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Lavabit.com Owner: 'I Could Be Arrested' For Resisting Surveillance Order

timothy posted about a year ago | from the how-can-you-dare-to-say-that dept.

Encryption 255

Zak3056 writes "NBC News is reporting that 'The owner of an encrypted email service used by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he has been threatened with criminal charges for refusing to comply with a secret surveillance order to turn over information about his customers. "I could be arrested for this action," Ladar Levison told NBC News about his decision to shut down his company, Lavabit LLC, in protest over a secret court order he had received from a federal court that is overseeing the investigation into Snowden.''"

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255 comments

Just comply with the court order (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44592905)

There's no point to be made from not complying with a legitimate court order. Just comply with it. One day you could be very thankful that we have a legal system that was created to protect us. Please respect that and our fellow citizens.

Re:Just comply with the court order (0, Flamebait)

jsepeta (412566) | about a year ago | (#44592929)

since when the fuck have our courts cared about actual justice, and not about preserving the benefits for the 1%? our legal system rivals that of countries like Myanmar, with the exception that at least there is no pretense of justice under a tyrannical regime.

Re:Just comply with the court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44592945)

whoosh

Re:Just comply with the court order (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44592961)

Here's a hint: That 1% you refer to, fool...it's the one calling the shots for the people referring to that 1%. OWS? It's a puppet for George Soros.

Something to contemplate there for you...the moment you refer to "the 1%", you loose because you're nothing more than a useful idiot.

Re:Just comply with the court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593079)

1% rocks! /sacrasm

Re:Just comply with the court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44592975)

Since 2153, to be precise.

Re:Just comply with the court order (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593245)

Could you all please stop making stupid comparisons, go live in a dictatorship you'll see how it really is.

Re:Just comply with the court order (2, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44593331)

Let's look up the definition of "dictatorship"...

A government controlled by one person, or a small group of people. In this form of government the power rests entirely on the person or group of people, and can be obtained by force or by inheritance. The dictator(s) may also take away much of its peoples' freedom.

Now, one may argue whether one has to get money by force or inheritance, but else...

Re:Just comply with the court order (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44593381)

or a small group of people.

That sounds like an oligarchy.

Re:Just comply with the court order (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44592947)

Is it a legitimate Court Order? You presume something that is not assured to be in evidence. I strongly sugeest that you read the Fourth Amendment before any further remarks- just because the Government is doing something doesn't make it legal.

Re:Just comply with the court order (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44593055)

The word 'legal' has become entirely frivolous. The government can do what it wants, and no goddamn piece of paper is ever going to stop it.

Re:Just comply with the court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593111)

I agree. Now the US is much better than many other countries but in the end it's still the gov't and they will still find a way to do what they want.

Re:Just comply with the court order (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#44593297)

Now the US is much better than many other countries

This fact is no longer in evidence storage room.

Re:Just comply with the court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593455)

Now the US is much better than many other countries

This fact is no longer in evidence storage room.

Was it ever in the storage room to begin with ?

Re:Just comply with the court order (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593551)

“When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” - Richard M Nixon

Re:Just comply with the court order (4, Insightful)

s0litaire (1205168) | about a year ago | (#44593049)

Depends on what the Court order was for.

If it was for specific conversation between specific address at a specific date/time then It's reasonable to comply.
But if it was for Everything since the service started or between 2 dates (i.e. 1st Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2012) or from that point onwards, then it's a fishing expedition and its reasonable NOT to comply without further legal council and possible injunction (if that's possible with this kind of court order!)

Re:Just comply with the court order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593107)

Maybe register several new business and domain names, shift all customers to the next business name that isn't under court order. Then comply since there's no email in the original business. If they bother you agan then file for unemployment and job retraining benifits, let the gov pay you since they took away your income. Those fucken surveillance people are now like a pervert that gets-off by peeking in the window hoping to see some ass.

Re:Just comply with the court order (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593137)

Technically, he is complying. He is giving the government all the information transferred from the service, which right now is nothing. If the government wants to force him to continue his business, that is another thing completely. I'd love to see the laws that allow the government to enslave a business order to continue a service that they own for secret government surveillance. The laws probably exist, but I'm guessing that they are classified Top Secret (where the FISA court has ruled that the 13th amendment is invalid).

Re:Just comply with the court order (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593235)

I agree with your post. As ordinary people we are in no position to know what is really going on. We should trust the decision makers.

