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Desc:A very special Christmas message that will land you on a list if you watch it.
Category:Science & Technology, Horror
Tags:christmas, NSA, 1984, edward snowden, poetv debates
Submitted:EvilHomer
Date:12/26/13
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Comment count is 66
The Mothership
asking may be cheaper, but spying means more money for someone.
Riskbreaker
Is any new info being leaked about this mess? This guy became way more famous than the scandal itself. Also, since he's in Russia he agreed to not reveal anything that might compromise the USA goverment.
Shanghai Tippytap
He's leaked some interesting info regarding Canada; That the US used a recent G20 summit as an opportunity to tap the phones of most visiting heads of state, and that Canadian intelligence agencies have been spying on foreign private corporations involved in natural resources development, and then passing this information along to Canadian development firms.

Its the kind of public-private partnership that used to only exist in William Gibson books.

garcet71283
UNATCO?

That guy
Intelligence agencies worldwide have been helping their nation's large companies for quite some time, in all directions. This is a known thing. A particular instance of it is newsworthy, but not the fact that it happens at all.

baleen
Yes. One could say that IBM was co-created by the government in part for this very purpose.

BorrowedSolution
You made your bed, now lay in it.
SteamPoweredKleenex
You know what? Fuck you.

"Judgs: NSA phone program likely unconstitutional."
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/national-security-agency -phones-judge-101203.html

"Leon’s 68-page opinion is the first significant legal setback for the NSA’s surveillance program since it was disclosed in June in news stories based on leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden."

Unless you're like the GOP douchebags that claim if you don't know your privacy and rights have been violated, it's not really a violation, this should be positive thing. But hey, let's put the idea of everything we do being recorded and collected without any valid reasons. Just consider that (1) there's no evidence that this metadata collection has stopped any terrorist act, (2) there's already been abuses of the data by NSA employees for personal reasons, and (3) we're not even allowed to know how many billions we're wasting on spying on ourselves with no results. If Snowden hadn't leaked the documents, we wouldn't even have this small impediment to the NSA creating its own idiotic version of Skynet with nigh-unlimited funds to do so and no oversight.

Again, fuck you.

baleen
I respect Snowden's critique of the security state. I don't particularly trust or respect his decisions, and I am suspicious of his motivations, as all of us should be.

SteamPoweredKleenex
His motivations? Like... what, exactly? If it was to somehow make loads of money from what he did, I don't think things have gone exactly to spec.

baleen
I am just as likely to suspect that what motivates Snowden to become a catalyst of historical change, a man of distinction, and the sole arbiter of what is to remain classified and what does or does not qualify as a security risk is as dangerous as the quotidian GS14 going to and from work in Maryland, running routine search algorithms on the internet that might signal something bad is going to happen somewhere.

What we can take from Snowden is that he is the alpha whistleblower and every other person that works for the NSA or any other part of the government is a browbeaten, overpaid patsy for Big Brother.

And yes, I find it peculiar that he warns and offers assistance to Russia and China and Brazil, nations at least as culpable if not much more so in running brutally oppressivel Big Brother states. I do not like that he felt it necessary to blackmail our government for the benefit of governments that I consider much worse to their people and much more against civil rights that I consider even more sacred and fundamental than online privacy.

To me the dots do not connect; I am put off by Snowden on an intuitive level. I doubt that answer will be satisfactory to you or any other ardent supporters of his cause, whatever that may truly be.

Mister Yuck
Baleen, who cares if Snowden is doing it for the glory or whatever? He's doing it and doing it in a clever way that keeps this scandal in the papers long enough for it to sink in. If he ends up a famous talking head at the end of this, or on a t-shirt, or whatever, you can bitch about him being a glory hound then. In the mean time, he's exiled and living on Putin's generosity because he tried to do you a favor, so shut the fuck up about the possibility of him maybe being a dick. He's probably gonna get turned in in exchange for Obama showing up at the Olympics.

baleen
Are you 13 years old or something?

Bort
"he tried to do you a favor"

I think he was sincere, but I question how he went about doing it. Where is the step in Snowden's journey where he tried to get the help of Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, or even Dennis fucking Kucinich to make sure that the NSA was held accountable while also making sure that actual legitimate classified information was kept under wraps? I would prefer he take that step before, say, bargaining with Russia or China.

