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Last post Author Topic: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications  (Read 64682 times)

TaoPhoenix

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I'm gonna go out on a limb and say today's Supreme Court rulings tangentially bear on all this. If we play with Venn diagrams, some fragment of the overlap is about "opression". So if the topic of Marriage just became "medium less" oppressive, despite people specifically calling for the Good ol' Boys club, then that's a small step towards transparency in all those other agency areas.

wraith808

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I'm gonna go out on a limb and say today's Supreme Court rulings tangentially bear on all this. If we play with Venn diagrams, some fragment of the overlap is about "opression". So if the topic of Marriage just became "medium less" oppressive, despite people specifically calling for the Good ol' Boys club, then that's a small step towards transparency in all those other agency areas.

That has little to no impact, IMO.  Think about it.  Marriage is an institution created specifically to control.  So... people have fought long and hard... to be under more control.

Tinman57

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  And yet some more news on something that we already knew, just not verified.....

Quote
Report: NSA collected US email records, Internet use for years

06.27.2013 10:20 AM

The National Security Agency collected the email and Internet use records of some U.S. residents for about a decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to documents published Thursday by the U.K. newspaper the Guardian.

http://www.pcworld.c...t-use-for-years.html

IainB

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"Shadow on the Land" was from 1968? Seems remarkably prescient.
IFS = DHS/NSA/Militarily Armed Police?

On a lighter note, there is a super little post in Googland:
Quote
Securing your WiFi network
Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013

This post is part of a regular series of privacy and security tips to help you and your family stay safe and secure online. Privacy and security are important topics—they matter to us, and they matter to you. Building on our Good to Know site with advice for safe and savvy Internet use, we hope this information helps you understand the choices and control that you have over your online information. -Ed.
...(Read the rest at the link)
It ends with a cute little narrated cartoon video, probably for people who maybe cannot read or are deaf, that gets the message across and emphasises the need for you to use WPA2 Wifi security keys.
This little missive comes hot from the press after Google had:
  • (a) deliberately collected Wifi location data in their StreetView video vehicles - which seems to have got them into legal hot water in Germany, but, strangely nowhere else;   :tellme:
  • (b) been pretty clearly identified as a major Big Data co-conspirator in breaching Internet users' privacy/security as per the Guardian's published NSA leak details.

On reading the post and watching the vid, my amazement at the barefaced effrontery of this post was followed by the thought "Supposing they are serious? Now why would Google seem to be so concerned about our improving/maintaining Wifi security?"

Then a possible answer hit me. I've done quite a bit of work in the area of what's called "Data Quality" for corporate databases. It's a complex subject, and difficult to achieve consistently good results. Google are probably obliged to ensure the quality and integrity of the surveillance data that they gather for the NSA is not only maintained, but also improved, and one of the ways that they can do that is to ensure that it is secure at source. That way, it is validated - it has its author's indelible "fingerprints" all over it, so to speak.

The NSA have an incredibly difficult surveillance job to do, and to do it they will probably need the data to meet at least three basic criteria:
  • (i) Accessibility: Is it fully accessible, and is that access controlled by us? (Check.)
  • (ii) Timeliness: Is it timely - i.e., not delayed? (Check)
  • (iii) Data Quality: Is the source security, quality and integrity of the surveillance data certain? (No, not yet.)

Hmm.

TaoPhoenix

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"Shadow on the Land" was from 1968? Seems remarkably prescient.
IFS = DHS/NSA/Militarily Armed Police?

I managed to get around to reading Harlan Ellison's Alone Against Tomorrow collection and a few of those tales are coming home to roost too!
:'(

IainB

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   As I have stated elsewhere in this forum, I am apolitical and do not really understand US politics.
However, I have been able to gather from my many American friends, colleagues and contacts how, in the US, one's religio-political beliefs/affiliations/leanings can be very important and seem to tend to - if not be expected to - override one's reason in any given matter.
   If, whatever the issue, how one thinks about an issue seems to be primarily dictated through the lens of one's religio-political paradigm - which would then necessarily colour one's stated views - then it may often be necessary for the individual to engage in a backwards rationalisation to justify said views.
   On the subject of the NSA PRISM surveillance leaks and associated revelations, there sometimes seems to be a general tendency to try to blame this on a particular political party/individual. Many might see this as being irrational, because it seems to be effectively abrogating the responsibility of the voters for whatever party was voted into power with whatever mandate(s) it had.
   In a democracy, you generally get what you voted for.
If you voted for (say) "the lesser of two evils", then that is what you will get - and it'll still be its evil self.

There is an interesting post on The Reference Frame blog which touches on this: Pros and cons of the U.S. surveillance program
A well as the pros and cons being interesting, this bit of the post caught my attention:
Quote
...I was sort of pleasantly surprised by the New York Times editorial

    President Obama’s Dragnet (via NewsMax)

which sort of concludes that the Obama administration has lost all credibility on this issue. The surprise is nice not because I am sure that I agree with the Grey Lady – my feelings are mixed – but because I would agree that the newspaper's approach to similar questions has been consistent throughout the Bush and Obama administrations.

