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SXSW: Edward Snowden Swipes At NSA

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the I-stab-at-thee dept.

Privacy 116

Nerval's Lobster writes "In a Google Hangout with an auditorium full of South by Southwest attendees, government whistleblower (and former NSA employee) Edward Snowden suggested that encrypted communication should become more ubiquitous and easier to use for the majority of Internet denizens. 'The way we interact with [encrypted email and communications] is not good,' he said from somewhere within Russia, where he resides under the conditions of a one-year asylum. 'It needs to be out there, it needs to happen automatically, it needs to happen seamlessly.' For his part, Snowden still believes that companies should store user data that contributes directly to their respective business: 'It's not that you can't collect any data, you should only collect the data and hold it as long as necessary for the operation of the business.' He also couldn't resist some choice swipes at his former employer, accusing high-ranking intelligence officials Michael Hayden and Keith Alexander of harming the world's cyber-security—and by extension, United States national security—by emphasizing offensive operations over the defense of communications. 'America has more to lose than anyone else when every attack succeeds,' Snowden said. 'When you are the one country that has sort of a vault that's more full than anyone else's, it makes no sense to be attacking all day.'"

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Edward Snowden - A thief (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447981)

Edward snowden is a thief that we are putting up on a higher ledge that we do anyone else. He should have had his 15 minutes of fame already and then we should put him out to dry.

Re:Edward Snowden - A thief (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448049)

How very objective of you. You must have all the particulars of this case to have judged him so thoroughly.

I hope someone treats you the same way in your future.

Mod parent down! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448161)

Seriously, WHAT DO YoU HAVE TO HiDE?

Re:Mod parent down! (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 7 months ago | (#46449255)

Me? Nothing. Why?
That giant whooshing sound is you not getting what is implied in my italicized question.

Re:Edward Snowden - A thief (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448529)

So, I get that this is /., where throwing the finger to the man is more important than the substance of a post, but this is seriously stupid... and more so to be labeled "Insightful." Snowden has admitted to being a thief, and to being a liar in the pursuit of his thievery. To imply that anyone is somehow jumping the gun to call him what he has already called himself, is just more dishonest bullshit thrown on top of the pile.

Re:Edward Snowden - A thief (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448057)

You're a retard.

Re:Edward Snowden - A thief (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448063)

Someone needs to assassinate that cocksucker. He is a traitor to his country and should be public enemy #1. If I ever meet him the first thing I say to him will involve a brutal right hook.

Re: Edward Snowden - A thief (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448169)

Calm down. Calm down. What has he done that's directly inconvenienced you and your everyday life it deserve such a violent response from a random stranger such as yourself?

Re:Edward Snowden - A thief (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46451779)

Someone needs to assassinate that cocksucker. He is a traitor to his country and should be public enemy #1. If I ever meet him the first thing I say to him will involve a brutal right hook.

With your logic in hand the assassinations of President George Walker Bush and Barack Hussein Obama should be carried out forthwith because both have stated on the record that the Constitution of the United States of America is a worthless piece of paper. Worse is Obama should know better being that he was a constitutional law professor prior to ascending through trickery, I mean lies, to the office of president.

CAPTCHA: overkill

Re:Edward Snowden - A thief (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448073)

Are you american? Because if you are, you may be overlooking the fact that to *some* people your founding fathers were themselves traitors and thiefs...

Re:The NSA - A thief (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448081)

The NSA is a thief that we are putting up on a higher ledge that we do anyone else. They should have had their 15 minutes of fame already and then we should put them out to dry.

Re:Edward Snowden - A thief (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448135)

How else would he have gotten into NSA info without stealing ID's and other information.

Not just a thief, but an actual traitor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448179)

Guys like him are hero's to unsocialized losers, the precious snowflake libertarian kind that consider their individuality paramount. You know, the kind that infest this site.

It's completely telling the the only people that love Snowden are people that deal with computers all day.

Ultimately, nothing within the NSA leaks actually show any abuse of power. In fact, the only thing the leaks show are that there exists filters to protect privacy of Americans.

Why would they have a classified system with filters in the first place if privacy wasn't a concern?

Normal people, with lives, consider what Snowden did to be completely horrifying. It's only the geeks that everyone typically hates that worships him. Remember, the NSA does serve a defense purpose. There actually are dangerous elements in the world, with Russia being the obvious latest example.

The biggest mistake libertarians like him make is to consider their own needs above others. This is the problem with libertarians. The correct behavior is to consider the group's needs above the individuals. Socialized people, with friends, do this. Right now the only thing the libertarians complain about is "potential" for abuse of power, which doesn't matter at all, since it could just as well have the "potential" to help as well.

Always remember that government is your ultimate ruler. That is how it is, and how it always will be. Your lives are insignificant. You are not the precious snowflake your parents said you were.

Understand this, and you will understand where REAL power comes from. Liberal, socialized cultures are always stronger (=richer) than libertarian, individual ones, which is why we reject libertarianism.

And remember, the US government is the biggest socialist system of all. A strong central government is why America is so rich.

Re:Not just a thief, but an actual traitor (3, Insightful)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 7 months ago | (#46448365)

This guy's afflicted with the "good government" syndrome. His country can do no wrong. Love it or leave it. Just like a good little Nazi.

Re:Not just a thief, but an actual traitor (0)

Cenan (1892902) | about 7 months ago | (#46448943)

The shill pickings must be really slim for NSA these days for them to recruit someone who can't tell the difference between his own country and a socialist system.

Re:Not just a thief, but an actual traitor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448375)

You must be a senile, alcoholic, overweight cretin.