At first I was going to chalk this up to him being cynical and manipulative, but looking at his Wikipedia entry, I think it has more to do with him being a tiny bit naive. Highlights:

"On May 7, 2004, Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve as a Special Forces recruit but did not complete any training. He said he wanted to fight in the Iraq War because he 'felt like [he] had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression.'"

"His next employment was as a National Security Agency (NSA) security guard for the Center for Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland, before, he said, joining the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to work on IT security. In May 2006 Snowden wrote in Ars Technica that he had no trouble getting work because he was a 'computer wizard'. In August he wrote about a possible path in government service, perhaps involving China, but said it 'just doesn't seem like as much 'fun' as some of the other places'."

"For the 2012 election, political donation records indicate that he contributed to the primary campaign of Republican candidate Ron Paul."

SteamPoweredKleenex
I find the so-called offers of help to unfriendly governments are about as suspect as Mandela going to Soviet/communist countries when the U.S. wouldn't help bring down apartheid (and that's where the comparison to Mandela ends, just so you don't think I'm equivocating them): There weren't any other avenues left. The only countries that wouldn't immediately extradite him to the U.S. for a kangaroo court trial and lifetime imprisonment for revealing what's already being legally ruled as unconstitutional are ones we don't get along with.

I don't for a minute think that Snowden believes Putin is his buddy. He just didn't have anywhere else to go. If Snowden's usefulness comes to an end, he'll likely wind up somewhere unpleasant in Russia, if not used as a bargaining chip with the West.

The only way he can safely return is to hope what he's leaked leads to change in the U.S. so he could return if he wanted to.

PegLegPete
Snowden, if we take him at his word, wanted to tell the world and US citizens about the extent to which the NSA and foreign intelligence agencies ply their trade.

Snowden probably believed his pleas to an inspector general or "official channel" wouldn't yield results and possibly lead to him being prosecuted like Thomas Drake or Daniel Ellsberg. If he went to senators there's no guarantee that we'd know about a fraction of what the NSA and other intelligence agencies are doing. If he leaked anything to them that would be likewise illegal, and the senators themselves could be at risk. Look at the Senate Intelligence Committee; they have security clearance and supposed oversight but can't tell us anything. Security clearance is a veritable gag order. The senate would do nothing except give us more vague warnings and he'd probably go strait to prison.

Snowden took responsible steps to safeguard the information he took. Not only is it undoubtedly encrypted, we don't even know if he still has it. The information leaked thus far confirmed to be from Snowden has come from journalists. The journalists in question have exercised reasonable disclosure as far as I'm concerned. There is no evidence he struck deals with China or Russia, lost information, was forced to give it up, or gave it away for money. China and Russia want to make the US look bad, so they are harboring a US fugitive who is widely praised.

Snowden is not important, the revelations are. He states, even in this stupid video which he shouldn't have done, that we should have been asked about the surveillance. He's right. Not only that, we deserve to know what he's told us. We don't need to know logistics, locations, technical details, etc... but we do need to know this stuff exists and what the overall capabilities are - that's largely what we've gotten. Our enemies know because they are subjected to it. In our lifetimes we'd probably only have learned a third of what Snowden has leaked.

But really, he doesn't matter much. What matters is that you get angry enough to write to your senator, show up at your representatives office, or voice your concerns to the city council/board of directors. That's how political change occurs and transparency is instated. Guess what? It's actually happening. There would be no "White House Panel on The NSA", or backtracking from the NSA, and hundreds of articles about all these topics wold not exist. We're better off knowing.

Sexy Duck Cop
SPK: The Internet has a bad tendency to bring out the most histrionic, one-sided, oversimplified opinions out of people. Don't give in to the temptation. I understand your frustration but you can't deny the future of not just national security, but every facet of our lives, lies in the aggregation and organization of enormous amounts of data. I can't imagine any scenario where the government, regardless of how ethical or conscientious it is of our privacy, would voluntarily choose not to use this powerful tool.

To that extent you most likely agree. The disagreement probably lies in exactly where those boundaries lie. In my case, I'm willing to cede some ground to the government, because honestly dude, Facebook, Google, every credit card company, and literally hundreds of smaller operations have been doing this to you for a long time, and best-case scenario all they want to do is sell you dick pills. At least the government could potentially stop actual murderers.