Some partisans who have criticized Bush for certain things suddenly get unbelievably silent when the same things are being done by Obama but the New York Times doesn't seem to belong to this hypocritical club. ...

The current situation regarding the NSA PRISM and related surveillance seems to be, for better or worse, a fait accompli, and the surveillance seems to have become well-established and was apparently accelerated over a number of years (probably starting since before 9/11/2001), and to have gone worldwide. So maybe it's time to accept, adapt, and move on - since one is generally likely to be impotent to shove these things back into Pandora's box.
Whatever happened before was then. This is now, and if you thought you understood the situation, then what you probably don't understand is that the situation just changed - again.
(I forget who it was who said that last bit.)

40hz

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So maybe it's time to accept, adapt, and move on - since one is generally likely to be impotent to shove these things back into Pandora's box.

Non serviam.


IainB

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I was just reviewing the comments to the article in The Register - per the OP to this thread: When a country goes off the rails, why should we trust its computing systems?
I rather liked this one: (my emphasis)
Quote
Posted Saturday 8th June 2013 12:52 GMT
by Should b Working

I did enjoy one comment I saw somewhere on the interwebs (sorry can't remember where) - that the public would be much more accepting of this behaviour if the NSA gave away a browser, search engine, provided a free mapping service and hosted email.

I think that's a very good point indeed. All that would need to be done would be to formalise the shift that Google has already made from being an independent corporation to it being a department of the NSA. Problem solved.

40hz

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A major reason why it's so easy for governments to get away with what they do...

This is the mentality they're largely dealing with:
fema_camp_wi_fi_by_eddiechinglives-d5ox1yf.jpgWorth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications

wraith808

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Non serviam.

The only response.  To which I add consensus facit legem.

As long as we consent or give in, they will continue to make such things the law with our tacit approval.

Ægroto, dum anima est, spes est

Stoic Joker

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Okay... Since I had to Google all the Latin... I ran across this other quote that I found rather interesting:

Quote
Philippic (44 B.C.)
(Hannibal ad portas) Hannibal at the gates: a cynical expression made when Cicero was forced by Antony to attend a Senate meeting which Cicero thought was of no major importance.

That, Senators, is what a favour from gangs amounts to. They refrain from murdering someone; then they boast that they have spared him! From the Second Philippic Against Antony.

Kinda sounds like the gang in Washington to me.

wraith808

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Cicero is a great philosopher- one not spoken of in the same tones as Socrates and Aristotle outside of philosophy circles, but one that should be as his writings are more readily applicable to everyday life.

One of my favorites (and I'll have to quote it in English...)

Quote
Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.

Emphasis mine.

A great man.. I think it also telling that he was the first man in his family to become Senator.  Sort of like the freshmen politicians of our day.  The only difference being he didn't change as time went on, staying loyal to the ideal of the Republic rather than the temporal power he was offered, which leads to another of his quotes that I love:

Quote
What is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious.

You can't say it any plainer than that.

Stoic Joker

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Cicero is a great philosopher- one not spoken of in the same tones as Socrates and Aristotle outside of philosophy circles...
Quote
What is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious.

You can't say it any plainer than that.

It's no wonder he isn't very popular...^that's^ blasphemy, and almost seditious these days.


He sounds like our kind of people.  :Thmbsup:

wraith808

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And PRISM takes a turn.  I couldn't have predicted this.  Really, I couldn't.

George W. Bush Defends PRISM: 'I Put That Program In Place To Protect The Country'

Holy crap... talk about blurring lines....

Quote
"I think there needs to be a balance, and as the president explained, there is a proper balance."

If even a year ago you told me that Bush would come to Obama's defense and would justify their shared unpopular program by referring to Obama's own words, I would have laughed.

One other tidbit... If you read released NSA documents and histories, you can find that Carter was the only president who raised the question of the privacy of citizens in discussions with top spy chiefs in NSA.  It's mentioned in the Thomas R. Johnson , American Cryptology during the Cold War, 1945-1989. The book is classified top-secret Umbra, so the public version is heavily censored.

You can find it online in pdf form from: http://www.gwu.edu/~...iv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB260/

Jimmy Carter- our last honest president. (And I say this as even though I disagreed with a whole lot of his policies, especially economic.  But then we got Reagan after that, so...)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 08:56:17 PM by wraith808 »

Tinman57

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And PRISM takes a turn.  I couldn't have predicted this.  Really, I couldn't.

George W. Bush Defends PRISM: 'I Put That Program In Place To Protect The Country'

Holy crap... talk about blurring lines....

Quote
"I think there needs to be a balance, and as the president explained, there is a proper balance."

If even a year ago you told me that Bush would come to Obama's defense and would justify their shared unpopular program by referring to Obama's own words, I would have laughed.