Re:Just comply with the court order (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593271)

In the Military Code of Justice, a soldier is given the right to disobey illegal orders. Don't civilians have the same right?
If everyone permits illegal intrusions because "they have nothing to hide" or because "it is easier in the long run", we, as individuals and as a people, are doomed. If the British citizens in the American colonies took this stance, we would still be the economic slaves to England without any political representation. The British American Colonies would look more like the country in "The Hunger Games" than the USA founded by those former British citizens who revolted to form a "more perfect union".
Our legal system will not protect us. Recent events prove this. Even where, after years of litigation, a defendant is found "not guilty", the lose of freedom can never be returned.
If we willingly give up our rights, did we really ever deserve those rights?

Re:Just comply with the court order (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44593293)

C'mon, make up your mind. Respect the court or the fellow citizens, you can't have both.

Re:Just comply with the court order (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44593427)

This is the rub. Ideally one should be able to comply with a court order and then get one's day in a public court, as most would guaranteed by the constitution, or refuse to comply and get one's day in court. This is the basis of the system of government in the US. Three equal branches of government, executive, legislative, and judicial. These branches of government are not there to fight amongst each other in isolation, but to be used by the people to make sure their concerns are dealt with. Notice I said dealt with, not just heard. Now, in a country of 300 million people not everyone can be dealt with, but it can be at least in the aggregate.

Unfortunately the legislative branch has systematically reduced the effectiveness of the judicial branch. I am talking tort reform. I am talking about threatening activist judges. I am talking about secret court order and secret courts. Without an equal court system democracy just does not work and things like this happen. Manning and Snoden and all these leaks are due to the lack of due process. If Manning had not been isolated and tortured, it would not nearly be the black eye on the US, and Snoden likely would not be in Russia.

The courts provide an alternative to extreme and violent acts. Let's say that a child that is killed by a defective Ikea bed. The parents can go to court, have the company be publicly held responsible for the death, and, outside of tort reform, receive a judgement that will encourage the company to do better in the future. Or the parents could just go to location where they bought the bed and justifiably kill the person who sold them the bed, or go to corporate and justifiably kill the executives who profited from the bed, etc. Which one actually leads to a safer world?

So really the problem is that some powerful people are upset because the courts do not allow them to sufficiently oppress the people or murder customers, so the want to reduce our government to the two branches that can effectively be bribed to engage in unnecessary and illegal activities, like spying on US citizens, which invariable requires massive purchases of inflated sales and products which invariably increases the profits of those companies. A classic example in the war in Iraq, which was facilitated by the purchase of an election by those who wanted Dick Cheney in the executive, and the subsequent transfer of taxpayer treasure directly to those who bought him.

Re:Just comply with the court order (2)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | about a year ago | (#44593683)

In an America where it's citizens live in fear and paranoia there are no options but compliance. Remember, everything the German government did in the 1930's and 1940's was "legal", and it's citizens too were told it's laws were there to protect them. We all know how well that ended up, don't we?

There's no point to be made from not complying with a legitimate court order. Just comply with it. One day you could be very thankful that we have a legal system that was created to protect us. Please respect that and our fellow citizens.

obama = a more palatable cheney (4, Insightful)

jsepeta (412566) | about a year ago | (#44592917)

simply the act of using encryption will make you a government suspect.

Re:obama = a more palatable cheney (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44592979)

"simply the act of using encryption will make you a government suspect."

less so than being careless and stupid on clearnet.

Re:obama = a more palatable cheney (1, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44593099)

It's pretty clear now why Microsoft never added encryption to Outlook.

(Except via 'certificates', which we can safely assume the government has access to...)

Re:obama = a more palatable cheney (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year ago | (#44593151)

You really don't know much about encryption and certificates do you?

Re:obama = a more palatable cheney (0)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year ago | (#44593309)

You really don't understand Certificates and Encryption Do you.

Here's how it works in the x509 certiificate system.

The Root CA Creates a master key - all other certificates are a subkey of that master key. All Intermediate certificates are a subkey of that master key. The only ones that are not are those self-signed certificates and even there I'd be very very cautious as I don't know if there's a flaw in the key generation system used.

Want to test this concept. Pretty easy using either GPG or PGP
Simply create a master key and then a whole bunch of sub keys. Anything you encrypt with those subkeys can be decrypted by that master key. It's the same with the entire x509 certificate system and the question is, who controls those god damn master keys?

Haven't you ever wondered why the Government wasn't concerned with https and x509 encrypted email? It's because they can get the fucking key to decode it if they don't already have it. How do you think the Al Qeada laptops with XP Pro on them using EFS was so quickly decoded? Because the fucking system used a Key signed from MS (Who controls that master key?)

