Author Topic: NSA Surveillance Problem  (Read 1208 times)

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Offline Nick

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NSA Surveillance Problem
« on: June 09, 2013, 04:00:03 PM »
It came out today that the name of the guy who gave out info on the NSA surveillance program was someone named Edward Snowden.  A 29 yr old tech asst. with the CIA until recently.  I'm not sure how I feel about all this.  I know it has been around for a long time.  Hell, Dick Chenney probably thrived on it.  The right has been all over the place not sure how to spin this.  Some are praising him (I'm sure it has to do with making Obama look bad).  But my question is ...How is this different from the Bradley Manning case?  The right has made him look like a traitor and then praise this other guy.  Odd.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2013, 05:02:16 PM »
This is what I posted on FB on the whole NSA surveillance thing: 

Back in the old days, when the FBI wanted to spy on someone, they had to physically put a tap on their phones, sneak tape recorders into hotel rooms, and physically open and re-seal their mail. They infiltrated groups, attended protests and pop concerts, and typed their findings into typewriters. It was pretty labor intensive. So they limited their efforts and focused on really dangerous subjects, like Martin Luther King, and John Lennon, and baby doctor Benjamin Spock, and anyone loosely associated with CISPES (Citizens in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador). And apparently, the pop band The Monkees. Nowadays, those strategies have gone the way of the 8-track and ditto paper. Is anyone really surprised that the FBI is using modern technology to cast a wider net than they could have dreamed of in previous generations. I don’t like it. I didn’t like the old methods either. But I’m not surprised.


Offline magicmiles

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2013, 05:10:09 PM »
If things continue, pretty soon security forces will know as much about us as marketing companies.
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Offline Karl

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2013, 06:36:19 PM »
Loads of people put everything on facebook and other social networks anyway. The bosses of the intelligence services just should advise their staff that private internet use is not allowed. In the end they will probably gain more info than the professional spies.

Offline HAL

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2013, 06:46:43 PM »
It came out today that the name of the guy who gave out info on the NSA surveillance program was someone named Edward Snowden.  A 29 yr old tech asst. with the CIA until recently.  I'm not sure how I feel about all this.  I know it has been around for a long time.  Hell, Dick Chenney probably thrived on it.  The right has been all over the place not sure how to spin this.  Some are praising him (I'm sure it has to do with making Obama look bad).  But my question is ...How is this different from the Bradley Manning case?  The right has made him look like a traitor and then praise this other guy.  Odd.

He swore an oath to keep the information secret. It's not his call to decide these things. The project has been approved through legal channels.

Basically that's it.

He made a big mistake, if you want my opinion.

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2013, 07:34:08 PM »
This is what I posted on FB on the whole NSA surveillance thing: 

Back in the old days, when the FBI wanted to spy on someone, they had to physically put a tap on their phones, sneak tape recorders into hotel rooms, and physically open and re-seal their mail. They infiltrated groups, attended protests and pop concerts, and typed their findings into typewriters. It was pretty labor intensive. So they limited their efforts and focused on really dangerous subjects, like Martin Luther King, and John Lennon, and baby doctor Benjamin Spock, and anyone loosely associated with CISPES (Citizens in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador). And apparently, the pop band The Monkees. Nowadays, those strategies have gone the way of the 8-track and ditto paper. Is anyone really surprised that the FBI is using modern technology to cast a wider net than they could have dreamed of in previous generations. I don’t like it. I didn’t like the old methods either. But I’m not surprised.

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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2013, 07:49:29 PM »

He swore an oath to keep the information secret. It's not his call to decide these things. The project has been approved through legal channels.

Basically that's it.

