Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Mathematicians Push Back Against the NSA

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the stop-adding-to-the-problem dept.

Math 233

First time accepted submitter Parseval (3632761) writes "The NSA and GCHQ need mathematicians in order to function — they are some of the biggest employers of mathematicians in the world. This New Scientist article by a mathematician describes some of the math behind mass surveillance, and calls on other mathematicians to refuse to cooperate with the NSA/GCHQ while they continue to surveil the entire population. From the article: 'Mathematicians seldom face ethical questions. We enjoy the feeling that what we do is separate from the everyday world. As the number theorist G. H. Hardy wrote in 1940: "I have never done anything 'useful'. No discovery of mine has made, or is likely to make, directly or indirectly, for good or ill, the least difference to the amenity of the world." That idea is now untenable. Mathematics clearly has practical applications that are highly relevant to the modern world, not least internet encryption.'"

cancel ×

233 comments

Watch this (2)

dargaud (518470) | about 3 months ago | (#46854233)

Re:Watch this (2)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 3 months ago | (#46854375)

Thanks for the tip! I might actually watch that some time. Also, let me throw this [imdb.com] back at you.

Fight your own battles (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854425)

This trend of demanding that STEM workers should refuse to work on ethical grounds is very disturbing, and very misguided.

It is, in fact, a complete passing of the buck. Politically-capable voters are refusing to get off their asses and use their political power to reign in these government agencies, and are instead demanding that STEM workers sacrifice their jobs, potentially ruining their careers, in an completely ineffective effort to stop government evil.

If you have an axe to grind, the only morally-correct thing to do is to grind it yourself. It is slothful and cruel to demand that other people should make a sacrifice in order to champion your noble cause for you.

Furthermore, it should be outright obvious now that the advancement of scientific (including mathematical) knowledge will not be curtailed. If you don't research it, someone else will. That someone else may be one of your enemies. Demanding a halting of progress will only result on our country being left behind in the technology race. It is tactically ridiculous.

If you want the government evil to stop, get up, demonstrate, vote, and lobby. Those are the tools you have. If you are unwilling to use them, you have no business demanding that others do it for you, especially not in a stupid way that requires great sacrifice and is guaranteed to fail.

Re:Fight your own battles (4, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46854481)

Someone else might do it instead, but that's no excuse for doing it yourself. You're still helping government thugs commit acts of evil, which is inexcusable.

Yes, we should be tackling the issue in multiple ways, but that doesn't mean people are excused for 'just doing their jobs.'

Re:Fight your own battles (5, Insightful)

Cenan (1892902) | about 3 months ago | (#46854491)

It is, in fact, a complete passing of the buck.

Not really, this is a mathematician calling on other mathematicians to actually think twice before they accept that lucrative summer job at NSA. Other than that, your reply is utter bullshit. If we can't factor in the ethics of the work we do, the assholes down at NSA have already won. It is exactly your kind of mentality that keeps those wheels spinning - just a drop in the ocean, nothing to see here, more along citizen - if I don't do this, someone else will.

Re:Fight your own battles (3, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 3 months ago | (#46855321)

In Starship Troopers by Heinlein, the non-intelligent bugs, when stressed, bred a "brain bug", and lo! The stressor magically went away, and the brain bug died.

In The Mote in God's Eye, the Moties had a genius engineer caste...who was completely silent and didn't interfere with the controlling political caste.

We have our Congress and we have our president. These are functionally idiots with precisely one skill: the ability to convince you they are your friend. i.e., as studied by psychologists, the ability to lie convincingly.

Continue serving them like the brain bugs you are.Oh yes...they respect you, they say, throwing you money that is not theirs that you lap up.

Re:Fight your own battles (4, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#46854505)

It is on the other hand completely legitimate to condemn the jack-booted thug for crushing your neck under his heal - after all every individual bears absolute personal responsibility for their actions. Should we condemn any less the mathematician sitting in an office somewhere who is responsible for determining where the jack-booted thugs should be targeted?

Certainly the electorate needs to get off their collective asses and change things, but at present there is no effective mechanism for them to do so. The election system has been gamed to the point that it's virtually impossible to wrest control from the two-faced party currently in control, short of a major grass-roots campaign to toss the bastards out, and such campaigns inevitably need leaders and organization to give them focus, which the NSA is quite likely doing their best to disrupt (we have documented evidence that the intelligence organizations have been infiltrating and undermining potentially powerful citizen groups since at least the McCarthy era, do you really think anything has changed?)

I would truly love to hear any ideas you have as to how we can realistically disrupt the current system nonviolently - I have a couple, such as a direct democracy party being implemented within the context of the existing political structure (with elected representatives legally bound to obey the will of their constituency on individual issues), but I just don't see a way to get such system off the ground before the established power structure changes the rules to make it impossible.

Re:Fight your own battles (3, Insightful)

theArtificial (613980) | about 3 months ago | (#46854767)

Certainly the electorate needs to get off their collective asses and change things, but at present there is no effective mechanism for them to do so. The election system has been gamed to the point that it's virtually impossible to wrest control from the two-faced party currently in control, short of a major grass-roots campaign to toss the bastards out, and such campaigns inevitably need leaders and organization to give them focus, which the NSA is quite likely doing their best to disrupt (we have documented evidence that the intelligence organizations have been infiltrating and undermining potentially powerful citizen groups since at least the McCarthy era, do you really think anything has changed?)

America is an Oligarchy [talkingpointsmemo.com] interview with the paper's Author. Another analysis [zerohedge.com] which I would recommend skimming over.

