As Always, Money Will Change Attitudes

Interesting development (Greenwald, so if you are just going to freak the fuck out in the comments because of the mere mention of his name, please just spare us all and don’t read this god damned post):

A Texas-based encrypted email service recently revealed to be used by Edward Snowden – Lavabit – announced yesterday it was shutting itself down in order to avoid complying with what it perceives as unjust secret US court orders to provide government access to its users’ content. “After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations,” the company’s founder, Ladar Levinson, wrote in a statement to users posted on the front page of its website. He said the US directive forced on his company “a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit.” He chose the latter.

***

What is particularly creepy about the Lavabit self-shutdown is that the company is gagged by law even from discussing the legal challenges it has mounted and the court proceeding it has engaged. In other words, the American owner of the company believes his Constitutional rights and those of his customers are being violated by the US Government, but he is not allowed to talk about it. Just as is true for people who receive National Security Letters under the Patriot Act, Lavabit has been told that they would face serious criminal sanctions if they publicly discuss what is being done to their company. Thus we get hostage-message-sounding missives like this:

“I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on – the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.”

Does that sound like a message coming from a citizen of a healthy and free country? Secret courts issuing secret rulings invariably in favor of the US government that those most affected are barred by law from discussing? Is there anyone incapable at this point of seeing what the United States has become? Here’s the very sound advice issued by Lavabit’s founder:

“This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”

***

The growing (and accurate) perception that most US-based companies are not to be trusted with the privacy of electronic communications poses a real threat to those companies’ financial interests. A report issued this week by the Technology and Innovation Foundation estimated that the US cloud computing industry, by itself, could lose between $21 billion to $35 billion due to reporting about the industry’s ties to the NSA. It also notes that other nations’ officials have been issuing the same kind of warnings to their citizens about US-based companies as the one issued by Lavabit yesterday:

And after the recent PRISM leaks, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich declared publicly, ‘whoever fears their communication is being intercepted in any way should use services that don’t go through American servers.’ Similarly, Jörg-Uwe Hahn, a German Justice Minister, called for a boycott of US companies.”

The US-based internet industry knows that the recent transparency brought to the NSA is a threat to their business interests. This week, several leading Silicon Valley and telecom executives met with President Obama to discuss their “surveillance partnership”. But the meeting was – naturally – held in total secrecy.

Money talks, which is why we had a big press conference today. You and I can’t afford a lobbyist, but you start screwing with the high tech industry’s bottom line, and you bet your ass some changes will be coming.

And I know the professional Obama defense team will be deployed when this isn’t really about Obama to me- “OMG SOME JACKASS WITH A WEBSITE SAID SOMETHING THAT MAY BE INDIRECTLY CRITICAL OF THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD- I MUST MAN MY KEYBOARD TO DEFEND HIM!” But you know what? I’m old enough that when Cheney was holding secret meetings to develop energy policy, liberals hated it.






84 replies
  1. 1

    What price peace of mind and safety?

    Looks like we’re finding out.

  2. 2
    raven says:

    Forwarded from the previous thread:

    Wah wah wah, the world sucks America sucks . . .

  3. 3
    gbear says:

    I blame GG.

  4. 4
    WereBear says:

    Hey, sounds like those Market Forces wingnuts are soooo fond of…

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Like with Snowden, I am not all that worried about what raised the issue. I am glad that the issue has been raised and I hope that people have enough sense to resolve it correctly.

  6. 6
    Insomniac says:

    Well, this should be interesting. Supporters, defenders and trolls will no doubt be on here in full force in no time.

    And really John…was that last paragraph necessary. Seems like you’re just trying to stir things up. Unnecessarily so. Stop doing this type of nonsense, man.

  7. 7

    Trolling then prebutting with a false equivalence = mastertrolling.

    ETA: I’m interested in the issue. I have fears about how the issue will be used (pejoratively) against this admin and in elections going forward. Not entirely sure how to reconcile.

