you will be punished). Reading in the park? Okay. More than 20 people gathering for a purpose? In NYC, this counts a special event, and requires a special events permit, otherwise it is unauthorized. Think of the 'rule' as a very sharp line demarcating between what is possible, and what is not possible.
Other ways of enforcing order can be lines that are gradients, fuzzy, in which the boundary between what is okay and what is not okay is not so clear. 'Tradition', or rules of thumb generate these social phenomena -- think about the way in which you can drive a few miles over the speed limit and not be ticket. Is it codified in a 'rule'? Uh, no.
> Your act of defiance does not trump everyone else's way of life.
But see here: NYC's gorgeousness doesn't from from its rule-oriented, sharp demarcation of What-Is-Okay. It comes from tolerance, really, which is a very stretchy, flexible thing that happens between community. When someone decides to call himself an alien and play the saxophone wildly on the C train, do people call the police because that's unauthorized behavior? Not really. Why not? Isn't a little bit like the subway busker is driving a little bit over the speed limit?
My point is largely that 'tradition' or 'rules of thumb' are actually present, valid, important, and non-trivial processes for which a healthy and tolerant society is created. (Of course, not all traditions are healthy; some are incredibly harmful. But the same goes for rules and laws, of course.)
If all of a sudden, the 'no subway buskers' rule is harshly imposed, that's actually quite a deliberate judgment to ignore the category of processes called 'traditions' for the category of processes called 'rules'. It's not said as such; the excuse will be: "well, the rules are the rules". This is because rules are (by definition) much more visible and explicit ("Do not solicit for money in the subway"), while traditions are shifting, hard to pin-down. Saying "the rules are the rules" is not actually a neutral behavior - it's a stance, specifically biased towards one process that engenders society-formation through punitive measures.
And so of course, the common argument is that traditions are 'arbitrary'; no, they're not. They're decided by people; it's just that they are localized, are more in flux, emergent behavior. Think agent-based programming vs. imperative programming, for a tradition vs. rule analogy.
Tradition is hard to write down, and hard to pin down, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, and isn't important.
SO. In summary. NYC is specifically rich because it's a place where many things are okay and celebrated. I've been here for more than a decade as an adult enough to not be starry-eyed about beatniks running in its heyday -- but it's really gorgeous. It's one of the few cities that can change who you think you are. It's one of the few cities that can make you rethink your relationship to space and architecture and other people. It's one of the few cities in which public space is everywhere and alive, because of the subway and because of its parks, and in which people may not be 'friendly' but will help each other out when shit goes south, because the density and closeness -- and tolerance -- of it all brings people together.
It's not just the rules that create this kind of city -- so very much of it is the traditions, the informal processes, the difficult-to-transcribe ecologies, the behavior that emerges. Rule-oriented, legalistic processes of authorization and permitting are not the only answer to creating a society. Laws are not always the answer to dealing with other people; nor should it be a default. Let's not fetishize authorization and permitting.
My comments were solely directed towards those whose knee-jerk reaction was to call this a clear act of deliberate censorship or "Soviet-style oppression" (in another comment chain). If you don't agree with those comments, then I don't intend to go so far out of the way to convince you of why rules exist and are enforced in the way that they are. Beyond that, I agree with pretty much everything you said in this comment.
 I decided to add the word deliberate here because this may be the source of some confusion in my comments. Many comments suggest that the intent is to cover up support for Snowden specifically. I believe this to have no known factual basis. If on the other hand, you consider this, and the policies which allow it, to be a general act of censorship on public art etc. then that is open to debate– I would tend to agree with it, and am happily writing to the Parks dept. today to say as much.
Snowden's a hero and deserves his place on that memorial.
This whole deal with the people putting up a statue of a hero and the government tearing it down? Not what America's supposed to be about.
Combine that with the fact that most of the senators who voted for the Patriot Act probably read 1984, and didn't object to the obvious propaganda in the name Patriot Act? Not what America's supposed to be about either.
