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Last post Author Topic: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications  (Read 64586 times)

40hz

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An opinion piece well worth reading can be found here at The Register.

Some highlights:

Quote
For all that I am frequently accused of being "anti-American" I hold the US Constitution up as one of the most sacred documents ever written by mankind. (The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights would be the item I consider to be the single most important document in our history as a species.)

The creation of the US Constitution was a symbol of a radically different way of thinking about our place in the world. Others had believed in the same ideals that were embedded in the Constitution long before the founding fathers, but none had ever made it stick. It was perhaps the most important turning point in the social evolution of our species since the development of agriculture.

Quote
...While I do not believe in overarching conspiracies of evil, I do believe that the structure and format of the American political system has become so damaged that the corruption of some individuals in positions of power is inevitable.

Transparency is virtually non-existent, accountability laughable and at the end of the day people unworthy of the power and responsibility they obtain are repeatedly given absolute control over the lives of millions...

Quote
...The Constitution of the United States of America is not a declaration of rights and freedoms granted to its citizens by the government. That document is a declaration of the limitations of powers granted to the government by the people that allow said government to exist.

According to the founders of the US, rights are not something that natural persons are given; that which is given can be easily taken away. Rights are innate and inalienable. All human beings are born with them and they cannot be taken from us....

Quote
Those with more to lose are far more willing to reduce the liberty of all in the vain hope of defending their monetisable assets. This is perhaps an explanation for why so many have come to associate freedom with "security at all costs".

Nowhere is this more evident than in the words of politicians themselves. Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) crystalises the viewpoint evidenced by those governing the US over the past few decades in just a few words: "To me, what makes us such as great country, is that we cherish freedom so much. But you can't have freedom without security. So you have to find the balance."

Quote
"You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it." - Malcolm X

As the US has spend the past 30 years going completely off the rails we've spent that same time becoming absolutely addicted to the technology and services it produces. So deeply embedded are we that disentangling ourselves from American technology providers, cloud vendors and what-have-you is a process of years, even decades.

While undertaking this difficult, painful and expensive task may not be absolutely required for pragmatic business reasons, I argue that it is a moral and ethical obligation we collectively bear to defend that which we believe. We could simply remain apathetic and allow privacy to evaporate as our laws are synchronized with those of the US, but it that what we want to have occur?

No terrorist actions, war, trade sanctions, international politics or other traditional tools of revolution and statecraft will turn America around. Americans have so deeply forgotten the concept of "liberty" that they no longer speak of their freedoms as innate but rather as rights granted them by their government. They see themselves as helpless before an unstoppable and inscrutable juggernaut and their own belief in this makes it so.

Read the entire article here.

Read it, discuss it  - and hopefully summon up the resolve and courage to become involved and legally act upon it. Because it is going to require both before much longer.

(NOTE: a record of this communication has been transmitted to US government monitors.)

TaoPhoenix

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Well, I'll start with the pessimistic view:

I will take another semi-break from all this stuff here again soon. "Living locally" I get by day to day just fine. However I could easily end up in the "wrong place at the wrong time" and then my "rights" won't matter ... and they're NOT rights. Unfortunately there's no such thing that those founders believed in as "inalienable rights". What you are allowed to do is whatever they feel like allowing you to do.

From a different news item elsewhere, Pres. Obama was saying stuff like "this is a compromise that Americans can be happy with..."?! Nah. So just assume "Anyone and everyone" is into your data, and then just go back to your daily life for the day.

40hz

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Pres. Obama was saying stuff like "this is a compromise that Americans can be happy with..."?!

Simple assertion does not establish the truth of a statement or conclusion. And begging the question still remains a fallacy of logic. Even when the President resorts to it.
 8)

Tinman57

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  And I served over 20 years in the military to protect our "Rights & Liberty".  What a freaking joke.....  >:(

  On another note, this hasn't been moved to the Basement yet?

wraith808

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Ooh!  Ooh!  I can hit the button.



They weren't one hit wonders... they were prophets and doomsayers!

...Too soon?

barney

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They weren't one hit wonders... they were prophets and doomsayers!

...Too soon?

Isn't that pretty much the fate of all prescients?  Then we damn them because they didn't warn us enough  :(, instead of placing blame and accusation where it belongs, and then taking action to correct what was predicted <sigh />.

wraith808

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Ok... that apparently wasn't enough for basement.  How about this?

