Author Topic: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners  (Read 2035 times)

Cherry Lover

  • The Maintainer
  • SE.RA.PH
  • **********
  • Posts: 6092
    • View Profile
PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« on: June 12, 2013, 02:20:27 AM »
I dunno how much people have been following the recent revelations about just how much the US government has been spying on us, but frankly I think it's rather disturbing. Apparently, they've been recording the details of phone calls of everyone in the US, in secret and without any public knowledge or oversight (although there are secret courts to cover it).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order

Frankly, I think it's disgusting. It is one thing to argue that the US government needs to get information like this, but that argument should be one to be had in public, not behind closed doors. People have the right to know what is being done in their name, as far as possible. For example, our government is considering making laws to allow this sort of thing, but at least they're doing it in the open, and having a debate over it (which resulted in the law being shelved). The US just does it in private and circumvents constitutional protections and public opinion.

But, what is even more disturbing from the point of view of someone who isn't in the US, but uses US services (which is probably about 75% of the world) is the way that the US seems to think that people outside of their borders don't have rights, and can be snooped-on at will without any court orders.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

The more I hear about stuff like this, the more it astounds me that most Americans don't understand why the rest of the world hates them. The US attitude seems to be that freedom is a fundamental right if and only if you're American, otherwise we can do whatever we like, and frankly I find that absolutely disgraceful, and damn hypocritical too. Freedom applies to everyone, not just to US citizens. And, if you want to do business with the rest of the world you can't treat them like dirt.

The most annoying part of it, though, is that boycotting US companies is simply not an option (hell, even this forum is hosted in the US, due to this country's ridiculously moralistic obscenity laws), however much they have demonstrated they cannot be trusted.

Here is what the guy who leaked the information has to say.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance

Personally, I think the guy is a hero. He knows the likely outcome of what he's done, but yet he chose to stand up to the government and hold them to account for their decisions. We need more people who do this, who tell the government they won't allow such abuses.

Finally, I also noticed this:

http://www.chronicle.su/news/anonymous-infiltrates-prism-intercepts-obamas-skype/

Apparently, Anonymous has hacked into Prism, and has details of calls made by various US citizens, including Obama. This could get very juicy. And, frankly, it's what they bloody deserve for snooping on everyone like that.

What I also like about it is the way the US government said "nope, they can't have hacked it, Prism doesn't exist". Which is quite obviously bullshit.

OPOI

  • It's not a mistake!
  • NPC
  • ***
  • Posts: 177
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2013, 04:54:04 AM »
I just feel sorry for the people going through our Internet history :P

But yeah in all honesty, even if that's NSA's job, it's kinda overkill what they did.

The way the US has been trying to deny it is so laughably stupid though, a spokesman this morning was like:
"I'm not saying that it has been done, but hypothetically even if the NSA did what They're being accused of, it is their job. Not that I'm saying they did of course."
I mean wut
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 04:57:02 AM by OPOI »

Cherry Lover

  • The Maintainer
  • SE.RA.PH
  • **********
  • Posts: 6092
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2013, 02:53:42 AM »
Well, yeah, exactly, it is rather ridiculous the extent they've gone to, although I guess it isn't exactly out of character for them and similar intelligence agencies. Indeed, from what I can tell the British and French have been doing essentially the same thing (that being tapping into the main internet cables and hoovering up just about everything).

Frankly, this is what you will always get if you let intelligence agencies act without even the most basic of public knowledge and understanding of what they're up to. I've never seen an active intelligence agent, police officer or other authortiy figure say "you know what we really need? Less power", and I suspect I'm never likely to. And, politicians have little incentive to limit their actions in secret sessions if they know that there is only a downside to doing so (that being that they will be blamed for any terrorist attacks that might occur) and no upside (since they can't announce that they're protecting privacy). I understand why secret services cannot explain their exact methods, but people should at least have enough information to debate them.

Democracy is meaningless if the people do not have enough information to make an informed decision about what is happening. As soon as you start keeping the actions of the government secret, you subvert democracy in a fundamental way. Sometimes that is perhaps necessary, but it should never be done on this scale, especially not on the grounds of some nebulous "War on Terror" which has no formal ending point and, thus, will drag on as long as the government wants to use it to get more power. There are countries which have been in a permanent "state of emergency" for years on the basis of "fighting terrorism", because terrorism (like crime in general) will never go away entirely.