He made a big mistake, if you want my opinion.
That's the thing about oaths and security clearances and the like.  If you can't stomach keeping that stuff to yourself you need to get out of that line of work.  Period. A couple months before Desert Storm myself and another woman from my Reserve Unit were asked to come in on a off weekend.  Hush-hush.  In civilian clothes.  We were given special typewriter ribbons, roller balls (remember those) and had to have the blinds closed.  We were given pages of paper in random order and not supposed to tell each other what the other one had.  (We were bad, we did.)  We realized we were typing up an "Op Plan" which meant it was HIGHLY likely that we were going to war very soon.  Did we go around telling anybody, even our spouses?  Hell, no.  That's what a security clearance is all about.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 03:34:52 AM »
I really don't know which side to come down on.

On the one hand, if you give your word you'll do something, you should carry it through.   If you just obey the rules that suit you, where does society go?  Snowden decided "what I think is more important that the rules I agreed to".....is that an acceptable defence for a babysitter who decides that beating the children is the right thing to do?

On the other hand, you may sign up to something for what you believe it stands for, then find that what it does in practice is far removed from the "mission statement" (for want of a better term).  Are these people not following the principle rather than the letter of their oaths?

I could go either way on this one.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2013, 08:05:11 AM »
On the other hand, you may sign up to something for what you believe it stands for, then find that what it does in practice is far removed from the "mission statement" (for want of a better term).  Are these people not following the principle rather than the letter of their oaths?



Yeah.  I tend to lean more towards telling the truth and exposing injustice over adhering to oaths designed to protect "higher authorities."  But I'm just not particularly shocked by these disclosures. 

I was under government surveillance as a very young woman because of my participation in CISPES (Citizens in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) which was basically a group of mostly middle aged white people reading English translations of Latin American fiction and talking about what we believed were illegal uses of US tax dollars in various Central American wars.  The Iran Contra scandal vindicated our concerns. 

As MM pointed out, marketers know a whole lot about us.  Every time I google some digestive problem, I get ads on my FB page and youtube suggesting antacids.  If I google a fantasy cruise, cruise options pop up.  In terms of religion, the algorithms are really confused.  Sometimes Christianmingle pops up, suggesting that as a single woman, I should be seeking a Christian mate.  Other times, I get ads suggesting that I partake in Muslim matchmaking services. 

So do I think that google knows a whole hell of a lot more than the government?  I don't know who knows more.  But I do not doubt that the government is using technology to cast a wide net and monitor us on multiple levels.  I don't like it.  But it does not surprise me. 

Offline screwtape

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2013, 08:14:42 AM »
I think the whole point of being a whistle blower (and the laws created to protect them) is that the government has at times taken liberties with the law and rights and we need to know about it.  While they may have taken oaths to keep it secret, if they believe in good faith that the secrets are illegal or harmful to the public or contrary to our principles, then they should be able to expose those secrets.

One of the differences between Snowden and Manning is Manning just did an indiscriminate file dump.  Snowden reviewed every document to make sure no people were harmed.  He only wanted to expose systems and powers and the more or less complete lack of oversite.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance

Quote
I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone: From you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the president if I had a personal email.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/06/09/edward_snowden_the_man_behind_the_nsa_leaks.html

I don't think most people understood the program to work that way.  I don't think even most members of congress understood that.  At least, I hope not. So I think what he did was a service to our democracy.

And one of the other differences is, Manning was an actual soldier.  Snowden was an employee of private defense contractor Booz Allen.  Which makes me very uncomfortable.

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Offline HAL

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2013, 12:08:40 PM »
The government has done all this within legal channels. They've gone to the FISA court, it was approved. The congress was involved. It's all legal.

Snowden is basically, well, a peon in all this (sorry Snowden). He doesn't know why the program was created nor much of why it's needed or who or what would be damaged by it's disclosure. He's not privy to all the high-level meetings that created it. He just has a need to know what it is up to the level needed to do his work - nothing more.

So no, he can't decide by his little self to disclose classified information.

Offline screwtape

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2013, 12:57:25 PM »
The government has done all this within legal channels. They've gone to the FISA court, it was approved. The congress was involved. It's all legal.

