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Technology, Not Law, Limits Mass Surveillance

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the are-you-endorsing-robot-hitmen dept.

Communications 191

holy_calamity writes "U.S. citizens have historically been protected from government surveillance by technical limits, not legal ones, writes independent security researcher Ashkan Soltani at MIT Tech Review. He claims that recent leaks show that technical limits are loosening, fast, with data storage and analysis cheap and large Internet services taking care of data collection for free. 'Spying no longer requires following people or planting bugs, but rather filling out forms to demand access to an existing trove of information,' writes Soltani."

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191 comments

I don't know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170653)

The fourth amendment seems pretty clear to me.

Re:I don't know... (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#44170681)

The 2nd amendment also seemed clear at the time [youtube.com]

With all due respect ... (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 10 months ago | (#44171777)

...the researcher, Ashkan Soltani, may not have enough understanding of the United States of America to come into a more holistic conclusion that it was the technology that puts the limit on the Big Brother

There was a limit, - and I use the past tense, "was", - and that limit, was morality

You just gotta be an American to understand what makes an American, an American

It's not a "snide remark" or a "fool's pride", but to be a true American, one has to have that sense of responsibility, that morality that pushes one to respect other people's rights, that forces one to limit oneself in order to not infringing onto other people's "space"

It was a social construct - that, in order for others to respect your right, you gotta respect others first

Unfortunately, all that had gone out of the door, when the congress critters in Washington D.C., stop thinking of themselves being Americans, but rather, a part of the global ruling elites governing the entire world

The erosion of morality on Congress Hill did not start with Obama, it started way back during Clinton's administration

While some may want to push the envelope to Tricky Dick's time (after all, he was the president who was pushed out of his presidency), but during Tricky Dick's era, the sense of morality was _still_ intact, or Richard Nixon wouldn't have to move out of the White House

Compare to Richard Nixon, how many of you think that Obama feels ashamed of what he has done ?

Re:With all due respect ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172187)

You were making a good point until you claimed congress's erosion of morality only started during the Clinton administration.

Re:I don't know... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170691)

You may find, however, that the only thing ultimately protecting that fourth amendment are the technical impracticalities that would come with violating it more than the idea that the notion ought to be upheld.

Re:I don't know... (5, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44170921)

The fourth amendment seems pretty clear to me.

Unfortunately it's not when it comes to electronic communications.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

A phone call isn't clearly covered, and SCOTUS explicitly decided it wasn't in 1928, then reversed itself in 1967. That's also when they came up with the "reasonable expectation of privacy" test, which I always thought was reasonable. Of course 1967 was an era when the court thought its job was to defend the Bill of Rights, rather than play nitpicking legal games to create as many loopholes as possible.

Don't bother trying to convince me that email, etc, should be covered by the 4th, as you'll be preaching to the choir. I don't give a damn what kind of legal games they play about you not owning the servers or storage medium. That's like saying that the 4th doesn't apply if you rent rather than own your home. My only point was that SCOTUS is free to play lots of games. My favorite is their recent Catch-22 nonsense, that you can't sue the government for a secret program violating your rights because you can't be sure they've been violated (of course not, it's a secret!). Maybe Snowden will release info on who has unlawfully been a surveillance target so they can sue.

Re:I don't know... (5, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | about 10 months ago | (#44171013)

I wonder if you could sue the feds for spying on you, and use the lawsuit to get a subpoena against the federal agency in question. When the subpoena is inevitably challenged on grounds of national security, rebut that with the fact that your constitutional rights are provided by the constitution which supercedes any laws that make the information secret in the first place (supremacy clause).

Of course, this is doomed to failure since the feds have shown they'll do whatever the hell they want to anyway.

Re:I don't know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171769)

Or just hack into government computers and publish the hell out of everything you find.

Re:I don't know... (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 10 months ago | (#44172113)

Or not. To be honest, the strategies to remove a problematic government are numerous...in much the same way as the strategies to remove a human are numerous.

There's the 'nice' approach, which is petitioning...and may or may not work. Then there's the 'you done fucked up' approach, which involves going in and manually removing the problem. Ultimately, the US government will decide whether or not we've crossed the line into the second approach...after all, everyone is watching to see what they do now that this NSA stuff (as well as others) is out in broad daylight. If it has gone overboard, at the moment it thinks it has won...well, that's usually when everything becomes unwoven.

Re: I don't know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171789)

It doesn't really matter if you own the servers or not. At this point they just cry wolf er terrorist and take anything they want... up to and including your life.

Re: I don't know... (1)

fazey (2806709) | about 10 months ago | (#44172015)

They have a little blackbox on every major DC's routers anyway. So its not like they cant setup an "intercept". For your data.

But I do (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 10 months ago | (#44172045)

Email is considered your personal effect, therefore is covered, and not only covered by the 4th, but copyright as well. They are not allowed to copy it without your explicit consent. I'm sure we could get "creative" and cover the rest. Government keeping tabs on who you associate with - 1st amendment - right to assembly. That should cover about 90% of what they're tracking today.

Re:But I do (2)

Gription (1006467) | about 10 months ago | (#44172129)

bzzzzztthankyouforplaying...
Current legal precedent says that if an email message has been on the server for over 6 months they can consider it abandoned property and therefor has no privacy protection. This does not mean that you haven't accessed your account for 6 months. It means only that you left the email in question on the server. Back in POP3 days there might have been an argument for "It's abandoned" but in this day of IMAP and hosted Exchange it is pretty stupid.
This points out the stupidity of many of our laws in this day of rapid technological change.

Re:But I do (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44172233)

Current legal precedent says that if an email message has been on the server for over 6 months they can consider it abandoned property and therefor has no privacy protection. ... This points out the stupidity of many of our laws in this day of rapid technological change.

I dunno, they seem willing to change the law to accommodate new technology. With every other thing I've ever heard of, it takes 7 years for something to be considered abandoned property. They've moved it up to 6 months.

Reality is stranger than humour (5, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#44170665)

Re:Reality is stranger than humour (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171119)

The Onion has a disturbing way of doing this.

It seems that advanced enough cynicism is indistinguishable from clairvoyance.

Yo Dawg I heard you like data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170695)

So I built a giant communication network to track your giant communication network. Now you can archive your communications about archived communications.

