New World Order

Apple, AOL, Facebook, Google, Linked In, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo have started a new website and have a five-part proposal. The first big three are (1) surveillance that is targeted, not bulk, and for a legal purpose; (2) oversight and accountability for surveillance organizations, and (3) transparency about what’s being requested.  They’re also asking for world governments to create a treaty to standardize surveillance laws. Sounds reasonable to me.  Here’s the website.

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274 replies
  1. 1
    Betty Cracker says:

    Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way, DPM:

    1) Drones!

    2) Dudebro!!

    3) White people’s problems!!!

    Okay, that said, sounds reasonable to me too. I suspect the companies in question are more concerned with their bottom lines than actual privacy, but that’s okay.

  2. 2
    WereBear says:

    Yes, it seems reasonable from here, but now I have to rethink my relationship with Google because those are unattractive bedfellows, but especially the whole ALEC thing.

  3. 3
    C.V. Danes says:

    Part 4 could be: a commitment to not asking for any more information than the minimum necessary for the transaction, and deleting it afterwards.

    It’s hard to provide the NSA with info you don’t have. Just sayin’

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    Prez said in Chris Matthews interview that reform proposals should come out this month or next. We’ll see how extensive they are.

  5. 5
    El Tiburon says:

    Oh the problem has been the lack of a treaty! Problem solved because from where I sit everyone, especially the US, respects treaties. No, THE ONLY solution to all of the ass-fuckery in DC right now is a serious change in culture. We need more Snowden’s and mannings and warrens and Greenwalds. We may be stuck with Hillary but hopefully she is stuck with a more loud and powerful progressive bunch that will push her to do the right thing.

  6. 6
    p.a. says:

    AOL? they still around?

  7. 7
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I suspect the companies in question are more concerned with their bottom lines than actual privacy, but that’s okay.

    Indeed. I also suspect the the true outrage is that the NSA pilfered the info without paying for it. I’m sure that these tech companies would be much less angry if the NSA had acted as a client, instead of a thief.

  8. 8
    Cervantes says:

    From the web-site you linked, these are the eight companies involved: AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo

  9. 9
    Cassidy says:

    Smell that? You smell that? Entitlement, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of firebagger in the morning. You know, one time we had a real progressive President, one who passed more progressive legislation than any other. It was never good enough, though. When it was all over, all we had was that smell. The smell, you know that burning ass hair smell, the whole blog. Smelled like
    [sniffing, pondering]

    wankery. Someday this war’s gonna end…

  10. 10
    LosGatosCA says:

    Damage control, pure and simple. They could not care less otherwise.

  11. 11
    cleek says:

    @C.V. Danes:
    can’t do that. all of those companies (except MS and Apple) are about social network building and mining. the reason we get it for free is because our transactions are the product they sell to advertisers and marketers.

  12. 12
    dpm (dread pirate mistermix) says:

    @Cervantes: Apple wasn’t on the top list of companies on the site, but it was on the bottom – obviously if Steve Jobs were still around, that wouldn’t have happened. I fixed the post. Thanks.

  13. 13
    Jack the Second says:

    Corporations are made up of people. Treating them as monoliths denies the individuals credit, blame, and responsibility for their actions.

    I’m sure some people at those companies making the decision to put forth this empty proposal are cynical bottom-liners, but I also am sure that some people – for instance, the starry-eyed dreamers tasked with actually writing the proposal – are just trying to do right by the world.

  14. 14
    geg6 says:

    @cleek:

    Exactly. Which is why I find this whole exercise ridiculous. Maybe the NSA should just buy the information from Google, FB, Instagram, etc. I trust the corporations less with my personal information than I do the government.

  15. 15
    agrippa says:

    It seems reasonable enough.
    I doubt that Congress will pay very much attention.

  16. 16
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @p.a.:

    AOL? they still around?

    Yes, but they’re mostly Huffington Post now.

  17. 17
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    I’ll believe that the US government has changed its ways, and is ready to abide by international law and constitutional amendments, when I see Rumsfeld, Cheney and Dubya twisting slowly from a gibbet.

  18. 18
    Monkeyfister says:

    I will be utterly shocked if this actually gains traction. Seems like a brand-washing PR gimmick to me. I’ve never heard Zuckerberg champion any privacy issue– he seems more than happy to sell any and all information to anyone with pocket jingle for him.

    I don’t believe that this should be taken seriously. The Media Rubes will make some time for it, but this group of the largest Privacy violators in the world don’t really believe any of that.

    Perhaps the NSA/DHS’s requirements are costing actual money to the companies. But, they are not making a MORAL statement here. To believe so would be the height of gullibility. I know that **I** am in the micro-minority of people that avoid most of those companies’ social services because of their lack of respect for privacy.

  19. 19
    Botsplainer says:

    @El Tiburon:

    “We need more Snowden’s and mannings and warrens and Greenwalds to be hung from the neck publicly, as an example to other sniveling white dudebros, worried that somebody might have the capability to tumble across their porn cache, or to potentially find their drunken internet blatherings, or to possibly run across their Walter Mitty fantasies about violently changing the world.

    FTFY

    After all, who really benefits from perfect internet privacy? The guy who likes to visit Chicks with Dicks, or the international hedge fund millionaire laundering his fraudulently gained millions through the Caymans?

  20. 20
    Cervantes says:

    @dpm (dread pirate mistermix):

    Apple wasn’t on the top list of companies on the site, but it was on the bottom – obviously if Steve Jobs were still around, that wouldn’t have happened. I fixed the post. Thanks.

    Yes, their first list shows seven icons. Their second list shows (as I said) eight. Your amended list is still missing Twitter.

    Thanks for the post.

  21. 21
    Cervantes says:

    @Monkeyfister: I’ve never heard Zuckerberg champion any privacy issue– he seems more than happy to sell any and all information to anyone with pocket jingle for him.

    Yes, Zuckerberg as privacy advocate — that is a hoot.

  22. 22
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    I have an idea. Why don’t they pay their taxes that support the world legal system they seem to depend on.

  23. 23
    p.a. says:

    @Steve in the ATL: evolution can go down some strange paths.

  24. 24
    Betty Cracker says:

    @geg6:

    I trust the corporations less with my personal information than I do the government.

    Would you trust a government headed by Rand Paul, Ted Cruz or Rick Santorum more than Facebook? I wouldn’t. At least I know what Facebook is up to — whoring out my data for targeted ads. I shudder to think what some scumbag GOP administration would try to do with its big data cache.

    For NSA defenders, this conversation always seems to be perceived as an attack on President Obama. It’s not — or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Hell, Obama himself said the Snowden leaks revealed legitimate concerns, albeit in a sensationalized manner.

    As for expectations of privacy, I know it’s considered beyond naive to expect privacy online, and I agree that should be the case for things a user voluntarily publishes for all the world to see on Balloon Juice and Facebook. But why shouldn’t we expect privacy for emails, texts, closed chat messages, etc., as long as no participants are suspected of a crime? In the public and private sector, we’ll get as much privacy as we demand — no more, no less.

  25. 25
    scav says:

    Ha. Right. The don”t scare the pigeons, they’re ours and we want them happily ignorant and careless with details publicity stunt. Facebook of the privacy change of the month club? Goog’s personal email scanning ads legitimate because targeted, I guess and everybody thinks mail is public. And so on down the list. They’re certainly transparent. the number of those upstanding selfless companies that have had legal snits with European, Canadian and places with existing privacy laws . . .

  26. 26
    Cervantes says:

    @Betty Cracker: Obama himself said the Snowden leaks revealed legitimate concerns

    Be careful not to explode too many heads, Betty.

  27. 27
    gene108 says:

    I am in the minority, I guess.

    I’ve lived with the USA PATRIOT Acts for a decade now. Of all the things that are wrong with society, the impact of the Surveillance State on my daily life is pretty minimal.

    I understand the objections to the Surveillance State, but if you only have so much political capital to spend and so many problems to fix, this just seems the wrong hill to try and storm up and conquer at this point in time.

    Now that Snowden’s brought this up, I guess something needs to be done to deal with it because of bad PR, but it isn’t the sort of thing I think I need to fight to the death to overturn right now.

  28. 28
    MomSense says:

    I don’t know if any of you have ever been harassed via email and/or social media — but these companies are not helpful at all. In fact some of them never respond to you or don’t even have a mechanism to request assistance. Many of them have serious security flaws that can make their users vulnerable to bad actors and there is no recourse.

    When something bad happens you realize that supposed government surveillance is not the worst thing that can happen to you on the internet. There are in fact much worse things.

    ps: Facebook privacy settings are a cruel joke.

  29. 29
    gene108 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    this conversation always seems to be perceived as an attack on President Obama. It’s not — or at least, it doesn’t have to be.

    But it is.

    There are a lot of people, who are not in love with Republicans but have a lot of trepidation to jump into the arms of Democrats. This sort of thing helps keep people unengaged because “both sides do it” and Obama is as bad as Bush & Co.

    In 2012, Obama lost the youth white vote.

    This sort of stuff doesn’t help with getting it back.

  30. 30
    scav says:

    @Cervantes: Well, only those of simple-minded straw opponents. Murderers, thieves, robbers et al reveal flaws in security and legal protections, but we don’t necessarily throw them ticker tape parades when they do so. As per usual, real things are comperlicated, messy and unclear. Stupid stunts, oddly enough, do have a certain simple glow to them.

  31. 31
    Belafon says:

    The reason I find this silly is because, as we’ve actually found out because countries are correcting the errors in Greenwald’s leaks, most countries are actually collecting this data. Watch me write the treaty:

    All data collected by companies that provide communication through electronic devices shall be available to the government of any country that asks for it.

    This is mostly face saving by the companies. There might be a little bit of “make every company do it so that no one is at a disadvantage,” because every company listed has some or all of their business model based on collecting and storing this data. But this is mainly “Oh, the government made me do it,” which is no different than what is going on now.

  32. 32
    Woodrow/asim Jarvis Hill says:

    Stockholders hate uncertainty, and thus so do corporate entities. That’s what this is about — reducing uncertainty in the marketplace that hurts their multinational bottom line. Facebook et. al. have no intrinsic interest in giving information to any government for free, esp. when it hurts their bottom line from the bad publicity.

  33. 33
    Cervantes says:

    @scav: Who’s asking for a ticker-tape parade?