What is most incredible to me is that the data under scrutiny in the study was from 1981-2002. One can only imagine how much worse things have gotten since the 2008 financial crisis. The study found that even when 80% of the population favored a particular public policy change, it was only instituted 43% of the time . We saw this first hand with the bankster bailout in 2008, when Americans across the board were opposed to it, but Congress passed TARP anyway (although they had to vote twice).

Unless you get the "elites" involved you're doomed.

Re:Fight your own battles (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#46855219)

And if the thugs are working for the elites?

Re:Fight your own battles (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854925)

1) Saying "my vote isn't impactful" is no excuse for political inaction. In fact, it is precisely attitudes like that that make the political actions of the motivated-few ineffective. Political force is a matter of numbers, and if everyone just says "oh well I am just a drop in the bucket" then the numbers do not manifest. It is *so* much easier to point your finger at people who create the technology that gets abused than it is to actually get up and stop the abusers.

2) Every useful technology can be abused. The man who invented the knife is not responsible for stabbings, nor is the man who built the individual knife used. The man who invented a means of recording the actions of corrupt police is not responsible when the police use those same cameras to spy on the population. And so on.

3) How to realistically disrupt the current system nonviolently? Simple, reinstate the 60s. People got up and protested. They grouped together and demonstrated against specific political agendas. They did not just trespass and say "we are unhappy because we are poor" like the occupy movement. They debated. They voted. They funded lobbiests. They allowed themselves to be arrested. They did not relent. You can do the same.
If people are unwilling to do this, then those same people deserve the corrupt government they get. If they further turn their ire towards engineers who invent new technologies, ignoring the useful applications of those technologies because someone else abused them, then these people are guilty not only of sloth, but of punishing the innocent for the crimes of the guilty.

"Great ideas always enter into the world with disgusting alliances" -- Alfred North Whitehead.

"Somebody is doing something bad with science. Quick, stop all science!" -- You.

 

Re:Fight your own battles (3, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46855023)

"Somebody is doing something bad with science. Quick, stop all science!" -- You.

This is more like, "Stop working at an organization that you know is violating the fundamental liberties of the American people, as well as violating the highest law of the land." People working at the NSA need to quit, and the people need to rise up and put a stop to this nonsense.

Re:Fight your own battles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855323)

You think that everything the NSA does is evil? You think that nothing at all they do actually protects anyone?

Can you accept the possibility that the NSA does both some good and some bad, and that the employees don't get much say in how their work is used?

Further, you think that aspiring mathematicians aren't already thinking about this? That those possessed of a moral conscience would fail to act on it unless someone on the Internet says they should?

Some people are sociopaths who don't care about anything but themselves. It follows that some such people may also be gifted mathematicians. Such people will happily accept positions at the NSA no matter how many bloggers say they shouldn't.

If you want the NSA to stop doing bad things, apply political pressure. Attempting to deny them talent won't get you anywhere.

Re:Fight your own battles (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#46855049)

1) Sure, but faced with the reality of an apathetic populace, how does an individual work towards change? I can run for political office, but without the backing of an existing political party or a large grass-roots campaign I have no chance. And I'm probably going to have to be a pretty major idealist or unrealistic loony to continue the struggle in the face of overwhelming odds. Either way I'm going to have a really hard time appealing to enough voters to have a chance, especially when the established powers will spare no expense undermining my campaign - something that will probably actually be made easier by my own idealism, the distinction between idealism and fanaticism is largely determined by the PR departments.

2) True. But we're not talking about the guy making knives at a kitchen supply company, we're talking about the guy designing more effective bayonets at the SS's secret weapons facility. Big difference. The second knife is designed for the sole purpose of stabbing the enemies of the state, with the citizenry has already been clearly established as one of the primary enemies. The man who chooses to knowingly contribute to that system carries a share of the responsibility for its abuses.

3) And by and large they had little lasting effect. A war was possibly ended a little ahead of schedule, but not before its primary objectives were completed. People with dark skin or vaginas got a few more rights a bit sooner than the political machine was on track to deliver. But by and large there was very little change, at a very great social cost. How many man-hours, and lives, do you suppose were spent in all those protests? Now multiply that by the number and intensity of problems facing us now. Do you really see any way we can turn things around without mass unemployment supplying a lot of angry, disillusioned people to take to the streets?

Re:Fight your own battles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855363)

Your pessimism is amazing. Do you realize that government evil is not limited to the actions of the NSA? Even if every engineer, scientist, mathematician, and software developer in the world refused to work on anything that any government agency could get their hands on, the government would still be evil and would still be able to leverage its influence to do exactly what it is doing today. All the engineers would accomplish is technological stagnation...the evil would roll right along.

The only way to stop the evil is political activism. That's it. Absolutely nothing else will work. And your attitude encourages the exact kind of political complacency that allows government evil to flourish unabated.

You empower the government far more than those engineers.

Re:Fight your own battles (2)

Wootery (1087023) | about 3 months ago | (#46855187)

Every useful technology can be abused. The man who invented the knife is not responsible for stabbings, nor is the man who built the individual knife used. The man who invented a means of recording the actions of corrupt police is not responsible when the police use those same cameras to spy on the population. And so on.

Oversimplification. It's fuzzier than that. If I turn up at your knife store covered in blood, and ask not that you dial 911 but instead for Your stabbiest knife please, my good man, you'd be right to be suspicious, and it wouldn't be unreasonable to place some of the blame on you if you sold me a knife and I went on to do harm with it.

You're right that lots of technologies can be abused, but it's not the case that every technology which can be used for evil must also have a 'legitimate' use as well.