Re:Yo Dawg I heard you like data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171117)

<voice="Phil Ken Sebben">Haha! Metadata.</voice>

U.S. Citizens have historically... (3, Insightful)

michael_rendier (2601249) | about 10 months ago | (#44170703)

We've been told that we've been protected from such things, a la the constitution...yet if you go back into history, it's never really been seen by the gov't as a 'limit' to their power...they just make up a 'reason' why they needed to do it. Reasons why it's legal to do so. We have not been historically protected...we've been historically monitored, invaded and exploited for one reason or another in the name of national security and 'fighting enemies'...oh, and marketing. Just because there's not a dictator behind the Securitate, doesn't mean it's not being done behind the scenes.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (5, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 10 months ago | (#44170789)

You're correct, but it's gotten way, way worse in the past decade.

The truly Orwellian thing about this nightmare isn't even so much the surveillance, but the wholesale redefinition of language. Plain English no longer means what plain English means, and we have traded rule of law for rule of lawyer.

It's not torture, it's "extraordinary rendition for enhanced interrogation techniques."
And of course you still have due process, it's "a process that is due, but not necessarily judicial."
And you're not being jailed without trial. You're being "indefinitely detained."

I would say we need a Constitutional Amendment that Congress shall make no law infringing upon your right to privacy, but without another amendment that says "no really, plain English means plain English" it wouldn't matter much. And they'd just twist that to mean "plain English in the context of this amendment means English which, plainly, means what we want it to mean."

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170887)

Why English? Is the United States not a country of immagrants that stole land from the natives? You, sir, are a racist.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (2)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 10 months ago | (#44170933)

Agreed. We should rewrite the Constitution in Navajo.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171505)

It's now interpreted in Jiddish. You just need to convert and you will understand. Third door is for circumcision.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (3, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 10 months ago | (#44171593)

The constitution is vague. We should rewrite it in Lojban to avoid all arguments about the meaning. Lojban as the advantage of having no native speakers and thus does not promote any one ethnic group.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171765)

go back to your fuckin hugbox you fuckin aspie!!

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 10 months ago | (#44172121)

Nonsense. Let's write it in all known languages, and make all interpretations authoritative.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 10 months ago | (#44170975)

The truly Orwellian thing about this nightmare isn't even so much the surveillance, but the wholesale redefinition of language. Plain English no longer means what plain English means

That's Patriot talk, consumer. Prepare for extreme reeducation after reclassification as an imminent threat.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (5, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 10 months ago | (#44171483)

They'd never call it "Patriot talk." Remember, "Patriots" are the brave men and women who spy on everything you do to keep this great nation and its people safe.

Other awful problem of the state of the language: we've pre-Godwined ourselves. We're so ingrained with the idea that comparing something to nazi germany means that you have lost perspective and your argument has devolved into flinging hyperbolic insults, and you have therefore lost. People do not understand the literal definition of Fascism [wikipedia.org] anymore, and as Orwell said in Politics and the English Language [newrepublic.com] (relinked from a response to my original post by a fine poster), "The word fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable.'"

In fact, "Italian Fascism promotes a corporatist economic system whereby employer and employee syndicates are linked together in corporative associations to collectively represent the nation's economic producers and work alongside the state to set national economic policy."

Doesn't that sound like someplace we know? Where through "regulatory capture" (a fancy way of saying "industry writes government regulation to their benefit"), and "campaign contributions" (i.e., "bribes") the government and industry are basically one in the same?

Yes, that's America. But you can't say it! Because if you do, you lose. "Well that's ridiculous! I don't see any dictator marching Jews into ovens!"

You can't even criticize the system of our government, because the word that properly describes our system of government is no longer allowed in public debate. Orwell would be...not proud...sadly resigned?

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 10 months ago | (#44171535)

"They'd never call it "Patriot talk." Remember, "Patriots" are the brave men and women who spy on everything you do to keep this great nation and its people safe."

A friend recently linked me to an article about this very thing. For a change this is not Godwin's Law; this is actually relevant.

The reason it was possible for Hitler and the Nazis to rise to power, was because the populace mistakenly believed "patriotism" was not loyalty to The People or their country, but to their government. Big Mistake.

Patriotism is loyalty to your family and your neighbors, not to Barack Obama.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (2)

mooingyak (720677) | about 10 months ago | (#44172083)

A friend recently linked me to an article about this very thing. For a change this is not Godwin's Law; this is actually relevant.

Godwin's law does not preclude relevancy.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 10 months ago | (#44171951)

Remember, "Patriots" are the brave men and women who spy...

Unh uh. "Patriots" are the teabagger scum who need to list the political leanings of their extended family members and friends for the IRS so that the rest of us can be safe.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (4, Informative)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44171071)

The truly Orwellian thing about this nightmare isn't even so much the surveillance, but the wholesale redefinition of language.

Orwell's classic essay on the subject, Politics and the English Language [newrepublic.com] .

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171341)

It's a good essay, but the horrible OCR job is such a shame. It's disgusting that they couldn't go through the immense trouble of reading and editing such a short essay before posting it.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172107)

Did you know that the Spanish Inquisition (you didn't expect them, nobody does) had Rules about torture? They did. About when it was appropriate to use and when it was to stop. Of course, it got stretched over time, as it always does. In fact, the US definition of torture (or whatever they call it this week) starts where the Inquisition's Rules said it was to stop. Try that one on for size, eh.

Then there's the whole "you're not human, so no human rights for you!" shtick. No, I don't care that some of those guys went terrorist after release, as some American Thinkers have ex post facto argued as sufficient justification--they may very well have radicalised in the umpteen years they were stuck there. Can't blame someone for becoming what you made them become. The USA made the first move in rounding up lots of people, some of them now proven innocent, then simply depriving them of even the most basic rights, and keeping them in limbo for well over a decade. That ment the USA irretrievably lost the moral high ground as well as the argument, right there and then.

And we haven't even started about the rest of the secret prisons. And the sneaking around the laws they hadn't outright flouted yet by use of private companies like blackwater (then xe services, now "academi"). And, and, and.

Another interesting parallel is the torture and "vanishing" of lots of Latin American citizens, usually by USA-backed totalitarian regimes forcibly replacing the democratically chosen governments that had the audacity to care for their people. For socialism equals communism. It's come home to roost. Fuck Yeah.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (2)

future assassin (639396) | about 10 months ago | (#44170847)

Just because there's not a dictator behind the Securitate, doesn't mean it's not being done behind the scenes.