    (Or did I misunderstand your comment about “simple-minded straw opponents”?)

  34. 34
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gene108: You better send President Obama a memo, then, since he’s convened a panel of security experts and civil liberties activists, etc., to address it. The report is supposed to come out around the first of the year (I think), and supposedly will be followed by proposals on how to address the problems the committee finds. You might want to let the president know it’s not worth spending political capital on and that it will damage his poll numbers with Millennials.

  35. 35
    Cervantes says:

    @gene108:

    In 2012, Obama lost the youth white vote. This sort of stuff doesn’t help with getting it back.

    What do you mean by “this sort of stuff”?

    Also: Obama isn’t getting the “youth white” (or any other) vote in 2016. That election will most likely not look like the last one.

  36. 36
    Monkeyfister says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937: I have an idea. Why don’t they pay their taxes that support the world legal system they seem to depend on.

    That’s just plain crazy talk right there.

  37. 37
    scav says:

    @Cervantes: I’m only objecting to the caricature of those that come down on the Snowden as treasonous creep side. they don’t necessarily view all the stuff he revealed as unimportant, they just have a different final gut reaction to the hairball, just as not all supporters are insisting on a tickertape parade, as you rightly point out. I’m kicking on the it’s a complicated hairball team, for what it’s worth, in that game while not trusting the companies an inch having watched them for much longer.

  38. 38
    Botsplainer says:

    Query – in the realm of perfect internet privacy as the dudebros demand (because every white guy’s porn cache and chat logs should remain forever unreachable), how do you track and combat the following – stock swindles, criminal money laundering, terror money laundering (both domestic and international), and conspiracies to deprive others of civil rights by operation of law?

  39. 39
    different-church-lady says:

    @Botsplainer: Must you?

  40. 40
    Monkeyfister says:

    @Baud: Senator Feinstein will make sure that no reform will make it out of committee. She loves her some Police State already. She’s never met a security apparatus she didn’t like.

  41. 41
    Cassidy says:

    For NSA defenders

    This is where the conversation gets stupid. Somehow, not freaking out that the NSA may, or may not, have collected data on me that is already stored by multiple corporations that i freely gave out when I clicked “accept” is the same as defending the NSA? For fuck’s sake. This is why I don’t want to move to suburbia.

  42. 42
    Botsplainer says:

    @Woodrow/asim Jarvis Hill:

    Stockholders hate uncertainty, and thus so do corporate entities.

    Quit spreading that bullshit meme, so handily spewed from incompetent financial reporters. Stock moves occasionally happen for reasons of weakness, but they most often move from manipulation of news cycles.

    Frankly, we could have a stable stock market and better jobs environment if we quit granting tax favors for capital gains and went to a tax regime where the favored treatment of existing companies would come from payment of dividends.

    You can’t fake dividends, and bullshit representations of value would be left to IPOs. Of course, you’d also have to sweeten the tax pot on those to encourage capital formation – call it a 5-10 year lead in.

    I’d go as far as to recommend penalties for sales on capital stock held fewer than 3 years, just to cut down on churning.

  43. 43
    C.V. Danes says:

    @cleek:

    the reason we get it for free is because our transactions are the product they sell to advertisers and marketers.

    Except we’re not getting it for free. We’re paying the price of loss of privacy, and the loss of democracy that comes with it.

  44. 44
    Botsplainer says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Must you?

    It pleases me to make the perpetually outraged even more outraged.

  45. 45
    Botsplainer says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Except we’re not getting it for free. We’re paying the price of loss of privacy, and the loss of democracy that comes with it.

    The only people I see as losing out on their ability to vote or exercise political power are the sorts of folks who aren’t on the internet providing much in the way of economic or personal data in the first place, primarily due to lack of resources – people of color or Latino heritage (oldest folks hardest hit). The white folks providing data have plenty of democracy and don’t seem to be losing it.

  46. 46
    chopper says:

    @Cassidy:

    yeah, this whole issue goes through more straw than a broke dairy farm. FPers coughing up that sort of stuff doesn’t help.

  47. 47
    Belafon says:

    @Botsplainer: Actually, that’s easy: Any stock swindle, criminal money laundering, or terror money laundering (both domestic and international) that occurs by people making more than $500K per year shall not be prosecuted.

    See, not a problem. Now, as for balancing privacy with law enforcement, that’s always been a trick, and, in an age when someone can steal $100M of bitcoins in a system that is supposedly designed not to be hacked, balancing the ability to use data to help with an investigation, especially when the same technology is used by the people committing crimes, against privacy will be an interesting challenge.

    ETA: Got the numbers mixed in my head.

  48. 48
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cassidy: What the fuck does suburbia have to do with anything? But since you asked for clarification, albeit in a hysterical and foolish manner, I’ll provide it: “NSA defenders” means people who start babbling about “dudebros,” or questioning others’ Democratic loyalty, etc., the minute anyone suggests that there might be issues with how the NSA currently collects, stores, shares and uses data. No one is requiring you personally to get exercised about it, either in or out of the suburbs, but many people think it’s a legit concern, including, apparently, the Suburban Dudebro in Chief.

  49. 49
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @gene108:

    In 2012 Obama lost the youth white vote

    You’re wrong.

  50. 50
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: I treated the position with the respect it deserves. It’s foolishness. What does suburbia have to do with it? Because it’s a fuckin’ suburbia problem. In a country where people don’t eat every day, where young black males civil rights are violated just for being black and walking, where the murder of women and minorities has been legalized in some states all while taking away their right to vote, and the various assaults on the rights of women, you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not to worked up about something that has been going on in some capacity since before I was born (1978) and whether or not the NSA has found out what kind of porn mix likes to watch. It’s a suburbia problem. it’s an “OMG, someone might know something about me that I already freely put on the internet” problem.

    It’s not a real problem.

  51. 51
    Cervantes says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo): You’re wrong.

    How is gene108 wrong? This is from the article you linked:

    However, Obama lost support among both white men and women. Overall, 41% of white men supported Obama while 54% supported Romney. In 2008, Obama won the vote among white men, 52% to 46%. While white women voted for Obama over McCain by a 56% to 42% margin four years ago, they were divided this year (48% voted for Obama, 49% for Romney).

    Who’s wrong?

  52. 52
    Cervantes says:

    @Cassidy: It’s not a real problem.

    Well, if so, then it’s a good thing that, as Betty said, “No one is requiring you personally to get exercised about it.”

  53. 53
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cassidy: That’s a familiar dodge. Of course there are multiple pressing problems; there always are. That’s why we expect our government leaders to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, and thankfully, the current president can.

    The ability to communicate freely and have access to due process before officials seize your private communications are cornerstones of a free society, and if you think the consequences of government overreach in those areas in a Santorum administration wouldn’t land on disadvantaged groups first and hardest, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

  54. 54

    This is a really, really complex issue, with a lot of straw. Here are my multiple reactions, to try and reduce some of that straw:

    1) Our national security system in general could use more oversight and less power.

    2) Snowden’s ‘revelations’ have nothing to do with that, since they were meaningless bullshit that Greenwald misrepresented into flat-out lies. The documents never said what we were told they said.

    3) To combine 1 and 2, the NSA may not be reading our email or Google searches, but they STILL could use better legal limits.

    4) None of these companies care about our privacy. Violating our privacy is their business model, and they do it far worse than the government. Big businesses get nervous about looking like villains (especially when they are villains) and love their dishonest PR stunts.

  55. 55
    Gene108 says:

    @Cervantes:

    I thought Democrats are counting on demographic shifts – millennials and Latinos – to keep winning national elections.

    Losing the youngin’s vote,even a little bit, is something that could cause the Obama coalition to fall apart enough for a Republican to win the White House.

    Obama only won the popular vote by 4% to 5%, so all Republicans need to do to win is pick up 2% to 3% of the vote.
    @Betty Cracker:

    Like I said this is about Obama and his reputation. He needs to do something about this. I look forward to the left-wing freak out over whatever is recommended as not being sufficient enough to remedy the problem.

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo):

    White males went mostly for Mitt.
    I missed that part out in the above posts about the white youth vote. Should have been more specific.

    http://www.people-press.org/20.....ered-more/

  56. 56
    Gene108 says:

    How did I end up in moderation

  57. 57
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: Whatever Betty. You just keep giving away that free information to FB, Amazon, and Walmart. They are so much less nefarious than the big ol’ ebil gubmint.

    I’m just curious. The price of everyone’s personal, private information seems to be cheap shit you can buy with free shipping for any purchase over $50. So what would the NSA need to send you for you not to be so worried? What free gift with your purchase would have you going “Oh, that NSA. They have much better customer service than Amazon!”.

  58. 58
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Facebook detained my selfies indefinitely and Apple tortured me with that fucking Straight Talk/MMS issue and Microsoft has been breaking my Windows.

  59. 59
    catclub says:

    @C.V. Danes: “It’s hard to provide the NSA with info you don’t have. Just sayin’”

    Also hard to target ads with no information on users. Mixed motivations abound.

    ETA: Also, WTF with AOL being in this group? Their records are on floppies.

  60. 60
    Cervantes says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    What is “that fucking Straight Talk/MMS issue” and what does it have to do with Apple?

  61. 61
    Mandalay says:

    @Botsplainer:

    It pleases me to make the perpetually outraged even more outraged.

    Heh. There no poster on this board who consistently shows more outrage over issues of internet security than you. You act like a teenager, throwing tantrums and having meltdowns over every new disclosure.

  62. 62
    ericblair says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Would you trust a government headed by Rand Paul, Ted Cruz or Rick Santorum more than Facebook?

    If we get a government headed by Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and/or Rick Santorum, internet privacy is the least of our fucking problems at that point, since I doubt the human society would survive it in any recognizable form. You can’t idiot-proof the US government.

  63. 63
    Cervantes says:

    @Mandalay: And there’s a noticeable pattern of violent rhetoric as well — but who’s counting? (Don’t answer that.)

  64. 64
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cassidy: You’re conflating two different issues. I’m not talking about shit that’s published for public consumption on Facebook or Balloon Juice or my consumer purchasing patterns on Amazon; I’m talking about private communications such as email, text messages, private chat transcripts, etc.

    Maybe the NSA under the Obama administration is and always has been perfectly angelic with our data, but there’s reason to believe it might be vulnerable to abuse in some instances, the fact that a poorly vetted schnook like Snowden evidently had free access being just one example. Wouldn’t it be nice to get that cleared up before a Republican is in the White House again? I think so!