Some items are specifically intended for unsavoury uses. Machine-pistols, biological weapons, nuclear weapons...

Also, sometimes the line between invention and use is blurred: development vs deployment.

"Great ideas always enter into the world with disgusting alliances" -- Alfred North Whitehead.

"Somebody is doing something bad with science. Quick, stop all science!" -- You.

Well that's just a shameful straw-man. There's quite a difference between advocating boycotting of an organisation, and opposing 'all science'.

Re:Fight your own battles (1)

RandCraw (1047302) | about 3 months ago | (#46855035)

I strongly agree with most of your post, but direct democratic governance is an invitation to manipulate the uninformed voter. Left to a direct democratic vote, we'd have dozens of added fatuous amendments, like outlawing flag burning, embracing christianity over other religions, and requiring onerous voter ID enforcement.

A preferable alternative might be to ask registered voters to take a knowledge test that apportions a greater/lesser weight to their vote in proportion to their score. That way the informed electorate would have greater impact on policy and the clueless something less.

A thorny problem. But almost any change would be an improvement over today's status quo.

einstein, sakharov, sagan, nobel, (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854763)

lots of actual, you know, STEM luminaries, found ethics to be one of the most important things they worked on.

Re:Fight your own battles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854953)

If you want the government evil to stop, get up, demonstrate, vote, and lobby. Those are the tools you have.

Wrong.

These are the tools you used to have. And I think there was plenty of evidence at the peaceful protests during #Occupy that we no longer have the right to lawfully and peacefully demonstrate en masse. No, I'm afraid your pathetic non-votes have defined that as an act of terrorism now.

Thanks for the history lesson. It's always fun to listen to the old timers spin the old tales like it still means anything anymore. Individualism is dead when it comes to controlling the government, unless you want to be a martyr.

Re:Fight your own battles (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 3 months ago | (#46855093)

If you have an axe to grind, the only morally-correct thing to do is to grind it yourself. It is slothful and cruel to demand that other people should make a sacrifice in order to champion your noble cause for you.

Are we talking about an apathetic voter-base, or not?

If yes, they're not demanding that anyone else grind their axe. They probably aren't even aware of the axe.

If no, we have a genuine disagreement.

No-one is saying I'm too lazy to vote, but I hope engineers refuse to become cogs of the military/industrial/prison/media machine.

Re:Fight your own battles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855137)

What do we owe this society? The place STEM in the socially lowest class and outsource us whenever possible. Let them pay for what they created.

Mathematicians Have Always Had To Consider Ethics (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854251)

Hardy's conceit is nonsense. Mathematics has always had a dark side. Archimedes built war machines. To admit anything else is to say that mathematics is useless, and we have no business foisting it on students. I am tired of mathematicians who whine that math does not get enough support in the United States and then brag that it is like art. If you want to act like an artist you should not complain if you are paid and treated with scorn like one.

Re:Mathematicians Have Always Had To Consider Ethi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854431)

I agreed until the "treat artists with scorn" part. It shows you're just another corporate idiot.

Re:Mathematicians Have Always Had To Consider Ethi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854727)

I don't think he is. The vast majority of "artists" are pretentious shits who add no value to society. Just look at "modern art" - it's hideous, silly, or both. No modern artist could hold a candle to any of the old masters or even the Neo-impressionists.
Basically, you're an ass.

Re:Mathematicians Have Always Had To Consider Ethi (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 3 months ago | (#46854847)

Rembrandt was considered a revolutionary modern painter in his days. Just compare the paintings before him, and after - a huge difference. He drastically changed the ways in which paintings were composed.

Now, Picasso could paint just as well as Rembrandt, except he chose to paint non-realistic paintings. I find him a great artist. Just as Eduard Munch, btw, whose "Scream" expresses a lot of feelings that would be nearly impossible to express using photorealistic paintings. Majakovsky's "Cloud in trousers" is a great poem. I appreciate him more than a lot of Shakespeare's sonnets. Does that make him a better artist? I doubt it - but it sure doesn't make him a bad one.

Or is modern defined a bit closer to now? I'm sure I can find some great artists. Within the 99% that's horrible, there is always that 1% that will likely stand the test of time. Who knows, it may even be Banksy or Damien Hirst (*).

(*) I'd vote for Banksy :)

Re:Mathematicians Have Always Had To Consider Ethi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855181)

Picasso just found out he could make more money by selling crap to pretentious and gullible morons.

Re:Mathematicians Have Always Had To Consider Ethi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854915)

I am the AC that posted the OP. It was not my intention to say that artists should be treated with scorn. I meant to say that artists are treated badly. I personally think that many artists deserve better, but unfortunately in the United States they are not treated well at all. We can argue whether or not that it is a good thing, but I am aware of too many examples where it simply is the sad state of affairs.

Re:Mathematicians Have Always Had To Consider Ethi (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 3 months ago | (#46854719)

No so. Throughout most of history, mathematicians did not have the luxury of pandering to nationalism, militarism, pacifism or other temporal concerns. The numbers of mathematicians were so low that from the very earliest days mathematics was an international scholarly activity.

While it is true that mathematics was employed by engineers and others in many applied fields, mathematics itself has never been subject to restriction or exclusion on the basis of its applications. The applications themselves perhaps, but never the mathematics. Even in the Soviet Union, mathematicians were free to research and publish as they pleased.

This, like so many things in science, has changed in the post war, "Big Science" era. We are now in a situation where ~1% of all mathematicians worldwide are employed by one organisation -- the NSA -- and the issues surrounding this organisation may yet lead to a wholly unprecedented crisis within mathematics, concerning what we should/shouldn't not work on -- or for. If we end up in a situation where certain branches of mathematics become restricted or prohibited in any way, then mathematics will have crossed a particularly dangerous Rubicon, and with it so will Western society.