If you think that Snowden is a hero, start a petition to put up a statue of him in Fort Greene Park. The Prison Ship Martyrs Monument wasn't just put there by some guy on a whim. It was a decision made by government at all levels as the result of a process that is public and open to all citizens.
Is Snowden a hero? Maybe, I dunno. Ask your fellow citizens if they want to put a statue of him in the park. That's how democracy is supposed to work. It isn't perfect, in fact it's the worst form of a government. Except for all the others.
> It was a decision made government at all levels as the result of a process that is public and open to all citizens.
My family member went through this process to set up a memorial statue and it was a nightmare of bureaucracy. And this was in a tiny relatively unpopular park in a small town - not a big city.
It took about 3 years to finally happen (by that I mean approved to happen, its still not completed yet) after jumping through countless hoops and making friends with the right politicians, who then had to back the idea in order to get support by the town council.
The big reason it ended up happening was the person who she became friends with ended up becoming mayor of the town.
You're negelecting the power of status quo. If the People care enough to put up a statue, the mayor could try an experiment: He could say "the statue should be removed" and not do anything about it. Then we'll see whether other civilians care enough to organize its removal within one year. If yes, then the law was respected and the People want the statue removed.
If no, then we could honestly say that there are not enough people who care enough about the Prison Ship Martyrs compared to the memory of Snowden.
Shouldn't the American way involve a vote or some other involvement of the democratic process at some point? Is America now all about individuals just doing whatever they want, and if somebody doesn't like it, too bad?
MLK and company most certainly took steps that were not approved by some democratic process or approved by the state. Asking alone and letting "business as usual" answer the question "can we do this?" wouldn't have brought the change that humanity had deserved.
You seemed, to me, to be implying that all conscientious objectors must at all times observe complete obedience to the rule of law. That approach will never keep things running sanely for long. You can clearly see throughout history that it never has. Power must always be kept in check and in support of that, some of the rules ordained by that power must always be broken.
Snowden is a traitor who happened to bring up an important debate. Probably sold US secrets to China and Russia, while releasing public information so that he can have public support while doing so.
He's one of the most successful double-agents in history, with excellent public relations. If a double-agent were to happen again in the future, they'll do what they can to study how Snowden handled his case.
No, I don't think he's a "hero". At least Manning's ideology was pure, (although naiive). Snowden is almost certainly a double-agent based on the countries he fled to and who he is working with currently. Contrast Snowden with Manning: Manning didn't contact the Chinese Embassy while fleeing to Hong Kong before releasing only some of the data. Just think about it for a second. Manning released anything and everything he got his hands on. Snowden: he's visited multiple foreign countries and has direct contact with those governments.
If you want to discuss the collections programs, lets start with how you expect police to actually deal with modern criminals (ie: Swatters) if they didn't have the ability to track the location of their phone calls. You know, practical concerns that our law enforcement are attempting to solve. If tracking telephone "metadata" is too much, then what tools are you willing to give police in their battle?
EDIT: Here come the down votes. Come on people, lets see your stuff. Truth hurts, doesn't it?
I think you are getting downvotes because you are making very controversial claims for which the evidence is very weak. For instance:
1. you say: "most successful double-agents in history"
2. you say: "probably sold US secrets to China and Russia"
The NSA's leadership has repeatedly stated that they don't believe Snowden to be a foreign agent. Unless you have more evidence than "based on the countries he fled to and who he is working with currently", your case is exceptionally weak. Additionally Snowden is not a "double agent". A double agent is a agent that is turned twice. Even if Snowden were a foreign spy, he wouldn't be a double agent, unless he was recruited to work by a foreign government to spy on the US, but then was turned by the US to feed the foreign government misinformation. A theory that no one, outside of Alex Jones, is currently advancing.
In the field of counterintelligence, a double agent (also double secret agent) is an employee of a secret intelligence service, whose primary purpose is to spy on a different target organization, but who, in fact, is a member of the target organization.
In other words, if Snowden worked for the NSA and spied on China or Russia, but at the same time was passing information over to China or Russia, he would then be a double agent. That's why it's so fishy when he repeatedly says that he specifically used to work on Chinese targets (for example: ), chose to flee the US and go to China, and his 3rd leak in the news was giving a Chinese newspaper a list of all of Chinese computers that had been targeted by the NSA.