It may not be legal.  The DOJ and NSA have interpreted the law rather broadly.  In fact, GOP congressman Sensenbrenner, who helped write the law, has on two or three occasions now complained that the powers assumed by these agencies were not what was intended and were overly broad.  Because of the lack of oversight and level of secrecy, we don't actually know what they are doing.  So to say it is legal is a pretty big assumption.

And even if it is legal, it does not mean it is constitutional.  The problem is when the patriot act was challenged in court recently, the SCOTUS screwed us by saying that if the claimant could not specify injury, they could not bring suit.  But because the program was secret, no one would know what the injury was.  So in a Catch 22, it was impossible to even challenge the constitutionality.  That in itself seems like a problem that needs to be addressed.

Snowden is basically, well, a peon in all this (sorry Snowden).

Yes, he is.  Which makes it all the more troubling that he is able to tap anyone's phone or email.

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Offline screwtape

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Offline Tero

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2013, 05:29:43 PM »
The way the NSA is set up, they can't use the information to take anyone to court, even for serious crimes, unless national security is involved.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2013, 07:13:07 PM »
I have a question sort of related to the OP. Does anybody know to what extent commercial airline pilots are kept under surveillance? I was flying home last night, and I'm a very nervous lander. It seemed to me we were approaching way too low over the city. Later that night I started wondering how possible it would be for one pilot to overpower the other and just plow the plane into something. Do terrorist groups try to recruit established pilots? Seems like a logical move to me.
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Offline Betelnut

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2013, 07:42:36 PM »
What I find funny is that the same people who howl about the government doing backgrounds checks before people can buy guns are okay with the NSA keeping tabs on us.  I don't understand why one is so bad (background checks) and the other is okay.  You would think background checks and internet use monitoring would be equally evil.

Of course, I have the opposite opinion so I guess I'm just as contrary!

Offline Nick

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2013, 07:47:03 PM »
What I find funny is that the same people who howl about the government doing backgrounds checks before people can buy guns are okay with the NSA keeping tabs on us.  I don't understand why one is so bad (background checks) and the other is okay.  You would think background checks and internet use monitoring would be equally evil.

Of course, I have the opposite opinion so I guess I'm just as contrary!
Don't rack your brain.  It's one of those "right wing" things.  Kind of like wanting small government and vaginal probes for women.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2013, 09:34:47 PM »
The way the NSA is set up, they can't use the information to take anyone to court, even for serious crimes, unless national security is involved.

for me that is not the main problem.  The problem is how open it is for abuse.  Snowden said he had the ability to tap literally anyone's phone.  The only thing stopping him is him, really.  There are about 1 million people right now with security clearance doing intel work. Do you trust that systems are in place to keep that many people honest?  Because it is completely secret, I have no idea and I don't like it.


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Offline Nam

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2013, 10:13:21 PM »
This is what I posted on FB on the whole NSA surveillance thing: 

Back in the old days, when the FBI wanted to spy on someone, they had to physically put a tap on their phones, sneak tape recorders into hotel rooms, and physically open and re-seal their mail. They infiltrated groups, attended protests and pop concerts, and typed their findings into typewriters. It was pretty labor intensive. So they limited their efforts and focused on really dangerous subjects, like Martin Luther King, and John Lennon, and baby doctor Benjamin Spock, and anyone loosely associated with CISPES (Citizens in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador). And apparently, the pop band The Monkees. Nowadays, those strategies have gone the way of the 8-track and ditto paper. Is anyone really surprised that the FBI is using modern technology to cast a wider net than they could have dreamed of in previous generations. I don’t like it. I didn’t like the old methods either. But I’m not surprised.

This is partially inaccurate. The NSA was created in the 1950s and in cooperation with other agencies, such as the FBI, they went to the communication companies (Western Union, ATT&T, etc.,) and asked them for people's information; and they freely gave it to them. In the 1970s it was leaked that they had been doing it for decades and there was outrage yet they continued to do it, and they'll continue to do it.

My question is: are we really surprised? Because I can't see what the big deal is? I really can't.