As much as I don't like what the NSA is doing, the problem is with that organization, and not the tools, disciplines, or mathematics being done there. I for one am not willing to uproot millennia of mathematical traditions and precedent because one foreign power has allowed its spy organization to run out of control.

I note that the great French mathematician Alexander Grothendieck, effectively retired from mathematics [wikipedia.org] in protest at, basically, the Vietnam war. Some view this as a powerful statement of principal, but I don't accept that mathematicians direct themselves according to events in the United States or any other country. Mathematics is an international, long-term and now global activity and that should not be compromised because of the likes of the NSA.

P.S.
If you are a mathematicians and you do want to do something about the NSA, please consider designing distributed secure browsing/email/DNS/messaging/hosting systems or contributing to their design. That will do far more for the world than fragmenting mathematics ever will.

Re:Mathematicians Have Always Had To Consider Ethi (4, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46854801)

It's not just mathematicians working for the NSA who are at fault; at this point, anyone working there is knowingly helping evil prevail. Anyone who doesn't quit is a scumbag.

Re:Mathematicians Have Always Had To Consider Ethi (1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#46855195)

...anyone working there is knowingly helping evil prevail.

So, you think that anyone attempting to protect citizens of the US and its allies is engaged in "evil"?

It is as I suspected then.

Tell me, what do you think about the following item? Is it the NSA and FBI engaged in evildoing? Or are they stopping evildoing?

NSA helped foil terror plot in Belgium, documents, officials say [cnn.com]

Re:Mathematicians Have Always Had To Consider Ethi (3, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46855325)

So, you think that anyone attempting to protect citizens of the US and its allies is engaged in "evil"?

I think infringing upon people's rights in an effort to protect them is evil.

Mathmatics is the single most important field (3, Interesting)

davydagger (2566757) | about 3 months ago | (#46854305)

The implications of mathematics are fairly abstracted in terms, but in an engineering driven society, math is behind everything we do.

Encryption, the cornerstone of secure internet, is based on heavy math, and mathmatical relations.

Heck, all computers algorythms are math, and math is needed to optimize them.

statistics is what advertisers use to target ads, given access to people's personal information can draw mathematical relationships between habbits and demographics, and between demographics and desires, and strengths and weaknesses.

Politicians use the same sort of advertising model to construct campaigns, and law enforcement/military, to target dissedents.

Re:Mathmatics is the single most important field (3, Interesting)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 3 months ago | (#46854367)

statistics is what advertisers use to target ads, given access to people's personal information can draw mathematical relationships between habbits and demographics, and between demographics and desires, and strengths and weaknesses.

In fact, statistics is the one branch of mathematics that basically everyone in higher education comes across. Much to the chagrin of non-technical majors the world over. Which is too bad, because with zero intuition it is a really hard subject.

But yes, mathematics touches on basically everything we do in IT, and I for one welcome this call for a debate about how ethical questions come into play for e.g. cryptographers.

Re:Mathmatics is the single most important field (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 3 months ago | (#46854603)

I'll half agree with that, math and materials science is behind everythiing an engineering driven society does.

Re:Mathmatics is the single most important field (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#46854873)

Math and material science were only invented to accomplish engineering tasks.

Instead of engineering being called an applied science, science should be called theoretical engineering.

Engineering is behind math and science.

Re:Mathmatics is the single most important field (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 3 months ago | (#46854753)

Mathmatics is the single most important field

Philosphopy is the the father of all knowledge.

Did you know Pythagoras was a philospher ?

Re:Mathmatics is the single most important field (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855281)

Mathmatics is the single most important field

Philosphopy is the the father of all knowledge.

Did you know Pythagoras was a philospher ?

The most famous 'mathematical' work was called The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Newton was a philosopher.

The Cartesian coordinate system was invented by a man which is more commonly referred to as Descartes the philosopher.

Geometric proofs were invented to help solve the ever increasing complexity of philosophy problems that were being thought up. It was only a happy accident that it was useful to build monuments.

Yes, philosophy is the basis for all human knowledge, reason, and logic. Too bad many mathematicians and engineers believe it begins and ends within a tiny twig on one of the branches of philosophy.

NSA College Campus Recruiters (5, Interesting)

cosm (1072588) | about 3 months ago | (#46854307)

Some years back I when I was working on my undergrad (BS Applied Math), I stopped by an NSA booth at the career fair. I asked if any of the signals intelligence work involved monitoring domestic communications. The recruiter panel said "No, it is illegal for us to spy on Americans and there are signs near every workstation that say so". Agreeing, I said, "well why do you still do it?".

Ok so I was there to be antagonistic, but even five years ago the lower level guys knew what was going.

College students can step up and stop joining there ranks. Here in North Carolina, my alma mator is suckling the teat and getting in bed further with them via a 60 million dollar data analytics lab [newsobserver.com] . There was some student protest in the form of people writing "Fuck the NSA" in chalk on buildings, but other than that, big U's are happy to cozy up closer to the feds.

I ended up going into the private sector and look back thankful that I didn't join their ranks.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854379)

You know, they actually do a lot of really important stuff there.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46854421)

And they do a lot of really evil stuff there too, which is more important in a free country. If they don't want the supposedly good things they do to be tossed into the garbage with the bad, then they have only themselves to blame.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#46854469)

The United States became a free country due to General George Washington out-spying the British. Spying played an important role in defeating the Confederacy and freeing the slaves. Spying, including keeping the secret of the breaking of Enigma encryption, played an important role in defeating the Axis powers. Spying played an important role in resisting aggression by the Soviet Union and the spread of communism. Spying is what found Bin Laden and has helped to prevent further successful attacks by al Qaida in the West.