  8. 8
    Redshirt says:

    Repeal the Patriot Act!

    Simple solution, right? Surely those stalwart defenders of FREEDOM in the House will get right on it.

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    @ranchandsyrup: AKA, 1-dimensional chess.

  10. 10
    Yatsuno says:

    @Insomniac: JC is a professional troll of his site.That happens all the time.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    I’m old enough that when Cheney was holding secret meetings to develop energy policy, liberals hated it.

    (1) IIRC, the Cheney White House did not even want to acknowledge that these meetings were occurring and (2) can we not distinguish between the need for secrecy with regard to energy policy and the need for secrecy on national security issues?

  12. 12
    burnspbesq says:

    Spare us the attitude, Cole. It adds nothing to the conversation.

    Also, how about a link to a credible and objective source? ArsTechnica, perhaps? Wired?

  13. 13

    @BGinCHI: It’s a very effective technique. A lot of the commenters that John either really seems to love and favor or really seems to dislike use it. Such is life.

  14. 14
    Baud says:

    @Yatsuno:

    Good point. Too bad the pie filter doesn’t work on front pagers.

  15. 15
    piratedan says:

    well, I for one, welcome our new Obamabotic overlords…. at least some of us might get some health care coverage for it because I damn sure forgot to buy Haliburton stock prior to those secret meetings from when those other dudebros were in charge….

  16. 16
    Alex S. says:

    As the news dripped out steadily during the past weeks, I have to admit, I’ve become a little… disappointed, if that’s the right word. I supported Wikileaks (with emotions, not with life or money), but I also thought that Snowden’s revelations weren’t anything fundamentally new. But the details and the politics of the whole matter estranged me a little from Obama and politics in general. There’s only so much a single voice, or a single vote can do, some things will never change. And the connections between commerce and intelligence across nations is one of these things. Snowden was right to go to China or Russia. He had to, because that was his only choice.

  17. 17
    Belafon says:

    Remember how Obamacare caused companies to lay off workers, or the uncertainty of the Obama economy were keeping companies from spending money? I mean, why else would the cloud computing companies not make what they promised, at least without mentioning that their profit model was based on something that would be offered for free at some point.

  18. 18
    lamh36 says:

    Money talks, which is why we had a big press conference today.

    What press conference are we talking about here? Cause the one Obama just gave is actually his MO right before his big vacation. Last year I believe he had one, but he did not go on an “extended vacation” last year.

    Just sayin’

  19. 19
    piratedan says:

    @Alex S.: your concern trolling has been noted, you can pick up a chit for your poni down the hall, second door on the left, ask for Ms. Hamsher.

  20. 20
    jayackroyd says:

    I don’t know that that this toothpaste can go back in the tube, They knew this would be bad for business–that’s why they kept it secret. Why would anyone believe them if they were to say they weren’t gonna spy no more?

    (BTW the economic impact of making ISPs no longer trusted third parties is way more devastating than any terrorist attack has been.)

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @jayackroyd:

    (BTW the economic impact of making ISPs no longer trusted third parties is way more devastating than any terrorist attack has been.)

    It’s such an obvious point, it doesn’t need evidence to back it up.

  22. 22
    jayackroyd says:

    @Baud: LOL. On so many levels.

  23. 23
    Belafon says:

    @jayackroyd: How many people do you know that have dropped their ISP or phone company because of this news?

  24. 24
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Baud:

    can we not distinguish between the need for secrecy with regard to energy policy and the need for secrecy on national security issues?

    Uh, yeah — kind of an important distinction there, eh?

    Oh well. I do think Greenwald is a reverse-ethnocentric (i.e., the US is the omniscient font of all ebil), but whatever the cause, surveillance reform is being discussed and therefore may happen? Good.

  25. 25
    MikeInSewickely says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Is this better?

  26. 26
    Davis X. Machina says:

    There is a non-small number of genies you can’t get back into the bottle here.

