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Last post Author Topic: Worth Reading: Trevor Pott's editorial on NSA PRISM and its real ramifications  (Read 64728 times)

IainB

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Technology is not the problem. Laws are not the problem. PEOPLE in our GOVERNMENT are the problem.
...
...Should we be surprised that when we base our entire society on force and violence, that things always end up as force and violence?
   I'm not sure whether the above type of process of elimination even can, or does necessarily achieve anything particularly useful. The conclusion is arguably a truism - that the act or habit of violence for the purposes of control over others leads to Totalitarianism (which manifests as deliberate, necessary and systemic violence for the purposes of control over others to oblige them to conform to a given set of rules).
   It is arguably the same for many/most of a society's religio-political ideologies - e.g., including such as Serfdom, Roman Catholicism, Islamism, Hinduism, Marxism, Communism, Socialism, Liberalism, Progressivism, Anarchism, Democracy, Capitalism, Fascism. However we might try to disguise it or use euphemisms for it, violence is an implicit and necessary factor running through the thing's structure, giving it strength and rigidity, like the grain in a piece of wood. The most successful religio-political ideologies, in terms of power or longevity, would seem to be those whose artificial framework of reference employs the most implicit violence and has as a basis one or more of some kind of real/imaginary ruling object or master-principle - e.g., a king, an idol, a God, a dictator or a concept such as "the people", "the workers" or "the State". The more the merrier.
 
   Whittling away at a stick, looking for "a problem", will usually result in a stub of the stick held between your finger and thumb, and some wood shavings on the ground, and no major discovery of anything particularly new/useful. It was, after all, always nothing more than just a stick of wood. The "problem" (if you can call it that) with the stick is that it was made of wood. But what was the problem really?

   All this talk of "the problem", but, do we have a discernible, clear definition of what the problem actually is?
  • Is it "Technology"? It might be, I suppose, but why? - and how exactly (unless you are a Luddite) could a collective noun for a set of hardware, software and methodologies be a "problem"? It would presumably depend on your definition of the problem.
  • Is it our "Laws"? It might be, I suppose, but why? - and how exactly could a collective noun for a set of rules that society has established for itself to observe be a "problem"? It would presumably depend on your definition of the problem.
  • Is it the "People in our government"? It might be, I suppose, but why? - and how exactly could a collective noun for any given set of people that society has appointed into government to manage that society be a "problem"? A stigmatisation, maybe, but a "problem"? It would presumably depend on your definition of the problem.

  I could go on, but you probably get the idea, and in any event I don't wish to labour the point too much. The missing factor in this would seem to be the necessary articulation of a clear, useful, accurate and rational definition of the problem - whatever the problem may be. Once you have defined the problem thus, you are likely to be around halfway to identifying and articulating a rational solution.

   Of course, if you don't need a clear, useful, accurate and rational definition of the problem, because you already know the solution is your preferred hammer belief or religio-political ideology - e.g., including such as Serfdom, Roman Catholicism, Islamism, Hinduism, Marxism, Communism, Socialism, Liberalism, Progressivism, Anarchism, Democracy, Capitalism, Fascism - then good luck. Go ahead and knock yourself out. If you don't study history, then you could save yourself some time by taking a leaf out of the the Egyptians' handbook on this - they seem to be really into this kind of thing at the moment.

Renegade

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Technology is not the problem. Laws are not the problem. PEOPLE in our GOVERNMENT are the problem.
...
...Should we be surprised that when we base our entire society on force and violence, that things always end up as force and violence?
   I'm not sure whether the above type of process of elimination even can, or does necessarily achieve anything particularly useful. The conclusion is arguably a truism - that the act or habit of violence for the purposes of control over others leads to Totalitarianism (which manifests as deliberate, necessary and systemic violence for the purposes of control over others to oblige them to conform to a given set of rules).

I'm with you there.

   It is arguably the same for many/most of a society's religio-political ideologies - e.g., including such as Serfdom, Roman Catholicism, Islamism, Hinduism, Marxism, Communism, Socialism, Liberalism, Progressivism, Anarchism, Democracy, Capitalism, Fascism.