But there are dictators already, they are the corporations who are rewriting US laws and circumventing the constitution in their favour. American is now under corporate law just loose enough to make the peaons think they're still free.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (4, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#44170967)

But there are dictators already, they are the corporations who are rewriting US laws and circumventing the constitution in their favour.

Stop apologizing for the politicians.

Corporations do not write or rewrite law, politicians do. Politicians sell the service of lawmaking to corporations.

Clearly you dont care.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 10 months ago | (#44171239)

Since Orwell has already ben brought up, I might as well throw this in:

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170851)

More like we have historically assumed that "freedom" was defined by our own sensibilities which, naturally, are "common".

In fact, our founding documents are full of mushy sentiments, onto which any reader can project his or her own convictions about what is right and necessary. This is as true for the average citizen as it is for politician or a spy. It is by design,.

Enough (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170901)

Will you morons stop using the title as the beginning of your comment?

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171167)

We've been told that we've been protected from such things, a la the constitution..

There's the error, right there. We can't be protected; protection isn't something that is done to the citizenry. We protect. Or we don't.

The constitution is a document, a way of informing newbies of our intent so they can better predict how we will react if they try to pass certain types of law.

Unfortunately, we haven't kept the documentation up-to-date. Most of us want there to be limitations on what people are allowed to say without punishment, most of us want to limit citizens bearing arms, most of us think government should have broad powers whenever investigating crimes (or possible crimes) of sufficient severity, most of us think the government should punish certain suspected crimes without bothering with unnecessary "formality" trials, most of us see silence as an admission of guilt, and most of us can't even imagine how the 10th amendment expresses an idea that makes logical sense (what powers could ever be neither prohibited nor delegated?).

We all know this stuff, but we haven't written it down, or "ratified" it as the old 1789 egghead pedants called it. So we have an undocumented constitution.

You can make excellent arguments for why Our opinion on these matters is short-sighted and foolish, but most of us aren't listening to your arguments nor are we hearing them elsewhere, so We remain unpersuaded. The constitution itself is a sort of an attempt to establish a religion, and is a statement of dogma. It just happens to be one that We don't believe or practice. We prove this ever other year, in our voting booths.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171259)

We prove this ever other year, in our voting booths.

Well, I certainly don't. Go live in North Korea and see the result of your thinking.

Re:U.S. Citizens have historically... (5, Informative)

Joiseybill (788712) | about 10 months ago | (#44171289)

Agreed (+1 parent) .. and also agree with later post about semantics/ navajo translation.

We BELIEVED there was privacy, because the Government told us about the protection, and the media supported them. The olde-tyme radio cops got away with what society thought was fair.. today, Law and Order:(n) or CSI:(m) would at least make a 'big deal' about a sketchy search without PC, or when handling a suspect who hasn't been properly Mirandized.
Until relatively recent credit card legislation, citizens had no expectation of privacy against data collection ( selective surveillance) by non-government agencies. This surveillance has been happening since before most of us were even born. It is not new.. but the media has ignited the flames of FUD, and the methods for collecting, analyzing , and distributing information have grown exponentially as a result of computers and the changes they bring to society.

In 1897 or so, S&H Green stamps started a " marketing loyalty program". Your grocer ( gas station, Sears & Roebuck) could influence your purchases by adjusting the 'bonus levels' of green stamps you received in return for a purchase. When they chose to, they could also watch meta-trends, or even specific consumer behavior changes, because all the stamps were serial-numbered. S&H, when they received the redeemed booklets, could measure the effectiveness.. which retailers were distributing more, which customers were collecting & returning more, how many just got lost or never filled a book? The company changed over time.. and never really returned to the giant stature they had after the 1970's inflation/stagflation.. but they still exist, and offer web-based purchase premiums.

Around 1920, Al Neilsen got tired with his day job, and decided to create A.C. Neilsen ; to rate how well radio advertisers were doing. The company is still around today, trying to measure DVR and Netflix data, too. This was probably one of the original "crowdsourced" industries.. I mean, if you get "selected" today, they only pay you a dollar a week - if your data is on-time.

Criminal records, property records, articles of incorporation, lawsuits.. all were considered public record at one level or another. I was taught how to search all that paper at my local County Courthouse back in the mid- 1980s. At the time, only criminal records actually required that you produce ID and a legitimate reason to ask.
My sister was in an auto accident last summer. Before the local police were ready with a report " ...10 business days, lady..."; she received a letter from an attorney - with a copy of the accident report, asking if she needed any legal advice or representation. Also, NJ State law about "Red Light Cameras" requires that the footage recorded is destroyed within 60 days - if nothing is illegal, or no charges filed; and within 90 days after the matter is settled ( if you are charged, and just pay the ticket) . Another case of nobody watching.. search YouTube and find at least 5, probably a dozen NJ Red Light Cam videos.. posted as marketing from the camera company! Big brother ( d/b/a private contractor) is watching, recording, and had their fingers crossed when they promised to destroy the footage.

It was around 1902-1904 that the Northeast's major Life & Medical insurers got together and built what we now call the MIB ( Medical Information Bureau). Any insurer.. and lots of other "qualified participants" ( =$ ?) can add, edit, or search these records about every one of us. Every time an insurance company paid a claim (or messed up a claim) medically, that info was added to the collection. Today, we just call this a database.
Again.. no protection here. Last time I checked, the MIB was voluntarily adopting a model similar to credit reporting agencies.. they would provide an individual with a personal report ( minus trade-secrets and scoring), and give the individual some rights to challenge incorrect info. Maybe it's a law now, but still.. no protection for nearly a century. Today, this info is used in Auto insurance policies, and even school admissions and job screening.

The interwebs have always had the potential for long-term data collection. I would have contributed more to Archive.org if I thought they'd eventually sell out to Google.. and who knew they were going to purge (or at least hide from public view) most records pre-1995, and nearly all of the fun Usenet postings.

Also, during a short visit in the world of LE, it was stupidly easy to call the local phone/ electric/ gas utility and find out a whole lot of personal info about the resident of ###North Elm road. Again, "metadata" along with a few personals.. is there a second line ( kids) in the house? Does power consumption drop on the "usual" curve... or is somebody up all night/ working nights? Telephone use - up/down in a pattern.. maybe the last two weeks does it coincide with the day before playoff games? Is the bill in (suspect's) name, or his mom, wife, friend? Do they pay on time - cash / check ? In person?
Since the oversight reforms of the 90's , we can't just run the license plate of every hot brunette that drove by at lunch time (anymore), nor can those calls be made to the utilities.. but for years.. again.. little or no protection, even from the gov't.

