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  • NSA and Stuff

    The Sandbox has been quiet for a while and I'd like the community to weigh in on the the current NSA controversy in the US regarding this Edward Snowden guy.

    What's bothering me the most is the fact that a 29yo high school drop out with a GED landed himself a $122k a year job in Hawaii, and within 3 months saw enough of something that disturbed him so much that he decided to throw it all away to do what he did.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I would help hide bodies for a $100k+ a year in Hawaii....j/k!

    Does the fact or possibility (it's up for debate) that every e-mail you send/receive and every call you send/receive is being stored by big brother, "but not looked at until a warrant is issued" bother you? Is it a fair price to pay to prevent another 9/11 from happening or are they going too far?

  • #2
    I'm not american but I'm sure our intelligence agency (ASIO) is doing the same thing.

    The point I want to make is this, and its a pretty simple thing.

    If your not doing the wrong thing it won't effect you. People talk about 'civil liberties' being violated however in the same tongue expect the same government to protect them from the bad things that go on in the world, without allowing them the freedom to do it.
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    • #3
      Re: NSA and Stuff

      Phew. This is such a big issue. There is so much to talk about, so much to learn, so much to debate and discuss.

      I'm sitting on the ledge here in the greater sense but in the immediate short term I want some serious details released
      or at the very least some serious discussion from what the theory behind such metadata sifting is supposed to work by.

      I've said many times before that during my younger years I was particularly a conservative 'independent' and on a level
      I still think things like this are ok-ish, but my opinion is so far not based on any hard details or such. Just basically the concept
      of "I got nothing to hide".

      On another level this whole 'internet' and 'always connected' world we are entering is quickly changing dynamics of public
      space. Our culture and whole civilization is moving to a new realm and we MUST discuss that which we want and that
      which is unacceptable.

      On the whole 29 yo/GED stuff... seriously? Are you really that upset that the meritocracy of America is one that rewards
      skill and ability? :P

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      • #4
        Re: NSA and Stuff

        Originally posted by Ytman View Post
        On the whole 29 yo/GED stuff... seriously? Are you really that upset that the meritocracy of America is one that rewards
        skill and ability? :P
        No, not at all. I'm just jealous.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: NSA and Stuff

          ^^ fair. Sorry if it was crass sounding.

          Isn't it odd that some of the most brilliant people and entrepreneurs are not of academia?
          I think the kid who created a nuclear reaction for a science project just straight up skipped
          college.

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          • #6
            Re: NSA and Stuff

            Many people my age, and especially younger (this seems weird), put their lives on the internet with Facebook and Twitter. Google Chrome tracks everything you do and and uploads that data to Google servers. Most of the big, successful businesses these days keep track of what we do on the internet. They use the data they gather about us to make billions. It seems to me that the NSA is jumping on the Big Data bandwagon.

            For fun: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Big+Data

            The NSA could be matching patterns of known terrorists with similar patterns found in the "big data" they have gathered. Just as Google targets consumers with advertisements based on their patterns, the NSA is probably hunting down extremists based on their patterns. I think that is pretty smart.

            I read an article, I believe from the AP, that said the original Guardian story had to be edited a few times as the government filled in the details. It started as a red hot scandal, but had the heat turned down and down with each new fact. At this moment, I don't see any issue with it. I'll wait for the media frenzy to die down before I take a firm stance though.
            Viking

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            • #7
              Re: NSA and Stuff

              Big Data is really nebulous and the ability to actually begin to sift through such
              things is only now happening. Much of it (99.99999%) will actually never ever
              see human eyes merely because people are inefficient when compared to a
              robotizing it.

              On one hand things like WalMart's technology which allows them to detect trends
              in every store, watch specific customers and track their entire pattern, and break
              such a thing down is not particularly invasive and is only really just collecting
              information in public domain.

              On the other hand all technology can be used well or not and we as a society need
              to be on the forefront of what is technologically possible and what we determine as
              inappropriate.

              Big data trends, as mainly being robotized, need ever constant human scruitiny. For
              example the DOW is mainly ran by robots that operate on the nanoseconds and crawl
              the web for information on specific companies and make decisions based on trends.
              Such an occurrence led to the Flash Crash of 2010. Heck it just happened YESTERDAY.

              http://blogs.marketwatch.com/electio...-strike-again/

              Sometimes we don't actually even know what these programs are thinking! That, I think,
              is of concern.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: NSA and Stuff

                Big Data is really nebulous and the ability to actually begin to sift through such
                things is only now happening. Much of it (99.99999%) will actually never ever
                see human eyes merely because people are inefficient when compared to a
                robotizing it.

