Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by halfwise on Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:16 pm

Very tricky indeed.  Most people want police surveillance cameras in public places, and they have proven invaluable.  But where to draw the line?

I wonder if the phone and email records are being deleted if no flags are raised?  I assume they are all kept for at least a short period of time so data can be correlated once something happens, but should be deleted after a day or so.  I so I would think.

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by David H on Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:27 pm

I believe I heard and expert say that the recent revelations included the existence of archives that last indefinitely, so that if they ever detect suspicious activity in future years they've got a data base to refer to when looking for known associates.  I can see how that would be useful, but imo it's pretty creepy.
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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:11 am

basically gvts have always spied on their citizens, way back through history, only then it was a paper or parchment trail, and the spies were not electronic but human, think about the Inquisition or the Stasi, there has always been someone snooping around gathering intelligence, only now its on a much larger scale, and its invisible.

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:21 am

The Uk is one of the most watched populations on the planet- we beat places like China easy for survelliance of our  own people.
And anyone who thinks there are not political prisoners in the UK and US is kidding themselves- all thats changed is governments have learned not to make martyrs- so you dont lock anyone up for political reasons- you 'find' evidence they are a rapist, or a child abuser or something no one will defend or object to them being imprisoned for (Assange being a classic case of this sort of political prisoner- if they get him).

It all scares the crap out of me frankly- unassailable governments led by unassailable people who can pull all the strings because they have all the info on everyone else, and as all that info is just data its easy to manipulate, falsify and make anyone at all seem guilty of something.
Like I said, terrifying prospect.

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:53 am

look if they want to get you they get you, they got you 500 years ago with trumped up charges, they accused Galileo of heresy just to get him to shut up about the Earth going round the Sun. At least nowadays there is in theory more legal protection for citizens, there are organizations like Amnesty International that fight injustice, and public outrage when injustice happens, as in the Stephen Lawrence murder and later the smear campaign against his family.

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by David H on Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:21 pm

Mrs Figg wrote: At least nowadays there is in theory more legal protection for citizens, there are organizations like Amnesty International that fight injustice, and public outrage when injustice happens.

I'm not necessarily convinced there's more protection, just different.  Today Robin Hood and his band wouldn't last 48 hours. Every new technology can be used for the freedom of the citizens, or for the control of the citizens. Any legal protections need to keep pace with technology or they're left behind. That's the discussion that needs to happen now.

What concerns me is the secrecy. There has always been the argument of the "benign dictator" that the citizens are better off if we're not given too much freedom, or too much information.  Our governments seem to be pushing in that direction. I'm hoping people are concerned enough to push back.
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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:08 pm

Yep, transparency is the best way to keep governments on the straight and level.  There is no question that cyber surveillance is necessary for governments to protect their populations, but there has to be an open contract with the people about what's being done.  A government should have the resources to outsmart attacks even if there's no secrecy about its methods.  More expensive, but it's worth the price if we can be protected by known methods.

Cyber warfare between governments is much trickier: we have to assume an enemy with equal or possibly greater resources.  Then we have a secrecy problem since there wouldn't be any other way to stay on top.  I would hope that wouldn't involve common citizens.

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:16 pm

I think the Arab Spring was pretty much all about people mobilizing because they did have access to the interweb, and the dictators couldnt stop the spread of information from one country to another. If dictators try to stifle speech and keep things under wraps, there is always some bright spark in a student flat that can crack the gvt codes and get the intel out to the ground troops. that ship has sailed.

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by David H on Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:20 pm

Absolutely! The internet has been, and continues to be, probably the most powerful force for free expression since the printing press.

And for every student in a flat fighting against tyranny there's a talented hacker trying to hack your bank account, a gifted programmer in a secret government facility ready to crash your electricity and phones, and a Tolkien fan poised to re-edit PJ latest movie. What a strange and wonderful world we live in!Nod
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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:03 pm

cheers
yes indeedy.

But not the bank account Suspect

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Eldorion on Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:34 pm

I thought this was an uncharacteristically interesting read for a CNN piece. Then I found out it was written by a columnist for the Guardian. Laughing

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/25/opinion/snowden-us-humilation/index.html
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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:52 pm

That article sounded about right to me. Nod

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Eldorion on Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:11 pm

Looks like the US is facing blowback for its attempts at ordering other countries around, especially from Latin America. It's not much in the way of karma given how horribly we have treated Latin America for the past two centuries, but one can hope this might make the US government think twice before acting like the King of the World in the future (as if).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/07/us-attempts-block-snowden-bolster-case-asylum
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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by David H on Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:31 pm

Forcing down the Bolivian Presidential jet an a mere suspicion that he might by aiding Snowden a few days ago has understandably gotten all of Latin America riled up.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/04/evo-morales-bolivia
I can't understand why France, Spain, Portugal, Austria and presumably others went along with it. We wouldn't do that if it were a suspected murderer or rapist fleeing justice. This was a presidential jet for fuck sake! I just don't get it! The more we act like bullies and fascists the more sympathy I have for the man, and I suspect the rest of the world feels the same.

I do understand why Snowden's been talking to Iceland though. He wouldn't have to fly over any European airspace except Norway once he left Russia. And you Fjordlandians wouldn't object, would you?

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Eldorion on Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:40 pm

I think the biggest obstacle Snowden would face in Iceland is that they're a member of NATO, so I would be surprised if their government was willing to shelter Snowden.

With the airspace question, I'm wondering what would stop him if Snowden flew back east over Russia and then across the Pacific.  It would be a much longer flight, obviously, but it would avoid any potential European airspace blockages.
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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by David H on Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:47 pm

It's too far for a conventional airliner to go without refueling though, which would typically mean a stop in Hawaii. That could be problematic.... (if only for having to face the girlfriend he ditched. Shocked )
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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:18 pm

If only Scotland were independent. Nod 

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by CC12 35 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:05 am

international treaties are something you abide by only when convenient
would not be surprised if it emerges that Snowden is in fact in Austria within the next 10 days

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Mrs Figg on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:47 pm

violating presidential diplomatic travel like that sets a very dangerous precedent. its unthinkable. that means it could in theory happen to any countries prime minister or president

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by David H on Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:22 am

The Russian gov't gave Snowden a 1 year visa today, which will almost certainly have implications for US-Russian relations. But more importantly, the debate Snowden was trying to start seems to be getting traction. There are a lot of stories, but I liked this one because it makes things personal:


Google Pressure Cookers and Backpacks, Get a Visit from the Feds
The Atlantic Wire
Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which begs the question: How'd the government know what they were Googling?

Catalano (who is a professional writer) describes the tension of that visit.

   [T]hey were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked. ...

   Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure cooker bomb? My husband, ever the oppositional kind, asked them if they themselves weren’t curious as to how a pressure cooker bomb works, if they ever looked it up. Two of them admitted they did.

The men identified themselves as members of the "joint terrorism task force." The composition of such task forces depend on the region of the country, but, as we outlined after the Boston bombings, include a variety of federal agencies. Among them: the FBI and Homeland Security.

Ever since details of the NSA's surveillance infrastructure were leaked by Edward Snowden, the agency has been insistent on the boundaries of the information it collects. It is not, by law, allowed to spy on Americans — although there are exceptions of which it takes advantage. Its PRISM program, under which it collects internet content, does not include information from Americans unless those Americans are connected to terror suspects by no more than two other people. It collects metadata on phone calls made by Americans, but reportedly stopped collecting metadata on Americans' internet use in 2011. So how, then, would the government know what Catalano and her husband were searching for?

It's possible that one of the two of them is tangentially linked to a foreign terror suspect, allowing the government to review their internet activity. After all, that "no more than two other people" ends up covering millions of people. Or perhaps the NSA, as part of its routine collection of as much internet traffic as it can, automatically flags things like Google searches for "pressure cooker" and "backpack" and passes on anything it finds to the FBI.

Or maybe it was something else. On Wednesday, The Guardian reported on XKeyscore, a program eerily similar to Facebook search that could clearly allow an analyst to run a search that picked out people who'd done searches for those items from the same location. How those searches got into the government's database is a question worth asking; how the information got back out seems apparent.

It is also possible that there were other factors that prompted the government's interest in Catalano and her husband. He travels to Asia, she notes in her article. Who knows. Which is largely Catalano's point.

   They mentioned that they do this about 100 times a week. And that 99 of those visits turn out to be nothing. I don’t know what happens on the other 1% of visits and I’m not sure I want to know what my neighbors are up to.

One hundred times a week, groups of six armed men drive to houses in three black SUVs, conducting consented-if-casual searches of the property perhaps in part because of things people looked up online.

But the NSA doesn't collect data on Americans, so this certainly won't happen to you.

I'd somehow thought I remembered that we were supposed to be protected from unreasonable search and seizure.  Suspect
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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:42 am

thats scary so all those folks who live in bunkers or off the grid have a point?

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by halfwise on Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:31 pm

Hard to figure out where to draw the line. Most successful terrorism is done by people living domestically. I'm sure lots of people look up bomb making out of curiousity but never get the black SUV. Must be multiple correlated lines of data.

I saw an interview where someone from intelligence said the reason not to worry about people listening in on you is that there's simply too much information, it will only happen when all the tripwires jangle. But then you have need for secrecy to keep people from knowing what the tripwires are.

It's hard, but whatever our government is doing we need to know enough about it to register approval or disapproval.

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:36 pm

the reason not to worry about people listening in on you is that there's simply too much information- Halfwise

Not very comforting- the problem is the information is being gathered- where its gathered its stored- anything stored in digital format is vulnerable to leaks, attacks ect

It creates a potentially infinite resource for blackmail, bribery and manipulating people. And thats just the government!

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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by David H on Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:40 pm

I don't know about the rest of you, but the first thing I did was googled "pressure cooker" and "backpack". Let them drive out here if they want to. Very Happy 
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Re: Edward Snowden: Robin Hood or just robber?

Post by RA on Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:53 am

This is downright creepy. Like something out of an action movie.
Whatever happened to the Fourth Amendment? People should be really, really concerned about this.

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