Of course, any respectable /.'er knows about data mining, and the anecdote about Target's pregnancy algorithm.

SO, I have to agree with OP. Nearly all this info has been available. Even I didn't realize how long it was open until I read up on it. Even if it used to take hours to dig through County paperwork, or days of surveillance to track a suspect's routine -- that all cost money in the form of labor. The data now can be collected through automated means; even if it takes a few hours or days to get a return, you don't pay computers by the hour. Only the limits of technology are going to define what "privacy" we retain going forward.
Post already too long.. I assure you, the facts can be supported. My opinions, however, are probably questionable.

Re: U.S. Citizens have historically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171967)

No... our county clerk charges by the day, week, month, or by the page, depending on how much you want to fork over up front. Access to "public" records is one of the county's more lucrative money makers. Almost as good as mental "health" related services.

Why does this need someone from MIT to point out? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170717)

It was obvious to me for a while already. And it's not just surveillance either: Most of the protection from government in general always was due to it being slow and ponderous. Both because the founding fathers liked it that way, but also because this was pretty much a given due to the properties of large organisations, poor communication, and the slowness of paperwork. No longer.

The obvious consequences really ought to be obvious to everyone. Why do we need academics to point it out to us? Can't we do anything ourselves any longer?

Re:Why does this need someone from MIT to point ou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170819)

Nope, and that's the way corporations like it!

Re:Why does this need someone from MIT to point ou (1)

mooingyak (720677) | about 10 months ago | (#44172163)

Agreed. First thought on reading the headline was "Figured that out on your own, did you?"

But from reading the comments here, it's apparently not as obvious as I had believed.

Blah..blah..la ..dee.. da...da (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170799)

I'd rather have a Slashvertisment here than this horseshit.

Going off the grid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170817)

So if I wanted to disappear I should hire someone to maintain my digital presence whilst I slip away to avoid raising suspicion? I wonder how many currently monitored intelligence targets are actually drones tweeting, texting and LOLing on forums? What if this post was authored by a captcha-cracking script?

Re: Going off the grid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171993)

Slashdot mobile doesn't have captchas. Tell your bot script to send android in the browser identification string.

If they're monitoring our every move... (4, Interesting)

Nutria (679911) | about 10 months ago | (#44170843)

why didn't they notice that the Boston Bombers were planning on setting off bombs in public?

Either:
(a) they're not a Panopticon, or
(b) they're massively incompetent, or
(c) they don't care what happens to the Plebs.

In any of the cases, we don't actually have anything to worry about.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (4, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#44170989)

(d) allowing stuff like the Boston bombings to happen gives them an excuse to tight their grip

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 10 months ago | (#44171101)

gives them an excuse to tight their grip

"They" the NSA, or "They" the politicians?

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#44171147)

Yes.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (2)

Nutria (679911) | about 10 months ago | (#44171281)

Non-NSA methods of Panoptical (Facebook, for example, and toll road "tags", credit cards, cell phone companies, Google, etc, etc) social control are doing a darned fine job, than you very much, of tightening the politicians' grip on the country.

So, give me another reason for worrying about the NSA.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172365)

(f) they were preoccupied watching their real target. The people.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 10 months ago | (#44171005)

In any of the cases, we don't actually have anything to worry about.

Quite the opposite really; it means the ONLY thing this apparatus is effective at is selectively abusing people.

In other words it won't stop any crimes, but will be used to perpetrate them.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 10 months ago | (#44171121)

but will be used to perpetrate them.

When? The murky always-future?

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (1)

SJHiIlman (2957043) | about 10 months ago | (#44171185)

Any time there exists individuals in the government who aren't perfect beings; in other words: always.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 10 months ago | (#44171291)

That's a murky non-answer.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (1)

SJHiIlman (2957043) | about 10 months ago | (#44171391)

Do you really need a specific answer of when abuses might happen? Because you shouldn't, and no one can give you such a thing. But if you know even a bit about history, you'll know that it's probably not a good idea to give a human access to such a ridiculous amount of information; such a power will be abused.

I suppose that's another "murky non-answer," but only a ridiculously naive person would conclude that abuses won't happen.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171591)

Because you shouldn't, and no one can give you such a thing.

At least for future abuses.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 10 months ago | (#44171343)

When? The murky always-future?

Anytime someone is improperly on a terrorist watch list, or no-fly list, or was denied a passport, or denied security clearance, or denied entry into the country as a result of this apparatus.

Definitely it happens in the murky future. Its probably already happened several times over the last several years.

For example, we don't know how those no-fly lists get made up, or how people get on them. I can't prove this apparatus is responsible, but you can't prove it isn't.

The people in a position to prove it one way or the other are still trying to come to terms with the fact that we even now know the apparatus exists.

We're miles away from them coming clean on what they've actually done with it so far. I doubt we'll ever know.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 10 months ago | (#44171427)

Anytime someone is improperly on a terrorist watch list, or no-fly list, or was denied a passport, or denied security clearance, or denied entry into the country as a result of this apparatus.

Finally, a viable answer.

Now: do the Snowden releases mention whether the NSA Panopticon is used to populate those lists?

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172381)

Didn't they already use this on Gen. Patreaus?

My guess for when is about 6 months ago, at least. Every time someone starts giving "the party" problems its time to dig into his email and phone calls, leak a little info to the press and just like that they are discredited and provide cover for whatever other scandal is bothering "the party" at the time.

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 10 months ago | (#44171031)

(d) it's not about tracking terrorists or criminals, but instead tracking political trends/opponents or getting a list for gas chambers. Yeah, I Godwined. Big whoop, wanna fight about it?

Re:If they're monitoring our every move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171893)

(d) The DoJ is protecting muslims from being investigated. In the case of the boston bomber, the police were blocked by the DoJ from investigating beforehand, and had to wait several days to even get a pass through from them to investigate the mosque they went to.

It's a classic case of 1984. Some are more equal than others.

I'd like to see technology work for the people (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44170855)

Just as lack of technology can prevent mass surveillance, use of technology can as well. As always, there are good and bad uses. Just as our government keeps secrets from us, we can keep secrets from them through proper use of encryption and not implicitly trusting service providers (like Google, Microsoft etc) with all our data.