That doesn't mean he's a double-agent, but it certainly raises some eyebrows...
Nonetheless, the Metadata debate remains important, so I'll continue to bring it up. I've read through the rest of these threads, and they're all "Snowden's a hero!!!" without even touching upon the debate that he's brought up.
EDIT: Its as if this "metadata collection" is the most evil thing in the world ever done. Good gosh. Its still hugely ironic to me that Snowden fled to the state with the "Great Firewall of China" literally spying on every Chinese blogger with police powers that make those guys _literally_ disappear if they say the wrong things...
While over here in the US, this forum gets their panties in a twist over metadata collection.
I am happy that we all hold the US to a higher standard, but I still hold my point: to take down a Swatter, the Police will need access to metatdata.
Snowden explicitly collected how the US was spying on China, went to China, and then "publicly" gave out those details. I think he was expecting the Chinese Government to take him in and protect him after the big reveal.
For whatever reason, China didn't want him. Probably because China has enough issues with their own whistle blowers. Or maybe China already knew the information Snowden had, so they didn't value him at all.
Russia apparently values Snowden very much. They like him if only because he serves as an anti-US rallying cry.
It's a matter of record that the US prevented him travelling after he got to Hong Kong. Your original comment claims he was a double agent for China and Russia. Now you speculate that he was a failed wannabe Chinese asset.
Wild speculations aside, you might want to consider the revelations on their own merits rather than a ham-fisted smear against the source. The fact remains that they have been confirmed as true and are therefore not some kind of black propaganda.
More worrying in some ways is that it seems he got everything using wget and further that there was no audit trail to understand what he got. If we believe as we are told that he was a relatively low level external contractor, that means internal security is non-existent and you can guarantee that any other competent agency also has everything (at least confirming part of your China theory above).
> Wild speculations aside, you might want to consider the revelations on their own merits rather than a ham-fisted smear against the source. The fact remains that they have been confirmed as true and are therefore not some kind of black propaganda.
Fair enough. I'm more interested in the political implications anyway.
So what do we do about Swatters? Metadata collection seems to be the only useful tool against them.
> Swattings still happen on a regular basis despite pervasive metadata collection. Is your argument that we're not collecting enough to stop them?
Actually, I don't believe that the local police are taking advantage of their resources. I think better organization needs to be done around the metadata that is collected so that it is better distributed between the police officers in the case of a swatting incident.
But actually _having_ metadata is a necessary first step to beginning any swatting investigation. Or do you not think that the first step is figuring out the phone number that the Swatter called from?
Next: I'm not entirely sure that Swatting will ever be stopped. Nonetheless, I'd like to punish those who are swatting, and I think that if they are removed from society... that is one step towards fixing the problem.
If a swatter gets caught and his criminal record is updated such that everyone knows he is a swatter, then society will benefit from it overall.
China had an extremely important role with Snowden. They didn't care about the "passport", they were buying time looking for some other country to take him in.
I guess Russia took him in after that (Snowden didn't want to go to Russia. So I doubt that Snowden is a Russian spy... but if he knew what was good for him, he probably was forced to give some of his secrets to the Russians under the table.)
>Here come the down votes. Come on people, lets see your stuff. Truth hurts, doesn't it? Anyone wanna take me on?
Oh stop whining. You can't just accuse someone of being a spy and expect upvotes. Accusations without evidence (hint hint) are not 'truth'.
>how you expect police to actually deal with modern criminals (ie: Swatters)
Well for most crimes the police have traditionally gotten along fine without such vast metadata. For that crime specifically maybe they could use a warrant to the phone company? That seems easy to do without NSA interception. Or the police could keep track of calls to them and not have to do anything more than find the owner of a phone number.
> Oh stop whining. You can't just accuse someone of being a spy and expect upvotes. Accusations without evidence (hint hint) are not 'truth'.
Snowden is the first guy I'm aware of who fled to China (and later, to Russia) to protect his own free speech. Color me a little bit suspicious of him.
