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98 comments

It's a farce (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704121)

Isn't this just for show, or getting some benefits from the USA? I'm under the impression that a lot of earopean members are already using intel from prism and in exchange the USA gets access to the network. The only shocking thing is that they also listen in on political and businesss conversations.

Re:It's a farce (3, Insightful)

Rakshasa-sensei (533725) | about 8 months ago | (#44704167)

They might be using the information, but that doesn't mean the court system won't find it to be illegal.

Basically the best end result of this would be if MS, Google, et al. get hit with huge fines. Then pressure to stop or limit the programs would come from someone with real power over the US government.

Re:It's a farce (3, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#44704987)

They might be using the information, but that doesn't mean the court system won't find it to be illegal.

Basically the best end result of this would be if MS, Google, et al. get hit with huge fines. Then pressure to stop or limit the programs would come from someone with real power over the US government.

Brilliant! We force them to do illegal things, then fine them for doing it! THIS THING PRINTS MONEY!

Re:It's a farce (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 8 months ago | (#44705165)

Until they move to other country where that they aren't forced to follow US laws (they have enough money to buy a few of them), and then we can get back a bit of our privacy. In the end could be the cheaper alternative for them.

Re:It's a farce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44705791)

Exchanging information, and I have yet to hear of a court case were the NSA actually used any "evidence" from there probes. They claim that in doing so, it would expose what or even how there "system" works. The defense lawyer is going to want to know how this data was acquired...

Goes back to the previous comment, France and just about every country with advanced "democratic" governments are all helping the NSA, and they all have been mentioned in there respective countries for cooperating with the US. This is all a smoke screen to dummy down there concerned citizens, or more to the point for the them to get the idiots in the media/press to back off.

It would be justice for those software companies to receive crippling fines for there part but we will never see that, I said the same about getting cannabis legal in small amounts and two states have already done this, so I shouldn't say never..

Re: It's a farce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44711873)

Justice is them being coerced into providing information to the government... And then the government holding them liable for it. Only a leftist prick would think that remotely makes sense.

Re:It's a farce (4, Insightful)

geogob (569250) | about 8 months ago | (#44704249)

I'm under the impression that a lot of earopean members are already using intel from prism and in exchange the USA gets access to the network.

The may be the first impression, but nothing is that simple. As everything is under the veil of secrecy (which is now open with the leaks), those using the information or ordering the use of information had most likely no idea how this information was obtained. They had probably as little idea on how the information they exchanged in return was acquired as well.

Its possible that they were in position where they could have known, but secret information is not release on a "per you might want to know this basis", but on a "need to know basis". That means that the person ordering the exchange or use of information, even if he has the correct security clearances, won't have a clue how the information is acquired unless that person specifically asks for it. And then the person asking would probably get obfuscated details not giving any useful info, unless again the right questions are asked. In the end, it's easier not to ask and act with the eyes closed.

And don't even think about asking how the information from another intelligence service was obtained.

This is a very complex synergy between intelligence organization and deciders. The intelligence organization do what they do probably not even because they are asked to, but because they feel they need to. On the other side, the people receiving the intelligence are happy with what they get and they probably never asked for anything specific or for the use of any specific source and might keep their eyes closed further under the thought "they have probably done the thing they do the right way".

This presumption goes through all levels up and up to the exchanges between intelligence organization. Its quite naive I would say.

And its not really a defensible attitude when the information you have for you can't possibly be acquired legally.

The only shocking thing is that they also listen in on political and businesss conversations.

Schocking, put predictable. Once you have broken the most basic laws and conventions, why stop at "terrorist"? You're already over the line. You've been over the line on a regular basis and you know the mean are not justifiable by the needs every time you cross this line.

It's like being shocked after learning that a hit man that killed dozens of Russians for the Italians had killed a police office for the Italian. Suddenly its an outrage and something has to be done. Its shocking.... but it's just another step of over that same line.

Re:It's a farce (2)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about 8 months ago | (#44704289)

It's like being shocked after learning that a hit man that killed dozens of Russians for the Italians had killed a police office for the Italian. Suddenly its an outrage and something has to be done.

He killed them for Matilda, not for the Italian [imdb.com] , but yes, it caused quite a reaction from the police force. And first strong imprint of Natalie Portman in all geeks' brains, although it was just a collateral damage.

Re:It's a farce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44707861)

pedophile movie

Re:It's a farce (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#44704345)

US bases exist in many parts of the world, local politicians often ask questions. If their own clandestine services wont talk, academics can talk in open or closed settings on any topic they feel they can help with. France has nothing to really lose and any new public discourse on PRISM would be fine.

Re:It's a farce (4, Interesting)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | about 8 months ago | (#44704295)

No. There are a lot of things - like medical information - that must be kept confidential, by law.

There's no excuse, no "but terrorists" claims, that get around this: If you've obtained (and, worse, stored) such confidential information, you've broken the law.

