Author Topic: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden  (Read 167628 times)

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Offline Nemo888

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #50 on: June 13, 2013, 20:17:27 »
There is a big difference between some peon douche trying to impress his douche friends, and the government investigating individuals or groups without legal justification.

The problem is obviously that even lowly "peon douches" can abuse the database for things as unimportant as impressing douche friends. My problem isn't the government. It is that most of the work is farmed out to corporations with questionable and clearly divided loyalties and the even more questionable minions that subcontract for them.

Offline cupper

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #51 on: June 13, 2013, 20:21:30 »
More to society and personal privacy.

Are American Attitudes Toward Privacy Changing?

http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=191226108&m=191226087

Quote
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Revelations this week that the government is tracking billions of email messages and phone calls have produced conflicting responses among Americans. Some are outraged that their government is spying on them. For others, it's more like, duh. The debate is bringing to the fore larger questions about our changing attitudes toward privacy.

And to talk about that, we've brought in NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, who joins us regularly to discuss new research.

Shankar, welcome.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: Now, in just the past few years, it seems as if Americans are more willing than ever to share fairly private portions of their personal lives online. But is that actual evidence that our attitudes toward privacy are changing?

VEDANTAM: That's really an interesting question, Linda, because when social scientists look at this empirically, they find that people actually don't want less privacy. People seem to want more privacy - at least they want more control over their privacy, and this is true of both younger, as well as older people. But when you look at that behavior, people seem to be revealing more than they used to. You know how much money they make, the status of their relationships, illnesses. So there's this disconnect between what people say they want in terms of privacy and what they actually seem to choose in terms of their privacy options. And, you know, it's sort of ironic that we're debating how the NSA is tracking how phone A calls phone B, because in many ways, marketers are well ahead of spies in this game. They've not only found ways to get much more private information out of us, ostensibly, it's without permission.

WERTHEIMER: We have heard a lot about how marketers make it hard for us to understand their privacy policies, so that inadvertently, we cannot control our privacy.

VEDANTAM: Yes, that's absolutely true. I think complicated privacy rules are very powerful in shaping people's behavior. At Carnegie Mellon University, Alessandro Acquisti, George Loewenstein and Lorrie Cranor have done a number of experiments exploring different dimensions of privacy. I talked to Acquisti. He told me that between 2005 and 2009, there was actually a decrease in willingness to share information on Facebook. But then in 2009, Facebook changed its privacy rules, and the sharing went back up. So, just because people don't like rules doesn't mean they don't follow the rules.

And it's not just rules. There are actually much more subtle ways in which people can be influenced. When we see other people disclosing private information, or we are led to believe that other people are disclosing private information, we may say we don't want to disclose our private information, but we end up doing it, anyway.

WERTHEIMER: So you're saying if I'm on Facebook and I see my friends sharing very personal information, say, about a breakup then I'll do it, too?

VEDANTAM: Yeah. Or I might reveal something about my child, or a problem that my child is encountering at school. I think what Acquisti is basically saying is that there are these unconscious biases that really are very powerful.

You know, there's another very clever technique that he's discovered. He initially assumed that when you're trying to get private information out of people, it's better to start by asking a trivial question and then slowly build up to more intrusive questions.

So what Acquisti did was he asked 30 questions for people, and they ranged all the way from the innocuous - have you ever left a light on in a room when you left the room - all the way up to: Have you ever had sex with the current partner of a friend?

And interestingly, what he found was exactly the opposite: people revealed much more when you asked them the most intrusive question first. Now, they didn't actually reveal the answer to that most intrusive question, but for every other question, they compared the next questions with the most intrusive question. And compared to revealing things about adultery, you know, questions about whether they'd falsified an insurance claim seemed much less intrusive.

And so when he asked the questions in decreasing orders of intrusiveness, he found nearly twice as many people admitted to falsifying an insurance claim, and nearly three times as many people said they hadn't told a partner about a sexually transmitted disease.

WERTHEIMER: So what do these researchers make of the controversy over the NSA surveillance?

VEDANTAM: You know, I asked a question about that, and what he said is that, you know, the cloak-and-dagger stuff really worked great in 1913 and maybe in 1963, but in 2013, people are much more likely to reveal their private information not when they're spied on, but when they feel they have total control over their information. That's when they let loose.

WERTHEIMER: That's Shankar Vedantam, who joins us regularly to talk about social science research. Shankar, thank you.

VEDANTAM: Thanks, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: You can follow him on Twitter @HiddenBrain. And while you're at it, you can follow this program @MorningEdition.
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Offline cupper

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #52 on: June 13, 2013, 20:22:56 »
The problem is obviously that even lowly "peon douches" can abuse the database for things as unimportant as impressing douche friends. My problem isn't the government. It is that most of the work is farmed out to corporations with questionable and clearly divided loyalties and the even more questionable minions that subcontract for them.

And my previous question applies here as well:

 
But you are OK with you ISP and phone service collecting and keeping the same info?

And using that info for whatever purpose they deem necessary, including selling it to other companies for unknown purposes?


But there is another aspect of your argument that does raise concerns, the considerable number of contractors that are employed by the government makes the keeping of secrets more difficult.

As Benjamin Franklin said: "Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead."
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 20:32:34 by cupper »
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There is no God, and life is just a myth.

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Offline cupper

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #53 on: June 13, 2013, 22:34:13 »
From the news reports coming out after the Senate and House got their in camera briefing from General Alexander today, many that loudly expressed concern of lax checks and balances are now satisfied with the system being robust enough to prevent abuse.

The biggest concern was the FISA courts being just a rubber stamp for the agencies. One former NSA general council commented that even though the stats from last year showed that 100% of the applications were approved by the courts, a significant majority of those approvals were "wire brushed" by the courts to cut back the scale of the request, to put in more stringent limits, or require more definitive background before approval was given.

So it seems that the concerns about agencies running rampant may been blown out or proportion by the pols, the media and the leaker himself.

Here are the news clips I referenced in my previous post.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=191400440

http://www.npr.org/2013/06/13/191400442/senator-nsa-program-expanded-beyond-original-vision

http://www.npr.org/2013/06/13/191226106/fisa-court-appears-to-be-rubberstamp-for-government-requests
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #54 on: June 14, 2013, 01:52:52 »
The potential for abuse is quite massive. As pointed out, warentless serching is rolling for information, and allied with the escalating overreach of bureaucratic organs could lead to a situation where anyone at all could be at risk of being attacked for a politicized agenda. Canadians already should be familier with this throught the "Human Rights" kangaroo courts; the potential in the US is far worse:

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/06/why-i-have-nothing-to-hide-is-the-wrong-way-to-think-about-surveillance/

Quote
Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance
BY MOXIE MARLINSPIKE06.13.136:30 AM

Photo: Dell’s Pics / Flickr
Suddenly, it feels like 2000 again. Back then, surveillance programs like Carnivore, Echelon, and Total Information Awareness helped spark a surge in electronic privacy awareness. Now a decade later, the recent discovery of programs like PRISM, Boundless Informant, and FISA orders are catalyzing renewed concern.

