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View Diary: Open thread for night owls: NSA surveillance could turn U.S. 'citizenry into a nation of sheep' (192 comments)

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  •  About "legal" stalking by government/business (14+ / 0-)

    We're told that nothing happens unless it's "authorized" and such authorization happens under law.

    Well, there's a difference between "authority" and "capability." It's just human nature that if a person calculates an advantage, and their sense of right-and-wrong is based on their own interests, that they'll soon enough self-authorize.

    That's what the power-hungry, the corrupt, the insane do as a matter of course. It doesn't make any sense that a pool of a million or so people, many in private business, won't have a significant share of dubious characters.

    The power-obsessed, of course, know that "knowledge is power" and will certainly do all they can to position themselves advantageously.


    Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats

    by Jim P on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 08:46:13 PM PDT

    •  There was a journalist (7+ / 0-)

      on TRMS tonight who said that the authorization is for the entire database and happens once a year.

      Barton Gellman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, said that the authorization happens once a year for everything. It doesn't need to be on a case by case basis as we've been led to believe.

      Here's a link to the video.

      The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

      by Mr Robert on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 09:08:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  we can't have 100% total freedom (0+ / 0-)

      and a sound national security. If somebody's texting a terrorist knowingly or unknowingly, I think the NSA should be able to investigate that person.
      Why is everyone around here getting libertarian about this?

      •  because they've decided that the way (10+ / 0-)

        to get that text, is to get everyone's text, and save them just in case, because well you know, freedom.

        •  from my understanding (0+ / 0-)

          they only investigate the texts/calls if your number triggers the terrorist watch list.

          •  how the hell do you know who accesses what? (9+ / 0-)

            And when, and in what circumstances.

            If there were no such programs, would you call the authorities every day to volunteer who you spoke to, and what you wrote, and what you looked at and read?


            Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats

            by Jim P on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 09:59:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  what a silly counter argument (0+ / 0-)

              that's what laws are for. The law clearly states that it's illegal to search anyone's records unless they are communicating with a phone number on the terrorist flag list. If anyone in our government is obstructing that then they should be dealt with and punished.

              •  who told you the 500,000 private contractors (6+ / 0-)

                and an equal or larger amount of government operatives all follow the law?

                Who told you authorization and capability are the identical thing?

                Every one of these people are righteous? Really? Would you call up to tell some stranger when your kids are home alone; when your house is empty; the passwords to your bank accounts?

                Show me your guarantee that this kind of instrument will never be at the command of a President Bush.

                You must know by now that Occupy members were all being tracked. Anti-war protesters, even Quakers.

                You must know that secret agencies tend to be right leaning, and in time don't get more liberal, but more right. That's just all of bloody history.

                Where's the national security if the people aren't secure in their rights and their privacy? Where's your security if total strangers can pin every move you make.


                Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats

                by Jim P on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 10:46:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  And just who is going to enforce those laws? The (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lepanto, DRo, maryabein, Hubbard Squash, NonnyO

                FBI?  Nope, it's classified and they don't have a need to know.  So that leaves it up to the person above you in the chain of command, you know, the same one that ordered you to break the law and search the number of someone who they want to get back at by revealing embarassing information about?

                You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 11:40:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Even if your understanding were to be true, (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jim P, Eric Nelson, DRo, JeffW

            are you suggesting errors would not be made? The greater volume of collection extrapolating the possibility of said misfortune increasing accordingly.
            Clearly they are even with the simplest shit like the incorrect spelling of the name of one of the Boston bombers which allowed him to drop through a crack.
            Such nonsense can also work in reverse and sweep in the completely guiltless, of course.

      •  Since when was the Bill of Rights... (10+ / 0-)

        ...a libertarian issue? And why do so many Democrats fail to distinguish between civil libertarians and the big-L libertarians?

        Does this come from the same reasoning that calls people "fetishists" for not wanting unreasonable searches and seizures?

        Me, I love the First Amendment so much that I'd marry it if I could. The Fourth is a pretty cool concept, too, when followed. If that makes me a constitutional "fetishist," then call the damn vice squad.

        What's unnerving to me is the speed with which this has happened, because as recently as 2008, I recall Democrats standing up for those rights.

      •  You can't have a sound national security (8+ / 0-)

        when everyone is under surveillance. Because secret agencies always degenerate, and degenerate toward the right-wing. And suppress critics. At least that's what history-- and in particular American history -- shows.

        Why do you think "knowledge is power" is no longer true? And how many power-mad people do you think don't know that it is so?


        Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats

        by Jim P on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 10:04:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It is possible to design such a system so that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P

      authority and capability are the same thing though I doubt they did that.  For example, the analyst submits a request for authorization that lists (in XML format) the information being requested when is then approved by the person responsible for authorizing the data collection/retrieval.  When it is approved the request is digitally signed using public key encryption (perhaps with a rolling code scheme added on).  After that it goes into the data collection/retrieval system that only gives the analyst the information that was approved.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 10:44:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Every lock can be defeated" runs an (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Throw The Bums Out, NonnyO, JeffW

        old burglar's saying. If you can't pick the lock, pull the hinges. If you can't pull the hinges, saw the door panel. If you can't do that, go through a window. If you can't do that, drill through the wall.....

        The Chinese manage to get into top priority sites. And no doubt a bunch of others. If some corrupt people wanted to get in "where there's a will, there's a way."

        There might be technological delays available. But any lock can be defeated.

        Plus, there's the issue of a lunatic or would-be tyrant giving "authorization." That's why the very existence of this kind of thing is, indisputably, a danger to this nation and its people. Against which there can be no procedural nor technological safeguard.


        Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats

        by Jim P on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 10:54:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, it doesn't solve the lunatic/tyrant giving (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P

          authorization problem but if such a system has to exist (and it probably doesn't) then there is no reason not to make it as secure as possible.  The only ways to defeat such a system would be to either hack the authorizer's computer or hack the data collection/retrieval system itself both of which would be heavily secured (and with heavy penalties for doing so).

          The point still stands, many people focus too much on authority rather than capability.  In fact, the reason the pdroid mod is so popular is because it lets you revoke the capability of an android app to do something you don't want (like access your GPS location) rather than merely the take it or leave it approach (i.e. authority based) of official android.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 11:09:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Blackmail liability (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, NonnyO, Jim P

          It wouldn't take a foreign government to hack into the database and blackmail politicians at every level.

          Corporate espionage would not blink at obtaining the compromising data on any local elected or appointed official to put the screws to them, in favor of a decision that fits their plans.

          "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

          by LilithGardener on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:13:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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