Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Politics

Obama Announces Surveillance Reforms 359

Posted by Soulskill
from the knowing-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing dept.
In a speech today, U.S. President Barack Obama announced changes for the operations of the country's intelligence agencies. He says the current program will end "as it currently exists," though most of the data collection schemes will remain intact. However, the data collected in these sweeps will not be stored by the U.S. government, instead residing with either the communications providers or another third party. (He pointed out that storing private data within a commercial entity can have its own oversight issues, so the attorney general and intelligence officials will have to figure out the best compromise.) In order for the NSA to query the database, they will need specific approval from a national security court. Obama also announced "new oversight" to spying on foreign leaders, and an end to spying on leaders of friendly and allied countries. Further, decisions from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will be annually reviewed for declassification. A panel advocating for citizen privacy will have input into the FISC. There will be chances to national security letters: they will no longer have an indefinite secrecy period. Companies will be able to disclose some amount of information about the NSLs they receive, something they've been asking for. Another change is a reduction in the number of steps from suspected terrorists that phone data can be gathered. Instead of grabbing all the data from people three steps away, it's now limited to two.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Obama Announces Surveillance Reforms

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:14PM (#45987925)

    And the intertwining of corporation and state increases.

    Remember, libertarians: power will always find a vacuum. So there will always be strong government - the only thing we can influence is who controls the strings.

    • by killhour (3468583) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:18PM (#45987993)
      It's pretty obvious what's going on. The administration knows it needs to do something to save face, and wants to do it on their own terms preemptively before they have to respond to proposals by people that AREN'T working for the NSA's best interests. If Obama cared, he would have done something about it BEFORE it was a PR nightmare.
      • He cares all right... he want's MORE surveillance. He's proved it many times over.

        For what it's worth, I agree that Obama's proposal is nothing more than a whitewash. I'll support the other bills that come up in the House and Senate.
      • by Idou (572394)
        tin_foil_hat_mod=1

        Maybe Obama does care, but cannot show it because the NSA would destroy his future by revealing some secret information they have found on him or his family. Accordingly, perhaps Snowden was actually a plant by some government official/agency outside of the NSA, trying to expose the monster the agency has become. However, until the NSA powers are reduced enough, everyone in the know also has to pretend Snowden is a fugitive.

        .... who wants to buy movie rights?
      • It's pretty obvious what's going on. The administration knows it needs to do something to save face, and wants to do it on their own terms preemptively before they have to respond to proposals by people that AREN'T working for the NSA's best interests.

        I don't think it's about saving face... with us, anyway. It's pretty obvious the desires and opinions of Americans don't really matter to American politicos. But it IS becoming obvious that non-US companies are starting to choose non-US alternatives to Amazon, Google, and the like for their IT needs. Obama has probably figured out he may go down in history as the guy in charge when the fortunes of US tech companies started to crumble - and politicians DO care about corporate opinion.

        None of it matters, of c

    • by khallow (566160)

      Remember, libertarians: power will always find a vacuum.

      The problem here is that unless resisted, power concentrates. There isn't a vacuum, but rather power being taken from other sources, namely, individuals, the states, and businesses.

    • by JavaLord (680960)

      And the intertwining of corporation and state increases.

      Remember, libertarians: power will always find a vacuum. So there will always be strong government - the only thing we can influence is who controls the strings.

      Really, this is just strong government period. The government is telling corporations they must store data for surveillance purposes. This is a tax, as business must pay for the storage. Big business might not mind it that much, because it increases barriers to entry for small guys and creates and incentive for the government to keep them in business.

      I'd agree that totally removing a government creates a power vacuum. However, if Obama had made strict rules regarding a citizens privacy in regards t

      • by anagama (611277)

        The plan is to put TJ Max in charge of storing the data. Of course once they've been breached and the data is out in the wild, the Feds can do what they please with it.

  • I don't know... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:16PM (#45987961)

    ...this sounds to me like rebranding.

  • Money Talks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:17PM (#45987973) Homepage Journal

    In other words:
    1) A private enterprise will store secret data: What could possibly go wrong?
    2) More secret court oversight: as if the secret court that exists right now is not rubber-stamping everything the NSA passes its way.
    3) Companies will be able to talk about the secret court orders: Google and Facebook signed a big check for the future Obama Presidential Library?
    4) Rest assured this is a true reform! Nothing to see here, folks, move along...