There is no reason, aside from legacy compatibility (which can and have been solved!) for your email to not be end to end encrypted. There is no need for social networks. There are other technologies that can meet those needs in a distributed and secure manner (sure, you lose ad targeting info to pay for hosting, but I don't care). Web browsing should be end to end encrypted. If you need anonymity, you can use Tor (for hosting / and or client side). Chat programs are easy to secure.

Cell phone meta-data is a harder target. If you force some separation between the parties who provide connections to the network (towers/cells) from those which identify customers, and those that manage the routing and ISP services for the cells/towers, protection could be at least drastically improved. At the very least, when latency is not critical, you can still hide what you are accessing through Tor, and you can always hide the content with encryption.

Also, we can attack the problem from the legislative and regulatory side as well. Impose massive fines (and maybe some jail time) for any companies (or individuals) logging and/or distributing such information. Yes: make collection, even if kept locally, illegal in many cases. Theres no reason for my ISP to collect traffic analysis details, so ban logging all but a specific white list of things they really need (not want). Same for cell providers etc. Then compensate individuals who report violations with a portion of the fine.

I'd love to see a ban on ISPs from being in other businesses to remove the biases and make regulating them easier.

We can improve this situation. Its not going to be easy, but we can make progress, both technically and legislatively.

Re:I'd like to see technology work for the people (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 10 months ago | (#44171123)

There is no reason, aside from legacy compatibility (which can and have been solved!) for your email to not be end to end encrypted.

There's a very good reason for that. I work with above-average IQ people, but they can't be bothered to spend the time to figure out how gpg/pgp works. And people of average and below 100 IQ can't be expected to understand it.

Re:I'd like to see technology work for the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171363)

I don't know the details of HTTPS, TLS, SSL or even IMAP orPOP. I can use them just fine though. We need to get support for decently secure systems (including email) to be more user friendly. That does not mean they have to understand how it works. Secure by default even for the ignorant is what we should aim for. I know plenty of people with no clue how DNS, IP, TCP or HTTP work than can browse the web and even do online banking over HTTPS just fine.

Re: I'd like to see technology work for the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172033)

The same ones that fall for spoofed banking sites? Phishing scams? Cold calls from Microsoft regarding the malware infection seen coming from the home PC?

Re: I'd like to see technology work for the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172219)

The same ones that fall for spoofed banking sites? Phishing scams? Cold calls from Microsoft regarding the malware infection seen coming from the home PC?

No actually. I know people who have a trivial understanding of computers, but know not to fall for such scams (at least most of them, so far). And really, knowing the details of HTTPS isn't how you protect people from Phishing scams. Just like knowing the details of pgp isn't how you protect someone from having Google leak their email to the NSA. Using sane software thats properly setup (by default) and minimal training is sufficient. Sure its not perfect, but it helps a huge amount!

The educated will need to provide said software, and will need to convince people to use it (or at least not use the deeply insecure alternatives nearly everyone uses now). Its an ongoing process. HTTPS is doing well, DNSSEC is on the way, Tor has made great progress as far as being user friendly (No there yet for many uses, but getting closer). We need to continue the push for secure services and get people to favor them over insecure ones, both among the advanced users, as well as the naive ones.

Re:I'd like to see technology work for the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171931)

Impending leak: NSA has a cryptanalysis device capable of cracking public key cryptography.

Re:I'd like to see technology work for the people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172267)

Impending leak: NSA has a cryptanalysis device capable of cracking public key cryptography.

That would be bad, but if Perfect Forward Secrecy is properly employed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_forward_secrecy ) it would not compromise most messages unless they are MITM attacking everything live which is unlikely (and noticeable). Attacks on signatures would be a major issue though, but large scale use of such tactics would be really obvious.

Part of a social phase change (4, Interesting)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 10 months ago | (#44170907)

http://www.pdfernhout.net/recognizing-irony-is-a-key-to-transcending-militarism.html [pdfernhout.net]
"Likewise, even United States three-letter agencies like the NSA and the CIA, as well as their foreign counterparts, are becoming ironic institutions in many ways. Despite probably having more computing power per square foot than any other place in the world, they seem not to have thought much about the implications of all that computer power and organized information to transform the world into a place of abundance for all. Cheap computing makes possible just about cheap everything else, as does the ability to make better designs through shared computing. ...
    There is a fundamental mismatch between 21st century reality and 20th century security thinking. Those "security" agencies are using those tools of abundance, cooperation, and sharing mainly from a mindset of scarcity, competition, and secrecy. Given the power of 21st century technology as an amplifier (including as weapons of mass destruction), a scarcity-based approach to using such technology ultimately is just making us all insecure. Such powerful technologies of abundance, designed, organized, and used from a mindset of scarcity could well ironically doom us all whether through military robots, nukes, plagues, propaganda, or whatever else... Or alternatively, as Bucky Fuller and others have suggested, we could use such technologies to build a world that is abundant and secure for all."

Going forward, there are many other implications of trends from "better, faster, cheaper". We should think about the positive trends and try to help amplify them. Related suggestions by me in areas of collective intelligence for mutual intrinsic security, space settlement, and health sensemaking:
http://www.phibetaiota.net/2011/09/paul-fernhout-open-letter-to-the-intelligence-advanced-programs-research-agency-iarpa/ [phibetaiota.net]
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/oscomak/SSI_Fernhout2001_web.html [kurtz-fernhout.com]
https://www.changemakers.com/morehealth/entries/health-sensemaking [changemakers.com]

Or, read "The Skills of Xanadu" for ideas from the 1950s by Theodore Sturgeon which helped inspire Ted Nelson and hypertext and so the world wide web:
http://books.google.com/books?id=wpuJQrxHZXAC&pg=PA51&lpg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false [google.com]

Or look to groups like the Maker community or sustainable technology community inventing new ways of local subsistence.