    Once you’ve got nation-states, you’ve got an Us v. Them distinction to hang survellance law on (limit it to ‘foreign targets’). A blanket national ban is only as good as the intelligence agencies’ willingness to be bound by its own statute law in the first place.

    Once you’ve got an internet, everyone’s packets could go anywhere, An international surveillance-regulation regime — who enforces it? The ITU? The Universal Postal Union? ICANN? International organizations are toothless by design.

    Telco/tech companies have the incentive, perhaps. and the big ones have the wherewithal — but they’re not exactly yhe consumer’s best friend when they self-regulate, and are prone to capture regulators, and be captured by them, when they’re also the people they do business with.

    This is going to take years of work by very clever people to not-satisfactorily solve. In the best case scenario.

  27. 27
    Mike R. says:

    The NSA types in the Obama administration give me the same level of disgust as their counterparts in the bush administration. These are not people that I trust at all, frankly the scare the shit out of me. Despite my fairly high regard for Obama, I disagree completely with his national security policies. We can’t actually know what they are but we know enough and this is basically what I was taught in elementary school some 50+ years ago separated us from the “commies”; our government didn’t spy on Americans.
    It sickens me with each new revelation about how little privacy we are now allowed by our government.

  28. 28
    MikeInSewickely says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Is this better?

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-po.....s-offline/

    Destroying your server without even being contacted? Sounds like some techs are seeing the handwriting on the screen…

    Teaching security and risk assessment at school is going to be a lot more complicated this fall. I also think this makes the drive to cloud computing stop in its tracks. If I was a company, I would now thing twice about putting confidential info and company data crown jewels into any 3rd party like Amazon or Google.

  29. 29
    Morbo says:

    @Alex S.: Well, it wasn’t actually his only choice.

  30. 30

    Does that sound like a message coming from a citizen of a healthy and free country? Secret courts issuing secret rulings invariably in favor of the US government that those most affected are barred by law from discussing? Is there anyone incapable at this point of seeing what the United States has become?

    I don’t know. Is there any other country that would allow its citizens to openly discuss issues requests and issues pertaining to national security?

    Because it seems pretty par for the course. And I doubt many other countries would have gotten a warrant or gone through a legal procedure to try to acquire the information at all. Many countries would have simply taken the servers they wanted via the police or would have had built in access to obtain the information.

    I know the US is automatically the most wicked offender of all things civil liberties, but Jesus, Glenn, get some perspective.

    But you know what? I’m old enough that when Cheney was holding secret meetings to develop energy policy, liberals hated it.

    One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong…

  31. 31
    Alex S. says:

    @Morbo:

    Well, the only choice to keep some kind of freedom.

  32. 32
    ruemara says:

    Here’s the thing. I may be concerned about the National Security State. I may, well, frankly, am upset at the outsourcing and think it’s the massive flaw in all this spy crap. But Snowden is your hero. Greenwald and Snowden are just a pair of white libertarians who are pretty much ok with it all, until the darkie got in charge. And Greenwald, who’s investigative reporting is “I think it is possible, so be afraid”, is turning into a more lucid Beck. So fuck your pre-emptive dismissal of Greenwald. I was concerned back when this was originally reported on, not because some asshat libertarian who doesn’t have fuck’s worth of concern when it’s not him and it’s some unworthy poor/black/female is having rights trampled on.

  33. 33
    dmbeaster says:

    Many courts have ruled the gag orders unconstitutional, and the issue is winding its way through appellate courts now. It is hard to believe that any criminal prosecution would ever be successful under the law, so it is the ultimate type of screw you threat. We’ll break your arm if you cross us sort of thing.

    Its another example of the sort of overreach that dominated the writing of these laws.