    • Never let a good (Snowden induced) crisis go to waste. In this case, they are taking the opportunity to privatize the spy apparatus further than ever before, and Obama has been told to sell it to the population at large as a good thing. Lucky they have all the mass media to help sell that line...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:35PM (#45988247)

      You forgot the #5:

      5) A reasonable and smart Constitutional scholar and former professor is overseeing the process now.

      Obama isn't the retarded Bush that could barely read. Obama actually has an Ivy League degree. He didn't draft dodge like Bush. While he hasn't stopped the TSA, he hasn't increased their power like Bush would have done. We can trust him. That's what different this time around.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by robinsonne (952701)
        So people with Ivy League degrees never lie? He definitely tries more at being smooth-talking and glib but I trust him even less than Bush. Which is more dangerous, an incompetent crook that is blunt and makes mistakes or a competent one that doesn't?
      • Re:Money Talks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Antipater (2053064) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:48PM (#45988451)

        That's what scares me the most.

        Obama is a very smart man. He's a scholar who taught Constitutional Law for twelve years. He campaigned on a reduction of surveillance and spying. Then, once President, he did a 180.

        Something happened to make him change his mind. Was he corrupted by power? Are the monied interests that powerful that they made him deny what he'd been teaching for years? Or is there something else afoot?

        • Re:Money Talks (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 17, 2014 @02:05PM (#45988749)

          No, and how did this get modded 'insightful'?

          You're missing the simplest explanation: during his campaign, Obama lied.

          • You're missing the simplest explanation: during his campaign, Obama lied.

            Dead on.

            Obama learned politics in Chicago - the current record holder for corrupt big-city political machines. He is a classic example of a corrupt machine politician.

            The Clintons are also masters of the (less intense) state-level version of the form, having risen to the top in Arkansas, which has been run by a corrupt machine since a Mafia family from New York took it over when the big city got too hot for them. Obama beat them for

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I am sure he did not change his mind. Many people are just suckers and believe what political candidates say when running for office. He was a groomed candidate by a major political party. He was elected for two reasons, vitriolic hate for the opposing party and the color of his skin. The content of his character was not evaluated or scrutinized.

        • Re:Money Talks (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AthanasiusKircher (1333179) on Friday January 17, 2014 @02:15PM (#45988909)

          He campaigned on a reduction of surveillance and spying. Then, once President, he did a 180.

          As he did on many issues... wars, economic policy, etc.

          But go back and listen to some of those campaign speeches sometime, though. You'll find a lot of "YES WE CAN" and a lot of "we can do better" and "this needs to be fixed," but a lot of vagueness about detailed policies. I still remember talking to fans after the election (and that's what many of them were: fans), and they thought ANYTHING was possible. I kept saying, "Well, I'll believe it when I see it... everything was kept so vague except for the cheerleading speeches," but I was told that I was just being cynical. And I should shut up because I was ruining the party-time atmosphere and celebration.

          There were already a lot of clues in the campaign that the actual content was TBD when it came to what Obama would do in office.

          Something happened to make him change his mind. Was he corrupted by power? Are the monied interests that powerful that they made him deny what he'd been teaching for years? Or is there something else afoot?

          Nah. There's no grand conspiracy. This happens with most politicians when they get elected. Obama was mostly a "blank slate" that just kept cheering "YES WE CAN," which allowed his fans to believe anything they wanted to believe about him. We heard a lot more about problems that needed to be solved than details about the solutions.

          And it turns out the details were pretty much similar to any other politicians from the two-party oligarchy.

          Obama is a very smart man. He's a scholar who taught Constitutional Law for twelve years.

          I do not dispute that he's a very smart man. I've always found calling him a "scholar" to be stretching it a bit: yes, he was a lecturer who taught Constitutional law for a number of years, but he wasn't permanent faculty at a law school. He didn't spend his days writing scholarly articles for legal journals. He was -- first and foremost -- a politician... and still is.

          This is not at all to disparage his knowledge of the Constitution. I'm sure he can read it just as well as most of us can, and -- regardless of whether he's a Constitutional "scholar or not -- if he merely passed the bar, I would hope that he could understand the plain meaning of things like the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

          But the Bush administration clearly didn't, and they had a lot of lawyers working for them too. So... why should it be different again?? If we just keep saying "YES WE CAN" enough times over and over, will things magically get better?

        • That's what scares me the most.

          Obama is a very smart man. He's a scholar who taught Constitutional Law for twelve years. He campaigned on a reduction of surveillance and spying. Then, once President, he did a 180.

