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Julian Assange: "Online Totalitarianism Is Near, Entire Nations Are Intercepted" 325

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the war-and-disorder dept.
dryriver writes "Russia Today's correspondents have visited Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up for nearly 6 months now. In the 12 minute long interview with RT, Assange has many interesting things to say about privacy, and government data interception in particular. A small excerpt: 'The people who control the interception of the Internet and, to some degree also, physically control the big data warehouses and the international fiber-optic lines. We all think of the Internet as some kind of Platonic Realm where we can throw out ideas and communications and web pages and books and they exist somewhere out there. Actually, they exist on web servers in New York or Nairobi or Beijing, and information comes to us through satellite connections or through fiber-optic cables. So whoever physically controls this controls the realm of our ideas and communications. And whoever is able to sit on those communications channels, can intercept entire nations, and that's the new game in town, as far as state spying is concerned — intercepting entire nations, not individuals. ... So what's happened over the last 10 years is the ever-decreasing cost of intercepting each individual now to the degree where it is cheaper to intercept every individual rather that it is to pick particular people to spy upon.'"
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Julian Assange: "Online Totalitarianism Is Near, Entire Nations Are Intercepted"

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  • RT (Score:3, Insightful)

    by farlukar (225243) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @04:27PM (#42163281) Homepage Journal
    RT knows all about freedom of press, hm?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fredprado (2569351)
      Probably a bit more than most corporation owned newspapers out there...
      • by Xest (935314)

        I generally agree with your sentiment as it's true regarding the likes of the BBC etc.

        But having seen Russia today quite a few times I absolutely assure you it's not the case. RT is bottom of the pile tosh, and it is almost exactly the Russian equivalent of Fox News.

        The Kaiser report is best, it's almost humorous to watch, it'll be going on about some topic, like, say, deforestation in Brazil or whatever, and then the host will go off on a tangent and say something like "Well I bet it's part of a CIA plan,

    • Re:RT (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:59PM (#42163915)

      RT knows all about freedom of press, hm?

      You are of course carrying out argument ad Hominem. If you can't answer the critique except by insulting the person criticising you then you have failed already. but you do require an answer:

      Whilst Russia is far down the world press freedom index [wikipedia.org] other countries like the USA have been falling fast. It's most likely a mistake to think that wherever you come from is definitely going to stay superior without your working for it. I think Russians who have been having to fight for their freedom recently and can frankly and clearly see that they often aren't winning that fight may have plenty to tell those of us who just sit and assume that we are free.

      Lots of the freedom in the US and other liberal democracies used to be based on the idea that individuals can privately and quitely act on their beliefs and discuss them with friends without fear. Occasionally someone comes up with a new idea which convinces other people. If that new idea gets around to many people then we get a change in the whole society. In totalitarian countries some time early in that process an informer will report the idea to the government. If the government doesn't like the idea then they nip it in the bud and silently arrest all the people related to the idea in a way which causes no disruption to the society.

      Similar attacks ideas do happen in the USA; look at some of the things that happened to the occupy movements. Look at recent scandles with undercover policemen infiltrating environmental movements in the UK. If the only thing which was different between us and the totalitarian countries - the lack of right for the government to spy on everyone - goes away, then there's no reason to think that this won't end up being abused.

      • Re:RT (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 02, 2012 @06:42PM (#42164187)

        There's nothing recent about the tactics: Ask anyone old enough to remember the McCarthy era, or the hippie era, or the "war on drugs", for US attempts in living memory to control freedom of speech in the name of blocking some force that threatens "America". What's recent is the ease and scale of widespread, indiscriminate monitoring.

        • There's nothing recent about the tactics.

          You are right 100%; sorry I wasn't clear about that. Thanks for clarifying.

        • Re:RT (Score:5, Insightful)

          by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Sunday December 02, 2012 @07:32PM (#42164527) Homepage

          The monitoring in the US is particularly bad given how it's been combined with reduced right to legal process, all under the banner of fighting terrorism. That's not new either though; the parallels between Guantanamo Bay and the 1942 Japanese American internment are very obvious.