The programs of the past can be characterized as “proximate surveillance,” in which the government attempted to use technology to directly monitor communication themselves. The programs of this decade mark the transition to “oblique surveillance,” in which the government more often just goes to the places where information has been accumulating on its own, such as email providers, search engines, social networks, and telecoms.

Apologists will always frame our use of information-gathering services like a mobile phone plan or Gmail as a choice.
Both then and now, privacy advocates have typically come into conflict with a persistent tension, in which many individuals don’t understand why they should be concerned about surveillance if they have nothing to hide. It’s even less clear in the world of “oblique” surveillance, given that apologists will always frame our use of information-gathering services like a mobile phone plan or Gmail as a choice.

We Won’t Always Know When We Have Something To Hide
As James Duane, a professor at Regent Law School and former defense attorney, notes in his excellent lecture on why it is never a good idea to talk to the police:

Estimates of the current size of the body of federal criminal law vary. It has been reported that the Congressional Research Service cannot even count the current number of federal crimes. These laws are scattered in over 50 titles of the United States Code, encompassing roughly 27,000 pages. Worse yet, the statutory code sections often incorporate, by reference, the provisions and sanctions of administrative regulations promulgated by various regulatory agencies under congressional authorization. Estimates of how many such regulations exist are even less well settled, but the ABA thinks there are ”nearly 10,000.”

If the federal government can’t even count how many laws there are, what chance does an individual have of being certain that they are not acting in violation of one of them?

As Supreme Court Justice Breyer elaborates:

The complexity of modern federal criminal law, codified in several thousand sections of the United States Code and the virtually infinite variety of factual circumstances that might trigger an investigation into a possible violation of the law, make it difficult for anyone to know, in advance, just when a particular set of statements might later appear (to a prosecutor) to be relevant to some such investigation.

For instance, did you know that it is a federal crime to be in possession of a lobster under a certain size? It doesn’t matter if you bought it at a grocery store, if someone else gave it to you, if it’s dead or alive, if you found it after it died of natural causes, or even if you killed it while acting in self defense. You can go to jail because of a lobster.

If the federal government had access to every email you’ve ever written and every phone call you’ve ever made, it’s almost certain that they could find something you’ve done which violates a provision in the 27,000 pages of federal statues or 10,000 administrative regulations. You probably do have something to hide, you just don’t know it yet.


Moxie Marlinspike
A security researcher who has published numerous attacks on SSL and other secure protocols, Moxie Marlinspike was formerly the director of application security at Twitter and co-founder and CTO of Whisper Systems.

We Should Have Something To Hide
Over the past year, there have been a number of headline-grabbing legal changes in the U.S., such as the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, as well as the legalization of same-sex marriage in a growing number of U.S. states.

As a majority of people in these states apparently favor these changes, advocates for the U.S. democratic process cite these legal victories as examples of how the system can provide real freedoms to those who engage with it through lawful means. And it’s true, the bills did pass.

What’s often overlooked, however, is that these legal victories would probably not have been possible without the ability to break the law.

The state of Minnesota, for instance, legalized same-sex marriage this year, but sodomy laws had effectively made homosexuality itself completely illegal in that state until 2001. Likewise, before the recent changes making marijuana legal for personal use in Washington and Colorado, it was obviously not legal for personal use.

Imagine if there were an alternate dystopian reality where law enforcement was 100% effective, such that any potential law offenders knew they would be immediately identified, apprehended, and jailed. If perfect law enforcement had been a reality in Minnesota, Colorado, and Washington since their founding in the 1850s, it seems quite unlikely that these recent changes would have ever come to pass. How could people have decided that marijuana should be legal, if nobody had ever used it? How could states decide that same sex marriage should be permitted, if nobody had ever seen or participated in a same sex relationship?

If everyone’s every action were being monitored, and everyone technically violates some obscure law at some time, then punishment becomes purely selective.

The cornerstone of liberal democracy is the notion that free speech allows us to create a marketplace of ideas, from which we can use the political process to collectively choose the society we want. Most critiques of this system tend to focus on the ways in which this marketplace of ideas isn’t totally free, such as the ways in which some actors have substantially more influence over what information is distributed than others.

The more fundamental problem, however, is that living in an existing social structure creates a specific set of desires and motivations in a way that merely talking about other social structures never can. The world we live in influences not just what we think, but how we think, in a way that a discourse about other ideas isn’t able to. Any teenager can tell you that life’s most meaningful experiences aren’t the ones you necessarily desired, but the ones that actually transformed your very sense of what you desire.

We can only desire based on what we know. It is our present experience of what we are and are not able to do that largely determines our sense for what is possible. This is why same sex relationships, in violation of sodomy laws, were a necessary precondition for the legalization of same sex marriage. This is also why those maintaining positions of power will always encourage the freedom to talk about ideas, but never to act.

Technology and Law Enforcement
Law enforcement used to be harder. If a law enforcement agency wanted to track someone, it required physically assigning a law enforcement agent to follow that person around. Tracking everybody would be inconceivable, because it would require having as many law enforcement agents as people.

Those in power will essentially have what they need to punish anyone they’d like, whenever they choose, as if there were no rules at all.
Today things are very different. Almost everyone carries a tracking device (their mobile phone) at all times, which reports their location to a handful of telecoms, which are required by law to provide that information to the government. Tracking everyone is no longer inconceivable, and is in fact happening all the time. We know that Sprint alone responded to eight million pings for real time customer location just in 2008. They got so many requests that they built an automated system to handle them.

Combined with ballooning law enforcement budgets, this trend towards automation, which includes things like license plate scanners and domestically deployed drones, represents a significant shift in the way that law enforcement operates.

Police already abuse the immense power they have, but if everyone’s every action were being monitored, and everyone technically violates some obscure law at some time, then punishment becomes purely selective. Those in power will essentially have what they need to punish anyone they’d like, whenever they choose, as if there were no rules at all.

Even ignoring this obvious potential for new abuse, it’s also substantially closer to that dystopian reality of a world where law enforcement is 100% effective, eliminating the possibility to experience alternative ideas that might better suit us.

Compromise
Some will say that it’s necessary to balance privacy against security, and that it’s important to find the right compromise between the two. Even if you believe that, a good negotiator doesn’t begin a conversation with someone whose position is at the exact opposite extreme by leading with concessions.

We’re not dealing with a balance of forces looking for the perfect compromise between security and privacy, but an enormous steam roller.
And that’s exactly what we’re dealing with. Not a balance of forces which are looking for the perfect compromise between security and privacy, but an enormous steam roller built out of careers and billions in revenue from surveillance contracts and technology. To negotiate with that, we can’t lead with concessions, but rather with all the opposition we can muster.

All the Opposition We Can Muster
Even if you believe that voting is more than a selection of meaningless choices designed to mask the true lack of agency we have, there is a tremendous amount of money and power and influence on the other side of this equation. So don’t just vote or petition.