Of course, in this case it's worse, because the people making the decisions aren't even the people being targetted. The US says "we don't use this to spy on US citizens" as if it is somehow OK that they're breaching the privacy of the 95% of the population of the world that isn't a US citizen. Frankly, that sort of disgraceful "fuck the rest of the world" attitude is why the US is so hated, and indeed why there are groups like Al-Qaeda in the first place. If the US didn't consistently abuse its dominant position to advance its interests and those of its allies (*cough* Israel *cough*) at the expense of everyone else, half of the world wouldn't hate it, and Al-Qaeda would have a far smaller recruiting pool.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 02:57:32 AM by Cherry Lover »

ranmabushiko

  • Spiritron
  • *
  • Posts: 9
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2013, 09:39:30 AM »
What's worse about this entire thing... is that by doing this, they're actively ignoring the Constitution.  Considering most laws, by law, are ILLEGAL if they counter the Constitution in any way, shape or form (Yes, including Obama's Gun Laws that he wants to put in), it means that they're knowingly breaking the law.  And flaunting that fact, too.  This, honestly... scares me a lot.  A LOT of things that people do are illegal, even if we don't realize we're acting illegally, with how screwed up the law has become.  And realistically, it's not a democratic republic, it's a CONSTITUTIONAL one.  NONE of this crap should have happened in the first place, if they had followed the Constitution first, and the bullshit laws second.  Thankfully though, they've not managed to gut the Second Amendment as well as they wish they could, which was put into place to ensure would be tyrants and corrupt politicians all have something to fear.  The people uprising against them and shooting them for making stupid laws.

I know ALL too well about how they've screwed things up, Mike.  I've read books and history on the fact, myself, as has my father.  Osama Bin Laden became an enemy of America because we withdrew all funding to support the hospitals there after we helped them kick Russia out... when they needed medicine and food the most.

And don't even get me started on the bullshit involved with 9-11.

Cherry Lover

  • The Maintainer
  • SE.RA.PH
  • **********
  • Posts: 6092
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2013, 02:21:07 PM »
What's worse about this entire thing... is that by doing this, they're actively ignoring the Constitution.

Only for US people, I think. The rest of the world doesn't count.

Quote
Considering most laws, by law, are ILLEGAL if they counter the Constitution in any way, shape or form (Yes, including Obama's Gun Laws that he wants to put in), it means that they're knowingly breaking the law.

Well, yeah, but to determine that it is unconstitutional, someone has to complain about it, and since no-one knew it was happening....

Plus, the court is horribly politicised anyway, so what decision you get mainly depends on who managed to appoint the most judges (plus, of course, all judges are appointed by some president or another, which hardly seems to me to be the best way of limiting the government's power...).

Quote
And flaunting that fact, too.  This, honestly... scares me a lot.  A LOT of things that people do are illegal, even if we don't realize we're acting illegally, with how screwed up the law has become.

Yeah.

Although, at least you guys have a constitution to protect you somewhat, even if the government is getting good at ignoring it.

Quote
And realistically, it's not a democratic republic, it's a CONSTITUTIONAL one.  NONE of this crap should have happened in the first place, if they had followed the Constitution first, and the bullshit laws second. 

Well, that is true, but in this case it's not even democratic. For it to be democratic in a meaningful sense there needs to be a public debate about what the government is doing, and secret actions deny us that.

Quote
Thankfully though, they've not managed to gut the Second Amendment as well as they wish they could, which was put into place to ensure would be tyrants and corrupt politicians all have something to fear.  The people uprising against them and shooting them for making stupid laws.

Well, except that people never focus on that aspect. They always focus on the aspect of wanting to be able to defend theirselves from criminals. Which, frankly, is not a good reason to have a gun. The government is here to protect people from criminals, what people need is a way to protect theirselves from the government.

And, honestly, I think it has been gutted somewhat, because by the point that it becomes necessary to rise up against the government, the government will have taken weapons from anyone who is even remotely likely of doing so. All they have to do is call them a "traitor" or a criminal and that's it.

I'm always a bit torn on gun control laws. On the one hand, they make massive amounts of sense, because there really is no reason to possess a gun 99.9% of the time (aside from for hunting or the like), and most of the time it seems to me that guns do more harm than good. However, if you allow the government to disarm the population then it becomes very difficult or impossible for an unpopular government to be overthrown (look at Syria, for example), and that possibility does really need to be there.