  34. 34
    danielx says:

    Heh…I can remember being asked about my tinfoil hat a couple of years ago, when I said that the NSA was capable of surveillance the likes of which the KGB and Gestapo could only dream of – “you’re paranoid, they’d never use that against American citizens who haven’t done anything wrong”…etc. I added further that government spokesmen and executive branch agency heads were (and are) lying through their teeth about who and what was being surveilled/monitored and had been since 2001…..not to mention that the security/surveillance/prison industry complex is one of the few – hell, about the only – growth industry in America. Got to keep those appropriations flowing

    Secret laws, secret surveillance of all electronic communications, secret courts, secret prisons, secret arrests, domestic drones soon to arrive in your neighborhood…in regard to civil liberties and civil rights, yup, I’ll say it – former professor of constitutional law Obama is not one whit better than George W. Bush. He is in fact worse, because he knows good and goddamn well that between the War On (Americans) Drugs and the War On Terra, the Fourth Amendment is dead and the First, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments are on life support, and he was supposed to know better.

    Given the complexity of the Federal criminal code, not to mention state laws, with omnipresent surveillance of…everything, arrest and prosecution of just about anybody becomes a matter of political whim – ‘give us the person, we’ll find a law they’ve broken’.

    When the capability is there, it will be used.

    Bush, Obama and whoever comes after are and will be people who have spent their adult lives in the pursuit of power, and the security state is power in its rawest form. Does anybody seriously believe they’d give it back of their own accord?

    Edit: jeebus, i sound just like Mclaren. WTF is the matter with me?

    I know, I’m a libertarian nutcase and an Obama hater all wrapped up in one, and here come the brickbats!

  35. 35
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Belafon: I’ve used an offshore e-mail account hosted in a privacy-respecting country for years. I access it using HTTPS/SSL depending on circumstances. It’s not free, but it’s not expensive.

  36. 36
    kc says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Fine; how ’bout “I’m old enough to remember when liberals were outraged by Bush’s ‘Total Information Awareness.'”

  37. 37
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @burnspbesq: The shutdown of Lavabit and the pre-emptive shutdown of Secret Circles have been reported in every tech news outlet all day. Takes two seconds on Google. Completely Greenwald-free.

  38. 38
    Stillwater says:

    This article describes a similar situation Joe Nacchio found himself in a few years ago but with the added bonus that he wasn’t able to reveal classified data-gathering programs as part of his defense against insider trading charges. A bonus-bonus! is that the charges were filed against him, in part, as retaliation for his reluctance to open the data-doors to gummint while he was running Quest.

  39. 39
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Stillwater: The un-bonus part is that Nacchio, while right on this one issue, was the worst sort of amoral CEO slimeball.

  40. 40
    Baud says:

    @kc:

    This is the Wikipedia description of TIA:

    This would be achieved by creating enormous computer databases to gather and store the personal information of everyone in the United States, including personal e-mails, social networks, credit card records, phone calls, medical records, and numerous other sources, without any requirement for a search warrant.[1] This information would then be analyzed to look for suspicious activities, connections between individuals, and “threats”.[2] Additionally, the program included funding for biometric surveillance technologies that could identify and track individuals using surveillance cameras, and other methods.[2]

    Based on what we know, the mass collection of U.S. data that is occurring is telephonic metadata. One can believe neither program is desirable, but I don’t see the hypocrisy in opposing one and not the other.

  41. 41
    obliterati says:

    I’m old enough to remember when Cole wasn’t a false-equivalence jackass who insulted his own readers when they had a slightly different opinion than him about a complex, difficult topic.

    Oh wait, nevermind, he’s always been like that.

  42. 42

    @kc: Closer, but still not the same.

    IIRC, TIA was to store more information and be more comprehensive than anything we’ve learned about the NSA doing thus far, it did not require even a FISA warrant to access, and did not respect any difference between communications made point to point within the United States and those made crossing our borders.