          Something happened to make him change his mind. Was he corrupted by power? Are the monied interests that powerful that they made him deny what he'd been teaching for years? Or is there something else afoot?

          He's a politician and 180 degree reversals are a standard ploy in that business. Why is everybody so surprised about that?

        • by jader3rd (2222716)

          Something happened to make him change his mind. Was he corrupted by power? Are the monied interests that powerful that they made him deny what he'd been teaching for years? Or is there something else afoot?

          I think what happened is at the end of his first security briefing, he realized that he was actually responsible for a lot of bad situations and had a new stark view of reality.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Uh. Bush graduated from Yale and got his MBA at Harvard. Spying programs expanded under Obama. You are delusional.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by s.petry (762400)

        Wholly load of delusional bullshit Batman!

        Obama has a history of lying. It does not matter what a persons school was, or what race they are, or what religion they are. A proven liar is a liar. There are web sites that keep track of the major lies, and Obama in 4 years topped any previous president by at least double. We are not talking wishy-washy things like "close Gitmo" but big things like prosecuting bankers, ending wars, and repealing the Patriot act that he's lied about.

        As to him not expanding the

    • by Garridan (597129)
      This is already EXACTLY what happens. The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), for example, is a private company whose largest (though not sole, if you read between the lines... a comforting thought) client is the NSA. So basically, Obama's "reform" is "don't worry guys, we'll totally change everything: third parties will collect and analyze your information, the NSA will only purchase access to that information. Just like we're already doing." Sadly, this is "change I can believe in" 'cause it's the s
  • YEAH I TOTALLY BELIEVE THAT.
  • Doubtful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:18PM (#45988001)

    "If you like your privacy, you can keep it, period."

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:19PM (#45988009) Homepage

    So, aside from a few window dressing changes and a toss to the big Internet companies - the biggest difference is that another company is going to 'store' the info and the government is going to have to ask itself if it can get access to it?

    Another nice contract to somebody. No real change in the Status Quo.

    Gotta love that hope and change.

    • So, aside from a few window dressing changes and a toss to the big Internet companies - the biggest difference is that another company is going to 'store' the info and the government is going to have to ask itself if it can get access to it?

      No, the biggest difference is that we're no longer going to spy on foreign leaders. Which is one of the few things the NSA was doing that was within their legal mandate (foreign signals intelligence is what they were created to do - domestic signals intelligence is some

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday January 17, 2014 @02:21PM (#45989025)
      I don't know. Look at the combination of elements here:
      1. 1. NSA will no longer store data. It will be stored at the source.
      2. 2. NSA will need a warrant to even look at the data. In contrast to today, where NSA has all the data at its fingertips and NSA employees make a hobby of poring through it for fun and profit.
      3. 3. Court orders will no longer be secret forever, and the companies that hold the data can report on how many times the NSA demands to look at it

      This is not everything I would hope for -- the secrecy of the FISA court remains a huge sticking point for me -- but I think these measures will improve things noticeably.

  • by Monoman (8745) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:19PM (#45988011) Homepage

    Unless laws change to explicitly ban behavior there is little to stop them from creating exceptions to their own policies and procedures.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:21PM (#45988051)

      Laws don't need to change. Most of this is already unconstitutional. They've just been using their "State secrets" argument to keep it from getting to the supreme court to get ruled on.

      • by Monoman (8745)

        Then explicitly outlaw that behavior because the existing law is not actually working.

        • by OhPlz (168413) on Friday January 17, 2014 @02:28PM (#45989127)

          Sure. Let's pass a law that says it's illegal to disobey the law.

          The problem is that there are no penalties. The DOJ under Holder is not going to go after the NSA or any political entities that fall in line with the administration. Holder himself has been caught lying to congress, no penalties. If nothing can hold these people accountable, they're not going to change their ways. In theory, elections would serve this purpose, but the people running are all the same. It's not even like the people weren't paying attention. We had the TEA Parties, we had Occupy.. what changed?

          I really don't know where we go from here.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:19PM (#45988013)

    I watched the whole thing. He chose to focus on phone meta data collection and not even address prism and the likes of the new utah data center. The speech and these new "reforms" are all about preserving the NSA ecosystem (read money) that spends billions of dollars of tax payer money on programs we don't want. For christs sake they are tapping domestic fiber lines and siphoning everything into storage (including phone calls) and the language in the law doesn't even consider it a search until the data (that they already stored) is queried. He won't address it because they already spend billions on it and he who upsets the flow of money in washington might as well tie their own noose. The dollar sign is the new swastika.

    • He won't address it because they already spend billions on it and he who upsets the flow of money in washington might as well tie their own noose.

      Or maybe he actually believes the surveillance is a good thing. Given his voting record, that seems likely. Obama has faults, but being a slave to money doesn't seem to be one of them.

      • Obama has faults, but being a slave to money doesn't seem to be one of them.

        You're joking, right? I mean, I know we're 6 years in and it doesn't come up anymore, what with the idiocy that is ObomneyCare (a giftwrapped blowjob to the InsCos) and doing his damndest to keep us moving down that path to "1984 Meets Shadowrun," but it was less than a month before he threw himself right into the same pit as all of his predecessors, in the face of his own "promise" to "stop the revolving door."

        He's as much of a whore as any of them.

    • by Tokolosh (1256448) on Friday January 17, 2014 @02:16PM (#45988927)

      ...all about preserving the NSA ecosystem (read money) that spends billions of dollars of tax payer money on programs we don't want.

      I think Obama's actions in office are disgusting, but remember that it is a bi-partisan (in this regard) Congress that continually votes more and more billions for black-budget agencies that have no congressional oversight.

  • So it's a mix of bullshit and nothing. Fake oversight with "input" and everything stays the same.
  • Great, what possibly could go wrong there?

  • Target (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:27PM (#45988145)

    I heard that Target put in a bid to securely host all of the secret data.

  • Not only no ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chromium_One (126329) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:28PM (#45988163)
    ... but also go fuck yourself, Barry. Can't believe I voted for you. Ah well, let me look over the protest options next cycle.
    • Re:Not only no ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rolfwind (528248) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:44PM (#45988407)

      Next time don't vote for a guy with no real trackrecord. For a politician, actions always speak louder than words.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Maybe you won't but you know what 95% of the people who want to protest against Obama will vote for, get ready for a third George Bush (if there's any left) in office. <sarcasm>I'm sure that'll sort everything out.</sarcasm> I'd quote the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, but reality has fiction beat. Enjoy your lizard.

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:32PM (#45988219)

    What about oversight? They say they're going to stop doing this and that, but how will we ever know whether they're being honest about it? How will we know whether the next president decides to turn the bus back around? Congressional oversight is a joke, as members of Congress (e.g,, Feinstein) are as much in favor of running roughshod over citizens' rights and allies' respect as Gen. Alexander is. FISC oversight is likewise pointless, and several of those judges have argued against even having an opposing side arguing for the privacy protections of the people. Short of another Snowden, there's no way to know.

  • by Noishkel (3464121) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:34PM (#45988241)

    ... recognized that his administration has slipped up in allowing the NSA to have 100% free feign with civilian surveillance. Our bad.

    To reward the citizens continued support of out cause we will be increasing the official ObamaChocolate programs weekly individual chocolate allowance from 30 grams to 25 grams.

  • I'm sure the NSA will have about as much trouble getting to that as they did getting into other companies' data centers.
  • by mws1066 (1057218) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:45PM (#45988419)
    When Obama mentioned Snowden's name, you could see a bit of disgust and a sneer streak across his face for a brief moment. He then felt the need to point out that he was ahead of Snowden, planning to confront the system anyway.
  • by EMG at MU (1194965) on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:45PM (#45988423)
    How about U.S. citizens can query the database and receive a report on what data the NSA has collected?
  • Is it for real? (Score:4, Informative)

    by hduff (570443) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ffudtyoh}> on Friday January 17, 2014 @01:46PM (#45988435) Homepage Journal

    Read "Enemies: A History of the FBI" by Tim Weiner and you'll see that we have been through this BS before. Nothing changes.

  • by Morpeth (577066) on Friday January 17, 2014 @02:00PM (#45988639)

    Regardless of one's feelings about Snowden, I think it's pretty clear these changes (IF actually implemented) are a result of him opening peoples' eyes to the extent of the surveillance and spying on the American people. We seriously owe him, big time imo.

    As an left-leaning independent, I was generally optimistic about Obama entering office, sadly, not so much any more --- NOT that I think things would be better under Republicans mind you, who seem to say 'less government' only in regards to their corporate overlords, but are heavy handed in wanting to legislate their personal morality (gay marriage/rights, religion, women's issues, etc)

    Many days I wish the US had a parliamentary system such as England or Canada, this two party sh*t if for the birds. At least in those countries, minority parties can actually gets seats and have some representation -- here, we are stuck with two lame ass parties.