Easily Add an NSA Backdoor to your Rails app

Quote
It really should be an API for Prism instead of a web page. Naturally you would call it PriAPIsm for its ability to facilitate continual invasion of our privacy and rights, and for the effect it will have on "national security" officials.

wraith808

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IainB

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@40hz: Thanks for the OP and link. Very interesting, albeit the whole situation is confuzzling to me (looking in from the outside).
There's an interesting post at Slashdot:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
NSA Surveillance Heat Map: NSA Lied To Congress
Posted by timothy on Sunday June 09, 2013 @08:26AM
from the hey-dad-what's-up-with-that? dept.
anagama writes "NSA officials have repeatedly denied under oath to Congress that even producing an estimate of the number of Americans caught up in its surveillance is impossible. Leaked screenshots of an NSA application that does exactly that, prove that the NSA flat out lied (surprise). Glenn Greenwald continues his relentless attacks with another bombshell this time exposing Boundless Informant. Interestingly, the NSA spies more on America than China according to the heat map. Representative Wyden had sought amendments to FISA reauthorization bill that would have required the NSA to provide information like this (hence the NSA's lies), but Obama and Feinstein demanded a pure reauthorization of FISA, which they got at the end of 2012." And if you don't mind that you might have your name on yet another special list, you might enjoy this Twitter-based take on the ongoing news.

They link to "Twitter-based take on the ongoing news", and one of those tweets is a rather droll image/caption:
(He who would trade liberty for security deserves great customer service.)

NSA spying exposed - 01 Tweet image.jpg

Made me smile anyway.    ;)

TaoPhoenix

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@40hz: Thanks for the OP and link. Very interesting, albeit the whole situation is confuzzling to me (looking in from the outside).
There's an interesting post at Slashdot:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
... "NSA officials have repeatedly denied under oath to Congress...

Ever notice that "interrogation techniques" are in fact "only Rated R"!? (VERY high R!)
Your choice of Ominous Dark Knight to say the following:
"Pshaw ... yeah, pain, suffocation, blah blah. But you know what? Rated R. They still don't *truly* scare the victim. So let's do this. Let's turn the alphabet dial ... up to X."


wraith808

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40hz

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I think the key takeaway in the original article is how the current 'powers that be' within the US government have successfully (through revisionist historical interpretations and the removal of anything resembling "Civics" education from the US public school curriculum) led the new generation to believe the US Constitution, through its government,  grants it's citizens rights - when in fact, the actual wording only serves to restrict the powers given - by the people - to their own government.

It seems a small thing. But it's an absolutely critical indication of  the engineered mindshift that has taken place in the last 30 years.

Last night I was watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind over a friend's house. Their kids (aged 16, 18, and 23) couldn't understand why the government and military were being "so nice" and the people were being so uncooperative about the civilian evacuation order in the area the ending of the story takes place in. The youngest one said "How long ago was this supposed to be? They're lucky it's not today."

When I asked why, the 18 year old looked at me like I was clueless and said: "Well...it's a national security situation isn't it? The government could have just arrested or shot them for disobeying if any of that was really happening."

When I asked how they could possibly be allowed to do that, I was told by the youngest: "Because it's the law." as the other two nodded in agreement.

For what was definitely not the first time in the last decade, I actually felt scared about what I was hearing coming from the mouths of our upcoming generation.

I sometimes wonder if this is how German parents started feeling when listening to their children back around 1932-1933?

 :tellme:
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 06:56:46 AM by 40hz »

Stoic Joker

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Okay... ^That's^ F'ing horrifying..

rgdot

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When this is moved to the basement someone message me please, I may have something to add  :D

app103

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For those suffering some form of "outrage amnesia", I'll just leave this old Bush era news story right here, so in about 7-8 years from now, when all this hits the headlines for a 3rd time (as breaking news), maybe someone with deja vu will point out the fact that it's old news and that this database of information was set up shortly after the 9-11 attacks and news of it was made public in 2006.

296295_586300871403853_577978124_n.jpg

http://usatoday.com/...2006-05-10-nsa_x.htm

And the wikipedia page about it: http://en.wikipedia....ki/NSA_call_database

I think this makes it even more disturbing, the idea that so many could freak out about this back in 2006 and then promptly forget that it ever happened, acting all surprised all over again when they hear about it again, years later, freaking out all over again, as if they never knew and news of this was brand spanking new.

I think the old saying about those that don't remember history being doomed to repeat it needs to be revised a bit, to include something about those that don't remember history being doomed to treating it as recent news when they hear about it again.

