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Privacy Government

Edward Snowden Promotes Global Treaty To Curtail Surveillance 110

An anonymous reader writes: In a video appearance, Edward Snowden said domestic digital spying on ordinary citizens is an international threat that will only be slowed with measures like a proposed international treaty declaring privacy a basic human right. "This is not a problem exclusive to the United States.... This is a global problem that affects all of us. What's happening here happens in France, it happens in the U.K., it happens in every country, every place, to every person," he said.
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Edward Snowden Promotes Global Treaty To Curtail Surveillance

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  • I wish something like that could happen, but I doubt most governments would ever agree or follow any kind of treaty. People also talked about solving world hunger... We already grow enough food to feed more than the people on this planet, but there are still numerous people starving and dying because of it. Not to mention corporations that "spy" on their customers to give something away for free, like facebook. Wouldn't be hard for the governments to get that info. I respect Snowden for what he did, but
    • by Visarga ( 1071662 ) on Monday September 28, 2015 @02:59AM (#50611265)
      The problem is not that US or EU don't want to respect human rights, but that now the technology for total surveillance exists, and it can't be made to disappear any more. Even if US and EU stopped surveilling, other actors would still do it.

      Some, like FB, would do it for practical and economical reasons, just because there are server logs and they need to optimize advertising and user engagement. Other, like various totalitarian regimes, would still do it because they see it as a counterbalance for the increased social activism powered by the increase in connectivity that has permeated all societies. People got new powers in the last two decades, and the state got new powers too. They are afraid of these more connected and organized masses.

      Even if countries didn't do it, corporations and various shady groups would still do it. All it takes is to put a monitor on the pipe or a video camera on the highway to record everything that passes through there. And when one party does it, all parties need to do it to keep up and not come at a disadvantage in security.

      What we need to do is it to regulate how this information is being used to restrain our rights. We need to learn to be more tolerant - we all have our secrets and they shouldn't be weaponized against us, at least not in the public moral court. So we need to adjust our social standards to allow for more diversity, because now we all live in a panopticon and there's no turning back to the privacy and anonymity times of our parents.

      Maybe something good will also come out of this. With more data and analysis power, we could guide our policies and avoid some excesses that usually went unnoticed in the dark ages of information. And now we need to accept the reality of our panopticon society and build a better way of living in it.
      • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Monday September 28, 2015 @06:31AM (#50611699)

        Even if US and EU stopped surveilling, other actors would still do it.

        All that means is the US and EU would then be mandated to stop these other actors from surveilling their citizens, which is exactly as it should be. To a certain extent the EU is already doing this.

        Some, like FB, would do it for practical and economical reasons, just because there are server logs and they need to optimize advertising and user engagement.

        Aggregate data and broad trends used for very specific purposes then discarded are very different to individualised data to be sold on or stored indefinetely.

        Other, like various totalitarian regimes, would still do it because they see it as a counterbalance for the increased social activism powered by the increase in connectivity that has permeated all societies.

        Totalitarian regimes already do lots of things that would be completely unacceptable in western democracies, why should surveillance get a free pass here.

        Even if countries didn't do it, corporations and various shady groups would still do it. All it takes is to put a monitor on the pipe or a video camera on the highway to record everything that passes through there. And when one party does it, all parties need to do it to keep up and not come at a disadvantage in security.

        There seems to be a weird shibboleth doing the rounds on slashdot that corporations are somehow above the law. They aren't, and when they break the law they get caught sooner or later. I mean by the above logic we may as well make murder legal since laws against murder haven't put an end to murder.

        So we need to adjust our social standards to allow for more diversity, because now we all live in a panopticon and there's no turning back to the privacy and anonymity times of our parents.

        Are you seriously trying to turn an Orwellian nightmare into a social justice issue? I mean I get what you're trying to say, we should all relax a bit instead of the usual internet performance of getting wound up to ninety but privacy is a battle that can most definetely be won.

        And now we need to accept the reality of our panopticon society and build a better way of living in it.

        Sod that.

        • Some, like FB, would do it for practical and economical reasons, just because there are server logs and they need to optimize advertising and user engagement.

          Aggregate data and broad trends used for very specific purposes then discarded are very different to individualised data to be sold on or stored indefinetely.

          What makes you think that this is what they're collecting? Facebook is well aware of the value of the data that they collect and that their analysis algorithms are constantly improving, making it valuable to re-run analyses over old data. They delete transient results, but they keep the source, including:

          • Time that you visited any web page with a Facebook 'like' button.
          • The IP addresses that you've used (can be cross-correlated with geolocation databases to find where / who you've visited).
          • When any cont
          • Oh yeah that's what I meant, in that aggregate data for a limited time is probably alright and would fulfill most "practical and economical reasons" for corporations. What facebook does is absolutely not alright. It's the opposite of alright.

      • And now we need to accept the reality of our panopticon society and build a better way of living in it.