No NO NO! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593419)

That's simply not how it works.

The Root CA creates a self-signed certificate. This is the 'axiom of trust', you have to import this and trust it.

Then there are subsidiary certificates are that are SIGNED by the Root CA.
What this means is the Root CA attests that the public key in the
certificate truly belongs to the Entity named in the certificate.

The Root CA NEVER SEES INTERMEDIATE PRIVATE KEYS.

You can have a private key on a smart card that never, ever
leaves the smartcard and still get your cert signed.

You are very confused.

Re:No NO NO! (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44593529)

But... if somebody has access to your ISP and the CA's servers they can easily mount a man-in-the-middle attack.

Public keys aren't necessary for email. Private keys would work just as well is some sort of key exchange was done in the first few emails you exchange with a person (maybe better than public keys, in fact - and you wouldn't have to pay CAs for their services).

This isn't done in any major email software, I don't believe that's an accident.

Re:No NO NO! (1)

Entrope (68843) | about a year ago | (#44593729)

Exchanging keys over the longer-term communications medium makes it very easy to mount a man-in-the-middle attack. If you're concerned about such attacks, you need some trusted medium for key verification (or exchange) so that you and your communications partner know that each is using the same key as the other. Back in the 1990s, that medium was often key signing parties, where trust in someone's photo ID was backed up by using the social network (hey, Bob, is this really Charlie Doe?). Using a certificate authority is another way to do it... if you actually have good reason to trust both the particular CA and the chain of custody for what you think is the CA's public key.

Re:No NO NO! (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44593801)

if you actually have good reason to trust both the particular CA and the chain of custody for what you think is the CA's public key.

This is the real problem with CAs. I think we can be fairly sure the NSA has access to all the major CAs, making 'secure' web sites, etc. moot (as far as the NSA is concerned).

The US government wouldn't have given up trying to ban encryption if they hadn't found ways to listen in.

Re:obama = a more palatable cheney (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593489)

That is not how certificates work. There is no such thing as a "subkey". You might want to study up on public key encryption and how it works - the issuing of a certificate by a CA is simply a binding between a public key (for which you hold the private key) and an identity, which the CA takes various steps to authenticate.

I expected more from Slashdot. Oh wait, no I didn't.;

Re:obama = a more palatable cheney (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593501)

You don't encrypt using the key the CA gives you - you encrypt using the private key you make for yourself, and the CA uses their key to sign the public key that you gave them. So they can't use the CA's keys to read any of your emails. What they can do is create fake keys for you and someone else, tell each of your mail clients that the other's key has been changed, and intercept everything that goes between the two of you, unencrypting and re-encrypting using the real key so that the other is unaware. This is called a man-in-the-middle attack - it's not perfect, and it can't be used to decrypt past emails, but it is effective for surveillance.

Re:obama = a more palatable cheney (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44593481)

You really don't know much about encryption and certificates do you?

You know how to encrypt things in Outlook without first using a certificate from an certificate authority?

If so, we're all ears...

Re:obama = a more palatable cheney (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year ago | (#44593643)

Set up your own Certificate Authority.

A bit tricky, but not impossible. OpenSSL is what you need.

Additional Discussion @ Hacker News (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44592923)

welcome... (3, Funny)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#44592927)

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.

Re:welcome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593283)

Well, if you need me I'll be out for a spin in me Jaguar. Maybe I'll go to the Steak Bar.

Federal prison (2)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | about a year ago | (#44592969)

I hear it's actually pretty nice - decent food and opportunities for education, (might come in handy since his business is gone). And best of all you pretty much have an idea who you're getting ganked by. In the mean time, staying in the public eye will assure the feds tread carefully and just might save his a$$ - no pun intended.

Re:Federal prison (5, Informative)

amoeba1911 (978485) | about a year ago | (#44593027)

No, staying in public eye will do nothing. Despite all the brainwashing by the media, the majority of American public feels Snowden is a whistle-blower, not a traitor. Yet the government still pursues him as a traitor. There is a huge disconnect between government and people. The government no longer does what's best for the people, the government does what's best for the government at the cost of people. Revealing that the government does unethical things that harm the governed is considered treason. Eventually, speaking out against your government will become a crime as well.

Re:Federal prison (5, Insightful)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | about a year ago | (#44593165)

FTFA, he has raised $90,000 in the past few days. That seems to have helped. He has brought attention to legal conflicts that people should be talking about - that will help in a broader sense. It seems like you have given up any notion of progress. It's people who stand up and put things to the test who make a difference - no matter how big or small. If he goes to the joint over it, that's his choice. This media attention IMHO will be of benefit that could have the feds go easier on him because he's not just some unknown guy getting black bagged in an alley and stuffed into a room with no windows - blah, blah, blah.