To the extent that we’re “from the internet,” we have a certain amount of power of our own that we can leverage within this domain. It is possible to develop user-friendly technical solutions that would stymie this type of surveillance. I help work on Open Source security and privacy apps at Open Whisper Systems, but we all have a long ways to go. If you’re concerned, please consider finding some way to directly oppose this burgeoning worldwide surveillance industry (we could use help at Open Whisper Systems!). It’s going to take all of us.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Nemo888

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #55 on: June 14, 2013, 08:03:56 »
The potential for abuse is quite massive. As pointed out, warentless serching is rolling for information, and allied with the escalating overreach of bureaucratic organs could lead to a situation where anyone at all could be at risk of being attacked for a politicized agenda. Canadians already should be familier with this throught the "Human Rights" kangaroo courts; the potential in the US is far worse:

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/06/why-i-have-nothing-to-hide-is-the-wrong-way-to-think-about-surveillance/

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #56 on: June 14, 2013, 08:17:18 »
I just heard on the (CBC Radio) news that the UK has warned international air carriers to not attempt to transport Mr. Snowden to he UK. The report says that he is unlikely to be admitted and any airline that brings him will be subject to hefty fines.
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #57 on: June 14, 2013, 09:45:07 »
>But you are OK with you ISP and phone service collecting and keeping the same info?

Yes; it is billing information.  However, I doubt they have a capability or desire to retain it "forever".

>And using that info for whatever purpose they deem necessary, including selling it to other companies for unknown purposes?

I'd prefer not, but if those are the terms, I can change providers or do without.

Here's the interesting thing: government should be setting limits on records retention and exchange of information (as in "no"), not saying "me too".
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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #58 on: June 14, 2013, 11:28:21 »
Brad,

It seems you would like the government to choose the do nothing COA in their efforts to combat crime and warfare.  Our current request and approval systems for tapping don't stand a chance against the speed and adaptability of the internet.  It is time to upgrade our security and this is the first step.

I don't get the paranoia argument.  Authorities are busy enough with legitimate concerns to worry about what people bought online at crappy tire or that fact that they called their cousin 3 times last week.

I do agree that the outsourcing has probably gotten out of control.  Especially when these agencies willfully withhold and hoard information to ensure that they get the credit.  It has become a competitive space rather than a collaborative one. 
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 22:22:22 by GnyHwy »
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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #59 on: June 14, 2013, 12:46:14 »
As a gun owner and working as Public Servant, my trust in government is quite low. Some of the abuse is malicious, some is out of laziness and other is out a belief that rights are obstacles to a smoothly running bureaucracy and can be ignored for the most part.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #60 on: June 14, 2013, 22:12:25 »
I didn't suggest "do nothing".  There are going to be limits on the exchange of liberty for security, and denial of call records should be one of them.  Governments have proven repeatedly that they can't keep information under control.  There are people willing to leak information for money, there are people willing to leak information for political gain, and there are people elsewhere devoted to seeking information they are not supposed to have.

Anyone who happens to obtain files of call detail records can convert those into lists of who (name and address) called whom in a few hours.  Telephone switch manuals (to interpret the CDRs) are publicly available, and web-based directory services are even more publicly available.  Writing simple program's to parse CDR files to extract phone numbers and scrape web sites to match numbers to names and addresses is child's play.

Here are two security principles which should never be violated:
1) Control of public utilities' equipment should never be accessible on public networks.
2) Data from public utilities should never be in any hands except the utilities', and also never accessible on public networks.

To violate either of those is to ask to be gut-fu<ked by foreigners who don't like you.
2)
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Offline cupper

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #61 on: June 14, 2013, 22:37:24 »
What about tinfoil bras (and other articles of clothing) for Snowden's pole-dancing girlfriend?   >:D

link

To borrow a gag from Bill Maher:

Dude went a long way to dump the broad. Gotta give him an A for covering all the possibilities.
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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #62 on: June 15, 2013, 23:52:29 »
Metadata reveals the secrets of social position, company hierarchy, terrorist cells

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/metadata-reveals-the-secrets-of-social-position-company-hierarchy-terrorist-cells/2013/06/15/5058647c-d5c1-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story_1.html

Quote
The general’s mistress thought she was being clever by using anonymous e-mail accounts and sending messages using hotel WiFi networks. But metadata — in this case the Internet protocol addresses pointing to network locations — gave her away.

The IP addresses of the networks Paula Broadwell logged into this past fall to send threatening messages to a woman she perceived as a rival for the affection of Gen. David H. Petraeus traced back to the hotels. There, records corresponding to the dates the e-mails were sent revealed one common guest: Broadwell.

Petraeus resigned as CIA director over the affair, and the episode has since receded from the public’s attention. But it is instructive as one simple but powerful way in which metadata — or data about communications — can reveal so much about who we are, where we go and whom we associate with.

Metadata is so rich with clues that entities from Google and eBay to the world’s largest spy agency, the National Security Agency, are collecting and mining this deceptively innocuous information: e-mail addresses to and from, times of e-mails, phone numbers dialed and received, lengths of calls, unique device serial numbers.

A week and a half ago, U.S. officials acknowledged for the first time that the NSA since 2006 has been amassing a database of metadata on the phone-call records of tens of millions of U.S. customers.

And, according to new documents obtained by The Washington Post, the NSA until 2011 gathered e-mail and other digital metadata from major Internet data links, presumably to detect and thwart terrorist plots.

But the government has resisted explaining its legal justification for gathering such massive amounts of data, which hold the potential to permit vast intrusions into the personal lives of Americans.

“When you can get it all in one place and analyze the patterns, you can learn an enormous amount about the behavior of people,” said Daniel J. Weitzner, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Analysts can gain clues to sleep patterns (when people are asleep, they send no e-mails and make no calls), religion (based on locations of calls made or the absence of communications on the Sabbath) or even social position (based on how often people get calls and e-mails and how quickly they receive responses).

In 2007, researchers at Columbia University were able to identify the senior-most company officers at the bankrupt Enron Corp. by studying individual e-mail volume and average response time in 620,000 company e-mails. The highest-ranking officers got the most e-mail and the quickest responses.

Similarly, federal agents use software and social-network analysis to map out terrorist cells and criminal groups. They look, for instance, at who calls whom most frequently, in a technique known as “link analysis.”

“It’s remarkable how just the phone-call data can give you at least a preliminary picture of how the organization operates and who its members are,” said Jason Weinstein, a former deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s criminal division. “It’s by no means the whole picture, but it’s a critical piece of the puzzle to solve the most serious crimes people can commit.”

Sometimes, metadata patterns can be tip-offs — a driver or courier in a terrorist cell or criminal group may be the one to receive short phone calls from several different operatives just before and after an operation.

Cellular-tower location data can help place criminals at the scene if they are using their phones just before they commit a robbery, murder or attack.

“Every day, law enforcement officers are using this data to place suspects at the scene of murders and other crimes,” said Weinstein, now a partner at Steptoe & Johnson.

Data about a communication may be just as revealing as the content itself, said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union.

“If you call an abortion clinic and make an appointment, the fact that you’re making the appointment is far more sensitive than what time your appointment is,” he said. “If you’re calling Alcoholics Anonymous or a suicide counselor, what you’re saying will certainly be sensitive. But the fact that you’re calling Al Anon or a suicide counselor is extremely sensitive, too.”

Under U.S. law, it’s easier for the government to obtain metadata than content. Authorities generally need to show probable cause for a wiretap or intercept of communications.

Telephone records, but not e-mail metadata, can be obtained by law enforcement agencies without any kind of court order.

Weitzner said metadata is “arguably more revealing because it’s actually much easier to analyze the patterns in a large universe of metadata and correlate them with real-world events than it is to go through a semantic analysis of all of someone’s e-mail and all of someone’s telephone calls, if you could get that.

“Metadata is objective: I called you. You called me.”

Cellphone data helped Italian authorities identify CIA agents who abducted an Egyptian cleric suspected of terrorist involvement in Milan in 2003. The investigators pulled the records and identified the agents by their aliases, where they had stayed and whom they had called — including each other. Similarly, in 2011, Hezbollah identified a half-dozen CIA informants through analysis of their cellphone records and calling patterns.

Critical as metadata is, Weinstein said, it does not give you the subject’s words and thoughts. “Only the content,” he said, “will provide you with the evidence you need that the conversations are about terrorism or other crimes.”
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Offline Nemo888

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #63 on: June 17, 2013, 14:57:14 »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/17/edward-snowden-nsa-files-whistleblower?commentpage=1

The interview the world's media organisations have been chasing for more than a week, but instead Edward Snowden is giving Guardian readers the exclusive.

The 29-year-old former NSA contractor and source of the Guardian's NSA files coverage will – with the help of Glenn Greenwald – take your questions today on why he revealed the NSA's top-secret surveillance of US citizens, the international storm that has ensued, and the uncertain future he now faces. Ask him anything.

Snowden, who has fled the US, told the Guardian he "does not expect to see home again", but where he'll end up has yet to be determined.

He will be online today from 11am ET/4pm BST today. An important caveat: the live chat is subject to Snowden's security concerns and also his access to a secure internet connection. It is possible that he will appear and disappear intermittently, so if it takes him a while to get through the questions, please be patient.

To participate, post your question below and recommend your favorites. As he makes his way through the thread, we'll embed his replies as posts in the live blog. You can also follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #AskSnowden.

We expect the site to experience high demand so we'll re-publish the Q&A in full after the live chat has finished.


Updated at 10.03am ET
11.07am ET
Question:

 
Guardian staff
GlennGreenwald
17 June 2013 2:11pm
Let's begin with these:

1) Why did you choose Hong Kong to go to and then tell them about US hacking on their research facilities and universities?

2) How many sets of the documents you disclosed did you make, and how many different people have them? If anything happens to you, do they still exist?

Answer:

1) First, the US Government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime. That's not justice, and it would be foolish to volunteer yourself to it if you can do more good outside of prison than in it.

Second, let's be clear: I did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets. I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous. These nakedly, aggressively criminal acts are wrong no matter the target. Not only that, when NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash. Congress hasn't declared war on the countries - the majority of them are our allies - but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we're not even fighting? So we can potentially reveal a potential terrorist with the potential to kill fewer Americans than our own Police? No, the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the "consent of the governed" is meaningless.

2) All I can say right now is the US Government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.

11.13am ET
Question:

 
Guardian staff
ewenmacaskill
17 June 2013 3:07pm
I should have asked you this when I saw you but never got round to it........Why did you just not fly direct to Iceland if that is your preferred country for asylum?

Answer:

Leaving the US was an incredible risk, as NSA employees must declare their foreign travel 30 days in advance and are monitored. There was a distinct possibility I would be interdicted en route, so I had to travel with no advance booking to a country with the cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained. Hong Kong provided that. Iceland could be pushed harder, quicker, before the public could have a chance to make their feelings known, and I would not put that past the current US administration.

11.17am ET
Question:

 
ActivistGal
17 June 2013 2:15pm
You have said HERE that you admire both Ellsberg and Manning, but have argued that there is one important distinction between yourself and the army private...


"I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest," he said. "There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over, because harming people isn't my goal. Transparency is."

Are you suggesting that Manning indiscriminately dumped secrets into the hands of Wikileaks and that he intended to harm people?

Answer:

No, I'm not. Wikileaks is a legitimate journalistic outlet and they carefully redacted all of their releases in accordance with a judgment of public interest. The unredacted release of cables was due to the failure of a partner journalist to control a passphrase. However, I understand that many media outlets used the argument that "documents were dumped" to smear Manning, and want to make it clear that it is not a valid assertion here.

11.20am ET
Question:

 
D. Aram Mushegian II
17 June 2013 2:16pm
Did you lie about your salary? What is the issue there? Why did you tell Glenn Greenwald that your salary was $200,000 a year, when it was only $122,000 (according to the firm that fired you.)

Answer:

I was debriefed by Glenn and his peers over a number of days, and not all of those conversations were recorded. The statement I made about earnings was that $200,000 was my "career high" salary. I had to take pay cuts in the course of pursuing specific work. Booz was not the most I've been paid.

11.23am ET
Question:

 
Gabrielaweb
17 June 2013 2:17pm
Why did you wait to release the documents if you said you wanted to tell the world about the NSA programs since before Obama became president?

Answer:

Obama's campaign promises and election gave me faith that he would lead us toward fixing the problems he outlined in his quest for votes. Many Americans felt similarly. Unfortunately, shortly after assuming power, he closed the door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see in Guantanamo, where men still sit without charge.

11.27am ET
Question:

 
Anthony De Rosa
17 June 2013 2:18pm
1) Define in as much detail as you can what "direct access" means.

2) Can analysts listen to content of domestic calls without a warrant?

Answer:

1) More detail on how direct NSA's accesses are is coming, but in general, the reality is this: if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc analyst has access to query raw SIGINT databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want. Phone number, email, user id, cell phone handset id (IMEI), and so on - it's all the same. The restrictions against this are policy based, not technically based, and can change at any time. Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications. For at least GCHQ, the number of audited queries is only 5% of those performed.

Updated at 11.41am ET
11.40am ET
 
Anthony De Rosa
17 June 2013 2:18pm
1) Define in as much detail as you can what "direct access" means.

2) Can analysts listen to content of domestic calls without a warrant?

2) NSA likes to use "domestic" as a weasel word here for a number of reasons. The reality is that due to the FISA Amendments Act and its section 702 authorities, Americans’ communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant. They excuse this as "incidental" collection, but at the end of the day, someone at NSA still has the content of your communications. Even in the event of "warranted" intercept, it's important to understand the intelligence community doesn't always deal with what you would consider a "real" warrant like a Police department would have to, the "warrant" is more of a templated form they fill out and send to a reliable judge with a rubber stamp.

Glenn Greenwald follow up: When you say "someone at NSA still has the content of your communications" - what do you mean? Do you mean they have a record of it, or the actual content?