You want to end that streak I take it?

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (4, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46854487)

Telling me of other acts of spying will not convince me that freedom is worthless, which is what you want me to believe. Freedom and principles are simply more important than security. You belong in North Korea.

That's the message I want to send, regardless of how wrong you are in comparing every act of spying to what the NSA is doing.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#46854535)

Oh no, no, no! I am not trying to convince you that "freedom is worthless," but rather am pointing out that you have no useful idea about how your freedom was gained, maintained, and what is needed in the future to ensure it. Your little crack about "North Korea" is only further demonstration of that. In fact that might even suggest that you don't really understand your freedoms, let alone the Constitution.

If you are confusing what goes on in North Korea with what goes on in the US you are badly uninformed indeed.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (4, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46854569)

Oh no, no, no! I am not trying to convince you that "freedom is worthless," but rather am pointing out that you have no useful idea about how your freedom was gained, maintained, and what is needed in the future to ensure it.

If we need to infringe upon our freedoms to freedoms in order to 'preserve' them or even gain them, then I'd rather go down fighting. We're supposed to be 'the land of the free and the home of the brave,' not the land of the utterly worthless cowards. Cowards like you, who worship the government and pretend to want a small government at the exact same time. It's a fucking eyesore.

If you are confusing what goes on in North Korea with what goes on in the US you are badly uninformed indeed.

Your goal seems to be to make the US like North Korea. I merely suggested that you move there instead, since it's a quicker way to get what you want.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#46855135)

If we need to infringe upon our freedoms to freedoms in order to 'preserve' them or even gain them, then I'd rather go down fighting.

It is a simple fact that Benjamin Franklin opened other people's mail for intelligence and propaganda purposes during the Revolutionary War. General Washington ran a spy ring that engaged in spying on other colonists. That is how you gained your freedoms. They were maintained by similar means since then. Don't like that? You reject having your freedoms handed to you by such means? You would "rather go down fighting"? You can't change history unless you invent a time machine. My suggestion then is get busy with the mysteries of space-time or move to another country where you will not be so burdened by the unchangeable facts of history.

We're supposed to be 'the land of the free and the home of the brave,' not the land of the utterly worthless cowards

America is the land of the free and home of the brave. There are Americans fighting overseas today against groups that threaten America. Unfortunately there are people that misuse that phrase to suggest that America should take no measures against those that threaten it and Americans should be subject to dying en mass in shopping malls from terrorist bombs because otherwise they are neither free or brave. That is nonsense, ridiculous.

Cowards like you, who worship the government and pretend to want a small government at the exact same time. It's a fucking eyesore.

The problem is entirely yours. There is nothing inconsistent with wanting a limited government that accomplishes its functions competently and efficiently. National defense is a constitutional responsibility of the Federal government. You might have noticed that there are major portions of the Constitution devoted to specifying that.

Your goal seems to be to make the US like North Korea. I merely suggested that you move there instead, since it's a quicker way to get what you want.

Your claim is ridiculous on the face of it. It is just another form of personal attack you have engaged in along with all the name calling.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46855345)

It is a simple fact that Benjamin Franklin opened other people's mail for intelligence and propaganda purposes during the Revolutionary War. General Washington ran a spy ring that engaged in spying on other colonists.

"Telling me of other acts of spying will not convince me that freedom is worthless"

Or, to put it another way, "X did it too, so it's okay!" is not going to convince me of *shit*.

You can't change history unless you invent a time machine.

Nor do I need to. You seem to be putting forth this illogical argument that, "Person X in the past did Y, and because they did Y, you have freedoms today. Therefore, we should continue to do Y." I don't buy it. If such a situation occurred in the future, principled people would object to it.

I do not look at the founding fathers as perfect beings. They had some good ideas, but many bad ones. From day one, people's freedoms were being violated, and I object to any instance of that happening. So can it.

The problem is entirely yours. There is nothing inconsistent with wanting a limited government that accomplishes its functions competently and efficiently.

A truly limited government does not infringe upon people's fundamental liberties in the name of security.

National defense is a constitutional responsibility of the Federal government.

And our other rights cannot be infringed upon in the name of that security; that is intolerable.

You might have noticed that there are major portions of the Constitution devoted to specifying that.

The bill of rights after that, and they must respect people's rights while trying to secure the nation.

Your claim is ridiculous on the face of it. It is just another form of personal attack you have engaged in along with all the name calling.

Your words reveal your true nature, and your true nature is that of an authoritarian.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (2)

cosm (1072588) | about 3 months ago | (#46854613)

Oh no, no, no! I am not trying to convince you that "freedom is worthless," but rather am pointing out that you have no useful idea about how your freedom was gained, maintained, and what is needed in the future to ensure it. Your little crack about "North Korea" is only further demonstration of that. In fact that might even suggest that you don't really understand your freedoms, let alone the Constitution.

If you are confusing what goes on in North Korea with what goes on in the US you are badly uninformed indeed.

Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither. You are obviously one of those.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#46855169)

Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.

You are apparently trying to quote one of America's founding fathers, and doing it badly. Lets look at the actual quote.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin

It seems that in misquoting Franklin you omitted some important qualifiers. Were you just reckless, or are you one of those?