    A lot of people who aren’t necessarily white suburban dudebros (President Obama, for one) think the system could use a thorough review and that improvements could be made. No one requires you to be one of them.

  65. 65
    Mandalay says:

    @El Tiburon:

    We may be stuck with Hillary but hopefully she is stuck with a more loud and powerful progressive bunch that will push her to do the right thing.

    She may have many virtues, but I don’t see much daylight between Hillary Clinton and most mainstream Republicans on national security issues. She has made some pretty nutty statements over the years.

  66. 66
    Cervantes says:

    @ericblair: If we get a government headed by Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and/or Rick Santorum, internet privacy is the least of our fucking problems at that point

    Not obviously true.

    The Internet can be, and has been used as, a medium for … critical communication.

  67. 67
    Cassidy says:

    @ericblair: Exactly. Reagan and both Bushes had access to this type of information and if anyone thinks they followed all the legal protocols to look at it or use it, then I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona to sell. Same goes for anyone who really thinks that Cruz or Paul is going to be elected POTUS.

  68. 68
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Botsplainer:

    The white folks providing data have plenty of democracy and don’t seem to be losing it.

    Oh but they are. What they — and everyone else — are losing is the freedom to say what they want, go where they want, and congregate with whomever they want without fear of retaliation.

    The right to privacy is fundamental requirement of a representative democracy. When the government (or corporations) can intrude on that privacy at will, and take action accordingly, then what it is doing is, in effect, making sure that we are all “good government employees” by virtue of the fact that it can take action against those who are not, by throwing them in jail or even expelling them from the country. When we allow the government to do that, we are conferring on it the power to “fire” you as a citizen.

    The concept that a government can “fire” you as a citizen is an extremely powerful tool for keeping populations in line, and how democracies become authoritarian. Hence, why privacy is important.

  69. 69
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: Of course, Betty. The corporations that you send your emails and texts through don’t keep a record of that. And I’m sure they don’t record conversations. Now, excuse me while they record this next call for training purposes….

  70. 70
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Cassidy:

    Did you miss the part where the internet has become the main vehicle for financial transactions, personal mail, telephone and large scale social interaction? Before the internet those things were far more separated and were beyond the scope of any government to comprehensively monitor. The notion that we ought to reexamine the ways that the government and private entities handle all of the information to which they have access seems to me to be a sensible one.

    If you trust the government to do the right thing more than you do anyone else then you either haven’t read history or you’re just plain obtuse.

  71. 71
    Bill Arnold says:

    Vaguely related, and amusing: Spy agencies in covert push to infiltrate virtual world of online gaming. Our tax dollars at work…

  72. 72
    Cassidy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Nah. I just don’t trust the gov’t less than I do a corporation. I trust everyone, including people, to do what’s in their best interest. Fortunately for us, a gov’t best interest is some semblance of working society vs. profits over people that our corporations, which none of you mind having your personal, private information, have routinely shown as their only motivation.

    So, yeah, history, obtuse, whatever. /eyeroll

  73. 73
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Cassidy:

    And I’m sure they don’t record conversations. Now, excuse me while they record this next call for training purposes….

    You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I managed inbound call centers for years. We did record calls for training purposes and nothing else. If we had an exceptional agent we would record one or more of that agent’s calls for training purposes and nothing more. If we had an agent who was floundering we would record that agent’s calls to try and help them get sorted out.

  74. 74
    handsmile says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    For a number of months, you have been typing that Snowden’s NSA revelations were/are “meaningless bullshit” or such like phrases.

    Do you believe that the British parliament would have convened a special committee to review claims from government officials that published accounts of NSA/GCHQ surveillance had exposed and damaged national security interests over “meaningless bullshit”? Or that the Guardian’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger would have been asked by those committee members whether he “loved his country” by publishing such “meaningless bullshit”?

    Do you believe that the Obama White House would have assembled a prestigious panel (albeit criticized by some for a lack of independence) to review and propose reforms to NSA policies, procedures, and Congressional oversight over “meaningless bullshit”?

    Do you believe that veteran journalists such as Barton Gellman, Charlie Savage, James Ball, Julian Borger, Spencer Ackerman or the man widely regarded as the world’s leading expert on the NSA’s history, James Bamford, are incompetent to ascertain whether material is “meaningless bullshit” and repeatedly publish detailed articles about it?

    All of this is the result of published revelations of material in the NSA files exfilitrated by Edward Snowden.

    The bullshit here is not from Snowden.

  75. 75
    Cassidy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Sure, sure, sure. You keep telling yourself that corporations don’t do things like that and keep trying to sell that fairy tale of the big ol’ scawy NSA and their black helicopters. lol

  76. 76
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Botsplainer:

    The white folks providing data have plenty of democracy and don’t seem to be losing it.

    Oh but they are. What they — and everyone else — are losing is the freedom to say what they want, go where they want, and congregate with whomever they want without fear of retaliation.

    The right to privacy is fundamental requirement of a representative democracy. When the government (or corporations) can intrude on that privacy at will, and take action accordingly, then what it is doing is, in effect, making sure that we are all “good government employees” by virtue of the fact that it can take action against those who are not, by throwing them in jail or even expelling them from the country. When we allow the government to do that, we are conferring on it the power to “fire” you as a citizen.

    The concept that a government can “fire” you as a citizen is an extremely powerful tool for keeping populations in line, and how democracies become authoritarian. Unless you want to live in an environment where the government can fire you, then you should take privacy very seriously :-)

  77. 77
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Cassidy:

    I apologize for characterizing you as “obtuse” when in fact you’re a smug, know-it-all asshole.

  78. 78
    Botsplainer says:

    @catclub:

    Also, WTF with AOL being in this group? Their records are on floppies.

    3.5 or 5.25?

    Actually, I heard that they’ve transitioned to zip disks….

  79. 79
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cassidy:

    Fortunately for us, a gov’t best interest is some semblance of working society…

    Seriously? That’s your logic?

  80. 80
    Botsplainer says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Oh but they are. What they — and everyone else — are losing is the freedom to say what they want, go where they want, and congregate with whomever they want without fear of retaliation.

    What the hell is it with white people and projection? Try reading the article about the arrested basketball players in New York, and then get back with me about the stupid, paranoid, vague and unrealized fears of white suburbanites.

  81. 81
    Thor Heyerdahl says:

    @p.a.: Number one platform for Newsmax readers!

  82. 82
    Cassidy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Someone’s cranky. Should I call the nurse to change your depends? Not sure if you know this, but Chuck isn’t a documentary. It’s a fictional tv show. I know, heartbreaking.

  83. 83

    @handsmile:
    British government: Yes, in the same way other European governments were shocked, shocked to learn about spying they do themselves.

    Accusations made to Guardian guy: Yes, because governments hate their secrets coming out even when those secrets are bland.

    Assembled a panel: Yes, because the White House has been anti-security state since day one and gotten zero traction on it from congress. Obama grabs publicity excuses to address what he’s wanted to address anyway. Gun issues are a great example. This is a well established pattern.

    Journalists: Jesus, yes, I believe they’re incompetent to determine this stuff, or at least untrustworthy to interpret it. They’re journalists. Have you been paying attention to the news lately?

  84. 84
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: I deal in reality, Betty, not the projected fears of the entitled class. The reality is that no gov’t is ever truly trustworthy. There has been, and always will be, a gray area that certain parts of any gov’t will operate in and do things that are quasi-legal. And they will justify it, some better than others, as necessary for national defense, liberty, and apple pie, as long as you bought it from Walmart. So, do I trust our gov’t to do the right thing, for the sake of doing the right thing? No, of course not. I don’t trust any of you fuckers not to sell out your grandmother should the right justification come along. I do trust a/ our gov’t to act in it’s best interest and most of the time that’s enough to placate the entitled class long enough to forget what they were mad about bu the time of the first commercial during whatever sporting event or reality singing program you are watching that day.

    I also know what our corporations do and are willing to do to maximize profits. Not even in the same arena. I’ll take gov’t overreach any day of the week.

  85. 85
    handsmile says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Your answers make it abundantly clear that you are deeply ignorant of this subject.

    Have I been paying attention to the news lately? On NSA surveillance, rather a bit more closely than you.

  86. 86
    Mandalay says:

    @Cassidy:

    and whether or not the NSA has found out what kind of porn mix…

    A while ago, when the Snowden disclosures first hit the fan, some desperately tried to make the NSA seem like the good guy by vilifying Greenwald and Snowden, hoping that the focus of attention would be on the “faggot” and the “traitor”. The illusion to be maintained was that the personalities of those who made the disclosures was far more worthy of close examination than the actual disclosures.

    Well the shine went off that turd eventually, notwithstanding the valiant efforts of a few nutjobs on BJ. So now the approach has morphed.

    Now it’s all about ridiculing anyone who is concerned about the NSA checking on porn habits. It’s all about ridiculing the idea that the government doesn’t know nearly as much about you as Google and Facebook. It’s all about pretending that the surveillance capabilities of Facebook and Google are the same as those of the NSA. It’s all about pretending that our government is just as open in its disclosures as Google and Facebook. It’s all about pretending that the only way the NSA can monitor you is through the cooperation of Google and Facebook. It’s all about pretending that the gazillion loopholes in our government being held accountable for its conduct don’t exist.

    Casually throwing porn into the mix is designed to push the meme that the whole affair is no biggie, and citizen concerns are all a fuss about nothing.

    [ETA From skimming other posts here, I obviously forgot to mention that bringing race into the debate is also a new diversionary tactic.]

  87. 87
    Splitting Image says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    For NSA defenders, this conversation always seems to be perceived as an attack on President Obama. It’s not — or at least, it doesn’t have to be.

    Citation, plz?

    Most everybody who comments regularly here is willing to agree that the NSA guidelines need an overhaul. The dudebro accusations roll out when people attack the government as an eternal, omnipresent danger to freedom. Saying that Obama is as bad is Bush is, on this issue as on many others, an unwarranted attack on Obama.

    The problem is not that Obama’s defenders don’t want him to produce a new set of guidelines for the NSA.It’s that no set of guidelines he does produce will satisfy his detractors. If you don’t believe me, just watch what happens when Obama’s committee releases its report and Obama follows their recommendations.

