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Translating President Obama's NSA Reform Promises Into Plain English 171

Posted by timothy
from the dynamo-of-a-blender-of-an-analogy dept.
sandbagger writes "The cynics at the Register have picked apart Barack Obama's NSA reform promises. As to be expected, there's some good, some deliberate vagueness, talk of 'ticking bomb scenarios' and the politician's favourite 'promises to commit to future reforms'. Basically, it's a fig-leaf to kick the can down the road so the next president has to deal with it. He's promising bulk data will go to a third party so the NSA can't see it. Okay, who is this magical third party?" They don't seem to me nearly cynical enough.
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Translating President Obama's NSA Reform Promises Into Plain English

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  • Re:If you like it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by redemtionboy (890616) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:36PM (#46006509)

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

    This is how power creeps. No one thinks they're evil. Each trust themselves to not abuse power. But even if this is going to a third party, it's still a violation of the 4th amendment. There are rules in place for a reason. This is asking to be abused.

    Even worse, they still haven't proven or show any evidence that this is necessary. It's one thing if you were preventing terrorist attacks left and right and could make a utility argument, but they aren't even doing that. It's disgusting.

  • Re:If you like it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YumoolaJohn (3478173) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:47PM (#46006599)

    It's one thing if you were preventing terrorist attacks left and right and could make a utility argument

    No, it's not. Freedom is more important than safety. The people who are focused on the question of whether or not these programs stop terrorists are missing the point entirely.

  • by bussdriver (620565) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @03:24PM (#46006851)

    The main issue that a lot of people are going to have is:
    1) They denied everything until Snowden
    2) What they fix, they'll deny until the next leaker.

    Possibly) What Snowden didn't leak, they will continue to deny and have no need to fix it. Plus there is the "need to know" stuff, some of which POTUS doesn't even know.

  • Re:Everybody Knows (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 19, 2014 @04:15PM (#46007209)
    One side effect of the speech is that the NSA declassified more documents yesterday [dni.gov]. Included is the original "metadata" orders from the FISA court. Not sure if this is a comprehensive list, but there is enough in there about domestic data collection.
    I was under the impression that this data is collected and retained forever, but it seems the order requires this data to be deleted after five years. It also says what metadata is collected, and I am not sure if any single corporate entity has this data. For example, if a Verizon user calls a T-Mobile customer, both records are collected and matched. Similarly, device IDs are collected, not just numbers. So pre-paid SIMs are tracked even if the user switches carriers (ie, move from TracFone to T-Mobile to AT&T etc. - all uses of the phone can be identified as a single device). The orders (that I read) are unclear on whether the geographical location is tracked.
  • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @05:16PM (#46007597)

    It was an issue in the election that Obama won in 2008. The problem is that he lied his ass off and wasn't held accountable in 2012, not because Obama was doing a great job but because the other guy would have been 10x worse. I'm sure whoever runs in 2016 will either lie their ass off or figure out a way to make it a non-issue.

    Among other lies on the subject:
    "That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient," Obama said in 2007.
    Later:
    "I take the Constitution very seriously," he said. "The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America."

    But either way, this won't be a huge issue in the next election. Ironically, it'll be the things Obama actually did right that the democrats get reamed for, like social services (since that costs money, albeit a teeny tiny fraction of what the wars are costing each year) that help a helluva lot of people,I didn't even know how much good they did until having a conversation with a relative who's a social worker, and healthcare reform (although implementation was half-assed, it is allowing a lot of people get insurance, and in the bigger picture it's a move in the right direction).

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