Re:Not just a thief, but an actual traitor (2)

Cenan (1892902) | about 7 months ago | (#46448761)

It's completely telling the the only people that love Snowden are people that deal with computers all day.

Only people? You don't get out much do you?

Why would they have a classified system with filters in the first place if privacy wasn't a concern?

Why not? It's obviously no hindrance to operations. You could have armies of robotic bunnies singing the national anthem all day long, it would have the same impact.

Remember, the NSA does serve a defense purpose. There actually are dangerous elements in the world, with Russia being the obvious latest example.

Yeah, I'm sure Mrs. Jackson's grocery list is of utmost importance when unraveling the latest Russian plot. Not like the resources to plow through all that data could have been spent much smarter, they're endless and unsupervised after all. And while sifting through all that useless data, your friends over at Fort Meade got caught with their pants down, yet again [wikipedia.org] . And not just a little tug that shows the top of their tighty whities, no, a complete drop to the ankles and off the one foot.

blah, blah blah blah

Yeah, I stopped reading, your opinion is after all insignificant and irrelevant in the grand socialist scheme of things.

Re:Not just a thief, but an actual traitor (4, Insightful)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 7 months ago | (#46450741)

Ultimately, nothing within the NSA leaks actually show any abuse of power.

Right, like looking at non-criminal targets' sexually explicit webcam photos.

Re:Not just a thief, but an actual traitor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46451309)

Is the entire NSA guilty of looking at non-criminal targets' sexually explicit webcam photos?

If they are, then I guess they're also the heroes/traitors that released the information about their own spying to the world?

Individual employees' abuse of power does not equate to the entire agency's abuses of power. Try harder.

Re:Not just a thief, but an actual traitor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46452227)

Thanks for your opinion, government drone. People like you are the real traitors because you don't want others to have opinions that are different from yours/the hive mind. You are anti-freedom.

Modern Goosestepping and Appeasement (4, Interesting)

bussdriver (620565) | about 7 months ago | (#46448253)

Few people ever really think about how they would have acted if they were German citizens around the 1930s. Most people would do nothing but move with the crowd and many would get caught up in the propaganda.

Few resisted or ran away, because it was easier to fall in line. Same situation today. The parallels exist for those who can think about it without being too influenced by the herd. We are encouraged to vilify the people who oppose the authority and to dogmatically (and thoughtlessly) adhere to authority. Orwell said it, in times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. We are at that point, most people can see that both parties are functionally dead and it's all one big scam - with the people pointing it out being marginalized and the people making REAL impact are treated as insurgents (because truth alone is not enough in the information overload age, it has to have bite to get noticed.)

Godwin's law is for simpletons and Nazi sympathizers; prohibiting learning from history more than it stops the ignorant name calling rants (while true that the trolls seem hopeless to educate should we give up all chances to apply history because of them?)

Re:Modern Goosestepping and Appeasement (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46448341)

most people can see that both parties are functionally dead and it's all one big scam

Most people are ignorant and unintelligent, so I doubt they have even figured out this much. Of course, even if they did, all they're doing is continually voting for evil.

Re:Modern Goosestepping and Appeasement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448755)

No -- Godwin's law may be simple, but it thoroughly discredits the inane ramblings of fools such as yourself. That you needed to cite it in some strange attempt to preemptively discredit it is more telling about your motives than anything of substance you have to say: you know full-well that you're being a jackass.

While you're berating others for failing to learn from history, perhaps you could learn a little yourself, then come back and admit how utterly moronic you look comparing anything that is going on in America today to Hitler's Germany. That you have the gall to label anyone else a "simpleton" or a "Nazi sympathizer" would be laughable, if it weren't for the sad, sad fact that idiots like you vote.

You belittle the crimes of the Holocaust while simultaneously exaggerating to the point of incredibility the crimes of this nation. You're a terrible human being, and you should feel terrible... but I suspect this will just feed into your inflated sense of self-importance via your persecution complex. Please, do the world a favor by tripping out into the street, in front of a speeding Greyhound bus, which is on fire, and covered with wasps.

Re:Modern Goosestepping and Appeasement (1)

dot_bull (950360) | about 7 months ago | (#46448837)

"Orwell said it, in times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." No source for this alleged quote can be cited. Your overall comments are good, I am not faulting your commentary theme in any way. But the quote cannot be verified as having been said by Orwell, or anyone, by anyone.

Re:Modern Goosestepping and Appeasement (1)

davecb (6526) | about 7 months ago | (#46450413)

The quote was initially attributed to Orwell, but it was not in his published writings. See http://quoteinvestigator.com/2... [quoteinvestigator.com] which identified the first usage as

1982, Partners in Ecocide: Australia’s Complicity in the Uranium Cartel by V. G. Venturini (Venturino Giorgio Venturini), (Epigraph facing the title page), Rigmarole Book Publishers, Clifton Hill, Australia. (Verified with scans; thanks to John McChesney-Young and the University of California, Berkeley library system)

Re:Edward Snowden - A thief (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448853)

lol - is that you Michael? or possible Keith? come on out and play, perhaps we should expose all of your private details to the world.

Your favorite child porn, where you bank, where you store your bribes, what your tastes are for hookers and blow...

Would you like that? Would you like all of that information about both of you exposed to the world? Hmmm, I bet we would find it very interesting, and so would your spouses (if you're married)...

What exact laws were broken? (4, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 7 months ago | (#46448165)

As a Canadian, what I'm not clear on is whether there are exact American laws dictating what the NSA can and cannot do? If there are laws, and they have been broken, can anyone be charged, and if not, why not?

I realize the standard answers involve political interference, corruption blah blah blah, but on a purely academic level is there a means to charge anyone with a crime?

