Government Liston June 2, 2014 at 6:00 am
The internet is a curse. Contrary to what you might have been taught, it wasn’t invented. Instead it was discovered in a mysterious metal capsule at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Hawaii. That’s why it was tested on the islands, like the web’s Bikini Atoll except far more dangerous.
Once a planet gets an internet, there’s no turning back. Suddenly, the deepest horrors of the species are pushed directly into your face. No one can get away with anything without the world hearing about it. Nations get pissed at other nations who turn off their internet. And then, inevitably, humanity’s interconnectedness evolves into a global consciousness. A global consciousness that loves cats and “epic fails,” but a global consciousness nonetheless.
Around that time, the planet becomes self-aware and is allowed to participate in the intergalactic space senate.
And let me tell you, NOTHING is more boring that space politics. The only thing faster than the speed of light is the rate you’ll fall asleep listening to concerns about the hydrogen tide patterns on Xenock 8. Geography classes will take years to complete instead of a couple semesters. Galactic elections will span the equivalent of several Earth years, and it’ll take forever to get an egg-laying endomorph into office. Typical!
When we were gifted the net we should have shot it right back into space. Cats get enough attention already.
Shouldn’t we be targeting the people that DON’T Google bomb? Now that’s suspicious!
Why yes, being a responsible guy I have diligently avoided such terms, and have also avoided commenting on web pages about… DOH!!!
I like the Hawaii-alohanet reference 🙂
Only five people and we’re already into the ‘Ab’s?
The world must be small indeed.
Snowden is a freaking hero. I wouldn’t have had the cajones to do what he did. Please do not let his efforts go to waste. Voice your concerns about eradication of privacy openly and freely, until we start seeing significant changes. I am not an American, but this affects everyone, ESPECIALLY those residing in the U.S. Do not give up your freedom this easily! Do not let the gooberment’s fear mongering campaign push you towards giving up your rights. If you do, then you will have nothing at the end.
Didn’t he basically show that the NSA was doing pretty much the same thing phone companies have done for decades? For years and years I’ve seen detectives on cop shows and “true crime” documentaries talking about getting a victim or suspect’s phone records. Where do you think they get them from?
They got them based on a probable cause, via a warrant, that was approved in court prior to information extraction. It was unlawful to intrude on someone’s privacy otherwise. Telephone companies might have kept records for a few months, maybe a year, and never with a malicious intent, nor made accessible without proper documentation. These records would be released only occasionally, and only once the warrant was presented. Today NSA collects blanket information on every single American, and many foreigners, without the use of any warrants, for the purpose of establishing a profile for every single citizen (and many non-citizens). This goes as far as collecting e-mails, text messages, actual pictures of individuals, voice snippets via phone conversations or Skype, your Google searches, and many more things, some of which you won’t even share with your closest loved ones, because they are deeply private. I don’t have to tell you how damaging it can be, if an organization like NSA has a capability of collecting information about you for decades, and keeping this information in their servers indefinitely. Is this something that you are comfortable with? Is this something that ANYONE would be comfortable with?
People will have to get comfortable with it.
This genie is out of the bottle. The dam has burst. Technology is at the point where collecting this kind of information is easy and getting easier. Making it illegal would only chase it into the shadows. Snowden and his kind can blow the whistle now, but as tech advances it will take fewer and fewer people to man this kind of operation, making it that much easier to keep secret. It’s inevitable that someone somewhere will know whatever there is about you that’s passed through any tappable channel. And I’m not just talking about the government.
What we can do is regulate and monitor the use of that information. Put in big penalties for misuse and abuse. It’s a heck of a lot easier to hide the collection of data than it is to hide the use of it that has any significant effect, be it positive for the user or negative for the subject.
If the manager of your bank knows you like to fap to My Pretty Pony slash fanfic but doesn’t treat you any differently for it or tell anyone, what’s the harm? Likewise for anyone else who knows anything about you.
“People will have to get comfortable with it”. No. Internet was never private, true, but that does not mean that we should just bend over, and allow NSA to collect every bit of information that passes through the Internet, and then keep it on their servers indefinitely. Not everyone can do it. Only a company with billions of dollars at their disposal can accomplish such a tack. In their internal documents NSA has explicitly stated that one of their ultimate goals is a complete elimination of privacy worldwide. If you are ok with this, then that’s your choice. I am not. This is NOT what NSA was established for initially. This is what they have become overtime, because they can, and because they decided to venture outside of their boundaries.
I like your idea of regulation, which would require changing certain laws, which came into effect after 2001 under the disguise of “fighting terrorism”. This is when Americans really started losing their freedom.
Bottom line – this can be fixed, if NSA’s balls were to be cut off. Until then, it will only get worse. When LEGIT services like Lavabit have a choice of either giving up all of their users’ info to NSA without question, or shutting down altogether, then you know that things aren’t right. And this is just one of many, many examples.
I am surprised that you are actually defending this. I would be even more surprised, if you were American.
‘Telephone companies might have kept records for a few months, maybe a year, and never with a malicious intent’. The same is true of the NSA. The intent, to all non-conspiracy nuts, is not malicious, but to protect all those who abide by the law. ‘nor made accessible without proper documentation’ The same is true of NSA. You can’t just stroll into NSA HQ and look at Mrs Jones’ emails. ‘Today NSA collects blanket information on every single American, and many foreigners, without the use of any warrants’. Correct, but the telephone companies never had warrants. To access them you needed a warrant, but there was never a warrant from the company itself, to which NSA is more analogous. ‘Some of which you won’t even share with your closest loved ones, because they are deeply private.’ If you won’t share it with a loved one, either it’s a secret worth the NSA finding out (ie. you’re planning to commit a crime) or it’s a secret the NSA don’t give a shit about. Literally. If you reveal in an email that you’re into guys, or that you were the one who ran over Fluffy, the NSA don’t care. They won’t tattle. Don’t worry. ‘I don’t have to tell you how damaging it can be, if an organization like NSA has a capability of collecting information about you for decades, and keeping this information in their servers indefinitely.’ You do, ’cause I don’t see the issue. I have nothing to hide from the NSA, and I’m happy for them to be collecting such information on me, because that means they’re also collecting information on everyone else, including potential criminals. Which is great thing.
“The intent, to all non-conspiracy nuts, is not malicious, but to protect all those who abide by the law.”
It is legitimately cute you actually believe that. I want to tousle your hair, you rambunctious scamp. It might not exactly be malicious, but it certainly doesn’t have the Captain-America-eque truth-and-justice motivation to which you’re ascribing the NSA’s illegal dragnet approach to SIGINT.
The people at the NSA responsible for dragnet surveillance are doing it for two reasons, and two reasons only:
1. It makes their jobs way, way easier. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re actually doing their jobs better, or people are being served more effectively, but it does decrease the amount of legwork and effort involved. If you know what everyone is doing at every moment, regardless of whether you have a right to do so (and they hide decryption 0days; have done for decades. Broke DES before everyone else, discovered Heartbleed before everyone else- notably, didn’t disclose that, and instead allowed criminals to continue using those vulnerabilities), it’s a lot easier to find someone who you can accuse of something awful and make it stick. Which means, on an average day, you have to do way less actual research. And
2. It’s fun. Have you ever cracked a machine? Jesus. I’ve never done heroin, but I imagine the high is similar. Ever written a beautiful, elegant piece of code that gives you access to something that was intended to be hidden? The engineers designing the software and hardware aren’t doing it because they care about national security- they’re doing it because the toys are cool.
Hell, if the NSA wanted me I’d help them. But not because I thought I was actually keeping people safe. If you want to save lives, become a fireman. If you want to kill people, join the armed forces. If you want to play with technology that is any engineer’s wet dream, join the intelligence service.
They’re people, not paragons of virtue. And people aren’t really objecting to the collection of public information, by the way. They’re objecting to the fact that the NSA decrypts private information by subverting algorithms (e.g. RSA), hiding exploits (e.g. Heartbleed), and putting legal pressure on foreign dignitaries to screw up core operating system components (Linux).
Maybe 20 years ago it would have been paranoid to claim the NSA have gone way beyond what their remit into legally and ethically dubious territory, but now there are reams of documented evidence. Would you protect the DMV with this kind of loyalty?
I, for one, want to welcome our Xenock 8 intergalactic space senate overlords!
Can you post some more pictures of that Cherry brand laptop?
Anyone notice Kobe’s name on the list?
It misses Aaron A. Aaronson