Something I wrote thirteen years ago to Doug Engelbart's Unrev-II mailing list, and we are still more-or-less following predicted exponential trends:
"[unrev-II] Singularity in twenty to forty years?"
http://www.dougengelbart.org/colloquium/forum/discussion/0126.html [dougengelbart.org]
"Below are six "explosive" technology trends that all appear to culminate in around twenty years. Even if some of them don't pan out, the others will revolutionize our world (for good or bad). ...
    You may argue the dates -- ten years for some, forty for others. You may point out Y2K didn't melt things down, that AI researchers predicted AIs by now, that fusion power was supposed to be here by now, etc. And you would be right to be skeptical. My point is that these are trends in many different areas -- any one of which would make this world radically different. Together, they spell awesome change -- in economics, politics, lifestyle, relationships, and values.
    It is quite likely we are heading for a singularity in the 2020 - 2040 time frame. By "singularity", I mean a sudden discontinuity in daily life. I believe Vernor Vinge first coined this term in this sense. http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~phoenix/vinge/vinge-sing.html [caltech.edu] Others, like Moravec ("Robot" 1998) or Kurzweil ("The Age of Spiritual Machines" 1999) also point to this singularity.
    By "singularity" I don't mean the end of the world -- just "the end of the world as we know it" in the sense of radical changes to our day-to-day activities, jobs, and plans. "

In the sci-fi novel "Voyage From Yesteryear", James P. Hogan talked about a "societal phase change", like water boiling into steam due to various technological and social trends.

As I write in the introduction to "Post-Scarcity Princeton" four years ago,
http://www.pdfernhout.net/post-scarcity-princeton.html [pdfernhout.net]
"Wikipedia. GNU/Linux. WordNet. Google. These things were not on the visible horizon to most of us even as little as twenty years ago. Now they have remade huge aspects of how we live. Are these free-to-the-user informational products and services all there is to be on the internet or are they the tip of a metaphorical iceberg of free stuff and free services that is heading our way? Or even, via projects like the RepRap 3D printer under development, are free physical objects someday heading into our homes? If a "post-scarcity" iceberg is coming, are our older scarcity-oriented social institutions prepared to survive it? Or like the Titanic, will these social institutions sink once the full force of the iceberg contacts them? And will they start taking on water even if just dinged by little chunks of sea ice like the cheap $100 laptops that are ahead of the main iceberg?"

I suggest the global intelligence community should embrace these post-scarcity trends and reinvent itself.

To contrast with the more utopian "Skills of Xanadu", here is and interesting read on what a Brin-like transparent society might feel like (not saying it is all pleasant):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Light_of_Other_Days [wikipedia.org]

Transcend instead of fight back (2)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 10 months ago | (#44171061)

One other meme on this: http://pcast.ideascale.com/a/dtd/The-need-for-FOSS-intelligence-tools-for-sensemaking-etc./76207-8319 [ideascale.com]
"As with that notion of "mutual security", the US intelligence community needs to look beyond seeing an intelligence tool as just something proprietary that gives a "friendly" analyst some advantage over an "unfriendly" analyst. Instead, the intelligence community could begin to see the potential for a free and open source intelligence tool as a way to promote "friendship" across the planet by dispelling some of the gloom of "want and ignorance" (see the scene in "A Christmas Carol" with Scrooge and a Christmas Spirit) that we still have all too much of around the planet. So, beyond supporting legitimate US intelligence needs (useful with their own closed sources of data), supporting a free and open source intelligence tool (and related open datasets) could become a strategic part of US (or other nation's) "diplomacy" and constructive outreach.
    Now, there are many people out there (including computer scientists) who may raise legitimate concerns about privacy or other important issues in regards to any system that can support the intelligence community (as well as civilian needs). As I see it, there is a race going on. The race is between two trends. On the one hand, the internet can be used to profile and round up dissenters to the scarcity-based economic status quo (thus legitimate worries about privacy and something like TIA). On the other hand, the internet can be used to change the status quo in various ways (better designs, better science, stronger social networks advocating for some healthy mix of a basic income, a gift economy, democratic resource-based planning, improved local subsistence, etc., all supported by better structured arguments like with the Genoa II approach) to the point where there is abundance for all and rounding up dissenters to mainstream economics is a non-issue because material abundance is everywhere. So, as Bucky Fuller said, whether is will be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race to the very end. While I can't guarantee success at the second option of using the internet for abundance for all, I can guarantee that if we do nothing, the first option of using the internet to round up dissenters (or really, anybody who is different, like was done using IBM computers in WWII Germany) will probably prevail. So, I feel the global public really needs access to these sorts of sensemaking tools in an open source way, and the way to use them is not so much to "fight back" as to "transform and/or transcend the system". As Bucky Fuller said, you never change thing by fighting the old paradigm directly; you change things by inventing a new way that makes the old paradigm obsolete."

Some attempts by us at such FOSS tools:
http://www.rakontu.org/ [rakontu.org]
https://code.google.com/p/rakontu/ [google.com]
https://github.com/pdfernhout/Pointrel20130202 [github.com]
https://github.com/pdfernhout/Pointrel20120623 [github.com]

We've built other stuff in the past, but sadly it is proprietary. Hopefully people can go beyond all this in their own ways.

A billion dollars could see a good start on this project. :-) Or a "basic income" for all, to give coders who want to do this the time to do it.

Re:Transcend instead of fight back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171623)

So you are advocating a project that needs "Google App Engine" ?

Cynthia, why don't you suggest we deposit all our books with the police ? Surely the police would make an excellent bookstore and surely they would censor those books only in accordance with the constitution and 18723 executive orders by the droner-in-chief.

Read up what Mr Schmidt is up to. Realize you need to "show passport" (cell phone number) even for a puny gmail account. Google has ambitions to be part and parcel of the security apparatus. "do now evil"... or we lock you up !

Re:Transcend instead of fight back (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 10 months ago | (#44172185)

You make interesting points, AC. The reason my wife originally chose Google App engine originally (chosen in 2008, when Google has a better reputation) was to make something any community could use for free, and because my wife was comfortable with Python. It is open source, and the code coudl be ported, or the ideas reimplemented. See:
http://www.storycoloredglasses.com/2010/08/steal-these-ideas.html [storycoloredglasses.com]
"In my lessons-learned document I said that I'm more interested in the ideas from Rakontu moving on than the actual software surviving as is. Since then a few people have asked me to elaborate on that statement. So I've reviewed and thought, and I've come up with a list of six pieces of advice for anyone who would like to incorporate ideas from Rakontu into their own effort to support online story sharing."

I had suggested using the Pointrel system I was working on, but Google was the bright big-name shiny thing, and I could not guarantee my experimental stuff was production ready. Neither could Google though for App Engine, apparently, at least back then.

She now thinks that App Engine approach was a mistake for several reasons, including that, say, a Drupal add-on would have been a better approach (as much as PHP is a crummy language).