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (2)

cosm (1072588) | about 3 months ago | (#46855239)

Dipshit,

It's called paraphrasing, and it's a common form. By condoning the current NSA you are in fact giving up essential liberty in exchange for a little temporary safety. I'm glad that you can recognize a founding father quote. It's a shame you don't adhere to its ruminations.

The full inclusion of all qualifiers does not strengthen your argument. Try again with a valid rebuttal.

Shithead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855271)

No, it's not paraphrasing, it's deliberately misquoting.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#46855317)

You were being sloppy in your quoting just as you are in your history and thinking. Your claim about giving up essential liberty is false.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46855355)

Actually, I don't like Franklin's version. I like yours better. Franklin's version seems to say that it would be okay to sacrifice freedom if the safety gained is not temporary (among other things), which is something I reject.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

bknack (947759) | about 3 months ago | (#46854671)

Your comments are entirely off the point.

'cold fjord' did not indicate that he abhorred all spying. His issue appears to be with the NSA's use of domestic spying. Something that they are not supposed to engage in.

Domestic spying would seem to be the purview of the FBI. Since they are bound by the "normal" criminal system, they're use of spying is limited to ensure that your rights are properly respected.

The NSA and CIA etc, do not have to respect the rights of anyone they spy on because (at least in theory) they do not spy on US citizens. Once they are free to spy on you without respecting your rights as a citizen, you no longer have rights. Welcome to the very police state you suggest that the NSA is "saving you" from.

Cheers,
Bruce.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854751)

You won't reach an authoritarians that way. He is currently deconstructing your perfectly true statement so it can be perverted into an authoritarian shill defense post. It is safe to bet that cold fjord is an NSA/conservative shill, and he should be treated like one.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854527)

Whoever modded this authoritarian-worshiping bullshit up is an idiot.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854567)

Whoever made the above comment fails to understand what authoritarianism actually is. Spying helped to defeat actual authoritarian regimes. The US isn't authoritarian.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854601)

The US isn't authoritarian.

Are you literally a retard? Practically everything the government has been doing for decades can only be explained by the authoritarian impulses of the ruling class.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855217)

In living memory the US government has helped to defeat the totalitarians of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, Soviet Communism which had its boot on all of Eastern Europe, and Saddam's Baathist Iraq. It helped fight to a standstill the aggression of communist North Korea which was aided by communist China. It helped defeat communism in several other countries. You have your history scrambled there.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46855397)

The TSA, the NSA's mass surveillance, free speech zones, stop-and-frisk, DUI checkpoints, mass public surveillance, unfettered border searches, constitution-free zones, gun control laws, copyright, patents, anti-free speech laws, protest permits, the general erosion of the 4th amendment, etc. all show that the US government is pretty evil right now. Now, you mention Nazi Germany and such, which was in the past. Shall we bring up some past events, too? Japanese internment camps, women's rights, slavery, and the poor treatment of blacks that followed. The US is not and never has been a beacon of freedom.

But your bullshit logic seems to be this: "X helped defeat Bad Thing Y, so X must not be bad." That just isn't going to cut it. Guess what? Just because the US defeated some 'bad guys', that doesn't mean the US government isn't itself a bad guy; it is.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

cosm (1072588) | about 3 months ago | (#46854565)

You know what, I'll bite.

Firstly, the "don't worry about civil liberties because ... uh ... ter'ist murika freedom!!!" argument became passe once those who were prophetic about the longstanding ramifications of the Patriot act turned out to be correct. And secondly, it's antithetical for you to justify domestic spying for the formation of a free country. The two are diametrically opposed. I'm not putting words in your mouth. You are justifying domestic spying. If you had said, "I believe we should have the best SIGINT over foreign entities, and none over American's private domestic communication, and no secret FISA courts and no gag-orders, no NSLs, no secret no-fly list, no secret kill-list", ok, maybe, but you did not say that.

The American people are not the enemy, and there is not some huge terrorist cell lying in wait in your neighbor's fucking closet. Get over it. Whoever beat nationalistic pride into your psyche, probably some baby boomer, they had it beat into them by the McCarthyism of their day, and it was wrong then and it is wrong now. We are a great country because of our people. Not our government. They serve us. They should fear us. We pay for them to serve us, not the other way around.

How about we all just stick our heads in the sand [southparkstudios.com] so the terrorist know we didn't see their sacred prophet Muhammad while where at it. Because oh noes .. the terrorist are gunna git'cha!

Fuck you.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 3 months ago | (#46854575)

The United States became a free country due to General George Washington out-spying the British. Spying played an important role in defeating the Confederacy and freeing the slaves. .....

Do you really see no difference between spying on foreign enemies and domestic warrantless spying on one's own citizens?

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854739)

Don't try to use logic on Slashdot. It's just an exercise in liberal group-think here.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854747)

I wasn't aware that only liberals cared about fundamental rights. Real small government conservatives (libertarians) care about them.

george washington also agreed to the 4th amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854771)

as did the other founding fathers. in fact, they risked their lives for it.

Re:george washington also agreed to the 4th amendm (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#46855309)

The 4th Amendment is important, but so is Article II and the rest of the Constitution. And all of it should be interpreted properly. Many people don't do that.

Re:george washington also agreed to the 4th amendm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855403)

The 4th Amendment is important, but so is Article II and the rest of the Constitution.

The constitution was set up such that amendments to the constitution override things that come before them. The 4th amendment comes after Article II, so the government must respect people's rights while trying to keep the nation secure.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855279)

Spying is what found Bin Laden and has helped to prevent further successful attacks by al Qaida in the West.

That was HUMINT. Mathematicians aren't helping HUMINT but SIGINT. HUMINT is useful, targetted SIGINT is less useful, dragnet SIGINT is just pork to get good taxpayer paid salaries.