It's black and white, and even if the US just shrugs and ignores any verdict, no European organisation will be able to do so: If it's proved that confidential data is being snooped on by the USA, then there's no alternative but to switch to a system that they can't eavesdrop on.

This is something I keep trying to highlight about the whole PRISM thing: It doesn't matter if public opinion is mostly "I have nothing to hide so the NSA doesn't matter", the number of European organisations that are going to have to take action to put their data where it can't be snooped on is going to be *massive*. Whether out of desire for their own privacy, or out of a legal duty to maintain confidentiality, if PRISM doesn't go away, a huge chunk of internet traffic will have no choice but to pull entirely out of the USA. It could even be big enough to require a "second Internet" outside of US control just to get some semblance of privacy back.

Think about it - Governments, health organisations, insurance companies, banks... the number of really big organisations that are legally obliged to keep at least some data confidential is huge. They cannot ignore PRISM, they *have* to keep their data from being spied on.

Re:It's a farce (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#44704471)

If the problem is that serious, there will just be an informal agreement formed between governments: The US agrees to pretend they aren't monitoring everything, and the EU agrees not to take action against companies exposing confidential non-military information to monitoring. The alternative would be trade isolation costing both economies billions.

Re:It's a farce (2)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | about 8 months ago | (#44704761)

There can't be any "informal agreement" - not since Snowden. Information that is *legally obliged* to be kept confidential can't just ignore the existence of PRISM.

Sure, the EU can change the law to add an exception for government spying. So long as they can get it passed, which is not an easy task.

The one thing organisations can't do is go on as they were now that they know confidential data isn't confidential.

And the alternative isn't trade isolation, it's a massive investment in technologies like end-to-end encryption to make it impossible for PRISM et al to spy on the data in the first place. Which frankly, I'm all in favour of..

Re:It's a farce (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#44705279)

I said an informal agreement. Formal agreements are bound by consistant law. An informal agreement consists of a few off-the-record statements behind closed doors where a suitably high-up politician says to his US counterpart 'Yes, this is illegal, but I'll tell my underlings not to bring any prosecutions so long as you tell your people to do the same.'

Re:It's a farce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44707619)

and one hint that this has been done would blow the whole thing into the open, where everone who had made the informal agreement would be subjected to criminal lawsuits, and other such action.

Re:It's a farce (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#44707769)

You think they'd be dumb enough to keep records? One thing this PRISM business and the older diplomatic cables should have taught is that the conspiracy-filled, back-room-deal world of the spy novel is actually a lot less fantasy and more reality than people thought. There really are shadowy departments spying on people, there really are blanket wiretaps and secret submarines splicing undersea cables. And diplomats really do make agreements in meeting, verbally and off-the-record, on matters that both sides know the people of their respective countries would not approve of.

Re:It's a farce (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 8 months ago | (#44707537)

If the problem is that serious, there will just be an informal agreement formed between governments

We already have such an agreement, it's called Safe Harbor. The EU already has strong privacy laws; to store information with US companies they have to be Safe Harbor registered.

It's arguably pretty meaningless because it's self-certified - it has one purpose and one purpose only. To enable European companies to tick the box that says "We're keeping data safe".

Thing is, while we can all wring our hands and say "Ah, but PRISM changes everything" - it doesn't. It doesn't change a single damn thing until such time as regulators officially voice an opinion to that effect. Which frankly I can't see happening because those regulators are charged with upholding the law as written - and the law as written doesn't say anything about international spying programs having any impact on what's considered safe and what isn't.

It's a long running farce (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#44704549)

if PRISM doesn't go away, a huge chunk of internet traffic will have no choice but to pull entirely out of the USA

Not just the USA since carriers have admitted to have been compromised on network links that go nowhere near the USA (eg. the Telstra ones in Asia).
However it's just a wake up call to get people to pay attention to the obvious with outsourcing. If no lawyer in the city your company is based in can do anything about the people that are hosting your companies data then you have outsourced it to the wrong place. Idiots looking for short term gain have shipped bales of highly confidential material to other countries to be typed up and if that data is worth something to a third party there is nothing they can do to stop it being onsold it other than shout and hope they will be listened to. Banks and health insurance companies did a complete end run around complex privacy rules years ago, and a lot of that material is going down fibre from the Phillipines and India that we already know the NSA has been given access to listen to. Some of the most sensitive documents are being sent as easily harvested email attachments over such links.

Re:It's a farce (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#44704321)

Very few parts of the world would get "intel from prism [like system] and in exchange the USA gets access"
That land or base deal was a short post ww2 list and third party status was only really one way for a Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Denmark.
There was no protection for any third party communications traffic just the offer to give to the US. Keeping third party status might secure US help in other areas over time.
The US air strike on Tripoli went around France, Italy and Spain. France did help with Chad in 1987, Iraq 91.
France would be more interested in the Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Paltalk, Facebook, AOL, Apple side and exposing the US brands.