BorrowedSolution
Aww SPK. Let's not be crass, now. I wasn't even trolling. Can't we just agree that if you're employed by the NSA, and you steal a bunch of data and run off to a foreign nation with it; you're probably going to end up in this situation?

baleen
Comparing Snowden to Mandela. Wow.
I want to pick at this, but I have to buy groceries.
I am not quite sure how to approach this in a polite way, so I'll rest on it.

Gmork
Sexy Duck Cop - making me very sad.

I have a song for you to listen to, early talking heads: "Don't worry about the government".

Just keep smiling, i'm sure evrything will be fine.

CornOnTheCabre
Oh, like we aren't already on ALL the lists.
baleen
Dear Dad,

I think I'm gay. I feel very insecure about this.

Yours,

Yuri Gayonevich

****

Dear Yuri,

That's okay. I still love you.

Love,
Boris Gayonevich
Minister of The Russian Anti-Putin Party

****
Leviathant
Self-described American patriot brings laptops into Russia by way of China, full of 'revelations' that the US runs intelligence on everything, providing fodder for humorous quips by ex-KGB Russian superpresident, Vladmir Putin.

In 2014, he will spill the beans to Christians that Christ was not born on December 25th and that Easter stems from pagan traditions, after fleeing to new digs in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
baleen
Let's not forget that he volunteering to help Brazil, the country that just recently blowed over a few million people so that they too would not be embarrassed by all the gross child whores during the Olympics.

memedumpster
He also inspired Brazil to cancel a 4 billion dollar jet deal with Boeing, so if you want to get a Super Hornet cheap, now is the time!

Oscar Wildcat
The bastard got us right in our most vulnerable weakness. The military/industrial complex.

Oscar Wildcat
As usual, the face of Edward Snowden, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Snowden was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned to death, and had mysteriously escaped and disappeared. The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Snowden was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party's purity. All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign paymasters, perhaps even--so it was occasionally rumoured--in some hiding-place in America itself.

Baleen's diaphragm was constricted. He could never see the face of Snowden without a painful mixture of emotions. It was a lean Anglo-Saxon face, with a trim fuzzy aureole of white hair and a small goatee beard--a clever face, and yet somehow inherently despicable, with a kind of senile silliness in the long thin nose, near the end of which a pair of spectacles was perched. It resembled the face of a sheep, and the voice, too, had a sheep-like quality. Snowden was delivering his usual venomous attack upon the doctrines of the Party--an attack so exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than oneself, might be taken in by it. He was abusing Barack Obama, he was denouncing the leadership of the Party, he was demanding the immediate conclusion of peace with China, he was advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, he was crying hysterically that the revolution had been betrayed--and all this in rapid polysyllabic speech which was a sort of parody of the habitual style of the orators of the Party, and even contained NewsWeek words: more NewsWeek words, indeed, than any Party member would normally use in real life. And all the while, lest one should be in any doubt as to the reality which Snowden's specious claptrap covered, behind his head on the telescreen there marched the endless columns of the Chinese army--row after row of solid-looking men with expressionless Asiatic faces, who swam up to the surface of the screen and vanished, to be replaced by others exactly similar. The dull rhythmic tramp of the soldiers' boots formed the background to Snowden's bleating voice.

Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room. The self-satisfied sheep-like face on the screen, and the terrifying power of the Eurasian army behind it, were too much to be borne: besides, the sight or even the thought of Snowden produced fear and anger automatically. He was an object of hatred more constant than either China or Russia, since when America was at war with one of these Powers it was generally at peace with the other. But what was strange was that although Snowden was hated and despised by everybody, although every day and a thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were--in spite of all this, his influence never seemed to grow less. Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him. A day never passed when spies and saboteurs acting under his directions were not unmasked by the NSA. He was the commander of a vast shadowy army, an underground network of conspirators dedicated to the overthrow of the State. The Brotherhood, its name was supposed to be. There were also whispered stories of a terrible book, a compendium of all the state secrets, of which Snowden was the author and which circulated clandestinely here and there. It was a book without a title. People referred to it, if at all, simply as THE BOOK. But one knew of such things only through vague rumours. Neither the Brotherhood nor THE BOOK was a subject that any ordinary Party member would mention if there was a way of avoiding it.
That guy
too prolix

baleen
I'm flattered!

baleen
I would definitely bulb that if there were bulbs lying around.

fedex
A for Effort

memedumpster
Pretty sure we made the A-List when we linked to a video from the actual NSA.