Re:What exact laws were broken? (5, Informative)

rlp (11898) | about 7 months ago | (#46448211)

Bill of Rights - 4th Amendment to US Constitution:
"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".

Re:What exact laws were broken? (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46448239)

Bill of Rights - 4th Amendment to US Constitution:
"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".

In other words, OP, the NSA has every legal right to spy on you without giving you due process, but has absolutely zero right to spy on Americans without a properly issued warrant.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448345)

How are the NSA people different from those 'enemy combatants' in Guantanamo Bay? No uniform, clearly not soldiers protected under the geneva convention.

Not being allowed out of the USA at least, and if possible incarcerated in some cages on a subtropical island.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448937)

How are the NSA people different from those 'enemy combatants' in Guantanamo Bay? No uniform, clearly not soldiers protected under the geneva convention.

They're not shooting at or trying to kill anyone?

Re:What exact laws were broken? (2)

bberens (965711) | about 7 months ago | (#46448353)

And it's a little gray as to whether or not the NSA can sell it's data about you to the Canadian intelligence services and/or purchase data about Americans from foreign services. When I say it's a little gray, what I mean is that they do it and it appears to be technically legal.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

nucrash (549705) | about 7 months ago | (#46448491)

They don't seem to have a problem swapping data with GCHQ, nor do they have a problem having GCHQ taking on tasks that are out of the NSA's jurisdiction and vice versa. What's Canada but a good ole offshoot of the UK to swap data with?

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 7 months ago | (#46448669)

The source of the data doesn't matter. If they trade it with GCHQ or hack it from my PC themselves, it's still an unreasonable search and seizure if I'm not under suspicion of a crime.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 7 months ago | (#46449559)

Ah, but *they* didn't do the search and seizure, they just purchased some information.

As I once heard a lawyer put it:"People tend to think of the law as a line in the sand, but in truth it's more like a loose string pinned in place in a few spots - lots of play as to exactly which side you are on". I think the current situation is a good example of just how badly that can be abused, especially by institutions that get a say in exactly where the pins are, and how tight the string.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

davecb (6526) | about 7 months ago | (#46450433)

It's legal for them to provide it to CSE, but CSE says it''s illegal for them to ask... and it may be illegal to accept.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 7 months ago | (#46449087)

Which is not what was intended. "People" in the Bill of rights unless it says otherwise is a term for all people including non-citizens. Your particular interpretation is publicly claimed but historically incorrect.

Spying was known to the founders, and they expected that if a Spy was caught the Spy would be killed. That worked in both directions. While spying is certainly something we can see benefit in, the US Constitutional has laws protecting spies. The job of a spy is to break the law and ignore basic human rights.

Part of the escalation of the Government has to claim that "People" are not all "People" and they use that abomination of the term to grant themselves powers. This is why they kill "Combatant" age people and not "Civilian" when there is collateral damage in the Middle East. The language chosen both today and when our Constitution was written is done so very intentionally, pay attention to it!!

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46449403)

Which is not what was intended. "People" in the Bill of rights unless it says otherwise is a term for all people including non-citizens. Your particular interpretation is publicly claimed but historically incorrect.

Disagree - it's commonly accepted that when the Constitution refers to, "the People," it is de facto referring to "the American People," because the founders themselves made such a distinction.

Evidence: Check out the difference in wording between the Fourth and Fifth Amendments:

Fourth:

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 the Fifth:

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.

Obviously, a distinction was made, therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that the Fourth (and First and Second and Ninth and Tenth) applies only to American citizens, whereas the Fifth (and Sixth and Seventh and Eighth) refers to all persons being held to answer for a crime.

Unless, of course, you have evidence to the contrary; take note, you're going to be hard pressed to convince me that the men who wrote it intended for the Second Amendment to protect the right of foreign persons to keep and bear armaments.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 7 months ago | (#46449909)

Neither of those Bills are restricting to "Citizens of the United States". I'm at work so will have to dig where that specific language is used, but it is used very sparingly intentionally in the rare case that it's used (I believe 1 time).

If this was not referencing "People" in a general sense why would the founders have complained about England searching all their shit and demanding papers? England's ideology would have matched their ideology if that was the case, and England's ideology did not match hence we have our own country and constitution. Ben Franklin would have been expecting to be treated as a criminal in France instead of being treated as a free "Person". He did expect to be treated as a free person where ever he traveled as a diplomat.

The language used in the Constitution and Bill of Rights is very intentionally done. There are no inconsistencies in the original bill of rights meanings for various words (amendments later would obviously have slightly different language).

Your evidence is in the words themselves, but you can read the Federalist Papers in addition to notes by the founders, first congress, biographies, etc... The mistake most people make is trying to claim a word used in the Constitution means one thing in one area and another thing somewhere else, and it does not.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46450173)

If this was not referencing "People" in a general sense why would the founders have complained about England searching all their shit and demanding papers?

Well, it is a generality, and it's not; we think of "people" a little differently than our ancestors did. For example, they didn't count African slaves as a whole person, rather 3/5ths of one (at least, for taxation and voting purposes), and Native Americans? Hell, they weren't people at all, but rather savages.

Also, keep in mind that the Constitution was written after the colonists declared independence from the British Empire, so the stuff written therein is less about "we want the English to stop doing this stuff to us," and more about "When we make our own government, these are the rules they'll have to play by."

Ben Franklin would have been expecting to be treated as a criminal in France instead of being treated as a free "Person". He did expect to be treated as a free person where ever he traveled as a diplomat.

