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White House "Privacy Tour" a Flop On Its First Leg At MIT 83

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the thanks-to-officials-flipping-out dept.
v3rgEz writes "After the Snowden revelations, President Obama promised greater transparency on how the federal government collects and uses data on its citizens, including a three-leg 'privacy tour' to discuss the balance between security and privacy. Well, the first leg of the tour is up and — surprise, surprise — it's not much of a conversation, with official dodging questions or, in one case, simply walking out of the conference." There's a video of the workshop at MIT, and the article says not all of it was spent watching politicians be politicians: "The review, led by White House counselor John Podesta ... is not confined to intelligence gathering but is meant also to examine how private entities collect and use mass quantities of personal information, such as health records and Internet browsing habits. On the latter subject, the conversation was robust. Experts from places like MIT, Harvard, Nielsen, and Koa Labs traded pros and cons, and proposed high-tech compromises that could allow people to contribute personal information to big data pools anonymously. "

An Anonymous reader also wrote in that "Outgoing National Security Agency boss General Keith Alexander says reporters lack the ability to properly analyze the NSA's broad surveillance powers and that forthcoming responses to the spying revelations may include 'media leaks legislation.' 'I think we are going to make headway over the next few weeks on media leaks. I am an optimist. I think if we make the right steps on the media leaks legislation, then cyber legislation will be a lot easier,' Alexander said."
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White House "Privacy Tour" a Flop On Its First Leg At MIT

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Media leaks legislation?

    When did the US Government become an enemy of freedom?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chrisq (894406)

      Media leaks legislation?

      When did the US Government become an enemy of freedom?

      I guess the answer depends on what side of the Mason Dixon line you live on.

      • by jratcliffe (208809) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @12:47PM (#46410153)

        Media leaks legislation?

        When did the US Government become an enemy of freedom?

        I guess the answer depends on what side of the Mason Dixon line you live on.

        And, for those on the South side of the line, the color of your skin.

    • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:17AM (#46408289)

      Media leaks legislation?

      When did the US Government become an enemy of freedom?

      The moment the political class concerned itself more with the accumulation of,power and money for a few, rather than say running the country in a balanced manner for the greater good of all its citizens. Media leaks mean Informed Citizens, which may threaten corrupt power slightly more than if the citizens were left in the dark.

    • by NotDrWho (3543773) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:34AM (#46408501)

      Bullshit Politician-speak: "We're making real constructive advances in improving national security and our ability to fight terrorism, through planned media leaks legislation."

      Non-bullshit Translation: "We're going to start throwing reporters in prison if they tell the public about any of the evil, unconstitutional shit we're doing in secret."

      • Bullshit Politician-speak: "reporters lack the ability to properly analyze"

        Bullshit Politician-speak: "We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen!"

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @11:02AM (#46408827)
      The press started working for the government. Not sure when, but the media merged with the government at least during the Iraq invasion. They were all instrumental in starting the war. [worldpublicopinion.org] Once it got going, they fired [theguardian.com] anyone [blogspot.com.br] who dared question whether the war was a good idea.

      The white house press corp pretty clearly works for the white house. They take the propaganda verbatim and publish it.

      I think that mindset explains why the government thinks media leak legislation is appropriate. They see their employees as misbehaving. For that matter, the media masters are probably accepting it in exchange for goodies. "Tell you what, Obama, we'll accept more muzzling of our reporters. That will go for these online news source up and comers double, right? And you won't have a problem with Rupert Murdoch/whoever taking a complete monopoly over all news, right? He's promised us new mansions."
    • FTFA:

      The specific legislation to which Alexander referred was unclear. Angela Canterbury, the policy director for the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group, said she was unaware of any such bill. Neither was Steve Aftergood, an intelligence policy analyst at the Federation of American Scientists.

      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        FTFA:

        The specific legislation to which Alexander referred was unclear. Angela Canterbury, the policy director for the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group, said she was unaware of any such bill. Neither was Steve Aftergood, an intelligence policy analyst at the Federation of American Scientists.

        Well, duh!

        The laws were passed and signed into law by the secret FISA Congress and the secret FISA POTUS, naturally!

        I'm sure the secret FISA SCOTUS has already reviewed these laws and found them reasonable & necessary.

        The Secret FISA VISA.

        It's everywhere you want to spy!!

        I wonder how long it will take for attacks on the NSA's and their contractors' workers by the public to start?

        Strat

  • by sotweed (118223) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:06AM (#46408123)

    Hmm..... sounds a lot like prior restraint, doesn't it? Someone leaks some information
    that the gummint doesn't want known, and so the press can't publish the leak? This is
    pretty scary...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The legislation against leakers already states they can't use their reason for leaking the information in their defense, either at trial or at sentencing. Of course this used to not be a big deal as leakers were almost never prosecuted, but something changed a little over 5 years ago and now leakers are going to jail left and right.

    • Re:Media leaks? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wiredlogic (135348) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:40AM (#46408573)

      It's also hypocritical since white house administrations use strategic leaks to release information they can't publicly admit to for political reasons.

  • "Welcome, sonny"? "Make yourself at home"? "Marry my daughter"?

    You've got to remember that these are just simple data farmers. These are people from the government. The common clay of the new domestic spying apparatus. You know... morons.

    Also, this Keith Alexander guy: just what a cunt.

  • Media Leaks? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Virtucon (127420) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:16AM (#46408271)

    Media Leaks aren't well liked by people doing dirty, underhanded things. In the case of the Military they never like the press publishing anything that shows er well maybe their soldiers wiping out a village of innocent civilians or in this case when the Government is caught spying on everybody, leveraging secret courts for permission while not disclosing their full intent and omitting or outright lying to congressional oversight about what they did. Sure the press can be an "annoyance" to those who would continue to subvert our liberties in the name of preserving them. General Alexander has demonstrated that he's an idiot with a Star Trek fetish [youtube.com] and because his clandestine world is now mostly in the open, he's crying foul? Sorry I'm of the mind that General Alexander needs to be put in the stocks in the Washington Mall for three days and I want the rotten tomato concession.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "and proposed high-tech compromises that could allow people to contribute personal information to big data pools anonymously." -- and why, pray tell, would I willing give all my personal data "anonymously" to some massive database run by a corporation (likely with government oversight) that almost certainly ties my data to "unique identifiers" to ensure the integrity of their database?

    Or am I just supposed to nod stupidly and send them all my records....?

    • Hey. Do you like FireFly? Wish it would continue? When would you watch it? When are you free to watch it?

      This is the sort of information that you WANT to give the people making decisions about such things. They want to make something you want. You want them to stop fucking shit up and give you want you want. Communicating that sort of information is tricky.

      First off, no, I don't think anyone in their right mind would simply hand over all their records and sign away all their privacy. That's bloody stupid. B

  • by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:35AM (#46408507) Homepage
    Obama outed his atrocious attitude toward privacy back when he "halted his campaign" to run back to Washington to vote for FISA.

    I'm considered a "far leftie" in the US, in case you think this comment came from the GOP noise machine.
    • Sad is the day when far leftists so blindly support the President and Executive Branch that it cannot be believed that they would ever deviate, merely because the executive is behaving tyrannically.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @10:50AM (#46408693)

    I find it interesting that I have to find out what is happening in this country, from the British newspapers. Where is the NYT or Washington Post, in reporting what is going on, and how we are losing our rights?

    • Only problem is, after The Guardian were threatened by their home government [abc.net.au], they moved their web site from .co.uk to .com (go to http://www.theguardian.co.uk/ [theguardian.co.uk] and see where you end up), because of the first amendment right in the US. In the UK, there is no such protection for the press or free speech.

      So with this new "media leaks legislation", where will they go next? Brazil, Ecuador? Or maybe Russia; that would really be the epitome of irony.
  • Has this asshole ever read the 1st amendment???

  • Andy writes, at The technical aspects of privacy [oreilly.com], "The first of three public workshops kicked off a conversation with the federal government on data privacy in the US... hearing news all the time about new technical assaults on individual autonomy, I found the circumscribed scope of the conference disappointing. "
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Alexander says that the media has not the ability for judgment of surveillance programs. "... ' journalists have no standing when it comes to national security issues. They don’t know how to weigh the fact of what they’re giving out and saying, is it in the nation’s interest to divulge this,' Alexander said."

    Are the spooks (which most of the secuity appartus isn't anyway) the ONLY people who know how to judge government activity? I don't think so. What this clown probably means is more li

  • I think we are going to make headway over the next few weeks on media leaks. I am an optimist. I think if we make the right steps on the media leaks legislation, then cyber legislation will be a lot easier

    aka The Alien and Sedition Act 2.0

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Wednesday March 05, 2014 @01:19PM (#46410631) Homepage Journal
    Hey everyone! Welcome to our Privacy tour! Let's meet everyone in the room! Hi, what's your name? Eric? I think we have a picture of Eric's dong... yes, here it is! We got this while you were Yahoo web chatting. Who else is here? Dave? Do we... yes we have a picture of Dave's dong. This one wasn't too hard to get, since he uses Chat Roulette. Who else do we have here? Sam? Sam was quite a difficult one, but we finally got a picture of his dong after our agents set up a gay men playing with olive oil site... hey... where's everyone going?

Nothing will dispel enthusiasm like a small admission fee. -- Kim Hubbard

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