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Snowden to Critics: Questioning Putin Has Opened Conversation About Surveillance 168

Posted by timothy
from the withdrawing-the-earlier-dept-line dept.
The Guardian carries Edward Snowden's detailed rebuttal to critics who say that his recent live-TV interaction with Vladimir Putin, in which Snowden asked whether the Russian government was engaged in spying on Russian citizens' communications, was a scripted moment intended to curry or maintain favor with Putin. After all, Snowden is currently living in Russia, where he has been granted only temporary harbor, goes this argument, so he is at the mercy of the Russian government, and has just gamely thrown Putin a softball. (Slashdot reader Rambo Tribble said the exchange had a "canned quality," a sentiment widely echoed.) Snowden writes that, far from being a whitewash of actual policies by the Russian government, his question ("Does [your country] intercept, analyse or store millions of individuals' communications?") "was intended to mirror the now infamous exchange in US Senate intelligence committee hearings between senator Ron Wyden and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, about whether the NSA collected records on millions of Americans, and to invite either an important concession or a clear evasion"; he decribes Putin's answer as a combination of inconsistent denial and evasion. Snowden writes: "I blew the whistle on the NSA's surveillance practices not because I believed that the United States was uniquely at fault, but because I believe that mass surveillance of innocents – the construction of enormous, state-run surveillance time machines that can turn back the clock on the most intimate details of our lives – is a threat to all people, everywhere, no matter who runs them. Last year, I risked family, life, and freedom to help initiate a global debate that even Obama himself conceded 'will make our nation stronger.' I am no more willing to trade my principles for privilege today than I was then. I understand the concerns of critics, but there is a more obvious explanation for my question than a secret desire to defend the kind of policies I sacrificed a comfortable life to challenge: if we are to test the truth of officials' claims, we must first give them an opportunity to make those claims."
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Snowden to Critics: Questioning Putin Has Opened Conversation About Surveillance

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  • Dumbass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZouPrime (460611) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:23AM (#46804253)

    It's Russia, you twit! How can there be a Russian conversation about domestic surveillance when they have trouble having political opposition, let alone a free press! The Russian Federation is 148th in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders World free press index, and here you are, talking about how you asked a tough question to a leader who doesn't give a shit about looking hypocritical or lying, and has been using you for the last 10 months to discredit the West while he goes forward with his project of grand russian unification.

    • I wish I knew Snowden's address so I could send him a shirt that says "Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!"

    • by Shakrai (717556) *

      "We're truly concerned with the surveillance efforts of our Government, it's a pressing priority." - Said no Russian homosexual ever

      • by NoKaOi (1415755)

        "We're truly concerned with the surveillance efforts of our Government, it's a pressing priority." - Said no Russian homosexual ever

        Until they use that surveillance to prosecute homosexuals.

    • Re:Dumbass (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:39AM (#46804339)

      The only way there can be such a conversation is if people try to start it.
      If you have a better idea, feel free to go to Russia and try out your idea.
      Frankly, I don't think you are even one tenth as brave as Snowden who has now deliberately and explicitly "bit the hand that feeds him" in public.

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        If you have a better idea, feel free to go to Russia and try out your idea.

        Basically his column is "I asked Putin this question because in the USA... (a few thousand words about how the USA spies on its citizens)."

        It's not about Russia at all. And if Snowden were brave, he'd stand trial, instead of playing Putin's stool pigeon. Just think of it, Putin feeds and protects the most powerful voice for Internet freedom ever known, and can drop a dime on him at a moments notice.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Snowden standing trial in the US wouldn't be bravery anymore than jumping head first off the Golden Gate Bridge would.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Tokolosh (1256448)

      So Snowden has not lived up to your expectations of him? Meanwhile, what have you done?

      Instead of sneering from you perch, get involved yourself.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Taco Cowboy (5327)

        Instead of sneering from you perch, get involved yourself.

        But he *IS* involved !

        He is working on the side of NSA in making sure Snowden's life will be hell, no matter where Snowden lives.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by cold fjord (826450)

          That kind of crappy comment gets old. Can you engage on this topic without personal smears?