Both. If I target for example an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it. All of it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it gets saved for a very long time - and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants.

11.41am ET
Question:

 
HaraldK
17 June 2013 2:45pm
What are your thoughts on Google's and Facebook's denials? Do you think that they're honestly in the dark about PRISM, or do you think they're compelled to lie?

Perhaps this is a better question to a lawyer like Greenwald, but: If you're presented with a secret order that you're forbidding to reveal the existence of, what will they actually do if you simply refuse to comply (without revealing the order)?

Answer:

Their denials went through several revisions as it become more and more clear they were misleading and included identical, specific language across companies. As a result of these disclosures and the clout of these companies, we're finally beginning to see more transparency and better details about these programs for the first time since their inception.

They are legally compelled to comply and maintain their silence in regard to specifics of the program, but that does not comply them from ethical obligation. If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?

11.55am ET
Question:

 
MonaHol
17 June 2013 4:37pm
Ed Snowden, I thank you for your brave service to our country.

Some skepticism exists about certain of your claims, including this:

I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you, or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President if I had a personal email.

Do you stand by that, and if so, could you elaborate?

Answer:

Yes, I stand by it. US Persons do enjoy limited policy protections (and again, it's important to understand that policy protection is no protection - policy is a one-way ratchet that only loosens) and one very weak technical protection - a near-the-front-end filter at our ingestion points. The filter is constantly out of date, is set at what is euphemistically referred to as the "widest allowable aperture," and can be stripped out at any time. Even with the filter, US comms get ingested, and even more so as soon as they leave the border. Your protected communications shouldn't stop being protected communications just because of the IP they're tagged with.

More fundamentally, the "US Persons" protection in general is a distraction from the power and danger of this system. Suspicionless surveillance does not become okay simply because it's only victimizing 95% of the world instead of 100%. Our founders did not write that "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all US Persons are created equal."

12.04pm ET
Question:

 
Guardian staff
Spencer Ackerman
17 June 2013 4:16pm
Edward, there is rampant speculation, outpacing facts, that you have or will provide classified US information to the Chinese or other governments in exchange for asylum. Have/will you?

Answer:

This is a predictable smear that I anticipated before going public, as the US media has a knee-jerk "RED CHINA!" reaction to anything involving HK or the PRC, and is intended to distract from the issue of US government misconduct. Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.

12.10pm ET
Question:


Answer:

US officials say this every time there's a public discussion that could limit their authority. US officials also provide misleading or directly false assertions about the value of these programs, as they did just recently with the Zazi case, which court documents clearly show was not unveiled by PRISM.

Journalists should ask a specific question: since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicionless surveillance that could not be gained via any other source? Then ask how many individual communications were ingested to acheive that, and ask yourself if it was worth it. Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.

Further, it's important to bear in mind I'm being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.

Updated at 12.11pm ET
12.12pm ET
Question:

 
Mathius1
17 June 2013 2:54pm
Is encrypting my email any good at defeating the NSA survelielance? Id my data protected by standard encryption?

Answer:

Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on. Unfortunately, endpoint security is so terrifically weak that NSA can frequently find ways around it.

12.24pm ET
Question:


Answer:

Binney, Drake, Kiriakou, and Manning are all examples of how overly-harsh responses to public-interest whistle-blowing only escalate the scale, scope, and skill involved in future disclosures. Citizens with a conscience are not going to ignore wrong-doing simply because they'll be destroyed for it: the conscience forbids it. Instead, these draconian responses simply build better whistleblowers. If the Obama administration responds with an even harsher hand against me, they can be assured that they'll soon find themselves facing an equally harsh public response.

This disclosure provides Obama an opportunity to appeal for a return to sanity, constitutional policy, and the rule of law rather than men. He still has plenty of time to go down in history as the President who looked into the abyss and stepped back, rather than leaping forward into it. I would advise he personally call for a special committee to review these interception programs, repudiate the dangerous "State Secrets" privilege, and, upon preparing to leave office, begin a tradition for all Presidents forthwith to demonstrate their respect for the law by appointing a special investigator to review the policies of their years in office for any wrongdoing. There can be no faith in government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny - they should be setting the example of transparency.

12.28pm ET
Question:

 
Ryan Latvaitis
17 June 2013 2:34pm
What would you say to others who are in a position to leak classified information that could improve public understanding of the intelligence apparatus of the USA and its effect on civil liberties?

What evidence do you have that refutes the assertion that the NSA is unable to listen to the content of telephone calls without an explicit and defined court order from FISC?

Answer:

This country is worth dying for.

12.34pm ET
Question:

 
AhBrightWings
17 June 2013 2:12pm
My question: given the enormity of what you are facing now in terms of repercussions, can you describe the exact moment when you knew you absolutely were going to do this, no matter the fallout, and what it now feels like to be living in a post-revelation world? Or was it a series of moments that culminated in action? I think it might help other people contemplating becoming whistleblowers if they knew what the ah-ha moment was like. Again, thanks for your courage and heroism.

Answer:

I imagine everyone's experience is different, but for me, there was no single moment. It was seeing a continuing litany of lies from senior officials to Congress - and therefore the American people - and the realization that that Congress, specifically the Gang of Eight, wholly supported the lies that compelled me to act. Seeing someone in the position of James Clapper - the Director of National Intelligence - baldly lying to the public without repercussion is the evidence of a subverted democracy. The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed.

12.37pm ET
Follow-up from the Guardian's Spencer Ackerman:

Regarding whether you have secretly given classified information to the Chinese government, some are saying you didn't answer clearly - can you give a flat no?

Answer:

No. I have had no contact with the Chinese government. Just like with the Guardian and the Washington Post, I only work with journalists.

12.41pm ET
Question:

So far are things going the way you thought they would regarding a public debate? – tikkamasala

Answer:

Initially I was very encouraged. Unfortunately, the mainstream media now seems far more interested in what I said when I was 17 or what my girlfriend looks like rather than, say, the largest program of suspicionless surveillance in human history.

12.43pm ET
Final question from Glenn Greenwald:

Anything else you'd like to add?
Answer:

Thanks to everyone for their support, and remember that just because you are not the target of a surveillance program does not make it okay. The US Person / foreigner distinction is not a reasonable substitute for individualized suspicion, and is only applied to improve support for the program. This is the precise reason that NSA provides Congress with a special immunity to its surveillance.

Offline Retired AF Guy

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #64 on: June 18, 2013, 21:47:54 »
It appears that some of the shine is starting to come off of Mr Snowden's pearly white armour. Here is an article written by Terry Glavin re-produced under the Fair Dealings Section of the Copyright Act:

Quote
Terry Glavin: No, we’re not living in ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’

Terry Glavin, Special to National Post | 13/06/17 12:16 PM ET

Of all the sideshows to the recent hysterics about the U.S. National Security Agency and its worldwide deep-state Eye of Sauron surveillance operation — which, it is now turning out, is not watching you or tapping your telephone or reading your emails, after all — the most amusing has got to be the sudden spike in enthusiasm for George Orwell’s classic dystopian parable, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

No sooner had the Washington Post and the Guardian (U.K.) rushed to reveal NSA “whistleblower” Edward Snowden’s deeply disturbing (and now embarrassingly dubious) allegations than copies of the book were seen launching themselves off bookstore shelves. Three distinct editions were skyrocketing up Amazon’s Movers and Shakers’ charts by last Tuesday. By Thursday it was everything Barnes and Noble could do to keep copies in stock.