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline Nam

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2013, 10:16:15 PM »
What I find funny is that the same people who howl about the government doing backgrounds checks before people can buy guns are okay with the NSA keeping tabs on us.  I don't understand why one is so bad (background checks) and the other is okay.  You would think background checks and internet use monitoring would be equally evil.

Of course, I have the opposite opinion so I guess I'm just as contrary!
Don't rack your brain.  It's one of those "right wing" things.  Kind of like wanting small government and vaginal probes for women.

Vaginal probes is your fault Nick, at least in Wisconsin. Democrats electing Republicans, and believing they could do no worse than the last guys. Kicking yourselves now, aren't you?

:P

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline Tero

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2013, 05:56:49 AM »
Hanging on to straws with their guns. Big Gubment is here to stay. We have too many people to keep track of in other ways. And everyone is more dangerous than they were 100 years ago.

Offline HAL

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2013, 06:08:32 AM »
Snowden said he had the ability to tap literally anyone's phone.  The only thing stopping him is him, really. 

A marine has the ability to shoot anyone he wants. The only thing that's stopping him is him, really.

Person x that has access to classified information has the ability to leak it to anyone. The only thing that's stopping them is themselves, really.

Extrapolate.

Offline screwtape

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2013, 08:36:31 AM »
Snowden said he had the ability to tap literally anyone's phone.  The only thing stopping him is him, really. 

A marine has the ability to shoot anyone he wants. The only thing that's stopping him is him, really.

No, Hal.  You're missing it.  The difference is if the marine shoots someone, we know about it, we have a framework for dealing with it.  There are known safeguards to prevent marines from abusing the power (to shoot people wantonly) they have.

If some low level, contractor techie decides to phone tap, say, a wall street trader, and uses the info for insider trading, how do we know even about it?  We have no idea what safeguards there are.  Or if he taps the phone of his ex-wifes boyfriend?  Or just use your imagination.  It is easy to see how this could be abused with so little oversight.  And if a low level, contractor techie can do that, what can the high level guys do?

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Offline HAL

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2013, 12:29:28 PM »
No, Hal.  You're missing it. 

Hold on ... you didn't quote the second example I used.

Why did you omit it?

Offline stuffin

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2013, 02:06:28 PM »
And there's some little jerk in the FBI
keepin' papers on me six feet high
It gets me down

From a Rolling Stones song in 1974 (FingerPrint File)

Anyone who dosen't suspect the govment of doing this shit is ignorant, cause I know they're takin' pictures on the ultraviolet light, but these days it's all secrecy and noooo privacy

When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

Offline screwtape

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2013, 03:12:38 PM »
Hold on ... you didn't quote the second example I used.

Why did you omit it?

Because I did not think I needed to. 

On second reading though, I think it was me you who missed your point.  Thanks for bringing that to my attention.  My apologies.


edit - corrected to stop Nam laughing
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 08:36:44 AM by screwtape »
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Offline Nam

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2013, 11:16:16 PM »
"Me you missed your point" -- I'm sorry, that's funny.

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline neopagan

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2013, 06:04:07 PM »
for me that is not the main problem.  The problem is how open it is for abuse.  Snowden said he had the ability to tap literally anyone's phone.  The only thing stopping him is him, really.  There are about 1 million people right now with security clearance doing intel work. Do you trust that systems are in place to keep that many people honest?  Because it is completely secret, I have no idea and I don't like it.

The sytems are in place to provide oversight, but the ones doing the internal checks are oftentimes assuming the honesty of their co-workers and subordinates.  It's jus too big a beast to do therwise... look at the numbers you cited.   It like cops who give other cops the benefit of the doubt.  For example, one agency's handbook - Domestic Intelligence Operations Guide lays out specific review periods and procedures for all activities undertaken...  All of it depends on the roosters doing a good job guarding the henhouse, of course
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: NSA Surveillance Problem
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2013, 06:56:45 PM »
Actually, the NSA are very helpful. If you have deleted an email and now want it back - all you do is contact them: http://prism.andrevv.com/ ; )
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”