        • Re:Dumbass (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Monday April 21, 2014 @08:12AM (#46804611) Homepage

          Imagine for a minute, an associate of Alan Turing [wikipedia.org] escaping Bletchely Park [wikipedia.org] in 1944 with files recording the facility's activity — and with details of its capability to decrypt Enigma [wikipedia.org] traffic.

          He is outraged about the government's attempts — often successful [wikipedia.org] — to intercept other people messages (some intercepts leading to deaths of hundreds) and is smart enough to envision the future, where such ungentlemanly conduct will become common place. And so he goes public with the materials he took with him, holding a press-conference somewhere — say, in Switzerland.

          Because none of the UK allies will have him, and he fears the Allies' long hand in neutral Switzerland, he takes refuge in Germany, where he is promptly drained of all the information he carries (in files and head)? Germans modify their encryption practices and Bletchley Park is no longer able to decode the communications.

          Should the man's life not be hell after that? Or should he simply be hung for treason?

          • Re:Dumbass (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:10AM (#46805101) Homepage Journal

            >Should the man's life not be hell after that? Or should he simply be hung for treason?

            Treason is "a citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the parent nation."

            If you seriously think that the *people* of the United States are the enemies of the United States, and aiding them is "treason", then you are completely beyond any hope of redemption.

            • Treason is "a citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the parent nation."

              This may be the generic definition of treason, but it is NOT the American definition.

              Read Article 3, Section 3 of the US Constitution for the US definition of treason.

              Note also that what Snowden did does NOT qualify under Article 3, Section 3, much as some people (including possibly Snowden) would like to think so.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              >Treason is "a citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the parent nation."

              Fits Snowden to a tee. When's the hanging?

            • Treason, no, but Snowden should absolutely be tried for espionage. (I know ironically). But what he's done is no different than John Anthony Walker or James Hall III.

            • Snowden didn't help anyone. Anybody who was unaware of mass surveillance by 2013 is an idiot. If you weren't taking affirmative steps to protect data you wanted kept private on the internet, that's your problem. Get over this idea that protection your privacy is somebody else's job. Don't expect governments to protect your privacy -- you wouldn't trust a fox to guard a hen house, right?

          • Re:Dumbass (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Archimonde (668883) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:20AM (#46805207) Homepage

            I don't have time to write a full answer, but I'll just give one counterpoint.

            During the 1944 there was a World War going on changing the comparison dramatically.

            Bletchley park was strictly a military/couter intelligence operation working against Axis, while the NSA is fcuking surveillance on a world scale against *everyone*.

            • by mi (197448)

              Bletchley park was strictly a military/couter intelligence operation working against Axis, while the NSA is fcuking surveillance on a world scale against *everyone*.

              Bletchley Park-associated radio-operators were listening to everything they could listen to — that it did not cover every British (or American) citizen at the time is not because they had some overriding scruples, but is explained by the two simple facts:

              • Most of their fellow citizens did not have radios
              • No capability to listen to such mass
              • The situation is still quite different as much better explained here [slashdot.org] for which I don't have much to add as I was writing in a hurry.

                There is still a difference in that Snowden didn't help any country directly. The leaks are not about position of troops, military resources or something of that kind. He brought direct proof that NSA has access to all the means of communications in the world and much more.

                I mean probably everyone concerned about it already knew about it, but the papers showed that it is much m

          • Re:Dumbass (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Maritz (1829006) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:27AM (#46805281)

            Imagine for a minute, an associate of Alan Turing [wikipedia.org] escaping Bletchely Park [wikipedia.org] in 1944 with files recording the facility's activity — and with details of its capability to decrypt Enigma [wikipedia.org] traffic.

            lol, thanks for cobbling together one of the most tortured analogies I've seen on this. Was the Enigma machine intercepting communications of millions of civilians? I'm amazed I didn't realise that.

            • by mi (197448)

              lol, thanks for cobbling together one of the most tortured analogies I've seen on this

              The analogy was nowhere near as tortured, as your pathetic attempt at sarcasm... Back to the point.

              Was the Enigma machine intercepting communications of millions of civilians?

              First, a bit of education: The Enigma machines were used by the Germans to communicate — Bletchley Park were intercepting all radio traffic they could intercept looking for encrypted messages by the Germans.

              That such intercepts covered mostly

            • by NoKaOi (1415755)

              lol, thanks for cobbling together one of the most tortured analogies I've seen on this. Was the Enigma machine intercepting communications of millions of civilians? I'm amazed I didn't realise that.

              I think it's safe to say that during that time, there was not a single cell phone call made or email sent without government surveillance.

          • Re:Dumbass (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Sabriel (134364) on Monday April 21, 2014 @09:30AM (#46805327)

            I have mod points, but we're supposed to point out why someone is wrong rather than simply mod them down. So:

            Zimmerman Telegram? That was in 1917, during World War 1. The UK and Germany were officially at war and were _shooting at each other_.
            Bletchely Park? That was in 1944, during World War 2. The UK and Germany were again officially at war and were _shooting at each other_.
            Snowden Leaks? ... *looks around* ... I seemed to have missed the declaration of World War 3, the US and Russia are not officially at war and they are certainly not shooting at each other (to everyone's immense good fortune, because, y'know, nukes).

            Furthermore, if Russia seriously wanted to FUBAR the United States, it would not need Snowden to do it, because the American security apparatus has focused for so long on playing selfish little power games instead of remedying the nation's vulnerabilities that a precocious five year old could tell you how to cripple the country (and frankly, successive US governments have been doing a pretty bang up job of that on their own anyway).

            • Re:Dumbass (Score:5, Insightful)

              by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Monday April 21, 2014 @11:56AM (#46806825) Homepage

              Snowden Leaks? ... *looks around* ... I seemed to have missed the declaration of World War 3, the US and Russia are not officially at war and they are certainly not shooting at each other (to everyone's immense good fortune, because, y'know, nukes).

              If you don't think, Russia is an enemy, then you have not been paying attention. You may not have anything against them, but they are sore and butthurt at the West and anxious for a revanche.

              • by Sabriel (134364)

                "Russia is an enemy" is an example of what I'd call 'the lie made real', because the truth is Russia is an enemy only inasmuch as, like their American counterparts, the Russian oligarchies are playing their own version of the "selfish little power games" - even though the vast majority of both populaces just want to get on with their lives in peace and quiet.

                And it's very sad that there's enough people actively engaged in making the lie real that the rest of us have to suffer the fallout. Perhaps less than

                • by mi (197448)

                  even though the vast majority of both populaces just want to get on with their lives in peace and quiet

                  That is true about American populace, but demonstrably false about the Russian. After their blitz-krieg in Crimea, Russians are drunk on power — not only threatening the rest of Ukraine, but referring to Alaska as "Ice-Crimea".

                  You would not know it from English-language Russian media, but, much like Arabs' real attitude towards Jews can only be grasped from reading Arab-language sites, anyone capabl

                  • by Sabriel (134364)

                    Hmm. Serious question: how much of that revanchism fervour is Russia's populace actually wanting a war, and how much is Russia's populace saying they want it because they're (1) too naive to realise what a direct US-Russia shooting match would involve and/or (2) too worried about being seen to disagree with the direction the "official" wind is blowing?

          • by datorum (1280144)

            the comparison is totally off
            1. "Envisioning the future" vs. working on programs of mass-surveillance against the own population.
            2. The Zimmermann Telegram was sent during war-time via diplomatic channels.
            3. The Enigma was primarily used for military encryption.
            4. The Allies were at (world) war against Germany.
            5. The war against Germany was officially declared.

            • by mi (197448)

              1. "Envisioning the future" vs. working on programs of mass-surveillance against the own population.

              NSA's surveillance has not — as of today — harmed an innocent American. It has a scary potential to become a dangerous tool in the hands of a totalitarian-minded executive by arming him with information about opposition [wikipedia.org], that he really ought not have.

              The Zimmermann Telegram was sent during war-time via diplomatic channels [emphasis mine]

              There, you said it. Diplomatic channels ought to be sacred

              • by datorum (1280144)

                you just don't get it.

                > There, you said it. Diplomatic channels ought to be sacred — much as (if not more!) so than the channels used by private citizens.
                NOPE, diplomatic means goverment means NOT CIVILIAN.

                > All radio-traffic had to be listened to in order to find enemy's messages. Much like the Internet-traffic today needs to be sifted through...
                yeah, how many people used a radio for transmitting for private stuff back then? And how many people use the internet for private stuff today.

                > We

                • by mi (197448)

                  NOPE, diplomatic means goverment means NOT CIVILIAN.

                  Yes, governmental and civilian are different things. However, intercepting diplomatic communications is just as (if not more) against the law as intercepting communications by your citizenry. In other words, interception of Zimmerman's telegram was just as (or more) wrong/illegal/unethical as intercepting a private citizen's phone call would've been.

                  yeah, how many people used a radio for transmitting for private stuff back then? And how many people use th

          • The issue at hand is the surveillance of a nation's own, innocent citizens without cause or even suspicion. Wartime surveillance by "Bletchely Park [sic]", particularly as it was aimed at the encrypted messages used by an enemy state's military and government, are about as far from that issue as one can get. Someone working to subvert those efforts should, as you said, be given hell over it or hung for treason, and with good reason!

            Even so, the implicit analogy you've drawn is about as far off-base as one c

            • by mi (197448)

              The issue at hand is the surveillance of a nation's own, innocent citizens without cause or even suspicion

              Bletchley Park was listening on as much radio traffic as they could — trying to find the enemy's messages in it.

              That's no different from NSA listening to as much Internet-traffic today. In both cases they don't consider themselves bound by limits of men-created laws — only technical difficulties, which ought to be overcome.

              Perhaps, that's a wrong attitude, but exposing your side's capabil

          • It's a nice try, but it's not analogous, and I think you know that.

            For one thing, Bletchley Park didn't monitor their citizens wholesale; they didn't have the technical capability to do that.[1] That's the part of Snowden's revelations that infuriates so many people, and should also make you afraid. You don't have to go very far back in US history to be afraid of such a thing: imagine if J. Edgar Hoover had the NSA's assets. Monitoring foreign powers is a different story, and I have a hard time believing

          • by Jawnn (445279)
            Mod parent down, please, for setting up such an obvious straw-man argument. Enigma was a crypto technology employed by declared enemies with whom Great Britian was involved in a shooting war. Comparing that threat to some nebulous thing like "teh terrorists" is absurd on it's face.
          • by Nyder (754090)

            Imagine for a minute, an associate of Alan Turing [wikipedia.org] escaping Bletchely Park [wikipedia.org] in 1944 with files recording the facility's activity — and with details of its capability to decrypt Enigma [wikipedia.org] traffic.

            He is outraged about the government's attempts — often successful [wikipedia.org] — to intercept other people messages (some intercepts leading to deaths of hundreds) and is smart enough to envision the future, where such ungentlemanly conduct will become common place. And so he goes public with the materials he took with him, holding a press-conference somewhere — say, in Switzerland.

            Because none of the UK allies will have him, and he fears the Allies' long hand in neutral Switzerland, he takes refuge in Germany, where he is promptly drained of all the information he carries (in files and head)? Germans modify their encryption practices and Bletchley Park is no longer able to decode the communications.

            Should the man's life not be hell after that? Or should he simply be hung for treason?

            Save "What if" for Marvel Comics. What you described didn't happen, it's not remotely like anything that has happened today and has no bearing on any arguments.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by cold fjord (826450)

          Lets expand on that. Why can't ordinary citizens of the many nations (US, UK, AU, NZ, CA) that Snowden took documents from and leaked have a grievance against him? Do they all work for the intelligence services of their government? Or can ordinary citizens be against it and express an opinion? If not, are you working on the side of the FSB and Chinese intelligence in the conduct of political warfare against the US by advocating in favor of Snowden? If not, why can't someone have a contrary view, that Sno

      • by CRCulver (715279)

        Why should the OP, presumably living outside Russia, "get involved" when this is something that ultimately depends on the Russian people? The ultimate reason that Snowden cannot start a conversation is widespread apathy among the Russian population, and the OP is in no position to change that without opening himself up to claims of "political interference" or "furthering US (EU, whatever) interests".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... talking about how you asked a tough question to a leader who doesn't give a shit about looking hypocritical or lying...

      Yet Putin didn't outright admit to Russia performing the same sort of mass surveillance. You see, most people have a certain bias about people. When you support a person, they can be evasion and give inconsistent denial and people accept it as a form of "pleasing the 5th" or just general politics. When you're against a person, then anything short of a clear denial with evidence is se

    • How can there be a Russian conversation about domestic surveillance when they have trouble having political opposition, let alone a free press!

      Very one sidedly.

    • Re:Dumbass (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Thruen (753567) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:56AM (#46804473)
      I'm not sure I understand the issue here. Russia has a seriously limited press, yes, but how does that lead to believing he shouldn't have asked the question at all. Wasn't this broadcast live? Even if many Russians couldn't watch it, many could and did. When a country has such a restricted press, the solution is not to stop trying to get the truth out. Sure, there are bigger issues, in Russia and elsewhere. But Snowden is now famous for revealing his home country's mass surveillance program, wouldn't it make sense for him to try and continue down that path? Would it have made more sense to you if he went to Russia and then started fighting for freedom for homosexuals and forgot all about mass surveillance?

      Even in the US, we haven't done much about what he exposed, we haven't thrown anyone in jail for lying through their teeth about the program, instead we (and you, right now) have been focusing on discrediting the person who gave up everything in order to tell the truth. How can you sit there and say he should stop trying to expose corruption because the corrupt are too corrupt to care? Why don't we tell everyone under an oppressive government they should just give up and live with it?

      Maybe instead of complaining that Snowden should've known better than to ask, you should be complaining that Putin is lying yet again, considering that's the actual problem. I can't understand why people think he should've just not bothered asking when he had the opportunity.
      • And you imagine that Putin told the truth, why?

        Though if you look closely at his answer, it was quite possible that it was the truth. Of course, his answer wasn't quite an answer to the question, now was it?

        Yes, Russia is a nation of laws. I agree. Has nothing to do with the question.

        I will even accept that it requires a warrant (or Russian equivalent) to listen in on "any particular person". Which also has nothing to do with the question, since the question was about mass spying a la the NSA.

        Note,

    • by hax4bux (209237)

      Slow clap. I wish I had mod points.

    • by Arker (91948)
      "2014 Reporters Without Borders World free press index"

      Where the US has fallen ignominiously to nearly 50, so the same argument could be used to criticize anyone that tries to start a conversation with Obama as well?

    • here you are, talking about how you asked a tough question to a leader who doesn't give a shit about looking hypocritical or lying

      I like said it last time (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=5047921&cid=46783413) and Snowden just confirmed here (better worded though).
      "If we are to test the truth of officials' claims, we must first give them an opportunity to make those claims"

      In slashdot profit style:
      1) Ask a question about which an official will lie,
      2) Expose the truth,
      3) ......
      4) Profit

      Do you have a better plan?

    • by Livius (318358)

      Russia has had authoritarian governments for 500 years. The dialogue was a step forward, it was just smaller than what you wanted.

  • by Thruen (753567) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:36AM (#46804317)
    After watching a man sacrifice his chances of living a normal life, fleeing the country he grew up in after doing what he felt was right, why did so many readily believe he was willing to give up his principals so easily? Obviously Putin wasn't going to give a straight answer, whether in the US or Russia or anywhere else politicians lie when it suits them. How often do we go after reporters, attacking them for asking questions they don't receive truthful answers to? The entire incident seemed a clear attempt at discrediting Snowden, something that should have been exceedingly obvious to everyone. I applaud him for having the courage to put his own safety on the line and ask Putin about mass surveillance. I'm sure he fully expected the dodgy answer he got, he may have even expected further consequences from Putin and his lackeys, but I doubt he expected people to turn around and say he shouldn't have asked the question to begin with. He shows more courage still coming out and challenging Putin's answer in this article. We owe him our gratitude, respect, and an apology.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We don't believe he gave up his principals. We suspect that his principals are not what you believe they are.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > We suspect that his principals are not what you believe they are.

        By 'we' you mean the people puppeting the astroturfers who are trying to discredit snowden to support the govt line on the issue in forums such as these?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by ScentCone (795499)

          By 'we' you mean the people puppeting the astroturfers who are trying to discredit snowden to support the govt line on the issue in forums such as these?