Later work by me toward Rakontu 2.0 has been in other directions, including code you can run locally or on some server of your choice (like with the GitHub stuff). But we ran out of money funding it ourselves, so now I do unrelated stuff, but at least Cynthia still works towards finishing her free book on how communities can collect and organize their own stories in a variety of ways, available as a work-in-progress here
http://www.workingwithstories.org/ [workingwithstories.org]

Still, if you want to be concerned about privacy, and you assume the NSA monitors all internet traffic, then it really does not matter who hosts your content if you access it through the internet.

The distributed approach I was working towards included the option to exchange info via direct exchange like on flash drives (like is happening now in Cuba).
http://politics.slashdot.org/story/13/03/19/2351234/cubans-evade-censorship-by-exchanging-flash-drives [slashdot.org]

But even that is not really secure, since any collection of information can be compromised by an informant. So, ultimately, finding an innovative way to work within the system is still probably a safer bet.

This social transition may well all be over in twenty years with the pace of technological and social advancement -- in the sense of our employment-based economy imploding from advanced automation like AI-powered robotics, various group spreading Vinge-like (Deepness in the Sky) networked "smart dust" around the world (probably developed ironically by the NSA or CIA) some of which probably makes it into the NSA and CIA headquarters and all government offices by random chance (making Wikileaks and Snowden revelations seem tame by comparison), and tons of other trends.

Who knows for sure how it will all end? We can just do our best from a hopefully moral-enough strategic foundation and keep updating our tactics as we get new information or the world changes around us as it constantly does. But what that moral foundation should be for the 21st century might make for a good exploratory Slashdot discussion (my sig being a nod in that direction).

By the way, something I wrote about Schmidt and Knol:
http://lists.alioth.debian.org/pipermail/freedombox-discuss/2011-February/000401.html [debian.org]
"""
Gold Leader: Pardon me for asking, sir, but what good are semantic wikis and desktops going to be against [that]?
General Dodonna: Well, the Empire doesn't consider a small cgi script on a shared server or desktop to be any threat, or they'd have a tighter defense. ...
Commander #1: We've analyzed their attack on Knol, sir, and there is a danger. Should I have your Golden Parachute standing by?
Governor Schmidt: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.
"""

Knol did close in the end. Although it is true it had some features that were better than Wikipedia (where multiple authors could write on the same topic either individually or collectively from a specific viewpoint, letting the reader sort out where the truth is). We need some kind of hybrid as a social semantic desktop.

Schimdt may have his failings in a Chomskian "What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream" sense of world view, but overall, like JavaScript, he and Google are probably better than we collectively deserve in some sense. Only with Google was I able to create an essay like this:
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/oscomak/AchievingAStarTrekSociety.html [kurtz-fernhout.com]

Re:Part of a social phase change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171669)

Oh it's not paradigm shift anymore? It's "phase change"? jesus tittyfucking buzzword christ........

Re: Part of a social phase change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171841)

Holy shit, dude, it's a
comment, not a book.

Re:Part of a social phase change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172089)

Fuck you. Obama knows what he's doing? Where's your degree? Where's your being voted as president? All you white fucks have attacked every move he's made since the beginning. You're all scared little cunts. Go have Paula Deen serve you up another pork sandwich you fuckers.

Re:Part of a social phase change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44172379)

All you white fucks have attacked every move he's made since the beginning.

This country is full of racists but I'm pretty sure every president has people picking apart every tiny detail of their behavior.

Keeping records is an "attractive nuisance" (3, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | about 10 months ago | (#44170925)

Just like a swimming pool, keeping records that someone else might want is an attractive nuisance: people you don't want will go snooping around in them. And just like a swimming pool, it you that's liable when someone uses them without your permission.

At the moment, it's ISPs that find themselves having to cough up DHCP records to courts: give the criminals a week or two and they'll be writing exploits to get at Facebook, Google+ and your local video store, just like they've been doing for people who have lists of credit-card numbers.

--dave

Re:Keeping records is an "attractive nuisance" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171171)

You hit the nail on the head... great analogy!

I'd like to add that access to that pool of information not only attracts criminals.. it creates them.

"Right To Serve" might help (4, Interesting)

jdogalt (961241) | about 10 months ago | (#44170993)

I've used the fact that GoogleFiber was my first ISP choice involving IPv6 to press a new novel interpretation of NetworkNeutrality. It seems to be going somewhere. ComIntercept(FCC->Google):

"The enclosed informal complaint, dated September 1, 2012, has been filed with the Commission by Douglas McClendon against Google pursuant to section 1.41 of Comissions's Rules, 47 C.F.R. // 1.41. Also attached is Mr. McClendon's October 24, 2012 complaint forwarded to the FCC by the Kansas Office of the Attorney General. Mr. McClendon asserts that Google's policy prohibiting use of its fixed broadband internet service (Google Fiber connection) to host any type of server violates the Open Internet Order, FCC 10-201, and the Commission's rules at 47 C.F.R. // 8.1-11.

We are forwarding a copy of the informal complaint so that you may satisfy or answer the informal complaint based on a thorough review of all relevant records and other information. You should respond in writing specifically and comprehensively to all material allegations raised in the informal complaint, being sure not to include the specifics of any confidential settlement discussions. ...

Your written response to the informal complaint must be filed with the Commission contact listed below by U.S. mail and e-mail by July 29, 2013. On that same day, you must mail and e-mail your response to Douglas McClendon.

The parties shall retain all records that may be relevant to the informal complaint until final Commission disposition of the informal complaint or of any formal complaint that may arise from this matter. See 47 C.F.R. //1.812-17. (seriously, can't I and Google just depend on the NSA's backups of our records? :)

Failure of any person to answer any lawful Commission inquiry is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine... ... ...

http://cloudsession.com/dawg/downloads/misc/mcclendon_notice_of_informal_complaint.pdf [cloudsession.com]
http://cloudsession.com/dawg/downloads/misc/mcclendon_oct24_2012_complaint.pdf [cloudsession.com]

This represents Google getting 'served' this week, my form 2000F 'informal' 53 page complaint that suggests that NetNeutrality provides protections against ISP blocking to my home servers as well as to Skype's. Google has been compelled by the government to respond to me on July 29th. GoogleFiber's 'evil' terms of service prohibit hosting any kind of server without prior written permission against your residential connection. And zero transparency for any alternate server-allowed plan rates, or what kinds of reasons they might use to disallow a requested written permission (which is laughable as the FCC 10-201 NetNeutrality document goes out of it's way to laud Tim Berner Lee's invention of the web atop tcp/ip, specifically, without having to have gotten any permission from any government or network provider)

I forwarded the documents to schneier@schneier.com and requested any insight he might have into the matter. I got an email response (theoretically perhaps spoofed) that read "Thanks.\n\nGood Luck."