          • No they aren't. Guantanamo hasn't seen a new prisoner since Obama took office and probably way before then. Guantanamo has very few Americans. Guantanamo has been open for way longer. The living conditions are slightly better...

            Seriously, pay closer attention to the past and present.

            • I don't think any Japanese-Americans interned in those concentration camps were waterboarded.

              Dunno if that figures into your "living conditions are slightly better" comment.

            • by rtb61 (674572)

              Hmm, very few Americans denied rights, so everyone else on the planet is sub-human and not entitled to due legal process. So all non-Americans can be shot, blown up, tortured and indefinitely imprisoned because they are not really human beings but some sort of quasi animal existence to be ruthlessly exploited. Message to you, FUCK YOU ;D.

    • Re:RT (Score:4, Informative)

      by MacDork (560499) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @07:59PM (#42164693) Journal

      I was listening to Julian Assange being interviewed about this topic on NPR this week. Is that one good enough for you? BBC was doing a show on this too this week. Are they unbiased enough? First post and you derail the comments with ad hominem.

      You are aware the US Govt has been intercepting everything that goes over the US internet [slashdot.org] for quite a while now, yes? Assange is telling us what /.'ers have been aware of for years and here you are throwing mud at RT.

    • Re:RT (Score:4, Insightful)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday December 03, 2012 @02:35AM (#42166503) Journal

      RT is an official propaganda vessel of the Russian government. However, quite often, the most efficient propaganda is inconvenient truth. The trick is to pay attention to propaganda from all sides, that way you get to see the entire heap of dirty laundry, no matter where it comes from.

      In this particular case, regardless of what your feelings about RT are, it provided a useful service by letting you hear a guy who doesn't have many other channels to communicate his message at the moment, and whose message might actually be important. So what's the problem?

    • by hydrofix (1253498)
      By all fairness, even at worst it's not any more colored than FOX News. If you ignore the rather obvious Russian state-sponsored propaganda relating to anything to do with international power politics, it's actually often a surprisingly interesting and novel news source.
  • it spies on everyone

    but Russia Today? seriously?

    there's no sincerity here

    just Russia sniffing out that they can use this issue as a political football

    Russia's track record shows that it clearly stands far less for the principles Assange talks about than the West

    but this won't stop Russia using Assange as a club against the West

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @04:43PM (#42163423)
      Every news agency has a bias because they are made by people and people have biases. However, Russia Today (and Al-Jezeera) shine because the biases they have are generally not shared by the mainstream US media.

      If you want to be informed, you have to read all the news services and take them all with a grain of salt.
      • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:07PM (#42163575)

        I agree getting media from different sources is good, but I think grouping Russia Today and Al-Jazeera together isn't entirely fair to the latter. Russia Today is imo not the most reliable news source. I haven't done a systematic study or anything, but I've noticed a lot of stuff that is not that well sourced, over-extrapolated, etc. Al-Jazeera is in a different category: they generally are quite good. Some bias here and there, sure, but not at all sloppy. And their biggest bias is on a very narrow and easy to correct for subject: anything to do with Qatar or direct Qatari interests is treated differently. But fortunately I don't go to them primarily for news on Qatar. :) On other subjects, even the Middle East (outside Qatar), they are not even that biased, certainly nowhere near as much as what their strangely negative reputation in the U.S. would lead you to believe. I wonder to what extent they get a bad rap just because it's got an Arabic name, so sounds to many Americans like it'd be heavily biased in directions they don't like.

        • And their biggest bias is on a very narrow and easy to correct for subject: anything to do with Qatar or direct Qatari interests is treated differently. But fortunately I don't go to them primarily for news on Qatar. :) On other subjects, even the Middle East (outside Qatar), they are not even that biased, certainly nowhere near as much as what their strangely negative reputation in the U.S. would lead you to believe.

          Anything to do with Saudi Arabia is also treated very differently, at least lately. Since Qatar and the Sauds have been snuggling up AJ has gone quiet on Saudi Arabia, which used to be a primary target for them. Orders came down from the top, so they no longer report on possibly the most brutal regime in the Middle East other than fluff pieces.

          So don't kid yourself - AJ is likely as much a mouthpiece of the folks in charge as RT is. They're just a lot more subtle.

          • by grcumb (781340)

            So don't kid yourself - AJ is likely as much a mouthpiece of the folks in charge as RT is. They're just a lot more subtle.

            The difference between the two is this: While RT sins in the things it says, al Jazeera is guilty for its silence.

            If I had to choose between the two - and the world being what it is, I do - I'd take the latter. At least one can fill in the holes from other sources.

            • by Trepidity (597)

              I agree. I think they're different in fairly noticeable ways. RT has some failings more like low-quality US/UK news sources: report a lot of bullshit innuendo, or based on poor sources, like the Daily Mail or Fox News do. AJ is a bit different, more of a quality news outlet that suddenly goes conspicuously silent on certain issues. To me, that's a kind of bias that's easier to deal with.

          • I agree with the GP, it's all in the word "sloppy". AJ is to RT as BBC is to Daily Mail. At the less sloppy AJ/BBC end of the scale bias shows up as accurate but incomplete information, at the other end you get stories about Obama's birth certificate.
        • by khallow (566160)

          On other subjects, even the Middle East (outside Qatar), they are not even that biased, certainly nowhere near as much as what their strangely negative reputation in the U.S. would lead you to believe.

          Supposedly their Arabic language news has more biases than their English language news. I haven't heard much about it recently so maybe that has changed or wasn't true in the first place.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MrSteveSD (801820)

          certainly nowhere near as much as what their strangely negative reputation in the U.S. would lead you to believe

          There was a lot of propaganda against Al Jazeera but it really was just nonsense. The US and Allies had grown used to their own media's kid-gloves reporting on their military adventures and were absolutely incensed that a news outlet would question their motives and/or pay too much attention to their victims. Al Jazeera has really been a breath of fresh air in the world of news media. They cover issues that are simply ignored by other outlets and have become one of my primary news sources.

        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          Has Al-Jazeera ever mentionned the Qatari warriors in Libya?

          Russia is big and well known. Russia Today has a lot of internal news about Russia so its bias is clearly visible. But be weary of the bias that is more subtle.

          Al-Jazeera is a growing chain, right now they are getting a good reputation, but they are totally under control by special interests too. Plurality of information is good. Russia Today is a very good source of military information. They usually have far more details than their CNN counter
      • thank you. this really needs to be +10

        there is no such thing as unbiased news media. never was. never will be

        of course, there is a difference between outright purposeful propaganda and an organization that tries very hard to be impartial. but they'll be tarred and feathered by any political group that doesn't like what they are realistically reporting anyways

        so it all depends on you, the reader. you need a good healthy bullshit meter. and you need to have a healthy media diet of many very different media so

      • by Anonymous Coward

        While I agree with your comment, I think the bias here is blatantly obvious -- it is a state-funded [wikipedia.org] TV station launched in 2005.

        Russians also have been critical of RT. Former KGB officer Konstantin Preobrazhensky criticized RT as "a part of the Russian industry of misinformation and manipulation".[104] Andrey Illarionov, former advisor to Vladimir Putin, has labeled the channel as “the best Russian propaganda machine targeted at the outside world.”[66]

        James Kirchick in The New Republic accused the network of "often virulent anti-Americanism, worshipful portrayal of Russian leaders."[105] Ed Lucas wrote in Al Jazeera that the core of RT was "anti-Westernism."[106] Shaun Walker wrote in The Independent that RT "has made a name for itself as a strident critic of US policy."[107] Allesandra Stanley in The New York Times wrote that RT is "like the Voice of America, only with more money and a zesty anti-American slant."[46] David Weigel writes that RT goes further than merely creating distrust of the United States government, to saying, in effect: "You can trust the Russians more than you can trust those bastards."[29]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RT_%28TV_network%29#Objectivity

        So let's be real about the motive. This isnt just normal "people" bias, this is state-funded propaganda. Doesn't make it wrong, and again I agree it is worth looking at, but not just with a grain of salt.