A few thoughts on this :

1.) Had Snowden fled to one of our allies, they'd have turned him over and we'd still be unaware of the police state.

2.) Had he fled to a lesser enemy than China or Russia, we'd have murdered a million of their citizens in a bombing campaign for freedom. We fear those countries, so that's why he chose them.

3.) The NSA itself, and their spying on our enemies, isn't the problem. It's that all of us got put on their enemies list, and if they don't trust us, we flat refuse to trust them, that's basic human nature. They seemed to be aware of this, so hid the fact, but unaware that statistically being found out is 100% certain given enough time and had no way of handling it. They ignored the whole of history for expediency's sake.

4.) There's no point in poeTVers sucking the NSA cock every time Snowden gets mentioned, the NSA aren't THAT stupid, they've been watching since before we knew about it. It's like Christians who think they're getting away with being selfish monsters by giving lip service to charity when people call them out on it, as if God is an amnesiac retard.

5.) S'up, fellas.
ashtar.
assassinate president dirty bomb uranium allahu akbar great satan holy war jihad mujaheddin patriot obama antichrist new american revolution justin beber

Hey how's it going?

memedumpster
I am contacting the ACLU immediately to be taken off the Justin Bieber list.

That reminds me of the 90's when people would put random red flag words in their emails to fuck with Eschalon. Signal to noise.

That guy
Hi NSA
you have found a bunch of indoor kids who try to crack wise and/or are needlessly upset about people who are needlessly upset about and/or try to crack wise about:
bronies
Santa being white
The phrase 'be a man'
cats doing things or sitting there

Of course, you are going to have to monitor us, which you already are, as some here have suggested. Well done! I would say that thousands of man-hours of surveillance per day should be about right. It'll make us feel paranoid/important.

Thanks,
That guy

Oscar Wildcat
Dear NSA,

I suppose in the age of 100USD terabyte drives, it's pretty much a given that a lot of folks will be storing our packets as they wiz hither and yon through the multitudinous intertubes. You included. This is not inherently a bad thing. I quote from the late Timothy Leary "Let them watch me. Perhaps they'll learn something about how to live a rich and vibrant life". And G Gordon Liddy did this very thing, from behind the cold wet shrubbery, peering with his government issue binoculars, as old Tim quaffed LSD by the bucketload and boned comely pixie princesses. I suppose everyone got off...

But I digress. What bothers me is this. Some reedy contractor from Booz Allen with a sketchy past just sort of waltzed into your secret lair and OWNED YOUR SHAGGY WHITE ASSES. Let's let that thought sink in for a bit, huh? I mean, if this sad geek just snatched the family jewels, how many _other_ people have been fondling them all these years? Surely our enemies, who are most interested in such things. Likely our friends as well, given the nature of your business. In fact, it seem the only people out of the loop here are us poor fools paying your salaries. So who is this war against, again? Coz from the cheap seats, it's looking increasing like us.

Sincerely,
Oscar Wildcat.

EvilHomer
WELL I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE REST OF THESE TRAITORS, MISTER NSA-SUH, BUT OL' HOMIE HERE, HE'S UH TRUE PATRIOT AND HE SUPPORTS Y'ALL.

Flag Football Cowboy John Wayne USA FDR Crying Eagle Jesus Preteen Model Meth Recipe Allah - oh shit, wait, forgot those last few things.

baleen
"Following Snowden’s November appeal, more than 50 German public figures asked Berlin to grant Snowden asylum, according to Der Spiegel. For instance, the former general secretary of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, Heiner Geissler, wrote that Snowden has done the western world a “great service.”

The German government however refused to consider the request, with Steffen Seibert, official spokesman of the cabinet, saying that the issue is tied to Germany’s security and mutual interests with the US. “For us Germans, the transatlantic alliance remains of paramount importance,” he said."

So we tapped Merkel's phone and she's still not granting him asylum. I wonder if maybe there's something going on here that Glenn Greenwald isn't telling us? I don't know. Just throwing that out there.

SolRo
What are you talking about Homer? Meth is as American as apple pie!

Or you one of those towelhead supporters that buys afghan poppy opium and Canadian weed?!

EvilHomer
Meth may be as American as apple pie, but so is jailing the economically disadvantaged for non-violent crimes so that crony capitalists can have a source of dirt cheap, 13th Amendment-friendly slave labor.

OOPS, oh shit, sorry. Disregard that one, too, NSA friends. I didn't mean it! I'm a patriot, I swear!