> Well for most crimes the police have traditionally gotten along fine without such vast metadata. For that crime specifically maybe they could use a warrant to the phone company? That seems easy to do without NSA interception. Or the police could keep track of calls to them and not have to do anything more than find the owner of a phone number.
Ecuador has proven itself reliable with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. It proved itself reliable _long_ before Snowden decided to pull Chinese-specific information from the US Spy agency, fly to China, release Chinese information and (probably) beg to stay.
Instead of going to a reliable country like Ecuador, he went to China. Snowden isn't a dumb guy either, he was clearly keeping up with the news. He chose China because the data he pilfered was Chinese specific.
Once in China, after the reveal, Snowden became trapped. He couldn't fly over any other country that had US influence. He furthermore got trapped in Russia (it is extremely sketchy. I think Russia wanted him, and they got him. Russia probably won't let him go.)
I don't think Snowden is working with Russia. He was trying to get to Ecuador IIRC with help from Julian Assange. But based on what he did in Hong Kong, it is clear to me that he expected help from the Chinese Government. If Snowden went to Ecuador from the start, I'd have a much easier time believing that what he was doing was for good-will.
Snowden would not have been safe from kidnapping in South America. Once his location was known, he would have been as good as captured. Only Russia or China have the kind of military might that could deter the US from attempting to take him back by force.
Snowden was going to Ecuador only after he went public, because at that point it was about politics, not black ops. A little-known individual can be easily taken out in US-friendly countries (see CIA "extraordinary renditions"), that's the threat he neutralized by being in Hong-Kong -- which is not just "China", it's a very complex country with a separate political system where both China and China's enemies have to tread carefully; by saying "he went to China" you're just pushing your own frame -- but then again, you already know that, don't you?
> If you want to discuss the collections programs, lets start with how you expect police to actually deal with modern criminals (ie: Swatters) if they didn't have the ability to track the location of their phone calls.
Notice "THEIR phone calls", not "EVERY phone calls".
Truth is, views like yours are clueless and/or dangerous and fail to see the big picture.
I'm sure you embrace the "I've got nothing to hide, so I don't care" stance. So yeah, fk the rest of the people, don't give a sh*t.
>He's one of the most successful double-agents in history, with excellent public relations.
>Snowden is almost certainly a double-agent based on the countries he fled to
All that speculation, then this gem:
>EDIT: Truth hurts, doesn't it?
But no. It's not cause your post is full of accusations and dubious speculation based on nothing and provides no evidence. It's cause you struck a nerve and showed the sheep here the truth and they can't handle it. That's definitely what it is.
What? Swatting is a serious concern. How do you think we should solve the issue?
Have the police sit around doing nothing because they don't have the legal tools to look at business metadata? I'm trying to bring up an actual issue here. For a hundred years, the "metadata" standard has applied to mail, telephone records, business records and so forth as "free game" for the Police.
What makes the modern era so different that Police aren't allowed to look at metadata anymore?
It's been free-game for a hundred years. Keep up with the law dude. USPS "metadata" has been copied and tracked. Such information was used for the Anthrax cases of early 2000s... and other such crimes.
It is illegal for police to read the contents of an envelope, but they can (and have been) scanning the outside of envelopes and storing that metadata for police use for decades.
The difference between snail-mail and the business records provision is... terrorism was added to the words. But I'd bet what they were doing was legal before the Patriot Act was made.
> 2. There is vastly more metadata being stored now, and the police don't need access to most of it. We might even be better off with laws against storing it.
That doesn't answer the question. How do you expect to track down a Swatter without using metadata?
Okay, doing it for decades doesn't mean they need it. It wasn't there from the start.
>How do you expect to track down a Swatter without using metadata?
As I said in my other post, you don't actually need call records to find a swatter. They called the police, the police have the number, tada. I'm not arguing against deleting everything that could possibly classify as metadata, I'm saying we should cut down the types of metadata available. And we need to stop the government from making copies of private data 'just in case' and declaring it not to be a search/seizure until some later stage.