Although, honestly, what I really do not like is stuff like this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23304198

It seems pretty clear to me that these "stand your ground" laws are far too lenient and broad. What appears to have happened is that some idiot vigilante decided that, because some guy was black and wearing a hood, he obviously must be a criminal, and decided to chase after him. The kid then defended himself quite reasonably, but because the other guy was carrying a gun, he got shot and killed. I do accept the concept of "self-defence", but I don't see how that should apply to a fight you started, against someone who was clearly unarmed. At very least he should have been convicted of Manslaughter, but because Florida's law is ludicrously biased towards people fighting back even when they really shouldn't, he got away with it.

Quote
I know ALL too well about how they've screwed things up, Mike.  I've read books and history on the fact, myself, as has my father.  Osama Bin Laden became an enemy of America because we withdrew all funding to support the hospitals there after we helped them kick Russia out... when they needed medicine and food the most.

Yeah, exactly.

Frankly, if you look at history, basically every problem in the world today can be traced back to either something the US did during the Cold War or something that European Colonialists did to maintain control. Most of the sectarian tensions you get now are there because the British spent most of the 19th and early 20th centuries getting them to hate each other so they wouldn't ally and attack us.

Quote
And don't even get me started on the bullshit involved with 9-11.

Eh, what?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2013, 03:46:48 PM by Cherry Lover »

ranmabushiko

  • Spiritron
  • *
  • Posts: 9
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2013, 11:19:20 PM »
What's worse about this entire thing... is that by doing this, they're actively ignoring the Constitution.

Only for US people, I think. The rest of the world doesn't count.

Quote
Considering most laws, by law, are ILLEGAL if they counter the Constitution in any way, shape or form (Yes, including Obama's Gun Laws that he wants to put in), it means that they're knowingly breaking the law.

Well, yeah, but to determine that it is unconstitutional, someone has to complain about it, and since no-one knew it was happening....

Plus, the court is horribly politicised anyway, so what decision you get mainly depends on who managed to appoint the most judges (plus, of course, all judges are appointed by some president or another, which hardly seems to me to be the best way of limiting the government's power...).

Quote
And flaunting that fact, too.  This, honestly... scares me a lot.  A LOT of things that people do are illegal, even if we don't realize we're acting illegally, with how screwed up the law has become.

Yeah.

Although, at least you guys have a constitution to protect you somewhat, even if the government is getting good at ignoring it.

Quote
And realistically, it's not a democratic republic, it's a CONSTITUTIONAL one.  NONE of this crap should have happened in the first place, if they had followed the Constitution first, and the bullshit laws second. 

Well, that is true, but in this case it's not even democratic. For it to be democratic in a meaningful sense there needs to be a public debate about what the government is doing, and secret actions deny us that.

Quote
Thankfully though, they've not managed to gut the Second Amendment as well as they wish they could, which was put into place to ensure would be tyrants and corrupt politicians all have something to fear.  The people uprising against them and shooting them for making stupid laws.

Well, except that people never focus on that aspect. They always focus on the aspect of wanting to be able to defend theirselves from criminals. Which, frankly, is not a good reason to have a gun. The government is here to protect people from criminals, what people need is a way to protect theirselves from the government.

And, honestly, I think it has been gutted somewhat, because by the point that it becomes necessary to rise up against the government, the government will have taken weapons from anyone who is even remotely likely of doing so. All they have to do is call them a "traitor" or a criminal and that's it.

I'm always a bit torn on gun control laws. On the one hand, they make massive amounts of sense, because there really is no reason to possess a gun 99.9% of the time (aside from for hunting or the like), and most of the time it seems to me that guns do more harm than good. However, if you allow the government to disarm the population then it becomes very difficult or impossible for an unpopular government to be overthrown (look at Syria, for example), and that possibility does really need to be there.

Although, honestly, what I really do not like is stuff like this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23304198

It seems pretty clear to me that these "stand your ground" laws are far too lenient and broad. What appears to have happened is that some idiot vigilante decided that, because some guy was black and wearing a hood, he obviously must be a criminal, and decided to chase after him. The kid then defended himself quite reasonably, but because the other guy was carrying a gun, he got shot and killed. I do accept the concept of "self-defence", but I don't see how that should apply to a fight you started, against someone who was clearly unarmed. At very least he should have been convicted of Manslaughter, but because Florida's law is ludicrously biased towards people fighting back even when they really shouldn't, he got away with it.

Quote
I know ALL too well about how they've screwed things up, Mike.  I've read books and history on the fact, myself, as has my father.  Osama Bin Laden became an enemy of America because we withdrew all funding to support the hospitals there after we helped them kick Russia out... when they needed medicine and food the most.

Yeah, exactly.

Frankly, if you look at history, basically every problem in the world today can be traced back to either something the US did during the Cold War or something that European Colonialists did to maintain control. Most of the sectarian tensions you get now are there because the British spent most of the 19th and early 20th centuries getting them to hate each other so they wouldn't ally and attack us.

Quote
And don't even get me started on the bullshit involved with 9-11.

Eh, what?


Guns, I can see your point on, all too well.  My mother's a pacifist, so I can understand why most people don't need them.  At the same time, Syria, Nazi Germany and more are all good examples of how the government can go out of control if you don't have firearms anymore.

Stand your ground laws are ok, most of the time, but the ones involving your home being your safe castle laws are most important, I think.  If someone breaks into your house, you're legally allowed to kill them.  Something like that, I can agree with.  It's why I live in Washington state, where that law is at.

There were a lot of hints that 9-11 was a false flag operation.  Such as a third building going down that was far off (Debris wouldn't magically take that building down in the exact same manner as the other two buildings, while no other buildings went down.  Initial reports of thermite in the structure of the building, all over, and explosives in the basement.  Also, both those buildings having multiple supports, unlike Popular Science's bullshit of them having only one single support, and both buildings meant to survive airplane strikes and fires of the nature reported.  The fact that the person that bought the rights to the place took out a multi million dollar insurance policy a few months beforehand doesn't help the government's case.  So does the fact that people positively IDed the plane that had an "unnatural bulge" as being a prototype plane for refueling jets in mid-air, stolen from Boeing a year before.

And last year, preppers took note of the fact that the government here now states that any person that questions the government's story about 9-11 is a possible terrorist, on a pamphlet circulated by the FBI... well, I think you get the picture.

Kat

  • Moon Cancer
  • ********
  • Posts: 4067
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2014, 09:26:04 AM »
Quote
Frankly, I think it's disgusting. It is one thing to argue that the US government needs to get information like this, but that argument should be one to be had in public, not behind closed doors. People have the right to know what is being done in their name, as far as possible. For example, our government is considering making laws to allow this sort of thing, but at least they're doing it in the open, and having a debate over it (which resulted in the law being shelved). The US just does it in private and circumvents constitutional protections and public opinion.

Publishing such information defeats any value the government of the United States of America gains from it. Secret operations are secret after all, and it is understandable US government has reasons to prevent any act of terrorism on American soil from happening.

Cherry Lover

  • The Maintainer
  • SE.RA.PH
  • **********
  • Posts: 6092
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2014, 01:44:49 PM »
Quote
Frankly, I think it's disgusting. It is one thing to argue that the US government needs to get information like this, but that argument should be one to be had in public, not behind closed doors. People have the right to know what is being done in their name, as far as possible. For example, our government is considering making laws to allow this sort of thing, but at least they're doing it in the open, and having a debate over it (which resulted in the law being shelved). The US just does it in private and circumvents constitutional protections and public opinion.

Publishing such information defeats any value the government of the United States of America gains from it. Secret operations are secret after all, and it is understandable US government has reasons to prevent any act of terrorism on American soil from happening.

And not publishing it defeats the whole point of democracy. How can we have a democratic discussion of what the government is doing if we don't know what the government is doing?

I am aware that there is a trade-off between the value of the intelligence and the secrecy, but I also know that "terrorism" and similar excuses are used to justify oppression in almost every authoritarian regime on Earth. If we give the government the power to act secretly without proper oversight (and, without some indication of what is going on, we have no oversight, aside from politicians saying "trust me") then we are opening the path to arbitrary abuses of power. And, no, this is not a theoretical concept, the US government has time and time again shown the willingness to act to oppress and discredit peaceful groups which disagree with their actions or motives (communists and anti-Vietnam-War groups, notably).

Arch-Magos Winter

  • The Machine Prophet
  • Servant
  • ******
  • Posts: 2336
  • Techpriest of Beasts Lair
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2014, 04:25:34 PM »
OK

Remember, secrets are what makes intelligence, intelligence. Giving away your secrets is stupid when NOBODY ELSE DOES THAT. As such, for the survival of a nation, keeping classified documents and the like, well, classified, is very important.

Cherry Lover

  • The Maintainer
  • SE.RA.PH
  • **********
  • Posts: 6092
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2014, 04:29:58 PM »
OK

Remember, secrets are what makes intelligence, intelligence. Giving away your secrets is stupid when NOBODY ELSE DOES THAT. As such, for the survival of a nation, keeping classified documents and the like, well, classified, is very important.

That is true to some extent, yes, but there has to be public oversight of what the NSA and similar are allowed to do, otherwise we do not have a democracy, or freedom worth anything. And, as far as I am concerned, freedom and democracy are more important than "the nation".

And, frankly, as a citizen of a foreign country who the US government provides zero protection for, I really couldn't give two shits about the survival of the US "as a nation". I care about my ability to not be treated as a potential enemy and spied on at will by the US. US companies operating outside the US have to abide by the rules set outside the US, not ignore them for the benefit of the US government.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 04:33:24 PM by Cherry Lover »

Kat

  • Moon Cancer
  • ********
  • Posts: 4067
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2014, 04:32:18 PM »
Quote
I am aware that there is a trade-off between the value of the intelligence and the secrecy, but I also know that "terrorism" and similar excuses are used to justify oppression in almost every authoritarian regime on Earth.

Did you forget terrorists actually has killed thousands of people in attacks on USA and her allies? Including Great Britain? It's not excuse, it's what every sensible government does, protecting its citizens and supporting their allies.

Watch South Park episode on NSA. They got it right, because intelligence does not care about somebody's porn, they process information to find spies and terrorists. You are in no danger unless you possess porn that is obviously not legal, like children pornography (which probably NSA agents, if they stumble on, refer to their colleagues who take care specifically of such cases).

Cherry Lover

  • The Maintainer
  • SE.RA.PH
  • **********
  • Posts: 6092
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2014, 04:37:48 PM »
Quote
I am aware that there is a trade-off between the value of the intelligence and the secrecy, but I also know that "terrorism" and similar excuses are used to justify oppression in almost every authoritarian regime on Earth.

Did you forget terrorists actually has killed thousands of people in attacks on USA and her allies? Including Great Britain?

Car crashes have killed millions of people in the USA and her allies. I don't see the government banning driving....

Quote
It's not excuse, it's what every sensible government does, protecting its citizens and supporting their allies.

Sure, but the government ultimately exists to serve the people, not the other way around. We don't need to know everything they are doing, but we absolutely should know what they are allowed to do, because otherwise there is no oversight or public debate, and when that happens there is a great danger that the security services will move from protecting its citizens to protecting itself.

As for "protecting their allies", I'm not entirely sure how bugging the German Chancellor's phone is helping to protect her, or how I am protected by the US reading all of my communications....

Quote
Watch South Park episode on NSA. They got it right, because intelligence does not care about somebody's porn, they process information to find spies and terrorists. You are in no danger unless you possess porn that is obviously not legal, like children pornography (which probably NSA agents, if they stumble on, refer to their colleagues who take care specifically of such cases).

I'm sure the NSA doesn't particularly care about someone's porn, no, unless it happens to be someone they want to smear, in which case I'm sure it will end up leaked to someone....

My point, though, is that any system that works by the government saying "trust us" is not a free or democratic system, because we have no reason why we should trust them. And, sorry, but the statement "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" is just bullshit, because everyone has something the would rather hide, even if it's not illegal. The US government has a record of slandering peaceful anti-government organisations, and it is possible to end up on a terrorist watchlist (meaning a hell of a lot of problems) just because the NSA thinks you might be dangerous. Knowing that the NSA is aware of everything you say has a significant chilling effect on people's willingness to say it, even in private, and that is not a good thing at all.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 04:40:20 PM by Cherry Lover »

Arch-Magos Winter

  • The Machine Prophet
  • Servant
  • ******
  • Posts: 2336
  • Techpriest of Beasts Lair
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2014, 04:42:32 PM »
OK, Mike, I don't think you have a single fucking clue about how the NSA's surveillance actually WORKS. They don't read through everything on everyone, that's simply impossible. So they filter data out. Company emails, spam, etc. etc. boom, filtered out immediately. Then they start looking for other hits, with other word filters. Then they use even MORE word filters to get certain combinations of words which could indicate a threat.

And then they filter those even MORE through data about browsing habits and the like. So basically, no, they aren't looking through your emails except to see if they have one word, and even then they don't actually LOOK at them.


For that matter, oh holy shit you are under the US's protection, thanks to big brother NATO.

Kat

  • Moon Cancer
  • ********
  • Posts: 4067
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2014, 04:43:35 PM »
Quote
Car crashes have killed millions of people in the USA and her allies. I don't see the government banning driving....