This was only partly because President Barack Obama had found it necessary to declaim that Americans were in fact not living inside the novel’s frightening pages, and the famously demented cable television personality Glenn Beck had similarly invoked the novel’s bleak police-state, only contrariwise.

It’s mostly because any moderately literate person will immediately recognize the outlines of Orwell’s Big Brother apparatus in the chilling architecture of the NSA’s deep-state surveillance regime, at least as we’ve all heard it described over the past 11 days owing the exertions of the Guardian and WaPo. The question was put directly by CBC’s The Current last Friday — Are we living in 1984? — and was answered most capably by the American novelist Joyce Carol Oates: “Well, no, I don’t think so.”

A totalitarian regime like Oceania would not allow a CBC chat show to ask such questions out loud — that should be the most obvious difference, one would have thought. If the problem is a docile and unconcerned public, then maybe Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is what you would want to be reading, Oates suggested. We’re inside the dark masterpiece of Nineteen Eighty-Four? Get real: “Our society is in a way an eccentric society. One can write anything. You can publish anything in the Internet.”

You certainly can, and just one thing you can publish on the Internet and also in the old-fashioned way is the spectacular unravelling of the NSA-PRISM “scoops” that the Guardian and the Washington Post captured everyone’s attention with in the first place.

PRISM is merely a computer system that allows the NSA to gather court-approved foreign-intelligence information
For a few days there almost everybody had been spooked into believing that Facebook, Google, Apple, Skype and several other Silicon Valley majors were allowing NSA spies to tap directly into their systems and wander around at will picking up whatever they liked. As it has turned out, PRISM is not the top-secret information-gathering operation we have been lately hearing about, any more than the purported blockbuster about a court order instructing Verizon to give the FBI a whack of its “telephony metadata” (a fancy term for a mountain of phone bills) means G-men are listening in on people’s phone calls.

PRISM is merely a computer system that allows the NSA to gather court-approved foreign-intelligence information from communications service providers, under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as amended in 2008. It isn’t even “news.”

This brings us to a metaphor from Nineteen Eighty-Four that is notably inconvenient to the Wake Up Sheeple faction. It’s the “Memory Hole,” that system of orifices and tubes that carried documents and all else down to Oceania Airstrip One’s furnaces so that any shred of history found troublesome to Big Brother was incinerated and forever forgotten.

Here’s something awkward, up from the Memory Hole: “The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA Today.”

That isn’t an article USA Today published last week in some valiant effort to keep up with the Guardian and the Washington Post. It’s a USA Today article dated May 11, 2006.

So what is new in any of this?

One reason it’s hard to say is that it isn’t easy to describe perfectly lawful and sensible metadata aggregation without resort to euphemisms from our analog past. Noticing that, strictly speaking, the state’s computer-tracking of private communications data is merely what the Royal Mail has been doing since 1660 is true as far as it goes, but maybe not the most helpful metaphor.

The biggest problem is that from the get-go the journalism involved in all this has been mostly a shady collaboration between three dubious people.

The Guardian’s comically doctrinaire Glenn Greenwald is the Glenn Beck for people who fancy themselves too clever for Fox News. His friend Laura Poitras is a radical-chic activist and documentarist. Their so-called source, that “senior adviser to the Central Intelligence Agency,” has turned out to be the intensely paranoid 29-year-old high-school dropout Edward Snowden, who has further turned out to be an NSA security guard who was promoted to an IT job because of some “computer courses” he’d taken in community college.

Snowden, Poitras and Greenwald played the Guardian and WaPo off against one another, warning both newspapers in turn that they’d be scooped by the other if they didn’t run with Snowden’s claims
Poitras and Greenwald share places on a foundation that raises money for WikiLeaks, the information-vandalizing invention of the formerly globe-trotting celebrity techno-hipster Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for a year now, hiding from rape charges in Sweden.

It has lately emerged that Snowden, Poitras and Greenwald played the Guardian and WaPo off against one another, warning both newspapers in turn that they’d be scooped by the other if they didn’t run with Snowden’s claims. While Poitras will say only “no comment” when asked for the specifics of this peculiar series of events, the NSA stories ended up appearing almost simultaneously in both newspapers.

Just one consequence for the Post’s rushed decision is that ever since, its editors have been busy deleting, scrubbing, correcting, backtracking, amending and clarifying its “scoop.” Watching the embarrassment unfold, Ed Bott, the highly respected technology writer and former editor of PC World, put it this way, in the trend-tracking technology zine ZDNet: “In short, one of the great journalistic institutions of the 20th Century is now engaged in outright click-baiting, following the same ‘publish first, fact-check later’ rules as its newer online competitors.”

As for journalistic integrity, it helps to know that Greenwald reinvented himself from litigation lawyer to libertarian pundit only in 2007 when he started writing a column for the online magazine Salon. It wasn’t until last year, that he got himself rebranded as a Guardian journalist, and that was mainly owing to his knack for reciting that newspaper’s most cherished pseudo-leftish imbecilities in ways that seem almost original.

The Guardian has walked back some of Greenwald’s NSA-PRISM mischief, but Greenwald is standing his ground. This has left the tech genius Mark Jaquith, a lead developer for the web publishing platform WordPress who calls the whole NSA-PRISM story a “yawn,” to conclude in an essay on his blog that the only way Snowden’s claims can be true is if everybody else is lying.

The Silicon Valley companies, the NSA, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, President Obama, the New York Times’ sources — everybody would have to be lying. “Everyone but Greenwald’s source would have to be lying,” Jaquith wrote.

For that to be true it would be something straight out of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that it’s true, which means that from the beginning, this whole thing has been, to slightly misuse the term, utterly Orwellian.

Ottawa Citizen

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Years ago, fairy tales all began with, "Once upon a time." Now we know they all began with, "If I'm elected."

Carolyn Warner

Offline Nemo888

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #65 on: June 21, 2013, 15:57:14 »
From South China Morning Post

WikiLeaks plane ‘ready’ to bring Snowden to Iceland
http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1265642/wikileaks-plane-ready-bring-snowden-iceland

A chartered private jet is ready to bring US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden to Iceland from Hong Kong, a businessman connected to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks said late on Thursday.

“Everything is ready on our side and the plane could take off tomorrow,” Icelandic businessman Olafur Sigurvinsson, head of WikiLeaks partner firm DataCell, told Channel2 television. ,.......

Offline Thucydides

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #66 on: June 22, 2013, 09:49:10 »
Restating why this is a particularly disturbing event. Reform would not only require reigning in the NSA and other intelligence agencies, but also the bureaucracies and massively pruning and rewriting the criminal code:

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/06/no-one-is-innocent.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+marginalrevolution%2Ffeed+%28Marginal+Revolution%29

Quote
No One is Innocent

by Alex Tabarrok on June 21, 2013 at 7:22 am in History, Law, Political Science | Permalink

I broke the law yesterday and again today and I will probably break the law tomorrow. Don’t mistake me, I have done nothing wrong. I don’t even know what laws I have broken. Nevertheless, I am reasonably confident that I have broken some laws, rules, or regulations recently because its hard for anyone to live today without breaking the law. Doubt me? Have you ever thrown out some junk mail that came to your house but was addressed to someone else? That’s a violation of federal law punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Harvey Silverglate argues that a typical American commits three felonies a day. I think that number is too high but it is easy to violate the law without intent or knowledge. Most crimes used to be based on the common law and ancient understandings of wrong (murder, assault, theft and so on) but today there are thousands of federal criminal laws that bear no relation to common law or common understanding. The WSJ illustrates:

    Last September (2011), retired race-car champion Bobby Unser told a congressional hearing about his 1996 misdemeanor conviction for accidentally driving a snowmobile onto protected federal land, violating the Wilderness Act, while lost in a snowstorm. Though the judge gave him only a $75 fine, the 77-year-old racing legend got a criminal record.

    Mr. Unser says he was charged after he went to authorities for help finding his abandoned snowmobile. “The criminal doesn’t usually call the police for help,” he says.

Or how about this:

    In 2009, Mr. Anderson loaned his son some tools to dig for arrowheads near a favorite campground of theirs. Unfortunately, they were on federal land….

    There is no evidence the Andersons intended to break the law, or even knew the law existed, according to court records and interviews. But the law, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, doesn’t require criminal intent and makes it a felony punishable by up to two years in prison to attempt to take artifacts off federal land without a permit.

The Anderson’s didn’t even find any arrowheads but the attempt to find was punishable by imprisonment. Under statutes such as the Lacey Act one can even face criminal prosecution for violating the laws of another country. Ignorance of another  country’s laws is no excuse.

If someone tracked you for a year are you confident that they would find no evidence of a crime? Remember, under the common law, mens rea, criminal intent, was a standard requirement for criminal prosecution but today that is typically no longer the case especially under federal criminal law .

Faced with the evidence of an non-intentional crime, most prosecutors, of course, would use their discretion and not threaten imprisonment. Evidence and discretion, however, are precisely the point. Today, no one is innocent and thus our freedom is maintained only by the high cost of evidence and the prosecutor’s discretion.

One of the responses to the revelations about the mass spying on Americans by the NSA and other agencies is “I have nothing to hide. What me worry?” I tweeted in response “If you have nothing to hide, you live a boring life.” More fundamentally, the NSA spying machine has reduced the cost of evidence so that today our freedom–or our independence–is to a large extent at the discretion of those in control of the panopticon.

- See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/06/no-one-is-innocent.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+marginalrevolution%2Ffeed+%28Marginal+Revolution%29#sthash.YMKn87Uf.dpuf
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #68 on: June 22, 2013, 12:02:52 »
Well its now official. Snowden charged with committing offences under the Espionage Act and for the theft of government property. Re-produced under the usual caveats of the Copyright Act.

Quote
Edward Snowden charged with espionage, theft in NSA surveillance case

Pete Yost, The Associated Press. Published Friday, June 21, 2013 11:09PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department has charged former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden with espionage and theft of government property in the NSA surveillance case.
Snowden, believed to be holed up in Hong Kong, has admitted providing information to the news media about two highly classified NSA surveillance programs.

A one-page criminal complaint unsealed Friday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., says Snowden engaged in unauthorized communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence information. Both are charges under the Espionage Act. Snowden also is charged with theft of government property. All three crimes carry a maximum 10-year prison penalty.

The federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia where the complaint was filed is headquarters for Snowden's former employer, government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

The complaint is dated June 14, five days after Snowden's name first surfaced as the leaker of information about the two programs in which the NSA gathered telephone and Internet records to ferret out terror plots.

The complaint could become an integral part of a U.S. government effort to have Snowden extradited from Hong Kong, a process that could turn into a prolonged legal battle. Snowden could contest extradition on grounds of political persecution. In general, the extradition agreement between the U.S. and Hong Kong excepts political offences from the obligation to turn over a person.

It was unclear late Friday whether the U.S. had made an extradition request. Hong Kong had no immediate reaction to word of the charges against Snowden.

The Espionage Act arguably is a political offence. The Obama administration has now used the act in eight criminal cases in an unprecedented effort to stem leaks. In one of them, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning acknowledged he sent more than 700,000 battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and other materials to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. His military trial is underway.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, welcomed the charges. "I've always thought this was a treasonous act," he said in a statement. "I hope Hong Kong's government will take him into custody and extradite him to the U.S."

Michael di Pretoro, a retired 30-year veteran with the FBI who served from 1990 to 1994 as the legal liaison officer at the American consulate in Hong Kong, said "relations between U.S. and Hong Kong law enforcement personnel are historically quite good."

"In my time, I felt the degree of co-operation was outstanding to the extent that I almost felt I was in an FBI field office," said di Pretoro.

The U.S. and Hong Kong co-operate on law enforcement matters and have a standing agreement on the surrender of fugitives. However, Snowden's appeal rights could drag out any extradition proceeding. The success or failure of any extradition proceeding depends on what the suspect is charged with under U.S. law and how it corresponds to Hong Kong law under the treaty. In order for Hong Kong officials to honour the extradition request, they have to have some applicable statute under their law that corresponds with a violation of U.S. law.

In Iceland, a business executive said Friday that a private plane was on standby to transport Snowden from Hong Kong to Iceland, although Iceland's government says it has not received an asylum request from Snowden. Business executive Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson said he has been in contact with someone representing Snowden and has not spoken to the American himself. Private donations are being collected to pay for the flight, he said.

"There are a number of people that are interested in freedom of speech and recognize the importance of knowing who is spying on us," Sigurvinsson said. "We are people that care about privacy."
Disclosure of the criminal complaint came as President Barack Obama held his first meeting with a privacy and civil liberties board as his intelligence chief sought ways to help Americans understand more about sweeping government surveillance efforts exposed by Snowden.

The five members of the little-known Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board met with Obama for an hour in the White House Situation Room, questioning the president on the two NSA programs that have stoked controversy.

One program collects billions of U.S. phone records. The second gathers audio, video, email, photographic and Internet search usage of foreign nationals overseas, and probably some Americans in the process, who use major providers such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Yahoo.


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Offline Nemo888

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #69 on: June 22, 2013, 12:36:48 »
Should the US throw the book at him and lock him up for 20 years for saying things everyone already knew? Prism is the bargain basement program that can't even cut encryption in real time. It's not designed for catching terrorists. It's more for dissidents and stupid criminals. Sources that were often used by Arab Spring type groups of unhappy citizens. It is so cheap conventional law enforcement are probably drooling over it. PRISM is a backdoor program. Never a good idea to leave the backdoor open.