I fail to see where someone's expectations while traveling abroad applies to the laws of another nation. Of course, to that end (and as I already pointed out), the fact that the Constitutional Amendments involving due process are written with that vague term, "a person," rather than the more specific, "The people," which actually supports my contention rather than contradicting it.

The language used in the Constitution and Bill of Rights is very intentionally done.

I don't disagree with that; what I disagree with is your supposition that the founders intended to give non-American citizens rights such as the right to bear arms, or the right to all powers "not relegated to the State."

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 7 months ago | (#46451955)

Nope, I hate to break it to you but you are wrong. I'm going to extract something from the Wiki here [wikipedia.org] for simplicity. Wiki shows both sides of the argument, but Constitutional Law Professor should tell you exactly what I did earlier. There is no differences in terms used in the Constitution between sections, and the words are intentionally used. A word in one section means exactly the same thing as it does in another. The only way your argument works is to try and change meanings and lose coherence within the document, which is absolutely incorrect (illogical and irrational in my opinion). The documents were not written haphazardly with words meaning one thing in this paragraph and another thing in that paragraph.

From Wiki: It has also been construed to mean something like "all under the sovereign jurisdiction and authority of the United States."

Read the US Constitution and you will find that "Citizen" is explicitly used in Article 1 section 2 and 3, Article 2 section 1, Article 3 section 2, Article 4 section 2, and Article 11. In the amendments we have the word "Citizen used in the 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th amendments.

In other words, if the founders intended to use "Citizen" in any other section of the document they would have done so. The founders were not immune or ignorant to the use of the word. You can read the complete translated work in full in numerous locations, here [usconstitution.net] is a plain text version so you don't have to hunt.

If you respond further please refrain from further red herrings and straw men. The right to vote, while written in a morally incorrect way initially restricting certain people, is very clearly spelled out in the Constitution. This is a red herring with nothing to do with the use of the term "People" in the Constitution. The overly simplistic reasoning you provided for the existence of the US Constitution was more incorrect than your claim that "People" means "Citizen".

I don't disagree with that; what I disagree with is your supposition that the founders intended to give non-American citizens rights such as the right to bear arms, or the right to all powers "not relegated to the State."

Persons living in the US would be considered "people" and anyone can keep and bear arms under that amendment whether citizens or not. I think you need to read some history to see who owned guns and who was in the country fighting during the Revolutionary war and even the war of 1812, wars against Indians, war with Mexico, and helk even the Civil War. Here is a hint, it was not a couple rich white guys fighting themselves in these wars.

Your last statement also contains false information. Read the US Constitution again, because person is not mentioned in limiting the Federal Governments powers. States are given authority that the Federal Government does not have.

And.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46450055)

this of course does not prevent them from doing it. So, in short, in answer to the GP: no, there is no way for anyone abusing his power and violating the 4th amendment to be punished. There is a vague constitution amendment and a supreme court interpreting it as it wishes, but there are laws specifying punishments when the constitution is ignored here.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46450869)

In the first place, where in the 4th Amendment, or elsewhere in the constitution, does it specify that "the people" is somehow connected to citizenship?

In the second place, the 4th Amendment talks about "unreasonable searches and seizures". That word "unreasonable" opens a huge playground for spooks. What is an "unreasonable" search? What the Founders had in mind was something like "soldiers beating on your door demanding to search your house". Someone quietly snooping into your mail, without even delaying its delivery, is a far cry from that.

Don't get me wrong, there is certainly a 4th Amendment issue here. But just citing the plain language of the constitution does not, in itself, make it obvious what the problem is. The question asked for specifics.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46450961)

The Bill of Rights extends to everyone.

The only place where being an American is mentioned in the Constitution is regarding eligibility for certain public offices.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about 7 months ago | (#46449441)

The problem is that what data is "yours" is a tricky legal question.

Don't tell me it's not. It is. Certainly lots of people disagree with the current legal opinions on ownership of data and what that means for 4th-Amendment protections. That's fine. But sorting out ownership of data held by third parties is difficult, so simply pointing at the 4th Amendment is facile.

The problem is that the NSA really is looking at data about you that is held by third parties. (At least, that we know of.) Things like telephone call records and bank activity are gathered and stored by a party that is not you, but the data itself is about you. Currently, this data is not considered "yours", and thus is not protected by the 4th Amendment. If the data were instead sitting on your computer, it would be protected and would require a warrant. (This gets uglier with a service like Gmail, where the data is stored by a third party, but could very reasonably be considered "yours". Uglier still if, say, you're using AWS to host a site.) So the NSA can simply ask these third parties for the data. Law enforcement agencies can and have been doing this for a long time, but their requests are at least more targeted.

The short answer to why the NSA shouldn't be doing this, though, is that their charter stipulates that, like the military, they are only permitted to target non-Americans. It's law enforcement's job to target Americans.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 7 months ago | (#46451249)

I should point out that rationalle makes absolutely no sense: It doesn't matter if the data is mine or Twitter's or Verizon's, you still need a warrant to serve to whoever owns the harddrives. Verizon doesn't deserve any less protection than me, a sole proprietor.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about 7 months ago | (#46451377)

That is particularly complicated.

The third party (e.g., Verizon) does have some degree of protection.

I suppose the ugly version is that they're less motivated to protect your data than you are (or, equally, than they are to protect their own data).

Re: What exact laws were broken? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448267)

No laws were broken by the NSA. There are far too many lawyers involved for that to happen. In fact, Americans privacy rights were protected via filters, which the leaks actually revealed.

Really this whole thing is a high-school dropout's personal fuck-up, supported by other libertarian mouth-breathers.

