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Why Snowden Did Right

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the information-wants-to-be-free-and-private dept.

Government 348

Bruce66423 writes: "Ebon Moglen Gives a comprehensive explanation of how the NSA's surveillance operations are a threat to a functioning democracy, and why there is a need for real change. There are interesting parallels to the Roman Empires: 'The power of that Roman empire rested in its leaders' control of communications. ... The emperors invented the posts to move couriers and messages at the fastest possible speed. Using that infrastructure, with respect to everything that involved the administration of power, the emperor made himself the best-informed person in the history of the world. That power eradicated human freedom. "Remember," said Cicero to Marcellus in exile, "wherever you are, you are equally within the power of the conqueror.'

Nowadays, 'Our military listeners have invaded the centre of an evolving net, where conscriptable digital superbrains gather intelligence on the human race for purposes of bagatelle and capitalism. In the US, the telecommunications companies have legal immunity for their complicity, thus easing the way further. The invasion of our net was secret, and we did not know that we should resist. But resistance developed as a fifth column among the listeners themselves. Because of Snowden, we now know that the listeners undertook to do what they repeatedly promised respectable expert opinion they would never do. They always said they would not attempt to break the crypto that secures the global financial system. That was false.'"

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The Roman Empire? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47100977)

I think they had slaves before there was an empire, let alone before the couriers.

Re:The Roman Empire? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101323)

The only thing Edward Snowden did wrong was publicly identify himself. If you think Obama and Holder give a damn about the US Constitution and Bill of Rights you are seriously delusional. Obama, a constitutional lawyer, is a traitor and should be impeached and executed by hanging by the neck until dead. Holder, after death by firing squad, can be the the "dead weight" added to Obama to ensure the traitorous POTUS dies a quick death and doesn't linger one moment longer. Their corpses incinerated and intermingled with Anthrax before being incinerated a second in in kerosene.

Re:The Roman Empire? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101537)

The only thing Edward Snowden did wrong was publicly identify himself. If you think Obama and Holder give a damn about the US Constitution and Bill of Rights you are seriously delusional. Obama, a constitutional lawyer, is a traitor and should be impeached and executed by hanging by the neck until dead. Holder, after death by firing squad, can be the the "dead weight" added to Obama to ensure the traitorous POTUS dies a quick death and doesn't linger one moment longer. Their corpses incinerated and intermingled with Anthrax before being incinerated a second in in kerosene.

Don't hold back. Tell us how you really feel!

Re:The Roman Empire? (4, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 5 months ago | (#47101581)

If you're going to put Obama in that category then I have to add George W Bush to the list and most of Congress who also went along with violations of the Constitution too.

Re:The Roman Empire? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#47101637)

Exactly; most of our elected officials, at both the federal and state levels, have committed similar crimes.

Re:The Roman Empire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101781)

Also add Clinton(D) and Gore(D) for expanding Echelon, and creating NSA-Key and CALEA.

Re:The Roman Empire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101607)

Yes, what he should have done was had 1000 fellow slaves proclaim themselves Spartacus instead.

Then they'd all be crucified.

Hah hah hah (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47100989)

Apparently the NSA and CIA don't want us to read that - the link points to how / when to write a kernel module.

Re:Hah hah hah (1)

giltwist (1313107) | about 5 months ago | (#47101077)

Apparently the NSA and CIA don't want us to read that - the link points to how / when to write a kernel module.

It's been fixed now, but it totally pointed to http://www.linuxvoice.com/be-a... [linuxvoice.com] originally

thank you Snowden (5, Insightful)

watcher-rv4 (2712547) | about 5 months ago | (#47101007)

If somebody did something right in the last decades, politically speaking, was Snowden.

Re:thank you Snowden (0, Troll)

xevioso (598654) | about 5 months ago | (#47101161)

Me talk pretty one day

Not rocket science (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101209)

If you trust coercive authority, then snowden did wrong. If you do not trust coercive authority, then snowden did right.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of human beings (regardless of where they live in the world) DO trust coercive authority, and this of course makes life a hell of a lot easier for the elite the top of the power pyramid.

Not rocket science (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101483)

Hah, If nothing else, that he's being shielded by a true tyrant is evidence of what side of right he's truly on.

Re:Not rocket science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101643)

Are you saying it would have been in his best interest to allow the federal goverment get hold of him?

Re:Not rocket science (-1, Flamebait)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#47101649)

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Nice try, Obamabot.

Re:Not rocket science (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101709)

The United States government introducing a surveillance reform bill, no matter how insignificant, is ADMISSION that they are doing wrong and that Snowden is right.

The US populace is also full of traitors. People such as yourself, who believe that government spying, harassment, false imprisonment and stripping of liberties is somehow justifiable. The fact of that matter is that you're simply a coward and an idiot.

Re:thank you Snowden (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#47101269)

If somebody did something right in the last decades, politically speaking, was Snowden.

My daughter had to write an essay for her high school literature class about someone she considered to be a hero. Three kids wrote their essay about Edward Snowden. No one else was picked by more than one student. I have hope for the next generation. Maybe they will do better than we are doing.

Re:thank you Snowden (1)

watcher-rv4 (2712547) | about 5 months ago | (#47101391)

Just made my day. Glad to read this.

Re:thank you Snowden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101379)

If somebody did something right in the last decades, politically speaking, was Snowden.

Because of his actions, we will have less privacy and less national security. Therefore, I vote no.

Does anyone really think that these leaks are going to cause the NSA to do less?

Re:thank you Snowden (2)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 5 months ago | (#47101477)

Just take another Blue Pill, you'll feel all right.

Re:thank you Snowden (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 5 months ago | (#47101595)

No. You will have the same amount of privacy and national security than without him. But now you have better means to actually estimate it.

What was suspiciously absent from the debate about Mr. Snowden was the question, how many people before him did the same stunt internally, but didn't came forward and informed the world. The internal security at the NSA seems to have been lousy, and it is quite possible that there have been many more leaks, but they went to the highest bidder and not to investigative journalists.

Re:thank you Snowden (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 5 months ago | (#47101421)

But could he have done it better?
It seems that he took the dramatic going out in a blaze of glory method, and not more a way where he gone threw the right channels.

What I think is more important isn't what the NSA did, but the fact that there didn't seem to be a policy to whistle blow without causing all the fuss. A policy where they could have quietly ruled the action illegal. Stopped it, without getting the world so pissy towards the United States.

That is the debate I want to hear, not about NSA doing bad stuff, that has already gone threw the courts and deemed illegal. But the real question of how can Secrete Organizations have checks and balances in place to prevent this type of showmanship leak, where questionable rules are evaluated and judged without having to explode to the world.

Re:thank you Snowden (4, Informative)

digsbo (1292334) | about 5 months ago | (#47101481)

This has repeatedly been shown to be impossible. People who continue to argue that he should have gone through legal channels need only read this: http://www.usatoday.com/story/... [usatoday.com]

I'm not sure how many more times this question needs to be asked and answered. The NSA, or any other unaccountable power structure, will not self-regulate.

Re:thank you Snowden (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 5 months ago | (#47101655)

It is only impossible, because no one is willing to try to solve the problem.
The opponents to the NSA wants everything public anyways, so there is no motivation in good government of an organization they don't like.
The proponents on the NSA want to keep things as is.

The problem with today's time, is compromise means weakness on your view. Because a good compromise is where both sides are unhappy. However both sides get a little more then they want, and often things move forward.

Re:thank you Snowden (1)

watcher-rv4 (2712547) | about 5 months ago | (#47101519)

Why is so terrible to explode to the world?

He picked two journalists, very very carefully by the way, from the Guardian.
What do you expect him to do? Go for CNN?

I mean, IMO, he went down to a very safe road.
He couldn't be another Assange, wouldn't work.

Re:thank you Snowden (3, Informative)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 5 months ago | (#47101563)

US intelligence agencies operate with a policy of misinformation, they work from the top-down to indoctrinate their members that what they do is right, and for the good of the nation, and mustn't be revealed. Policy makers that are brought into this discussion are treated to the same indoctrination; taught that their cooperation is necessary to prevent "terrorism," a conveniently nebulous force that we all know can never truly be defeated. Read about how the NSA avoided or defeated policies that would rein in surveillance for the past 13 years. [newyorker.com]

Re:thank you Snowden (0)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 5 months ago | (#47101577)

Because every contractor has the right to overrule the democratically elected government when they think they are right. What could possibly go wrong with that?

One more blowout (5, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 months ago | (#47101021)

Greenwald's Finale: Naming Victims of Surveillance
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/05/26/greenwalds_finale_naming_victims_of_surveillance_122747.html [realclearpolitics.com]

The source article [thesundaytimes.co.uk] is paywalled

Re:One more blowout (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101449)

That article sounds a little off. For instance, they call Aldrich Ames a "former colleague" of Snowden's.. even though Aldrich Ames was a CIA analyst and had nothing to do with the NSA, and was jailed well over 20 years before Snowden's leaks. I guess they could be comparing them in the vague idea that they both leaked documents, except that Ames was selling classified information from the CIA to Moscow. The two are nothing alike.

bad link (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47101031)

I have no idea where that link is supposed to take you, it's entirely wrong (way to go editors)
But here's the start of a 4 part talk by Eben Moglen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

The Empire never ended (0, Flamebait)

jtnix (173853) | about 5 months ago | (#47101043)

And thusly, as Philip K Dick [wikipedia.org] correctly asserted in 1973: The Empire never ended.

I hope people aren't really surprised by the fact that our history of illustrious leaders never intended for there to be a true democracy anywhere in the world. I mean, that's mob rule after all and we can't have that!

Re:The Empire never ended (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 5 months ago | (#47101359)

BLACK IRON PRISON

The theophany of the pink beam/Zebra/VALIS.

All true.

Correct URL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101051)

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/may/27/-sp-privacy-under-attack-nsa-files-revealed-new-threats-democracy

Almost... (1, Flamebait)

Libertarian_Geek (691416) | about 5 months ago | (#47101053)

From TFA:"Nowadays, 'Our military listeners have invaded the centre of an evolving net, where conscriptable digital superbrains gather intelligence on the human race for purposes of bagatelle and capitalism."

It's not capitalism if the government has its hooks in every aspect of trade and communications.

Re:Almost... (4, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 5 months ago | (#47101129)

It's not democracy if capitalism has its hooks in every aspect of government.

Re:Almost... (2)

Libertarian_Geek (691416) | about 5 months ago | (#47101259)

If you're saying that we have neither capitalism nor democracy, then I agree.

Now what are we going to do about it?

Re:Almost... (0, Troll)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 5 months ago | (#47101305)

I'm saying we have ENTIRELY TOO MUCH unfettered capitalism, which is blindingly obvious to any non-libertardian. Your fantasy world is just that: a fantasy.

Re:Almost... (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 5 months ago | (#47101469)

I'm saying we have ENTIRELY TOO MUCH unfettered capitalism, which is blindingly obvious to any non-libertardian. Your fantasy world is just that: a fantasy.

Yeah? You're just trying to stop visionaries from colonizing other planets, and living forever in the company of advanced beings like Peter Thiel and Sergey Brin. Democracy is just so much "Harrison Bergeron" to these Ubermensch.

Re:Almost... (2)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 5 months ago | (#47101409)

Do we really practice the rights we have being part of a democracy? In my opinion the answer is no. We just go about our days and most of us don't really care about politics. Proof of this is the declining election attendance. You'll say it's not that important but what people forget is that it's a right that was acquired through hard work. This is especially true for women and African Americans.

Just like voting, getting involved in political circles is how you make change happen. If you aren't happy with something then you can get involved in local politics or at the least in your local community where you enjoy a better chance of being heard. To act as if one has no power is not exactly how you make change happen.

The common excuse for not participating is the lack of time yet the same people who will throw that argument at me are usually the ones talking about all the current reality shows...

Re:Almost... (2)

thedonger (1317951) | about 5 months ago | (#47101341)

It's not democracy if capitalism has its hooks in every aspect of government.

Capitalism doesn't have hooks it can put in government. A government highly influenced by corporations is cronyism, or straight out bribery. And lest we give "Big Academia" a pass, a government highly influenced by large universities with millions of dollars is also cronyism.

Re:Almost... (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#47101357)

So, essentially, in a communist world, the government controls the industry, and in a capitalist world it's exactly the opposite thereof?

Uh... can I choose "neither"?

Re:Almost... (1)

imikem (767509) | about 5 months ago | (#47101467)

Sure, it's called "Afghanistan".

Re:Almost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101675)

The USA is not a democracy anyway. It is a constitutional republic.

bait and switch (1)

bigwheel (2238516) | about 5 months ago | (#47101075)

The linky points to a kernel hacking article.

But that's not all Snowden did... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101085)

If all Snowden had done was blow the whistle on domestic surveillance programs, I'd agree entirely.

But doing a massive document dump that included things the NSA is *supposed* to do - spy on non-US countries - puts Snowden in another category. What that category winds up being is going to be decided by history. But it won't be that of a simple whistleblower doing nothing but good.

Because the only people who claim that have "harming the US" as a goal. (At least have the balls to admit that, please.)

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (-1, Troll)

petrus4 (213815) | about 5 months ago | (#47101217)

Because the only people who claim that have "harming the US" as a goal.

I don't think anyone should have harming the American people , as a goal, at all. The complete abolition of the American government , on the other hand, is a goal which I think is overwhelmingly in the interests of humanity as an entire species, and in seeking such, the American people themselves should be leading the charge.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101257)

Abolition of the government? Go fuck yourself, pothead.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (1)

fakeid (242403) | about 5 months ago | (#47101279)

Because the only people who claim that have "harming the US" as a goal.

I don't think anyone should have harming the American people , as a goal, at all. The complete abolition of the American government , on the other hand, is a goal which I think is overwhelmingly in the interests of humanity as an entire species, and in seeking such, the American people themselves should be leading the charge.

So how do you imagine we "abolish the US government" without harming the people? It's easy to point out the "bad", "evil", (and the favorite of the anarchist/libertarian sort) "facist" things the US governemnt does while ignoring the massive good it has done. Of course, if looking through a very narrow lens helps suport your cause, I guess you're free to do that, and somehow get positive mod points for it. Guess you brought friends, eh? Just remember, the evil government is what is allowing you to post negatively about it. Try the same in any of many more oppressive countries out there.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (1)

thedonger (1317951) | about 5 months ago | (#47101407)

Because the only people who claim that have "harming the US" as a goal.

I don't think anyone should have harming the American people , as a goal, at all. The complete abolition of the American government , on the other hand, is a goal which I think is overwhelmingly in the interests of humanity as an entire species, and in seeking such, the American people themselves should be leading the charge.

So how do you imagine we "abolish the US government" without harming the people? It's easy to point out the "bad", "evil", (and the favorite of the anarchist/libertarian sort) "facist" things the US governemnt does while ignoring the massive good it has done. Of course, if looking through a very narrow lens helps suport your cause, I guess you're free to do that, and somehow get positive mod points for it. Guess you brought friends, eh? Just remember, the evil government is what is allowing you to post negatively about it. Try the same in any of many more oppressive countries out there.

Let's not forget that what most people dislike (or hate) about the U.S. government is something outside the intentions it was founded upon. It wasn't supposed to become a rich man's club running at the behest of other rich people.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (2)

fakeid (242403) | about 5 months ago | (#47101553)

Let's not forget that what most people dislike (or hate) about the U.S. government is something outside the intentions it was founded upon. It wasn't supposed to become a rich man's club running at the behest of other rich people.

I'll agree with that. I still don't think "abolish the government" is the answer, though. Right now the American people are getting exactly the government they "want". They complain (and rightly so), but they also keep voting for the same people who are following the will of their corporate overlords, and without the corporate overlords money, they won't be able to run the ads to convince people (who get 99% of their news from commercials) to vote for them. I'm not sure how we orchestrate such a change, and nobody has been able to do it so far (though that would be an interesting discussion to have).

Did you see who started it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101615)

You, apparently, are not bright enough to realize that the country was founded by a bunch of rich men throwing out a tyrant. Now, you the puppet of a tyrant.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101665)

So how do you imagine we "abolish the US government" without harming the people?

Posting anon to preserve moderation.

Notice that GP said it would be "overwhelmingly in the interests of humanity as an entire species". Clearly that this would still be possible even if it is harmful to the American people, so long as it's sufficiently beneficial to non-Americans. Of course, this consideration of non-Americans isn't typical of Americans, so I can see why you'd immediately overlook it.

It's easy to point out the "bad", "evil", (and the favorite of the anarchist/libertarian sort) "facist" things the US governemnt does while ignoring the massive good it has done.

Again, if you take a step back and think of America from an outside point of view, it's not quite so clear that we're a driving force for "good". Sure, we've done some good things (as well as some bad), but it's not quite the clear picture that you paint it to be. That there are other countries that are worse does not mean that we are "good".

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (5, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about 5 months ago | (#47101273)

You presume that U.S. citizens are the only ones whose rights matter. Don't feel bad—many of us U.S. citizens think the same way. But you will find if you talk to citizens of other countries, like Germany and Canada and France, that they also care about these issues, and care that the NSA, GCHQ and others have spied on them. And, more importantly, the techniques that the NSA has used to pwn the net are so damaging that even when they are used for legitimate foreign policy reasons, the harm they do to our domestic interests is massive. And the bugs they planted in Cisco router firmware are even worse: they have motivated people to use Chinese tech instead of American tech, and in the process likely created an opportunity for the Chinese government to collect intelligence in our stead. Is that better than nobody being able to collect the intelligence?

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101363)

When speaking of NSA activities, American citizens *are* the only ones who matter.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (1)

Andtalath (1074376) | about 5 months ago | (#47101489)

Except when it disrupts the approximate 7 billion living outside the US.

Which of course is all the time.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (5, Insightful)

c4320n (2551122) | about 5 months ago | (#47101499)

Preposterous. 'Just following orders' (or, 'Just following our directive', as it were) is no excuse. Every human being has an inalienable set of rights, and surveillance violates these rights; culpability for that violation exists regardless of the NSA's ostensibly-foreign 'jurisdiction'.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101725)

Posting anon to preserve moderation.

Much like when speaking of Taliban activities, Afghani citizens *are* the only ones who matter. Right?

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#47101513)

you will find if you talk to citizens of other countries, like Germany and Canada and France, that they also care about these issues, and care that the NSA, GCHQ and others have spied on them.

Just curious, did any of those citizens of other countries say that it was wrong for THEIR country's intelligence agencies to spy on people from other countries?

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (1)

mellon (7048) | about 5 months ago | (#47101663)

You're kidding, right? Do you not follow the news? Of course they did, just like we are doing here in the U.S.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 months ago | (#47101333)

But doing a massive document dump that included things the NSA is *supposed* to do - spy on non-US countries

It's hilarious how Americans are not at all bothered by the US spying on the whole rest of the world, including their own allies.

Fuck those guys right? Only Americans deserve any privacy that doesn't need to be taken through digital superiority.

Nah I'm just kidding, it's actually worse than that. They don't think about how many foreigners' privacy they invade any more than they think about how many ants they run over on their morning commute.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101571)

Your government is negligent if it's not doing the same.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 5 months ago | (#47101587)

"You're an idiot if you're not trying to rob me too!" said the burglar to the victim.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101343)

True. Also, if he had wanted to do something right, he would have done it anonymously. Instead he did it for his own benefit, which means he isn't a hero, he's a huge douchebag.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101539)

1) There was no way he was going to remain anonymous forever. It was going to come out eventually. Someone in the government would have figured it out. By stepping forward, he did it on his own terms

2) By doing so, he has severely damaged his future. He has no hope of ever being able to return to his home country that he loves. Nor can he go most anywhere else in the world. He's pretty much stuck in Russia, which I'm not sure is really his first choice of places to live. And he's gonna have to watch his back for the rest of his life.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101701)

Every single thing you do is for your own benefit in one way or another. So we are all douchebags, including you.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101361)

If all Snowden had done was blow the whistle on domestic surveillance programs, I'd agree entirely.

But doing a massive document dump that included things the NSA is *supposed* to do - spy on non-US countries

Not according to international laws. Of course, if one is of the opinion that everybody outside of the U.S.A. is subhuman and that international laws and treaties are fair game, that's something else. It's not the view of the U.S. constitution, but everybody in the U.S. feels fine wiping his ass with it.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101435)

the only people who claim that have "harming the US" as a goal

Only if you draw no distinction between coercive authority (government) and the subjects of coercive authority (the people). I do, and therefore, I can support actions which discredit or even harm government (or their agenda) without simultaneously having a goal of "harming the people".

On the other hand, if you see no difference between the rulers and the ruled, then any setback to the rulers necessarily harms the ruled to the same extent (because they are one and the same). Of course, this is quite a convienient philosophy for those aiming to expand the domain of coercive authority.

Almost (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 5 months ago | (#47101497)

If the NSA only spied for military purposes on foreign governments, I would see your point. The NSA spied on German citizens, not just their military. Since it's all "secret" we really don't know a motive, but looking at how the police there shut down demonstrations real time similar to how OWS was shut down in the US you should be questioning their handling and use of the data. I could point to similar incidents in the UK, where again the NSA was spying on citizens not just military with similar results.

Other reports have mentioned things like industrial espionage being done by the NSA. Again, since it's all "secret" we only know what's been leaked, and what's been leaked is their capabilities more than their actions. In other words, we don't know everything they have been doing with all the data they collect.

This paints a rather eerie picture of what the NSA is really doing as an agency.

Sure, I'll defend the average agent who believes they are just going a job and defending the USA. As a Veteran I defend soldiers with the same beliefs. The agency they work for however, does not deserve the same defense when you consider a long series of known abuses.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101585)

I agree that spying on foreign communications, including communications of our allies, should be governed by treaty obligations and not by the 4th amendment of the US Constitution and are therefore fair game for the NSA.

However, To get the word out about the illegal and unconstitutional activities in the United States it really was necessary to understand the scope of spying inside the United States on all Americans within the context of the whole of the spying programs. On balance I believe that Snowden did what was necessary in a responsible way to expose some really massive violations of our constitution and that holds sway over my judgement and I hope it will hold sway over history's judgement. The fault is not with Snowden, but with the people that perpetrated and perpetuate those abuses of power even now.

Ultimately history's important judgement won't be about Snowden, rather history will judge what we all did to preserve Liberty for future generations here in the United States.

But that's not all Snowden did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101671)

Amen.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (2)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 5 months ago | (#47101703)

Actually that's the CIA's job. The NSA is supposed to do internal counterespionage.

Re:But that's not all Snowden did... (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 months ago | (#47101771)

...included things the NSA is *supposed* to do - spy on non-US countries...

I guess some of that depends on your interpretation of what the NSA is "supposed to do". The Intelligence world is a bit funny in that, probably every country's Intelligence agencies are doing some things that they're are in some ways illegal and unethical, like spying on private communications of their allies' leaders. Are they "supposed to do" those things? I don't know.

One line answer - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101109)

because you or I can't prove our rights are being violated unless the Supreme Court pulls their heads out of unconstitutional storage.

Believe Glenn Greenwald's book got it perfect . . (5, Informative)

sgt_doom (655561) | about 5 months ago | (#47101115)

No Place To Hide

by Glenn Greenwald

The full force and impact of this book on NSA's full spectrum domestic and international surveillance cannot be stressed enough; what we have heard and read in various international news articles is gathered here at one source, to be read to fully grasp the enormity of it all!

When those of us who served in the military, and worked for various organizations for the NSA (Naval Security Group, or NSG, Army Security Agency, or the ASA, USAF Security Service), the agency was strictly forbidden from domestic surveillance --- for that way lies ultimate power!

During Reagan's administration, in 1988, the NSA was transferred from civilian status to the domain of the Department of Defense, under control of the Pentagon.

Such action initiated what Greenwald so aptly describes as its present incarnation of Orwellian dimensions.

Although Glenn cogently describes its financial intelligence spying, only those who have been diligently following the financial investigative journalism of Matt Taibbi, Pam Martens and Nomi Prins will fully appreciate the significance of this.

When NSA's full spectrum intelligence is disseminated to its clients --- the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Justice, etc. --- it is being likewise dispersed to Wall Street (DOT = Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, DOA = Big Agra, or ADM, Cargill, Monsanto, etc., and DOJ = Wall Street's white-shoe firms, etc.).

This is a slight peek behind the curtain of the unholy financial-intelligence-complex which sits atop the pyramid of control.

Remember that Edward Snowden was a contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton, and has proven to the world his unimaginable and extraordinary access to the most senstive of NSA programs --- and who owns Booz Allen?

One of the top private equity/leveraged buyout firms (private banks), the Carlyle Group, with the likes of George H.W. Bush as a past advisor, and with the original seed money coming from the Mellon family.

Thusly we must ask just how much access to global financial intelligence do these private banks routinely enjoy, along with their publicly owned cousins, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs?

When NSA intercepts shipments of routers, switches and other network devices to insert backdoor software and hardware to reroute data communications back to them --- it isn't about national security --- just financial intelligence --- had anyone of those traitors ever been concerned with real national security they would have sounded the alarm about the offshoring of jobs, technology and investment to China and elsewhere!

When the Boeing subsidiary, Narus (or other similar firms), aids totalitarian countries to capture pro-democracy activists for torture and death, so too does the NSA help in preemptive arrests of American activists and community organizers, as well as members of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

As one National Intelligence Officer is quoted in the book as stating, "...this is about vast profit..."

[Please see the bottom of p. 224 and top of p. 225 to understand why no one should give a rat's ass at the recent firing of New York Times executive editor, Jill Abramson.]

This is a fantastic book not to be missed!

Additional sources and pertinent sites:

http://electrospaces.blogspot.... [blogspot.com]

https://www.aclu.org/sites/def... [aclu.org]

http://www.mindmeister.com/326... [mindmeister.com]

http://www.wikileaks-forum.com... [wikileaks-forum.com]

NSA activities about as unknwon as VA lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101157)

Nothing but forgetting history is to blame. And it's a damn short history.

WTH - posting not allowed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101181)

Link points to an article on how/when to write a kernel module - what's going on Slashdot?

NSA pressuring you? or did they just hack you to redirect the story?

Snowden didn't do right. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101185)

The whole premise of the article is insane, but the SlashDerps will eat it up because they like pretending that a geek traitor is a hero.

Revealing domestic surveillance was good, revealing state secrets regarding spying on foreign nations was nothing but treachery.

I don't think that Snowden meant to be evil, and he probably has delusions of being a hero, but really he's just a dupe of America-hating activist-blogger Glenn Greenwald, who's now trying to monetize the stolen data.

Re:Snowden didn't do right. (1)

watcher-rv4 (2712547) | about 5 months ago | (#47101347)

Bulk record of all phone calls in Bahamas its ok then?

You are talking this because you are an american trying to protect the darkest interests of your country.
Why don't we put these darkest interests in subject?

Why, in the hell, any country (even mine) have the right to record my phone calls, track my e-mails, access all my data?

NSA extended their surveillance out of limits for both American citizens and foreign countries. This, is, not, right.

Re:Snowden didn't do right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101629)

Revealing domestic surveillance was good, revealing state secrets regarding spying on foreign nations was nothing but treachery.

The problem was, he had so much info, there was no realistic way for him to sort through it all in a reasonable timeframe. On the other hand, he could have picked out specific documents for release, but so much valuable info would have been missed because there was no way he could have gone through it all.

Soviet Russian(not a joke) (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 5 months ago | (#47101265)

If you think back 40-50, one of the primary criticism of Soviet Russia was that no one in that country did any real work. In industry you sat around all day playing chess, and the governement most spent it's time surveilling itself and everyone else. While this was an exaggeration, the point should be well taken. The purpose of a governement is to govern, and if too many resources are spent spying, if the stability is so strained that constant monitoring of citizens is required, then that nation-state is not going to survive very long. It is not only the expense, it is the waste of talent, the existence of meaningless jobs. This later is really death to a country. If young people know they need no real education because they can just chill in the military or hang out and drink vodka while spying on other people, why would they bother to gain real skills?

Re:Soviet Russian(not a joke) (4, Insightful)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 months ago | (#47101545)

I think you'll find that the NSA is relatively efficient at what it does in terms of its mission statement. That's the more chilling analogy here. 40 to 50 years ago it took massive amounts of "feet on the street" to gather intelligence along with lots of time to analyze the information. Now with wholesale wiretapping of all forms of communication there's not much that our government can't learn about nearly every citizen in the country. By nearly we have to think of kids who aren't on the Internet or have a cell phone yet. If you start to tie together the communications surveillance with the amount of surveillance that goes on from commercial entities and local law enforcement a profile on the behaviors and destinations of every American is now at hand. Your license plates on your car are tracked, your credit card/banking transactions tracked. Your travel is now tracked both by "chipped" passports and airline itineraries. Even your transit pass is tracking you. We may have backed into our Orwellian surveillance world in the name of easy shopping or "security" but that certainly doesn't mean that we have to allow it to continue. That's the failure of our democracy right now, we're failing to push our leadership to dismantle this system and to push for legislation that would outlaw these wholesale collection processes in the first place.

We have always been at War with East Asia (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 months ago | (#47101355)

And questioning this threatens the natural order where the top 0.01 percent get 50 percent of the GDP gain while the rest is divided amongst the upper classes.

Not sure what happens to workers. Big Brother will take care of them.

Good grief. Get a dictionary. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101389)

The United States is not a democracy. It never has been. We use a democratic election process to elect representatives. That means we live in a republic. Which, coincidentally, is what the Romans had before they were an empire.
But a republic is what the founding fathers had in mind. A true democracy would not work in America. And if you doubt that, learn what a true democracy entails.

But has anything changed becaose of this? NO! (1)

madhatter256 (443326) | about 5 months ago | (#47101397)

They are still tapping phones, they are still encroaching on our very-so-precious privacy. I don't want NSA to hear me talk sex with a russian prostitute overseas. It's my right as an American to do what I want behind closed doors....

Snowden is just popular because it's cool to disrupt the status-quo and by doing so, he is therefore part of the status-quo - meaning nothing has changed and nothing will ever change because there is nothing that needs to be changed...

Complexity (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 5 months ago | (#47101399)

Civilizations collapse when they become to complex to manage, and are no longer able to adapt to perturbations (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Tainter).

The meddling of the NSA, with the resulting responses (everything encrypted, tor, darkmail, privacy protections, binning Cisco/Huawei routers, general distrust and added security overhead) has added a huge burden to the system. This unintended consequence makes the system unstable and counterproductive to the aims of the NSA.

The internet used to be a nice shiny toy until the government broke it.

One chance (3, Interesting)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 5 months ago | (#47101411)

The author makes good points, that the only way such surveillance could be allowed to occur is with informed consent, and that's what Snowden gave us the opportunity to do.

I think the upcoming two elections in the US, 2014 and 2016, will be the most important votes cast in the history of the world. The US Government with the actions of the NSA has essentially imprisoned the entire world with invisible bars. When everything you say is recorded and monitored and the military/LEO might exists to punish you immediately and thoroughly, you are not free. You can't see the bars, but you're still a prisoner.

The rest of the world has no ability to dismantle the prison. They do not get a say in the working of the US Government. Force is not an option as the US military outstrips every other force on earth combined.

Domestically, protest is worthless. Those in power do not listen, do not care, and target those who protest with their surveillance state, as evidenced by the reaction to Occupy Wall Street.

The one and only way to dismantle the prison is for the voters of the United States to vote only for candidates who promise to dismantle it, and then hold them accountable for doing so. That's it. It's the only way to dismantle the system. Force won't work, protests won't work, only voting will.

So this is it. If the American voters reject the surveillance state in 2014 and 2016, there's hope. But if they don't, if they don't care, if they vote for establishment candidates who will keep the system in place, then that's it. The surveillance state will exist with the informed consent of the US voters, the mandate is set, and the doors to the world prison will clink shut, with little to no chance of ever opening again. To the rest of the world, your only hope is the United States voting public.

Cowards (5, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about 5 months ago | (#47101459)

The sad truth is the majority of Americans are fundamentally cowards. That, combined with the human tendency to grossly over estimate the risks from rare events with severe consequences creates this problem.

Unlike a war which happens over there terrorist acts can happen anywhere. If they can happen anywhere, they can happen here, to me! Gasp!

Look at the hysteria that occurred when the anthrax mailings were going on. People were reporting "white powder" everywhere and breathlessly telling each other "that could've been me, I could have DIED".

No, not really. Unless you were a postal worker, you had a bigger chance of being kicked to death by a wild mule than you did of encountering anthrax in a package.

The sad truth is people play their potential role up in their mind because they think their lives are boring and uneventful. A terrorist attack may be horrible, but it is exciting, too. People do the same thing with celebrities. "OMG! I ate dinner in the same restaurant as Justin Bieber! He was there the night before!"

Add all of that together and you get a lot of people who will gladly give up lots of freedom for a little (perceived) security.

You are being a bit - a bit - unfair. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101687)

Americans are afraid because the media - especially Fox News who prays upon old people;the majority of voters during the mid-terms - has instilled fear to generate ratings.

TV, Internet and radio news is evil and for stupid people.

Spread the word.

Re:Cowards (2)

NetFu (155538) | about 5 months ago | (#47101715)

The truth is, human beings as a whole are fundamentally cowards. Until you understand and accept that, you can't really even begin to understand human beings and their motivations.

You just can't say you could pick a handful of people from any country in any part of the world and expect them to act any different than you describe in your examples.

Re:Cowards (1)

chill (34294) | about 5 months ago | (#47101739)

I agree, but don't have enough experience with people from too many other countries to speak in that general sense. I'm immersed in American culture and thus see it every day.

Re:Cowards (4, Interesting)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 5 months ago | (#47101753)

The sad truth is the majority of Americans, at least the stereotype I apply to them, are fundamentally cowards. That, combined with the human tendency to grossly over estimate the risks from rare events with severe consequences creates this problem.

There. FTFY.

Americans aren't any different from other humans. There are smart ones, dumb ones, good ones and bad ones. Over the past century, geography and good luck (much more so than good planning), gave the American middle class a historic run. Now that's changing again, and Americans are struggling to keep what they have. Most feel they don't have time to focus on government shenanigans, which is a shame, because those who own the government are taking away the security and liberty Americans used to have.

This makes some Americans paranoid, others complacent, and still others cling more tightly to the idea of American exceptionalism. All of this seems to push folks to act against their own self-interest. Well, except for those who think that the world is theirs to exploit and that if anyone is harmed by their plundering, it's their own damn fault for not getting there first. I call it "survival of the sociopath-iest" and it turns my stomach.

tl;dr. Americans aren't any more or less cowardly or better or worse than anyone else. Stop painting people with a broad brush. It's counterproductive and leaves your bigotry showing. We're all Homo Sapiens. Full stop.

Romans? Rather North Korea (2)

Greg666NYC (3665779) | about 5 months ago | (#47101475)

USA is rather like it's small brother North Korea. Both countries love to have power over people and put people in jails whenever possible. For foreigners: you will shocked by the number of security forces on US streets. On arrival you will be greeted like criminal, pictures and fingerprints. If you go shopping, armed person. If you go to preschool, armed person. Everywhere people with guns just waiting for the orders to shoot. One day those to countries will merge to form North Korea of America.

but what is a functioning democracy? (5, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 5 months ago | (#47101485)

Because america, although projected as one, is far from a functional democracy. We've engaged in systematic disenfranchisement and enslavery of an entire race of people during slavery and well into the 20th century within the confines our our policy of mass incarceration. Women didnt achieve equal voting rights until the early 20th century. We wiped an entire indigenous race of humans out of existence during colonization. Voter identification is enforced in 30 states and will prevent free and open election for anyone without a picture ID. Gerrymandering, closed primary elections, and the 2000 florida voter scandal are all conclusive proof we do not even remotely represent a functional democracy and have not for quite some time. Former criminals, after completing their sentence, are barred from the right to vote in many states and may only seek restoration of their voting rights with the pardon of a governor and a steep fee. Many states still maintain a debtors prison system by which those who cannot pay court costs are summarily enrolled in detention facilities. A Third party has not existed in any respectible context in the United States for more than 100 years, and the electoral college system exists to ensure this reality remains unchallenged. There are virtually no repercussions for employers who resist or refuse an employees request for time off from work to vote. Japanese americans faced internment and were not permitted to vote during world war two, let alone contact family members outside of their camp. Jews were barred in america holding state office for quite some time, and atheists to this day in many states are still restricted from holding political office. New York has a stop-and-frisk policy where they do not need probable cause to stop anyone at will. Our supreme court recently ruled that the systemic isolation, relocation, and arrest of protestors during the presidency of George W Bush was entirely legal. As evidenced by the occupy campaign we readily beat, torture, and maim protestors even going to far as to hose passive protestors with pepperspray for simply existing. Our borders have the free right to interrogate, stop, and detain anyone (american or not) without any formal probable cause. Those declared terrorists may be detained indefinitely and shipped to a secret torture camp in Cuba. We have banned the communist party from ever taking part in an american election or operating as political party.

so while I applaud the author for pointing this very recent discovery out, its critical to remember we are as much a functional democracy as the USSR was a functional communism.

Snowden did the right thing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101597)

... until he jumped on a plane and handed over classified documents to China and Russia. At that point he became a traitor.

I do not condone what he did, but he could had accomplished his mission without becoming a traitor if only he were man enough to accept (and fight) the legal consequences.

Re:Snowden did the right thing ... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 5 months ago | (#47101719)

a) we do not know if he in fact did such.

The smartest thing is to leave data with a few individuals. Then head to a hostile nation.

b) America didn't leave him much choice. If we had some real whisper blower protections, maybe he'd be in America under house arrest. But instead, we throw such in solitary confinement.

c) China probably had most of it, and data about America spying on its own people is not all that relevant to Russia other than the public humilitation it brought.

Until Tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47101647)

If you RTFA, uried in there this:

In the end Ã" at least so far, until tomorrow Ã" there was Snowden, who saw everything that happened and watched the fate of others who spoke up.

"until tomorrow"?

"for purposes of bagatelle"? (1)

TrogL (709814) | about 5 months ago | (#47101717)

noun 1. something of little value or importance; a trifle. 2. a game played on a board having holes at one end into which balls are to be struck with a cue. 3. pinball. 4. a short and light musical composition, typically for the piano. IDGI

It's spelled "baguette" (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 5 months ago | (#47101779)

It's spelled "baguette" - the French were in on the whole crusty but tasty conspiracy from the beginning.

Almost Nobody gets it even Snowden... (3, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 5 months ago | (#47101777)

... this (mass surveillance) is just more part and parcel of state suppression of dissent against corporate interests. They're worried that the more people are going to wake up and corporate centers like the US and canada may be among those who also awaken. See this vid with Zbigniew Brzezinski, former United States National Security Advisor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Look at the following graphs:

http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa... [ucsc.edu]
http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa... [ucsc.edu]
http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesa... [ucsc.edu]

And then...

WIKILEAKS: U.S. Fought To Lower Minimum Wage In Haiti So Hanes And Levis Would Stay Cheap

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Free markets?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

http://www.amazon.com/Empire-I... [amazon.com]

"We now live in two Americas. One—now the minority—functions in a print-based, literate world that can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth. The other—the majority—is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic. To this majority—which crosses social class lines, though the poor are overwhelmingly affected—presidential debate and political rhetoric is pitched at a sixth-grade reading level. In this “other America,” serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of society.

In the tradition of Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges navigates this culture—attending WWF contests, the Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas, and Ivy League graduation ceremonies—to expose an age of terrifying decline and heightened self-delusion."

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