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How Tech Vendors Help Governments Spy On Their Citizens 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the let-me-count-the-ways dept.
jfruhlinger writes "Most Slashdotters — even those living in democratic countries — would probably be unsurprised to know that their governments are spying on them. But most people are not aware of how complicit security vendors, who publicly work to protect the public from such electronic eavesdropping, are complicit in such monitoring. All this and more is revealed in the latest Wikieaks document dump, the Spy Files."
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How Tech Vendors Help Governments Spy On Their Citizens

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  • by cobrausn (1915176) on Friday December 02, 2011 @06:26PM (#38244552)
    Most people I know (all over the political spectrum) don't say they haven't done anything useful. Most think they could have done their job better and the organization could be more successful if it was more about transparency and whistleblowing and less about Assange and satisfying his ego.
  • by Lazy Jones (8403) on Friday December 02, 2011 @06:40PM (#38244746) Homepage Journal
    It has certainly demonstrated the apathy of the public after such leaks...
  • by forkfail (228161) on Friday December 02, 2011 @06:42PM (#38244772)

    It's those who would shut it down that made it about Assange. His name was basically unknown compared to WikiLeaks until the bogus sexual harassment character assassination thing hit.

  • by forkfail (228161) on Friday December 02, 2011 @06:44PM (#38244784)

    Proof. It's what differentiates between bonafide conspiracy and tin foil.

  • by gmuslera (3436) * on Friday December 02, 2011 @06:47PM (#38244868) Homepage Journal
    The fact that you consider that a necessary evil, that should be happening everywhere just because surely happens in US, is already a bad thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 02, 2011 @06:54PM (#38244978)

    Now, consider that these days you, me, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there has access to virtually the same tech the governments and their corporate enablers do. Consider that even the cost factor for said tech is racing to zero. That is, the governments and companies are not using some secretly acquired alien technology that uses physics that the rest of the world doesn't grasp yet. You and I can understand the same physical laws and technology that the governments and the corporations in their employ do. And we do.

    Unlike the government, we don't have the ability to force ISPs and such to cooperate with us by coercion. "Give us your logs or you're going to prison" carries a lot more weight than "Give us your logs or I'll complain about you on Slashdot".

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday December 02, 2011 @07:29PM (#38245352) Homepage

    Oh! Oh! People doing things without permission!

    What the hell do you think that "regulation" of the security industry is going to do except guarantee that the only companies allowed into it are ones that are willing to cooperate with the intelligence agencies of the goverments doing the regulating?

  • Re:Really... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremi (14640) on Friday December 02, 2011 @07:33PM (#38245418) Homepage

    Just dont do anything to make them wanna fire/investigate you and you will be fine.

    Isn't this another way of saying, "do whatever your government tells you to, without objection"?

    I'm not sure that attitude is compatible with democracy. Sometimes the boat needs to be rocked.

  • by reiisi (1211052) on Friday December 02, 2011 @08:30PM (#38246030) Homepage

    I think it takes a certain amount of confidence in one's own point of view to go blowing whistles.

    To do what Assange has done takes quite a bit more of it.

    Ego is not the primary problem, even if the people who think they have something to hide want to distract us by pointing at the ego.

  • by marcroelofs (797176) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @12:17AM (#38247328)
    .. Ron Paul
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @07:17AM (#38313176)

    As a former Marine who served in the first Gulf War, I am disgusted that anyone can defend this. We were NOT AT WAR in 2007. So I don't give a shit what you think about the rules of warfare. We were a peace keeping force at that time, which changes the circumstances significantly. It is clear from the recordings that the culture that had taken root within these units was corrosive and the leadership of those units needs to be held to account for it.

    You can't blame this on the "fog of war". That is a bullshit excuse. This was bloodlust, pure and simple. This was the result of a military that had completely lost focus on the task and had a clear contempt for the people that they were supposed to be helping. I understand how it gets that way, it is a natural turn of events when you watch your fellow service members die every day. I don't blame the individuals involved (though I do hope they bear the burden of what they did on their conscience).

    It is the responsibility of the military and civilian leadership to ensure that discipline doesn't break down the way that it so obviously did here. This happens by having people serve too many tours in a combat zone. It happens by pulling guardsmen and reservist into foreign conflicts so that you don't have to take an accurate budget accounting of the cost of combat. It happens by underestimating the size and scope of the operation you are undertaking. It happens by lying to yourself and your electorate over and over and over again enough times until you believe your own lies.

    I've heard the arguments... Releasing this kind of video stirs up anti-American sentiment. Bullshit. Recklessly shooting unarmed combatants stirs up anti-American sentiment. Having an immeasurably high tolerance for collateral damage stirs up anti-American sentiment. Releasing this video just means that we can't stick our head in the sand and continue the "They hate us for our freedoms" bullshit. If the shoe were on the other foot, I would guarantee that the vast majority of U.S. service personnel would end up being "insurgents".

    I'm sure you think I am some anti-American asshole for this. Feel free to think that if you choose, but nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that we ARE the greatest country on earth. I believe that, and I enlisted in the Marine Corps, because I hold dear the principles of liberty and human rights that our country embodies. We have not been pure, and we have failed to uphold these virtues from day one. The fact that it took us almost 200 years to truly end slavery is but one of a multitude of our failures. But we have always advanced in the direction of righteousness. When we sugar coat or cover up those failures, whether it is the My Lai massacre the propping up of dictators by over throwing democratically elected governments (Iran, Chile, etc), or acts of wanton and unnecessary violence such as those under discussion, then we violate the fundamental principles that are the foundation for our greatness. That is not Assange's problem. That isn't Wikileaks' problem. That is ours. And we must face it, and correct it, and take every reasonable effort to ensure that we don't repeat it.

    I will agree with you with respect to the diplomatic cables, and they lost a fair amount of my goodwill with that one. There was nothing of significance there, IMHO, to justify damaging relationships between countries. Certainly unleashing all of them the way they did was reckless and irresponsible. But no matter how unethical Wikileaks may or may not have acted, it does not change the fact that the actions shown in the videos are indefensible, and have nothing to do with Wikileaks other than the fact that they are the only reason we even know about them.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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