> As I said in my other post, you don't actually need call records to find a swatter. They called the police, the police have the number, tada.
And if the Swatter used another phone to call a Google Voice number to create a local line in another city, they will need Metadata to figure out what that _OTHER_ telephone number is.
Otherwise, they have a phone number to a fake google-account created in TOR. That's not very useful.
Phone Number 555-0000 called Google-Voice 555-9991, which THEN called the Police. Only having "555-9991" is completely worthless. You need metadata analysis to unravel the proxies.
Furthermore, executing a warrant generally requires a name and a case. You don't got a name yet, you're trying to build a case without warrant powers at this point of the Police game.
Do you think these Swatters are dumb or something? They aren't using their personal phone numbers to call the police, they're actually redirecting themselves a little bit.
> I'm not arguing against deleting everything that could possibly classify as metadata, I'm saying we should cut down the types of metadata available. And we need to stop the government from making copies of private data 'just in case' and declaring it not to be a search/seizure until some later stage.
The legal standard between 1940s (since the closure of the Office of Censorship, which straight up allowed the US Agents to read mail and censor them), and now has been that metadata collection doesn't need a warrant.
Metadata collection is NOT search/seizure in Smith v. Maryland. Its how things have operated for literally decades.
Now if you don't like it, that's fine. But know that you're moving from the status-quo. This is how the government has operated since the 1970s at very least (see again... Smith v. Maryland).
Going back to the cases before that was Olmstead v. United States, 1928, which collection of straight-up data was considered not search/seizure btw. (So we've actually cut back upon collection from a historical perspective. Police powers were greater in the 1920s than today)
Okay, you have a point, but that's about proxies, not normal calls between two people.
If the police can't get access to limited phone metadata with oversight, the solution is to give them a way to get limited phone metadata with oversight, not to give them access to all the phone metadata.
>Now if you don't like it, that's fine. But know that you're moving from the status-quo. This is how the government has operated since the 1970s at very least
Fine, I want a change from the status quo. But it's not just that, I'm saying two things.
1. It is important that metadata (and data) collection does not expand because of the ease of technology.
2. I would prefer metadata collection to be rolled back a few decades and limited.
It's 1 that really worries me, and no amount of historical collection is going to comfort that.
> If the police can't get access to limited phone metadata with oversight, the solution is to give them a way to get limited phone metadata with oversight, not to give them access to all the phone metadata.
From what I have heard, requests even by normal law enforcement are often for unreasonable amounts of data, and data is held onto and used for things other than the case they were requested for without oversight.
In addition, the NSA collects data before asking for permission. And I am doubtful that their oversight is effective.
But I don't want to argue about it for hours. I just want less metadata to be collected. Because even without the government it gets abused.
> In addition, the NSA collects data before asking for permission. And I am doubtful that their oversight is effective.
Snowden's first revealed document was the court order where the NSA / FBI was asking for permission from the FISA courts. Now I don't think you've even read Snowden's docs.
> But I don't want to argue about it for hours.
Fair enough. I hope that in our short discussion, you learned how things actually work.
> I just want less metadata to be collected. Because even without the government it gets abused.
You're welcome to have your opinion, but your opinion was tainted by horribly inaccurate facts. I thank you for being a good sport and listening to me through this.
In any case, now you know the specific law that grants the powers. You can now write to a Senator / House Representative and argue specifically against the law on your own. Even if you are on the "other side" of this debate, we Americans are much better off when all sides understand the debate. Our political system also works out well when discussions like what you and I just had happen more often.
Summary: Business Records Provision of the Patriot Act. Know it well, so you can criticize it. Take it down and the metadata of the NSA should fall.
Good luck on the political battlefield. Again, thank you for working with me in this debate.
I know we want to close the discussion, but let me note one more thing.
> Okay I'll be more specific. Without specific permission pertaining to a specific case, they collect whatever they feel like to sort out later. I don't like that.
How do you expect the Police to go after a swatter then? The creation of 'nameless warrants' is looked down upon in general, and is grossly illegal in many jurisdictions. You cannot get a warrant unless a specific person is named.