    • The United States doesn't have a two party system. I believe a voter can write whoever they like in to the ballot. US citizens have convinced themselves they need to be on a winning "side" in an election. So, rather than vote for the person they think would best serve the office, they vote for the "side" they would prefer to win. US citizens have basically been rolled by game theory. That is, they all think they are all accomplished game theorists but are in fact *terrible* at it. They hate their leaders, t

  • Obviously LOVEINT is one example. But more details are coming out about how David Patraues was caught having an affair because of "metadata" collected by the NSA.
    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/17/4111871/metadata-helped-reveal-gen-petraeus.html#.Utlud2nfqCg [charlotteobserver.com]

    When Jill Kelley first reported getting threatening emails about Patraues, the FBI read all her emails as part of "a routine step".
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/us/from-petraeus-scandal-an-apostle-for-privacy.html [nytimes.com]

    They didn't have a warrant to read her email, they just hacked into google and made a copy of everyone's email. If you report a crime to the FBI they read your email. Simple as that.

  • by hazeii (5702) on Friday January 17, 2014 @02:02PM (#45988679) Homepage

    Notice how this is a curb on the *use* of the collected data - not on collecting it in the first place.

    In other words, politicians have realised how much power this level of information can give them - and that is why control of it is far too important to be left in the hands of the NSA.

    So what we have is just a power struggle over the strings of control - and not over the real issue of overbearing intrusion into the private lives of the people of this planet.

  • I'm sure Kevin Bacon is breathing a lot easier now!

  • by strstr (539330) on Friday January 17, 2014 @02:03PM (#45988699)

    The real surveillance and intelligence community crimes and abuses were not addressed.

    They did nothing about the remote sensing and energy weapons abuses. Because they'd surely have to convict the President and others of crimes.

    Dr. Robert Duncan of the CIA says that radar systems were retro fitted with mind reading and mind altering technology in the 1970s and 1980s. Which they are using to remotely decode peoples thoughts, emotions, memories, and also to remotely control and commit secret assassinations and experimentation right here domestically for the last 35 years.

    These black operations can also be confirmed by NSA whistleblower Russell Tice, who said they target Americans with space capability during their black operations. That includes illegal surveillance called Remote Neural Monitoring and Electronic Brain Link, based on the same technologies Duncan disclosed.

    A US Investigative Services (defense contractor) employee also came forward to say that these weapons are real and being used to target people to me in private. In fact, she presumes, that I was targeted during highly illegal psych / weapons experimentation.

    This technology is the ultimate surveillance gear, and our fuck tard police, FBI, CIA, NSA, DoD and Homeland Security agents are running around using this in secret on us. Spying on our thoughts, memories, what we see, hear, think, and feel. Agents link up and covertly communicate and spy on citizens, and they attack and brutalize people, set them up to look mentally ill.

    Read USIS employee transcripts here : http://www.oregonstatehospital.net/d/USIS.html [oregonstatehospital.net]

    Read Remote Neural Monitoring article and 4+ patents covering these weapons, watch the 23+ videos including ones with Russell Tice and Dr. Robert Duncan admitting it here : http://www.oregonstatehospital.net/d/russelltice-nsarnmebl.html [oregonstatehospital.net]

    Finally, see my homepage with more information including Dr. Robert Duncan's book about these abuses here : http://www.obamasweapon.com/ [obamasweapon.com]

    My full story is on the site including names of people involved in targeting me with these weapons. It all started during the big US Department of Justice investigation of the mental health system going on here in Oregon, which has been going on since 2006.

    The thing is, Obama knows this is going on. And so do these intelligence analysts who created the recommendations for Obama. They did not even come close to addressing these issues, and covered it all up. Tice is also claiming the program PRISM that was the target of the recommendations, is the low tech side of the surveillance issue, while the space capabilities are the high tech side which were not mentioned or addressed once. The media has been retardly covering only the low tech side, censoring revelations from Russell Tice and others. Like Tice said in July 2013, Snowden's allegations were only scratching the surface. They are never going to stop illegally watching us, .. they got 30+ electron imaging Electronic Intelligence satellites watching us now, globally, and in America.