Re:Federal prison (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44593347)

And people tell ME my tinfoil hat is getting too tight when I say that the USA soon just need to duplicate the S to be truthful...

Re:Federal prison (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593361)

Well, jail's not so bad, you can make sangria in the terlet.

Course, it's shank or be shanked.

They Thought They Were Free (5, Insightful)

amoeba1911 (978485) | about a year ago | (#44592995)

"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security."

But Then It Was Too Late [uchicago.edu]

Re:They Thought They Were Free (1, Troll)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#44593025)

"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security."

But Then It Was Too Late [uchicago.edu]

That's just being plain ignorant of history. At virtually no point in human history (including the US) was there a concept of privacy, openness or governmental transparency.

You may disagree with the reality of the world and wish for something different -- I'm sure most people do -- but pretending this is something new doesn't open the possibility of change because you're focusing on correcting a cause that doesn't actually exist.

Although, personally, I think its a whole lot less stressful to not worry about things that don't really impact me, always have been and always will be. On that note, I'm going to e-mail and call friends to arrange a barbecue because the weather is really quite spectacular today, and I don't give two shits what spooky government agency might be storing my call records or scanning those e-mails.

Re:They Thought They Were Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593197)

A pair of government assassins will be dispatched to 'monitor' your cookout site. Please remain where you are and have a nice day.

Re:They Thought They Were Free (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593407)

I think Samuel Adams was writing about you:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

Re:They Thought They Were Free (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year ago | (#44593189)

What happened was the move towards people expecting that The Government protect The Children from everything, all the time. The safest state is a police state.

Re:They Thought They Were Free (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44593405)

Anyone in security will go "duh" when you tell him of the mutual exclusivity of security and freedom. Oddly, people seem to want to have their cake and eat it too, and pretend that it is somehow possible.

Personally, I'd prefer freedom. That entails responsibility, and the chance to be harmed. By definition. When I am allowed to do what I want, there is a chance that I will do something that is harmful to me. People tend to do things that are against their best interest all the time, because it is convenient, because it is fun or because it gives them pleasure. From fatty food to cigarettes to alcohol to other drugs, from veggin' away on the couch in front of the idiot box to pushing themselves into a burnout syndrome. If allowed, people will make "wrong" decisions, all the time, every day, throughout their lives.

But that is their RIGHT. Of course, they waive the right to complain about it. So I really don't get the smokers that have the audacity to sue if they get sick from smoking. Hell, I was a heavy smoker, and I knew bloody well that it is unhealthy and likely deadly. I accepted that risk because I enjoyed it. Suck it up and deal with it, you bought the good, you got the bad for free on top of it. That's what freedom is about, you have to make a decision and you, and you alone, will bear the fallout if it is the wrong decision.

Isn't that what Americans want? The freedom to choose?

The freedom to choose whether they want health insurance and what kind thereof caused a big shitstorm, with the whole mess being labeled "Obamacare". No problem there. But if you decided against it and you're having cancer, shut up and die. Don't come and beg me to save you.

But that's the point I don't get. The very same people that demand that "the man" stays out of their "business" are calling the loudest to "do something" against those terrrrrists and applaud every kind of action the government takes to rob more of our liberties.

What the hell is wrong with American people?

So who is really in power in the United States? (1)

goruka (1721094) | about a year ago | (#44592999)

At this point we are seeing evidence that both Republicans and Democrats have a limit to how much (or little) they can do or change.
Who is, then, in power of the United States if clearly not the legislative branch?

Re:So who is really in power in the United States? (5, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44593127)

Who is, then, in power of the United States if clearly not the legislative branch?

The business branch. The Department of State works for the arms merchants, and the Commerce Department for the Wall Street commodities markets.

Re:So who is really in power in the United States? (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44593175)

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

(often misquoted: "Politics is the entertainment branch of the military-industrial complex" to good effect).

Re:So who is really in power in the United States? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593667)

Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

(often misquoted: "Politics is the entertainment branch of the military-industrial complex" to good effect).

And we're the Pojama People

Re:So who is really in power in the United States? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44593469)

The business branch. The Department of State works for the arms merchants, and the Commerce Department for the Wall Street commodities markets.

None of whom can be abusive unless buffoons build a government that can be twisted so.

So the problem is the government is too powerful in it's control -- businesses can twist it to hurt competitors or boost themselves.