One of the good patriots, I mean! Not the sort who flies Gadsden flags and bitches about Ruby Ridge; the sort who spends his weekend watching American Idol, and regularly updates his Facebook page with sympathetic messages for the victims of our latest national tragedy. WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED HAD THE NSA BEEN GIVEN MORE POWER.

Billy the Poet
Oh, I'm already on the list.

DIRTY BOMB TIMES SQUARE JIHAD AL-ZAWAHIRI

Hi, guys at the NSA!
cognitivedissonance
Interesting parallel to Prohibition: most Americans supported Prohibition because they believed it would affect somebody else. Surely, they thought, wine and beer would be exempt? Only the poor and the brown drink harder alcohol.

Much like Prohibition, the people who actually enforce the laws regarding privacy do not recognize gradation. So America wholeheartedly supported the Patriot Act, thinking it affected somebody else. And, really, we don't have the on the ground boots to fight it.

But hey, if you really didn't think it was happening, then maybe we deserve it.
Doomstein
J. Edgar Hoover is dead, but luckily the NSA is here to pick up where he left off.

Rodents of Unusual Size
Edward Snowden = hero
Rodents of Unusual Size
I mean, I don't honestly know what his motivations are apart from he wanted to get this information out.

I have heard so many theories about this guy. That he's unbalanced. That he and Bradley (now Chelsea???) Manning just had something wrong with them that made them betray their nation. They have both been demonized by pretty much everyone in the establishment and celebrated by everyone on the far left.

Russia is essentially out to humiliate the US at every opportunity even though their country is essentially the US on a smaller scale. They are pretty much the most hypocritical nation ever, but at least they stopped Obama from invading Syria.

I have to say that in spite of the vast humanitarian travesties that have come out of Russia of late, at least they are determined to stop the GOP from fully invading every fucking country in the Middle East to protect the petrodollar.

Snowden is essentially a symbol and its a symbol they are spinning because they want more Americans to turn against their government, as if the government has done a lot to earn our love lately.

The biggest problem the US has is it can't really condone the usage of surveillance against its own citizens, especially considering the fact that they haven't fought back nearly enough against China, who is hacking the fuck out of us so hard the Pentagon has said we can't win a cyberwar with them because they have us outmanned.

It really shocks me that they haven't thought this through. Sure, let's put all our eggs into listening in on every teenagers pointless chattering but not fight back and say, get even with the communist dictatorship bent on owning us and controlling our government incrementally in the hopes of being the next sole world superpower.

Priorities.

So even if he did it for selfish purposes, I applaud Snowden. The NSA is essentially a waste of money as long as they are spying on Americans, and quite frankly the huge amount of data they have collected could be misused for blackmail on an infinite scale and that frightens me. Who knows what they will use all of this for, and when? Will they use this against literally anyone that stands to embarrass them or bring light to government waste, fraud, corruption? Any whistleblowers that shed light on their disgusting decisions could risk their entire lives being ruined if the government decides to go through all of their private shit.

It's a monster too big for me to condone. Fuck the NSA and everyone running it.

Bort
"but at least they stopped Obama from invading Syria."

Oh bite me. This is one (perhaps the only recent) instance where the US threatened military force to stop a genuine tragedy, and it worked. Assad took Obama seriously, and the UN has gone in and confiscated Assad's chemical weapons. Yet you are making like Russia is somehow the hero in it. Russia, who had winked at Syria all along while it was massacring its own people.

What sort of principles are you running on, where you see the US as the out-of-control monster even when it stops civilian massacres, and you applaud the actions of the guy who smiled through those massacres? You don't owe me an answer, that's more a "think about and realize the error of your ways" kind of question.

Rodents of Unusual Size
oh Bort, it's so cute how you believe their lies on what actually happened in Syria.

Obama was following the petrodollar doctrine. Wesley Powell warned of this years before Obama came round. They had invasion of Syria and Iran planned out as early as 2002. If it wasn't for people who actually went through the trouble of investigating the supposed links to rebel forces and exposing them as improbably at best, we would be knee deep in WWIII right now.

PS the same rebel forces Obama described as just wanting to protect their freedom and wanted to back are largely insane jihadists who think Hitler was a great guy for how many Jews he killed.