Tinman57

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I think this makes it even more disturbing, the idea that so many could freak out about this back in 2006 and then promptly forget that it ever happened, acting all surprised all over again when they hear about it again, years later, freaking out all over again, as if they never knew and news of this was brand spanking new.

I think the old saying about those that don't remember history being doomed to repeat it needs to be revised a bit, to include something about those that don't remember history being doomed to treating it as recent news when they hear about it again.

  Most all of this crap started from the G.W. Bushy era, which is the biggest reason why I dislike "W".  Americans have a short attention span, thanks to all of our technology.  But the news media has a lot of the blame to go along with that, we only hear what they want you to hear.  There was a HUGE breaking story right after that to distract everyone into the new story while the old story fades away into oblivion.  The news media & government has been using that tactic for years, it was even mentioned in a few movies.
  But what do I know, I've been wearing this tin cap for so long....

barney

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... treating it as recent news when they hear about it again.

Well ... wouldn't that be repeating history  ;)?

But I totally agree with you.  And, while I can't quote chapter and verse, I remember similar reports back in the Kennedy administration and again in the Clinton administration.  This is definitely something akin to the seven (7) year itch, in that it keeps happening, and we don't do anything about it.  Only difference is that collection methodology keeps improving.  Next step?  Maybe rfid/barcode tattoos becoming mandatory?  Implants?  The possibilities on the horizon are endless  :P.

wraith808

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For those suffering some form of "outrage amnesia", I'll just leave this old Bush era news story right here, so in about 7-8 years from now, when all this hits the headlines for a 3rd time (as breaking news), maybe someone with deja vu will point out the fact that it's old news and that this database of information was set up shortly after the 9-11 attacks and news of it was made public in 2006.

Oh, I have an answer to that one... from a writer's blog.  Read the whole thing.  It's a good read.  But this is the relevant part.

Quote
I was listening to NPR yesterday. They were talking about the information the NSA was collecting on phone records.  In the course of the conversation, there was an offhand remark to the following effect: “Obama is doing the same thing Bush did, although now it may be legal.”

<snip />

How far have we come?  Think about it.  A major news organization mentions in passing that a President has committed a crime, and it isn’t even worth a pause in the conversation.

Are you angry yet?  Disgusted?  Appalled?  I am.

People remember...  It's just ... look at 40's post above about the reaction of kids.  That sort of explains it.

More than the repeating history, I think that a favorite quote by Churchill sums it all up to me:

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."
- Sir Winston Churchill

And all of this explanatory diatribe is only to stretch out the outrage to the point that most people "pick themselves up and hurry off", and this becomes yesterday's news.

wraith808

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About NSA whistleblower

Interview with NSA whistleblower

(And mouser, I'm being nice... I'm putting all of this in the same thread so it can all go to the basement at once!)

wraith808

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And app... from the interview and pointing at your article...

Quote
"A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama's promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor."

wraith808

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Another article on Snowden... one which makes me wonder about the competence of the NSA (which I never wondered about before)

Specifically the following:
Quote
Mr. Snowden attributed his access to documents seemingly beyond the purview of his job to his work in network security, which would allow him to access a wide variety of secret files. Some large companies are currently lobbying the federal government to grant more of their employees security clearances, in part to fend off hackers from Iran, China and elsewhere.

Really?  REALLY?!?  And he'd only been working there for three months?

Outside of PRISM, that's really just outlandishly stupid.

More from Time

Quote
Snowden claimed vast powers to both initiate surveillance and shut down the U.S. programs.

“I had full access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all around the world,” he told The Guardian. In a video posted on the website, Snowden claimed that “Any analyst at any time can target anyone … I, sitting at my desk, certainly have the authorities to wiretap anyone — from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President.”

Additionally he claimed he said he could shut down the entire system in an afternoon if he wanted to. The revelation that Snowden was a contractor with that wide-ranging access to some of the most closely guarded U.S. government programs is sure to provoke a reexamination of the explosion of contractors filling traditional government jobs in defense and intelligence agencies.


rgdot

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Don't have to tell anybody how I feel about Bush but ... It started when people allowed it to start.

IainB

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This is from 2006: Wire-tapping in US.swf
I thought it was rather well done.

TaoPhoenix

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Today's xkcd has a beautiful "spark of rebellion" nature to it:
http://xkcd.com/1223/

:Thmbsup: