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View Poll Results: Should Snowden be freed?

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  1. #131
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I guess I can summarize my thoughts this way. I'm more worried about individuals and groups that I KNOW are collecting information with an intention or obvious side effect of harming me, my company or my country. I'm less concerned about the government snooping on me because I'm not doing anything wrong. I like the idea of the analyzing network traffic and identifying hostile destinations within my country or in other countries and looking at communication between individuals in those hostile destinations and investigating for potential terrorism. I'll take the risk from a civil liberty standpoint. I already know companies collect tons of information on my browsing and buying habits in an attempt to sell me something. That's not new. It's an annoyance but not a threat to my physical well being. I am concerned about another country - let's say China stealing proprietary technology designs or other similar information, allowing them to come out with cheap products very quickly (since they don't have to pay for the R&D or development), thereby putting people in my country out of work and affecting the economy.

    Not to be insensitive to your point - I am concerned with governments abusing information against law abiding citizens as Hoover did when he led the CIA. The only way I can think of to balance that is by refining the laws in place and enforcing that. However, there are isn't much in the way of laws to protect other countries interests from a privacy standpoint. Country laws are pretty much directed at themselves individually (with the exception of the EU directive, which is really just a baseline for the counties in to use - they still have the individual laws that vary substantially).
    I dont believe there's an institutional fix like you're describing, refine the law all you want, if the people, the individuals, who adminster it are of a certain character and tolerance of this kind of thing makes it all the more likely that they will be of that character it will be abused.

    There is the potential for Hoover style corruption, the movie Enemy of The State, did that well but you want to bet there's close connections between corporate sponsors and the state in the US, R&D by academia with commercial applications is only one example, which mean this sort of data mining could amount to social engineering.

    The creation and collection of data banks like this just create targets for hackers too, so you could take every precaution with your personal IT security but state records get raided, maybe by a foreign power, and you get your personal banking screwed up and compromised. Hell there can be a lot more low grade corruption or incompetence any time and any where confidential information is involved. What if a low level analyst has hit on the fact that he can randomly exploit the flaws in the security of individuals in a data set they administer? Or something more basic than that even and decide to sell information on who has properties with security measures who hasnt in hollywood to the media or theives?

    The creation of and maintence of data sets of this kind create all kinds of ancillary issues.

  2. #132
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Of course it's relevant. You're upset about what the NSA is doing. What is it that they're doing exactly that you're upset about? No answer = no specifics = hot air.
    You win, I'll answer your bullshit, irrelevant question.
    1. Whatever they admit to doing, we know that they're actually doing more. Actually, a few people in Congress have stated as much, though they didn't go into specifics because that information is classified (obviously).
    2. I'm not a fan of having everything I do on the internet recorded, and not because I do anything illegal or embarrassing, but because I don't like being watched. Whether or not someone is looking at this stuff right now is irrelevant. Because...
    3. As time goes on, more and more people are going to have access to this information. I'm not personally worried about what some nameless person in Washington might do (though some investigative reporters might be). I'm concerned that someone with a personal grudge against me or someone in my family might gain access to this type of information. Over a million people have access to classified information right now, and that number is growing. Eventually other governmental agencies will have access to this data. If states get access, will some people start being denied welfare because of the content of an email they sent years ago? It wouldn't surprise me if states like Texas and Florida started doing that.

    It is insane to create a system that depends on "good people" being in positions of power. As an engineer, that strikes me as such a horrible design policy, it's heretical. You design a system to operate in the worst conditions, not the best. This surveillance system we have in place depends on "good people" not abusing their access to this information. That is unacceptable.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  3. #133
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Too much power for one person to possess, but just enough for a million.

  4. #134
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Of course it's relevant. You're upset about what the NSA is doing. What is it that they're doing exactly that you're upset about? No answer = no specifics = hot air.
    Funny, that's my response to claims that Snowden has endangered people's lives.
    Take the weakest thing in you
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    So you can let go when you give it

  5. #135
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Maybe the thing that does bug me most about the reaction to Snowden is the lack of the legal condition of war. You Americans know you're at war, but do you have legally defined enemies? Do you know what conditions constitute "war: won"? The answer seems to be no. So what, legally, did Snowden do? And what, legally, can your government not do?

    Keeping the NSA in Perspective
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

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  6. #136
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    The creation and collection of data banks like this just create targets for hackers too, so you could take every precaution with your personal IT security but state records get raided, maybe by a foreign power, and you get your personal banking screwed up and compromised.
    Yes, that is a risk. However, the volume of data being collected is utterly massive. There are different levels of sensitivity of personal information - with medical information being on the high end for example and an IP address being on the low end. In order to get some value out of this data analysis they are doing, they would be culling down the massive set of info to a much smaller subset of suspicious stuff to investigate and at that point more sensitive personal information would potentially (likely??) be involved. Also, the intelligence agencies will not want to store or more make more information accessible internally than they need to for this very reason you raise. If huge volumes of personal information in intelligence agency's computers were disclosed and made public it would be a political disaster. They have a very strong interest in protecting that data because it is vital to their mission and reason for existence. The intelligence agencies would be unlikely to really care about personal information per se unless an individual appears to present a risk.

    By the way, the criminals are data mining us as we speak, pulling information from a lot of different places. I can say with a level of certainty that there are quite a number of active members on this forum that are part of botnet. Worry about that.

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  7. #137
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    By the way, the criminals are data mining us as we speak, pulling information from a lot of different places. I can say with a level of certainty that there are quite a number of active members on this forum that are part of botnet. Worry about that.
    I dont see it as an either or deal, I can worry about them both.

    No one compells anyone to go online I guess, I have a friend who has never used the internet for anything other than checking football results and he's serious and proud of the fact too.

  8. #138
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    You win, I'll answer your bullshit, irrelevant question.
    1. Whatever they admit to doing, we know that they're actually doing more. Actually, a few people in Congress have stated as much, though they didn't go into specifics because that information is classified (obviously).
    I agree that an intelligence agency would not reveal a lot of what they are doing. That seems to make sense. Do you think they should do something different?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    2. I'm not a fan of having everything I do on the internet recorded, and not because I do anything illegal or embarrassing, but because I don't like being watched. Whether or not someone is looking at this stuff right now is irrelevant. Because...
    Those cameras at your work and on the streets - they see you picking your nose you know. Satellite cameras are watching us too.

    Truthfully, I do understand what you mean and I don't much like it either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    3. As time goes on, more and more people are going to have access to this information. I'm not personally worried about what some nameless person in Washington might do (though some investigative reporters might be). I'm concerned that someone with a personal grudge against me or someone in my family might gain access to this type of information. Over a million people have access to classified information right now, and that number is growing. Eventually other governmental agencies will have access to this data. If states get access, will some people start being denied welfare because of the content of an email they sent years ago? It wouldn't surprise me if states like Texas and Florida started doing that.
    In the military and intelligence community, there is very strong culture of compartmentalization. When you say a million people have access to classified information, that million doesn't have access to all of it. It's need to know.

    As far as the scenario about states starting to use information to deny welfare because of an email that the NSA collected years ago, that doesn't seem like a plausible scenario. One of the core principles in privacy is to use data for the purposes for which it was collected. The secondary usage scenario you mention would again be a political disaster and harm both the intelligence community and government officials. The US is a democracy. If people don't like what's going on, officials get voted out of office and that's their job so they don't like getting fired.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    It is insane to create a system that depends on "good people" being in positions of power. As an engineer, that strikes me as such a horrible design policy, it's heretical. You design a system to operate in the worst conditions, not the best. This surveillance system we have in place depends on "good people" not abusing their access to this information. That is unacceptable.
    Best point you've made so far. 1984. Well that's the risk. I think we don't know what checks and balances, controls, and other mechanisms are built in to protect the stuff and prevent it from being abused. It's never perfect and mistakes always happen. For now, I'll take a leap of faith that they're more interested in protecting against a terrorist planting a nuclear device in a major city than they are in having a grudge against me and and my family. I would think they have more important things to do.

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  9. #139
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I dont think you have to go to 1984 when considering the consequences of this sort of totally wired government, consider Die Hard or Enemy of The State, they both feature less dramatic events and over ambitious crooks.

  10. #140
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Or even The Net, its probably a better example.

    Could be no better way of dealing with enemies foreign and domestic than to rewrite their files or render them non-persons.

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