I don't think that you can insert Anarchism there. The point of anarchy is to eliminate force and coercion.

Similarly for Capitalism. How is it some kind of ideology that I should be able to enjoy the fruits of my labour? I make something. It's mine. This isn't an ideology - it's a simple fact. I then do what I want with it. If you and I have something that each other wants, we can trade. That's our business, and not an ideology. (see below)

It's the Communists (and similar) that have an ideology where when I make something, they somehow earn a right to steal what is mine.

The others stand out from those Anarchism and Capitalism in that they all try to dictate what people "should" do. Neither Anarchism nor Capitalism engage in that. 
Now, for the bastard, deformed children of Capitalism... sigh...

I really, really would love to go on about an Occult ideology and its relationships to the others and its embodiment in society today. It's never talked about in the open but there are many examples of it out there.

However we might try to disguise it or use euphemisms for it, violence is an implicit and necessary factor running through the thing's structure, giving it strength and rigidity, like the grain in a piece of wood. The most successful religio-political ideologies, in terms of power or longevity, would seem to be those whose artificial framework of reference employs the most implicit violence and has as a basis one or more of some kind of real/imaginary ruling object or master-principle - e.g., a king, an idol, a God, a dictator or a concept such as "the people", "the workers" or "the State". The more the merrier.
 
   Whittling away at a stick, looking for "a problem", will usually result in a stub of the stick held between your finger and thumb, and some wood shavings on the ground, and no major discovery of anything particularly new/useful. It was, after all, always nothing more than just a stick of wood. The "problem" (if you can call it that) with the stick is that it was made of wood. But what was the problem really?

   All this talk of "the problem", but, do we have a discernible, clear definition of what the problem actually is?

Violence and coercion. Done. ;)

  • Is it "Technology"? It might be, I suppose, but why? - and how exactly (unless you are a Luddite) could a collective noun for a set of hardware, software and methodologies be a "problem"? It would presumably depend on your definition of the problem.
  • Is it our "Laws"? It might be, I suppose, but why? - and how exactly could a collective noun for a set of rules that society has established for itself to observe be a "problem"? It would presumably depend on your definition of the problem.
  • Is it the "People in our government"? It might be, I suppose, but why? - and how exactly could a collective noun for any given set of people that society has appointed into government to manage that society be a "problem"? A stigmatisation, maybe, but a "problem"? It would presumably depend on your definition of the problem.

There's an argument against technology in "Industrial Society and Its Future". It's very well written and has a lot of insight, but I don't buy the whole thing about technology being necessarily evil.

"Laws" are merely a mental cage backed up by coercion, violence, and fraud.

People? Well... I'll skip that.

  I could go on, but you probably get the idea, and in any event I don't wish to labour the point too much. The missing factor in this would seem to be the necessary articulation of a clear, useful, accurate and rational definition of the problem - whatever the problem may be. Once you have defined the problem thus, you are likely to be around halfway to identifying and articulating a rational solution.

I do see one "problem"... People going out of their way to find problems to solve then forcing everyone else to go along with their solutions. It never ends well. What is the road to Hell paved with?

   Of course, if you don't need a clear, useful, accurate and rational definition of the problem, because you already know the solution is your preferred hammer belief or religio-political ideology - e.g., including such as Serfdom, Roman Catholicism, Islamism, Hinduism, Marxism, Communism, Socialism, Liberalism, Progressivism, Anarchism, Democracy, Capitalism, Fascism - then good luck. Go ahead and knock yourself out. If you don't study history, then you could save yourself some time by taking a leaf out of the the Egyptians' handbook on this - they seem to be really into this kind of thing at the moment.

Again, leave the 2 I mentioned above out. The others all have in common a violent, coercive system where they dictate what people must do and what they must not do. And THAT is the problem.