Spying played an important role in resisting aggression by the Soviet Union and the spread of communism.

The Soviet Union and the KGB outspied the USA, yet they lost the cold war. I understand it is hard for spies to admit their actions are mostly insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854455)

Such as?

Re: NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854483)

That does not redeem them. The nazis did a lot of groundbreaking research as well.

Cops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854509)

You know, they actually do a lot of really important stuff there.

So do police. But at least with cops, we can see what they're doing and stop it or punish them when the law is willing.

NSA does their stuff and there is no one to watch them. FISA courts? Please. Since Snowden, it is obvious that they rubber stamp everything - or the NSA just skips it.

How are we to know?

So, the prudent thing is to assume the worst and that they are liars.

The burden of proof is on them because they are Government and they have a history of malice.

So, I would have no problem if someone accuses the NSA of domestic assassinations and illegal detainments. The NSA has the burden of proof.

Period.

And I'd believe it.

Re:NSA College Campus Recruiters (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 3 months ago | (#46854971)

You're targeting the symptom, not the disease. The House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the President (both Bush and Obama) knew full well what the NSA was doing, and were instrumental in putting the program together and setting up new laws and courts to skirt around the 4th Amendment. They're in full Cover Your Ass mode right now, trying to dump the blame for this entirely on the NSA, so they can wash their hands clean in time for the next election.

The NSA is just a tool, an instrument. Its behavior is as good or as bad as the politicians want it to be. As the saying goes, a bad workman blames his tools.

Power (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854315)

Technology == information == power. The NSA wants all these math nerds to manufacture it for them.

And they'll do it because they have their own selfish desires of 'recognition', even though they'll say it was for the sake of the work or their country...as if nationalism is a valid reason to do anything.

If they really cared about anything but themselves they would not go anywhere near any military.

researchers' remorse ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854355)

It is likely that mathematicians and computer scientists will come to be seen, a generation hence, as the enablers of the nastiest and most obsessively intrusive governmental practices ever. Like the physicists who were instrumental in the development of atomic weapons, we will suffer for our brilliance and blindness to its consequences.

Re:researchers' remorse ... (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about 3 months ago | (#46854871)

Or like the chemists, who designed tear gas, only to have the riot police use it against them when they demonstrated against the Vietnam war.

Your own creation turning against you. It's a rather old cliché but unfortunately, people insist on repeating it.

Edward Snowden is the new Sakharov (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854875)

unfortunately young students today do not learn who Sakharov was or what he stood for.

Seasoning != Meat (-1, Offtopic)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 3 months ago | (#46854363)

I've tried dozens of different types of veggie-burgers or meatless burgers. And the problem is that no matter what type of spices/sauces you put in them, you just don't get the meat flavor. The oils and fats that are added to them don't sear/brown/caramelize etc..

With a piece of meat (beef/chicken/fish), I can cook it rare, medium or well done depending on the dish (tuna: sear only, hamburger: well done) or the consumer.

With meat substitutes it's "Cook it until warm/hot". The product itself doesn't change between temperatures. I'd say it's like making toast but atleast with bread a slightly toasted piece of bread tastes differently from one that is dark brown.

Re:Seasoning != Meat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854419)

Nice job talking about your meat in a math article though.

Re:Seasoning != Meat (1)

bmo (77928) | about 3 months ago | (#46854445)

>manufactured meat substitutes aren't good.

You haven't tried "Ambrosia Plus" from Triplanetary Foods yet.

--
BMO

Re:Seasoning != Meat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854463)

I'm going to impregnate your feces with delight!

Re:Seasoning != Meat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854473)

I agree. If the flavor of meat is what you desire, then meat is what you will need for it.

Of course, the spices and sauces you mention are also quite tasty. They don't taste like meat, but they do taste good. If yummy food is what you are after, vegetarian cuisine has tremendous variety to offer. And it is nutritionally-complete without the unhealthily-high doses of cholesterol and fat.

But if it is the specific flavors of meat that you crave, and you will accept no substitutes, then I don't see why you would be very interested in meat-alternatives at all.

Oh and by the way, your post is complete off-topic, as is mine.

Mathematicians are not stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854403)

I am sure that many mathematicians answer the ethical question about mass surveillance in the same way other national security people do.

Re:Mathematicians are not stupid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854477)

No one said they were stupid, just sociopathic.

And if you don't care about the Constitution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854411)

...consider that the NSA is now essentially producing child pornography en-masse by logging all those sexy webchats. Somewhere in the process of putting that aspect of the program together, you know a pedophile had to be involved...

Lets just change the NSA's slogan: Biggest employer of mathematicians, biggest producer of child pornography, and also we have some pedophiles working for us."
^feel free to tweak as necessary.

Information is often more important than weapons (1)

volvox_voxel (2752469) | about 3 months ago | (#46854525)

If you look at US navy documentaries about the battle of midway, The US was totally out gunned in terms of naval ships. We cracked the Japanese code. We knew where they were and where they were going. We were able to defeate a numerically superior force accordingly. The same also held with the skys over Brittian. Radar provided the information needed to intercept a much larger airforce. The work of the code breakers that told the British where the submarines were, etc, helped win the war. It can be argued , that without the work of Claude Shannon and Alan Turing, Britian would have been defeated.

The NSA is an important component in understanding the world around us.

Re:Information is often more important than weapon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854551)

Then they shouldn't be committing acts of evil, now should they?

Re:Information is often more important than weapon (4, Insightful)

jopsen (885607) | about 3 months ago | (#46854799)

The NSA is an important component in understanding the world around us.

