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Knight to queen's bishop 3 - Snowden charged with espionage.

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Stoic Joker:
These would not seem to be the actions of a pukka civil servant per se, but rather the actions of the master, so secure in its position that it can overtly demonstrate a boorish/arrogant indifference to any public opinion/objection.

Maybe it's a first step in a process of desensitization of citizens towards a creeping erosion of rights and/or civil liberties - in the hope that, eventually, protest fatigue may set in and apathy take over.-IainB (January 26, 2018, 05:49 PM)
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Hay! ...Now that's the page I'm on too! :D

Or maybe it's jumping the gun a bit? Speaking of which, at least in the US, the citizens still have the ability to ultimately protect themselves from the State in a worst case scenario, via the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution (i.e., the right to keep and bear arms), despite the seemingly ceaseless assault by the State, on those rights, at every opportunity.
Other Western democracies don't seem to have anything like that.-IainB (January 26, 2018, 05:49 PM)
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There's no doubt that the second amendment will get obliviated at the appointed time. It's just being left in place long enough to give the holdouts a false perception of accomplishment. With a war of inches it's just a matter of getting the other side to perceive events in a fashion that makes them beg for what you wanted to do to them in the first place. Kinda like the way everyone was cheering to destroy their own "right" to personal privacy on September 12th... It doesn't really matter who really perpetrated the 11th...(theories abound)...the point is the moment to strike because the audience was open wasn't lost on those that were looking to seize control ... And now here we all are (on fucking camera..).

@Stoic Joker: Maybe you should alter the spelling of that rude word there, to put (say) a "#" in place of the "u".
Otherwise, you might risk potentially disturbing the virtuous equanimity of this "family-friendly" forum.
Or maybe you shouldn't bother. I just asked my 7 y/o son to read what you wrote, and he recognised the "rude F-word". I wrote it out but with the "u" replaced with a "#" and asked him if he recognized it now. "Yes. It's just a bit different.", he said.

Regarding the "Five Eyes" per Snowdengate revelations, there is an interesting, if not somewhat ironic "news" item here: All Five Eyes Countries Formally Accuse Russia of Orchestrating NotPetya Attack
By Catalin Cimpanu
February 18, 2018 05:50 AM
"All the countries part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance — the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand— have made formal statements accusing the eussian Federation of orchestrating the NotPetya ransomware outbreak." (...more)

Copied from: All Five Eyes Countries Formally Accuse Russia of Orchestrating NotPetya Attack - <>

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That settles it then. If all "Five Eyes" countries are in consensus, then it must be true - right?    :tellme:

Love the cartoon of the 5 children with their magic rings, each representing one of the "Five Eyes", by implication.
"But none of the Five Eyes are Asian countries Dad, what's she doing there?" observed my Asian daughter of the Oriental-looking girl in the cartoon.
She could have a point, or maybe its just "cultural appropriation", or an attempt at feel-good "diversification of the consensus", or something.
Either way, those pesky Russians would seem to have a lot to answer for, if all Five Eyes are in consensus. It seems that there is no end to Russian interference and spying in Western democracies and other countries' affairs.
It's not as though those democracies interfere in, or spy on Russian or other countries' affairs either. Oh, but wait...

Some good freedom-loving legal moves and which at least may seem to underscore an explanatory reason as to why Snowden can't/mustn't be forgiven as a whistleblower - i.e., if he were to be forgiven, then that could risk the implication or default inference that the state's data-gathering spying practices that he exposed were, in and of themselves, necessarily wrong/illegal, by definition, whereas the reality would seem to be that they are apparently categorically not only not wrong/illegal, but also are vital and necessary to national security and probably need to even be expanded in "the war against terror" and the pursuit of ordinary criminals, like fraudsters, hackers, scammers, and more, or something. Obviously, the state would not want to have its hands tied in that regard, otherwise it would be frustrated in its commitment and obligation to protect the citizens of America.

I presume that Snowden's opinion was anarchistic/misguided and illegal in that he didn't appreciate/accept that rather obvious and important fact, and thus - regardless of any public sympathies for his case - his independent choice of actions on this matter would presumably have to be regarded as being (say) traitorous by definition (in hindsight).
It is heartening to see that, rather than (say) the NSA just going ahead and independently implementing the CLOUD Act practices without telling anyone, this new legislation has been correctly put through the proper legislative channels, whereupon it has promptly been approved of by the legislators in the US Congress, and by a sizeable majority vote (256-167), so everything is pukka and aboveboard.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
US Congress Passes CLOUD Act Hidden in Budget Spending Bill
By Catalin Cimpanu 
March 23, 2018 09:22 AM 1
 US Congress

The United States Congress passed late last night a $1.3 trillion budget spending bill that also contained a piece of legislation that allows internal and foreign law enforcement access to user data stored online without a search warrant or probable cause.

The legislation is the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act), a bill proposed in mid-February, this year (S. 2383 and H.R. 4943).