Hmmmm. If only the founding fathers had designed a government that disallowed this. Oh wait. They did. It was power-hungry politicians at the behest of "the masses" over 2 centuries who whittled it down, in every single case without a constitutional amendment.

Beware the US legal system. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593017)

The wheels of justice grind slowly and exceedingly fine...

Are those customers (who will be spied upon anyway with or without your help) worth your entire life?

Re:Beware the US legal system. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593097)

Don't worry my friend...

You will be next...

Re:Beware the US legal system. (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#44593173)

Are those customers (who will be spied upon anyway with or without your help) worth your entire life?

Not those customers, but the freedom of all American citizens, yes.

Re:Beware the US legal system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593451)

Indeed. We seem to live in an era where making a personal sacrifice for the greater good is considered to be suspect behaviour, and not just what a civilised individual does. That is unless of course the personal sacrifice is sanctioned by the powers that be. In which case you'll be wrapped in a flag and heralded as a hero.

Could be arrested... (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44593023)

Golly gee! Ya think [slashdot.org] ?

mod DOwn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593043)

Going to con7inue, YOU'RE TOLD. IT'S

what are they thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593047)

too much GMO and too little BSE /methinks.

Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism. (5, Interesting)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44593069)

Capitalism promotes competitive, selfish activity.

Eventually, the winners realise that they can corrupt the system of government too. By hook or crook - psychology or guns.

The only effective society is one which overtly and deliberately puts a cap on power, both of the government and of private individuals, allowing enterprise to flourish while ensuring that the individuals who have benefitted contribute toward a strong infrastructure and humane society.

This is a social democracy.

The USSR sucked. The USA sucks. They were the same thing but with "apparatchik" instead of "management" to label the guys running the show. Life under either is glorious for those at the top, and a shitty struggle for the average person.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593177)

Does the average Slashdot poster engage in such frivolous hyperbole in their daily lives? You must be a joy to work with.

No one here denies the US government is corruptible, but that happens in social democracies as well. Your perfect system of government is laden with the same tyranny of fools, but you hide it better.

Perhaps US citizens will wake up to the fact that George Bush and Barack Obama are the same type of person. Power hungry individuals whose only goal is to increase the size of the bureaucracy, while entertaining special interests and corporate lobbyists.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (2)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44593213)

Why the straw man about some type of government being incorruptible?

My point was that everything is corruptible, so don't allow any single entity to become so powerful that corruption of or by it can ruin a society.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593277)

In other news, water is wet.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year ago | (#44593193)

Capitalism promotes... ...The USSR sucked. The USA sucks. They were the same thing but with "apparatchik" instead of "management" to label the guys running the show. Life under either is glorious for those at the top, and a shitty struggle for the average person.

I really enjoyed your post. I haven't seen that notion presented in exactly that way before, and it really hangs together. Makes me think, and I couldn't ask for more than that.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593203)

I'll bite, and ask how exactly is it doing that?

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about a year ago | (#44593253)

Capitalism promotes competitive, selfish activity.

Eventually, the winners realise that they can corrupt the system of government too. By hook or crook - psychology or guns.

The only effective society is one which overtly and deliberately puts a cap on power, both of the government and of private individuals, allowing enterprise to flourish while ensuring that the individuals who have benefitted contribute toward a strong infrastructure and humane society.

This is a social democracy.

The USSR sucked. The USA sucks. They were the same thing but with "apparatchik" instead of "management" to label the guys running the show. Life under either is glorious for those at the top, and a shitty struggle for the average person.

People have to take responsibility as well.

Do I dislike the way the USA is headed? Yes.

Do I blame a large percentage of the US population for not paying attention and allowing themselves to become and then remain willfully ignorant? Yes.

The USA is not yet at the point where the USSR was, and it's not yet too late for change...but if it doesn't happen soon it may never happen at all.

Wake up America, or lose everything you care about.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593453)

Wake up America, or lose everything you care about.

Oh god, is something going to happen to Game of Thrones?!

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44593467)

The development of the USSR is an interesting one, and one that is a showcase of how good intentions are easily perverted into the most heinous reality, provided that power hungry megalomaniacs are allowed to rule. Sadly, it is the power hungry megalomaniac that WANTS to rule.

The USSR started as a hope for a "worker's paradise", and in Marx' theory, it sure is. People worked hard towards that goal because they were promised a glorious future, and they believed it. By and by, they noticed that nothing gets better, or that it does only for the few on top, and the rest was a tyranny that tried hard to keep up the status quo, i.e. the good life for the "party people" and the struggle for the rest, until it just couldn't be propped up anymore.