  Yep, Bushy is the one that started all of this crap, and Obama pushed it even further.  The news today was that Europe is having a hissy fit about the U.S. spying on European citizens.  Well gosh, they're just now figuring that out?  It's not like FISA didn't openly state what it was going to do, and the U.S. has been busted more than once for spying on our allies.  Either way, I hope between the pressure we're putting on them and Europes pressure will resolve this problem, but most likely the U.S. will just keep on doing it secretly....

wraith808

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Please... that's hypocrisy at work.  The only thing the EU is glad about is that the NSA got caught.  If you don't think that countries don't run ops against their own 'partners' and 'allies', then I have a bridge to sell you in San Francisco.  And I'll throw in some beach front property in New Mexico.

40hz

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Please... that's hypocrisy at work.  The only thing the EU is glad about is that the NSA got caught. 

+1! :Thmbsup:

Right now I think that a good number of US 'allies' are extremely embarrassed, both about what the US has been up to, and their degree of direct or indirect complicity in it.

There's a lot to be said for speaking "truth against the world." Something our self-proclaimed "democratically elected" and "representative" governments now seem incapable of doing.

It's a problem. One that will be corrected. Again. And the same old lesson re-learned for about the hundredth time, if history is anything to go by.

So it goes.

Let's get busy! 8)

privacy.jpg
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 07:22:05 AM by 40hz »

Tinman57

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Please... that's hypocrisy at work.  The only thing the EU is glad about is that the NSA got caught.  If you don't think that countries don't run ops against their own 'partners' and 'allies', then I have a bridge to sell you in San Francisco.  And I'll throw in some beach front property in New Mexico.

  That's old news.

wraith808

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^ Sorry if I misunderstood that you were being sarcastic...  :-\

IainB

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Quote
"Non serviam."
"Facit legem."
"Ægroto, dum anima est, spes est."
Words. Some people (not me, you understand) might say that such words have often been spoken by the impotent in futile defiance of the inevitable which has surrounded them - an inevitability arising from incremental changes that, up until recently, they may have all too unwittingly accepted/tolerated and for far too long. However, I couldn't possibly comment.

Time to throw in a bit of Greek, perhaps?
How about "Molon labe"?
It sounds great. Apparently from the defiant Spartans just before they were totally defeated at the Battle of Thermopylae.

In coarse English slang there is a term that can be used to cover this sort of thing - "Pissing into the wind".
Maybe it really is simply time to adapt to the changes, I don't know.
Some people (not me, you understand) might say, for example, that maybe it is time to accept things as they are and practice saying something like "I stand with the NSA!" (or similar) as though you really meant it - it's just more words, after all - and that quite a lot of people apparently learned to do that sort of thing in Germany in the '40s in order to get on and be left to live their lives in relative peace. However, I couldn't possibly comment.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 07:41:39 PM by IainB »

40hz

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^ In my world, you are only as defeated as you are willing to allow yourself to be. I'm not the type who believes I can't ever be beaten. But I am absolutely certain I will never be defeated, beaten or not. So again: Non serviam to any who expect me to just lie down.
 :)

Tinman57

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  I really don't even know what to think about this, so I'll leave it to all you guys n gals that know a little bit more about Europes politics.....  But I will say that I'm a little cynical about it....

Quote
EU-US data-sharing deals reviewed amid Prism scandal
A European Union team will arrive in Washington, D.C. on Monday to assess how the U.S. is using data it receives from the E.U.

As part of a scheduled review, experts from the European Commission's home affairs department will conduct an examination of the Passenger Name Record (PNR) deal and the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP).

The European Parliament gave its consent Thursday to the possibility of suspending the two data-sharing deals following allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) bugged E.U. offices in New York and Washington.

http://www.pcworld.c...d-prism-scandal.html

IainB

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..So again: Non serviam to any who expect me to just lie down.
Good on yer, mate.    :Thmbsup:
And good luck.

...But I will say that I'm a little cynical about it....
Cynical? About a charade in hypocrisy? Why?    ;)

IainB

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Interesting: Is This the REAL Reason for the Government Spying On Americans?

And this:
Quote
Sign of the Day: “1984” Was Not Supposed to Be an Instruction Manual
Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on June 30, 2013

1984 not an instruction manual.jpg

“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”

~ Excerpt from George Orwell’s chilling futuristic novel “1984”

wraith808

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^ In my world, you are only as defeated as you are willing to allow yourself to be. I'm not the type who believes I can't ever be beaten. But I am absolutely certain I will never be defeated, beaten or not. So again: Non serviam to any who expect me to just lie down.
 :)

And words are powerful, especially when delivered under the correct circumstances, and used to illustrate parallels.

"Facit legem" - consent makes the law.  I didn't, and will never consent.  Which goes along with 40's Non Serviam.

"Ægroto, dum anima est, spes est." - It is said that for a sick man, there is hope.

The USA is sick.  There is a divide that is wider than it's ever been, and we are ruled by a hegemony that in no way resembles what the US was meant to be.  It was once said that one party couldn't do enough damage... the extent of what could be done in that one office was limited long ago by the 8 year limit on terms.  But there really isn't a limit- with one party in power (The Republicrats) the policies of one carry over to the other.  But though sick, the patient is still alive, and there is hope.

And those few words say it better and more eloquently than my paragraph does.  And shows that it's not for debate, but what one considers a fact.  But, there's another saying that is short but sweet, "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear."