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Unintended Consequences: How NSA Revelations May Lead To Even More Surveillance 207

Posted by timothy
from the can't-beat-this-horse-deader-without-more-whips dept.
Lauren Weinstein writes with a slightly depressing end-of-year prediction. An excerpt: "This then may be the ultimate irony in this surveillance saga. Despite the current flood of protests, recriminations, and embarrassments — and even a bit of legal jeopardy — intelligence services around the world (including especially NSA) may come to find that Edward Snowden's actions, by pushing into the sunlight the programs whose very existence had long been dim, dark, or denied — may turn out over time to be the greatest boost to domestic surveillance since the invention of the transistor."
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Unintended Consequences: How NSA Revelations May Lead To Even More Surveillance

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  • Does it matter (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 30, 2013 @07:18AM (#45817151)

    Nobody will want to have anything to do with USA. Have fun on your own. Just stay where you are and don't come here, ok?

    • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday December 30, 2013 @07:28AM (#45817197) Journal

      Nobody will want to have anything to do with USA

      It's not about USA per se.

      The entire thing is actually a reflection of the arrogance of those so-called "UNTOUCHABLES"

      They do not need to face the voters once every x-number of years, nor they need to answer to anyone.

      They are the bureaucrats, the non-elected bureaucrats that have grabbed hold of power through the back door method.

      Even the TFA itself is full of shit.

      If the net-surveillance scheme that has been exposed by Snowden is like giving the NSA (or any other spook organization) a blank check on what they do, we might as well stop catching murderers/rapers, and let them go on raping / murdering even more people, at will.

      • It's not about USA per se.

        The entire thing is actually a reflection of the arrogance of those so-called "UNTOUCHABLES"

        The entire thing is actually a reflection of the public's apathy. The real issue is now that the spying has been brought to the forefront of attention, the time has come for society to decide which fork in the road Western society will take: the ever-present surveillance route or the privacy-respecting route. The government agencies, and at their bidding the established media, are taking the stance that spying is the new norm. Twitter and Slashdot readers think that privacy should be the new norm. Arguably,

      • This also applies to nominally-elected legislators who gerrymander their district boundaries to create lots of "safe" districts for one party or another. That makes them hard to defeat, and in return they help the opposing party gerrymander their district boundaries.

        This is bad for the voters, of course: they want the choice of two candidates, and the option to throw the incumbent out if he or she gets too corrupt.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947)

        The entire thing is actually a reflection of the arrogance of those so-called "UNTOUCHABLES"

        They do not need to face the voters once every x-number of years, nor they need to answer to anyone.

        They are the bureaucrats, the non-elected bureaucrats that have grabbed hold of power through the back door method.

        Do you really believe that some relatively low-paid bureaucrats are the puppet masters pulling strings behind the scenes? You believe they're doing it for their own benefit?

        That is stupid. You have to as

    • Re:Does it matter (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ranulf (182665) on Monday December 30, 2013 @07:37AM (#45817239)

      Nonsense. People in general don't care about in privacy, right up to the point where it suddenly works against them. It's just the laziness and apatheticness of human nature. It'll take a lot more than these leaks before people are really enraged, because at the moment everyone is still happy that "it's catching terrorists".

      It's just another example of "First they came..." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_ [wikipedia.org]...

      • Re:Does it matter (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 30, 2013 @07:54AM (#45817313)

        First they came for the terrorists, and I didn't care because I wasn't a terrorist. Then they called me a terrorist, and nobody cared because I was a terrorist. I hear rumors that some people might consider becoming enraged someday, but enraged people are terrorists and nobody listens to terrorists.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by flyneye (84093)

        Bullshit. People do care about privacy, Im one of them.
        What do you want, revolution?
        This administration wont last forever, whether its just a couple years, impeachment, or stroke.
        A big issue next election will be privacy. Dont count on the Dem side of the Repubmocrat party to hold the throne, though.
        People have had enough of Omama, just like they had enough of Nixon. Hes just running on momentum and imagination, as it is.
        Im going to make a prediction, he will be the first president to move out of the U.S.

        • Re:Does it matter (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 30, 2013 @08:24AM (#45817407)

          A big issue next election will be privacy.

          By the time of the next election, no one will remember who Snowden was, and the big issue will be whether to elect a woman or a homosexual.

          • by flyneye (84093) on Monday December 30, 2013 @08:33AM (#45817443) Homepage

            I blame food additives...

          • by LostMonk (1839248)
            Don't let the fact that the ever blood-hungry, ambulance-chasing media moved on to newer stories fool you.
            Snowden himself might be forgotten (if he's lucky) but until now there weren't visible economical effects of the state/world-wide blanket surveillance, such things need time to take in and respond to. When decision makers start to come up with real solutions (not just hot air in front of the cameras) and when non-American companies will come up with viable alternative services, the big-data USA-based
        • In your dreams (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 30, 2013 @08:38AM (#45817457)

          A big issue next election will be privacy.

          No it won't.

          The next election is going to be the same old bullshit issues: gay marriage, abortion, "when life begins", taxes, guns, Israel and a couple of other distraction issues that Rush and Fox News create.

          The nutty conservative fringe - I'm not talking about rational conservatives who want to put checks on government power and spending - I'm talking mostly about social conservatives who want government to regulate what one does behind closed doors. They seem to be driving the talking points in elections because they are the most shrill and irrational.

          Acid test: if a minister (Warren or whoever) gets quoted about an issue, then it's a distraction issue.

          • by roeguard (1113267)

            The nutty conservative fringe - I'm not talking about rational conservatives who want to put checks on government power and spending - I'm talking mostly about social conservatives who want government to regulate what one does behind closed doors.

            Social conservatives don't just want to regulate what happens behind closed doors -- they want to outlaw it altogether. Because like all good hypocrites, its not how they would publicly admit to doing things.

            At the same time, the similarly radical element of the social progressives want to regulate what happens behind closed doors by paying for it with taxpayer funds and making sure we do it the "right way" and with "equality". Like a parent who keeps paying your rent well after college but demands you be home every weekend for "family time".

            Control is still control.

        • Re:Does it matter (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday December 30, 2013 @09:39AM (#45817765) Homepage Journal

          Soapbox, ballot box, ammo box - prescribed in that order.

          How many letters to the White House have you sent?
          How many times have you written to your congress critters?
          How many of your friends, relatives, and acquaintances have you educated, relative to these issues?
          Are you speaking to your children and their friends?
          Have you encouraged all of those friends, relatives, acquiantances, and children to write to the PTB?
          Have you involved your state representatives in the discussion?
          Have you approached your local representatives?

          I promise you that if you consider the issue to be an administrative issue, you're in for a rude awakening. It isn't Obama - it is GOVERNMENT. Obama may be a rather large and obvious cog in the machine, but he is still just a cog.

          • If every person who cared wrote twice, it would not be enough.

            Fear makes people want this. Even if they say out loud that the gvmt has no business in their business, privately they add "except to catch terrorists".

            Numbers and logic are irrelevant here, because they were invented after fear and instinct.

            • "except to catch terrorists"

              Our government is pretty effective at brainwashing the masses. Hollywood has set a fine example for them. MSM cooperates so well, it's hard to tell where government efforts end, and the media takes over. It's a damned shame - but I also have to point out that the more liberal minded people among us have been working for decades to emasculate the population. No one has the balls to stand up to anyone anymore. Hell, our typical response to violence is to roll over and cooperat

          • by celle (906675)

            "How many letters to the White House have you sent?"

            I'm not getting sent preventive detention before I get a chance to use lethal force since I long since stopped believing that they are going to listen to anything else. The past is full of neutered/dead examples of those who talked first.

            "How many times have you written to your congress critters?"

            Ditto.

            "How many of your friends, relatives, and acquaintances have
            you educated, relative to these issues?"

            They aren't listening, don't want to miss Idol, or belie

            • No - he isn't. It's so easy to BELIEVE that he is in charge, what with all the melodrama we put on each four years at election time. But, he't not in charge.

              I don't even really know who IS in charge. I look at the Federal Reserve, and wonder if they are in charge, or if they are just a front for the people who ARE in charge. Then NSA figures in somewhere - but I figure that those people are just one of the tools used by the people in charge. Who is in charge? Hmmm. I suspect that Rupert Murdoch might

          • by flyneye (84093)

            Sending letters to the White House will get you mail you dont want and on lists you dont want to be on.
            Congressmen, I write all the time, some arent even mine.
            Everyone around me avoids me, if only for the issues.
            State clowns go only so far...
            More precisely it isnt government, it is the Repubmocrats. Remove the Repubmocrats and the machine works fine.

            • "Sending letters to the White House will get you mail you dont want"

              We had a Master Chief who kept two rubber stamps on his desk. On said "bullshit bullshit bullshit" in small print, many times. The other said "BULLSHIT!" three or four times in big bold letters. I enjoy hitting "reply" to some of those emails, and "stamping" them before sending them back.

              "and on lists you dont want to be on."

              I actually want to be on the lists of real patriots who love their country. If being on those lists offends some

        • by Merk42 (1906718) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:28AM (#45818107)
          Yeah I can't believe all this stupid PATRIOT ACT shit Bush is doing, I mean his administration won't last forever. I tell you what, next election I'm voting for the other party, this Obama guy promises transparency.
          • by flyneye (84093)

            Bush? Check the makeup, this has been Nixon all along. Looking more svelt these days in his Omama gear, isnt he?
            Doesnt matter which party you vote for, its really the same party; Repubmocrats and you better believe theyre behind Nixon again.

        • by Nyder (754090)

          Bullshit. People do care about privacy, Im one of them.
          What do you want, revolution?
          This administration wont last forever, whether its just a couple years, impeachment, or stroke.
          A big issue next election will be privacy. Dont count on the Dem side of the Repubmocrat party to hold the throne, though.
          People have had enough of Omama, just like they had enough of Nixon. Hes just running on momentum and imagination, as it is.
          Im going to make a prediction, he will be the first president to move out of the U.S.

          The people that are spying on us wasn't voted to office, will be there after Obama and his cronies are gone.

          So once again, if you truly care, doing nothing won't change anything.

          • by flyneye (84093)

            The people that are spying on us wasn't voted to office, will be there after Obama and his cronies are gone.

            So once again, if you truly care, doing nothing won't change anything.

            As if Obama was voted in, ha. Every election we put a Repubmocrat in office. It really wouldnt have mattered if they had put Romney in. The same things would be happening, maybe not in the same order, but it would be the same on major issues. Some issues are held to the faux-party that promotes th

      • by antdude (79039)

        Then, we need to prove that their privacy can be invaded but how legally?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nobody will want to have anything to do with USA. Have fun on your own. Just stay where you are and don't come here, ok?

      They will loose some business because of it; Brazil buying from Saab instead of Boeing for example, which is actually an interesting choice since the Swedish FRA is doing a lot of things similar to what the NSA is doing.

      • by no_go (96797)

        I Keep seeing this argument "X also does it" , but the proponents seem to forget that other Electronics intelligence agencies don't have the capacity to do data collection on the same scale as the NSA (Not even close).
        They don't have:
        - The manpower.
        - The bilateral agreements with the same number of inteligence agencies
        - The scale of technical infra-structure
        - The number of locations where to implement listening posts (military bases, diplomatic posts, comercial entreprises).

        This means that they won't have t

        • by AHuxley (892839)
          Yes even if a nation can buy in vast amounts of super computing, have the local expert staff and language experts what can they do? Re build their bases, mil ports/sites with super computers, storage and vast numbers of satellite dishes? Tap into every backhaul optical network in their nation... what do they get? All regional and domestic traffic with something from the satellite dishes - intended for/sent from their nation.
          Only the US and UK have the global site agreements and can set their own inte
        • Do they have insufficient manpower? They have fewer resources, sure, because their countries are smaller, but they have fewer surveillance targets, too, for the same reason.

          Also, there's nothing stopping them from outsourcing their effort to the NSA, which would probably love to be the google apps for business of foreign intelligence signals gathering.

  • Countermeasures. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 30, 2013 @07:19AM (#45817155)

    Yes this is true, But now those that wish to deploy countermeasures can now do so. I am not an American Citizen, the USA is collecting metadata on me and others and has no desire for my well being, so Encrypt and mask is the way to go. I'm not intending to do anything illegal, but I will do my damnedest to make it harder for them and their illegal spying game.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      ...has no desire for my well being...

      [citation needed]

      The US government sees itself as the altruistic champion of freedom for the world. Granted, it's a defined subset of "freedom" that doesn't include silly things like "privacy", but rather more desirable American things like the freedom to choose what giant fast-food chain prepares your daily supply of saturated fat.

      Politicians don't stay in politics unless they believe their country has the potential to be great. The past several rounds of American politicians have perfected that arrogance

      • Politicians don't stay in politics unless they believe their country has the potential to be great.

        You seriously believe politicians don't stay in politics because of a desire for power, influence and financial gain? Wow. Don't know where you live but your description doesn't sound like many politicians I've ever run across.

        • by Sarten-X (1102295)

          Power and influence to what end, though?

          What do the politicians do to justify their financial gain?

          Sorry, but I'm not cynical enough to think that politicians wake up every morning asking "How can I screw over the world for my own benefit today?". Rather, they try to fix the world as they can, but with so many different definitions of "fix", the only way to get anything accomplished is to have the most influence... and that means wasting time building political favor. To an outsider, it looks like the polit

          • by sjbe (173966)

            Power and influence to what end, though?

            Those ARE the ends. People who seek political office largely are people for whom power and influence are goal unto themselves. Financial wealth usually plays a role as well but that can be achieved pretty easily with sufficient power and influence.

            What do the politicians do to justify their financial gain?

            Why on earth would they justify it? Until just last year it was absolutely legal for members of Congress to engage in insider trading that would get you and me thrown in jail like Martha Stewart. It is absurdly common for politicians to leave congress FAR weal

            • by Sarten-X (1102295)
              So in other words, you are that cynical. Got it.
              • by celle (906675)

                "you are that cynical."

                Not just him, most of us are that cynical and we have historical proof to back up our cynicism. You try to prove these 'people' (especially in the last thirty years) give a fucking damn about us beyond "what's in it for them". In a country where selfishness is king it should be interesting if believable.

                If most of the public wasn't cynical already you think much of this shit that's going on would have been stopped by the public outcry. It won't because most have already given up.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Yes its 5 nations, a few other trusted US friendly nations, all their cleared staff and contractors too. Then add in the former and ex cleared staff and contractors with unique skill sets, many now in the private sector.
      Thats a lot of eyes on generations of trusted junk hardware and software globally.
  • by mrbluze (1034940) on Monday December 30, 2013 @07:22AM (#45817169) Journal
    Nonsense. Surveillance is already growing exponentially - every organization that can is doing it already. What it may instead herald is a hot war between everybody and the three letter agencies. Everybody is beginning to care about privacy, not only the few who were awake before.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Everybody is beginning to care about privacy, not only the few who were awake before.

      Everybody is too busy drinking beer and watching TV to care about what you think everybody should care about.

    • I think it's the Media that is, as usual, massaging the message here.

      I don't blame people for not having a huge reaction, because everyone probably figures his is inevitable. The title shouldn't be "people don't care about security" it should be "people are resigned to Boomba, or death by Boomba." We are going to get boombad by the NSA or someone else.

    • Re:Truism (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Monday December 30, 2013 @08:53AM (#45817529) Journal

      Counterintuitively perhaps, once these programs are made visible they become vastly easier to expand under one justification or another, because you no longer have to worry so much about the very existence of the programs being exposed.

      TFA argues:
      1) Snowden blows the lid off surveillance schemes, many of which are conducted illegaly.
      2) Intelligence agencies would like to continue these programmes and push for legislation to legalize them.
      3) Said legislation is passed.
      4) Surveillance continues unabated.
      5) Profit, sort of.

      Our "profit" is that we now know about these surveillance schemes. The problem however is that they will disappear underground again and increase in size and pervasiveness; once they are made legal, politicians (even the opposition) will no longer be much interested in attacking or exposing individual schemes, they will be attacking the legislation. And if the public forgets about the issue quickly enough, they will not succeed there.

      Only thing we can do now is push legislation the other way while we have some momentum:
      - Make "dragnet"-style surveillance illegal
      - Allow wiretapping in individual cases, after approval by a judge (and not a secret panel of judges)
      - If a company is not compelled by law to surrender information, they are forbidden to volunteer it.

      • once they are made legal, politicians (even the opposition) will no longer be much interested in attacking or exposing individual schemes, they will be attacking the legislation.

        Not just that, but Sen. Ron Wyden believes that if they are able to gain such a foothold, the "Business as Usual Brigade" will use it to justify non-terrorism related surveillance [cato.org] of the people.

        The linked keynote above is a must-listen for folks who are following this issue closely.

      • by swillden (191260)

        I'd modify your list a little:

        If a company is not compelled by law to surrender information, they are forbidden to volunteer it.

        Instead, how about "Unless required by law not to disclose it, organizations are required to notify each person whose information they share. Said notification is required each time the information is shared, and must include the information shared, the party to whom it is disclosed, the purpose of disclosure, and the privacy commitments provided by the receiver, which must be at least as restrictive as those of the sharer. In the event of information shared in aggregated form,

  • I'm up next (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paiute (550198) on Monday December 30, 2013 @07:41AM (#45817265)
    Coming up on Slashdot, a link to my poorly-written ramblings on my obscure blog of someone you have never heard of.
  • by roca (43122) on Monday December 30, 2013 @08:02AM (#45817347) Homepage
    From the article:

    Nor are reports of intelligence agencies weakening encryption systems anything new -- concerns about NSA influence over the Data Encryption Standard (DES), reach back about four decades.

    While this is true, it's a dumb example to bring up, since it turned out those concerns were misplaced. The serious concerns were that the NSA's choice of S-box values had somehow introduced a backdoor, but since the early 1990s we've known that the NSA's S-box values actualy *strengthened* DES against differential cryptanalysis (an attack which was not publicly known at the time).

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      What the NSA strengthened with one hand they still ensured the plain text was ready as always.
      So yes they helped to ensure the usage of the product was safer but also ensured the system was never beyond their ability to get plain text from :)
  • NSA is a blueprint company. Even though we all know they are doing it, there's not much you can do about it. Huge multinationals will participate in schemes to monitor traffic and snoop in one country but they are regarded as being high and mighty privacy advocates in another? That's a load of crap. They are all dirty and have been since the 80s. Tracking and monitoring is what any big business does. If you do business with them, you have to accept that they are watching what you're doing. They are sharing

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      ...The fact NSA is being held up as an example is just another cold war move by Russia and probably China. You think Russia isn't watching everything their citizens are doing? China?

      There are no private states.

      Although I'm talking about a document that has been turned into nothing more than an art exhibit these days, you missed the entire point. There were supposed to be at least some level of privacy, guaranteed by the 4th Amendment. We even wrapped it up with nine other Amendments and gave them a title; the Bill of Rights, which our history teachers and lawyers explain to every single citizen in this country are still on the books.

      We would like to believe that our own government would respect that to some ext

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Monday December 30, 2013 @08:19AM (#45817395)
    The unintended consequence of overblown surveillance is the loss of vast amounts of business for US companies.

    Boeing lost a $4.5 billion fighter aircraft contract to Saab in Brazil because of the revelations about spying. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-12-19/nsa-spying-blowback-continues-boeing-loses-brazil-jet-order [zerohedge.com]

    Cisco has also seen major losses, and lots of other companies big and small are hurting as well.

    The US Constitution may have been put in the shredder, the courts may be rubber stamps for the US version of the STASI, and the Congress may be brain dead along with the DOJ, but now it turns out that all this useless spying has hurt the bottom line of Big Corporate American. You screw these people over, and your government funding is going to be severely impacted.

    The NSA and the other alphabet soup spying agencies have hurt the only group in the US with the clout to shut them down. The are going to be backing off big time.

    On the individual level, government intelligence insiders are going to discover that they will have a much harder time finding those cushy high paying civilian jobs that they expect to be handed when they leave the government. That's what happens when you bite the hand that feeds you. This could have the biggest impact of all, because the revolving door is a major motivation for the entire system in the first place.

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Monday December 30, 2013 @09:06AM (#45817577)

    Let me tell you how this may really backfire on the US.

    All those greedy leaders of multi-national companies that have spent hundreds of millions on armies of lobbyists to manipulate Congress and lawmakers to make hundreds of billions in revenue are now going to start feeling the sting as they start losing business.

    You think this has to do with the average citizen dealing with privacy issues as the NSA snoops in? Like Boeing could give a shit right now about you as they've lost a multi-billion dollar contract. This has to do with greed. Always has. And to ensure those greedy leaders maintain their revenue streams, they WILL start putting pressure on Congress and lawmakers to stop the bleeding and contain this as best as possible. If that means re-gaining the trust of other countries by dismantling surveillance programs, then that may be what happens. If it means impeaching a President, then that may be what happens.

    Congress has not been under the control of the American voter for a very long time. Lobbyists control our government and laws, driven by greed, which is all-powerful. When business losses start climbing up into the hundreds of billions and unemployment rockets to 15% due to all of this, change will happen. Greed will ensure it.

    • Seriously, this only came about because Snowden was able to get out of the building with that much evidence. All the NSA has to do is add a few more procedures and that particular problem goes away. Without proof, they can simply write you off as a "conspiracy theorist", as they did to so many who have been screaming "They're spying on us!" for the last ten years. In truth, the article headline should have read "More Surveillance Will Lead To Even More Surveillance". They've started spying on EVERYONE, an
      • by khallow (566160)

        All the NSA has to do is add a few more procedures and that particular problem goes away.

        Sure, it will. Those procedures were already in place. My bet is that as a culture, they got complacent and stopped following the procedures.

      • by khallow (566160)

        If you really want to work against the problem, don't attack it piecemeal (NSA spying, TSA overreach, federal spit collectors, chilling effects, etc.).

        I disagree. The piecemeal attacks can be effective in their own right. After all, one of the reasons for opposing the REAL cause are all those little consequences.

  • The article is filled with inaccuracies which all support this person's conclusion that, essentially "ho hum, nothing can be done and nothing will be done".

    It's in the scope of domestic intelligence that we can see the most likelihood of change. Unfortunately, much smart money is now going on the bet that in the long run the result of all these revelations will actually be more domestic surveillance (under various changing names and labels) not less!

    First he cites that bastion of liberal liberty, equality and fraternity, France, explicit legalization of their spy agency's domestic surveillance as evidence that the EU is "going there" en masse, with the spy agencies chortling all the way.:

    For example, just weeks ago, and shortly after a high level French ex-intelligence official was quoted as saying essentially that "we don't resent NSA, we simply envy them!" France passed legislation legalizing a vast range of repressive domestic surveillance practices.

    News stories immediately proclaimed this to be an enormous expansion of French spying. But observers in the know noted that in reality this kind of surveillance had been going on by the French government for a very long time -- the new legislation simply made it explicitly legal.

    The reality is much more nuanced in a number of important ways.

    First note that the EU directive that

    • by Tokolosh (1256448)

      An interesting analysis.

      My faint hope lies in the trajectory of the last time America had a collective nervous breakdown. I refer to the communist witch-hunt led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Eventually it burnt itself out with McCarthy in disgrace. There are many parallels with the current situation. Maybe Americans will come to their senses in due course.

    • by russotto (537200)

      First note that the EU directive that mandates private carriers retain IP and telephony metadata , the EU Data Retention Directive, stipulates a much shorter time frame- just two years- than the "forever and a day" time frame the NSA allows itself.

      Sure, that just means European intelligence agencies have a two-year window in which to archive the data themselves.

      The reason it doesn't support it is because, under the DRD, a *court order* is needed by the intelligence agencies before they can access the metad

    • The article is filled with inaccuracies which all support this person's conclusion that, essentially "ho hum, nothing can be done and nothing will be done".

      Quite the allegation!

      First he cites that...

      Oh. Here I thought you had actually engaged in some deep analysis of the article. That you refer to Lauren Weinstein as a "he" leaves me in doubt.

  • Foreign surveillance ops have never been hidden from view. The embassies are filled with antennas, the satellites and spy ships can be tracked. Any regional effort by other nations can be understood by their lack of global scale. Only the NSA, GCHQ have the ability to reach down into South America, surround Africa, Russia, Asia and the Pacific with vast help in the EU. Aircraft, satellite or a vast network of optical tap needs regional support - very few nations have that.
    The US "domestic context" is u
  • The two scenarios where I see this being a benefit for the surveillance and intelligence-gathering community is that:
    (a) Other alphabet soup agencies in the US and abroad will get an even better idea of what the NSA are gathering, and they will then push even harder for similar capabilities within their domestic spheres to give them more trading options with NSA and others, "because if the NSA needs this information, then so do we" and
    (b) The scrambling by pro-surveillance lobbyists and lawmakers to say tha

  • by gallondr00nk (868673) on Monday December 30, 2013 @10:51AM (#45818323)

    Every story on Slashdot about the NSA revelations has been followed by a deluge of comments who for the most part been extremely pessimistic, sprinkled with doses of paranoia that almost border on hysteria. All I seem to read now is that it won't make any difference, we're stuck in this forever, "they" won't let us have our liberty back, &c. &c. ad nauseum.

    Whether the leaks are 100% accurate or not (and I can't tell either way), something monumental has happened this year. I would tentatively suggest that we're finally seeing the edifice fall, not just of surveillance, but of our entire socio-economic system. These are the sort of paper cuts that can eventually topple an entire way of thinking.

    The two are linked. The NSA does not live in a vacuum, but as a result of economic and social policies that have consolidated power and influence in the hands of a few people.

    A panopticon cannot survive in the same way our winner-takes-all-and-debt-for-the-rest neoliberal economic system cannot survive. Both rely on holding all the cards, forever. It took one contractor to snatch the deck with Snowden, and whether other /. posters believe it or not, it will change things. In the last five years, we've seen the inevitable failure of our lunatic economic decisions. Things are actually changing, and changing quickly.

    The only question is what do we look to do next?

    We aren't beholden to continue the way things are forever. There is no obligation to constantly think within the same ridiculous boxes, to grant power to the same shitty people. We can look to the future and actually try and level the playing field. A society where power and money are not amassed in such obscene quantities would scarcely be able to enable the sort of panopticon people are now afraid of.

    It is evident that agencies that have access to so many resources cannot help but abuse them. Perhaps now is the time to think of something new, not communism or capitalism or even anarchism, but a way of preserving the pieces of our society that we want and discarding the abuses.

    This is *not* the only way things can be, no more than absolute monarchy, slavery or feudalism were in the past.

    Rather than simply being afraid, I'd rather put my energy into believing, rightly or wrongly, that we can have something better in the future.

    • by davecb (6526)

      No, you're seeing a combination of astroturfing and genuinely dispirited people.

      When one wants to defeat a people, first one makes them afraid, and second, despairing of justice ever being done. Anything that increases despair is pushed by the parties trying to prevent public outrage.

      The proper response to a plague of vampires isn't building castles, it's a mob of farmers with pitchforks and torches (;-))

      --dave
      It's zombies where you build castles

  • by sgt_doom (655561) on Monday December 30, 2013 @03:55PM (#45821255)
    Unintended consequences my barbarously hard butt!

    Full spectrume domination of surveillance is their endgame, douchetard!

    Never trust anyone who suggests "nobody could have foreseen" and "unintended consequences" --- that is like suggesting that the Rockefellers (David and Nelson) never foresaw the enormous hurt they would be putting on American workers when Nelson, in his appointments during the Eisenhower administration, compromised the organization forms of Ex-Im Bank, AID, etc., to allow them to be circumvented and foreign aid used to build foreign factories and processing facilities which American jobs could then be offshored to (this was changed during President Kennedy's administration, but again flipped back when Johnson took office after JFK's assassination). Next, the Rockefellers had that corporate tax break instituted everytime an American job was offshored, still in effect to this very day!

    Next, David Rockefeller founded Council of the Americas, lobbying on behalf of the passage of NAFTA.

    David Rockefeller and his stooge, Peter G. Peterson, founded the Peterson Institute for International Economics (usually just referred to as the "Peterson Institute") one of whose main objectives was the offshoring of as many American jobs as possible.
    Etc., etc., etc. ......

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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