Now replace the promise of the glorious future for everyone with the promise that you, too, can be rich if you work hard, and by and by people noticing that working does not get you rich, and I wonder if I really imagine the parallels here.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44593701)

Yup, they're giving you the same dragon to chase. At least the religious types were clever enough to only make promises about what happens after death...

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593323)

People seek power rather than stick to their ideals. If they stick to their agreed national & foundational ideals, countries would be a lot better.

This is not news, nor is it related to capitalism, nor would a social democracy be any more impervious to it.

(captcha: savagely)

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44593367)

But people *don't* stick to their ideals, which is why you need a balance of power - in the pragmatic sense, not the idealistic sense. A social democratic country tries to achieve a balance.

It is not related to capitalism per se, but to any system which bases itself on some extreme ideal - communism, capitalism, pacifism, fascism, whatever.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593413)

This is a social democracy.

Yes, and forget about the small business. Those employer traitors to the state have made nothing but profits with their private, person-attached companies. Lets take their pensions and reduce their medical benefits below what the top 1% earners get and give those as subsidies to large employers, with factories and all. Anybody working off-hours, 4-20 hours a day variably must be in bed with the fascists.
  Yes, there are problems with some implementations of social democracies.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44593437)

Which specific outlier are you complaining about please?

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about a year ago | (#44593463)

...social democracy....

The mere use of those two words, especially together, caused almost half of the USA readership to disregard your post.

cheers,

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44593483)

> The USSR sucked. The USA sucks.

Ummmm, actual measurements of wealth and longevity disagreed. This is a meme lodged in your head that is not in accordance with reality. You should go about fixing it.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (4, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44593599)

Considering the USA had nearly a century and a half head start, I wouldn't expect the USSR to have come close to catching up with it. And yet we're talking about differences in life expectancy of a few years, and very nearly irrelevant definitions of "wealth" when we contrast the models of service provision.

For example, when I lived in the US, I was able to earn a lot more money than in the UK. But it was worth a lot less, as private insurance is an inefficient rip-off vs British healthcare and social safety net. There's really little opportunity for comfort in the US except for a small proportion of people: the majority work far more hours than are needed to sustain a decent lifestyle for the whole country. Western continental Europe does so much better.

I have a brief personal experience with the end of the USSR, and my family worked for a car firm which did business there under Khrushchev. Sure, it sucked too, but not in the terrific way caricatured by Western propaganda.

So, it's a "meme" which I've lodged in my head based on personal experience - and a concerted attempt to enjoy and appreciate both extremes. And that's before we bring in the experiences of everyone else.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (1, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#44593607)

Capitalism is private ownership and operation of property, nothing else.

Free market is market that is no manipulated by the powerful governments that have legal and or illegal authority to take away your freedoms.

You are blaming private ownership and operation of property for government stealing individual freedoms by legally or illegally taking away personal freedoms (destroying free market). That is not an insightful comment, it has nothing to do with logic, it is based on emotion and lack of information or deliberate propaganda that is aimed at increasing the power of the state and taking away individual liberties.

Saying: we must BOTH limit powers of the government and limit powers of the individuals is complete nonsense or propaganda.

What must be done is limiting powers of the government and punish individuals for criminal activity (activity that is aimed at hurting other individuals, murder, rape, theft, other violence).

There is no such thing as: limiting both, power of the government and power of the individuals. Governments have awesome powers, that must be always kept in check. Government is evil by its very definition because it has huge power over any one particular individual. Government is a collectivist idea that puts an individual at a gigantic, immeasurable disadvantage compared to the collective (the mob).

As to "social democracy" - that's a disastrous idea with disastrous consequences. Democracy is dictatorship of the mob, which eventually reduces to the dictatorship of an individual. "Social" means collective, anti-individual. So in reality what you are in fact promoting is dictatorship and slavery.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (1)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about a year ago | (#44593691)

The pulpit's across the street, luv.

Re:Inevitable consequence of unfettered capitalism (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year ago | (#44593731)

No, it is the inevitable consequence of asking the government to regulate ever more economic activity (from certain perspectives, everything you do is economic activity) in the name of protecting the people from "corporate interests". Inevitably as the government gathers more power to itself, the only way to accumulate wealth is through government intervention. Those who have wealth use it to acquire connections allowing them to control where the government intervention occurs. Those who have political power use it to acquire wealth. In time, these two groups merge. At which point the economy begins to collapse, as more and more of society's wealth and political power becomes concentrated in the hands of an ever smaller group of people. These people act to prevent others from acquiring wealth or political power, which leads to the economy gradually becoming less and less productive.