Re:It's a farce (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#44704581)

The US air strike on Tripoli went around France, Italy and Spain.

The USA had a few huge diplomatic fuckups in Europe at that time and even managed to seriously piss off the rusted on ally of the UK twice (invading a British commonweath country without informing the UK (Grenada) and some early assistance to Argentina when they were at war with the UK). Today I think things would play out differently.

Re:It's a farce (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#44704833)

The US has never cared about pissing on the UK since we won our freedom. But then, we don't care about pissing on anyone, except maybe China.

Re:It's a farce (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#44704965)

With respect of whatever subjects you know something about, the example given above which we are discussing argues directly otherwise so please contribute from a basis of intelligence instead of blind bravado.

Re:It's a farce (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#44705007)

Sorry, I look at the actions of the USA throughout history and I see little more than blind bravado, a lot of quick decisions which were apologized for later. (Aside from actual independence; we have a lot of documentation from before it which discussed it at length.)

Re:It's a farce (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#44705129)

However here we are discussing the US routing planes around three countries instead of directly overhead which would have been far more convenient. The general historical attitude you mentioned obviously did not apply in that situation.

Re:It's a farce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44705549)

Then you don't read much. Realpolitik is alive and well, and I would argue that most of what's happened since WW2 has been a carefully (although not always logically) weighted choice designed with very specific effects. Blind bravado doesn't drive a wedge between China and the USSR by playing off their egos. Blind bravado doesn't explain to your closest ally that they're going to have to let the Suez Canal go because it's really not a good time to save a dying empire. Etc. Etc.

Re:It's a farce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44705795)

and Israel.

Re:It's a farce (1)

Meeni (1815694) | about 8 months ago | (#44705937)

I'm not sure which bombing you are refering to. France was part of the later war on Gadaffi in 2010(?). It did not participate in the post-Lockerby action, but I doubt it actively tried to disrupt it.

Re:It's a farce (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 8 months ago | (#44705357)

Isn't this just for show, or getting some benefits from the USA? I'm under the impression that a lot of earopean members are already using intel from prism and in exchange the USA gets access to the network.

I wouldn't be surprised to find the British in bed with the Americans... But I find France and in particular Germany to very unlikely...

I'm sure the intelligence service in Denmark cooperates with the US and maybe they even know when not to ask how the US came about that information... But I have trust that my socialist government isn't selling me out the Americans...
They are way too crazy to keep a secret like that, and for that I love them :)

Note, our former Minister for business and growth is an old member of the communist party, he celebrated the 60 years anniversary of the DDR in east Germany back in 1989... Yes, our politicians are more moderate than they used to be, but not all of them sucking up to the US, any chance they get.

Re:It's a farce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44707989)

Pay attention ladies and gentlemen as you observe this fine specimen of your typical socialist voter;
a fine fool indeed, enthralled by the imagined moderation of formerly bloodthirsty dictator-worshippers, the very same who sells him and everyone else into eternal slavery as long as they gain increased power.

Indeed this wonderful example of political naiveté does not even contemplate that those he thinks his masters are opposed to are in fact nothing but representatives of the very same evil as his masters' ideological heroes, only this time around with a bit more flourish and glamour and with a lot more subtlety.

Traitors walking happily into the gallows noose, come quickly to view their antics before they disappear into Hel itself!

Re:It's a farce (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44708035)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/06/30/the-absolute-joy-of-the-guardians-sting-over-prism-and-the-nsa/ [forbes.com]

Madsen named seven EU countries that have been substantially engaged in communications intelligence gathering alongside the US. These are Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Those seven countries have formal second and third party status under the NSA’s signals intelligence agreements, and are contractually bound to the US.

Under international intelligence agreements – most of which remain secret – nations are categorised according to their trust level. In the western world the US is defined as First Party while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are Second Party (trusted relationships). All others are third party (less trusted) or fourth party (secret) relationships.

Maybe not the best source :) (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 8 months ago | (#44722869)

Madsen named seven EU countries that have been substantially engaged in communications intelligence... US

The article you refer says Madsen has

hmm, rather “out there” views

And later quotes Madsen for:

Wayne Madsen: I don’t believe the attacks were planned by the FBI. I believe they were an operation carried out by Mossad, Saudi intelligence, ...

I'm not saying that European countries don't collaborate with US intelligence agencies, it's their job to do so.
They probably also share information, but at request, and with a court order to collect the information.

Madsen said the countries had “formal second and third party status” under signal intelligence (sigint) agreements that compels them to hand over data, including mobile phone and internet information to the NSA if requested.

Emphasis mine...
Also warrantless wire tapping on a large scale wouldn't be legal here.

All of that said, if the Snowden revelations have taught us anything, it's that we're not paranoid...
So yeah, maybe things are as bad as we can possibly imagine.

Human Rights voliations (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#44704153)

The actions of the NSA and GCHQ are clear human rights violations in Europe. I hope both are pursued for this crime. Presumably the French are investigating GCHQ as well as the NSA.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | about 8 months ago | (#44704171)

The actions of the NSA are clearly in violation of the 4th Amendment too. But Americans don't typically stand up and do something about things that are clearly wrong (voting rights for women and civil rights for racial minorities being two on a very very short list where people actually did something). Maybe the French can remind Americans how to right a horrible wrong?

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704323)

Won't happen. The government was well aware of all of that. It takes action only because some civil rights organisations did sue, and not to tarnished their image too much. They don't want to do anything, and as soon as the US will have said "no can do, secret defense", they'll drop the case.
They still might try to extract a few bucks for Google & Co, though, because money.

Re:Human Rights voliations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704537)

The "Constitution", what a joke. American's parrot that line like it's some advanced stage of Bible law. It's just a fairytale that your government pretends still exists, because it keeps the masses in such a docile state. Government is meant to work for the public, not because of some stupid historical document, but because it advances the whole country. Stop being so retarded and defaulting to the "But the constitution says so"

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704577)

It is not "retarded" to limit the government's power or ask that it obey the very document that grants it any power to begin with. The alternative is the government doing whatever it pleases, and while the current situation is bad, it isn't that bad.

Next time, think before you call the constitution "stupid"; you are profoundly ignorant.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#44704875)

It is not "retarded" to limit the government's power

No, it's retarded to believe that the constitution magically does limit the government's power.

or ask that it obey the very document that grants it any power to begin with

The constitution doesn't grant the government any power. Governments exist solely at sufferance of the governed. If the people wish to limit the power of the government (and are willing to accept the costs of doing so) then they can. If they wish to grant the government total authority, then they can. The constitution simply enumerates the compromise that a group of people a couple of hundred years ago were willing to agree to on what that limit should be. There is very little evidence that the population of the USA over the subsequent two centuries has been willing to enforce those limits.

The alternative is the government doing whatever it pleases, and while the current situation is bad, it isn't that bad.

The belief that the alternatives are belief in the mythical power of a piece of paper and a government doing whatever it wishes (or even the idea that these are mutually exclusive) is exactly what the grandparent was referring to.

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44705401)

The retarded part is thinking that the constitution limits the government. The only thing that limits the governments actions is the people if they decides to stand up for their rights, you don't need a document for that.

Also, the constitution isn't absolute. The moment amendments were done there was a process available for changing the document.

Essentially the constitution is a joke and completely irrelevant. The only thing that matters is if the people decides to go against their government or not. Regardless of nation, anyone going against a government will always be labeled as a traitor or terrorist and at least one of the labels will be true.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704173)

In before the, now, stereotypical US response of "your governments do it too!"...

1) No, we have liberty and freedom in Europe.
2) How would that justify it?

I hope European countries nail both the NSA and GCHQ to the floor for this.

I hope Europeans boycott the companies responsible for violating their own ToS.

I hope it wakes up the placated, complacent US public and motivates them to take action against their government rather than perpetuating the archetypical apathy and tongue clucking that defines them -- it's finally on your own doorstep. Do something about it. The time for the armchair is long gone.

Re:Human Rights voliations (5, Informative)

tao (10867) | about 8 months ago | (#44704293)

In before the, now, stereotypical US response of "your governments do it too!"...

1) No, we have liberty and freedom in Europe.

I dunno about other European countries, but in Sweden we definitely have a counterpart to NSA (FRA) that does similarly all-encompassing surveillance, all of course under the guise of "anti-terrorism". As an added "bonus" the laws regulating FRA explicitly says that they're allowed to exchange the information with foreign nations (read the US).

To dupe citizens into believing that the information isn't abused (of course the mere fact that the information is collected is abuse, but...) a special group has been set up to monitor the use of the information. But despite finding a lot of violations of the (already very permissive) regulations, FRA does not rectify any of their so called mistakes.

One example is that they're not allowed to save the information more than a certain time period (I believe it's 6 months). "Oh, but we copied the information to a different database! Now it's not raw data anymore, it's refined intellgence reports that aren't covered by that time limitation".

But other than that I agree. Two (or many) wrongs doesn't make a right.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 8 months ago | (#44704475)

Well, firstly the GCHQ are *in* Europe, and secondly every European nation has its own counterpart of the American agencies -- sometimes close analogues of the NSA like GCHQ are, sometimes amalgamations of parts of the NSA and FBI. Genuinely, everyone *is* at it. The difference is the extent to which the agencies are held to account, but by their very nature it's hard - and indeed extremely counter-productive - to have public exposes and analysis of their activities.

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704587)

It is, however, easy to shut them down.

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44705831)

In theory, yes.

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44705585)

Germany's intelligence service is expanding their budget and Merkel, who is likely to maintain power in the upcoming election, has already instructed her people not to get so worked up about a little spying for a good cause. They've already allowed the police to break into people's houses and install monitoring software without warrants or oversight why would they care if the US is watching the phone lines. As long as their houses aren't visible on Street View.

