Former President Jimmy Carter announced support for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden this week, saying that his uncovering of the agency’s massive surveillance programs had proven "beneficial."
I’m surprised that any present or former American federal official would admit in public that the intelligence community has pushed too far into fascistic territory, but I suppose Carter would have to be the only guy who’d have enough of a soul left.
Here’s my favorite bit:
No American outlets covered Carter’s speech, given at an Atlantic Bridge meeting, which has reportedly led to some skepticism over Der Spiegel’s quotes.
Oh, really. Let’s not cover it, and then impugn those who do. Sounds a bit like what a totalitarian state’s propaganda wing might do, doesn’t it?
Chances are, your local or state police departments have photographs of your car in their files, noting where you were driving on a particular day, even if you never did anything wrong.
The local news here in California has been covering these license-plate scanning systems for a while now, but it seems the phenomenon is becoming more widespread.
I really don’t understand why the public at large seems more or less at ease with the idea that police are recording everything we do while arming themselves to the teeth. How is that not something we should care about? Are we all really that lobotomized?
The debate over the U.S. government’s monitoring of digital communications suggests that Americans are willing to allow it as long as it is genuinely targeted at terrorists. What they fail to realize is that the surveillance systems are best suited for gathering information on law-abiding citizens.
Think about it for a second: is a Facebook chat or a Gmail conversation the method you’d choose through which to plan an act of terrorism? It doesn’t make any sense.
According to this recent piece from InformationWeek, attempts to hide your online activities from the NSA will (predictably) make you a target:
When encryption is encountered […] the gloves can come off, with analysts being allowed to retain "communications that are enciphered or reasonably believed to contain secret meaning" for any period of time. […] Since the NSA guidelines say that a person "will not be treated as a United States person" without a positive identification based on name, address, electronic communication addresses or geographic location, encryption users may because classified – at least temporarily – as non-U.S. residents by NSA analysts.
So if they can’t tell where you are, you lose your already dubious "rights." If you close a door behind you, there’s a 100% chance that you’re doing something very, very bad.
The Washington Post previously reported that the NSA only needs to have 51% confidence in a person’s “foreignness.” These new documents reveal that if the NSA cannot determine its target’s ‘foreignness,’ they can keep on spying. Instead, you “will be presumed to be a non-United States person unless [you] can be positively identified as a United States person."
I trust that the NSA is making every effort to ensure my "non-foreignness" before they store and index my data. Don’t you trust them?
There’s a lot of hysteria in this otherwise typically wishy-washy "on-one-hand-but-also-on-the-other-hand" piece on the "Dark Web" by Mark Ward of the BBC:
By contrast, [Mick Moran, Interpol’s acting assistant director of cybersecurity and crime] said, his experience of dark nets such as Tor was that their use by activists and the oppressed was more than outweighed by criminal abuse of such anonymising systems.
"They use it to access and exchange child exploitation material and child pornography," he said. "Because they are untraceable then society lacks the ability to enforce democratically put in place laws around this issue."
I’d certainly expect a cop to take a dim view of anonymity on the Web; there’s nothing surprising in that. Obviously cops want to have access to as much of our data as possible. What we have to ask ourselves is this: do we really want to throw out all hope of any privacy whatsoever simply because criminals try to do bad things in private? Where was the rush to outlaw doors in 1956? I mean, criminals hid behind them!
Two weeks ago, when technology companies were accused of indiscriminately sharing customer data with government agencies, Apple issued a clear response: We first heard of the government’s “Prism” program when news organizations asked us about it on June 6. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer content must get a court order.
Everything we’ve seen in the news in recent weeks would suggest that denials like this one are utter bullshit–whether they’re issued by Apple, Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo1. Anyone–like Jim Dalrymple–who is so blinded by his appreciation of Apple that he accepts this non-denial as the complete truth is making an idiot of himself.
I still refuse to type that ridiculous exclamation point. ↩
The director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Robert Mueller, told lawmakers in a hearing today that the data collected through its and the NSA’s mass surveillance of all Verizon customers, and other US phone carriers, can only be used in FBI investigations into terror plots, not for separate domestic criminal investigations.
Oh, good. I feel much better now. Yup, I believe him completely.
Michael Arrington, I must admit, can generally be considered to be representative of flawed humanity at its worst. But I want to hear him out on PRISM and FISA, because his seemingly wild rants have an unsettling ring of plausibility in them:
[…] we won’t be able to go back and change our history. They’ll see that a decade ago we donated to Planned Parenthood and voted for President Obama. Suddenly, going out and buying a gun or two won’t be enough. The new government will know we’re not true believers in the cause. We’re secret left wing or right wing extremists, and guilty of a new crime – engaging in personal behavior designed to fool the surveillance state.
Yes, I can easily see a future law that prohibits us from engaging in behavior that is designed to trip up the surveillance machine.
There may be no point in attempting to maintain even rudimentary notions of privacy, because the entire history of everything you’ve said, done, or looked at on the Internet is already sitting on an ugly government server, ready to be mined, searched, and cross-referenced on any future date, to serve any Totalitarian purpose. And any attempt to hide what you’re interested in will seem suspicious.
Onion Browser, a 99¢ TOR-based browser for iOS, provides what is likely the most secure browsing environment you’re likely to find on your iPhone or iPad. The good news is that despite a few potential security holes, it’s pretty much just as secure as connecting via the TOR network on your desktop machine. I’m guessing that there are a lot of Apple customers looking for something like this, given the news this week.