The government enacted legislation that attempts to prevent those accidents.

Really, Mike, comparing driving cars to acts of mass murders is a new low. :|

First, public debate is not best solution in times of emergency you need to act.

Secondly, NSA does not give a fuck about people like you, Magos and me. We don't register on their radars.

@Magos: Without US protection Britain would get probably shrekked by Red Army rather soon.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 04:44:25 PM by Kat the Satan »

Cherry Lover

  • The Maintainer
  • SE.RA.PH
  • **********
  • Posts: 6092
    • View Profile
Re: PRISM, spying and the US attitude to foreigners
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2014, 04:59:07 PM »
OK, Mike, I don't think you have a single fucking clue about how the NSA's surveillance actually WORKS. They don't read through everything on everyone, that's simply impossible. So they filter data out. Company emails, spam, etc. etc. boom, filtered out immediately. Then they start looking for other hits, with other word filters. Then they use even MORE word filters to get certain combinations of words which could indicate a threat.

And then they filter those even MORE through data about browsing habits and the like. So basically, no, they aren't looking through your emails except to see if they have one word, and even then they don't actually LOOK at them.

Of course they do not read every single e-mail. That is obviously stupid. But, false positives do exist (and, if you filter enough e-mails, you will find them) and, further, it would be extremely naive to believe that the NSA does not possess the ability to target specific users (indeed, I would be quite worried if they do not possess the capacity to do so). Giving the NSA free access to everything that every user has done gives them the ability to run smear campaigns and the like without any real oversight.

Further, gathering more data does not always make the NSA more effective at detecting terrorism. Because, like you say, they cannot possibly read all of it. Gathering more data and running that data through filters means that they spend so much time chasing irrelevant leads that they don't have time to deal with the genuine ones. Focussing more on individuals who they know are a potential threat means they can investigate those people properly. Sure, you might miss some things doing it that way, but you also miss plenty of things using automatic filters, and there is a trade-off between the two.

Quote
For that matter, oh holy shit you are under the US's protection, thanks to big brother NATO.

Sure, but I'm pretty damn sure that the NSA reading all my e-mails is not protecting me.

Quote
Car crashes have killed millions of people in the USA and her allies. I don't see the government banning driving....

The government enacted legislation that attempts to prevent those accidents.

They have, yes, but the amount of focus that goes on preventing terrorism is massively out of proportion to the number of people who die from it.

Quote
Really, Mike, comparing driving cars to acts of mass murders is a new low. :|

No, not at all, because I am not talking about the act of murder vs. the act of driving, I am talking about the actions taken by the government against innocent people to prevent those deaths. I have no issue with the NSA wiretapping terrorists or sending them to prison for life (using the death penalty for someone who will see it as martyrdom seems downright idiotic to me), I have an issue with them ignoring the rights of innocent people (or those accused of being guilty but not convicted) on the basis of a threat that is actually massively overblown if you look at it on a purely rational level.

Also, do you know what else causes far more deaths than terrorism? Murder by non-terrorists. I don't see people clamoring for the government to be given more powers to deal with murder. Hell, I suspect that more people have been murdered in the US by being shot than by terrorist acts, yet if you suggest that, maybe, banning guns might be a good idea, they just shake their heads and point you at the constitution. I don't understand why calling something "terrorism" suddenly makes the constitution invalid.

Quote
First, public debate is not best solution in times of emergency you need to act.

Yeah, and that is exactly how dictatorships start. "Sorry, we don't have time for a debate, it's an emergency".

The problem is that terrorism is an 'emergency' that will always exist. Sure, we might not have had a terrorist attack in the last few months, but one could come at any time. And, in the highly unlikely event we ever manage to defeat Al-Qaeda completely, the government will find some other terrorist group to use as an excuse to justify absolutely anything they want to do (such as invading Iraq, for example...).

And, no, this is not a theoretical concept. Just about every dictatorship in the world either came into existence or continues to exist on the basis of "emergency laws". Hell, the Nazis got power in Germany because they were able to exploit a genuine terrorist attack to ban their opponents and ensure they could bypass the constitution.

Quote
Secondly, NSA does not give a fuck about people like you, Magos and me. We don't register on their radars.

Well, in general they wouldn't, no, but in my case I wouldn't be 100% sure because of my political beliefs.

Quote
@Magos: Without US protection Britain would get probably shrekked by Red Army rather soon.

I doubt it somehow. The EU is quite capable of defending itself.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 05:01:57 PM by Cherry Lover »