If Germany isn't in "Europe" (to say nothing of the UK, you're obviously Continental) I don't know what constitutes European to you.

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44712197)

If Germany isn't in "Europe" (to say nothing of the UK, you're obviously Continental) I don't know what constitutes European to you.

The magical fairyland that is built on liberty and freedom. You know, the home of the harmonious (besides being the host of the most numerous and the largest empires), peaceful (besides thousands of years of war and both world wars), tolerant (besides the crusades, inquisition, the holocaust, etc) Europeans.

I think it's called naivete. It'd be cute if they weren't so smug about it.

Re:Human Rights voliations (4, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | about 8 months ago | (#44704221)

They won't actually do anything about it. No one ever does anymore. It's not just the States either.

Sadly, people are the same everywhere. And this new trend to just lay down and take it has become almost universal. Once a nation becomes industrialized enough and people have enough comfort they will never fight back for fear of losing that comfort. It's really the best way to enslave humans. Just let their own natural lethargy keep them in check. Sure there will be chest beating and spin doctors will cry outrage... but in the end, the people will just go home, turn on the tube and tune out the life they have.

Re:Human Rights voliations (3, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#44704245)

They won't actually do anything about it. No one ever does anymore. It's not just the States either.

Sadly, people are the same everywhere. And this new trend to just lay down and take it has become almost universal. Once a nation becomes industrialized enough and people have enough comfort they will never fight back for fear of losing that comfort. It's really the best way to enslave humans. Just let their own natural lethargy keep them in check. Sure there will be chest beating and spin doctors will cry outrage... but in the end, the people will just go home, turn on the tube and tune out the life they have.

So this is your excuse for not doing anything?

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704407)

So this is your excuse for not doing anything?

Hypocritical fool! How about YOU? What you are doing?

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704593)

Tu quoque.

Re:Human Rights voliations (4, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | about 8 months ago | (#44704723)

I've got a record from protesting. I've got a file from the letters, phone calls, meetings, and statements I've made. I've enjoyed many phone taps and calls to my friends and family from "concerned" authorities over the years.

How about you? What's your excuse for not getting off your fat ass?

Re: Human Rights voliations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44711935)

Oh god... A +4 insightful for waving his anti-establishment dick in the air. Quick everyone, be impressed...

Re:Human Rights voliations (5, Insightful)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about 8 months ago | (#44704257)

And this is different from the whole world history... how? Yes, most people are complacent with order of things - be it current governments, Middle Age absolute monarchy or, say, bloody Aztec theocracy. Still, history teaches us that there is no need for the "masses" to be upset about anything for changes to come. On the contrary, mass starvation and poverty can lead to mass riots, even change ruling dynasty, but almost never to some radical changes in the country's ruling system.

For the real changes to come there must be a small percentage of unhappy "elite", like bourgeois in France or "intelligentsya / intellectuals" in Russia. Then they can lead masses to the revolution that will bring real changes. Problem is, our current elites are trying to use and even exploit existing systems of government, instead of trying to change it completely. So, yes, we won't have any real revolutionary changes in the foreseeable future, but not because of the "tubes". It's because everybody with the real power (even "middle class") are really happy with the current state of things.

Re:Human Rights voliations (4, Insightful)

retech (1228598) | about 8 months ago | (#44704779)

Sadly it's not terribly different. And I'd have to say that the "elite" are not really the key. It's getting a large enough group to agree to take a risk that will cause a tipping in the population. We go through glorious stages where this happens, revolt in Rome, civil wars, revolutions... in recent times the fight to win union rights cost a lot of people in the US limbs, lives, income and that comfort.

But it's very difficult to get people to risk that comfort now. It's nearly impossible actually. A paranoid person may think that it's designed that way to keep it all on the side of those in power. Hell, even the unhappy elite as you point out are not unhappy enough anymore to take that risk. They've been given too comfortable a leash.

If just one group in the USA said NO tomorrow and stopped working you could cripple the entire country in under two weeks. If just all the sales people, or all the nurses, or all the IT support staff... I'll give you an ideal group: Semi-truck drivers. There are less than 100k. And if they stopped driving and took their distributor caps when they went home there would be no food, water, gas, heat, or power in the entire US in about two weeks. I'd imagine if they had a list of just 10 reasonable demands those would be met in no time. If they were willing to risk it.

But... they'd get the phone calls to tell them go back to work or I'm sharing your online history with your wife. Or one of them would have their money frozen over a dodgy tax return and he'd post it on FB. And then the rest would cave because they would not want to risk it.

We've been trained to believe that individual comfort in the short term is more valuable than anything else. And we're unwilling to risk it to find out if the altruistic idyllic fantasy could become real. This is directly opposite of previous groups who did affect change.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about 8 months ago | (#44705643)

Well, there is a tiny hope for the next generation (or even one after that) - I think that people will somehow adapt and eventually will find a way to bring major changes into society again. We, humans, are pretty resourceful creatures. Plus broken systems can't run too long - someday it's going to stop or even crash spectacularly.

But for me and my friends (30+ y.o.) it's now just a game of finding a "zone of least discomfort". BTW, your sig sounds really great with your post.

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44706843)

Why would they keep a distributor cap in a diesel truck?

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44706937)

sorry for the anonymous post, i don't want to undo moderation but...

You are mistaken to think that lethargy is new, or that the industrial revolution made people weaker. The truth is that people have *always* been willing to be pushed to extremes. If anything, there has been more dynamism (shorter lifetime for political institutions) since the industrial revolution, not less. It can be frustrating if you are agitating for change that others are not willing to take action and it then becomes easy to accuse them of unreasonable lethargy and claim they will never take action.

At some point there will be change as that is one of the constants in life. It may not come at the time and for the reasons that you want, but nevertheless it will come. It may be like the current gradual changes, or sudden and dramatic like a revolution.

Myself, I'm hoping for the gradual change. Sudden and dramatic change is really no fun: by its nature it is disruptive and many people get hurt. It also, no matter how dramatic, may not be a meaningful change for the population as a whole simply changing one master for another.

Another thought is that perhaps you are barking up the wrong tree in your activism. It is easy to be cynical (and I generally am), but if you are seeing no profit from your current endeavors perhaps a different methodology would be more productive. It isn't that your methods are necessarily wrong, but perhaps now is not the time for them. It is possible to effect change through the system and instead of being an activist perhaps you could try working within the system. Small changes may not be much, but in the grand scheme of things it may move things toward a better place. Its hard to tell though and I wouldn't expect any real satisfaction from the endeavor. But if what you are currently doing isn't working it may be worth a shot.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about 8 months ago | (#44714169)

Thank you, that was really insightful. That's something really close to my own position, although I don't think I've could put it in words so clear.

Re:Human Rights voliations (2)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 8 months ago | (#44704477)

Actually, when I saw the title, as a French citizen, that was my first reaction. Then, I saw that this is actually a legal action. Depending on the judge chosen for this, the state may not have much options to stop the investigations. It could very well end with punishments, trigger the creation of privacy protection laws and cancel some treaties.

Re:Human Rights voliations (2)

retech (1228598) | about 8 months ago | (#44704715)

I hope that it will cancel treaties in every country PRISM is used. However, I suspect what will happen is that any judge involved in such cases will go home one night and find an envelope on his table. He'll have no idea how it got there. Inside will be recordings, photos, money trails... you get the picture. And so will that judge. For fear of ending his career and losing that luxury he so enjoys, he'll swallow his indignant reactions and destroy the envelope. The case will end very favorably (based on legal precedent) for the USA.

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704743)

And then he reports it to the police and media, huge scandal and heads roll.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#44704913)

Depends on what he's done in the past. I can think of a few things I've done that would be mildly embarrassing if they were published, but nothing that would really work as blackmail. For one thing, because enough people saw the various embarrassing things I did that there wouldn't really be any sense of revelation. Most people are in a similar situation.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 8 months ago | (#44715317)

In France many judge know that their career is at risk when they engage in political affairs. Yet, several do. We had a former president condemned here (Chirac) and ongoing investigation on Sarkozy by a very independent judge who received threats and did not hesitate to involve counter-terrorism tools in this case (eh, exception laws can bite both ways!)

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

phayes (202222) | about 8 months ago | (#44705037)

Even with an "independant" judge, this case has little change of going anywhere as the French Government does not want the public get all stirred up on US snooping in fear that we will take a closer look at the DGSE's snooping. Wouldn't want to draw any more attention to the Minister who said that "our snooping is legal because we have laws that say that we can snoop on people".

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 8 months ago | (#44715323)

Actually, this was in the news and had shockingly little effect. The DGSE said they were basically doing the same at a smaller scale and no one cared.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

phayes (202222) | about 8 months ago | (#44719663)

That's only because we french expect our government to spy on us & to control the press as much as they can. We find it normal that Pompidou asked Kennedy "how to you control the country if you don't control the press" & having a President outright lie about his having a cancer before an election isn't considered a breach of journalistic ethics when we learn the press knew.

Except for a few rare exceptions the only people claiming to be outraged about the NSA's data gathering are clowns like Melenchon who do so out of anti US posturing.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#44704813)

Sadly, people are the same everywhere. And this new trend to just lay down and take it has become almost universal. Once a nation becomes industrialized enough and people have enough comfort they will never fight back for fear of losing that comfort.

Thus has it always been. Eventually the system breaks down, people have nothing left to lose, and they pick up their torches and pitchforks. Only meritocracies can be successful and they always turn into something else eventually, then fail.

Re:Human Rights voliations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704857)

As always, the truth is the exact opposite: People have more free time and more to lose than any other time in history.

People also have more time for ideal activities than ever before. Not so in poorer countries, which is riddled with corruption and abuse on every level.

Re:Human Rights voliations (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#44704243)

The actions of the NSA and GCHQ are clear human rights violations in Europe. I hope both are pursued for this crime. Presumably the French are investigating GCHQ as well as the NSA.

They went after google for the wifi data capture, and that isn't as serious as purposely capturing telephone and communications.

Of course, google just got fined, so what will they do to the USA if found guilty? Fine them?

Re:Human Rights voliations (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#44704421)

They most likely won't go after the USA, but after corporations that cooperated with the NSA. Given that these are lots of big companies and very few of them are paying much (if any) tax in Europe, there's likely to be little public opposition to very large fines on such entities and hopefully it will mean that companies like Google can then go to members of the US government and say 'this NSA activity is costing the US economy billions of dollars a year and we'll be reminding your constituents of this and the fact that you supported it at the next election'.

Re:Human Rights voliations (2)

phayes (202222) | about 8 months ago | (#44705087)

You're counting chickens before they hatch. This suit will be buried one way or another as the French government does not want anyone looking any closer at the DGSE's data collection/mining activities. The Hypocrisy of trying to reproach the USA or US corporations for doing the same thing the French Government is doing (possibly with some of the same corporations like EMC) is too big to swallow, even for the current government.

Re:Human Rights voliations (3, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#44704435)

So what will they do to the USA if found guilty?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicaragua_v._United_States [wikipedia.org] shows the "outcome".
PRISM will end up as a great read, fun for historical and computer science types (from the view of the US gov).
More interesting will be the reputations of the big US brands, their long term EU and French standing. Local reps trying anything to get in front of any new local press as daily details become public.
This is not tax or some other day to day detail that can be PR away via help from some US firm. France recalls the Vichy days, Indochina, French Algeria, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elf_Aquitaine#Fraud_scandal [wikipedia.org] and their public is educated and will enjoy the topics.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 8 months ago | (#44704755)

Presumably any US companies like Google, Apple or Microsoft who have operations in Europe would be fined if found to have violated human rights, or possibly even prosecuted.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#44705029)

so what will they do to the USA if found guilty? Fine them?

Negative. Fine me. I will take full responsibility for the entire affair. I have written at length my musings of how simple it is to hoodwink humans. If you will only swear to live calm and logical lives afterwards, then I will take the blame of your wold's governments, the corporations, and all the people as well.

I will be your digital Jesus!

Re:Human Rights voliations (2)

Xest (935314) | about 8 months ago | (#44704353)

I don't think GCHQ will be investigated. The problem is that whilst GCHQ was tapping cables in the UK itself, the NSA was ordering companies both US based and foreign to hand over data.

So for example, the NSA may have asked French telecomms companies to hand over data and the telecomms companies were obliging to retain access to the US market. In contrast GCHQ wasn't afaik doing this, it was just tapping cables only on it's home soil.

This is why the French authorities are investigating because in obliging French companies may have broken French law, but French companies can't be held liable if for example GCHQ stole data from them by tapping cables they used in the UK.

This seems to be more about investigating whether European companies adhering to those American national security orders from secret courts meant they broke the law of the European nations they were headquartered in than the spying programmes in general and GCHQ and the British government didn't use these sorts of orders - they went about things in a different way.

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | about 8 months ago | (#44704465)

I'm not sure that court cases won't set an extremely dangerous precedent; every major power is in a position to take every other major power to court, and no nation holds the moral highground on this. I'm fine to have the French investigate GCHQ and the NSA so long as everyone else has the right to investigate the DGSE and DSRI. (Same goes for Russian protests and the not-so-secret programmes of the FSB, who have been happily active in Britain and America over the last decade, let alone within Russia. And of course they can counter-charge MI6 and the CIA for their own happy activities within Russia, and so on and so on.)

Re:Human Rights voliations (1)

phayes (202222) | about 8 months ago | (#44704623)

Meanwhile, the DGSE's even wider scoped snooping on anything/anyone they like was neatly swept under the rug by the French government. Because, snooping by anyone else, like the NSA or the GCHQ is cause for inflated displays of moral indignancy, but when the the French Government does it, well that's normal.

never in a million years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704177)

would i have ever imagined uttering these words, in this particular order... "go, france, go!"

Good news - the NSA criminals must be prosecuted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704269)

I believe that France has an extradition treaty with the United States, so hopefully we can see some of the American criminals brought to justice in Europe, or if the US belligerently refuses to extradite them - face life as fugitives from the legal systems of the more democratic countries.

Re:Good news - the NSA criminals must be prosecute (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#44704519)

Re:Good news - the NSA criminals must be prosecute (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 months ago | (#44704921)

Wow:

Lady was quoted by Il Giornale newspaper in 2009 as saying: "I'm not guilty. I'm only responsible for carrying out orders that I received from my superiors."

When that's your best defence, you know you've been doing something wrong...

They're Jealous (1, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 8 months ago | (#44704305)

France constantly ranks up near the top in nations where the State facilitates or actively participates in corporate espionage.

They were one of the first countries to pass a "key disclosure law", allowing law enforcement to demand people decrypt data.

Encryption in France has always been tightly controlled and even today it is permitted only for authentication and integrity. Confidentiality is essentially at the whim of the gov't.

France ranks right up there with China as far as many U.S. gov't agencies are concerned when it comes to "make sure the cloud data doesn't ever transit there".

They're just jealous and are looking for tips.

Re:They're Jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704341)

This is all false. Not one sentence in your post contains truth.

There is no such law in France, no restrictions on the use of cryptography and no obligation to disclose keys, not even a judge could ask for it that would be unconstitutional and considered self incrimination. At most it would make you look bad and reluctant to help but there is no legal basis or definition for this.

Please don't bother posting if it all comes straight of your ass.

Re:They're Jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704359)

What you may be referring to is the obligation for all electronic services to keep a copy of user databases for a period of 3 years. Those databases mostly contain usernames and password hashes, thus they have "keys" in a form which still has to be reversed.

An hash, not the password it represent is obviously used for crossing identities over multiple services, same hash, same user (as long as no salt is involved) and that's it.

Re:They're Jealous (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#44704827)

It's also a fact that using cryptography of ANY strength for personal information was until fairly recently an illegal act, WELL into the modern information age. I have a hard time believing that France has done a complete 180 since

Re:They're Jealous (2)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 8 months ago | (#44704513)

While China tops the list of countries engaging in cyber-espionage, according to a report published February by the US secret services, France shares second place with Russia and Israel, leading Foreign Policy to describe Hollande's outrage as "pretty hilarious".
Colourful stories about the lengths the French secret services would go to emerged in the early 1990s, such as the bugging of seats on Air France planes to eavesdrop on American business leaders.

At the time, then-CIA director Stansfield Turner qualified French intelligence as "the most predatory service in the world, now that the old Soviet Union is gone".

And the Americans are not the only country to have complained about French espionage.
In a 2009 US diplomatic cable revealed by Wikileaks, an unnamed German CEO of a satellite manufacturer was quoted calling France "the evil empire, stealing technology, and Germany knows this", adding that French industrial spying was doing as much damage as anything coming from Russia or China.

http://www.france24.com/en/20130702-france-usa-spying-snowden-hollande-nsa-prism-hypocritcal [france24.com]

Re:They're Jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44705503)

While China tops the list of countries engaging in cyber-espionage, according to a report published February by the US secret services, France shares second place with Russia and Israel, leading Foreign Policy to describe Hollande's outrage as "pretty hilarious".

Note that the US is removed form that list.
I'm pretty sure the US would have a pretty solid place at the top of that list if it were made by any other nation.

Re:They're Jealous (2)

dharmJah (1724616) | about 8 months ago | (#44704531)

You're right on France: governement are almost the same as usa on privacy but the original article speaks about 2 french human rights organisations not french government. They just try to pursue NSA because with Snowden files they got proofs. If they had same proofs on french system, they will pursue french government as well.

Grow up EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704349)

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/search/en-US?query=prism

Re:Grow up EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44704383)

BUT French is depreciated due to their unhygienic management style, Fe Fe OR Wee Wee ? their biosphere is computed NOW

Because - putain de la merde! (1)

korbulon (2792438) | about 8 months ago | (#44704423)

Surveillance of French citizens is a job for France!

I mean FFS!: the bloody word 'surveillance' is French!

Re:Because - putain de la merde! (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 8 months ago | (#44705375)

Surveillance of French citizens is a job for France!

Yeah, in these times of crisis it's really rude to be stealing other peoples jobs :)

Of those intercepted communications: (2)

sabbede (2678435) | about 8 months ago | (#44705099)

200,000 involved wine.

50,000 about baguettes and other pastries.

150,000 complaints about having to work 5 days a week.

1,600,000 offering to surrender.

Keep cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44705141)

France hates being anthropomorphised just as much as Nature and Earth do.

This is one independant judge finding cause for investigation when solicited by citizens. Said investigation is not in any way directed by any part of the executive or legislative branch. In a few months some companies might get a fine, or an injunction to stop doing what they are doing until the legislative branch decides to make all this snooping legal.

This is just the beginning of the first round of the boxing match between legislative, executive and judicial branches. Stay calm and grab popcorn, it is going to be months before anything of note happens.

Fines for Justice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44705477)

Google, Microsoft, and Apple have deep pockets and France has a massive social safety net to support. It would be one thing if they weren't justified to throw the book at them for conspiring with the American government for snooping on their citizens, but this book has their names written all over it. Despite France's own privacy policies, they might see gold at the end of these rainblows...

GentleGPG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44720223)

Use GentleGPG - http://wjlanders.users.sourceforge.net/

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