        Civilization, in all it's forms, is surely our greatest creation, but I sometimes wonder if we are creating it, or visa-versa. It is evolving like a living system but much more rapidly, currently it nervous and sensory system are emerging, highly specialised "brain centers" in the form of IBM's watson and other AI systems have recently appeared. Maybe it will kill us all off, or maybe we will develop a planet wide "termite nest" that encapsulates our prefered environment in an artificial structure. One thi

      • Even if US and EU stopped surveilling, other actors would still do it.

        Really? Facebook will install hardware intercepts into telecom infrastructure, North Korea will order Apple to install a backdoor?

  • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Monday September 28, 2015 @02:19AM (#50611199)

    Even if a global treaty is struck to declare privacy a basic human right -- who is going to provide the oversight, who will punish those that breach the treaty and how will such punishment be administered?

    Reality check: There's just no way this is going to work.

    Aren't there global treaties that outlaw torture?

    What happens at Gitmo, who is punished for the violations and how is that punishment metered out?

    This, I am afraid, is nothing more than an exercise in futility. We have already lost our right to privacy and the only way it will return is probably by way of an armed uprising.

    If our grandfathers and great-grandfathers could see just how many of the rights and freedoms they fought to protect have now been lost in the name of "safety" and "security", they'd turn in their graves.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "If our grandfathers and great-grandfathers could see just how many of the rights and freedoms they fought to protect have now been lost in the name of "safety" and "security", they'd turn in their graves."

      Capitalism produces such things, the whole reason is because the rich fear the masses in a capitalist society. Masters vs slaves. Rich vs the rest. You and most people are going to find out too late what the NSA spying is really about.

      Most have no clue what's really going on in the world... the elites

    • Even if a global treaty is struck to declare privacy a basic human right -- who is going to provide the oversight, who will punish those that breach the treaty and how will such punishment be administered?

      Good questions.

      Reality check: There's just no way this is going to work.

      Aren't there global treaties that outlaw torture?

      What happens at Gitmo, who is punished for the violations and how is that punishment metered out?

      I think some have tried and continue to try to close Gitmo. When countries torture, many people, including it's own citizens, do make a stink. Making something illegal never gets rid of it, but it does cut down it's use and provide avenues to fight it.

      This, I am afraid, is nothing more than an exercise in futility. We have already lost our right to privacy and the only way it will return is probably by way of an armed uprising.

      I'd say almost all rebellions end in nothing changing, and the most violent ones usually result in a more violent government than the one originally protested against. This line of thinking is at best risky. I'd say try peaceful methods first

    • We have already lost our right to privacy

      That's where the sentence should have ended. Any uprising, for any reason, will fizzle and fail without an intelligence arm, like any army it needs information more than it needs gunpowder. How would a budding freedom fighter get that information without spying?

      If our grandfathers and great-grandfathers could see [us now]

      Hmmmm, my grandfather (who passed away ~30yrs ago) used to switch off unused power outlets because the "electricity can leak out and catch fire", he was a young man in the 1920's when cotton insulation and electrical fires first became a thing, he ha

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Privacy is a human right in the EU, with some limitations. It's not a useless law, it's been used to challenge GCHQ's population level surveillance and protect people from some of the worst police abuses of the law. It could be stronger and even more useful.

      Even though GCHQ and MI5 act as if they are above the law, ultimately the law is still a useful tool to protect ourselves from them.

  • by tchdab1 ( 164848 ) on Monday September 28, 2015 @02:26AM (#50611209) Homepage

    Saying what you need to say publicly - such as signing a no-spying treaty - and then gathering whatever you think you need to gather regardless, that seems like part of the game. Any declaration of the human right of privacy, while a great first step, needs to be backed up with consequences for violations.

    • by invictusvoyd ( 3546069 ) on Monday September 28, 2015 @02:59AM (#50611263)
      We shall send the FBI to arrest themselves for spying on innocent common people .
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Saying what you need to say publicly - such as signing a no-spying treaty - and then gathering whatever you think you need to gather regardless, that seems like part of the game. Any declaration of the human right of privacy, while a great first step, needs to be backed up with consequences for violations.

      You are right. Even if we made it "super-illegal", because it's illegal now but that didn't help. Under the current laws, illegal means consequences. A "super-illegal" law would entail actual consequences.

      They laughed at the constitution, they ignored the laws, they are laughing at us.
      And what do we do? Thinking it's better to vote democrat or republican.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Already is a basic human right according to Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of human rights.

    "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, [...]."

    The fact that nobody seems to care about it is the issue.

    • The trouble is that "arbitrary" can be arbitrarily interpreted to mean anything. A declaration that spells out the exact circumstances in which interference with privacy is acceptable or not is more useful in framing the narrative, even if it'd be frequently violated.

  • Good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Monday September 28, 2015 @03:02AM (#50611269) Homepage Journal

    For example, declare tracking an individual or an individual's property by any automated system, whether government or privately owned, generally illegal. Likewise, storing such records should be generally illegal. Make a few exceptions such as when there is a warrant, or if the individual requests it (where such request must be at the very least "check this checkbox to confirm you want to be tracked, data will be stored for n days", not "click here to agree to wall of text").