I would make an example of him. Black list him and if all he released was the poorly done death by PowerPoint presentation 12 to 24 months. 20 years kind of proves him right. He wanted to start debate. Let's have one and then forget about him.

Offline cupper

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #70 on: June 22, 2013, 14:10:35 »
Whether everyone knew about it or not is not relevant.

He violated several laws by releasing the information to people who were not authorized to have access to it.

The reason he did it is not relevant either.


For an interview with Shane Harris, author of "The Watchers" and columnist for Foreign Policy Magazine that gives an excellent overview of the history of "snooping programs" within the intelligence communities, check out the link below.

http://www.npr.org/2013/06/19/192770397/the-watchers-have-had-their-eyes-on-us-for-years

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The revelations about secret National Security Agency programs, leaked by Edward Snowden earlier this month, have stirred great controversy, but this type of surveillance is not entirely new, according to journalist Shane Harris.

In his 2010 book, The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, Harris traced the evolution of these surveillance programs in the U.S.

He says that as the digital age advanced, the NSA reached a crossroads and realized that analog tactics like phone tapping were quickly becoming obsolete: There was a whole new world of digital information to be accessed.

"They're realizing," says Harris, "if we can get into this 'digital network' ... [that] they would effectively be able to monitor global communications."

Because these communications were traveling through lines inside the United States, the U.S. was the central switching station for the global communications grid. The laws at the time, however, forbade much of that kind of intelligence gathering in the United States.

"9/11 changed all that," Harris tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Harris is a reporter at Foreign Policy. He's also written about intelligence, surveillance and cybersecurity for the Washingtonian and National Journal.

Interview Highlights

On how the dawn of the digital era created a crisis for surveillance agencies

"The law changed such that in the future, whenever the companies built and installed these digital network systems for communications, they too had to be built in a way that law enforcement could execute a warrant quickly and easily ...

"So they basically had to install and build in an architecture that allows for digital surveillance at a high volume ... so essentially what you have now is a phone system that can be easily tapped and quickly tapped ... and there was a real debate about ... whether this would give the government even more intrusive access into communications because you can just swallow up so many more kinds of digital communication at once rather than tapping one phone line at a time."

On John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness (TIA) program of 2002

"His goal was to create a system that could access all of the digital information anywhere in real time — everything from phone calls and emails, text messages, rental car reservations, credit card transactions, prescription records.

"And the idea behind TIA was it would go out and look through this huge ... universe of data, and look for patterns of activity or patterns of transactions that analysts had predetermined were associated with terrorist attacks.

"Any movement that you make today leaves a digital signature, a digital trail. Investigators, after a terrorist attack has occurred, go back and use all of those digital signatures and trails to figure out who these people were and how they did the plot. Why can't we look at it before the event occurs and try to predict with some degree of certainty where we should then be focusing our attention and which people we should be closely monitoring? But to do that you had to collect all of the information available everywhere."

On why TIA (Total Information Awareness) was shut down

"What he was proposing at the time — and this is before we realized what had been going on in secret at the NSA, sounded Orwellian. It sounded almost absurd. The idea that you would want to go out and give the government access to every single person's record and let them root through it, really seemed just a step too far, even in the one or two years after 9/11 when the country was still very much on edge and we were fighting a war in Afghanistan; it just seemed like it was just excessive.

"The name creeped people out. It was called 'Total Information Awareness.' It had this logo of the pyramid from the great seal of the United States with this floating eye on it casing a beam over the globe; it looked very menacing."

On Snowden working for a private contractor

"What I'm surprised by is how it is that any employee at his level, whether a contractor or not, would have access to some of the information that he had access to. The NSA prides itself on being one of the most secure agencies in government. This is the agency, after all, that specializes in cryptology. They are code-makers and code-breakers. So how is it that these incredibly sensitive documents — particularly the court order related to metadata — was just accessible to anyone and to remove with a thumb drive, regardless of whether they were a contractor or not?"

On the generational value gap

"There is a cultural collision, a clash that's going on here with these organizations that are built on compartmentalization and secrecy and deceit to a certain degree, needing the expertise of someone like Ed Snowden who grew up in the digital age, who grew up using computers as if they were regular household items.

"That's the workforce that the NSA has to pull from. The value systems may not be compatible, however. It strikes me that, you know, there are a lot of people, though, who work for the NSA who probably do feel the way that Snowden did, who believe in this idea of freedom of information. ... But you make a commitment when you go to work for these agencies, to keep the secrets and to almost kind of push your own beliefs to the side.

"It used to be, perhaps, that commitment to that secrecy and that code of ethic was more likely to trump anyone's personal beliefs. But the more that you have these people coming in who do see things differently, I think it does increase the likelihood that you're going to have leaks like this in the future. At the same time, the NSA can't afford to say, 'We won't hire anybody under the age of 35,' or, 'We won't hire anybody who has expressed an interest in digital privacy rights.' "
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #71 on: June 22, 2013, 14:25:59 »
Well its now official. Snowden charged with committing offences under the Espionage Act and for the theft of government property. Re-produced under the usual caveats of the Copyright Act.
 

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And now will come the legal business of extraditing (or attempting to extradite) him from Hong Kong. It is not as straight forward as it appears; although HK has an extradition treaty with the USA there is still a legal process to be followed and there are potential traps in it.
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Offline Nemo888

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #72 on: June 22, 2013, 18:26:14 »
The reason he did it is not relevant either.
Are you sure? There is a huge difference. Jeffrey Paul Delisle only got 20 years for selling secrets to the Russians, deliberately endangering lives and destroying our security in the process. Snowden also broke the law. But giving him the same punishment and adding 10 years more to it is not justice. By that logic self defense is murder because you ended up killing someone. Motivation is always important. Especially when it comes to sentencing. Using the Espionage Act of 1917 in unintended ways not even Cheney or Nixon thought were moral is  bit sick. Obviously Obama is not trustworthy and the Executive Branch has accumulated way too much power.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #73 on: June 22, 2013, 18:47:41 »
Snowden thought his judgement was better than his bosses.He signed a contract not to reveal secrets for ANY reason.He could have gone the official whistle blower route but he revealed the secrets to he media and went to Hong Kong.

Offline Remius

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Re: NSA Whistle-blower Ed Snowden
« Reply #74 on: June 22, 2013, 18:55:34 »
While I agree with Nemo that his motivations are indeed relevant (and I'm starting to think this guy is liking the attention) there is also the need to send a clear message in the type of punishment.  You can't compare Delisle with Snowden and the sentence he received.  While similar they are two different countries and two different legal systems.

If Bradley Manning had already received his sentence (life or worse) do you think that this guy snowden wouldn't have thought this out a bit more?  By giving him a light sentence you are practically giving anyone permission to go to the media, interweb or wherever under whatever sense of duty they have.  No, this guy needs the book thrown at him to send a message.
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