                On one hand things like WalMart's technology which allows them to detect trends
                in every store, watch specific customers and track their entire pattern, and break
                such a thing down is not particularly invasive and is only really just collecting
                information in public domain.

                On the other hand all technology can be used well or not and we as a society need
                to be on the forefront of what is technologically possible and what we determine as
                inappropriate.

                Big data trends, as mainly being robotized, need ever constant human scruitiny. For
                example the DOW is mainly ran by robots that operate on the nanoseconds and crawl
                the web for information on specific companies and make decisions based on trends.
                Such an occurrence led to the Flash Crash of 2010. Heck it just happened YESTERDAY.

                http://blogs.marketwatch.com/electio...-strike-again/

                Sometimes we don't actually even know what these programs are thinking! That, I think,
                is of concern.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: NSA and Stuff

                  Originally posted by Harlequin View Post
                  Is it a fair price to pay to prevent another 9/11 from happening or are they going too far?
                  Well that begs the question as to whether this is indeed helping to prevent more terrorist attacks. I don't have the evidence to say one way or the other (believe it or not, the NSA isn't so happy to let me read all of their private information!), but people often excuse this sort of thing with "well if it helps stop terrorists I guess it's ok," without actually knowing if it is.
                  |TG-Irr| westyfield

                  Sig pic by Sonic, avatar by Chalcas. Thanks!
                  Irregular since 2007.

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                  • #10
                    Re: NSA and Stuff

                    Law Enforcement is granted legal permission to listen in on your conversations and to read your texts and emails which you thought you got rid of on a regular basis. The process is pretty simple. You come up with a reasonable suspicion that a break of the law has been or is being committed and you complete an affidavit of probable cause from that reasonable suspicion and then you get a judge to sign off on a warrant for that information you are seeking. In the end, it may be there, it may not.

                    This "scandal" runs by the same set of rules to a degree. The government "mines" all this data, but to actually take a look at it, they still have to go through a judicial process to put on record their probable cause to actually search and see the information they "think" they are going to find.

                    What makes this look like a scandal at the moment is that historically, many requests to see such data have been struck down via that judicial process. However, over the last few years, every request has been granted. This gives the "appearance" of impropriety as it looks like the judicial process is all of a sudden just granting all requests with no legal justification.

                    I completely agree with the premise that "if you are not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to fear". However, I also have been upon God's green earth long enough to know that the level of integrity and honor in mankind is but a fleeting ideal and that when one needs "information" to gain an advantage over another, such "white collar" crime is an acceptable method to obtain it.

                    This is the "fear" of the American people. That those in power, who have not only access to the information, but the political power to subvert the judicial oversight protections, will obtain the information they need not for the intended use of "protecting the country" but to use it for political gain and power.

                    For example, that new surveillance camera system which places "eyes" all over a major city which is intended to capture images of violent crime could end up being the mechanism which puts my beautiful face all over youtube because it caught me picking my nose in a back ally. Priceless!! :P
                    Last edited by Reinhold; 06-13-2013, 07:27 AM. Reason: grammar

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                    • #11
                      Re: NSA and Stuff

                      VERY good read on the "You Have Nothing to Hide" mentality....

                      http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/06...-surveillance/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: NSA and Stuff

                        Originally posted by bolagnaise View Post
                        If your not doing the wrong thing it won't effect you. People talk about 'civil liberties' being violated however in the same tongue expect the same government to protect them from the bad things that go on in the world, without allowing them the freedom to do it.
                        The first part of this is a ridiculous sentiment that should be soundly ignored, and the second is a false dilemma.

                        First, you assume that privacy is all about hiding things. Do you have curtains in your house? Why? Because privacy is about more than hiding criminal behavior. Do you say things (to your wife or girlfriend, say) in private that you never would in public? Why? Because privacy is about more than hiding criminal behavior. Do you do things differently when someone is watching? Why? Because privacy is about more than hiding criminal behavior. Are you averse to putting your picture, name (I notice your online handle is not your actual name), family's names, and your location on the internet without some semblance over control over who can read it? Why? Because privacy is about more than hiding criminal behavior. Being monitored does more than inhibit criminal behavior. It inhibits most kind of behaviors, frankly, and that includes things like the right to assemble, free speech rights, and other things that we as a society have deemed necessary.

