News Jun 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Comments

1
There is also the question of why was Windsor, are fairly low-level contract employee given access to so much highly classifed material. Top secret doesn't seem to mean much when people with no "need to know" can know whatever they want. Foreign entities don't have to hack the NSA, they can just hack some business with a small contract and get access to a treasure trove of classified material. Regardless of what happens to Windsor, questions need to be raised in Congess about why things like this can even happen. Did they learn nothing from Bradley Manning?
2
Your mentioning the investigation of anarchists might carry a bit more weight if not for the fact that they actually were planning and engaging in violent criminal activity.

If you're planning an attack on my city I have no problem with the government keeping an eye on you. That is not dissent, that is just violent thuggery.
3
see also: "Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere" http://kieranhealy.org/blog/archives/201…
4
Problem is this does not stop actual terrorists
5
I'm not worried. I'm more than halfway to dead, and have no children, so when I'm done, it's done as far as I'm concerned.

But I am irritated. To me, this, more than anything, is just more corporate welfare, hiding under the skirts of the biggest of all welfare programs: the farce we call "defense".

Since 1941, we've been pouring money down that rathole, with really nothing to show for it after VE Day. Sure, we got some interesting consumer technologies and the internet, but other than that, it's been a big fat zero.

So now we have a bunch of dumbasses with "security clearance" who a generation ago would have had a productive job on a factory floor or selling shoes somewhere, in charge of monitoring us for "bad guys"

I'm not worried about some anarchist getting hassled or a meeting of the FSP getting infiltrated. I'm worried about some schmuck with clearance deciding he's going to cyberstalk the woman who dumped him, or the person who cut him off in traffic. Or that he'll leave his unencrypted laptop in a bar. Simple human weakness can be much more dangerous than the specter of tyranny.

And I worry that while we waste all this money on these stupid monitoring programs, we're going to miss someone hacking into the power grid or the air traffic system or something else important. All because we a created a lot of overpaid make work for a bunch of Jack Bauers.
6
Nice work, Brendan. But you left off the best example.
The McCarthy witch hunts.

It's not just whether you did at one time attend a protest or meeting or whatever.
Even if you've never attended anything like that you can be associated with someone who has through your phone records.
And then ALL of your actions can be questioned.
7
So we created a monster. Yes, we! We created it. And now we can't even peacefully protest because assholes get violent. So fuck it. Who gives a fuck? I have more important things to worry about.
8

Here's what's bugging me.

1984. The book.

I keep hearing about record sales after the NSA scandal.

But guess what...it's completely wrong!

For one thing, it envisions a world where the only electronic media are a one way tv screen with one channel controlled by government broadcasts.

No internet. No social media. No conversations only a megaphone.

In other words...1984 is completely WRONG!
9
And yet, @8, Greek TV just lost another channel.

Another brick in the wall.
10
Nice Job, Brendan. I've been a non-fan of your work at times in the past, but this is really good.
11
The problem is that most Americans are cowards.
12
Quick correction: Union Tribune keeps it classy in San Diego, not San Francisco.

Also, Sysadmins are all psychos—every last one of'em, which isn't always a bad thing, except for when it is.
13
@8 How can a work of fiction be "wrong"?
14
Our communications have been monitored ever since we had electrical/electronic communications. Bella Abzug's committe disovered in 1971 that the federal government had been monitoring telegraph and telephone communications for 40 YEARS! I think Hoover instituted universal warrantless wiretapping and it has NEVER. STOPPED.

They just rename the project and move it under a different entity and keep on keeping on.
15
And then there's the issue of capability-creep to "lesser" departments. If the NSA can comb through phone call-data now, will the FBI have that ability soon? Do they already have it? And if the FBI gets that ability, will your local police department obtain that ability?

We already have stories of abuse of wiretapping powers from the LAPD, where guys in the tapping department would tap whomever they liked, then surreptitiously pass info the detective squad to go beat up and harass undesireables.

Considering how this country has a reputation for treating non-violent protest with incredible violence, cruely and vengeance, I'm none too pleased by this.

But I've also known that the NSA has been spying on the Internet since the 90s. ESCHELON is a known thing. And there appears to be little serious oversight. Unless everyone starts using encryption, this "privacy" thing is pretty much out the window.

@8 - 1984 was an allegory of a socialist-totalitarian state taken to it's logical extreme in 1948. See what he did there?
16
You're either with us, or against us.
17
Just imagine the mood of the country after the next economic collapse and/or terrorist attack. Angry, aggressively ignorant, deranged white people will be begging for fascism, and the sadistic psychopaths, compulsive liars, and greed-crazed kleptomaniacs that control our political and financial systems will be more than happy to give it to them.
18
"Stop and frisk" is way more problematic than the NSA. But hipsters don't give a shit about black people.
19
Oh, and the "we are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state,” guy?