    Or what Baud just said…

  43. 43
    ericblair says:

    I’ve read the Lavabit notice and the article, and is there anything to suggest that this isn’t related to the ongoing kiddie pr0n investigation? Lavabit doesn’t mention “secret court”: unless Greenwald has some other source of information that he didn’t mention he’s just speculating. Then it’s a link to some CNET guy who does some more speculation. There’s a New Yorker article that says no more than the Lavabit notice and then says that it could be some secret FISA order, or, um, a search warrant. That one links to a Wired article with more speculation.

    Yes, it could be a FISA warrant, but as far as I can tell it’s just a self-referential circle of speculation. We’re supposed to get information out of this how?

  44. 44
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Yeah, Silent Circle, not Secret Circle. Brain fart.

  45. 45
    MikeInSewickely says:

    @Baud:

    What I love was the fact they came up with a logo for TIA before it was even approved… and notice how our “Eye” of Liberty from the back of the Dollar Bill is looking at the Mid-East front and center… OK, but hoovering up everything seems a bit much…and was the primary reason original funding for this program was pulled.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IAO-logo.png

  46. 46
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @ericblair: Ladar Levinson *has complied* with child porn warrants, so he’s not an absolutist. Between that fact and his statement today, there is no remaining plausible reading other than FISA warrant.

  47. 47
    Baud says:

    @MikeInSewickely:

    If there is one thing the Bush people loved to do, it’s marketing.

  48. 48
    Roy G. says:

    Obama was given the A-OK by his Deep Government handlers to whip out this little sop. They are the reason why Obama = Bush on this matter.

  49. 49
    danielx says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Is there any other country that would allow its citizens to openly discuss issues requests and issues pertaining to national security?

    Just as is true for people who receive National Security Letters under the Patriot Act, Lavabit has been told that they would face serious criminal sanctions if they publicly discuss what is being done to their company.

    Dude…that’s kind of the point. Citizens are not being allowed to openly discuss issues requests and issues pertaining to national security, as witness what happens if you openly discuss your receipt of a National Security Letter, among other things. I give you Mr. Charles Pierce:

    “In light of the recent unauthorized disclosures, the President has said that he welcomes a debate about how best to simultaneously safeguard both our national security and the privacy of our citizens…However, we oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools. This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.” (Jay Carney, 6/24/13)

    The hell you say.

    A bill is being proposed and debated in a public session of the national legislature and that’s not an “informed, open, or deliberative process.” As opposed to what, a secret program, validated on the basis of secret evidence, by a secret court? Hell, the Amash bill is the only informed, open and deliberative thing about this whole mess. If you’re welcoming a debate, then welcome the debate. If you don’t, then don’t. But don’t throw out laughable statements like this one. You sound like a bunch of East Germans.

    Exactly.

  50. 50
    Yatsuno says:

    @ericblair: The connection: Lavabit was Snowden’s e-mail provider. Connect the dots here sheeple!!

  51. 51
    Baud says:

    @danielx:

    I didn’t support Amash primarily because it was an appropriations rider, which means that it would have to be renewed annually, until the GOP is in the White House, when it gets dropped. If we’re going to fix this, I’d rather see a permanent law passed.

  52. 52

    @danielx: And my question was and remains, “How does this differ from other 1st world countries?”

    Can a Brit get on TV and say, “Hey, MI6 sent me a request and a warrant to hand over the data pertaining to the following investigations or of the following persons… (reads aloud the specifics of the secret intelligence requests/warrants) and I told them get bent, so I’m shutting down my company.”

    I’m guessing in any country on Earth that would get you into hot water. Many places wouldn’t have bothered at all with legal proceedings to obtain the information at all.

    Greenwald and his followers’ hyperbole always make it sound as if the United States and the United States alone is particularly wicked and oppressive in these matters.

  53. 53
    danielx says:

    @Baud:

    Agreed. But I didn’t and don’t want to hear any horseshit from Jay Carney (and by extension Obama) about the lack of “an informed, open, or deliberative process”. If there’s anything about this whole controversy that’s been the result of an informed, open or deliberative process other than Snowden’s revelations (for those who were surprised), I’d like to know what it is.