Lawmakers use toddler trick to pass controversial bill
US officials never discussed the bill, but merely appended it to the Omnibus budget spending bill (page 2201) they introduced in Congress on Wednesday night.

The budget bill was deemed a priority and officials were almost forced to approve it in its current form to avoid a complete US government shutdown starting next week.

The budget bill passed a day later, Thursday, with a 256-167 vote in the House of Representatives, and a 65-32 vote on the Senate floor, including with the embedded CLOUD Act that got zero discussion, feedback, or modifications from regulators.

What is the CLOUD Act?
The unaltered and now official CLOUD Act effectively gets rid of the need for search warrants and probable cause for grabbing a US citizen's data stored online.

US police only need to point the finger at some account, and tech companies must abide and provide all the needed details, regardless if the data is stored in the US or overseas.

Further, the bill recognizes foreign law enforcement and allows the US President to sign data-sharing agreements with other countries without congressional oversight. The CLOUD Act will then allow foreign law enforcement to require data on their own citizens stored in the US, also without obtaining a warrant or proving probable cause.

Privacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation argue that in the US' hunt for criminals located in other countries, it might enter data-sharing agreements with countries known for human rights abuses and allow autocratic regimes easy access to their own citizen's data. Since there's no more need for a foreign law enforcement agency to obtain US warrants or prove probable cause, this opens the door wide open to political abuses.

But these data-sharing agreements might be a poisoned pill that could be employed for espionage and intelligence gathering as well. For example, foreign law enforcement could request data from their own citizens engaging in communications with US citizens. Tech companies will then be required to pass over that foreign citizens' entire communications, including his messages exchanged with the US person, potentially exposing details that an intelligence agency will consider valuable.

EFF: There was no need to backdoor the Fourth Amendment
Nonetheless, giving law enforcement access to data stored overseas could have been done by preserving the need for search warrants and proving probable cause, and without backdooring the Fourth Amendment, as EFF experts bluntly put it.

The reason why the CLOUD Act was proposed in the first place was to end any future litigations like the one put forward by Microsoft five years ago when it fought a US police's request to access a US citizen's data stored on a server in Ireland.

Regulators also argued the CLOUD Act will help with fighting terrorism, albeit its most important impact will be in going after ordinary criminals, like fraudsters, hackers, scammers, and more.

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What is "undesirable" in the eyes of the State?
As to what Snowden revealed - here's a very interesting post by Falkvinge: (Note that the term "undesirable" was used in an undated document, from GCHQ's internal wiki information site, viewed by and reported on by Guardian journalists Spencer Ackerman and James Ball on Fri 28 Feb 2014.)
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Analog Equivalent Rights (19/21): Telescreens in our Living Rooms
tags: Privacy
Rick Falkvinge

Image: cctv-camera-security-on-wall-background-in-room-picture-id478644146

PRIVACY: The dystopic stories of the 1950s said the government would install cameras in our homes, with the government listening in and watching us at all times. Those stories were all wrong, for we installed the cameras ourselves.

In the analog world of our parents, it was taken for completely granted that the government would not be watching us in our own homes. It’s so important an idea, it’s written into the very constitutions of states pretty much all around the world.

And yet, for our digital children, this rule, this bedrock, this principle is simply… ignored. Just because they their technology is digital, and not the analog technology of our parents.

There are many examples of how this has taken place, despite being utterly verboten. Perhaps the most high-profile one is the OPTIC NERVE program of the British surveillance agency GCHQ, which wiretapped video chats without the people concerned knowing about it.

Yes, this means the government was indeed looking into people’s living rooms remotely. Yes, this means they sometimes saw people in the nude. Quite a lot of “sometimes”, even.

According to summaries in The Guardian, over ten percent of the viewed conversations may have been sexually explicit, and 7.1% contained undesirable nudity.

Taste that term. Speak it out loud, to hear for yourself just how oppressive it really is. “Undesirable nudity”.The way you are described by the government, in a file about you, when looking into your private home without your permission.

When the government writes you down as having “undesirable nudity” in your own home.

There are many other examples, such as the state schools that activate school-issued webcams, or even the US government outright admitting it’ll all your home devices against you.

It’s too hard not to think of the 1984 quote here:

The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. 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. — From Nineteen Eighty-Four

And of course, this has already happened. The so-called “Smart TVs” from LG, Vizio, Samsung, Sony, and surely others have been found to do just this — spy on its owners. It’s arguable that the data collected only was collected by the TV manufacturer. It’s equally arguable by the police officers knocking on that manufacturer’s door that they don’t have the right to keep such data to themselves, but that the government wants in on the action, too.

There’s absolutely no reason our digital children shouldn’t enjoy the Analog Equivalent Rights of having their own home to their very selves, a right our analog parents took for granted.

(This is a post from Falkvinge on Liberty, obtained via RSS at this feed: <>)

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For more info, go to the actual post to follow the various links/references. (I have only embedded a couple here, for convenience).


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