          No, by "we" he means all of us who think that. Thinking that doling out the huge amount of information he stole, and then wandering his way through one totalitarian country before setting up shop in another is a bad thing and indicative of his muddled world view ... that's not "the government line," that's being realistic. Snowden was and is being handled. His appearance on TV with Putin couldn't have looked more scripted, or more set up to allow Putin to answer in the dismissive, oily way that he did - al

    • Mr. Snowden asked Putin a question and they crawled out from under the rocks and singled out on Snowden for asking "soft question" and/or "canned performance", et cetera, et cetera, et cetera ....

      Even if Snowden didn't ask any question (didn't participate on the call-in program at all) they would still find a way to attack Snowden

      NSA has a long memory - and they will never stop harassing Snowden, period.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      Simple: People do not want to hear what Snowden says, they want to put their heads in the sand. That makes Snowden a hero and the common citizen that is trying very hard not to see the writing on the wall a cretin. Unfortunately, the world if full of cretins that are so in love with their misconceptions that they fight anybody that points out the truth to them, instead of readjusting their views to the facts.

      By now I am convinced that this is perhaps the main problem the human race has. Add to that the fact

    • by unixisc (2429386)
      Snowden:

      Last year, I risked family, life, and freedom to help initiate a global debate that even Obama himself conceded 'will make our nation stronger.' I am no more willing to trade my principles for privilege today than I was then.

      He is such a saint!!! I feel small just thinking about him!!!

      So when is his beatification scheduled?

  • Wrong Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:38AM (#46804331) Homepage

    Snowden to Critics: Questioning Putin Has Opened Conversation About Surveillance

    If he really wanted to ask questions about freedoms, he should have asked about the LGBT rights in Russia or Chechens' right for self-determination. In the US, asking about surveillance violations is the right question to ask because, by and large, it is one of the most pressing issues. In Russia, that ain't.

    The proper question to ask when it comes to freedom is always the one concerning the greatest, most infamous violations.

    • Those are not his battles. In any case, mass surveillence causes consequences for anyone who organizes regarding any other issue. How is ensuring people are safe to talk about the pressing issues not a pressing issue?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Those are not his battles.

        How convenient.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          How convenient.

          Yes, how dare he not be born Russian and know everything about Russia's problems. Would you like to make a snide remark about him not going back in time and culling the Bolshevik party of corruption post-Russian Civil War next? If you are Russian, why don't you go and try to solve your own problems instead of expecting others to solve them for you? If you aren't, then you are free to book a flight to Russia and start helping them directly. As it stands, your complaining on the internet is helping no one.

        • by Maritz (1829006)
          Nope, don't see the convenience at all.
    • Re:Wrong Question (Score:4, Insightful)

      by oodaloop (1229816) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:54AM (#46804461)
      Snowden, a former NSA sysadmin, isn't an expert on any of those subjects, and probably isn't terribly interested in them either.
    • Re:Wrong Question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by _Ludwig (86077) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:54AM (#46804467) Journal

      The proper questions to ask are those that you know something about. For Snowden to suddenly jump on LGBT rights or Chechen independence would come off as the type of issue-of-the-day “activism” sometimes seen with celebrities. It would make about as much sense as if Pussy Riot went on U.S. television to talk about Obamacare or the Keystone Pipeline.

    • If he really wanted to ask questions about freedoms, he should have asked about the LGBT rights in Russia or Chechens' right for self-determination. In the US, asking about surveillance violations is the right question to ask because, by and large, it is one of the most pressing issues. In Russia, that ain't.

      The proper question to ask when it comes to freedom is always the one concerning the greatest, most infamous violations.

      Not really. Both subjects, and plenty more, would be appropriate to ask in Russia. There is no shortage of problematic areas of human rights issues there, not to mention a growing list of incidents of aggression against its neighbors. Russia is choosing to revert to its Soviet past.

    • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

      If he really wanted to ask questions about freedoms, he should have asked about the LGBT rights in Russia or Chechens' right for self-determination

      ... why motherfucking stop there ??

      Why not asking question about why the working bees have to slave their lives for that motherfucking Queen Bee ?

