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Thread: PRISM

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    Compare the results to 7 yrs ago.



    If there's a direct relationship between the acceptance of an administration and the acceptance of actions taken by the federal government, then Obama's really played his cards right. Not necessarily in a good way.
    The one caveat, is that we were 6 years closer to 9/11 in this poll.

    The position of holding security as a higher priority than freedom makes more sense then than it does now in that context.

    Especially when one considers the huge negative reaction to the Iraq war, and the diminishment of civil rights under the Bush admin.

    Obama ran on, and got elected in no small part because he promised to take a different path.

    Now it's 5 years after his election and what do we come to find out....

    We find that despite doing the exact opposite of what he said he would do with regard to civil rights etc. the people still don't care.

    It seems like his likability factor trumps every other consideration.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    One explanation of the polling numbers is partisanship.

    Thinking goes that if it weren't Obama (or possibly even just Democrats) in the WH that there would be much more of a stink being made.

    This is the mirror image of the NYT sitting on the warrantless wiretapping story for a year in '05 (or whenever).

    The worrying thing, is that many people seem more concerned about how news stories make their guy look as opposed to whether what is going on is good for the nation (right now that's Obama, but the GOP did the same thing).

    Apparently some out there care more about how this makes their team look than about what is right.

    This goes for us as well, because large swaths of the GOP are heavily influenced by the neo-con hawks. This slavish devotion to military spending can be seen in the increasingly shaky defense of domestic spying coming from some on the right.

    Come on Libertarians.
    I thought the Nate Silver's charts about support for the Patriot Act (and what it might mean for PRISM) were interesting:



    and



    I think you are correct in that more Democrats would be upset if Republican were in power (which I think is both unjust and short-sighted, but there it is).

    I'm opposed to PRISM and think we need to have many more privacy safeguards in general (including about the data collected by corporations). Not only is there potential for abuse by the organizations that collect and hold the data, there is also the likelihood of data being obtained by hackers or other security breaches. Even if you trust the government, trust all the individuals who have access to the data in the government, trust all the independent contractors and their employees... this information could still be up for sale to interested parties if systems get hacked.

    I was upset when Obama said "he welcomed the discussion," since these programs are being put into place with no discussion. Those decisions about what level of privacy we give up for what increase in safety are being made on our behalf in secret. That, plus the combination of increasingly opaque government actions combined with lack of privacy for ordinary citizens is deeply upsetting.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    We find that despite doing the exact opposite of what he said he would do with regard to civil rights etc. the people still don't care.

    It seems like his likability factor trumps every other consideration.
    It makes me wonder if dampening the disparity of a 2 party system tends to dull the senses when inconsistencies within an administration should be obvious.

  4. #34
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    I think the key point behind much of this debate, is "what should be secret in the first place?"

    Since the inception of classification, the only arbiter of what should and what should not be secret has been the government.

    And when you turn one of the players on the field (or in this instance the only player on the field) into it's own referee, bad shit goes down.

    As history has shown the government has a compelling self interest to keep more data secret insofar as doing so allows the gov't to hide it's most egregious abuses of civil and human rights (or just everyday fuck ups) behind an unliftable curtain.

    That curtain of course being the national security excuse. Now I understand that the gov't has a legitimate interest in keeping serious info classified like where patrols are going, who our intelligence officers are and other info crucial for operational security.

    What the government shouldn't be able to do is to keep hidden less vital info, for instance the Bradley Manning wikileaks info dump, that might merely make us look bad. The use of secrecy to cover up government malfeasance should be unconstitutional.

    I think we may need an Amendment, but probably a law to make it unlawful to classify info of no strategic importance.

    However we decide to resolve this, those determining what info is classified and what isn't must have no incentive to err on the side of more secrecy.

    Lastly, I think that it should be illegal for the gov't to prosecute people who expose info that should never have been secret in the first place.

    For instance, the argument goes that the NSA programs shouldn't have been revealed because the terrorists now know that we are monitoring emails and phone activity. That argument only holds water if you assume terrorists to be the dumbest motherfuckers in the history of mankind.

    How would the terrorists not already know that we do this. If you've seen Zero Dark Thirty and know how sophisticated the terrorist operations have become, then you know that the only group surprised by this info is the US public.

    The worst thing about all this, is treating someone who leaks the equivalent of the CIA elevator music playlist, like they just gave the North Koreans our nuclear codes.

  5. #35
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    I need to start a (non Typoc real deal general internet) blog for this stuff

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I need to start a (non Typoc real deal general internet) blog for this stuff
    You should.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    [...]
    I think we may need an Amendment, but probably a law to make it unlawful to classify info of no strategic importance. [...]
    I agree in principle, but how do you discover abuse (making too much classified) until long after the fact? Seems like anything like the FISA court (as a similar internal "independent arbiter") is likely to be co-opted and just became a rubber stamp.

    It seems likes game theory could be applied somehow to make there be a cost for marking something as classified. Having some kind of budget would force people to evaluate carefully. Right now the cost of making things classified is less (in many ways) that making something not classified... and hence huge swaths of data now get classified that don't need to be.

    Another galling thing is when legal justifications (and opinions) themselves are classified. Or when one can't sue the government for spying, because you can't prove they are spying, because who they are spying upon is classified, so it's impossible to have legal standing.

    It all becomes ridiculous at a point.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    I agree in principle, but how do you discover abuse (making too much classified) until long after the fact? Seems like anything like the FISA court (as a similar internal "independent arbiter") is likely to be co-opted and just became a rubber stamp.

    It seems likes game theory could be applied somehow to make there be a cost for marking something as classified. Having some kind of budget would force people to evaluate carefully. Right now the cost of making things classified is less (in many ways) that making something not classified... and hence huge swaths of data now get classified that don't need to be.

    Another galling thing is when legal justifications (and opinions) themselves are classified. Or when one can't sue the government for spying, because you can't prove they are spying, because who they are spying upon is classified, so it's impossible to have legal standing.

    It all becomes ridiculous at a point.
    Under the system I've drawn the broad strokes of, you can't.

    And that may be an unsolveable problem, or something I would have to sit down and discuss with other really smart policy folks to figure out.

    I haven't even come up with a way to make sure the panel that reviews whether info should be classified isn't biased. And that I fear is an even bigger problem.

    I guess the only way to really do it would be to have a classification court (I think we already have something of the sort, but it just deals with secret legal issues not what should be secret).

    The classification of info would have to proceed through that court, and in every instance the Fed gov't would have to prove that what they want to classify would materially harm the security interests of the US.

    The burden of proof would be on the state to prove the secrecy is necessary because the public (and the state) has a compelling interest in being able to conduct meaningful oversight.

    This might be better than the review panel because it would make it costly to the state to classify shit. Court fees ain't peanuts.

    Also the presumption that information shouldn't be made secret would be a huge help.

    Even this would have problems because I know there are situations where there are exigent circumstances and the state would need to classify stuff this minute. That could be dealt with by a statute of limitations of say a month or two where the state sits on info before going before the classification court. Even with the fix the costs of doing this for the amount of info the state would legitimately need to keep secret would be cost prohibitive, and could possibly harm nat sec interests.

    I feel like that system has fewer flaws than trying to find an independent review board, but it still is a long way from completion.

    I know that if I had time and smart people to help me come up with it, that there is a solution to be found.

  9. #39
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    So (a) the original startling claims are being chipped away at, (b) US public opinion is going to turn out in support of the empire, and (c) when that nice young man gets caught or painted Chinese, that'll be another pasty-faced INTJ who was right a few too many years too early, so, lest we forget...

    Connecting the PRISM dots: a theory
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

    Boy meets Grr

  10. #40
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    Default you cant have 100% freedom and 100% security!

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    I need to start a (non Typoc real deal general internet) blog for this stuff
    you should. this is something to bitch about. if we dont talk about it, its going to grow into a big ugly beast
    "I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine. "
    -Bruce Lee

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