                        Second, I understand that some risks are taken when you don't give unfettered power to the government. We have warrant laws for a reason. We have transparent courts for a reason. We have rights to due process and Miranda rights (I understand you're not in the US, but I am speaking of the US here) ideally because we believe that incarcerating an innocent man is worse than letting a guilty one go free. And in this instance, in the last ten years, you were four times more likely to be killed by a lightning strike than by a terrorist action as an American in the United States, and that includes right-wing terror actions, not just those perpetrated by fundamentalist Muslims. That means that as far as I'm concerned, you'd have to a) show me that there were tremendous amounts of attacks being averted by the actions of the NSA in general that had never been disclosed to the public, and b) that there were so many safeguards on the NSA that the data used could never, not by the current, and not by any future president, be abused, before I'll even begin entertaining the idea that this is anything more than an expansion of the governmental police state without any positive outcomes whatsoever. As the previous and current administrations have already ably demonstrated that they are capable of claiming state secrets and throwing demonstrably innocent people into Guantanamo Bay for years without trial, I think you'll find me very hard to convince that there would be no abuse taken. Yes, protecting me is the responsibility of the federal government. That includes from itself, and the government is well able to protect me without having access to enough datapoints to identify me with 95% accuracy at any given point. (The fact that corporations have access to that information is also somewhat troublesome to me, but google doesn't have the legal authority to throw me in jail, nor the ability to vanish me should they wish. They won't, but the potential is important. ) I accept that, without this program, one or two more people might die each year. I also accept that with that money, we could easily save more than that put to, say, a public health initiative, which doesn't also involve a government spying on its citizens.

                        as a preemptive disclaimer, we're never going to get conclusive information on whether this or any other program has stopped any terrorist actions. So, essentially, here is what you have in front of you. A government and country with a known history of abuse of its private citizens (look up what the FBI was doing to MLK, for one) is asking you to trust it with all of your information while promising to keep you safe from threats that you never knew were there and will never know when are stopped, while also never telling you what it is doing with your information, or even that it was collecting your information in the first place. I don't happen to trust that.

                        edit: Say it with me, people. Privacy is about more than hiding criminal behavior.
                        I can ADS using more than a 2x without significant stutter! This was a good patch.

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                        • #13
                          Re: NSA and Stuff

                          If good guy whistleblower can access your data (including cell phone pics, texts, voicemail, etc), so can badguy blackmailer and political operative. The blind stealing of everyone's data is unconstitutional and wrong. The terrorists have won.

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                          • #14
                            Re: NSA and Stuff

                            On that subject matter what is Privacy?

                            What, in today's age of an open and public digital infrastructure network, is to be considered private?
                            Is keeping records an invasion of privacy? If no human eyes ever see these data is privacy still kept?
                            Is phone record keeping an invasion of privacy? To that extent is a Library invading your privacy by
                            keeping a log of what books you rent?

                            Is WalMart invading your privacy by positioning cameras to track your every move and purchase?

                            On the other hand is it an invasion of privacy to keep fingerprint data? DNA data?

                            On MLK for those interested:

                            http://vault.fbi.gov/Martin%20Luther%20King%2C%20Jr./

                            We should be concerned about a government that is too powerful and overreaches of late
                            highlight the reason for the public to be properly aware and involved in the debate process.
                            The beauty of the American Experiment is that the government is kept in check by its citizens
                            as its very citizens do so. MLK Jr. was a great example of a citizen standing against the
                            government and no matter what conspiratory spin you want to add a two bit crook with a gun
                            shot him not our government and certainly not Nixon (not that I'm defending the man who
                            kept Vietnam going).

                            If good guy whistleblower can access your data (including cell phone pics, texts, voicemail, etc), so can badguy blackmailer and political operative. The blind stealing of everyone's data is unconstitutional and wrong. The terrorists have won.
                            What if we as a society understand that utilizing the information highway is ultimately not a private affair?
                            It has nothing to do about terrorists winning and everything to do with the seismic shifts of the digital
                            society.

                            Seriously, its ridiculous to claim that the Terrorists win because we have Casinos with facial recognition,
                            the ability to look at phone calls made, or more. This is all because of technology's progress. Certainly
                            we are more concerned today because we are coming down from our frenzied 'War on Terror' reaction
                            and seeing what we allowed to happen during such times.

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                            • #15
                              Re: NSA and Stuff

                              Originally posted by The Fourth Amendment
                              The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
                              Maybe I'm naive, or just over simplifying, but I don't see much of a grey area here.

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