      I mean, the FREEDOM of the BILLIONS of the working bees rests on the hands of Mr. Snowden !!

      How dare Snowden forgets to ask THAT question !!

  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:38AM (#46804333)
    It is a courage of a different order in the the den of the Bear.

    He was an idealistic young programmer who, some would say, naively did what he thought was right in the U.S. He knew or at least suspected there would be a downside, but he is under no illusion what would happen if he attempts to publicly upset Putin's apple cart.

    The first thing that comes to mind is we wouldn't have even heard of this video if it didn't go according to script.

    • by Arker (91948)
      "The first thing that comes to mind is we wouldn't have even heard of this video if it didn't go according to script."

      And this drivel gets +5 insightful?

      It was a live call-in show. Yes, they have these things in Russia, and more amazingly, their President has the cajones to go on one and take callers. The Soviet Union fell a long, long time ago you know.

      Snowdens question was the first gambit in a line of attack that leads to parsing essentially the same lie the NSA still tries. They actually collect everyth
      • by ScentCone (795499)

        And this drivel gets +5 insightful?

        It was a live call-in show.

        You're so cute, there.

        The Soviet Union fell a long, long time ago you know.

        Even more cute!

        They other guy in the conversation was a KGB agent, has said publicly that he thinks the end of the Soviet Union was a huge tragedy, and is slowly but surely trying to build that empire back up again - and once again, using force.

        That "phone in" show was completely scripted. You utterly embarrass yourself pretending otherwise. For you to go to that much trouble with the charade suggests that you're every bit the shill/puppet that Snowden was during that little bi

      • It was a live call-in show. Yes, they have these things in Russia, and more amazingly, their President has the cajones to go on one and take callers. The Soviet Union fell a long, long time ago you know.

        Comrade Putin is old school KGB. He exudes a kind of just look at me in the wrong tone special sort of madness that seems to rise like the cream to the top of a dictatorial kleptocracy.

        Snowdens question was the first gambit in a line of attack that leads to parsing essentially the same lie the NSA still tries. They actually collect everything, and stick it in a database, but they arent really supposed to pull it back out without a reason, so since most of the stuff in the database never gets looked at by a human, they want to say they arent *really* collecting it all. They only want to admit to collecting the stuff they admit to going back and looking at later, and say it's not mass surveillance, it's targeted. But that's just not how the technology works.

        This is the equivalent of me photographing my buddy's Vegas bachelor party...Say bro, what are we going to be needing the evidence for?*

        If you want to be able to come back in 6 months and pick out a single call to listen to, you have to record ALL the calls and keep them stored for some time in order to enable this. And maybe there is one call in there that winds up being of use in a criminal investigation, great. Along with 200 that are useful for blackmail or extortion? Do we think the intelligence agents who have access to this information are angels who could never consider doing anything wrong, or incompetents who could work there every day for years but never find a way to get away with anything?

        * = I believe it to be statistically more likely that my government will cease ladling pork projects onto critical budget legislation than the folks in charge will discontinue using an ac

    • Snowden is in no danger in Russia for one very good reason: he doesn't know anything specific about Russian surveillance, and will never be hired to a position where he would. So he's no threat.
      • Snowden is in no danger in Russia for one very good reason: he doesn't know anything specific about Russian surveillance,

        I question the collective exhaustiveness of your singularity.

        and will never be hired to a position where he would. So he's no threat.

        You don't think a young man with Edward's skills has sat on his ass in a, at best, Second World tech nation without access to an interface of some sort, do you?