Bort
Oh RoUS, you are dumb as dogshit about some things. If Syria were indeed about petrodollars, then Obama would have piled on the justifications. He could have very easily, given that Syria was already in a brutal civil war that the rest of the world had long felt uneasy about, and a president interested in conquest wouldn't have waited for chemical weapons in particular, then made a stand related to chemical weapons in particular, then backed off the threats after chemical weapons in particular (and just chemical weapons) were dealt with.

And we are still left with you cheering on the guys who tacitly approved the civilian massacres all along, while demonizing the guy who did something to stop the worst of them.

And by the way it's a small point, but Obama never talked about invading Syria, just air strikes at facilities involved in chemical weapons. I realize that it's all hypothetical at this point and you will insist that Obama was "really" intending to invade, except that every actual thing Obama did demonstrated that his focus was chemical weapons, so the only thing backing you up is ... well, nothing at all.

Hooker
He's turned into a weird little cartoon character, hasn't he?
fedex
oh, this is just the tip of the iceberg friends, tip of the iceberg

candyheadrobot
Not that I know what I'm talking about, but imho, none of this matters unless people actually give enough of a fuck to do something about it. What's wrong with this picture isn't Snowden jockeying to become the moral arbiter of the web 2.0, but the lack of response on behalf of western citizens who are affected by what he's revealed. Third world people are fighting for their human rights, we're supposed to have those already, so why not use them to say something on ours and their behalf? Surely we can all agree that this is something that should be put to a halt immediately, but the conversation always seems to devolve into Snowden's motivation, the merit of exposing the government's program, and really dumb stuff, like the danger he's put our country in. The only thing we should be questioning right now, is if we want this one way exchange to continue. Any other debate surrounding the issue is extraneous.
Bort
"Surely we can all agree that this is something that should be put to a halt immediately"

But that's just it, it's real damn difficult to figure out where the line between privacy and security should be, and that depends a lot on how the data is used. Should it turn out that NSA data has been misused to harm people minding their own business, then we will be able to say with perfect hindsight that NSA grossly overstepped its bounds; but should it turn out that the NSA data prevented a terrorist attack that would have killed millions, then we will be able to say with equally perfect hindsight that what the NSA is doing is a necessary evil. We can make our guesses, but we really don't know until we get there.

SteamPoweredKleenex
"Millions." You're a Tom Clancy wet dream, there.

What do we know about the NSA's "efforts?" Well, their meddling in the tech sector has led to less secure encryption on just about any hardware platform you'd care to name, untold billions spent on a system that's been gathering nearly limitless amounts of data yet couldn't even give Boston a heads up about its own bombing, NSA employees violating the rights of individuals for their own reasons as well as on orders from above, and no apparent budgetary or legal oversight that ever sees the light of day.

If you assume they're doing a bang-up job secretly defending the world from terrorism, you should at least be alarmed that such sensitive superheroic data apparently is in the hands of those you wouldn't trust to remember to lock their own front door, let alone keep an eye on who's looking at what. I mean, there are for-profit companies that take security far more seriously and they can't stop hackers from stealing our CC and SSN info just about every damn day. At minimum, the NSA has just became another avenue for our identity information to be used and abused.

As for not revealing how they're apparently saving us from harm, that's bullshit of the highest caliber. For one, technology changes so rapidly that one technique used on plot X is likely not to work in the future. You'd think by now that at least ONE awesomesauce bad guy plot would've been foiled such that the NSA could say something as vague as "we stopped this bombing in whatever city. Here's the bomb, here's the guy we caught setting it" or what have you. Just one would be incredible news. Even if it ruined a single method of gathering intel, it'd solve SO many of the NSA's problems. Gee whiz, there doesn't seem to be one of those, but a crapload of contractors seem to be getting rich building shit in Utah for them, among other places, so I guess that's at least domestic spending.

Bort
"'Millions.' You're a Tom Clancy wet dream, there."

Would you be happier if I said "thousands"? Mind you, we do have a few citiies with populations in the millions, so a sufficiently-potent weapon in one of them (or a coordinated series of attacks in multiple cities) could hit the "millions" threshold.

PegLegPete
So if everything we do is known, we have absolute security? You do know that "a sufficiently-potent weapon" can be created and discharged without the use of any technology the NSA taps, right? Nothing will save us Bort. That's why we need targeted investigation, not blanket, capture everything surveillance. We don't have to give up our privacy. That's the balance.