  88. 88

    @handsmile:
    Well, I did go back and read a lot of documents the Guardian was making news stories about, and the Guardian’s stories were consistently wild misrepresentations of the documents. So you know, I paid attention to that, which I would guess is pretty important.

  89. 89
    J R in WV says:

    Someone above said something like “Shouldn’t we get this straightened out before we get another Republican administration?”

    What difference will it make? None. They will proceed to observe the privacy rules just as they observed the “Torture is a War Crime punishable under Internatuional Treaty” laws, won’t they?

    So what difference does it make when the new R president can call up the helpful folks at NSA and say, “We want all the email/text/conversations between all Democratic Candidates on the list we just sent you, and we want it tomorrow, OK?” and the answer the new R president will get is “Yes Sir!”…?

  90. 90
    Botsplainer says:

    I posed this as a query before, now I’ll make a declarative statement for falsification by anyone interested.

    In order to create an environment where people’s porn habits, chat logs, text arguments with spouse and forwarded cat picture emails are not sorted and indexed for potential review by government, large scale stock swindles, criminal money laundering, terror money laundering (both domestic and international), and conspiracies to deprive others of civil rights by operation of law will be freely allowed to be conducted by malefactors on the internet.

    Is the cost acceptable?

  91. 91
    Cervantes says:

    @Gene108: Thanks, and in general I agree with you, but I still don’t know what you meant by “this sort of thing” and “this sort of stuff.”

  92. 92
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Botsplainer: Who do you think suffered the brunt of government surveillance overreach in the 50s and 60s? I’ll give you a hint: IT WASN’T WHITE PEOPLE.

  93. 93
    ruemara says:

    @Betty Cracker: You’re punching below your weight to no need.

    This works for me, but I’m still suspicious of any corporate push on this. I know that the corporate masters are who speak loudest, for the lawmakers, however, I’ll gladly get on board with these reforms.

  94. 94
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Botsplainer:

    What the hell is it with white people and projection? Try reading the article about the arrested basketball players in New York, and then get back with me about the stupid, paranoid, vague and unrealized fears of white suburbanites.

    Why don’t you go and read up on the history of this country on infiltrating minority protest groups that were challenging the government’s power to persecute them and then get back to me on your definitions of the “stupid, paranoid, vague and unrealized fears of white suburbanites.”

    Because, you know, the government’s role in infiltrating and breaking up the various Occupy Wall Street protests and their variants across the country was just so much bullshit, being the unrealized fear of white suburbanites and all.

  95. 95
    Cervantes says:

    @Cassidy:

    I also know what our corporations do and are willing to do to maximize profits. Not even in the same arena. I’ll take gov’t overreach any day of the week.

    False dichotomy.

    But for someone who does not think the subject is worth discussing, you seem remarkably happy not to be discussing something else somewhere else.

  96. 96
    Cassidy says:

    @Mandalay: It is a fuss about nothing. The gov’t knows just as much as about you as any corporation. They have for a while. You gave that information away freely when you signed up for prime, reward points, discount coupons, etc.

    Now, as has been stated, there are worse problems in this country than the gov’t knowing your personal and private information that you freely gave away to corporations. For some, it’s life and death. The only people who really give a fuck about the NSA is the entitled suburban class, who, for the most part, have nothing malicious or nefarious on their computers beyond the gangbang porn they like to watch because the wife of 10 years decided she’s not sucking cock anymore. That’s where the pron reference comes in; you read into it. I don’t call people faggot and I could care less who or what Greenwald wants to put his dick in. He is a nihilistic, opportunistic asshole who doesn’t care about anything other than his own glory, but damn he’s good at suckering all the “real” progressives into buying his bullshit. Kinda like how we make fun of all the people that are suckered by Snowbilly Snooki….

    Snowden is a traitor and a criminal. That’s fact.

  97. 97
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Splitting Image: Citation? Sure: Hit CTRL+F and enter “Botsplainer,” then perform the same operation for “Cassidy” to get a representative sample of hysterical overreaction to any suggestion that the NSA might need to be reined in just in this thread.

    Now, let’s see if you can produce a citation for “Obama is as bad as Bush” from anyone currently taking part in this conversation. I’ll wait.

  98. 98
    Botsplainer says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Who do you think suffered the brunt of government surveillance overreach in the 50s and 60s? I’ll give you a hint: IT WASN’T WHITE PEOPLE.

    Get back with me the day that Obama uses surveillance to stomp the hell all over some tea bigots.

  99. 99
    Cassidy says:

    @Cervantes: No it’s not. You gave that information away for free shipping. Now it’s suddenly sacred? Sure.

  100. 100
    ericblair says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Vaguely related, and amusing: Spy agencies in covert push to infiltrate virtual world of online gaming. Our tax dollars at work…

    This is probably a good use of tax dollars, since moles using WoW to communicate with their contacts to set up drops has actually happened. The Guardian may be being a bit cute here to state that there weren’t any known cases (to them) of terrorists using online games to communicate, but the use of online games for espionage is part of standard counterintelligence background briefings.

  101. 101
    geg6 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I don’t know when you acquired the illusion that you have privacy on the internet. We never have had it and we never will. I don’t believe, like so many here seem to, that the NSA or anyone in the government is creeping about my emails and FB page. I’m not a big supporter of the NSA, despite what you imply. But I just am not all that paranoid about it either. I’m much more concerned with corporations making money from selling my personal information and selling it companies that I have no connection to or interest in or who I have not vetted or given permission to access anything personal about me. We’re both paranoid, but I believe there is much more evidence of the danger to me from my fear than there is from yours. As far as how I feel about Rand Paul or Ted Cruz using the NSA to come after me when they are president, it’s more frightening to me that one of the will have access to the nuclear codes than that. I guess I’m just not all that afraid of the NSA. Corporations, however, are pure evil and they terrify me.

  102. 102
    Botsplainer says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Because, you know, the government’s role in infiltrating and breaking up the various Occupy Wall Street protests and their variants across the country was just so much bullshit, being the unrealized fear of white suburbanites and all.

    *chuckle*

    I knew it was going to come down to that, whimpering about hippie punching.

    Occupy Wall Street screwed itself when it stopped being about Wall Street and all about being obnoxious encampment. It became a joke – something that inevitably happens whenever progressive purists ever run anything. They’re the mirror image of teatards.

  103. 103
    Cervantes says:

    @J R in WV: What difference will it make? None. They will proceed to observe the privacy rules just as they observed the “Torture is a War Crime punishable under Internatuional Treaty” laws, won’t they?

    A fair question.

    I guess the hope is to put as many obstacles in their way as possible, and to give their opponents as many legal tools as possible. But you’re right: the law does not guarantee good outcomes.

  104. 104
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Cervantes:

    He said white YOUTH vote. Obama took 60% of the young white vote.

  105. 105
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: That explains things. The only hysterics you’ll get from me is hysterical laughter. You people are funny.

  106. 106
    Cervantes says:

    @Cassidy: I don’t know what you’re referring to, sorry.

    But hey, please keep not talking to me in this utterly worthless thread.

  107. 107
    geg6 says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Well, there you go saying how I feel much better than I can. ;-)

  108. 108
    Cassidy says:

    @Cervantes: Whatever. I’m sure both sides do it in your world also. Run along now.

  109. 109
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Get back with me the day that Obama uses surveillance to stomp the hell all over some tea bigots.

    I hate to break it to you, but Obama won’t always be president. Perhaps that’s one reason he’s trying to sort this shit out while he still is.

  110. 110
    Botsplainer says:

    Let me try this again, to see if anybody is paying attention.

    In order to create an environment where people’s porn habits, chat logs, text arguments with spouse and forwarded cat picture emails are not sorted and indexed for potential review by government, large scale stock swindles, criminal money laundering, terror money laundering (both domestic and international), and conspiracies to deprive others of civil rights by operation of law will be freely allowed to be conducted by malefactors on the internet.

    Is the cost acceptable? Does the multimillionaire shielding assets from the tax man deserve to be allowed to do so just because there might be a government index containing strange joke emails from your cranky Uncle Fester that is accessible on directed request?

  111. 111
    Botsplainer says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m trying to figure out what power over me President Cruz or President Paul will have by having the ability to review my preserved Amazon wish list.

    ETA: Maybe it is me. Perhaps everybody else leads a much more exciting internet life than I do. Mine must be dull.

  112. 112
    Ash Can says:

    Sounds reasonable to me.

    Me too. Now if only the legislature would get to work on the USA Freedom Act, we’d start making some actual progress. That won’t happen until after the holidays, though, since Congressional Republicans can’t bear the thought of sullying their sacred Christmas party schedules with anything as vulgar as doing the work they were hired to do.

    Like always, the real debate regards where we want the balance of security and government spying and secrecy to be. The kind of surveillance it would take to prevent all acts of domestic terrorism goes well beyond what any of us would be willing to tolerate. Nevertheless, when a Timothy McVeigh strikes, I for one sure as hell want the perpetrators and collaborators captured and prevented from carrying out any additional strikes, and that’s where the professional spooks come in. If those same spooks can prevent shit from getting blown up in the first place through the selective monitoring of persons or groups who make it clear that they favor the use of violence against their fellow citizens, so much the better. But effective oversight is essential to prevent such monitoring from evolving from “We want to know who you’re planning to shoot and/or blow up” to “You didn’t vote for us so now we’re going to make your life miserable.” And establishing such oversight is a tricky proposition to say the least.

  113. 113
    Cassidy says:

    @Botsplainer: Wait? Do you mean to tell me that the NSA might have Cole’s cat pictures from his blog in a database? That’s just outrageous!

    (Pssst. Hey NSA, if you’re still listening, be a dear and send him a hooker for fucks sake.)

  114. 114
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @gene108: @Betty Cracker:

    There are a lot of people, who are not in love with Republicans but have a lot of trepidation to jump into the arms of Democrats. This sort of thing helps keep people unengaged because “both sides do it” and Obama is as bad as Bush & Co.

    you’re welcome.

  115. 115
    Mandalay says:

    @J R in WV:

    Someone above said something like “Shouldn’t we get this straightened out before we get another Republican administration?” What difference will it make? None.

    You are probably correct that we no longer have any electronic privacy with respect to the government. That ship has sailed, and it is never coming back. But it is still vital to press our government to be held accountable for what it does. Although I am queasy about the integrity of the authors, the goals detailed on the website in the OP really are worth fighting for.

    Bear in mind that the current situation is that the NSA can lie to the Intelligence Committees in Congress with impunity. Surely even the most diehard fan of government surveillance wants that situation to be rectified?

  116. 116
    Betty Cracker says:

    @geg6: I’m not under the illusion that we currently have 100% privacy on the internet, but I do think it’s possible to compel government officials to follow adequate due process standards before rifling through our personal info like emails, texts and closed chat transcripts. That’s not to say it will never, ever be violated. But “privacy” is not like “virginity,” wherein once you lose it, it’s gone forever. We can CHOSE to enact reasonable suspicion standards before allowing the NSA to access that data. We can repeal the PATRIOT Act. Some say the current standards are good enough. Others say they should be strengthened. And some just stick their fingers in their ears and sing, “Lalalalala.”

  117. 117
    geg6 says:

    @handsmile:

    Oooo, let me answer!

    Do you believe that the British parliament would have convened a special committee to review claims from government officials that published accounts of NSA/GCHQ surveillance had exposed and damaged national security interests over “meaningless bullshit”? Or that the Guardian’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger would have been asked by those committee members whether he “loved his country” by publishing such “meaningless bullshit”?

    Yes, I do. Can I introduce you to Representative Darryl Issa?

    Do you believe that the Obama White House would have assembled a prestigious panel (albeit criticized by some for a lack of independence) to review and propose reforms to NSA policies, procedures, and Congressional oversight over “meaningless bullshit”?

    Yes, I do. Can I introduce you to Simpson/Bowles?

    Do you believe that veteran journalists such as Barton Gellman, Charlie Savage, James Ball, Julian Borger, Spencer Ackerman or the man widely regarded as the world’s leading expert on the NSA’s history, James Bamford, are incompetent to ascertain whether material is “meaningless bullshit” and repeatedly publish detailed articles about it?

    Yes, can I introduce you to Judy Miller, respected reporter for the New York Times?

  118. 118
    Betty Cracker says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo): Lame. That wasn’t a quote espousing that position but attributing it to some undefined others, as the most cursory review would reveal. But thanks for playing, and better luck next time!

  119. 119
    Cervantes says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo):

    He said white YOUTH vote.

    Yes, yes, he did.

    Obama took 60% of the young white vote.

    No, no, he didn’t.

    Please read the article you linked before wasting my time with it again. In particular, please read the section entitled “Changes in the Youth Vote: 2008-2012” (from which I quoted above to no avail). Or if that’s too many words to read, please look at the accompanying chart. In particular please look at the part of the chart where it says “Among 18-29 whites” and be sure you’re looking at the data from 2012.

    And remember, this is the chart you linked to. Why, if you didn’t read it first?

  120. 120
    geg6 says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Yeah, that’s about as perfect a distillation of white (probably male) privilege as you’ll ever see. The NSA = slavery X eleventy!

  121. 121
    Cassidy says:

    Oh god! I’m watching a foreign movie on Netflix and I googled up some porn. What will that NSA analyst think of me.

  122. 122
    Botsplainer says:

    @geg6:

    Yes, can I introduce you to Judy Miller, respected reporter for the New York Times?

    Or “the worlds best intelligence sourced reporter”, Sy Hersh, who recently came up with a doozy about Obama and Syria, using anonymous statements.

    The last time Sy talked to a still-employed senior intelligence officer was probably in Reagan’s first term.

  123. 123
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Splitting Image:

    The dudebro accusations roll out when people attack the government as an eternal, omnipresent danger to freedom.

    Except that government has, indeed, proven itself on more than one occasion to be an “eternal, omnipresent danger to freedom”, especially to minority groups and others that had the temerity to challenge the government’s perceived right to do as it wishes.

    The most fearful time in the life of a society is when the government has no legitimate fear of its people. I don’t necessarily mean fear of armed revolution, but fear of retribution for positions counter to the popular will of the people in general. Because what you have then is not a government of the people, but a government of the bureaucracy, and we all now how that story line unfolds.

    A democracy such as exists in the U.S. will not fall due to a war of guns or armed revolt, but due to a war of the mind. When the government succeeds in convincing the people that they work for it, and not the other way around, then we will find out just how tattered our freedoms have become.

  124. 124
    Tone in DC says:

    I don’t know how many Michiganders (or folks from Detroit proper) are around right now, but hearing a report from last week on the Detroit’s bankruptcy is raising my damn blood pressure.

    An bit of an analogy: a major reason that the US Postal Service is “insolvent” is because Congress has mandated that USPS have all of the workers’ pension money for the next 75 years on hand RIGHT NOW. When you hear from g00pers that we cannot afford USPS and their “bloated costs”, that is a major part of the cause.

    In Detroit’s case, there was an arrangement for a large amount of debt issuance recently, in the last few years, over $1 billion in all. But what gets me is this stipulation: if the city’s credit rating dropped (and it did, in this recession), the full interest due on the 25 year loan would be due to the bank immediately.

    What. The. Fuck.

    That debt issuance doesn’t comprise all of Detroit’s debt. But it’s a decent amount. If this is what the mayor, city council and pension recipients are up against, no wonder they’re losing.

  125. 125
    Botsplainer says:

    @Cassidy:

    Oh god! I’m watching a foreign movie on Netflix and I googled up some porn. What will that NSA analyst think of me.

    He’s preparing a report for your boss, your mom and your wife as we speak. Unless you do whatever The Man says, he’ll send it, and you’ll be fired, disowned and divorced.

  126. 126
    Botsplainer says:

    @Tone in DC:

    In Detroit’s case, there was an arrangement for a large amount of debt issuance recently, in the last few years, over $1 billion in all. But what gets me is this stipulation: if the city’s credit rating dropped (and it did, in this recession), the full interest due on the 25 year loan would be due to the bank immediately.

    What. The. Fuck.

    That debt issuance doesn’t comprise all of Detroit’s debt. But it’s a decent amount. If this is what the mayor, city council and pension recipients are up against, no wonder they’re losing.

    Don’t you trust the corporate credit raters more than government officials? The corporate credit raters can’t lock you up….

  127. 127
    Cassidy says:

    @Botsplainer: It’s a good foreign movie. I swear.

  128. 128
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Occupy Wall Street screwed itself when it stopped being about Wall Street and all about being obnoxious encampment. It became a joke – something that inevitably happens whenever progressive purists ever run anything. They’re the mirror image of teatards.

    Oh really? Perhaps you should enlighten me then on the number of “teatard” protests that were broken up with armed police, rubber bullets, and pepper spray. Perhaps you could refer me to the stories of “teatard” students that were lined up and pepper-sprayed in the face? Because I’m not recollecting any. None at all.

  129. 129
    Mandalay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m not under the illusion that we currently have 100% privacy on the internet, but I do think it’s possible to compel government officials to follow adequate due process standards before rifling through our personal info like emails, texts and closed chat transcripts.

    Exactly. If the NSA rifles through your email then they must disclose that fact to an independent third (government) party, and they must disclose why they did it. I can’t understand why the NSA supporters who trust our government so much could be opposed to this.

  130. 130
    Botsplainer says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Oh really? Perhaps you should enlighten me then on the number of “teatard” protests that were broken up with armed police, rubber bullets, and pepper spray. Perhaps you could refer me to the stories of “teatard” students that were lined up and pepper-sprayed in the face? Because I’m not recollecting any. None at all.

    Oh I grant you, it should have happened to some of the teatard protests, but didn’t, which made me sad. Still, in in the whole scheme of things, OWS=joke=teatards.

  131. 131
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Cassidy:

    Oh god! I’m watching a foreign movie on Netflix and I googled up some porn. What will that NSA analyst think of me.

    If you really think this is about porn, then the bureaucracy has already won. Go sit in your little cube and be happy with whatever rights the government continues to allow you to have.

  132. 132
    handsmile says:

    @geg6:

    Do you believe that the NSA surveillance material provided by Snowden and published in numerous articles since June by the Guardian, WaPo, NYT, and others is “meaningless bullshit”?

  133. 133
    Botsplainer says:

    @Mandalay:

    If the NSA rifles through your email then they must disclose that fact to an independent third (government) party, and they must disclose why they did it.

    Interesting. So in order to assuage your butthurt over the notion that your email exchange with your mother expressing disappointment with her about her drunken display at the church picnic might be visible to government, you’d give Jeff Skilling enough notice that someone is sniffing around his financial shenanigans for him to start stuffing suitcases with cash for a getaway.

  134. 134
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Botsplainer:

    I’m trying to figure out what power over me President Cruz or President Paul will have by having the ability to review my preserved Amazon wish list.

    Again, the controversy isn’t about publicly available info that is online; it’s about private communication like text messages, electronic files, emails and chat transcripts. But to pair that with one of your favorite themes when these discussions come up, what if President SantorCruzPaul directed his minions to suppress opponents in an upcoming election, and they found emails inviting people to an anti-Teaturd rally along with a stash of kinky porn on your computer? Which maybe they conveniently planted?

    You think the US government — any future US government — would never, ever use an opponent’s personal life to discredit him or her or flat out make shit up? It happens all the time, and not just to privileged libertarian white boys, who are among the least likely targets.

  135. 135
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Oh I grant you, it should have happened to some of the teatard protests, but didn’t, which made me sad. Still, in in the whole scheme of things, OWS=joke=teatards

    You can not mourn (or mourn) what happened with OWS as you see fit, as is your right. I mourn what happened to OWS because of the way it was portrayed in the press, the way the government used that to successfully motivated the people to, yet again, deride those who were working — silly or not — to improve their economic situation, and because of the dampening effect this will have on the next protest movement, should one occur.

  136. 136
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki:

    Speed the day. Speed the day.

  137. 137
    Cassidy says:

    @C.V. Danes: Oh you’re just so much smarter and enlightened than I. Tell me more about how I should be outraged over something that’s been going on for decades?

    ETA: It amazes and amuses me to no end how all you really, really smart people are so out raged over this, yet it’s been going for a long time. We are so lucky we have FB to let you “smart” people know when to be upset about something.

  138. 138
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @Belafon:

    Actually, that’s easy: Any stock swindle, criminal money laundering, or terror money laundering (both domestic and international) that occurs by people making more than $500K per year shall not be prosecuted.

    So, you’re in favor of the Status Quo, then?

  139. 139
    Botsplainer says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    You can not mourn (or mourn) what happened with OWS as you see fit, as is your right. I mourn what happened to OWS because of the way it was portrayed in the press, the way the government used that to successfully motivated the people to, yet again, deride those who were working — silly or not — to improve their economic situation, and because of the dampening effect this will have on the next protest movement, should one occur.

    They got too attached to the encampments, and that became the focus. There was nothing nimble about it. There was a genuine failure to bring home shame – the churches, country clubs, charity events and homes (or at least community gates) of the Masters of the Universe were ignored on the East Coast. On the West Coast, as expected, Oakland started doing stupid shit like trying to block out truck transit from port facilities, bringing them into conflict with labor.

    The same template occurs over and over – any focus on labor and the workplace tend to disappear, and the next thing you start hearing is about homeless folks and some irrelevance like Mumia.

  140. 140
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Botsplainer:

    … you’d give Jeff Skilling enough notice that someone is sniffing around his financial shenanigans for him to start stuffing suitcases with cash for a getaway.

    If the last few years have proven anything, its that the government is specifically not interested in Wall Street’s wont to stuff its collective suitcases with cash.

    No. What the government is interested in, though, is college students who may want to sit outside their Wall Street offices and call them out on it.

  141. 141
    Mandalay says:

    @Botsplainer:

    So in order to assuage your butthurt over the notion that your email exchange with your mother expressing disappointment with her about her drunken display at the church picnic might be visible to government, you’d give Jeff Skilling enough notice that someone is sniffing around his financial shenanigans for him to start stuffing suitcases with cash for a getaway.

    Why would holding the NSA accountable for its surveillance “give Jeff Skilling enough notice that someone is sniffing around his financial shenanigans”?

  142. 142
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Botsplainer:

    The same template occurs over and over – any focus on labor and the workplace tend to disappear, and the next thing you start hearing is about homeless folks and some irrelevance like Mumia.

    Indeed. I’m waiting to see how the current “revolt” of the food service workers is going to play out.

  143. 143
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Cervantes:

    I did read it, wrongly. :(

    Mea culpa.

    ETA: Why were young whites singled out? Obama lost ground between the elections in almost every demographic, and still fucking cleaned house.

  144. 144
    ericblair says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    what if President SantorCruzPaul directed his minions to suppress opponents in an upcoming election, and they found emails inviting people to an anti-Teaturd rally along with a stash of kinky porn on your computer? Which maybe they conveniently planted?

    You’re sort of assuming a situation here where a government is both lawless enough to mass imprison political opponents but unwilling to ignore domestic intelligence gathering regulations. I doubt they’d have any compunctions about buying off or smacking around some Verizon and AT&T execs to get the records they wanted, if the suits actually had any objections in the first place. Besides, in a SantorCruzPaul administration, we’ve lost anyways, and I doubt they’d be able to get their goons to the anti-Teaturd rally between the race wars and the food riots.

  145. 145
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Cassidy:

    Oh you’re just so much smarter and enlightened than I. Tell me more about how I should be outraged over something that’s been going on for decades?

    Well, contrary to popular opinion, people have been getting outraged over this stuff for many, many decades. One thing you learn by reading the old essays by people like George Orwell and Hannah Arendt is that perspective. And you learn just how proficient the government is in playing one group against another while our aristocracy and their government enablers laugh all the way to the bank.

  146. 146
    kc says:

    @Botsplainer: @Mandalay:

    bringing race into the debate is also a new diversionary tactic.]

    By a couple of the whitest white guys in here.

  147. 147
    Cervantes says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo):

    ETA: Why were young whites singled out?

    By gene108, you mean? I don’t know.

    Obama lost ground between the elections in almost every demographic, and still fucking cleaned house.

    Yes, but I was, indeed, saddened by how much ground we lost — and to Mitt Romney, of all people. Another imponderable for the ages, I suppose.

  148. 148
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    You are probably correct that we no longer have any electronic privacy with respect to the government. That ship has sailed, and it is never coming back.

    the truly amazing thing is the sheer number of people who are only now up in arms about the NSA hoovering up people’s internet habits who will gladly tell you that they have always felt the way you describe.

    people are more frustrated now than they used to be with regard to internet privacy and private information. that has less to do with the NSA, which, as most people will agree, isn’t likely doing anything different than they did years ago (only just more effectively due to increased computational power). likewise, it’s not like people have seen a direct impact from the NSA having a copy of their whatever. it’s actually private companies that have caused everyone to get pissed because people have typically directly seen the side effects of private companies lusting after their information.

    the fact that the NSA may have on a hard drive somewhere your last however many emails is one thing. opening up your computer’s calendar and finding out that, because you didn’t change some setting, your favorite social networking site took it over and filled it in with every stupid thing your friends have in theirs, or let all your friends know what music you’re listening to right now or what you’re doing today without you wanting them to, that pisses you off in a direct way. or that it uploaded and made public some private pictures you don’t want people to see because you missed one folder when you went through checking privacy settings or whatever else.

    people are getting frustrated at their lack of control online. for most people it seems the NSA continuing to do shit behind the curtain doesn’t really seem the source of their ire, but it makes a convenient bad guy to point at and say ‘see! look at this horseshit! we have no privacy’. this is why guys like FB, google etc are all doing the PR thing now distancing themselves. they see the way people are complaining and want to redirect people’s anger towards the NSA. it’s a win for them.

  149. 149
    Cassidy says:

    @C.V. Danes: Yes, yes, tell me more of your dimestore, FB musings.

  150. 150
    Bill Arnold says:

    @ericblair:

    …moles using WoW to communicate with their contacts to set up drops has actually happened

    OK, but it’s still amusing.
    (source for the above?)

  151. 151
    Betty Cracker says:

    @ericblair: You’re asking my dumb little analogy to carry a lot of freight: I’m just trying to demonstrate the potential for abuse to someone who seems determined to believe that the only reason people are outraged over possible NSA overreach is because they’re afraid someone will see their porn collection.

    Obviously a totalitarian government would vaporize any protections we might be able to enact. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t demand due process from a democratically elected government — effective oversight before private communications of any type are seized, stored or shared. This shouldn’t even be a controversial point, but here we are.

  152. 152
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: FACEBOOK OUTRAGE! RAWR! How’s the Kony thing going btw?

  153. 153
    JoyfulA says:

    @Bill Arnold: Spies in online gaming? Great! PA Gov. Corbett’s new money-raising idea is online gaming.

  154. 154
    ericblair says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Well, contrary to popular opinion, people have been getting outraged over this stuff for many, many decades. One thing you learn by reading the old essays by people like George Orwell and Hannah Arendt is that perspective.

    True, and if you read the second part of Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier, he criticized the soshulists for being out-of-touch ideologically obsessed cranks who didn’t and couldn’t relate to the average working stiff, and were their own worst enemies when it came to advancing the causes of soshulism. Occupy did get the “1%/99%” dichotomy into popular circulation, but got bogged down in organizational crackpottery, couldn’t keep out the loudmouth nuts, and ran out of steam.

  155. 155
    Cervantes says:

    @Cassidy: It must be quite difficult for you, so utterly convinced that this discussion has no merit, and having told us this so many, many times in just the last hour — and yet being completely ignored by us, your inferiors.

    Earlier (many, many futile comments of yours ago), you said we should “excuse [you] if [you’re] not to [sic] worked up” about the subject.[*] Well, here it is: you’re excused, so stop writing.

    The things you’re writing at the moment are no good for your soul. You will regret them. Just stop.

    [*] Although I have to add: if this is a subject you’re not too worked up about, I dread to think how you behave when there really is something you value at stake.

  156. 156
    Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Just for the record, Betty… IMO the political process is working exactly as designed here.

    The “A” in NSA stands for “Agency”. It’s just a bureaucracy that will perform as directed by the Executive, and as funded by the Congress. If folks want the NSA’s behavior to change, then they need to pressure the President and Congress to make it so, using the usual methods.

    Anything else is just cult-of-personality/sensationalistic BS fishing for page-clicks (ie not very useful).

  157. 157
    Cassidy says:

    @Cervantes: No. I enjoy making fun of you people. You’re silly and stupid full of yourself, too impressed with your own musings and I’ve got nothing better to do on a day off. I’m just glad we have FB around to let you guys know what to be upset about.

  158. 158
    Cervantes says:

    @Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau:

    Er … doesn’t it rather slosh around?

  159. 159
    C.V. Danes says:

    @ericblair:

    True, and if you read the second part of Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier, he criticized the soshulists for being out-of-touch ideologically obsessed cranks who didn’t and couldn’t relate to the average working stiff, and were their own worst enemies when it came to advancing the causes of soshulism. Occupy did get the “1%/99%” dichotomy into popular circulation, but got bogged down in organizational crackpottery, couldn’t keep out the loudmouth nuts, and ran out of steam.

    No argument from me there.

  160. 160
    ericblair says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t demand due process from a democratically elected government — effective oversight before private communications of any type are seized, stored or shared. This shouldn’t even be a controversial point, but here we are.

    I agree with you completely on this, and we should be making changes. But when the libertarians and anarchists come out of the woodwork in these discussions, we don’t talk about what changes we need and how we’d get these changes through Congress (or the next Congress); it turns into rants about how government (i.e. the US Federal government and local cops) is always The Problem and The Only Problem. Government can trample people’s freedom, but so can lack of government, and there’s a balance to be struck.

  161. 161
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Cassidy:

    Yes, yes, tell me more of your dimestore, FB musings.

    Here’s one for you: the reason nothing changes is because every generation thinks it is unique, and the lessons of the past have no relevance. What you learn is that the issues of every generation are fundamentally the same, and, hence, why the same old tricks work over and over.

  162. 162
    chopper says:

    @Cervantes:

    The things you’re writing at the moment are no good for your soul.

    oh FFS, that is just stupid.

  163. 163
    geg6 says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m not saying that the NSA shouldn’t have oversight. I just am not all that exercised over this the way others seem to be. Like I said, I’m much more concerned about the corporations that are happy to sell my personal information to the highest bidder.

  164. 164
    Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau says:

    @Cervantes:
    Of course. Not unlike your brain, actually.

    Try jerking your head around a little less. You’ll keep your wits about you longer.

  165. 165
    Cervantes says:

    @Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau: Gosh. I was just amused by the name. Sorry to have offended.