Without a warrant, police cannot continue investigating. Police need access to the metadata to get a name so that they can get a warrant.
I know John Doe warrants exist, but their use is highly criticized. And it should be! We can't have the police getting nameless warrants regularly. With that said, we have to give the Police enough room to maneuver so that they can build a case before they are granted the high-powers of a warrant.
The Fourth Amendment promises _due process_. Metadata, in my opinion is a "reasonable" search. Or at least, we should _define_ metadata as the part that can be reasonably searched. (After all, not all data is innately private. The data that is "public" should be easily searched by the Police without warrants). The debate really should be about determining which bits of data are "public" and which bits aren't.
> Well we're talking about a 'nameless warrant' to only access something they could access at-will before, so I don't see that as a real problem.
No. A warrant means they can start accessing data. Install bugs, tracking devices... the whole works. All fourth amendment protections are gone once a judge grants the Police a warrant.
The question is whether or not you want "Metadata" to be part of that pool or not. Personally speaking, I don't.
> Maybe, but things are much more complicated than public and not public.
Which is why discussion of this issue is important. The fact is, you expect something from the Police that is different than the Status Quo for the past decades.
It frustrates me to no end when all the YCombinator posters around here complain and protest in obscure ways (ie: putting Snowden up as a statue in a park), and then they don't really try and learn the intricacies of the law and try to find changes that everyone actually agrees upon.
The reason our political system is borked is because no one is actually discussing the law or how to change it. Our Congressmen get vague clues (ie: SOPA BAD!!), but they really are struggling to understand our opinion in general.
Are you serious? We're talking about a new thing that only restricts access compared to before. It would not be the same as a warrant today. That objection is ridiculous.
>Status Quo for the past decades.
Part of the problem is that it used to take manpower to spy on people, and a lot of that is getting replaced with computers that do it for nearly free. It's not a legal change, but it changes the end result in a terrible way.
Since 1979, out of 33,949 requests submitted, the FISA court has denied 12 of them, 4 of which were later partially granted after being resubmitted. You're correct in saying that it's good that this number is documented, but it also makes it extremely clear that the FISA court cannot be meaningfully said to constitute independent oversight.
At a minimum, I'd like something enabling me to trust that FISA isn't just the rubber stamp it has every appearance of being. It has denied less than 0.035% of the requests ever submitted to it (and a third of those were subsequently at least partially granted, anyway), and "modified" (where "modification" appears to be a request for clarification, given the public remarks one former FISA judge made on the subject) less than 1.5% of them.
As "oversight" goes, that sounds rather a lot like, "That's nice, son. You run along and play, now..."
Almost all of the sitting members of the court are former law enforcement in some way, and many of them have evinced strongly statist and authoritarian views in the rulings they've made in the trial courts they also sit in.
So I'd also like to see some membership on the panel that doesn't seem hand-picked to yes-man (nearly) every request that comes along. I'm not suggesting this as a definitive proposal for changing the court, but what about including members from (or elected by) demonstrably pro-liberty organizations like the EFF or ACLU or whatever, with some kind of veto-like power?
I legitimately believe that there is value in being able to investigate suspected "bad" actors — and that sometimes those investigations must be surreptitious, or that actor will become aware of the suspicion and change his behavior. I don't buy the leap from that being the case to, "We can look into anyone at any time for any reason, or no reason at all, and then use whatever we find against you down the road, or hand it off to sibling agencies for 'parallel construction' type purposes." (And don't even try to suggest that doesn't happen. We know it does.)
Yeah, this one could be used for 3d printing and electronics assembly, I'm interested in something which could have the capability to manipulate objects, say a tennis ball, etc, or allow a camera to be mounted on it.
I'm planning on making an open source 3D printable robot arm in the next year or so. I've made a good 3D printed remote control car that uses few external parts (no screws). Working on custom printable motors now and then I'll probably do an arm. Nothing to share yet, but if you want you can google my company (Flutter Wireless) and join our mailing list. I have a bunch of circuit board to deliver first but I will be focusing a lot on robotics as time permits.