Re: What exact laws were broken? (2)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46448391)

In fact, Americans privacy rights were protected via filters, which the leaks actually revealed.

Yeah, they're definitely protected from the collection of all the so-called "metadata" that the NSA loves collecting. Oh, wait... they're not. Meaningless filters don't help the situation when they're still collecting data.

Why do you government bootlickers even bother?

Re: What exact laws were broken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448845)

So, I'm just scrolling the thread and seeing all of the -1s -- far more than you see in any other topic -- when I came across this, currently a +2. It's basically the same, senseless BS as the GP, just with different words, and the added bonus of the poster using words like "metadata" that s/he clearly doesn't understand.

What the hell, raters? Are you that fucking insecure? Really? When did one type of idiocy become more preferable than another on /.?

Re: What exact laws were broken? (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46449045)

It's basically the same, senseless BS as the GP, just with different words

It's the same... other than the fact that I take a different position entirely.

and the added bonus of the poster using words like "metadata" that s/he clearly doesn't understand.

That I don't understand, or that the general public doesn't understand? Nothing in my comment shows a lack of understanding.

Re: What exact laws were broken? (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 7 months ago | (#46449065)

All types of idiocy are equally valuable here, rest assured. I did start moderating here, but decided I'd rather participate in the discussion with my actual logged in account, contrary to the whining scumbags that come here and berate us for wanting privacy - utilizing this site's generous mechanisms for anonymity and posting as FUCKING anon. Pathetic really.

And yeah, who cares about the trolls? It's /. shills and trolls are here for our amusement.

Snowden revealed metadata about NSA (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 7 months ago | (#46452581)

Metadata about you is unimportant and can be obtained by an NSA/FBI/DEA/police/dog-catcher letter saying "please".

Metadata about the NSA is CLASSIFIED NATIONAL SECURITY NOFORN BURN-BEFORE-READING SOURCES AND METHODS that COULD TELL TERRORISTS HOW TO KILL YOUR MAMA and needs to be protected from anybody untrusted, like you, or journalists, or the American public, or the Congresscritters that set their budget.

It's really not that hard, citizen!

Re: What exact laws were broken? (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about 7 months ago | (#46448905)

Does the money feel dirty when you spend it, or do you just block it out?

Re:What exact laws were broken? (4, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 7 months ago | (#46448285)

Lots already. Even if you ignore the Constitution, people running the NSA and general security state have been caught lying to Congress (a crime), lying to the kangeroo FISA court meant to be overseeing them (contempt of court), lying to regular courts about whether defendents were being informed about the origin of evidence against them (more contempt of court), violating FISA court orders (more contempt), and re-interpreting the PATRIOT Act in such a way that even the guy who wrote the damn thing was shocked - that's just normal law breaking: you aren't supposed to be able to "reinterpret" laws however you see fit.

But when you ask "is there a way to charge anyone with a crime", I think you already know that the answer is yes just because there are so many vaguely worded laws in the USA that basically anyone can be charged with some kind of crime. What matters is whether you actually ARE charged, and that's an entirely politically driven decision.

That's the situation in the USA. In the UK the laws are much worse and much vaguer, believe it or not, to the extent that there's basically no functioning oversight at all - the UK equivalent of FISA is not only not a court, it's actually staffed by anonymous people! There's no way to find out who even sits on it. And they have never ruled against the intelligence services even once: FISA Court has at least made a token effort to appear useful. RIPA, the law that is claimed to authorise such collection, is so vaguely worded as to be basically useless as a law - it would appear to authorise practically anything. And the Prime Minister, unlike Obama, has rejected the very notion that there might be a debate at all - simply asserting that if GCHQ does it, it must be by definition be OK.

So even though the situation in the USA is dire, it's actually not as bad as it could be.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (2)

bradrum (1639141) | about 7 months ago | (#46448299)

Specifically, the 4th amendment, to the US constitution protecting US citizens against unreasonable search and seizures. Normally this would involve anything searched or seized without warrant.

Where the federal government goes to a court and requests some case for the search or seizure of specific information. Anything that deviates from these requests and the specific information they obtain warrants for is forbidden and against the law. So anyone that is involved in any of the warrant-less surveillance of US citizens either directly or indirectly should be thrown in jail.

So this procedure has been shown to be exact opposite of what the NSA and FBI have been doing. They have been collecting information under blanket approvals issued by some secret kangaroo court and then using parallel construction to establish some kind of case against those that get caught up in the net.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448325)

If Snowden can be successfuly charged and convicted, then it stands to reason to expect James Clapper to have the same done to him.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448339)

As a Canadian, what I'm not clear on is whether there are exact American laws dictating what the NSA can and cannot do? If there are laws, and they have been broken, can anyone be charged, and if not, why not?

I realize the standard answers involve political interference, corruption blah blah blah, but on a purely academic level is there a means to charge anyone with a crime?

The problem is multi-tiered, and therefore somewhewhat complex.

The U.S. Constitution explicitly denies the right to conduct searches and ceasure of private property except under warrant granted by the judiciary specifying the itels to be searched/ceased.

The U.S Congress has passed a whole mess of laws redefining what the rules are regarding when/how warrants can be issued and how surveillance counts/doesn't count as a search.

The Executive branch typically responds to any request to know what they're actually doing with "that's classified", and to accusations that they may be overstepping their mandate with "nuh-uh".

So in general no one F-ing knows what the NSA is doing or whether they're allowed to do it, but they probably shouldn't be since regardless of what Congress/the President says, the power to conduct unwarranted searches is not granted to either of them (nor is the power to write laws granting it), and it takes a pretty loose definition of "warrant signed by the judiciary under oath of affirmation and probable cause" to include the current secret court that has been established to handle the surveillance don by the various 3 letter agencies.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448415)

Whatever they did, James R. Clapper was willing to commit perjury to hide it.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448621)

Simply violating a constitutional right (without some other harm) is not a crime in the United States. Illegal, yes, but not a crime. To be a crime it needs to be, you know, a crime--assault, harassment, theft of assets, etc.

Also, whether agents are violating the 4th Amendment or, alternatively, misinterpreting the scope of the PATRIOT Act, they're clearly doing it under the color of the authority of the federal government with a reasonable belief that they're not violating the law.

In other words, they're basically untouchable as the concept of sovereign immunity (viz officer immunity) protects their butts. At least until a court adjudicates the legality of the spying. If a court eventually adjudges it illegal, and SCOTUS affirms, then any government officer would be operating outside the scope of his powers and you could sue him for civil damages.

However, what are your damages for having your phone conversation recorded en mass with thousands or millions of others? Nothing tangible. At least, nothing so tangible that a court would allow it go forward under the circumstances. Plus, whom do you sue, and how do you prove it was him?

In order to really nail an agent, you'd need a court to issue an injunction prohibiting certain methods of spying, and an agent to subsequently employ one of those methods. However, injunctions are usually very narrowly worded, and most any court would probably allow a government agent to wiggle out of it by distinguishing what he was currently doing from what the injunction prohibits.

Basically, at the end of the day this is a political issue. The courts can't really solve this problem. And FWIW, the same analysis is probably very similar up in Canada, especially regarding immunity and standing.

The irony is that many politicians who normally hate the notion of "activist" judges telling Congress what it can and can't do, especially wrt security matters, are probably praying up-and-down that SCOTUS declares the spying illegal. Because without that cover, Congress is too chicken to change the law themselves. And that leaves us with the status quo, irrespective of illegality.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448651)

The law says that the NSA can't perform surveillance on Americans in the US. If, in the process of surveilling foreign targets, an American is caught up in it, the information must be "sanitized" so that innocent Americans aren't identified. The mass surveillance tools the NSA has built for the internet have some capability to do this, but the raw data is collected and stored in unsanitized forms and technicians are able to circumvent the safety measures.

As far as the law goes, a small group of Congressmen are on record saying that the NSA is interpreting the Patriot Act (the key law passed post-9/11) in ways they never intended. I can't speak to specific consequences to violating this part of the law, but generally an issue like this leads to Congress forcing the responsible bureaucrats out of office and impeaching any politicians involved. More broadly, a major concern is that the mass surveillance is violating the 4th amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the citizens protection from unreasonable search and seizure. Here the consequences really are ambiguous. Again, generally the offenders are forced out of office, but when the administration and Congress largely support the behavior this won't happen. The Supreme Court claims the right to interpret the Constitution, but the executive branch does occasionally ignore its decisions. The chances that anything happens in the current climate are low.

The most specific violation we have so far is a key official lying to Congress. Congress can refer perjury charges, but again the current Congress has shown no interest in seeking charges because most Congressmen view the surveillance as necessary and the lie as protecting classified information.

The current situation highlights the flaws in our Constitution. Our founders created a system of checks and balances to restrain each branch of government from dominating the others, and it works very well when those branches are adversarial to each other. When there are majorities across the branches cooperating with each other to violate are Constitution, there are very few options left to us. One is for the states to call a Constitutional Convention to draft changes to the Constitution, but historically we have avoided this because there's no limits on what changes the Convention can propose. The other option is armed revolution, for which our people are too comfortably complacent to have the appetite.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448941)

Yes, the constitutional ammendments (Bill of Rights) were broken / violated to the nth degree.

These are acts of treason, during a time of war. There is only one punishment, and ever member of the NSA, CIA, FBI on up through the President and SCOTUS are guilty of said Treason.

It's going to be very quiet in Washington when all the sentences are carried out.

Re:What exact laws were broken? (1)

jodido (1052890) | about 7 months ago | (#46450043)

There are laws, there are always laws, there always have been laws. But the supersecret govt spy agencies--and this is true in Canada, too, and the UK, France, etc--just ignore the laws. The laws are on the books so liberals can claim that there is "oversight." But there isn't any oversight.

Not an employee (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448195)

Correction, Snowden was not an employee of the NSA, Snowden was a contractor.

And yes, there is a huge difference.

Re:Not an employee (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 7 months ago | (#46448381)

One of the important implications of him being a contractor and not an employee is that the Federal "whistleblower" protections (such as they are) do not apply to him.

Re:Not an employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448551)

And that is why this case is pretty complex. Gov't employees have channels and options on how to deal with spying situations.

As a contractor, he was limited to tiers of information, and should only know about the tech, and not the purpose (application). He knew he had access due to the sloppy IT of the agency, and took advantage of it, plain and simple.

'It's not that you can't collect any data, you should only collect the data and hold it as long as necessary for the operation of the business.'
My business is to solve X for the world (e.g. world hunger). I need everyone's data.
My business should last forever. I need to hold on to it forever.
Nearly 99% of the corporations out there have this business model. Snowden's thinking is a bit flaw there.

Re:Not an employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46450979)

Levenshtein Distance:

"contractor"->"employee" = 10
"contractor"->"not an employee" = 12

Suck it.

Responses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448351)

Clear to say there are some hot emotions on the subject.

Anyone who has served will have a natural tendendcy to follow and believe in what they were trained to do. It is part of the job. On occasion that blind faith leads to their own destruction literally or virtually, other times it leads to a successful mission where nobody is left behind. It does not have to be even in the military - it applies to any job where one put trust in something.

To invested what one invests on active duty requires the belief that one is joining a good cause. Nobody wants to find out that there was a big sham or violation of trust since depend on the ones up the lines to do THEIR job. You put your life on the line for those up the command line, and above all, your fellow mates.

There are many who to speak about death and violence onto others. Seldom is it done with understanding and compassion from those looking on. Which is why there are so many injust actions, or cry for actions, as most simply dramatize what they feel they ultimately deserve. Looking in a mirror and then shoot someone because of what they see in it is a very common practice.

Snowden's an expert? (2, Interesting)

asylumx (881307) | about 7 months ago | (#46448563)

Wait a second, what on earth is he speaking at SXSW for? Is he now considered an expert on national security? Typical sysadmin, thinking they know everything about how you should do your job, even if your job has nothing to do with administering systems.

Re:Snowden's an expert? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448655)

He's speaking up for the same reasons he spoke up in the first place.

Because no one else will.

Which is how we got to where we are.

Re:Snowden's an expert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46450623)

Sorry, point of order here.

I think that the NSA is perfectly willing to speak up. Individuals like James Clapper will trot out in public and make statements that range from misleading to blatant lying. "Oh, sorry, I answered No, but under the NSA special dictionary definition where No means Yes. The fact that you misunderstood is your fault."

Also, they will claim that everything they do is legal, that they conform to their legal restrictions, that there's no time for due process (ever), that metadata isn't data, and that billions (millions? thousands? hundreds? three?) of plots have been foiled by their activities. If you ask for any evidence to support any of this they will invoke the Super Sekret Decoder Ring doctrine, wherein only the possessor of the SSDR is entitled to this information. And only the NSA has the SSDR.

Re:Snowden's an expert? (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 7 months ago | (#46448693)

And yet he seems to know more about what will happen as a result than the heads of the CIA and NSA, who appear to be raving lunatics.

Re:Snowden's an expert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448767)

True, interesting to see he think encryption solve all problem, he should know better RSA any one ?

Re:Snowden's an expert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448893)

He breached NSA security. That makes him an expert on national security.

Re:Snowden's an expert? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 7 months ago | (#46449003)

Haha, yeah, anyone who can take on the US Government and win is by definition an expert in national security. By now he probably also read more documents on national security than even the most highly cleared guys. He had everything from the minutiae of NSA tech to reports written for the inspector general. Given the rampant lying that occurs inside the security state he's probably the only guy with any clarity on how things really work at all, especially because judging from previous behaviour around the Wikileaks incidents, a lot of the NSA/DoD guys will have refused to read any of the public reports in case they get "contaminated" by classified materials!

Re:Snowden's an expert? (1)

neiras (723124) | about 7 months ago | (#46449575)

Typical sysadmin, thinking they know everything about how you should do your job, even if your job has nothing to do with administering systems.

If Snowden really were a "typical sysadmin", we'd all be better off.

Re:Snowden's an expert? (1)

FriendlyStatistician (2652203) | about 7 months ago | (#46449823)

Ignorance is bliss?

Re:Snowden's an expert? (1)

neiras (723124) | about 7 months ago | (#46450155)

No. If more people disregarded rules, regulations and laws that do damage to free society as Snowden did, we would all be better off.

I'd say Snowden has reached one of the post-conventional levels on the Kohlberg scale [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Snowden's an expert? (1)

FriendlyStatistician (2652203) | about 7 months ago | (#46451369)

Oh, I get it. You're saying if the typical sysadmin was more like Snowden; I read it as saying if Snowden had been different (i.e. if he had not leaked the documents).

no expertise needed @ SXSW (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 7 months ago | (#46449935)

SXSW is a tradeshow & alot of the "keynote" speaking slots are for sale. It's a revenue stream for SXSW: keynotes get alot of press for their product therefore there is value to trade. Not that Snowden would have to pay to be a "keynote" speaker but it's possible.

To go another level, I don't trust anything about the Snowden Narrative from the ***very beginning*** It's fishy as hell, from the Russian poled-dancing girlfriend to his repeated wearing of the same two shirts...on the face of it the whole thing was backwards.

Typical sysadmin, thinking they know everything about how you should do your job, even if your job has nothing to do with administering systems.

Yes. This is a fact that alot of fanbois want to ignore. We all may be happy about the increased awareness of gov't spying, but that doesn't mean we turn off our brains entirely.

IMHO Snowden was/is being blackmailed. He may have had nothing but good intentions but it's obvious that he's getting worked.

Re:no expertise needed @ SXSW (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | about 7 months ago | (#46450671)

SXSW is a tradeshow & alot of the "keynote" speaking slots are for sale. It's a revenue stream for SXSW: keynotes get alot of press for their product therefore there is value to trade. Not that Snowden would have to pay to be a "keynote" speaker but it's possible.

To go another level, I don't trust anything about the Snowden Narrative from the ***very beginning*** It's fishy as hell, from the Russian poled-dancing girlfriend to his repeated wearing of the same two shirts...on the face of it the whole thing was backwards.

Typical sysadmin, thinking they know everything about how you should do your job, even if your job has nothing to do with administering systems.

Yes. This is a fact that alot of fanbois want to ignore. We all may be happy about the increased awareness of gov't spying, but that doesn't mean we turn off our brains entirely.

IMHO Snowden was/is being blackmailed. He may have had nothing but good intentions but it's obvious that he's getting worked.

I tend to agree. But he is also attempting to blackmail the US by holding on to a trove of data as a poison pill. Is this data secure? He thinks it is secure but foreign govts probably have already stole it or bought it. Patriots don't risk endanger national security as as shield for personal protection.

