I can't say that I had very high hopes for Obama's NSA reforms. (Hello, Gitmo?) The man can still give a good speech, though, and make me feel like everything is going to be alright. Unfortunately, what really matters is the policy and what actually happens. After his recent announcement about reforming surveillance procedures, bulk collection of everyone's communication data will still occur. (It doesn't matter if you're two steps or thirty-five steps removed from a terrorist, everyone's data will be vacuumed up regardless.)
Sure, there are some good steps in the right direction, and hopefully I'm just a whiny bastard for complaining, but methinks not much is changing. Among other reforms, instead of the government controlling these massive amounts of data, a corporation or third party entity will store them. Um, whew?
Obama barely touched on the bigger tubes in the government vacuum. Encryption, hacking into the likes of Google and exploiting software flaws weren't mentioned, but don't worry, reform is on the way! Congress will be consulted and the intelligence community is on the case! Enjoy the cartoon, and be sure to share it with your NSA minder. You can find plenty of additional links to stories behind the cartoon on my website.
Good evening, America.
In the days before our Founding Fathers, early American patriots gathered acorns and harvested millions of kernels of corn.
This sort of "bulk collection" has a long history, and has become the American way.
Ask not, what reforms I bring to you, ask what metadata you can bring to me.
To ease your unnecessarily worried minds, your data will be stored, not by the government . . . but by a corporation of some sort to be determined in close consultation with . . . the agency that vacuumed your data in the first place.
The days of saying, "trust me," are long past.
These reforms will work . . . trust me.
I, for one, am not prepared to end the bulk collection of every single American's data, close down the NSA, and institute sharia law.
Let me be clear-- this is about finding the balance between liberty and security . . . and as long as it pleases the intelligence community, I will do everything in my power to make you feel warm, confident, and pleasantly-informed about that balance.
Now, remember, we're not reading your emails and text messages (usually) . . .
we're simply hacking Google servers, exploiting software flaws and tapping into the great digital pipeline.
A global pipeline that American innovation helped to innovate and prosper.
Democracy progress together change reform, believe.
I have welcomed this debate, and this discussion makes us stronger as a nation that looks forward . . . to imprisoning the person who began this conversation in the first place.
Thank you, God bless you . . and God bless this database.