  • by Roskolnikov (68772) on Friday January 17, 2014 @02:03PM (#45988711)

    Likely the 'new' program is already up and running, this just provides a distraction for the masses.

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Friday January 17, 2014 @02:10PM (#45988827)

    So since the commercial entities will now be responsible for storing all of this data, care to guess as to how much the big carriers are going to charge us, the customer, for this now-mandatory requirement?

    One can only imagine the cost of storing the NSAs requirements for oversight. All I do know is the costs sure as hell won't come out of the executive bonus fund. The customer will foot that bill. I promise you.

    And forget deleting the data. Any of it. Ever. That's not an option.

    Then the US government, for the sake of "redundancy", will still contract with some other 3rd party to store all of the same data over again, so they can create a new "Federal Communications Security Act" tax or some other horseshit to bilk the American people out of even more money, and fund PRISM v2.0

    Oh...I'm sorry, did you actually believe they wouldn't do this again? Please. Besides, PRISM v2.0 has an app store, and the drone app I hear is killer.

  • I know I'll be modded down for this, but whatever.

    I just don't see the big deal over any of the surveillance going on. I guess that now the data is structured and easily searchable rather than having to stitch together random analog phone conversations. But in a country of 300 million people, no one is interested in your text messages, emails, etc. unless you're using them to actively plan something. The Internet is a collection of semi-public networks, always has been. And spying has always existed; that s

  • So everything on the internet is still being monitored heavily? Makers sense,.... gotta fill up that new data center in Utah.
  • ... then why not have them be the keepers of the data?

    Then they'd be able to accurately monitor how it's actually being used.

    Having some third party manage it just seems like one of those 'well, technically we're not supposed to, so we found a loophole' ... like how they're not allowed to operate spy satellites over the US, so they have to instead buy imagery from commercial businesses to get those images.

  • Geeks: "The public does a bunch of very insecure things. Someone could abuse all the myriad mistakes, where we don't even vaguely try to adopt best practices, and they do something bad."

    News: "These people have started exploiting everyone's known bad practices. So have these people. And these people. And them. And them."

    Geeks: "Also, theoretically, these people and these people and these other people, could started exploiting our bad practices too."

    Public: "Yeah, but that's hypothetical."

    Snowden: "The

  • Sigh.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ApplePy (2703131) on Friday January 17, 2014 @03:18PM (#45989813)

    "Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" is the only phrase that comes to mind.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday January 17, 2014 @03:45PM (#45990179) Journal

    "While the bulk telephone data remains with the NSA for now, Obama wants those records moved out of government hands, though it is uncertain where, a senior administration official said in briefing reporters on condition of not being identified."

    I'm thinking, some analyst's laptop. Stored in the back of his car while he stuffs a few bills at the kitty kat lounge.

  • by HeckRuler (1369601) on Friday January 17, 2014 @07:24PM (#45993045)

    So I read through the whole transcript. There's a lot of fluff in there and lip-service about reform and oversight. Which, hey, is better than coming out swinging claiming that the NSA can do no wrong, which is kinda what we got at the start. The good news is that he understands that we do need people investigating terrorism and that there is a valid reason to keep a leash on those spooks.

    Of the ACTUAL changes he's proposing:
    -National security letters should not be indefinite ("unless the government demonstrates a real need for further secrecy"). Despite the major cop-out, this is a good thing.
    -Asking congress to make an oversight panel in FISC. Which, you know, is asking someone else to watch over your department.
    -Treat foreigners like real people. Hey, that's nice.
    -Outsourcing the master database to a third party.

    Wait, what was that last one?

    I am therefore ordering a transition that will end the Section 215 bulk metadata program as it currently exists and establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata.

    Well that's a gooooowwwaaaitaminute... That just means someone other than the government is holding EVERYONE'S DATA...

    replaced by one in which the providers, or a third party, retain the bulk records, with government accessing information as needed.

    HOLY FLIPPING BALLS! What the fuck are you thinking!? You're outsourcing the fucking keys the freaking kingdom to a "third party"!?!?!? Hey, I hear India will do it on the cheap. Maybe China will undercut them.

    On the other hand, any third party maintaining a single, consolidated database would be carrying out what's essentially a government function, but with more expense, more legal ambiguity, potentially less accountability, all of which would have a doubtful impact on increasing public confidence that their privacy is being protected.

    No fucking shit sherlock. So then why are you doing that?

Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him. - Fyodor Dostoevski

Working...