I know I know mod me down now /.

Re:Snowden's an expert? (2)

arglebargle_xiv (2212710) | about 7 months ago | (#46451653)

Wait a second, what on earth is he speaking at SXSW for? Is he now considered an expert on national security?

I don't know about national security, but he's shown himself time and again to be a very astute observer. It's the same with Bruce Schneier, he doesn't have a PhD in cryptography but people still listen to him because he's damn good at picking out the relevant bits and communicating them effectively to the masses.

Re:Snowden's an expert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46451781)

Considering the experts on security that will actually talk, yes, he is one of the top ones. I'm certain there are plenty of people who knows much more about the intrusions the US government is doing on people's and companies systems, but they are traitors to the American people, a threat to the whole world, and wont help protecting us.
Also you have to consider that this is an annual event, try to point out one expert that gave us more security related information than him on the last year.

Re:Snowden's an expert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46452263)

" Typical sysadmin, thinking they know everything about how you should do your job, " He didn't tell you how to make obsequious commentary.

better call saul (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 7 months ago | (#46448649)

From the screenshot I saw it looked like he was getting legal advice from Saul Goodman.

Rearranging deck chairs on RMS Titanic (3, Interesting)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 7 months ago | (#46448739)

Google, Twitter and Facebook adding SSL is useless in face of third party doctrine effectively declaring you have no right to any privacy (e.g. "tangible thing") online even in communications between individuals.

We need viable alternatives to massive centralized systems controlled by a handful of multi-billion dollar media and advertising companies.

On state attacking the way I see it more attacks from all parties the more pressure on all to deploy secure systems... this is ultimately in everyone's best interests. Closer the day when cost for a systems exploit approaches infinity where only viable attacks are physical force, social engineering and coercion the better for all.

Low intensity "cyber war" is better than complacency yielding brittle systems contributing to some cheese laden Hollywood doomsday plot line.

Re:Rearranging deck chairs on RMS Titanic (1)

BradMajors (995624) | about 7 months ago | (#46449321)

Websites use of SSL make tracking easier. SSL does nothing to prevent google from tracking all your website searches. SSL does nothing to prevent your employer from monitoring all of your external internet access. What SSL does is make google's tracking easier because it helps them identify who you are.

Re:Rearranging deck chairs on RMS Titanic (2)

blueg3 (192743) | about 7 months ago | (#46449485)

Google, Twitter and Facebook adding SSL is useless in face of third party doctrine...

It's useful in that it forces agencies that want the data to at least request (or demand) it directly, rather than obtaining it without anyone else knowing and without oversight. It's useful in that improvements to that oversight consequently affect their access to data. It's useful in that parties that are less friendly to you than the NSA and that have no legal power against Google, Twitter, and Facebook are stymied.

you fAIL it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448841)

The best thing for him to do is shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46448945)

Ok, I respect the guy for leaking what has been going on. I understand his need to not come back for awhile, and I dont blame him.

But when the dumbshit starts lecturing us all about how we all need to do things differently, how business should do this, how govt should do that, how private people should do this or that - he can go fuck himself.

Its like he's starting to take the attitude (shared by many college kiddies) of being on some sort of pedestal from which he can see over all of our heads and ~he~ knows how things should ~really~ be. Fucking ridiculous. That crap is only going to get him reviled, just like the idiot college brats who pull that shit. His ego overfloweth.

Re:The best thing for him to do is shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46449645)

Ok, I respect the guy for leaking what has been going on. I understand his need to not come back for awhile, and I dont blame him.

But when the dumbshit starts lecturing us all about how we all need to do things differently, how business should do this, how govt should do that, how private people should do this or that - he can go fuck himself.

Its like he's starting to take the attitude (shared by many college kiddies) of being on some sort of pedestal from which he can see over all of our heads and ~he~ knows how things should ~really~ be. Fucking ridiculous. That crap is only going to get him reviled, just like the idiot college brats who pull that shit. His ego overfloweth.

Okay, now that you've requested everyone else to stop sharing their thoughts, it's time for you to stop sharing yours too. We'll all live in a happy world where nobody expresses their opinions and ideas and nobody offends anyone.

Re:The best thing for him to do is shut up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46450113)

So being a pretentious idiot is now the same as stating ones opinion?

Coming off sounding like a college kid who thinks theyre "enlightened" is not in any way going to help his cause or the cause of anti-NSA.
When you are so deluded as to talk down to people dont be surprised when you are ignored or shown to a padded cell.

Put a cork in it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46449057)

Surrender eDWard..

typical of /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46449207)

SXSW & Snowden: Goss, that a hipster's match made in heaven?

Of course, no comments on the OP? Everyone afraid of the gov't listening in on /. ?

SXSW sucks (0)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 7 months ago | (#46449249)

Full of hipsters, "Makers" and trashy music.

Re:SXSW sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46451411)

Sure. But real trolls, like me, points out that Slashdot Beta needs a doze of delete.

secure email (1)

BradMajors (995624) | about 7 months ago | (#46449349)

Even though we all know that all of our email is being read... email client support for encryption in many cases is still bad or non-existent.

Seamless and automatic isn't secure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46449467)

Seamless and automatic SSL is what office denizens and school kids get, but they get a MITM for the ease of use.

Unlimited Asylum (3, Informative)

qpqp (1969898) | about 7 months ago | (#46449695)

Now Russia says it will continue to extend asylum protections to Snowden and won't send him back home.

(http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/24/world/europe/russia-snowden/ - of all sources...)

Traitor (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 7 months ago | (#46450373)

I wouldn't want to be a traitor to the United States like Mr. Snowdon.
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