  166. 166
    Cervantes says:

    @Cassidy: You’re right, it is probably too late to worry about you.

    Please proceed.

  167. 167
    geg6 says:

    @handsmile:

    I don’t think it means all that much, truthfully. I have yet to see anything that came out that surprised me, that every other country in the world doesn’t do or anything that gave me a even a frisson of unease about my privacy. My biggest bitch about it is that it’s a waste of time, money and effort to gather so much information. Not even the most powerful computers can sift through that much information efficiently and precisely. Which is exactly why I don’t fear it and cannot fathom why others do.

  168. 168
    Cassidy says:

    @C.V. Danes: Oh wise sage of the Starbucks, do tell us more.

    @Cervantes: Yeah…

  169. 169
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cervantes: This topic seems to bring out the worst in people. I’m really not sure why. Oh well.

  170. 170
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper:

    the truly amazing thing is the sheer number of people who are only now up in arms about the NSA hoovering up people’s internet habits who will gladly tell you that they have always felt the way you describe.

    I think it’s completely understandable (rather than amazing) since:
    – As you point out, the quality and the quantity of the surveillance has “improved” (from the NSA’s perspective at least).
    – The hard information that Snowden revealed finally persuaded many fence sitters that government overreach really is out of hand. Plenty of know-it-alls here just “yawn” at the endless disclosures, claiming that they already knew, but they are full of shit. Some may have suspected what the government was up to for some disclosures, but Snowden put the matter beyond any doubt, and told us loads more that nobody, including the Intelligence Committees in Congress, knew anything about.

    people are getting frustrated at their lack of control online.

    Yes, but I think you are conflating two issues, since with private companies you at least have some degree of control. I have never been to Facebook, and would never knowingly choose to click one of their links. I use Amazon, but I believe that I understand what am getting myself into by doing that, etc. Surveillance by Facebook and surveillance by the NSA are qualitatively different.

    But the “lack of control” issue you raise is certainly legitimate and real. Facebook and Google are pretty damn ballsy to be sanctimoniously wagging their fingers at the government over lack of accountability and openness.

  171. 171
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: I wish we could post gifs, because I cannot adequately describe in text how much that made me laugh. That little purity-prog wankfest you two had was just as sad and pathetic as it sounds.

  172. 172
    Cervantes says:

    @Betty Cracker: This topic seems to bring out the worst in people. I’m really not sure why. Oh well.

    You’re right — but in some cases it might also be their best.

  173. 173
    Cassidy says:

    @Cervantes: Uh oh. I smell Rom Com! Two star crossed naive idealists, working their way through a world of facts, discovering things people already knew….

  174. 174
    Mandalay says:

    @geg6:

    Not even the most powerful computers can sift through that much information efficiently and precisely. Which is exactly why I don’t fear it and cannot fathom why others do.

    Your lack of fear is sorely misplaced. That very lack of precision is a legitimate concern. For example

    In a rare public apology, the FBI admitted imprisoning an American lawyer for two weeks after mistakenly linking his fingerprint to one found near the scene of a terrorist bombing in Spain…

    Court documents released Monday suggested that the mistaken arrest first sprang from an error by the FBI’s supercomputer for matching fingerprints and then was compounded by the FBI’s own analysts.

    Get back to us on this after you have spent two weeks in jail because a government computer was inefficient and imprecise.

  175. 175
    Cervantes says:

    @Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau:

    Try jerking your head around a little less. You’ll keep your wits about you longer.

    What, by the way, are you referring to? I haven’t the foggiest.

  176. 176
    Socoolsofresh says:

    FBI can turn on your laptop camera without you knowing:

    http://gizmodo.com/fbi-can-sec.....1478371370

    No big deal, right, my NSA nothingburgers? It’s amazing how the botsplainers, cassidys, etc. so fervently spout how its nothing to worry about with such passion. It’s almost like they had some stake in the whole game of keeping this as no big deal. Same stupid shitty arguments. I understand why people argue with them, otherwise these threads would just be filled with their ravings, but there is no point. It’s obvious they have chosen their side and have now become online soldiers to protect it. Hope you are getting paid per comment, obviously its working well for you.

  177. 177
    Cervantes says:

    @Mandalay:

    Snowden put the matter beyond any doubt, and told us loads more that nobody, including the Intelligence Committees in Congress, knew anything about.

    But that’s not good enough. He went and told us from Hong Kong and Moscow when he could have perfectly well done it from a cell in Gitmo.

    Or something.

  178. 178
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cassidy: Thanks, Exhibit A.

  179. 179
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    the quantity and quality of data has improved, but in an expected way.

    since with private companies you at least have some degree of control.

    when someone finds out their private pictures were accidentally posted for the world to see or that whatever site sold their personal information to a bunch of spammers and now they’re getting a thousand emails a day, ‘at least with this private company you have some degree of control’ is meaningless tripe.

    people don’t see the effects of the NSA hoovering up and storing somewhere a higher quality/quantity of data without them doing a thing. they do see the direct effects in their actual interactions with private companies, and come on, we’re people. we care most about issues when they directly affect us. that’s the shit that has most people on edge in the first place.

    lots and lots of people are pissed about privacy because they’re seeing it go down the tubes in real time on the screen of their computer or smartphone, not because of what the NSA is hoarding behind closed doors. what happens behind the NSA curtain matters but if it weren’t for the big internet companies treating people’s private information like a plaything and rubbing our noses in it, i think the NSA revelations would get much more of a shrug out of people.

  180. 180
    Steeplejack says:

    @Gene108:

    Two many links (four). The FYWP limit is three, including “reply to” links.

  181. 181
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: Your position deserves to be mocked. Grow up.

  182. 182
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Betty Cracker: Forget it Crack, it’s BalloonTown. We tried to tell you this back when you were convinced both sides.

  183. 183
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper:

    the quantity and quality of data has improved, but in an expected way.

    Really? See post #176 above. Did you expect that?

    when someone finds out their private pictures were accidentally posted for the world to see or that whatever site sold their personal information to a bunch of spammers and now they’re getting a thousand emails a day, ‘at least with this private company you have some degree of control’ is meaningless tripe.

    It’s not meaningless at all. If you get in bed with Facebook, fear the worst. To avoid the risk, never go to Facebook. How hard is that?

    lots and lots of people are pissed about privacy because they’re seeing it go down the tubes in real time on the screen of their computer or smartphone, not because of what the NSA is hoarding behind closed doors.

    You are correct of course, but that’s really no different to arguing that someone is more concerned about ants in the house than rats and cockroaches, but only because they can see the ants. The NSA are the rats and cockroaches that you don’t see,and they should concern you more than the ants. Why? Because the stakes are far higher. See posts #174 and #176 for examples, which are nothing to do with Facebook or Google, and everything to do with government overreach.

  184. 184
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    Really? See post #176 above. Did you expect that?

    that has nothing to do with the quantity or quality of the information the NSA is hoovering up.

    It’s not meaningless at all. If you get in bed with Facebook, fear the worst. To avoid the risk, never go to Facebook. How hard is that?

    i’m not on facebook yet that shit has happened to me. pictures less so (tho through others) but spam is ubiquitous. i’ve had people steal my information and try to wipe out my bank account. none of that has happened because the NSA is making copies of my emails.

    now, you could say the only real way to avoid that is to not use any online service at all. which is a lot to expect, innit?

    even those of us who aren’t on any social media sites have watched our private information get aggregated and used right to our faces, and often in negative ways.

  185. 185
    geg6 says:

    @Mandalay:

    Quiver in fear in your basement all you want. The chances of that happening to you or me or anyone else is vanishingly small and incidents like this happened long before there were computers or the internet. Your anecdotes are not and never will be data. Show me some data about mass false arrests or imprisonments based on evidence provided by the NSA. If it’s significantly more than this guy and that stupid Adam guy who is the current brogressive martyr of the moment, I’ll eat my woolen scarf with mayo on it. And that’s a bet I’m pretty sure I’m not going to lose since I’m allergic to wool and hate mayo.

  186. 186
    handsmile says:

    @geg6:

    Appreciate your reply. On the scale and severity of NSA surveillance as revealed by the articles based upon the Snowden files, we disagree.

    Even having read James Bamford’s works on the NSA, I have been surprised by what’s been published by the Guardian/WaPo et al thus far. Statements by Democratic senators such as Wyden, Udall, and Merkley, the first two of whom sit on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, suggest they too have been surprised, both by the published reports and information gleaned in congressional hearings (prompted by those reports).

    No other country in the world has an agency as vast, as technologically advanced, as historically classified and, evidently, as poorly overseen as the US’s National Security Agency. Nor does any other country have a comparable telecommunications industry or infrastructure.

    We do agree, however, “that it’s a waste of time, money and effort to gather so much information.” Of course, NSA budget figures are not publicly available. Moreover, both the manner and the fact of Edward Snowden’s NSA employment points to one small, but potentially grave, wholesale failure of management control.

    As for personal fear, any entity with prosecutorial and police authority merits my skepticism, scrutiny, and caution. I am far more concerned with my privacy as a right, rather than as a commodity. A corporation through its advertisements can (and daily does) annoy me: however, I can turn off/switch off/scroll past/delete. A government, through its law and security forces, can do far more and far worse if it chooses. For just one example, both of us are familiar with what COINTELPRO did, even to white people, even to white people obeying the law with supposedly nothing to fear.

  187. 187
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    that’s really no different to arguing that someone is more concerned about ants in the house than rats and cockroaches, but only because they can see the ants. The NSA are the rats and cockroaches that you don’t see,and they should concern you more than the ants.

    that makes no sense. i don’t want rats and cockroaches in my house because they spread disease and eat my food. that’s a direct effect that i will see and it sucks. opening up your pantry and finding rats ate your breakfast cereal and pooped nasty hantavirus shit all over it sucks.

    if some bug had a habit of walking under my front door in in the middle of the night, looking around and walking out, why would i give a shit as much as the other ones that eat my food and shit disease everywhere?

  188. 188
    Cassidy says:

    I just watched some porn that was so dirty, my NSA analyst called me up to tell me he was embarrassed.

  189. 189
    kc says:

    @geg6:

    The chances of my being stopped and frisked on account of my race are also “vanishingly small,” so by your logic I shouldn’t be concerned about it happening to anyone.