I can sum that up as an "ideology" in 1 short sentence:

Leave me alone and don't tell me what to do. :P :D
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

IainB

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OK, so, if you define the problem as the necessary implicit prevalence/use of violence and coercion in a society's prevailing religio-political ideologies, and if you presuppose that Capitalism and Anarchy are the only two non-violent religio-political ideologies in that sense (just ignoring for the moment that there are probably more than two), then:
The Solution is to sweep away all the prevailing religio-political ideologies and implant Capitalism and Anarchy.
Of course, you are probably going to have to make a rule to prohibit the other bad religio-political ideologies as illegal or something, and then figure out how you will enforce that ... with violence.
Quote
No problem.
Yeah, right.

Renegade

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OK, so, if you define the problem as the necessary implicit prevalence/use of violence and coercion in a society's prevailing religio-political ideologies, and if you presuppose that Capitalism and Anarchy are the only two non-violent religio-political ideologies in that sense (just ignoring for the moment that there are probably more than two), then:
The Solution is to sweep away all the prevailing religio-political ideologies and implant Capitalism and Anarchy.
Of course, you are probably going to have to make a rule to prohibit the other bad religio-political ideologies as illegal or something, and then figure out how you will enforce that ... with violence.
Quote
No problem.
Yeah, right.

I'm getting way off topic, but having fun anyways!
There will ALWAYS be violence. That is a given. The difference is between aggressive and defensive violence. Defensive violence is always morally permissible, and one could argue that it is a moral imperative.

The difference is that in (most of) the other religio-political ideologies you list, the INITIATION of violence is the basis of society and the basic rule. That's a very big difference from using violence for defense (i.e. Anarchism).

Anarchism doesn't preclude people from associating under some set of ideologies, e.g. anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism, etc. The only thing it precludes is the initiation of force/violence. 

So, if you want to live under Communism, you can. Just as long as you don't force others to do the same. Ooops! Guess not, because that's what Communism is - violence.

So perhaps Democracy? Ooops! Nope. That's the tyranny of the masses. ;) A mob gets together and forces other people to do what it wants.

Then maybe Republicanism? Ooops... United States of America, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, etc. etc. They don't seem to turn out very well either. ;)

Etc. etc. etc.

But Anarchism doesn't prevent anyone from banging their heads against the wall. All the others FORCE you to bang your head against the wall. :D :P

Anarchism is almost always maligned and misrepresented. Grouping it with the likes of Democracy and Marxism is misleading. It has no resemblance to any of them.

"Capitalism", on the other hand, describes normal economic activity between people. It has many bastard, deformed children, with each one uglier than the last. Perhaps it's most popular bastard is "Corporatism". It bears a striking resemblance to its older sibling, "Fascism". Another ugly bastard is "Crony-capitalism", which really makes a mockery of it's descriptive parent. But really, they're all so ugly that they're almost impossible to tell apart.

HOWEVER -- All Capitalism's bastard children REQUIRE a religio-ideological framework to function. They cannot survive under Anarchy.


Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Anarchy is the only slight glimmer of hope. - Mick Jagger

                          drinkme2.jpg

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
- H. L. Mencken

 8)

tomos

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dont escalate! dont escalate! :D

- it's been an interesting few posts btw.
Tom

Renegade

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dont escalate! dont escalate! :D

- it's been an interesting few posts btw.

We should keep it interesting then~! :D

H. L. Mencken

Ah, the ever quotable! Let me pair a couple of his together:

1) I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
2) Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.

Little did he know that he had already solved #1 with #2! :D :P
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 09:07:14 AM by Renegade »

40hz

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^Anarchy is great in theory. Too bad it doesn't work in practice for much the same reason communism didn't. It requires a large number of a certain type of high-minded individual that we just don't have.

If you had a world full of that sort of person you wouldn't need anything.

But if you had a world full of unicorns, I'm guessing everything would be just as cool - and just as likely.