Budget, Not Law, Limits Mass Surveillance (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 10 months ago | (#44171009)

Now that's something we might be able to talk about

Re:Budget, Not Law, Limits Mass Surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171267)

Are you a racist? Because everyone I know who suggested cutting the budget in the last 5 years has been called a moronic racist teabagger.

Criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171373)

Barack Obomba seems intent on threatening other governments who may consider
helping Snowden. Here are some other criminals he missed.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela - Convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government
in 1962 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Considered to be a communist and terrorist

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks - Committed a crime on December 1, 1955
A Montgomery, Alabama, ordinance compelled black residents to take seats
apart from whites on municipal buses.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
The target of an intensive campaign by the FBI to neutralize him as an
effective civil rights leader.

I wonder if he would have supported prosecution of these traitors and/or criminals.

Re:Criminals (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171579)

Obama is a devious liar; in the pocket of the 1%. Sorry for you if you have fallen for his Messiah P.R. work.

I honestly believe GWB was less of a threat, because he was simply dumber.

Technology Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171541)

Think of people disabling the GSM/UMTS/LTE modem and connecting to other people's WLAN. Think of a system how sharing would not be abused (e.g. by limiting tx/rx rate). Think of offering only a TOR SOCKS proxy over your WLAN, so that you can't be held liable. Think of an external Cantenna attached to your tablet, which will easily allow you to connect over 1000 meters to the next free, anon WLAN/TOR access point. Of course, all spyware ripped out of the phone. Of course, using your personal RPI server for all your "social" and "sharing" stuff. Think of Voice Messages over TOR (it's already fast enough for that !).

We can easily erect a Very Big Middle Finger to the ruling elite and their control freakery. And no, they didn't prevent 9/11 with comint and this is not at all the objective. The objective is control of average joe and his anger towards the 1% criminals who can't be caught. Because they have all the politicos in their pockets.

New constitutional amendment. (3, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 10 months ago | (#44171559)

A New constitutional amendment is needed in nearly every western country. It needs to strictly limit the information that a government can conceal from the public and limit what corporations and governments may collect.

Right now people blah blah about big data but the reality is that most data collected is not well analyzed and is poorly collected. A simple example is that I was doing some billing system work for a telephone company and based on the records they kept many phone calls never started, and many phone calls never ended. Just glitches in the recorded data. This is just one problem among many in really analyzing data. But people are only going to get better at this and with image recognition I can see both the police and retailers going mad once they can get it working. Through the pile of cameras you should be able to make a fairly good map of where everyone is all the time. Retailers on the otherhand would love to know your tastes and spending habits. That way they can pounce on their likely customers and say, "These green pants will go well with your new red sweater that you bought across town a week ago."

If corporations can start combining their data they can quickly build an incredible profile of every person. Get records from your power company about power usage, scan what car you are driving, what you are wearing, who you are with. I can see them identifying that you might have a new girlfriend and try to guilt you into buying her something "Special". This might all sound like innocent marketing but it becomes nastier when your employer can now buy a retail record that you met with some union organizers. (Which I did yesterday even though I run my own company because they happen to be friends).

Once the information that is gathered has some real value you will see companies energetically collecting it (paying everyone with a security camera to feed their machine) and then finding the gaps and putting up bill boards that watch cars go by and check their occupants.

But the elephant in the room is that governments really really should not know that much about people. If a government (democratically elected included) can watch its opponents then it will. Many people elected to government get very righteous about their mission and think that their opposition (taking cheap shots) only exists to steal their jobs and stop them from doing the right thing. So using government gathered data to stop them is actually the righteous thing to do. Or they are just dirtbags who don't want to let go.

Another one was a telephone tech division that used company's call records to see if they were talking to the competition. They also had the sales division's phones set up for two neat tricks. One was that if a phone call was forwarded they would see what number the call had been forwarded to. And they would see private numbers. These guys saw nothing wrong with this.

In my neck of the woods a government lost an election and one of the nails in their coffin was when it was revealed that they were using private tax records to target their fundraising.

So as this big data becomes easier and easier I can see where anyone with access to this data will misuse it. Not everyone just that there are some people who will abuse any data they can get.

So quite simply there need to be constitutional amendments (that lobbyists can't keep working against) that limit what data anyone can store and what data can be hidden. A simple example of this is that I don't want my power records accessible to anyone without a warrant. I want the mall security video to only be used in relation to a crime not sold to a marketing a company.

Re:New constitutional amendment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171691)

Very soon, we will use Burqas in the western world, too. Because Mr Rainhouse, a former NSA employee, revealed that NSA have hacked 99% of all global cameras and injected facial recognition software. The IDs are forwarded to a 10000 acre data center in Dumbdale, Wisconsin for real-time analysis. They are especially proud they can ID you from your eyeballs only.

So we now don't only use TOR, we now also wear Burqas. See, BinLaden (or whoever really was behind all the stupid shittery) has won conclusively. Not only do women veil themselves in America, me do that, too ! Islam now rules the entire world ! (At least in garment),

Horse shit! (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 10 months ago | (#44171665)

If it was not the law protecting people, then why have they tried so hard to hide it? Why are they attacking a person that released information on a perfectly legal activity, with perfectly legal data?

Some people simply disgust me, and no I'm not going to get her point when the title of the essay intends to diminish the fact that the Government broke it's own laws. Whether or not there were meritorious points in the article the INTENT is wrong!

I find it really really interesting that while all of this starts to hit the press, all that CNN, ABC, NBC and Fox can talk about for a week is a bullshit trial in Florida where the same media has created a circus of ethnic hatred. It's now using the bait it put sugar on 2 years ago so that everyone tries to look at something other than the Government Agencies and their heads that broke the law and should be in jail.

Shame on you if you continue to fall for this open propaganda and brainwashing.

Re:Horse shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44171701)

" CNN, ABC, NBC and Fox"

Do you still use that NY-finance-controlled crap ?

There are higher level laws (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about 10 months ago | (#44171997)

Like moral or human rights. Anyway, take everyone as an enemy and everyone will be.
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