  54. 54
    ericblair says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Ladar Levinson *has complied* with child porn warrants, so he’s not an absolutist. Between that fact and his statement today, there is no remaining plausible reading other than FISA warrant.

    Maybe he didn’t mind complying with a warrant for one person, but did for another. Maybe one was for far more or far more damaging information than the other. Why is there no other plausible reading? Yes, it could be a FISA warrant, but all the reporting here has just broken down into citing each other’s speculations.

  55. 55
    danielx says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    The big difference there is that – hey, American exceptionalism! – we were supposed to be different, and the Bill of Rights was one of the major (if not the major) reasons why. America, fuck yeah!

    You’re right – we’re…just..like…everybody…else.

  56. 56

    @danielx: Yeah. I did mention that in many countries, this guy would have had the police just show up to seize his servers in the first place, or that a condition of even starting his business would have required him to give full access to the government so they could peruse it on demand and shut him down at their whim?

    Here he was free to start his business. He received a request or a warrant that he appeared to be legally fighting.

    And no government, no matter how liberal is going to interpret free speech as pertaining to issues of national security. No matter how much they love their civil liberties, you can’t go on the air and discuss some things without breaking the law.

    Now, if you’d like to discuss what changes you’d like to see Congress make to the laws, fine. But let’s not all pretend like the United States is the moral (or literal) equivalent of some dystopian gulag state.

  57. 57
  58. 58
    👾 Martin says:

    a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit.

    What does this mean?

    I know that if the NSA obtains proper warrants, they will install hardware in the server rack that holds Snowden’s email account and siphon off everything that goes through Snowden’s account. (They do pay for the rack space and bandwidth.)

    To some people that’s a crime against the American people. To others, that’s how the law has been written and what the judiciary has given permission for.

    Unfortunately ‘crimes against the american people’ turns into mad-libs for whatever everyone who reads that statement has in their head. If indeed Levinson believes that a crime is being committed than he should say what that crime is. But I don’t think he believes a crime is being committed. I think he believes that the law which he is being asked to comply with is unconstitutional, which is an entirely different thing. The law is being followed – he just doesn’t like it.

  59. 59
    Stillwater says:

    @Gin & Tonic: The un-bonus part is that Nacchio, while right on this one issue, was the worst sort of amoral CEO slimeball.

    Maybe. But the guy should have been allowed to present relevant evidence in a criminal defense trial, yes?

  60. 60
    David Koch says:

    This post has been up for 2 hrs and it’s only generated 59 comments.

    sad.

    Cole, it just doesn’t work anymore. you’ll need better bait then this if you want to churn up some page views.

  61. 61
    Anton Sirius says:

    Here’s the thing I’m finding most fascinating about all this. The John Lewis non-endorsement of Snowden drove it home for me, but the Lavabit news seals the deal.

    Back in the day, people fighting for their rights were willing to go to jail to defend them and to highlight the injustice they saw.

    Today, people fighting for their rights just go Galt.

  62. 62
    p.a. says:

    @Comrade Dread: Why should other nations’ actions towards their muckrakers be an issue? What are we supposed to stand for? Not-quite-as-bad-as-x? This stuff is being done in our name. Kinda what representative democracy is about. And the info released may damage our security, and those involved my be self serving narcissists, but long term I believe the damage done from denying or hiding the rot will be worse than its exposure. We may find it distasteful to side with some people who have basically been sappers against this admin., but I submit 1) the issue of surveillance is more important than this admin., and 2) Obama is headed for retirement; he’s won his 2. If it were a 1st term issue I would probably want to paper over it too, on the assumption that any Rethug candidate would be far worse in the oval office.

  63. 63
    Socoolsofresh says:

    @David Koch: I believe the reason why these threads are not as popular is because the cheerleaders and constant defenders have exhausted all of their excuses, and cannot explain away anymore. So rather than look any more ridiculous than they already have been, they are preferring to stay silent. It makes sense, I would want to stop looking foolish.