    Otherwise: all cameras will use image recognition to log where you've been, all cars will be tracked via license plate readers and onboard GPS, all cell phone owners will be tracked and their location logged for years, all purchases (cash or credit card) will be tracked and logged. And all this data will be sold, and God help you if the government doesn't like you.

    • We should remember that our citizens are largely neutral on this issue, as they see it, because it's never been made concrete. They see it in very abstract terms as though it doesn't affect the ordinary man and woman. We should always present the issue as one which grabs each citizen by his testicles, by her vaginal area, and as an issue which affects the most active citizens. Thus, "The Government has a copy of every photograph your lover sends of his package; the NSA has a photo of your breasts, if you
  • more likely to receive a message from aliens than to get USA, UK, Russia and China to agree to this

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      more likely to receive a message from aliens than to get USA, UK, Russia and China to agree to this

      Oh, but they are agreeing on this issue, just not what you would want.

  • The problem is that people seek to expand what the word privacy is all about. We are not talking about two people, home alone, whispering a secret to each other. If I go to the grocery store the items I buy are in plain view in a public space. If i use a debit card to pay for the groceries I have shared that data with banks, the grocery store and god knows who else. It is not private information. So if the data is sold to my life insurance company or my medical insurance company why should I grip
    • by Sique ( 173459 )
      I have an issue with the notion that something should be allowed because it is possible. Yes, it is possible to collect the data about my buying habits. But should it be allowed? It is also possible for me to ram a knife into your chest, but should that be allowed?

      For a long time, we didn't think about the consequences of wholesale collection of all available data of people, because the sheer amount of data meant, that it wasn't done for all people in the most complete manner. There were specialized profe

  • by Max_W ( 812974 ) on Monday September 28, 2015 @04:12AM (#50611403)
    The modern political system is based on surveillance. Actually it is the surveillance. Read "Code Book" by Simon Singh, ISBN 1-85702-889-9. All modern state history is basically the history of surveillance.

    More than that, in future not just communication devices will be used for surveillance, but any device, a photo-camera, a mixer, TV-set, etc. It is happening already now.

    But every cloud has a silver lining, - if you need a private conversation, - put on a light t-shirt and shorts, no watch, not smartphone, no MP3-player, not even a pen, and go with your partner to a park, to a beach, etc. for a private conversation. It would be good not only for privacy, but for heath too. And for environment.

    I envision in future important business meeting outdoors while running, or swimming, or just walking. It is the only way to achieve a relative privacy, - an unpredictable outdoor location with no electronic devices around.
    • Public places with any kind of traffic will have monitoring systems for your safety, you'd have to go to inconvenient areas, which might be enough to flag you for targeted surveillance.
      • by Max_W ( 812974 )
        Right. At least running on a trail among trees in light freshly washed clothing one may hope for a relative privacy of a conversation.

        A privacy in an office or an apartment is out of the question already. These things are unimaginably small. And it is not only a government who may use it.
      • by wkk2 ( 808881 )

        I've seen detectors mounted on trees in a nearby wooded state park. They appear to be shoulder high beam break type detectors with transmitters. I suspect it's to catch people after the park is closed but who knows.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Rights are recognized. If you declare it, it's a privilege, not a right.

  • by Roodvlees ( 2742853 ) on Monday September 28, 2015 @07:04AM (#50611759)
    They've proven that they don't care about the US constitution or any other law, why would they care about a treaty? The other human rights treaties are also largely ignore whenever countries feel like it.
  • Give it up Snowden, nobody's listening .... oh wait!
  • Russia: The prime example of how not to use the Internet.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Fuck almighty, where do we start?

      He's doing this from Russia because the fucking american populace are collectively too willingly ignorant and stupid to listen to the truth. (Not that Snowden is in hiding from the USA, and no one else.)
      They don't want the truth, they want their false beliefs reinforced that they are the EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE.
      They ignore their own history, and wonder why it repeats. And gets worse.
      They want to install military bases in EVERY country in the world, and wonder why everyone gets up

      • The irony here is that he is hiding in a place that routinely practices all the things that Edward is opposing. I realize that no one else will let him hide there, so he is stuck in Russia.
  • The problem with this is...who with any power is gonna sign it without the full on global revolution that would be need to get those that hold power to put something in place to limit their own power.

    There are no longer many countries that care more about personal freedom than they care about their own powerbase.

  • You can't trust authority. How many times does it have to be proven?

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Trust but verify. So who watches the watchers?

      This will all end in tears.

  • Is he still a thing?
  • Your private lives are bleeding out all over the Internet and the "Internet of things" boom hasn't even kicked in yet. If you want privacy you have to make it for yourself, it is social infrastructure, a convenience, and not a necessity of life. I hope people can see the difference, you do have a right to defend your privacy in realms that you have a right to control, but to suggest that it is a universal right is a nonsense.

!07/11 PDP a ni deppart m'I !pleH

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