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Snowden's Big Truth: We Are All Less Free

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the quick-somebody-quote-ben-franklin dept.

United States 583

chicksdaddy writes "In the days since stories based on classified information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden hit the headlines, a string of reports and editorials claim that he had his facts wrong, accuse him of treason – or both. Others have accused journalists like Glen Greenwald of The Guardian of rushing to print before they had all the facts. All of these criticisms could be valid. Technology firms may not have given intelligence agencies unfettered and unchecked access to their users' data. Edward Snowden may be, as the New York Times's David Brooks suggests, one of those 20-something-men leading a 'life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society.' All those critiques may be true without undermining the larger truth of Snowden's revelation: in an age of global, networked communications and interactions, we are all a lot less free than we thought we were. I say this because nobody has seriously challenged the basic truth of Snowden's leak: that many of the world's leading telecommunications and technology firms are regularly divulging information about their users' activities and communications to law enforcement and intelligence agencies based on warrantless requests and court reviews that are hidden from public scrutiny. It hasn't always been so." Bruce Schneier has published an opinion piece saying that while Snowden did break the law, we need to investigate the government before any prosecution occurs. (Schneier's piece is one in a series on the subject.) Snowden himself said in an interview today that the U.S. government has been pursuing hacking operations against China for years.

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And water is wet (-1)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989465)

That is all.

Not quite. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989513)

If Snowden keeps calling the government out on its lies and providing evidence that embarrasses those currently in power, he will be made to disappear without any trial at all.

Re:Not quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989551)

If Snowden keeps calling the government out on its lies and providing evidence that embarrasses those currently in power, he will be made to disappear without any trial at all.

>implying he hasn't been disappeared already

Re:Not quite. (3, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989687)

Which government do you think will "disappear" him? He has a laptop full of stolen US national security data and is in the Communist Chinese city of Hong Kong, and has been invited to Russia. Don't you think that the Chinese government might have some people watching him? You know, in case he forgets his laptop after buying some noodles, so he doesn't lose it?

Re:Not quite. (5, Informative)

iserlohn (49556) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989815)

You mean the semi-autonomous capitalist city-state of Hong Kong? HK has been a thorn in the side of the CCP constantly - as a British Crown Colony before the handover and as a Special Administrative Region after.

Re:Not quite. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989897)

Yeah it's funny how people don't understand Hong Kong.

What's sad is when people use their ignorance to justify hate and slander.

Re:Not quite. (2)

MondoGordo (2277808) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989709)

It may be that that would be the best thing for the rest of us ... it would certainly illustrate the scope of the problem of governmental overreach to the NSA apologists and defenders of the "sacrifice anything in the name of safety" mindset.

Re:Not quite. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989845)

Doubtful. That would only make a martyr of him.

Re:And water is wet (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989651)

Not necessarily [wikipedia.org]

Re:And water is wet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989683)

True, but usually the freedoms that the government encroaches on are incremental and not identical to the abuses of the British that caused the Revolutionary War. Does anybody remember the Townsend Acts? Writs of assistance? General warrants?

Re:And water is wet (-1, Troll)

Moryath (553296) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989775)

And yet the Tea Party thugs were demanding government "do whatever it takes" post-9/11... now they're crying about what they demanded.

I'm not saying they're wrong to be crying now, I'm saying they were hypocritical fools when it really fucking mattered in the first place and they were the cause. We'll have to see if they can get their shit together enough to be a part of the solution or if between the racism, sexism, antigay bigotry, and general adherence to a 2000 year old bound volume of toilet paper they turn out to just be a distraction.

Channeling XKCD: (5, Funny)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989821)

"And yet the Tea Party thugs were demanding government "do whatever it takes" post-9/11... "

You knew about the Tea Party in late 2001? What else did you know about that was still in the future? Lemme guess, you knew about Katrina and didn't warn us? You bastard!

*NO ONE* has freedom (-1, Troll)

mozumder (178398) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989699)

You can always tell who the mentally handicapped people are by their belief in freedom.

Intelligent people know, that as long as there is a power disparity, the weak will never have freedom.

"Freedom is the illusion that rich people give to middle-class people to enslave the poor" - Howard Zinn.

Rich people LOVE giving the middle-class that artificial sense of power. Why do you think you're allowed to have guns? To defend against a tyrannical government? =^D

We liberals have been telling dumbass conservative/libertarian for years, that, sorry, no freedom for you. They never seem to listen, probably because they have a lower-IQ, like this high-school dropout Snowden guy. "WHAT? WE HAVE NO POWER? THAT CAN'T BE! I THOUGHT WE WERE AWESOME?!"

Sorry you 14-year-old libertarians, but you don't get to do what you want in this life, because you do not have power. I'm sure it's nice and all to have so much faith and belief in oneself, with such a high sense of precious-snowflake self-esteem, but you know who's more awesome than you? THE PEOPLE WITH MORE POWER.

Intelligence is knowing your personal weaknesses, and libertarians are the LEAST intelligent members of society.

You libertarians need to do what we liberals do, that is, know your weakness, and operate within society from there.

Don't EVER be a libertarian. Publicly saying you have "freedom" is basically telling a liberal you are clueless.

Re:*NO ONE* has freedom (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989865)

Intelligent people invite opposing opinions and welcome discussions that may change each other's mind. Mindless goons with clubs and "loud" words don't seek to convince, they seek to demand. It's clear what camp you are in.

Re:*NO ONE* has freedom (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989949)

Bad news, big guy:

* Rich people have no interest or desire to have the impoverished masses to own guns. See also the Russian revolution of 1917 and how it turned out for the "bourgeoisie", what with all the poor folk.

* You operate under the assumption that libertarians want to do whatever they want, government be damned. That's a rather stupid assumption considering that most simply want government to stop over-regulating and return to a smaller and less-intrusive form of itself. But then, you libs always were more than happy to operate on bad assumptions (or rather, just parrot what you're told to).

* You operate under another bad assumption: that "freedom" is some absolute thing. It isn't (otherwise you have anarchy). Instead, it is relative, and increases or declines with governmental control. Saying that one is "free" is much faster than saying "I'm among the freest citizens on the planet."

Intelligence is knowing your personal weaknesses

...and yet your biggest weakness, that of ignorance, isn't recognized by you. Seems that you can't even match your own ideal.

But you know, hey - continue to feel all smug and superior - the rest of us will continue to laugh at you.

Re:And water is wet (5, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989753)

That is all.

Problem is, you have to *keep* fighting against any and all loss of rights. People are corrupt, greedy, and stupid... this naturally leads to an erosion of individual rights.

Freedom is a high-maintenance thing, but the cost of not doing the maintenance is slavery; if history is any indication, the outcome is all too damned common.

What was the saying again? "A republic, if you can keep it." People keep forgetting that last bit.

Re:And water is wet (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989911)

People are corrupt, greedy, and stupid... this naturally leads to an erosion of individual rights.

Not just that. Freedom is scary. There are always lots of "reasonable" arguments to give up some freedom (even just for a little while) in order to defeat or defend against the "bad guys".

You don't want your freedom getting in the way of fighting the bad guys, do you?

The bad guys will abuse your freedom so that they can attack us good guys.

As always, Fascism begins when the efficiency of the Government becomes more important than the Rights of the People.

Re:And water is wet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989835)

The worst part is that the NSA manages to get into all news stations the lies of

- "most Americans like total surveillance" - I walked around the city an hour ago specifically to ask people what they think, and there is NOT A SINGLE person around that likes that shit. For once even tree-hugging hippies, crazy neocon conservatives, soccer moms and corporate fatcats are universally united! (A great feeling by the way.)
- "some call him a traitor" Who? Besides the NSA (and their agents), who is itself the traitor! Again, NOBODY here does it. He is seen as a national hero, fighting AGAINST traitors and state terrorism!
- "his facts are wrong" - You know, NSA... coming from you, I really trust you on that [slashdot.org] ... LOL

It's kinda like "water is wet", yeah, but: OF COURSE THE WHOLE NSA MEDIA IS FULL OF LIES NOW.

Re:And water is wet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989863)

LINK CORRECTION: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-10-2013/good-news--you-re-not-paranoid---nsa-oversight

Re:And water is wet (5, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989861)

I'd suggest that reacting cynically to it makes it less likely that it will be righted. You're throwing a wet blanket on the outrage. No doubt that is an honest reaction, but everyone reading it is at least less motivated to do so much as e-mail their senator about it. Lets, for the moment, pretend that this is positively SHOCKING news, that this CANNOT FUCKING STAND, and that this is an unprecedented invasion of our privacy. Because in many ways it is. This surpasses 1984. Forget cameras in every household, we have unintentionally been giving hourly reports on everything to the government. That's not something that was true ten years ago.

Anyway, you don't get any points for thinking some bit of bad news was obvious before it was news. Well, you get mod points, so maybe you do, but I'd rather have negative karma and a slightly higher chance of the NSA being put back in its place.

Who watches the watchers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989471)

absolute power corrupts....

Re:Who watches the watchers? (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989619)

... and petty power corrupts all out of proportion anyways.

We've lost freedom constantly. Freedom to alter things we PURCHASED? Check. All the freedoms associated with actually making a purchase? Gone to shrink-wrap agreements, "End User License Agreements", and other bullshit that makes a purchase not really a purchase.

Onboard computers in cars: now you can't clear the code or find out what's wrong on a new-model car without going to the dealership because they lag behind and won't sell your local mechanic the adapter and the reader software. Friend of mine got his brakes changed on a volkswagen model and an alarm started blaring off; turned out VW stuck a sensor in the brake pads that causes the alarm if it's not found, and the normal size-compatible pads from 3rd party makers didn't have the sensor.

NSA tracking is the tip of the iceberg, the consumer got fucked in the ass long ago.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (4, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989697)

Who watches the watchers?

Congress is supposed to watch the watchers. The voters are supposed to watch Congress.

off topic but.. (-1, Offtopic)

gangien (151940) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989479)

This thought keeps popping into my head. Think about all this crap that has been uncovered. And you want to put these people in charge of net neutrality?

Re:off topic but.. (2)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989563)

The thing about "net neutrality" is they don't actually have to do anything. Hell we could get 99% of what is needed for true network neutrality by declaring ISPs to be common carriers.

Re:off topic but.. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989901)

And how exactly are PRISM and net neutrality related? Nice attempt at posioning the well, though.

Are we capable of freedom? (4, Insightful)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989503)

Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?

Re:Are we capable of freedom? (4, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989785)

Gaining freedom is usually difficult enough. Keeping freedom in a entirely new challenge, requiring virtuous behavior over the long term. That is difficult for most peoples and nations when faced with changing circumstances over time.

Simply ready for the Supreme Court to rule. (5, Interesting)

nevermindme (912672) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989521)

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

None of the warrents said something like

"All emails stored on VZ servers (listed below) that mention pressurecookers as bombs from the 723 people (listed below) who visited terrorist training camps (listed below) in 2010-2013."

Re:Simply ready for the Supreme Court to rule. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989919)

You mean ready for the Supreme Court to rule that it's legal? You're not naive enough to think they'll overrule this, are you?

Snowden is fucked (-1, Flamebait)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989523)

Given the damage he's done to the US and the West, he will suffer consequences, there's no doubt about that.

While it raises important issues, I'm struggling to find sympathy for him personally, as he has committed an extremely serious act of treason. By doing what he did, he's ended himself as surely as if he'd put a gun to his own head. Except he'll probably have the US government do it for him (or if he's lucky, life in supermax).

You can't do what he did, and not expect consequences.

Re:Snowden is fucked (2, Interesting)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989587)

Given the damage he's done to the US and the West, he will suffer consequences, there's no doubt about that.

While it raises important issues, I'm struggling to find sympathy for him personally, as he has committed an extremely serious act of treason. By doing what he did, he's ended himself as surely as if he'd put a gun to his own head. Except he'll probably have the US government do it for him (or if he's lucky, life in supermax).

You can't do what he did, and not expect consequences.

So you support the government assassinating people for the sake of national pride?

Re:Snowden is fucked (0)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989711)

Way to go, to take what I wrote completely out of context. That speaks volumes about 1) the quality of your thinking, 2) your honesty.

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

poity (465672) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989739)

It seemed to be a statement of fact rather than a statement of desire, at least to me.

he is guilty of the ultimate crime (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989605)

inconveniencing those who have power, without having any power himself

anonymity is the only defense the weak have against the powerful, that is why the powerful are working so hard to destroy it

Re:he is guilty of the ultimate crime (0)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989783)

If you think you've ever been able to fight the Man, you're deluded.

I'm also amused with people who fetishize the Second Amendment, out of some fantasy that they might be able to take on the armed might of the US government with small arms.

Re:he is guilty of the ultimate crime (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989941)

So the American Revolution never happened? Universal Sufferage, The Civil Rights Act, etc never got passed?

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989607)

The western governments did it all by themselves. Snowden just called them out on their hypocrisy.

Re:Snowden is fucked (2, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989749)

I'm not so sure.

The US government isn't engaging in economic espionage (and they damned well should, since US businesses pay taxes as well). They are doing it to foil terrorist attacks (and they've gone on the record saying that gathered intelligence has foiled "dozens" of terrorists attacks). Western spying is subject to a tremendous amount of oversight by the right people (and if you'll excuse me, Slashdot keyboard warriors aren't "the right people").

The Chinese merely hack to steal IP so that they can make money, to "catch up with the West", as they try and justify it. China is a squalid oligopoly, and their hacking and spying is subject to no oversight whatsoever.

You can't compare the two. Our reasons are far more noble in intent.

Re:Snowden is fucked (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989889)

They are doing it to foil terrorist attacks (and they've gone on the record saying that gathered intelligence has foiled "dozens" of terrorists attacks).

Of course they would say that. How do we know it's actually true?

Western spying is subject to a tremendous amount of oversight by the right people (and if you'll excuse me, Slashdot keyboard warriors aren't "the right people").

The whole point of Snowden's leak is that that is not true. There is essentially no oversight. Definately not enough oversight to comply with the 4th amendment.

Re:Snowden is fucked (3, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989961)

They are doing it to foil terrorist attacks (and they've gone on the record saying that gathered intelligence has foiled "dozens" of terrorists attacks).

The cutest part is that you actually believe this crap. Yeah they pinky swear this time that it's only to catch terrorists. It not like the government has been caught secretly spying on US citizens before for political reasons.

Re:Snowden is fucked (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989611)

How is it treason? Is he levying war against the United States? Is he siding with the enemies of the United States?

Re:Snowden is fucked (0, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989695)

Yes. The reason why he's angered the US government so badly, is because he's divulged sensitive information that has damaged American interests. By telling the Chinese and the world that the US spies on them and leaking important details, he has empowered our enemies. Furthermore, he fled to China to escape US justice, and then did a weak post-hoc justification of fleeing to an enemy country by saying "well, they believe in free speech"(China! Free speech!).

I stand by what I said. He's knowingly committed suicide by doing this. He's shit on the country he was supposed to be serving, and has betrayed their interests. That's low.

Re:Snowden is fucked (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989767)

The Constitution specifically restricts treason to two cases: 1) levying war against the United States; 2) "adhering" to its enemies, which is generally taken to require explicitly joining them or allying with them. For example, someone who joined the Wehrmacht during WW2 would be guilty of treason. So would someone who joins Al-Qaeda today. Or someone who raises a private army and invades a U.S. territory.

Treason cannot be charged just for any act that harms the United States or benefits its enemies, but only the specific acts of levying war against the country or joining someone else who is doing so. The Founding Fathers were worried about the more expansive meaning of "treason" that had been in use in Europe, to mean anyone who is taken to betray their country's interests, so defined it much more narrowly in the Constitution.

Re:Snowden is fucked (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989829)

Yes. The reason why he's angered the US government so badly, is because he's divulged sensitive information that has damaged American interests. By telling the Chinese and the world that the US spies on them and leaking important details, he has empowered our enemies. Furthermore, he fled to China to escape US justice, and then did a weak post-hoc justification of fleeing to an enemy country by saying "well, they believe in free speech"(China! Free speech!).

I stand by what I said. He's knowingly committed suicide by doing this. He's shit on the country he was supposed to be serving, and has betrayed their interests. That's low.

"American Interests" pretty much amounts to "American Corporate Interests". Just chimed in to fix it for you. The interests of the population are irrelevant.

Re:Snowden is fucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989841)

He's shit on the country he was supposed to be serving, and has betrayed their interests.
 
100% agreed.
 
Oh, wait... sorry... you're not talking about Obama? Ok, my bad.

Re:Snowden is fucked (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989843)

... damaged American interests.

That is not the same as declaring war on the USofA.

By telling the Chinese and the world that the US spies on them and leaking important details, he has empowered our enemies.

How? Look up ECHELON. The story here is how much the USofA spies on its own citizens.

Furthermore, he fled to China to escape US justice, and then did a weak post-hoc justification of fleeing to an enemy country ...

So China is an "enemy country"?

Where do you think your mobile phone is manufactured? If they're an "enemy" then we certainly do a lot to help their economy and employment.

I stand by what I said. He's knowingly committed suicide by doing this.

Taking a stand is not the same as committing suicide.

Our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence knowing that their signatures would be used to convict them if they lost the war. But it was not a suicide pact. It was them standing up for their beliefs.

Anything else is tyranny.

Re:Snowden is fucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989905)

Saying china believes in free speech is like saying the US believes in free speech.

Re:Snowden is fucked (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989957)

The reason why he's angered the US government so badly, is because he's divulged sensitive information that has damaged American interests.

American interests are strictly limited by the Constitution. He may have damaged the interests of the criminals who run this country, but that's not the same as American interests.

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989771)

Is he siding with the enemies of the United States?

Bradley Manning wasn't siding with the enemy, yet he was charged for it anyway. Snowden is no different.

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989825)

I can't find a treason charge in the list of charges [wikipedia.org] . The closest is that he's charged with a military-specific count of "aiding the enemy" while serving as a U.S. soldier. That appears to be using the theory that releasing documents publicly constitutes "indirect means" of aiding the enemy, and any U.S. soldier who indirectly aids the enemy has violated military conduct rules. That's rather different from charging and proving a civilian charge of treason, which has a higher bar.

Re:Snowden is fucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989907)

The Founding Fathers committed treason because they held their principles in higher regard than their tyrants. There is no problem in calling what he did treason, even if you agree with what he did. I doubt anybody here knows the full story on this so it's naive to rush to judge. He could be a whistleblower, a misguided guy, or a true patriot of freedom. I don't think there is enough information to know which right now.

Re:Snowden is fucked (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989625)

Given the embarrassment he's caused for the US government, he will suffer consequences, there's no doubt about that.

There, I fixed it for you. I will never begrudge a man like Snowden who exposes constitutional violations by the government.

Re:Snowden is fucked (-1, Flamebait)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989645)

Oh right, you're an expert in constitutional law now?

Re:Snowden is fucked (2)

intermodal (534361) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989677)

If it's genuinely gotten so bad that it takes an expert to understand the plain words of the constitution, we're screwed anyway.

Re:Snowden is fucked (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989685)

I like the idea that our rights and laws can only be understood by specialized lawyers, but they're supposed to apply to us and ignorance is not a defense.

It's a completely irrational state of affairs, and the best part is when people criticize others using it.

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989853)

Well, if you want to match wits with veteran lawyers in court, with no training or special expertise in something involving your freedom and livelihood, you've got WAAAY bigger balls than me.

Constitutional law is another branch of the law, one, AIUI, which requires dedicated years of study to fully master.

But going on how people here (and in the Tea Party and the Right in general), you'd think interpreting the Constitution would be the easiest thing in the world. It's the Dunning Kruger Effect writ large.

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989955)

I see you're wholly on the NSA's side in this matter.

if you want to match wits with veteran lawyers in court, with no training or special expertise in something involving your freedom and livelihood, you've got WAAAY bigger balls than me.

Of course I wouldn't, it's his court and he's got a bloated, overblown rulebook full of over-interpretations of the constitution along with all the case law to go with it. Doesn't make him right and me wrong. If anything, it means that ignorance of the law is an excuse because I can't possibly know (or afford) to understand it.

you'd think interpreting the Constitution would be the easiest thing in the world

It was written such that it would be. That lawyers have deliberately muddled things doesn't change it.

It's the Dunning Kruger Effect writ large.

Note to all: attempting to understand your rights and the law without a law degree means you are incapable of recognizing your own incompetence. But this, of course, doesn't apply to benjfowler who is apparently right in all things.

Re:Snowden is fucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989791)

Oh right, you're an expert in constitutional law now?

Hang on, you now need to be a constitutional law expert to have the right to not begrudge Snowden for what he did?

What planet are you on?

Re:Snowden is fucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989871)

Oh right, you're an expert in constitutional law now?

Ever read the 4th? It is not that hard to understand. Even for a foreigner...

The guy is a hero (5, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989639)

This is a high-school dropout who gave up a $200k yr. job, an acrobat girlfriend and was living in Hawaii -- things I would have given my left nut to have.

Yes, he gave that all up because, get this, he is one of the few people in this nation that actually understands the Constitution.

The Constitution is the highest law in the land. It's supposed to control our government so they do not do PRECISELY what they are doing. It's supposed to prevent us from falling into tyranny.

But most of us do not care. He did. He's a hero.

Re:The guy is a hero (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989809)

No, he isn't. Everyone like you seems to think that privacy is the holy grail, BUT do NOT seem to think that the government should have any. Are you people just that stupid? Honestly, you seem to think that IF we act oblivious and believe that COMPLETE privacy is sacred, our enemies will kill us all like lemmings. You can argue from here to the moon, but the reality stays the same. Seriously, I want all of you to really give it some SERIOUS thought, not passing armchair rage.

Re:The guy is a hero (-1, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989895)

Are you nuts?

What he did, is not something a rational person would do. How can a kid of that age, with a shit-kicker job, have the maturity and mental capacity to understand the slightest thing about the issues he says he's addressing by committing this act?

To be honest, I think he deserves about as much sympathy as somebody dumb enough to try and cross a 12-lane motorway on foot. He doesn't know WTF he's doing and -- guess what? -- he's going to get ploughed.

Re:Snowden is fucked (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989669)

"Given the damage he's done to the US and the West, he will suffer consequences, there's no doubt about that."

Honest question: are you out of your mind?

He was pointing out damage the government has done , not causing any himself.

Treason is betraying The People of the United States. That's what the government was doing. Treason is NOT betraying the government, it is betraying The People.

A hero, on the other hand, is somebody who says "The public has A Need To Know, damn the torpedoes". That's what Snowden did.

I think you need to get your priorities examined.

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989733)

I disagree with you on this one, while I feel the Bradley Manning case is a clear case of violation of oath, and perhaps even treasonous, the case of Snowden is very different, he did not do a massive records dump that potentially endangered lives. He did not reveal specifics of active operations, etc. What he did was reveal activities that are a clear violation of constitutional rights by any sane reading of the constitution, releasing the minimal amount of details needed to do so.

Re:Snowden is fucked (4, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989757)

he has committed an extremely serious act of treason

Cunts like you are what has ruined this country. You probably would have voted for Nixon with glee.

The idea that exposing government malfeasance is treason is the most insidious bullshit I have ever heard. If the government does it, it IS illegal, and it SHOULD be exposed. Anything less is the real treason--treason against the people.

Re:Snowden is fucked (0, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989931)

What has the government actually done wrong?

Do you REALLY think the US intelligence community -- who employ the smartest people in a nation of 320 million people -- be stupid enough to invest billions of dollars setting up a surveillance operation if it could be trivially be proven to be illegal?

Occam's Razor applies here. The simplest explanation applies here -- what the government has done is perfectly legal, and the popular opinion that the US government has some something open-and-shut illegal is very likely mistaken.

Re:Snowden is fucked (5, Insightful)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989759)

I'm struggling to find sympathy for him personally, as he has committed an extremely serious act of treason.

Article 3, section 3 of the US Constitution: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

He most definitely has not committed treason. He did commit a crime by disclosing classified information, but I think we need to first investigate and determine whether the government was indeed breaking the law. It cannot be illegal to reveal classified information relating to illegal activity. Otherwise, our government would be able to act completely unchecked by simply choosing to classify information on what they are doing, with no justification.

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989823)

He most definitely has not committed treason. He did commit a crime by disclosing classified information, but I think we need to first investigate and determine whether the government was indeed breaking the law. It cannot be illegal to reveal classified information relating to illegal activity. Otherwise, our government would be able to act completely unchecked by simply choosing to classify information on what they are doing, with no justification.

What would be the situation if the information isn't actually true? Something that isn't true can't be classified, or at least I would think it can't?

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989793)

By doing what he did, he's ended himself as surely as if he'd put a gun to his own head. Except he'll probably have the US government do it for him (or if he's lucky, life in supermax).

I guess that part's right. If the guy who blew the lid off the Stubenville rapes could potentially get 10 years for exposing and embarrassing local authorities and school officials in a little Ohio hamlet, then I don't doubt they try to kill Snowden for this much more serious case of exposing wrongdoing.

The "crime" is not treason. The "crime" is calling out, exposing and embarrassing The Man in Power. The Man doesn't like that, and the bigger the man the more serious the penalty.

Re:Snowden is fucked (3)

Holi (250190) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989797)

I'm not sure his leak has done any damage at all. It's not like this program wasn't known about. Hell it was suspected of being this bad or worse. All his leak did was verify what people already thought.

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989813)

You know who else did that? George Washington. He commanded people to KILL armies of the government and probably killed some himself.

St. Augustine said 'an unjust law is not law at all.' In other words, an unjust law would be a law, that takes away ones freedom, or causes harm, or basically just causes chaos.

Seems to fit this crap to a T.

Re:Snowden is fucked (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989833)

Given the damage he's done to the US and the West

Snowden has done no damage to the US and the West. On the contrary, he has done us all a huge favor by bringing abuses of our rights to light.

Now, the criminals who set up this illegal surveillance program, THEY have done extreme damage to the US.

he has committed an extremely serious act of treason.

No, that would be the criminals responsible for implementing PRISM.

Re:Snowden is fucked (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989851)

What you call "the US and the West"? Their government/people on power or the population? I'd say by the numbers that he did a pretty great favor to the 99+% of the people on those regions. How much difference have in practice actual government with an occupation force, after all?

Sasha Cohen summed it up 2012 in The Dictator (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989557)

From the Dictator (2012) [youtube.com] - start at 0:28 for the meat.

And as somewhere here on /. said (to paraphrase) "NSA's wiretapping stopped the bombing in Boston. Right?"

We should scream that in every moron's ear who says they "feel safer" with this monitoring.

Thank You, Captain Obvious (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989565)

No, seriously - thank you.

Somebody had to have the balls to point this out to the ignorant masses.

I'm more shocked about the discussions around this (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989575)

A few things scare me about this topic so far (and it's mostly about discussion rather than the revelations):

- People aren't doing anything / can't do anything about this issue even if they wanted to
- People are actually siding with the government and defending them instead of fighting for privacy & freedom
- Big corporations could help us out but what good would storing every piece of user data in encrypted format do for them (no ad money based on our data = no free site anymore, they would just turn into free service providers for their service)
- American's politicians & lawyers are completely paid off by major corporations and if the root of all evil is not separated from the law of the land, you should not expect any freedom or privacy, and it's scary that the American population is more concered about TV shows like The Voice rather than their freedom...
-- No one's really willing to risk their lives or time because right now it's "just good enough", maybe you guys need to hit rock bottom first completely before any change happens or takes place :/

I'm not really sure what to say or do either, but I'm Canadian and the NSA is probably seeing this as well. Hi NSA, I love you!

- stoops

Re:I'm more shocked about the discussions around t (0, Troll)

Hartree (191324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989915)

"A few things scare me about this topic so far "

Let me sum up what scares you more simply: "Not everyone agrees with me on an issue that is a lot more nuanced than I portrayed it."

We all knew here at /. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989579)

We knew that. What is new is some of the details of the mechanisms, there is also a new catchy project name: Prism.

So, what will happen next? Back to apathy - as after Echelon, Swift etc...? Or is it different this time?

Possible outcomes, from more to less probable: 1; nothing, 2. people start fighting back using encryption; 3. governments stop abusing their power.

Piss and moan.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989585)

People put this data online and most it is sent unencrypted. It was pretty much a certainty that internet traffic was being intercepted. The only thing missing was confirmation. So why is it even news? The Internet generation cooked this soup and now they must eat it.

The real joke in all of this is that people still manage call the old Eastern Bloc countries surveillance states without blushing.

"all the facts" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989591)

That statement, that news shouldn't be published until "all the facts" are known is ludicrous. I'm no conspiracy nut, but we still don't have "all the facts" on the JFK assassination. But it would be silly to have ignored it, and just started referring to President Johnson one day.

Not news for the observant folks.... (5, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989593)

This is what happens when a government declares 'War' on an idea, or other abstract.

Crusades
Spanish Inquisition
Prohibition
The War on Drugs
The War on Terrorism
etc.

We don't seem able to learn from history, or past mistakes.
We have allowed the Constitution to be folded, spindled, and mutilated...then used for asswipe.

We are overdue for another Revolution.

Obligatory Quote (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989609)

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

Had to be said.

Re:Obligatory Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989655)

No it didn't.

Please stop saying this.

Re:Obligatory Quote (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989703)

"No it didn't. Please stop saying this."

Yes, it did, and fuck off.

Re:Obligatory Quote (0, Flamebait)

Camel Pilot (78781) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989745)

Why do people quote this like it were gospel.

Re:Obligatory Quote (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989769)

How about you explain what's wrong with it?

Re:Obligatory Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989923)

Because no liberty is essential and all safety is temporary.

This phrase is the crutch of weak minded people. To make the assertion that both concepts are mutually exclusive is short-sighted. Right now 1% of the U.S. population is incarcerated. Temporarily being deprived of liberty to ensure the essential safety of the general public.

Re:Obligatory Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989773)

Why do people quote this like it were gospel.

Because he was one of the founding fathers of the United States

Re:Obligatory Quote (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989831)

"Why do people quote this like it were gospel."

Not Gospel. History. People quote it because it has time and again proven to be historically accurate. People who trade freedom for security well end up getting neither. That's just the way it works.

While not directly related to the quote, here is an excellent description [fff.org] of the basic problem we are discussing in this topic.

---

Re:Obligatory Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989857)

And by god because ole Benny said it, it must be holy! What the hell do you think "government" is? It is a means of giving up certain liberties for protection against larger external threats. It is a balancing act. You cannot have complete freedom and have an effective government. It will not function.

civil society (5, Insightful)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989613)

life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society

would this be the same civil society whose past mediations have helped perpetuate the institution of slavery and policies of racial discrimination? or is this some other, perfectly enlightened civil society that has at some point between those primeval days and now descended from the heavens to rid us of the need for such crackpots and radicals as might resist its influence?

How does this make us "less free"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989671)

I don't get the "less free" assertion. All of the means of spying on citizens requires using recent technology.

If we only partake in activities we did in the 60s, we won't get monitored much. We are vastly, vastly more free than we ever were. It's just that to use certain types of technology, we have to accept that we're being watched. We still have choices - more than we ever did.

So now that you have lionized this guy as a hero (0)

compucomp2 (1776668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989675)

and he says what you don't want to hear said about American hacking of China, that you've been hacking us for years, what do you do now, hypocritical Americans? Of course, it's the embodiment of evil when the other team does it and just fine when your team does it, right?

Re:So now that you have lionized this guy as a her (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989781)

Do you think that anyone who sees Snowden as a hero considers NSA or CIA to be on their "team"?

Everyone isn't a nationalist, you know.

Re:So now that you have lionized this guy as a her (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989789)

I think you sort have missed the whole reaction on this website...

Most want to free him and lynch who he ratted out.

Ways to help (5, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989751)

From a previous post, here's the collected list of suggested actions people can take to help change things.

Have more ideas? Please post below.

Links worthy of attention:

http://anticorruptionact.org/ [anticorruptionact.org]

http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_the_republic_we_must_reclaim.html [ted.com]

http://action.fairelectionsnow.org/fairelections [fairelectionsnow.org]

http://represent.us/ [represent.us]

http://www.protectourdemocracy.com/ [protectourdemocracy.com]

http://www.wolf-pac.com/ [wolf-pac.com]

https://www.unpac.org/ [unpac.org]

http://www.thirty-thousand.org/ [thirty-thousand.org]

Suggestion #1:

(My idea): If people could band together and agree to vote out the incumbent (senator, representative, president) whenever one of these incidents crop up, there would be incentive for politicians to better serve the people in order to continue in office. This would mean giving up party loyalty and the idea of "lessor of two evils", which a lot of people won't do. Some congressional elections are quite close, so 2,000 or so petitioners might be enough to swing a future election.

Someone added: Vote them out AND remove their lifetime, taxpayer-funded, free health care. See how fast the health care system gets fixed.

Someone added:You can start by letting your house and senate rep know how you feel about this issue / patriot act and encourage those you know to do the same.

If enough people let their representivies know how they feel obviously those officials who want to be reelected will tend to take notice. We have seen what happens when wikipedia and google go "dark", congressional switchboards melt and the 180's start to pile up.

I added: Fax is considered the best way to contact a congressperson, especially if it is on corporate letterhead.

Suggestion #2:

Tor, I2dP and the likes. Let's build a new common internet over the internet. Full strong anonymity and integrity. Transform what an eavesdropper would see in a huge cypherpunk clusterfuck.

Taking back what's ours through technology and educated practices.

Let's go back to the 90' where the internet was a place for knowledgeable and cooperative people.

Someone Added: Let's go full scale by deploying small wireless routers across the globe creating a real mesh network as internet was designed to be!

Suggestion #3:

A first step might be understanding the extent towards which the government actually disagrees with the people. Are we talking about a situation where the government is enacting unpopular policies that people oppose? Or are we talking about a situation where people support the policies? Because the solutions to those two situations are very different.

In many cases involving "national security", I think the situation is closer to the second one. "Tough on X" policies are quite popular, and politicians often pander to people by enacting them. The USA Patriot Act, for example, was hugely popular when it was passed. And in general, politicians get voted out of office more often for being not "tough" on crime and terrorism and whatever else, than for being too over-the-top in pursuing those policies.

Suggestion #4:

What I feel is needed is a true 3rd party, not 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th parties, such as Green, Tea Party, Libertarian; we need an agreeable third party that can compete against the two majors without a lot of interference from small parties. We need a consensus third party.

Suggestion #5:

Replace the voting system. Plurality voting will always lead [wikipedia.org] to the mess we have now. The only contribution towards politics I've made in years was to fund Approval Voting video [indiegogo.com] . It's the best compromise for a replacement system. Work to get it allowed at your Town or City level, then we can take it higher.

Suggestion #6:

Paraphrasing: Start a social perception that working for evil is evil. Possibly connect this to religious beliefs, but in general shun people who have worked for the system as promoting evil (both in hiring and socially).

The post:

1) this kind of sht is morally wrong

2) thus, working for this kind of sht is morally wrong

3) thus, anybody who works for this kind of sht is going to hell, for
whatever your value of 'hell'.

4) you might say that 'i need the money from this gig', but

5) anybody who works for this kind of sht is feeding their kids but is
at the same time fscking over the kids' future bigtime. Your kids will
not forgive you for being the AC IRL.

From this, it should easily emerge that everybody should just stop working for this sht. No workers, no NSA. There needs to emerge a culture and a movement to encourage it. Shame the spineless coward who works for the Man! Shun him or tell him what he does is evil and his country hates him for it. Spread the word!

In other news... (0)

thundergeek (808819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989779)

All NFL teams will be required to share their entire playbook prior to the game and must request permission from the defense to execute a play. What part of national secrets does this guy not get? To be against government is one thing, but to literally tell our enemies what we do? DUMB!

Re:In other news... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43989887)

When you say telling the enemy do you mean because he told the citizens of the United States?
 
Why is it everyone keeps pointing at this guy an not a single fucking one of you treasonous bastards give a fuck about the constitution being raped and thus the government stepping out of its legal limits?
 
Obama has fucked us all and fuckers like you are the shit stains are trying to make they sound trivial. You're a betraying bitch, straight up.

Example of Transitive logic (4, Insightful)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about a year and a half ago | (#43989879)

Edward Snowden has defected to China.

Currently, only North Koreans will defect to China.

Therefore we can conclude that Snowden is from North Korea or a comparable nation.

Q.E.D.

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