    But then again, this continues to be a nothingburger story that was well known in 2006, so anyone who is concerned about their privacy must be a white dude who loves Ron Paul. Snowden is no MLK, he is a traitor, who although has gotten this whole surveillance discussion underway, shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  64. 64
    Keith G says:

    @p.a.: Thank you for responding to that tripe in a way that approximates what I was thinking. That saves me the trouble of trying to post at length from my phone which is always a pain.

    Incrementally, this society is slowly heading down a deep and dark rabbit hole. And with each new step forward, the last incremental step gets locked in.

    And while I guess I should be heartened by Obama’s new commission, I would have rathered he just led by putting his cards on the table. After all, he was a professor of Constitutional law.

  65. 65
    MikeInSewickely says:

    @David Koch: To be honest, this is an area I have some knowledge of but I don’t chime in as much on all this because this is nothing new.

    The short attention span of people seemed to have forgotten the Echelon Project of NSA, that world wide listening program that had protests again the installation in England and a major listening post in West Virginia just a few hours from Pittsburgh.

    http://www.zdnet.com/echelon-s.....002079876/

    Think this is new? Thomas Jefferson used a cryptographic device of his own design to encode messages to foreign embassies.
    Every telegram that was ever sent into or sent out of the U.S. automatically had a copy made and kept – every TELEGRAM. I’m not saying this wasn’t needed but it was not all-reaching and was targeted. It made sense.

    Tapping into ISPs and major NAPs will continue and, after a brief attempt to show how they carefully discriminate between the security needs and normal/private data, it will be forgotten, will become part of the normal background hum of our daily lives. The investigative reporting will go back to being glorified Drudge Reports.

    I have some limited experience in this area which makes me very pessimistic that anything that DFHs will say or do will make the slightest difference in the long run. Sorry to say it but Welcome to “Minority Report”.

  66. 66
    Stillwater says:

    @Socoolsofresh: Snowden is no MLK, he is a traitor, who although has gotten this whole surveillance discussion underway, shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    So, the entire purpose behind his being determined “a traitor” was to get the surveillance discussion underway – which has happened! – but given that he somehow shouldn’t be taken seriously? For doing what he intended to do?

  67. 67
    Thlayli says:

    “… complicit in crimes against the American people ….”

    Sheesh, melodramatic much?

  68. 68
    Socoolsofresh says:

    @Stillwater: Ah, no, I was just parroting the nonsensical stuff I have read from the typical authoritarian defender on here.

  69. 69
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Does that sound like a message coming from a citizen of a healthy and free country? Secret courts issuing secret rulings invariably in favor of the US government that those most affected are barred by law from discussing?

    Or, in the words of Graham Nash from a long-ago time:

    In a land that’s known as freedom,
    how can such a thing be fair?

    When this shit was all Bush’s doing, we could at least hope that when a Democrat got in there, he or she would set things to rights. So we worked hard, got a Democrat in there, and this is what we get.

    I think the time to start asking Hillary what she will do about our national security state’s overreach is now, if not sooner.

  70. 70
  71. 71
    A Humble Lurker says:

    “OMG SOME JACKASS WITH A WEBSITE SAID SOMETHING THAT MAY BE INDIRECTLY CRITICAL OF GREENWALD I MUST MAN MY KEYBOARD TO DEFEND HIM!”

    FTFY

  72. 72
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Mike R.: “… this is basically what I was taught in elementary school some 50+ years ago separated us from the “commies”; our government didn’t spy on Americans.
    It sickens me with each new revelation about how little privacy we are now allowed by our government.”

    J. Edgar Hoover. History, you should learn it. We have been spying on Americans for a long time and it isn’t going to stop any time soon.

    Hint: Obama is not the problem, he just heads it for now. He will be replaced one day and then the simpletons can blame the new guy for all that ails us.

  73. 73
    Stillwater says:

    @Socoolsofresh: Oh! Apologies for not recognizing the snark.

  74. 74
    RandomMonster says:

    What I find so sad is that so few people recognize that there is such a thing as nuance.

    I can believe that Snowden harmed America and that GG is a sensationalist blowhard and an asshat, AND that Lavabit’s complaints are legitimate, AND that there is a legitimate need for signal intercepts in fighting terrorism.

    See, is that so fucking hard?

  75. 75
    The Other Chuck says:

    @RandomMonster: Hell, I’ll add some nuance to your nuance. Snowden did a great thing by shining light on what the NSA is doing, and he’s being persecuted in a way that fairly guarantees he’ll never receive anything like a fair trial … yet I still think he’s an untrustworthy shitbag all too willing to embrace the enemy of his enemy for his own self-righteousness.

    Golly.

  76. 76
    RandomMonster says:

    @The Other Chuck: I’ll see your nuance and raise by adding that I can believe that we need more transparency and oversight, while still believing that most of this stuff was already apparent 6 years ago, and the only people who are “shocked” now were just too lazy to pay attention back then.

  77. 77
    cleek says:

    @Baud:
    earlier versions did.

    i haven’t had a chance to replace that functionality in the current one.

  78. 78
    cleek says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    he’s being persecuted in a way that fairly guarantees he’ll never receive anything like a fair trial

    nonsense.

    there are a half-dozen other leakers who have been tried in the last five years and they’ve all gotten fair trials. there is no evidence of anyone in Snowden’s legal (civil, non-military, leak of classified info) situation who was not given a fair trial.

    the idea that Snowden is in some kind of physical of undeserved legal danger is a myth perpetuated by people who want to excuse his actions.

  79. 79
    dopey-o says:

    @burnspbesq: LEAVE COLE ALONE!!!!!
    he’ll never get sober if you kids keep picking on him!!!

  80. 80
    mclaren says:

    Cory Doctorow has been all over this for weeks. Unfortunately America has decided that it’s more important to oppress its own people and turn itself into a police state than to do business with the rest of the world.

    Remind you of anything?

    Say…East Germany…?

  81. 81
    mclaren says:

    And I know the professional Obama defense team will be deployed when this isn’t really about Obama to me- “OMG SOME JACKASS WITH A WEBSITE SAID SOMETHING THAT MAY BE INDIRECTLY CRITICAL OF THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD- I MUST MAN MY KEYBOARD TO DEFEND HIM!”

    Why don’t we name some names here?

    Anti-Liberal Black Lady needs to put up another front-page post explaining to us why Glenn Greenwald is a “grifter.”

    ABL needs to put up some vitriol reaming Naomi Wolf as a “fringe lunatic” and a “professional grievance collector” because she keeps writing about how America is sliding into a totalitarian state.

    C’mon, Anti-Liberal Black Lady, take some time out from your busy schedule fellating Karl Rove to give us a detailed rundown on why Glenn Greenwald is scum of the earth and a thief and a scammer and liar and out for hard cash and nothing else.

    Then there’s burnspbesq, who need to explain to us once again why if we can’t instantly identify the federal statutes violated by the NSA and the DEA, we all need to shut the fuck up and let the legal professional fix things.

    And how about Mnemosyne? Where’s her chipper voice chiming in to explain that it’s only for our safety and security and if we haven’t done anything wrong, we have nothing to fear?

  82. 82
    FlipYrWhig says:

    It’s Friday night. Calm down and have a drink. Oh, right.

  83. 83
    Mike D. says:

    Actually, the conference was held to pretty much say, Changes aren’t coming.

  84. 84
    mclaren says:

    @danielx:

    Edit: jeebus, i sound just like Mclaren. WTF is the matter with me?

    You started your decline by falling into a careless habit of accuracy. Then you slid downward into an abyss of unfortunate facts and logic, and eventually you wound up trapped in a pathetic dreamworld where you were stuck observing reality and drawing conclusions.

    A sad case.

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