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1003410.  Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:45 am Reply with quote

This article about Edward Snowden clarifies why this particular leak has made such an impact.

And here's the PowerPoint presentation that kicked things off.

I find it all quite worrying.

PS: NMA's version of the PP clip

1003420.  Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:23 am Reply with quote

Look, William Hague says we have nothing to worry about and I believe him totally.

1003426.  Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:55 am Reply with quote

You keep wearing the Emperor's new clothes, then. ;-p

1003446.  Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:33 am Reply with quote

Funny to see the people calling for the death of Bradly Manning but cheering for the outing of this information that puts the Obama administration to shame. Now they are split over Snowden.

1003620.  Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:37 pm Reply with quote

I'm still a little confused about the whole "revelation".

Am I to understand that what's been revealed is not that governments or agencies have actively looked at records, but simply had access to them. And that Mr Snowden is horrified that he was able to access that information, even though he wasn't supposed to?

Unless I misunderstood something, I think this is more a case of mismanagement of inormation and the suggestion that agencies "could" have used that information illegaly, rather than revelations that they did.

I have to admit I've not been able to follow this very well, it got a bit confusing when I read/hear about access to records, and accusations that this could lead to their use, claims that logs have been used in evidence (which is legal IIRC), and I'm lost over whether there is any suggestion or evidence that records themselves have actually been used.

1003677.  Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:49 am Reply with quote

Yeah, I'm with you CB.

The more I look at this, the more it looks like The Guardian, in particular, and other assorted worthies utterly convinced that anything the US government gets up to must be evil and nefarious, looking to turn a rather peripheral character into a new Julian Assange-type Robin Hood after the original one so massively shat the bed with his conduct, then bravely running away to hide in an embassy, seemingly forever.

Indeed, if you are uncomfortable with things being done in secret, why the actual flying fuck do you go and get a job working for the NSA? It's like someone who is a vegan on ideological grounds going to work in an abbatoir, then being outraged at having to kill a cow.

As I said on Jenny's FB, this is sort of what I expected the secret services to be doing anyway, so I can't say I'm particularly shocked, surprised or horrified. That governments spy on their own citizens, and those of other countries, is hardly breaking news, is it? Hell, there are spies in the freaking Bible.

I also note that the guy had only worked for the contractors for barely three months - which really isn't anywhere near long enough to properly get to grips with what an organisation as complex as that is really up to. Heck, it would take almost that long to reliably be able to find the coffee machine. If he was really interested in fighting the good fight for truth and justice, then he should have bided his time and collected more powerful evidence over a period of years, not weeks. Instead, it does look more like he was interested in getting his face on the front page of a newspaper or two.

I also find flatly bizarre his assertation that he fled to Hong Kong because of the 'traditions of free speech' - of course, HK is more free than the rest of China, but one only has to look at the treatment of people like Ai Weiwei to see what China generally thinks about the outspoken.

All in all, I just think that the people being outraged over all of this have a rather over-inflated view of how much of a shit the government gives about the minutae of their individual lives. As CB says, there is no suggestion whatsoever of proactive data-mining, and even less of people sitting listening to phone calls and reading emails for the hell of it.

I can absolutely see the value in the security services having access to a databank of this nature - so that when an individual becomes a Person of Interest, their activities and associations can be looked at in more detail. It's not just 'terrorists' this is applicable for, but also organised crime, drug cartels, people trafficking and child porn rings, for starters.

It also seems to have entirely escaped his attention that the vast databanks could just as easily exonerate an individual - like, they can't possibly have committed this crime in that city, because they were busy looking at porn websites in an entirely different city at the time the crime took place.

1003699.  Wed Jun 12, 2013 8:12 am Reply with quote

With the digital world we live in, surely no one is surprised that something like this would come up? To a degree we are already spied on through central agencies where are data is collected, and a data trail leads on from one place to another, there's CCTV, surveillance cameras, cameras that can work out of you've been speeding by measuring the distance you travelled in X amount of time, electronic banking, mobile phones (in Australia you have to provide ID to purchase a prepaid mobile phone, I hear about "disposable" mobiles in the US), there's all kinds of data and documentation when you travel, even flying interstate. If people think we aren't snooped on already then they're naive. Having a program or agency to do it is just centralising what's already out there. As for it being misused, organisations are hacked all the time, or there's that case of someone leaving discs on a train...

1003712.  Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:16 am Reply with quote

Indeed, a lot of people now rely rather heavily on devices 'remembering' things for us. If we want our smart phone to be linked to our tablet which is linked to our computer then surely people must realise that all this data is saved somewhere - an address you searched google for on your computer doesn't just magically appear as a recognised destination on google maps on your smart phone. In fact, a lot of people now get irritated if this information isn't automatically shared between their various gadgets.
I don't think we can have it both ways, if we want to continue as we have been then all our data has to be stored somewhere. And if its stored somewhere then there will be people who are able to gain access to it (either legally or illegally)

1003719.  Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:01 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
they can't possibly have committed this crime in that city, because they were busy looking at porn websites in an entirely different city at the time the crime took place.

I wonder if Chris Huhne ever tried that defence :)

1003726.  Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:48 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
The more I look at this, the more it looks like The Guardian, in particular, and other assorted worthies utterly convinced that anything the US government gets up to must be evil and nefarious.

This is both true and unfortunate. But it is also almost entirely the USA's own fault. If the USA didn't spend so much time being evil and nefarious (seeking 35 year jail terms and zillion dollar fines for victimless crimes, being the only country in the developed world to rig its elections, and all the rest of it), then just maybe The Guardian would have a different perception.

Arcane wrote:
With the digital world we live in, surely no one is surprised that something like this would come up?

Surprised, no. But that doesn't mean that we have to consider it acceptable.

And who are we supposed to believe when, within hours of one another, we have the President of the USA and the CEOs of Facebook and Google completely contradicting one another? Either Barack Obama or Larry Page quite simply lied, and whichever of them it is needs to be held to account for that.

1003845.  Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:06 am Reply with quote

I'm not saying what was done was right or wrong. What I'm saying is I'm a little confused over what was actually done.

There seem to be so many "suggestions" and "possible activities" and so on, I can't get my head around what actually happened.

My understanding is this:

It's legal for agencies to access logs to see when someone was doing something, but not the data.

Various companies store the data, which is centralised by the US Government, so that IF there's a need to view data, an application is made through a judge.

Mr Snowden had access to such information in his role in IT, but should not be accessing it without permission under his role profile.

If the above is the correct situation, then all I see is that the data storage itself is perhaps a bit vague in law, and that IT security wasn't properly implemented and maintained.

If there's something else, what is it???

I personally have no problem with the set of points 1 and 2, as long as rules are followed. I'm not sure what the laws state exactly, but if point 2 is still too vague in law, then it should be made clearer and agencies should not be allowed to break he law, even if we don't agree about any limitations to their activities.

1003933.  Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:42 am Reply with quote

In my daily newspaper today, I saw a small article stating that Amazon sales of George Orwell's '1984' have shot up by a huge 7000% or so, after this issue broke.

1004003.  Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:58 am Reply with quote


Instead of going into a book shop and buying the book for cash, people have gone onto a website to order it and pay through online payment, so both Amazon and their bank have records of what they purchased. Some of them will have linked Amazon to their FB account, so that their friends can see what they bought, some will not have set this kind of message to private, so anyone with access to FB can see what they bought. Some will not have changed their privacy settings in Amazon, so anyone searching under their name, or searching or the book itself,will see that they bought the book.

But they're really scared of Big Brother watching them because a screaming headline told them so...


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