      • by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @06:09PM (#42163975)

        If you want to be informed, you have to read all the news services and take them all with a grain of salt.

        Despite your current moderation, that view isn't really popular with large segments of people on Slashdot. It seems many people here don't like news from a different perspective, or providing inconvenient facts, if you know what I mean [foxnews.com]. (Cue posts about Fox News lying, reality has a liberal bias, etc. . . . . and then see parent post.) I guess to many people it is vital that we all look different, but think the same.

    • by gutnor (872759)

      That's a good point. Assange has seen quite a bit of the US dirty laundry. Better he didn't lie, he showed the world the f*cking documents and those documents are not even disputed.

      So the real question is where are all the interviews in the US press and why do we need to read that in Russia Today ?

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @06:24PM (#42164069)

      just Russia sniffing out that they can use this issue as a political football

      Yeah. And Total Information Awareness, those airport scanners, equipping our police with surplus military gear (including combat-ready heavy assault tanks), and reading about government agencies like the Social Security administration purchasing hollow point bullets by the ton is totally safe and nobody should worry about it. Is saying their media is biased a bit like the pot calling the kettle black? While people died by the thousand in Myanmar every day, our national media aired celebrity news as the major headlines of the week. When the UN overwhelmingly welcomed the state of Palestine, granting it nation status, our news outlets applauded Israel launching rockets and planning new settlements in the newly-recognized state... and there was very little analysis done on the situation as a whole. When even Israel's equivalent to the President came out in the international media and said (paraphrasing) "I know we're bullies, but we're trying to be benevolent bullies!" every major international news site covered it... and every domestic news site talked about, umm... Oprah using a new Surface tablet?

      Bias is everywhere, and if you want the truth, you need to look at all the sources, not just the ones close to you, or the ones politically fashionable. I read the BBC, Al Jezerra, the state-run chinese news sites, several sites in Germany, and yes, Russia Today. I also watch CNN... and let me tell you, of all of them our own media is the most lacking on international events. Our "international" sections usually consist of stories like "Why Don't People Like Us? New Study Reveals It's Because We're Bombing Them." Or put another way -- even in our international news, we're really just looking at our own reflection and asking, "What does the world think about us?" Russia Today and many others are right to point out how self-centered our media is, and by reflection, our culture. Conversely, their constant attack of "the west" (tm)(r)(c)(patent pending) is strained at best, and patently absurd on its bad days. We do get a lot of things right... it'd do them well to occasionally acknowledge that.

      • the funniest thing about those who freely pillory the West and refrain from criticizing the likes of Russia, is that if the situation were reversed: attacking Russia from within Russia, and remaining silent on the West, they would get a knock on the door

        in other words, you don't know how good you got it. can the West improve? of course. but you have to be intellectually honest when comparing the West's track record with the likes of Russia, or you just can't be taken seriously

        freedom of speech. freedom of the press. these are concepts in the West that are not perfect, but legally and culturally adhered to orders of magnitude better than in countries like Russia

        are you afraid you will be targeted for speaking out against the West, as you post from within the West? no?

        think about that. think about what that really means. now try to be intellectually honest on this subject matter

        • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @08:00PM (#42164703)

          in other words, you don't know how good you got it.

          We have the fewest number of holidays of any industrialized country on the planet. Our incarceration rate is higher than any country and is increasing year over year faster than any other as well. Life expectancy started falling about five years ago and continues to drop yearly, in contrast with most industrialized countries. If you shave off the top 5% of wage earners, our average income ranks dead last amongst the top 20 economies of the world. Our educational system is falling apart as student debt loads skyrocket, making higher education all but unobtainable for the majority, or locking them into debt they cannot possibly discharge without severe financial hardship. The leading cause of death amongst 16-25 year olds is suicide, and we are the only industrialized country that has that honor. Our top ten causes of death are mostly preventable causes due to obesity and smoking. Our civil rights track record continues to erode year over year -- whereas gay marriage isn't even a talking point in most of Europe, having been legalized long ago, it's a contentious point here in this country. Muslims are spit on by everyday people, arrested, profiled, and harassed by law enforcement, kept under surveillance by the government, and their plight ignored by the "free" media, who because of their silence has made our bill of rights a bill of privileges -- they may exist on paper, but not in real life anymore. We withdrew from the Geneva diplomatic conventions and we routinely take unilateral military action against other sovereign powers, abduct their citizens, deprive them of not just basic human freedoms but their dignity as well. We torture prisoners of war and our government, corporations, and other wealthy interests lie to our face about what's actually going on, and have been caught so many times they have no credibility internationally and only have credibility domestically because extensive media manipulation ensures few people know the truth.

          And I'm not afraid of being targetted for "speaking out against the West", because I'm behind ten proxies. Good luck, assholes. But if I signed my real name to this, I'd be on a terror watchlist by the end of the week and you and I both know it. So don't talk to me about "intellectual honesty" while you turn a blind eye to the sufferings of over a hundred million americans living paycheck to paycheck, wage slaves kept calm with second-rate internet, cheap entertainment, and a television that tells them everything is fine here and it's just the rest of the world that's going to shit. I know they'd all rise up in a moment if there was someone in particular to take this all out on, but this country has become an expert in making people rich by being only a little bit evil. There aren't any Big Bads anymore, just a lot of Sorta Bads, and that's the only reason there isn't a pitch fork in the collective ass of the rich.

          But please, tell me how great it is here. I have material comfort, perhaps, but spiritually I'm dying, as is everyone else here. We're thirsting for freedom, yearning for choices in a country that has fewer and fewer to offer each generation. Tell me it's a lie. Go on. Say it, if you've got the guts to keep defending the very people shoving your face in the mud and saying "We're all happy here! Happy, happy, happy!"

          • thanks for changing the subject matter to a grab bag of whiny complaints. because no other country in the world has issues, right?

            i'll take your post to mean you are conceding my point but are too stubborn to do so honestly

            But if I signed my real name to this, I'd be on a terror watchlist by the end of the week and you and I both know it.

            nevermind, paranoid schizophrenia is a sad disease

      • by schnell (163007)

        equipping our police with surplus military gear (including combat-ready heavy assault tanks), and reading about government agencies like the Social Security administration purchasing hollow point bullets by the ton

        [citation needed]

        I'm not trolling, I'm genuinely interested. Please don't say "Google it!" Can you show me a link to any non batshit crazy source with reliable information confirming the above two items? Because if so then I will be much more concerned about my country than I ever have before, and I'm sure many others will too.

        • by Brianwa (692565)

          If you do a search for "Texas police tank" you'll see that some police department does have a small armored vehicle. I suppose it might technically qualify as a tank but it has road tires and no gun on top. From what I've heard, they didn't use it much and eventually stopped driving it due to fuel costs. I don't have a source on that, is was some random guy on the Internet ;)

          And it turns out that it's much cheaper to buy bullets by the ton. I certainly hope our tax money doesn't go into buying bullets a

      • by Larryish (1215510)

        If I had mod points, I would totally mail them to you, coated with a strawberry sugar glaze and a side of bacon.

    • In fact, you just did. With the ol' chestnut of many an apologist by saying: "Well, look at THOSE guys. Over there. They're MUCH worse than me." The unfinished part: "So what *I'M* doing should be OK by you."

      • oh that's a ripe pile

        if someone isn't on the agenda of attack the usa first, ignore all other players in the world, they must be an asskissing american apologist

        the usa leads the world on a whole number of vile evil wrongs

        did you read that? i will repeat if your cranium is too thick:

        the usa leads the world on a whole number of vile evil wrongs

        i. just. wrote. those. words.

        are we clear?

        however, the subject of the free flow of information, assange's core concern, is NOT one of the issues the usa is doing badly

  • Silly FUD Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 02, 2012 @04:34PM (#42163353)
    Here is an interesting bit from the article about what Julian thinks we should actually do and what will happen if don't do it:

    "So this is where we are at now, which is we've got to create education amongst people, so there can be a market demand, so that others can be encouraged to produce easy-to-use cryptographic technology that is capable of protecting not everyone, but a significant number of people from mass state spying. And if we are not able to protect a significant number of people from mass state spying, then the basic democratic and civilian institutions that we are used to – not in the West, I am no glorifier of the West, but in all societies – are going to crumble away. They will crumble away, and they will do so all at once. And that's an extremely dangerous phenomenon."

    I like this idea a lot, and wonder how this could occur.. But I am more interested in the answer to the question of... How much is being stuck in a building for 6 months affecting Julian psychologically?
    • by redelm (54142)

      "mass crypto" -- already done, encouraged by commerce and useable by everyone: go look for httpsEverywhere. I'm using it right now with /.

      Of course you will complain the crypto isn't perfect. It does not have to be, just enough to significantly increase the cost (CPU cycles) of sieving it all.

    • "I like this idea a lot, and wonder how this could occur.. "

      Open source browsers IMHO. I've always thought that web browsers would be a great point to introduce fully encrypted instant messenging/voice over IP.

    • Re:Silly FUD Summary (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Sunday December 02, 2012 @06:37PM (#42164151) Homepage

      The problem with this idea is that even if everything is encrypted end-to-end the government will just go after the ends. For example I always use encryption when accessing Google, but the government could still go to Google and get my search history.

      So not only do we need to get everyone to use Tor or whatever, we need them to switch to secure services that somehow pay for themselves without invading privacy or being vulnerable to government demands to log and hand over data.

    • Conflicted Pychology: A spy who tells everyone he can that spying is evil.
      Is Julian simply projecting his repressed guilt onto "the man" with that quote?

      Personally I think the contradiction is fascinating, we all trivially spy on others and yet we all get upset when we catch someone doing it to us.
  • Imagine they had a backup, fine. Who gets access to the data? I can't even find my own files and people forget what we discussed on a mailing list. It is wrong to keep people in fear. And it is wrong to keep company with RT.
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Who gets access to the data?
      The NSA, CIA, DIA bulk collection is cleaned up and indexed very quickly and well. The US had a vision of an electronic file system back in the 1960's. It was well funded while other agencies around the world where still working with paper and dreaming about data entry into realtime file systems.
      The NSA, DIA is not some federal police building with an old database and top contractors trying their best over many years.
      Historically your "access to the data" might have been a
      • Look, I invest into blurring my profile. I don't believe in the wonders of government technology, esp. when it is kept confidential. I have seen to much in the lights which didn't work as advertised. Don't make people believe these organisations are powerful and ubiquitious. The United Stated and the West can't even manage to keep their own soldiers safe in Afghanistan. Free citizens should not be afraid.
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @04:45PM (#42163439)

    So what if they're snooping on entire nations.

    After all, if nobody in a nation is doing anything wrong, then that nation has got nothing to worry about.

  • Is now an arboretic cage. . Chop it down. Break it up. Do something new. .
  • use encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @04:53PM (#42163497) Homepage Journal

    As the Cypherpunks have been saying for maybe 20 years now: Use encryption. Not just SSL when you buy something online, but for everything. Heck, we should all be running IPSec. But it's not going anywhere because we don't understand interception and think it doesn't happen to us.

    • Re:use encryption (Score:5, Insightful)

      by binarstu (720435) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:33PM (#42163729)

      You have an excellent point, but unfortunately, even encryption provides far less protection than it used to. The original vision for the Internet was a decentralized network where individuals controlled their own information, but today's reality is that the Internet is increasingly centralized, with tremendous amounts of personal information held by a relatively small number of players. Combine this with the fact that the vast majority of people are willing to pay for services with their privacy, and you have a situation where point-to-point encryption doesn't help much, at least not as far as state-sponsored privacy invasion goes.

      For instance, Facebook is moving to require SSL for all of its users (or has already done so), but does this really do anything to allay concerns about institutionalized survellance? I would say, "no," because all of the users' personal information is still being neatly filed away in Facebook's storage facilities, same as before, and it is just as accessible to those with enough power as it ever was.

      It is interesting how in the early days, before governments knew what do with it, the Internet really was a bastion of free speech and thought. Now, it is not much of a stretch to say that it has become one of the most powerful surveillance tools ever devised.

      • by jopsen (885607)
        I'm not that scared... Yes, point-to-point encryption isn't enough, as you can get direct access to the facilities... But that usual requires a warrant, if facebook start giving out information without warrant, they'll be liable to privacy suits. Probably regardless of what their EULA says, as court will probably find you can't waive your privacy.

        Furthermore, we also have the EU working for data centers in EU, and working to ensure that there's some sort limit to what the US can do. Frankly, I have a lot
      • I think this view has a grain of truth but is unnecessarily dystopian. You assign a lot of importance to Facebook even though it exists entirely in the realm of the trivial.

        I use Facebook and I suppose I pay for it with my privacy, though in reality, Facebook won over other social networks partly because of its extensive privacy controls, and privacy from friends/family is my primary interest. But nothing which actually matters is on there. The stuff I do that could potentially have an impact (currently, mo

      • but today's reality is that the Internet is increasingly centralized, with tremendous amounts of personal information held by a relatively small number of players

        Obligatory XKCD
        http://xkcd.com/1118/ [xkcd.com]

      • by durdur (252098)

        Also, we don't know just how crackable off the shelf encryption is. More than you'd think, probably. The NSA is not going to tell you just how good they are at reading encrypted material but they employ some of the best cryptographers on the planet, so their capabilities are not to be underestimated.

        • Re:use encryption (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Tom (822) on Monday December 03, 2012 @12:50AM (#42166079) Homepage Journal

          But we have a lot of historical information to make educated guesses.

          The best estimates I know of put the NSA about five years (down from ten) ahead of the public cryptology experts (universities, etc.). Now check back five years, to 2007. What we know today, the NSA probably knew back then. A few interesting attacks (BEAST, CRIME) are on the list, but something world-shattering like a break for AES, are not.

          While the various government TLAs should not be underestimated, they aren't mythical unicorns, either.

    • by Python (1141)

      It's that most people don't care. They think "I'm not a criminal I have nothing to hide".

    • Because only terrorists try to hide from the government. That is how the government thinks.

  • by joocemann (1273720) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @04:55PM (#42163511)

    ... have come forward and discussed dragnet unconstitutional surveillance that they were personally involved with. Remember Tice?

    But everyone was worried about the latest Linux build, who is suing who, or Kim Kardashian's ass...

    • by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @06:07PM (#42163961) Homepage Journal
      Yes recall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A [wikipedia.org]
      They used a splitter, not at some optical landing site on the coast where you could say it was "international' traffic - the US gov went for domestic traffic in bulk.
      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/interviews/klein.html [pbs.org]
      What was once for Soviet interests, corrupt Europeans, Soviet influenced journalists, academics, political and peace groups is now aimed at all in the USA with all the legal options that a "battlefront of the future" offers.
    • by Python (1141)

      Yes, the average person cares about the latest Linux build. /me rolls eyes

    • ... have come forward and discussed dragnet unconstitutional surveillance that they were personally involved with. Remember Tice?

      But everyone was worried about the latest Linux build, who is suing who, or Kim Kardashian's ass...

      The NSA wants to monitor the internet to secure the USA and the world. It has to be done as the threat of terrorism and the amount of wars combined with the shitty economy and excessive radicalization of the USA and extremism around the globe, it's not an option to allow individuals to keep secrets from the government. The question is how can we give the government all our secrets without fear of being arrested or having the information abused or leaked?

  • Protest (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:08PM (#42163577)

    Let's send a message to those state spies. Maybe if we all download the filthiest pornography we can find and....

    Oh. I see.

    Never mind.

    • by Dekker3D (989692)

      You misunderstand. That's part of the reason they want to spy on us all-... basic human desires. They're building the biggest repository of porn they can find, and any other juicy (not in that way) bits they can find are a nice catch on the side.

      Except it's easier to tell the people "we're filtering to protect you from terrorists" than it is to say "we're filtering to get a copy of all your porn". I mean, who'd take -that- seriously?