Bort
"So if everything we do is known, we have absolute security?"

I never said anything of the sort, don't be deliberately obtuse.

"That's why we need targeted investigation, not blanket, capture everything surveillance. We don't have to give up our privacy."

I don't know that it's that simple -- you say we need targeted investigation, but how do you find your targets in the first place?

As for "capture everything", in theory the NSA is keeping track of who is talking with whom, but not the content of discussions. In theory. So that falls far short of capturing "everything".

baleen
The NSA is searching for people that use the the numbers XYZ because XYZ corresponds with 13,000 addresses of highly sensitive targets. They are not looking for you unless something you're doing triggers XYZ.

"But they're watching what porn we're watching!"
Yeah, because one of their functions is to provide vital intel to the governments of the world to expose child sex rings and various other kinds of slavery. Why do you think virtually every government in the world is not extraditing this guy if he's so fucking wonderful? WHY DID RUSSIA ONLY GRANT HIM ASYLUM FOR A YEAR. THINK ABOUT IT RETARDS.

And why are his supporters to fond of saying "well it's not proven that he's helping these oppressive governments that he's seeking asylum in!" Really? Where did you read that? And why are you so assured by his magical encryption techniques? What about his personality or actions makes you so sure that his motivation is more acceptable than the rhetorical GS14 I mentioned in another post?

"But he made 0,000 a year in Hawaii so that proves he's not motivated by anything but good will toward America."
0,000 a year to push data around? That's pocket change in the encryption and security world. Not only is he assured eternal fame and hero status he'll also wind up with a palace in Bolivia, traveling like a superspy under a veil of mystique. The amount of exotic stripper pussy will be almost limitless.
Yes, I have no proof that this will happen, but you have no proof that he's somehow motivated by anything other than contempt or a need for attention. He is far from living in discomfort right now. He's staying in fine hotels, reading literature, taking interviews, being virtually worshiped by the kinds of people he was not allowed to lecture too while in the NSA.

SolRo
Baleen; "I have no idea what I'm talking about or any evidence to support my idiotic theories, but here's this fantasy I have that this guy might end up enjoying (if it snows in hell) and that makes me so jealous that I get a rage-rection."

PegLegPete
My point was that if someone is determined enough, a giant surveillance apparatus will not save us - nothing will save us. That's why I was being obtuse.

Investigate, find suspects, surveil them; that's how you find criminals. Police have been doing it for years. I'm not arguing against having collection methods, I'm arguing against collecting everything, or most everything, especially without the public's permission. It's ok to keep tabs on where uranium is going or how much sarin gas is being produced.

They are capturing metadata and in some cases content. Metadata means who is talking to whom, when and for how long. That is potentially more dangerous than knowing the content because law enforcement can make judgements about you without knowing the nature of the communication. But there's a larger issue with metadata: it's information about almost everything you're doing unless you deliberately avoid using cellphones, landlines, the internet, mail etc... So the NSA can know all about you; what you do, who you communicate with and where you go, and potentially what you buy. I'm not comfortable with them capturing that information, or trying to, unless I'm under suspicion.
PegLegPete
Reply fail.

Bort
"My point was that if someone is determined enough, a giant surveillance apparatus will not save us - nothing will save us. That's why I was being obtuse."

That's argument by Mad Lib: "You can't stop all occurrences of [undesirable event] therefore we shouldn't [action to foil undesirable event]". That doesn't hold up any more than its inverse ("[Undesirable event] is bad therefore we should [action to foil undesirable event]"). Efficacy needs to be weighed against negative impact.

PegLegPete
I never said we shouldn't take action because we cannot stop all occurrences of anything.

The original intention of my statement was to dickishly set the stage for me to argue that we can achieve the same results (stop WMD detonation or whatever) without having the NSA capture huge sums of data by default, while at the same time exposing the ludicrousness of having faith in the NSA's ability to save us over other methods.

SolRo
GUYS, UNCONDITIONALLY TRUST THE GOVERNMENT OR THE TERRORIST WIN!

OR DO YOU HATE THE TROOPS?!?

FREEDOM FRIES!!

Gmork
Shit, I don't even need to be here for you guys to rip into each other!
EvilHomer
I'd like to hear your views on the subject.

kingofthenothing
The way I see it, the two sides are like this.

One says "the dick's already in."
The other says "Maybe we can spit it out."
the first one says "wrong hole but thanks for playing."

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