I'm not waiting up nights. We can only work with what we've got. ;) ;D :Thmbsup:

IainB

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superboyac

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Man, I just LOVE pencil art with cross hatching.

wraith808

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OT Stuff

Getting more off-topic, so maybe we should thread this to the basement?
Doesn't that presume that those ideologies include expansion as a tenet (which none of them necessarily do)

As you said, Anarchism only talks about inflicting on the non-willing. So, and I quote, "Anarchism doesn't preclude people from associating under some set of ideologies, e.g. anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism, etc. The only thing it precludes is the initiation of force/violence."

If a group of people got together an formed a democracy, it would be a tyranny of the masses, sure.  But on the masses that want the tyranny.  As long as it remains in the borders and by collusion, then it does work.  And they would have the defensive ability to expel anyone that didn't want to abide by that rule, correct?


Renegade

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Basement? Nah. It's still all fun & games. Nobody is getting vehement about anything. Besides, it's more fun with 40hz in the discussion.

More OT fun!

^Anarchy is great in theory. Too bad it doesn't work in practice for much the same reason communism didn't. It requires a large number of a certain type of high-minded individual that we just don't have.

If you had a world full of that sort of person you wouldn't need anything.

But if you had a world full of unicorns, I'm guessing everything would be just as cool - and just as likely.

I'm not waiting up nights. We can only work with what we've got. ;) ;D :Thmbsup:

We can only work with what we've got?  :'( Because it's working soooo well! :P

That's like introducing your phone to the wonders of Mr. Hammer. Repetitively. Then insisting on making a phone call with it, after all, you "work with what you've got". What we've got ain't working by any stretch of the imagination. What works right now works DESPITE what we've got.

Doesn't that presume that those ideologies include expansion as a tenet (which none of them necessarily do)

As you said, Anarchism only talks about inflicting on the non-willing. So, and I quote, "Anarchism doesn't preclude people from associating under some set of ideologies, e.g. anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism, etc. The only thing it precludes is the initiation of force/violence."

If a group of people got together an formed a democracy, it would be a tyranny of the masses, sure.  But on the masses that want the tyranny.  As long as it remains in the borders and by collusion, then it does work.  And they would have the defensive ability to expel anyone that didn't want to abide by that rule, correct?

Anarchism gives you the freedom to associate however you choose. I'll skip all the stuff about selling yourself into slavery and that kind of silliness, but suffice it to say that it's a contradiction and just insane. So, back to free associations with people...

So, for "the masses that want the tyranny", it only makes sense to the point that anyone can opt-out. However, that brings up how people contract with each other. In what you've described, it's impossible to have "anarcho-democracy" (I'll just call it that) and have people own land. It would be very much like the feudal system of land ownership that we have now. i.e. Fee simple and not allodial titles. If people owned land, they could opt-out of the system very easily and stay there. But, that's getting into some details.

But yes - in Anarchy people are free to contract with others. If the terms of the contract allowed for expulsion from the community, then so be it.

But (in an Anarchist non-system) people cannot simply band together to force others into a contract. e.g. If there are 100 people in an area, 80 of them don't get to decide to have a Democracy and force the others into it, then decide to expel them if they don't want a Demonocracy. ;) That's an initiation of force/violence/fraud.

The systems we have now are not free. You have guys with guns ready to force you to comply with the arbitrary "laws" that are pulled out of the asses of asses. :P :D

I think a decent summary of Anarchism is "leave me alone and don't tell me what to do". Well, as a negative definition anyways, which is a good contrast to what we have now.

*IF* we had Anarchy, we sure as heck wouldn't have the surveillance state nonsense that we have now.


Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Basement? Nah. It's still all fun & games. Nobody is getting vehement about anything. Besides, it's more fun with 40hz in the discussion.


Well...I don't know about the fun part....but at least you'll get more funny art and images with 40hz posting. ;D

wraith808

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Basement? Nah. It's still all fun & games. Nobody is getting vehement about anything. Besides, it's more fun with 40hz in the discussion.

I just meant in terms of this is OT for the thread... and we really couldn't make a non-basement thread that would fit in the living room for the discussion. :)

Let's do the OT again
Your last statements bring to the fore anything that doesn't have to do with the immediate.

I don't have the resources, so I ask someone for them.  If they aren't totally altruistic, the lack of the way to enforce the contract (as that would be aggression) comes into question.

I guess it could work like pure barter, but that's not always going to get you through the spots when what you're producing is either not in season, or not in demand.  How do you enforce such things?


Renegade

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More OT @wraith

Your last statements bring to the fore anything that doesn't have to do with the immediate.

I don't have the resources, so I ask someone for them.  If they aren't totally altruistic, the lack of the way to enforce the contract (as that would be aggression) comes into question.

I guess it could work like pure barter, but that's not always going to get you through the spots when what you're producing is either not in season, or not in demand.  How do you enforce such things?

This trips up a lot of people. But it's been discussed numerous times.

The first thing to remember is that you can ALWAYS use force for defense. That includes against fraud, etc. So you're not held helpless there.

For barter, that just doesn't matter. There's nothing stopping having a monetary system that isn't government issued. e.g. Bitcoin, litecoin, gold, silver, Canadian Tire money, etc. So don't bother with barter at all - it's antiquated and we have better ways to do things. For things like international trade, you simply buy bitcoin or gold from someone locally with your Canadian Tire money then use bitcoin/gold/whatever. All those problems are solved. Also, with non-central bank currency/money/instruments, you don't have the kind of manipulation that we have now. Kiss the manufactured boom/bust cycles good-bye!  :-*

For enforcement, there is nothing to stop having private services to replace our current judicial and law enforcement. Currently this is happening in Detroit with private companies replacing the police.

I don't really want to get into that all that deep as it really really goes way way OT, but there are lots of resources out there that describe how it can work.

It all seems quite counter-intuitive at first, but if you look into it, it's easy to see that it is a better system.

I know that someone will start in on corruption or conflicts of interest, but when you look a bit deeper, it's easier to see how it is against the interest of a security company to be corrupt. Once that gets out, people would flock to another company. i.e. It's similar to how you have self-policing systems on the Internet.

I've really glossed over things very quickly there. Here's one resource that might help:



That is Larken Rose's YouTube channel. He's an ardent Anarchist and really makes a lot of sense. He speaks very plainly and simply.

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

barney

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It's been interesting to read the interchange(s) 'tween Renegade and wraith808, but methinks 40hz hath the right of it.  I've been a practising anarchist, within current governmental and societal restraints, for years - basically, helping others with things I have or can do.  (A few of you know that, btw  ;).)  However, we are constrained to work within the limits imposed by our current society, government notwithstanding.  If something is doable within those limits, all fine and well.  If not, we are damned by our own society, whether we support it or not.  If we have allowed PRISM, et. al., there are naught to blame but ourselves.  Star room conferences will always exist, in any societal configuration - can't prevent them, and rarely able to counter/circumvent them.

In order to make change, we have to work within the current system or overthrow that system.  Overthrow is unlikely in the extreme, but change is possible, however unlikely.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the conversations.

wraith808

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continued OT discussion

If we have allowed PRISM, et. al., there are naught to blame but ourselves.

I have a *real* problem with that statement.

reagan-responsibility.jpg

The people that are responsible for those actions are solely responsible.  If now that they are visible, we do nothing, then we are responsible for letting it continue.  But they are responsible for their own actions, and should be held accountable.  That statement is one of the problems... we say "we get the government we deserve", and enable their continued transgressions by not holding their individual and several feet to the fire, because it's our fault.

The government is not an entity.  It is a collection of people elected to represent people as a whole.  And if they don't represent the will of the people, and the constitution that they are elected to uphold, then they need to be held accountable.  To do otherwise is insane- you're putting people in power over you that have no responsibility to you, other than to mollify you every two/four years.  That's insanity.

...well, at least in my opinion.  There needs to be a Reckoning, with a capital 'R'.


Renegade

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+1 for wraith.

OT
And I wouldn't be opposed to a "Wreckening" either. :D

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

tomos

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Quote from: barney on Today at 07:00:11
If we have allowed PRISM, et. al., there are naught to blame but ourselves. /quote

I have a *real* problem with that statement.

Spoiler
I think the "we get the government we deserve" bit is like the bigger picture. I'd phrase it differently myself:
the government do what they sense they'll get away with - sometimes they're wrong, but mostly they get that "what'll we get away with" bit down fairly well.

To me that view can exist quite comfortably with the idea that individuals are responsible for their actions. Which brings us back to the people - the politicians etc will only be held responsible for their actions when the general populace start thinking:
- "hey, that's not on - you cant get away with that >:( "

Tom

IainB

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The term "milquetoast" was an American expression, I think.

IainB

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I was quite impressed by this:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Sounding the alarm: Ars speaks with vocal NSA critic Sen. Ron Wyden
The senator talks about the NSA, the FISC, and more.
by Joe Mullin - Jul 31, 2013 1:20 pm UTC

As a series of top-secret NSA documents have been leaked over the past several weeks, the issue of widespread government surveillance has been front-and-center in the public eye. For some, those documents were shocking revelations; for privacy activists and digerati who have followed cases like Jewel v. NSA, they were less surprising than they were useful. The documents leaked by a former NSA contractor offered solid confirmation of what had long been suspected—that the NSA had created a giant information vacuum, sucking up all manner of data.

Another group that couldn't have been surprised: politicians in Congress' top intelligence committees. But few had complained publicly about overbroad surveillance. Two exceptions are Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO), both of whom sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"I want to deliver a warning this afternoon," Wyden said in 2011. "When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry."

Two years later, in small but noticeable ways, that anger is coming to the fore. Recent polls show that more Americans see the government as going too far in restricting civil liberties. A shift is clearly happening in Congress, as well. Last week, the House of Representatives was just eight votes away from de-funding the NSA telephone program.

Last week, Ars spoke to Wyden about his longstanding critique of NSA surveillance, what has happened since the leaks began, and views of the leaker Edward Snowden himself.

Ars Technica: In the past two months, much has been revealed about what kind of surveillance the NSA is doing, largely because of leaked documents. Is there more we don't know, that we should know? And can you characterize what we don't know in any way?

Senator Ron Wyden: There is a lot more to know, particularly in terms of getting a declassified version of the legal analysis used by the FISA court. When people get that, and see it in the context of the bulk phone records program, they will see how astoundingly broad it is. We've got secret law, authorizing secret surveillance, being interpreted by a largely secret court.

The administration's legal rationale talks about something that sounds like there's a connection to terrorism. Instead, it's morphed into an arrangement where, for millions of law-abiding Americans, the government knows who they called, when they called, and where they called from. It's a treasure trove of human relationship data. In my view, that reveals so much about the lives of law-abiding Americans.

Ars: In your last speech you mentioned location a few times. Do Americans need to be worried that their location is being tracked right now?

Sen. Wyden: The government says they have the authority to do it. I can't get into anything beyond that. They have said they're not doing it today.

In public session, I have particularly pressed the intelligence community to describe what legal rights are of law-abiding Americans with regard to whether or not they can be tracked. We have 24/7 tracking devices in our pockets. I asked the head of the FBI: given that the law is unsettled with regard to protection, I'd like to have you describe here in an open setting, what are the rights of Americans today as the courts are settling this? They have been unwilling on repeated occasions to give an answer.

Ars: Why have you been one of the only members of Congress speaking out about this? 

Sen. Wyden: Well, I think there have been remarkable developments in the last eight weeks. Before that, you wouldn't have had this issue debated on the floor of the House—and you wouldn't have had by a mile more than 200 members of the US Congress saying, look, we've got real problems with the status quo. I consider that huge, huge progress in our fight to show that security and liberty are not mutually exclusive.

In the Senate, more than a quarter of the US Senate has sent a very tough letter to General Clapper speaking to exactly how the intelligence community justifies the bulk phone records collection on hundreds of millions of Americans. One of the concerns we feel most strongly about is that the intel community has not been willing to show how bulk phone record collection provides unique value that they can't obtain through emergency authorities and the court order process.

Ars: What changed the minds of your fellow members?

Sen. Wyden: Members of Congress went home. In senior citizen centers, company lunchrooms, and all kinds of places where the public gathers, citizens are coming up to their legislators and saying, 'Hey—what's this deal with all this business about the government collecting my phone records? I didn't do anything wrong.'

I don't necessarily have to run hither and yon to get colleagues involved in these discussions. They are coming up to Senator [Mark] Udall and I, asking for more information, asking for staff briefings. The senators are getting asked about this when they go home. Political change doesn't start in Washington and trickle down; it's bottoms-up.

This has given us a huge, huge wave of momentum. I never conceived of the day when people would come up to me at the barber shop and ask me about the FISA court.

Ars: What are the next steps that need to be taken?

Sen. Wyden: We'll be getting the information back from the intelligence community [in response to our inquiries] very soon. We'll bring it up behind closed doors, as well as in public, on the Senate floor. Senator Udall and I are going to make some additional remarks soon, particularly regarding the fact that the intelligence community has not just kept the US in the dark, they have actually misled the American people, actively. We're going to be walking the country through those issues.

And there will certainly be other votes, you can be certain of that, after Congress breaks for the summer.

Ars: Are there particular agencies or people that need to be called out, on that front?

Sen. Wyden: When General Keith Alexander said, "we don't hold any data on US citizens"—that is, I think, one of the most false statements ever made about domestic surveillance. This is an official who's been cleared, speaking in a public forum.

Ars: What about changes on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court? All the judges on it are appointed by one person, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Does that need to change?

Sen. Wyden: There is much about the FISA court that is anachronistic, and it needs to be updated. Their work back in the 1970s was garden variety stuff: they looked at government applications for wiretaps, and made judgments about probable cause. But 9/11 changed all of that. The FISA court [today] is a result of these take-your-breath away rulings—they said the Patriot Act could be used for bulk surveillance.

I know of no other judicial body that's so one-sided. The government lawyers lay out their arguments, and the court decides just on that.

Ars: It was Edward Snowden's leaks that brought this whole debate to the fore. Do you think at the end of the day, the leaks were a good thing?

Sen. Wyden: I have two statements on that. First, when there is criminal investigation underway, as there is here, I don't comment on the specifics of it.

But I do feel very strongly that the debate of the last eight weeks should have been started a long, long, long time ago by those who hold elected office, rather than by Edward Snowden.

Ars: Anything else you want to add?

Sen. Wyden: This is a unique time in our constitutional history. There's been a combination of dramatic changes in technology and sweeping decisions from the FISA court. If we don't take the opportunity to revise our surveillance laws now—to show that security and liberty can go hand in hand—all of us are going to regret it.

Ars: Thanks for talking to us.

Tinman57

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I was quite impressed by this:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Sounding the alarm: Ars speaks with vocal NSA critic Sen. Ron Wyden

  I think it's going to be more of the same crap.  The politicians will make good public appearances, make the public think they are against the NSA illegal spying and then turn around and vote in for it in secret, behind closed doors.  It's how they've operated for years now....

IainB

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^^ How depressing.

IainB

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I just came across this link in one of my RSS feeds. I think the link is to a segment of a longer speech made in 2007.

[/youtube]

Transcript:
Quote
Published on 6 Jun 2013
Excerpt from President Obama's speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in August 2007.

This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.

That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists. The FISA court works. The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.

This Administration acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security. It is not.

Source clip: - here.

I find this confuzzling.    :tellme:

wraith808

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I find this confuzzling.    :tellme:

Not really so much.  With every politician, you have who he is during the election season, and who he is when elected.  With some, that divide isn't so much.  But as you get higher on the rungs, the more different those two personas become.  It's always been widely known that Presidents campaign towards their base, and administer from the center.

In Obama's case, it's painfully obvious how much outside influence is evident.  Maybe not so much as W, but it's definitely obvious that unless he's a total sociopath (and I don't believe he is, before people start chiming in  :-\) that he received "The Speech" after he came into office, and he chose to listen and act accordingly.