Nobody complains about good old fashion spying... Such as hiring a PI to follow a suspect around.
The invasion of privacy conducted at the hands of the NSA is so extensive that it makes whatever records Stasi was making look like childs play.

It's the unprecedented scale that is the big problem.... Then there is the legality of industrial espionage in a civilized world, etc... And the fact that you normally don't conduct criminal activities within the territory of your allies.

Re:Information is often more important than weapon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854841)

Not according to what I've read. The relevant weapons were airplanes, and there was rough parity when taking into account the land-based planes on Midway Island.

Re:Information is often more important than weapon (2)

bmo (77928) | about 3 months ago | (#46854869)

>NSA is important

Before the Bush administration, the NSA mostly had two basic roles: 1. To help with information, computing, and communications security and 2. To spy on foreign nationals and foreign governments. After 9/11 their mission was changed, to assume that the entire US population was the enemy.

Alan Turing is long dead.

Fuck off.

--
BMO

Information is often more important than weapons (0)

volvox_voxel (2752469) | about 3 months ago | (#46854539)

If you look at US navy documentaries about the battle of midway, The US was totally out gunned in terms of naval ships. We cracked the Japanese code. We knew where they were and where they were going. We were able to defeat a numerically superior force accordingly. The same also held with the skys over Brittan. Radar provided the information needed to intercept a much larger air-force. The work of the code breakers that told the British where the submarines were, etc, helped win the war. It can be argued , that without the work of Claude Shannon and Alan Turing, Britain would have been defeated.

The NSA is an important component in understanding the world around us.

the NSA did not exist in 1941. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855031)

the code was broken by the military intelligence services.

the NSA was only created because the cold war started... and the cold war is now over.

CS too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854731)

I'm working on my master's degree in CS and I'm constantly getting emails about "opportunities" to work for the CIA and the DOD. Besides the ethical issue, I don't think they pay that well, plus their prohibition on hiring people who may have infringed on copyright. Not sure who exactly they'll recruit, since anyone who is actually good in the field will take a six figure job or create a startup when they graduate, and who are they going to find under 40 who has never downloaded anything?

Wake up and Smell the Budgets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854743)

Its not the rank and file, top maths .. its their department heads...
Its not the ordinary random gifted students, its those with .mil families already..
Its not the privelaged, recognized A-players, its the no-chance-to-progress associate profs
Its not the 200+ year Americans, its the new immigrants

this show of bravado on the part of the few is just that..
no way is it going to even slow the number that will willingly do most anything, for a price, a steady job, and a pat on the head

Not smart ethical people's problem (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 3 months ago | (#46854757)

The call for smart, ethical people to ban themselves from working at the NSA is not the solution. The NSA will simply hire instead smart, unethical people or smart, naive people. We should encourage smart, ethical people to work in all branches of the government and report any illegal/immoral things the government is doing. And then the public needs to kick the criminals/immoral government agents out of office.

Or we can pretend that a few people refusing to work for them will solve all our problems, no need for anyone else to do anything.

Re:Not smart ethical people's problem (3, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 3 months ago | (#46854823)

no need for anyone else to do anything.

No one is suggesting that we not do anything else. These people just need to refuse to take part in immoral activities, even if you think it's 'useless'. Principles matter.

Re:Not smart ethical people's problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46854833)

... and of course our enemies will not share our effete intellectuals' scruples.

Good math is applied math (1)

Alomex (148003) | about 3 months ago | (#46854979)

'Mathematicians seldom face ethical questions. We enjoy the feeling that what we do is separate from the everyday world.

Actually this is a recent affectation. Historically mathematicians very much enjoyed the interaction of mathematics with the real world, e.g. Archimedes, Isaac Newton, Fibonacci, Euler, Gauss, Hilbert, Poincare, Pascal, Bernoulli, Cartan, von Neumann, Turing, Dirichlet.

More recently we have Stephen Smale, Terry Tao and Tim Gowers all three mathematicians of the first order who have dabbled in various applications.

Job Fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855025)

Where would you apply...

My job interview with the NSA didn't go well at al (5, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | about 3 months ago | (#46855039)

Why shouldn't I work for the N.S.A.? That's a tough one, but I'll take a shot. Say I'm working at the N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I'm real happy with myself, 'cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people that I never met and that I never had no problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin', "Send in the marines to secure the area" 'cause they don't give a shit. It won't be their kid over there, gettin' shot. Just like it wasn't them when their number was called, 'cause they were pullin' a tour in the National Guard. It'll be some kid from Southie takin' shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, 'cause he'll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them but it ain't helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. They're takin' their sweet time bringin' the oil back, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin' play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain't too long 'til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy's out of work and he can't afford to drive, so he's walking to the fuckin' job interviews, which sucks 'cause the schrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorroids. And meanwhile he's starvin' 'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they're servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I'm holdin' out for somethin' better. I figure, fuck it, while I'm at it, why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

Re:My job interview with the NSA didn't go well at (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855341)

For those who aren't aware, this is a quote from the movie "Good Will Hunting".

The real problem isn't the NSA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46855173)

Your anger is directed at the NSA, and that's exactly what the politicians want. The NSA doesn't make its own decisions on how it operates... it's under oversight and governance of the three branches of US federal government. If the public makes it political suicide for politicians to side with the NSA's current practices, then you'll eventually see those practices changed. Crippling the technical capability of the NSA does nothing to solve the fundamental problem of the erosion of our privacy, and harms the ability for us to defend ourselves from foreign threats.

You need to go after the politicians to change the laws and fix the real problem.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...