Resistence, fight, fight, fight (2)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about a year ago | (#44593093)

Just letting the government do this stuff without fighting is cowardly. Our grandfathers fought in WWII. We need to fight the fight at home. We need to fight this stuff. MAKE IT PUBLIC show that the U.S.A. is becoming worse the the old soviet union. We have secret laws and secret police. This is not how a democracy is supposed to work! The general populace can stay in denial if the news can be drowned out. I believe (hope) we, as a country, may wake up if these sorts of things make lots of noise.

I voted for Obama, and while I don't think the alternatives would have been any better, we need a new kind of president that will not defend these policies. Terrorism has hit every free state. It is a fact of life. We either deal with the risks of freedom or give it up to these evil bastards. (insert Franklin quote)

Get a national security letter, fight it.
Get a court order, challenge it in a higher court, rinse, repeat.
Call the ACLU
Donate to the ACLU
encrypt, encrypt, encrypt.

"Terrorism has hit every free state" (3, Insightful)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#44593217)

Terrorism is nothing new. People have died from violent acts of insurgents since the beginning of history. The fact is, that terrorism is statistically insignificant as a cause of death. It has always been that way and it hasn't changed much. The leading cause of death "related to terrorism" is trying to fight it. Thousands of soldiers and civilians have gotten hurt and killed in "the war on terrorism" in situations that would not have occurred if this "war" hadn't been fought.

The leading cause of loss of freedom is fighting terrorism. There is no war. Stop calling it a war. There are clear definitions of what a war is and it has to be between two or more countries, or it has to be a "civil war" in which two or more parts of the same country go to war amongst themselves. Terrorism is nothing new and you're feeding it by giving it the attention it's after. The terrorists achieve more of their goals by this "war on terrorism" than they would if they were to be successful just a bit more often than they are now and we would ignore them. You can't fight this sort of terrorism anyway, since it's using every "freedom right" we want so much for ourselves, which our forefathers fought for so hard. If we give up those rights, we have nothing left to fight for and the terrorists have won.

The more you fight terrorism, the worse the situation gets. Let it go and enjoy your freedom. Don't spend money, lives and freedom on it. I'm not saying you should stop trying to prevent attacks, but you should stop giving up freedom and privacy for it.

Why a SECRET order anyway? (4, Insightful)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year ago | (#44593103)

Why is the government bothering with secret court orders at this point? Do they think that maybe Snowden isn't aware that they are out to get him? If the government was above board with the situation, then perhaps people would be more willing to comply. Is there something in these orders that needs to be hidden from the public eye?

Just issue a regular warrant for the information. Nobody is arguing about those and they get the same results.

Unless there is more to this than is apparent.

(Although, cynical as I am, my first take on this article was not "Evil Government" but "Lavabit's Founders Are Trying To Drum Up Sympathy And Publicity For Their Next Venture". I just can't trust anyone these days ;-)

Re:Why a SECRET order anyway? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593233)

Because a real court order, You can fight. You can enlist help, a professional lawyer or even contact others in the same situation and try to fight it together, not alone -- divide et impera rings any bells? You can inform the public about the proceedings and the scope of the court order, the information required by the law, or rather what data was leaked to the secret services. A non-secret court allows for scrutiny, compliance with constitution, law and last and also least, morality. You can check it for corruption. An open court is less likely to be taking sides. And so on and so on, You know, things that a rising dictature is not really keen on.

Re:Why a SECRET order anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593395)

Because it probably something along the lines of giving them a permanent tap to every bit of customer data for X years onwards.

In that situtation you woudn't like the average customer to be aware hes being spied upon.

Bugging a service that offers privacy is a good method of obtaining blackmail-worthy information.

See: ISP owner who fought letter before (5, Informative)

hazeii (5702) | about a year ago | (#44593119)

Nicholas Merrill fought this battle before [slashdot.org] .

His talk at 27C3 [youtube.com] is very, very interesting and deserves to be more widely known. In particular, watch and listen to his explanations of how carefully he has to choose his words - right down to using "it" for the government person he has to deal with (since giving away "its" gendor could get him 10 years in jail).

Welcome to the USSA (5, Insightful)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#44593149)

What a difference a mere few decades makes. This is exactly the type of thing that America historically mocked, derided and demonized the USSR and other "commie" or "evil" nations for doing. America is quite clearly demonstrating that their intentions are no less disingenuous.