Obviously a Muslim.
20
People weren't worried about drug testing either when the Reagan administration started it, and it was only for very special jobs where the safety of people was more important than our 4th amendment rights. Drug testing was a narrow program that only effected a few. But here we are now, 30 years later, and everyone and their mother is drug tested. We have secretaries and software engineers being tested, as if that has anything to do with safety.

Fast forward 30 years, and now the US government is simply sifting through our emails and phone calls. "It's OK" they tell us, they aren't collecting any really sensitive data, and besides, if you're not a "terrorist" you have nothing to worry about. But historical lessons tell us otherwise. In 30 years from now we'll get automated phone calls warning us if we've had a conversation that triggers key word searches, and agents will stop in to visit people based on algorithmic findings.

Americans have willingly given up their freedoms and rights at every turn with very little protest, and in many cases with broad support, not realizing the precedence being set as we gradually move towards an Orwellian society.

I'm sure follow on comments will call me an alarmist, a communist, a terrorist sympathizer, and accuse me of being overly sensitive to NSA intrusions that the average American sees as benign. But I see the threat of the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security and the IRS as all very dangerous. We are witnessing now the end of democracy, and the beginning of true fascism. Democracy is dead, capitalism is rigged, and our rights are increasingly narrow. I'm sorry that doesn't alarm the average sheep, because it should send shivers down our spines like the clanging sound of the slaughterhouse door slamming closed behind us.
21
Funny how when the people of China welcomed the new communist regime, they celebrated and celebrated... until the police began visiting their homes, with a dossier of every family member and their personal history -- in order to ensure there was no opportunity for dissent.

Too much of a good thing hurts. And then you can't stop it. Whoops! History rinse, wash, repeat. 100 million more dead.

Next!
22
This survey was made by querying 1004 people in a nation of over 331 million. How can anyone buy this quick-save-face propaganda survey is puzzling me.
23
@18- Just go fuck yourself. What the hell is this off topic lie coupled with an insult supposed to accomplish?
24
@14 - If this level of scrutiny has been in place for as long as the internet has existed, it obviously isn't effective in preventing something like 9/11. If it's ineffective, then how can it be deemed "reasonable"? If it's unreasonable, then it's unconstitutional.
25
@24 You're definitely on to something.

The sad fact is, nothing the NSA is doing will catch anything that professional bad guys: spies, assassins, saboteurs, are up to.

There are too many ways to communicate anonymously. Coded shortwave, cryptic personals ads, satphones on private transponders, hacked websites, irc, newsgroups, open wifi, personal messages on hobby sites, and a zillion ways to route VoIP.

NSA isn't capturing any of those sorts of records. Just like we have "security theater" at the airports, this is more like that. Just violating personal rights, en masse, to feel like they're doing something. At most, they'll capture some rank amateurs. Even there, though, their record is terrible.
26
@14 Very good point!
I apologize to the thread for not proof-reading my comment @1. I'm not really an illiterate, I just play one on TV.
27
Seriously, Brendan, what douchetard would believe anything reported by the Pew Research Center?

Remember back, just a few short years ago, Pew came out with the "study" that the American media was "liberal"???

Oh, you've forgotten that, have you?????? (Who's a douchetard now, dude?)

I mean, is there anyone in America so frigging ignorant they still don't know that it is Pew oil money which founded Pew Charitable Trusts, and their chief investors are the top oil companies and banks?

Now that's the study I want to see . . . .

FYI: Booz Allen is majority owned by the Carlyle Group.

That would be these guys below:

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/f…

Now this IS important for all Americans and Ameritards:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-06-11…

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/201…

And don't forget, the fun may just be beginning as far as The Guardian has mentioned.

First there was that Swiss banks hacked data, on tax havens, leaked to some reporters who passed it on to the IRS, and a few days after the IRS announced the largest tax investigation (using said data) into offshore tax havens, the Obama administration fired the IRS chief, Miller.

Next, with have PRISM, and after Obama's speech, the release of Boundless Informant to lay the lie to all his claims in his speech.

Let the games begin. . . .
28
@25, perhaps you are misguided or have never read any history.

The intelligence establishment as it exists today came out in the aftermath of World War II, essentially created by the Wall Streeters, at the behest of their super-rich employers, the Rockefellers, Harrimans, Mellons, du Ponts, Morgans, et al.

Next to nothing the NSA, CIA, DIA (which always has a member of the super-rich on the upper-level staff, e.g., Jeffrey Starr, Chris Mellon, etc.), and all the other agencies have done has anything to do with national security, simply garnering financial intelligence, and activities profiting the super-rich, and other actions involving command and control of the population.

Just as it was never really about the Soviets, so to is it not about the "terrorists" --- otherwise the US gov't wouldn't continue to fund that which it has created by its recent name of al Qaeda.