  • So whoever physically controls this controls the realm of our ideas and communications. And whoever is able to sit on those communications channels, can intercept entire nations,

    The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

    Projects like Tor are popular in nations which are invasive in monitoring and blocking. They're not popular in countries which don't, because they're perceived as not being necessary. It won't take long for that to change if governments start stamping their boots.

    Rem

    • by vux984 (928602)

      The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

      As long as the packets get through, it doesn't interpret that any damage has been done. Thus the net turns a pretty blind eye to SURVEILLANCE.

      Remember when Gmail and a lot of other services didn't use SSL by default (or in some cases, at all)? Now, it's practically unthinkable - in part because companies like Google and Twitter and Facebook want people to be able to use their services safely if they need to. They've recognized the power to do good

  • I blame the geeks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior (537106) on Sunday December 02, 2012 @05:47PM (#42163825) Homepage Journal

    Geeks are to blame for most of the loss of human rights on the net.

    We write so much software that other geeks use, but can't seem to get a handle on ease-of-use or taking action.

    If Thunderbird incorporated the equivalent of Enigmail [enigmail.net] from the start, lots of people would be using it now. The extra security would be a selling point, causing other applications to compensate by becoming compatible. Over time, every E-mail client would have been secure, some committee would have come up with a standard, and that would be the end of it.

    If linux had encryption built into the OS (what are the functions of an OS anyway, if not to manage such things?) so that secure sockets were trivially available, the same thing would happen for other protocols.

    Instead, we leave it as an exercise for the user. The user has to know that they want security, then know where and how to get it, then learn how to use it, then convince other people how to do the same. We leave encryption as an exercise to the coder, an add-on to be implemented in every new application.

    We have a "reply to all" button, why can't we have a "make private if the recipient has encryption" button?

    This sort of mass surveillance can only happen when the surveillance is easy. Why don't we just make it hard?

    Instead of wailing and gnashing of teeth, how about we actually solve the problem?

    Nota Bene: Yes, there are issues to be resolved, none of which are very difficult. No, perfect security is not attainable, but "good enough" security will help a lot. And no, none of the problems that come to mind are insurmountable.

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      Blaming inventors for not fully defending against misuse of the technology they built is an old and tired argument. It most obviously goes back to the Manhattan Project, and from there it's a quick trip to discussing the Nazis and bam! Godwined.

    • by Python (1141)

      Jesus, wtf? Geeks are rssponsible? Genius dude, just genius. MBAs are responsible for these decisions.

    • Re:I blame the geeks (Score:4, Informative)

      by WaffleMonster (969671) on Monday December 03, 2012 @12:10AM (#42165811)

      Geeks are to blame for most of the loss of human rights on the net.

      When I started the Internet had a lot more people who cared about tinkering, improving and contributed to the network than people seeking to profit and leech from it.

      It was a few years later that the spam started flooding in.

      The rise of centralized systems fueled by the masses who just want to pay to be users without contributing back to the network is a bigger problem to our freedom than any government spying. If you really want to change things you have to find ways to get more people to be involved with the network again...

      Running your own servers has to be cool again.... not "to the cloud" cry of marketeers who seek money and control.

      The barrier as I see it is not really about technology it is more about getting more people interested and involved with the network.

      Ease of use as you point out is a critical factor but I recall lots of ordinary people learning html and setting up home pages back in the day...

      Wikipedia codes are hardly user friendly yet lots of ordinary people are still motivated to learn unecessary shit in order to improve and contribute information they care about.

      Technology and making things easier is critical but I believe motivation is more important.

      Unless we can find a way to get more people to care about the network I don't see uber technical solutions alone being sufficient to cross the finish line.

  • After 9/11 there was a telecom lawsuit of spying on Americans dismissed by the courts. The reason was said to have been looking for terrorist which was not technically possible, but what was possible was the monitoring of american attitudes and this spying coupled with controlled proproganda of the mainstream media provided a feedback loop for manipulating the american people.

    This feedback loop process is still going on, being used.

    The opportunity here is for an increasing number of Americans to become awar

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