The problem is not communism, not capitalism nor any other -ism. The problem is that the powerful will never satiate their craving for more power. Power absolutely despises being proven wrong and it will continue its scourge at all costs to cover up and misdirect conceptions.

This is what evil does when it's backed into a corner.

If he goes to jail no matter what (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44593159)

He should spill the beans on the entire thing. Publish all the details. What we have here is a failure to resist, and no good can come from that. It just makes the death march to the slaughterhouse is little less uncomfortable, but it's a death march regardless.

Re:If he goes to jail no matter what (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593281)

I don't know if he would get more action. He won't get any more action from Johnny Sixpack on the couch watching Fox News, and all the neckbear, hippie and hipster facebook activists won't do a thing as well. And releasing really classified information about real spies doing real spying in mother Russia, Iran or wherever isn't going to win him more friends. Right now he can be expected to be tried, found guilty and sent to jail. If he leaks, he will be found with some Polonium or other bad shit ingested, and other spies will be found and killed thanks to the information released. Which is not optimal for the US as well -- he is a patriot, not an anarchist.

So, Google, How You Enjoying Things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593239)

I'd like to know why Google hasn't decided to pull the plug on their search engine. You know, considering it's almost most definitely used by nearly everyone in the world, including ter'rists. Wouldn't all of THAT information need to be handed over too.

Well, I guess if you're too big to fail, big bad daddy gov'ment won't threaten you with arrest.

If you didn't vote Libertarian YOU ASKED FOR THIS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593251)

This is clearly a violation of the 4th and 5th amendments, which states

"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."

and

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

As it was pointed out, numerous times, to those that have voted republicrat or democan the two major parties have been violating the ninth and tenth amendments of the constitution so they will not have any problem violating the rest. After all, to those two moronic parties the constitution is nothing more than a "god-damned piece of paper" and "worthless". The reason for this and other violations of the constitution is simple, the US Government on all levels is addicted to all unconstitutional "wars": the "war" on drugs, the "war" on terror, the "war" on poverty, the "war" on prostitution, the "war" on communism, etc. If the same bozos keep getting voted in then nothing will change at all.

_________________________
A vote against a Libertarian candidate is
a vote to abolish the Constitution itself.

My pedantic solution to surveillance gag orders (1)

capedgirardeau (531367) | about a year ago | (#44593473)

I know this is probably wouldn't fly, but what the hell:

When you sign up for a service the service provider agrees to send you an email every day that says:

"By government order your materials or service with us is under surveillance and/or investigation, we are required to turn over all the data we have about you."

Then when the government does send your service provider a notice to look at your stuff and it includes one of those gag orders that says you can not inform the target of the surveillance, the daily emails have to stop.

You as a customer can then deduce whatever you want to about the cessation of the daily notice emails.

Re:My pedantic solution to surveillance gag orders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593559)

Probably??? Technologists and pedants often seem to think that you can circumvent a law by following a path the law didn't think of in the first place. Yes I know corporations try that all the time, but if it's you against the government you can be sure as hell it ain't gonna work. Law is based on -intent-. Your intention to disclose the existence of a secret order by -stopping- a signal is enough to get you in deep doo-doo. Do you think the government cares if you push a button, -don't- push a button, or use a smoke signal? Good luck with that.

Re:My pedantic solution to surveillance gag orders (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | about a year ago | (#44593651)

Yeah, then service provider gets secret order that it has to provide data about user AND continue sending those emails. What, can't they ask that? Who will prevent them when you can't even talk to your lawyer about this....

Secret court orders, secret trials (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44593493)

All that's missing is establishing a People's Court [wikipedia.org] and we're set.

(Please read the Wikipedia article before invoking Godwin)

All hail Soviet States of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593605)

Isn't it only fitting that the end of human rights for US citizens comes when a black guy is in charge?

You didn't erase everything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44593723)

I find it hard to believe the hard drives have not already been erased or destroyed. Any business dealing in electronic information storage should immediately, upon closure, destroy everything. It's the only way to prevent that information from being used against the clients. Post the damn court order of you get arrested! I'd give copies of it to my friends to leak anonymously immediately upon my arrest.

he should be fine (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year ago | (#44593785)

if his company was incorporated, he cannot be charged with anything on a personal matter. if he dissolves his company, they cant do anything to him (legally). i doubt they care about legality though, because they are a ridiculous government organization that answers to noone. honestly what i suggest is to encrypt everything in some ridiculous encryption that the NSA would take decades breaking, then hand it over fully encrypted without the key. as he is handing over the data, he is complying with the order to hand over the data.
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