        • Snowden isn't some super-hacker. He only knew about US surveillance because it was part of his job and he couldn't help knowing.
  • Spy Talk (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pencil_Nebula (2916255) on Monday April 21, 2014 @07:40AM (#46804341)
    For some time one has questioned if Snowden is a naive whistle blower with good intentions or is a sophisticated Russian intelligence operator. Recent events especially Russian phone and intelligence in the Ukraine support a definite leaning to the latter, intelligence operator. All that Snowden appearance has done to intelligence types is to push that leaning into the realm of a possible certainty proving almost conclusive proof that the NSA is completely and thoroughly penetrated and compromised. One way to view his appearance is that the Russians are talking to the Americans and saying covertly with out actually saying it overtly is that "We know every thing you are doing in the Ukraine and every where else in the world". Assuming, to those of us outside the intelligence community, that our community organizer just got cough with his pants down in what our State Department would call a major Woopsie in attempting to install a more western oriented government in the Ukraine it could be that what the Russians are attempting to do is stop western revolution attempts before this elapses into a more final judgement with mushroom shaped clouds.
    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      So Snowden was actually a Russian spy all along? Is that why he went to Hong Kong first, then applied and waited for assylum in Russia? Sorry, that doesn't make any fucking sense. (IAA Intelligence Analyst)
      • So Snowden was actually a Russian spy all along? Is that why he went to Hong Kong first, then applied and waited for assylum in Russia? Sorry, that doesn't make any fucking sense. (IAA Intelligence Analyst)

        Snowden was in contact with the Russian embassy while in Hong Kong. He had a birthday party there. It wasn't a surprise when he showed up in Russia.

        It all makes sense if they are trying to mask Snowden's involvement with Russia, especially if they are leveraging events to conduct Soviet style political warfare.

        • by oodaloop (1229816)
          He had a birthday party at the Russian embassy in an attempt to mask his involvement with Russia? Then filed for assylum, waited on approval, finally moved to Russia, and engaged Putin on TV, all in a clever attempt to cover up for the fact that he was a Russian spy/plant all along? That is stretching the bounds of credulity.
          • Your chronology is wrong, so I assume that is party of the confusion. Snowden was at the Russian embassy in Hong Kong for several days although it was not made widely known at the time. He waited until his passport was canceled, then boarded the plane for Russia (the Chinese weren't going to stop him). On his arrival in Russia his arrival was proclaimed a "surprise" despite his time at the Russian embassy in Hong Kong. Snowden then went through the public motions of applying for asylum while often succe

    • by Maritz (1829006)

      For some time one has questioned if Snowden is a naive whistle blower with good intentions or is a sophisticated Russian intelligence operator.

      Your bias is right there in your first sentence. False dichotomy; Snowden can also be neither of those two. Try to be less obvious if you want to persuade people on the fence.

    • by Xest (935314)

      If Snowden was a Russian intelligence operator he wouldn't be a high school dropout. When countries like Russia recruit operatives they don't go for people who linger about at the bottom. They go for people who can get as far and deep as they can.

      Snowden got the information he did because it turns out the NSA's internal systems, particular to contractors weren't exactly very secure. For Russia to have planned his work all along they'd have to have known about the security and weak points of the NSA's system

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Snowden's point is that it's worth getting Putin on record lying so that later if something comes out, the damage will be amplified based on the fact that he lied. This seems reasonable in a situation where lying itself is punished. However, we're less than a month out from Putin lying to claim his troops did not invade Crimea and then admitting "well, the ends justify the means" and there's no clear evidence that he's being punished for lying. To the extent that there's international pressure, it's about t

  • As will the ensuing debate be. The world is a rigged game.
  • A contrary view (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cold fjord (826450) on Monday April 21, 2014 @08:31AM (#46804799)
  • Snowden has exercised great courage and fortitude throughout this process. I think it's fair to say that most of us here cannot imagine how we'd hold up under the conditions he's living with. It would seem reasonable to assume that Putin has thought long and hard about how to use Snowden as a political pawn. He basically has Snowden by the (rather large) balls and could theoretically leverage that any way he chooses.

    So to see that all that's happened so far is that Snowden has "lobbed a softball," asking a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Snowden is clearly a spook, simply trying to convince the world that the United States NSA has much more capabilities than they actually have. The Nazi's used similar tactics.

    All the other whistleblowers have been kept quiet, and mostly out of the mainstream media, but not Snowden, he is ALL OVER IT, constantly.

    If I upload a Youtube video with copyrighted work, it will be taken down very quickly. But when Snowden has top secret information vital to national security, those videos stay up for months at a t

  • This blogger about all things Russia thinks the entire Snowden/Putin exchange, including the follow-up Guardian article, was orchestrated: http://3dblogger.typepad.com/m... [typepad.com]

Maybe Computer Science should be in the College of Theology. -- R. S. Barton

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