Why have all the jobs, technology and investment been offshored to China, Vietnam and elsewhere, when these were supposed to be totalitarian societies?

Don't know, or will you repeat their mantras robotically?
29
But here we are now, 30 years later, and everyone and their mother is drug tested.

Are you on drugs?
30
You know, Brendan, I think you might be working yourself up a bit too much about people who believe they have nothing to hide, and giving too little thought to the ones who believe they have nothing to lose.
31
@27 The STRANGER quoting from Pew Research Center, as gospel Lord's Truth? Something stinks. I think it's the STRANGER.

After the WTO riots, the STRANGER appears to have been co-opted to influence Seattle's youth culture, so that it is aligned with the central banker agenda. Quoting bullshit surveys and polls is just one of many ways to accomplish this task.

I call BULLSHIT on the STRANGER. I will continue to call bullshit until it stops.
32
This is an example of how far right wing antigovernment hysteria has gone in this country. Verizon, Ma Bell's biggest child, a huge corporate entity has this info and the right has convinced, even lefties on slog, that it's a bad thing when the government gets it too.
33
Stupid. Countless MILLIONS put all of their private info all over FaceBook, Twitter, etc. They allow companies to sell their private information to countless corporations who track every move they make - and yet some people have the nerve to whine about the gov't collecting info to look for patterns, in order to keep people safe?

This is a NON ISSUE. When exactly did the American public become so damned STUPID?
34
@32/33- The phone company and Facebook don't use flying robots to kill people they have decided are affiliated with people they have decided are terrorists.
35
@33 I agree with you. I'm getting tired of reading countless comments made by skeptical people.
I prefer reading some of the more sophisticated arguments that actually make valid points, rather than draw some conclusion to a profound conspiracy theory. It wasn't long ago that people where complaining about Google's 'surveillance' scheme, but now the N.S.A. has showed up, the Google issue has seemed to gone under the radar. This is sad really, that people will strive to fight for one issue and then completely abandon it when something else comes along.

People try to make their argument justified by saying statements such as 'Then, why not share your card details with everybody?' and 'Why not upload naked pictures of your self?'. My reply to this would be, that this is a more extreme and unrelated example.

The N.S.A. isn't going to be posting nude pictures of you that they pulled off your hard drive, and they certainly won't be sharing your romantic affairs on national television; unlike the 'mass-media', where countless jargon is being written away by some biased journalist. People seem to miss the point that the N.S.A. is the (National Security Agency), that deals with "national security".

The N.S.A. won't be locking you up any time soon just because you made a phone call to someone who is a suspected terrorist. You might get monitored for sometime, but unless you are directly associated with a terrorist organization, you won't be prosecuted.
The N.S.A. simply doesn't waste time collecting phone calls from bookkeepers about the debts you own them.

We're also forgetting the point that N.S.A. individuals are trained professionals like the people who operate the new 3D airport scanners. Not your average guy who will go around posting all your stories on Facebook.
Which brings me to another point, that most individuals whining about privacy issues, seem to forget that most of them have already posted all their information online, such as Facebook and twitter etc. And this data is available to the public, which can affect an individual's life; unlike data from the N.S.A.

I think it was a poor move made by Edward Snowman. The majority who follow his skepticalism are sheep just following the crowd. Though he tried to make a moral decision, it was a poor one.
There is so much data out there freely given, the government doesn't have to secretly monitor people. By revealing the existence of operations like PRISM, has only aided terrorists, circumvent them from being caught. Hopefully the terrorists will still be caught and public bombings won't become a common thing, because the N.S.A. may no longer being able to track them.

The only real privacy concern people are worried about, is if the I.R.S. was to gain similar surveillance abilities that the N.S.A. already have. Which is unlikely, especially with all the pressure now focused on the government. The police and local authorities will never get any access like this, so there's nothing to worry about. Maybe the FBI, but not of my concern.

Stay safe, and watch what you post on your Facebook, etc, is all i have to say if you don't want the people around you to see things you don't want them to see.
I hope I could help clear up some misconceptions, but if you would like to argue my point, then feel free to do so. But justify how people are wrongly accusing you of committing acts.
36
Wait a minute. You seriously believe that the people working for TSA are "trained professionals?" That alone invalidates everything you say. You're an idiot.
37
@36 Does that really invaildate everything I say?
I was intending to make refrence about the "trained professionals" in Europe. They certainly have higher standards than the TSA, especially in Britain; though that's up for debate. Maby it wasn't the best analogy. Doctors would be a better example of 'trained professionals'.
My point I'm trying to make, is that the N.S.A. are far likely to pull an 'unprofessional' move.
You didn't exacally contribute to the debate by drawing that cheap statement, tell your side of the story as to why you think I'm wrong.

Please wait...

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