  190. 190
    Mnemosyne says:

    @handsmile:

    A corporation through its advertisements can (and daily does) annoy me: however, I can turn off/switch off/scroll past/delete. A government, through its law and security forces, can do far more and far worse if it chooses.

    You might want to read up on identity theft if you think the worst thing a private company can do to you is annoy you with online ads. Employers can check your credit report and decline to hire you, and the credit agency doesn’t have to remove anything.

    But I guess that if they can’t send you to jail, it’s perfectly all right for private companies to make you homeless and jobless because someone stole your identity.

    Oh, wait, a private company can send you to jail, as long as they do it in their private cell. I find that way more frightening that the idea that the NSA could potentially monitor my email if they get a warrant.

  191. 191
    Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau says:

    @Cervantes:
    Um, no. You were pulling a “public shaming” on me to try and undermine my point (which, or course, you didn’t address at all). High School was 25+ years ago for me, but I do still recognize the tactic.

    Betty and a few others here (perhaps even you) seem to have somehow gotten the idea in their heads that I am some kind of gubbmint spook or something, and therefore shouldn’t be trusted or taken seriously on the topic.

    Yes, kids, I’ve done some DoD work in the course of my career. So havent a fair number of other regular BJ commenters (including the substantial number of ex-servicepeople who post here). I also happen to be a private citizen, who has more than a few opinions on the topic (and, almost certainly, more technical knowledge than you).

    And while I’m (strangely) flattered on some level that you think I could possibly be that mysterious or important… it’s exactly the sort of shame-based, fact-free baboon-arsed bullshit I expect to see on RedState or Freepertown. Not here.

    Oh well, rant over.

  192. 192
    kc says:

    @Cassidy:

    You should be profoundly embarrassed.

  193. 193
    Mandalay says:

    @geg6: It’s worth noting that in this thread just about everyone asked to defend their pro-NSA views ends up responding with abuse.

  194. 194
    Mnemosyne says:

    @handsmile:

    Also, the Macy’s jail has been known about for a long time and is perfectly legal. And my main concern is supposed to be the NSA and not corporate overreach?

  195. 195
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mandalay:

    It’s worth noting that in this thread just about everyone asked to defend their pro-NSA views ends up responding with abuse.

    Probably because you keep lying about people’s views by claiming they’re “pro-NSA.” Can we start calling you “pro-identity theft”? It’s just as applicable.

  196. 196
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    dude, this is BJ. we yell at each other when we talk about cats.

  197. 197
    Cassidy says:

    @kc: For what? Pointing out how our front pagers have become an archive of FB fauxtrage?

    @Mandalay: It’s also worth noting that when some of us have defended our positions (not pro-NSA) it gets ignored or talked down to by our coffee house heroes, because PURITY over logic and fact.

  198. 198
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper: My apologies if the analogy failed. My point was that people only complain about what they see and know about. Users of Google, Facebook, et al are usually aware of (at least some) of the effects of using those services. Being spied on by the NSA? Not so much.

    Most people aren’t overly concerned about getting cancer until a routine test reveals it. Most people aren’t overly concerned about false arrest until it happens to them. Most people aren’t overly concerned about their car being stolen until it happens to them. And most people aren’t overly concerned about what the NSA is monitoring if they are not personally affected, and clearly you fall into that group. Well that’s fine I guess, but what I really don’t get about that group is the apparent hostility towards the notion that the NSA should be independently monitored.

  199. 199
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper: FWIW, my comments were not directed at you.

  200. 200
    Cervantes says:

    @Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau:

    Um, no. You were pulling a “public shaming” on me to try and undermine my point (which, or course, you didn’t address at all). High School was 25+ years ago for me, but I do still recognize the tactic.

    Actually, I was just amused by the name. Operative word: “was.”

    You carry an awful lot of baggage around. Maybe put some of it down?

  201. 201
    Cassidy says:

    @Mandalay:

    is the apparent hostility towards the notion that the NSA should be independently monitored.

    And again, this is where bullshit gets called. Show me one single instance where any of us have said that the NSA, or any intelligence, military, or law enforcement body and or agency shouldn’t be subject to some sort or oversight. I’ll be patient. Go ahead.

    We just refuse to believe this is the most pressing issue of our lives. there are so many other problems in this country, yet somehow the entitled suburban class has hijacked the stage because they’re worried about their privacy….privacy they freely gave away to an infinite number of corporations with the cash to buy said information all in the name of free shipping and rewards cards. Fuck that noise.

  202. 202
    Mandalay says:

    @Cassidy:

    It’s also worth noting that when some of us have defended our positions (not pro-NSA) it gets ignored or talked down to by our coffee house heroes, because PURITY over logic and fact.

    My term “pro-NSA” was clumsy and inaccurate – point taken.

    And you make a fair point about the tone. A lot of us here would make more worthwhile comments by easing up on perpetual condescension and sarcasm.

  203. 203
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau:

    Betty and a few others here (perhaps even you) seem to have somehow gotten the idea in their heads that I am some kind of gubbmint spook or something, and therefore shouldn’t be trusted or taken seriously on the topic.

    When did I ever say anything to or about you that could be remotely interpreted that way? I’m honestly puzzled, because while we may not always agree 100% on NSA issues, I’ve actually appreciated some of the information you provided that shed light, for me, at least, on technical issues associated with the NSA revelations.

    I was under the impression that you were familiar with data and infrastructure issues to a much greater degree than I am (not a high bar to clear), but I don’t recall ever concluding that you’re a “spook” or troll or saying anything to that effect. If I did, I apologize, but I think you’re mistaken.

  204. 204
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    who are they directed at? who exactly is “hostil[e] towards the notion that the NSA should be independently monitored”?

    seems to me that most everyone wouldn’t mind some tighter controls and/or transparency when it comes to the agency. don’t confuse people’s lack of worrying about an issue to your own personal degree with outright hostility towards an even mediocre solution.

  205. 205
    Mandalay says:

    @Cassidy:

    And again, this is where bullshit gets called. Show me one single instance where any of us have said that the NSA, or any intelligence, military, or law enforcement body and or agency shouldn’t be subject to some sort or oversight

    How about you show me a single quote where anyone supporting the current situation has advocated that the NSA should be monitored?

    There is a “third way”, with government surveillance, as outlined on the web site linked in the OP. In short, if the government is perpetually monitoring us then they need to be up front about it, and they need to be held accountable. The watchers need to be watched.

  206. 206
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Mandalay: You’re a class act.

  207. 207
    Cervantes says:

    @Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau:

    Betty and a few others here (perhaps even you) seem to have somehow gotten the idea in their heads that I am some kind of gubbmint spook or something, and therefore shouldn’t be trusted or taken seriously on the topic.

    First time I’m seeing your name. I found it amusing, remember?

    Yes, kids, I’ve done some DoD work in the course of my career. So havent a fair number of other regular BJ commenters (including the substantial number of ex-servicepeople who post here). I also happen to be a private citizen, who has more than a few opinions on the topic (and, almost certainly, more technical knowledge than you).

    [No comment. And I mention this because the last time (above) I did not comment on your ideas, you hit the roof.]

    And while I’m (strangely) flattered on some level that you think I could possibly be that mysterious or important… it’s exactly the sort of shame-based, fact-free baboon-arsed bullshit I expect to see on RedState or Freepertown. Not here.

    Never said I thought you were important — just that I found the name (and image) amusing.

    Oh well, rant over.

    Phew!

  208. 208
    Cassidy says:

    @Mandalay: Hell, I’ve said it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with oversight of our intelligence and security apparatus. I’m all for it. Again, I also don’t think they’re the boogeyman. TBH, they’re about the most milquetoast agency out there.

  209. 209
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    My point was that people only complain about what they see and know about.

    …which is exactly my point. people started getting pissed about internet privacy ultimately because of what happens to them when they interact with private concerns. because that’s what they see and deal with every day. not the fact that the NSA has copies of their emails somewhere on a server farm in utah.

    the NSA revelations struck a nerve because people were already worried about internet privacy based on those real life experiences. if i were a big online companies i’d be using this to my advantage, trying to shift everyone’s ire toward the NSA so it could keep doing what it’s always been doing.

  210. 210
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    How about you show me a single quote where anyone supporting the current situation has advocated that the NSA should be monitored?

    so that’s supposed to prove that we don’t want oversight? are you shitting me?

    i haven’t disavowed nun-beating yet today, you must think me a monster.

  211. 211
    Socoolsofresh says:

    The FBI (and I imagine, by extension, the NSA) can spy on you through your laptop camera, literally a move taken straight out of 1984. But hey, this is only a white suburban dudebro problem! Only white guys care about being monitored through their laptops! Not parents with children, not minorites, only white bros. I learn so much accurate information here.

  212. 212
    different-church-lady says:

    @Botsplainer:

    It pleases me to make the perpetually outraged even more outraged.

    It’s your life — waste it the way you want.

  213. 213
    different-church-lady says:

    @Socoolsofresh: So easy even school systems can do it.

  214. 214
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper:

    so that’s supposed to prove that we don’t want oversight?

    No, it doesn’t prove anything. But when the thread is about the accountability of government surveillance it’s worth noting that nobody defending the NSA even acknowledged any possible need to monitor it, until you finally did a few posts ago.

  215. 215
    Cassidy says:

    @Mandalay: You mean today right? Because it’s been said many, many times on other threads. Do we need to disavow the beating of puppies in our first comment on every thread?

  216. 216
    Cassidy says:

    @Mandalay: You mean today right? Because it’s been said many, many times on other threads. Do we need to disavow the beating of puppies in our first comment on every thread?

  217. 217
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper:

    if i were a big online companies i’d be using this to my advantage, trying to shift everyone’s ire toward the NSA so it could keep doing what it’s always been doing.

    Yep, and I think that is what the web site linked to in the OP is all about.

    Google, Facebook, Yahoo et al don’t want folks to remember how they obeyed orders from the Chinese government so they could continue to rake in the yuan, or how they bent over and grabbed their ankles when the NSA came knocking, or how they somehow forgot to tell their users when they sold their data to every man and his dog.

  218. 218
    Woodrow/asim Jarvis Hill says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Stock moves occasionally happen for reasons of weakness, but they most often move from manipulation of news cycles.

    And uncertainly includes “manipulation of news cycles”, which is a lot of what’s going on with these issues.

    I’m not making a judgement call on what is uncertain that stockholders see;stocks can and do follow a herd mentality that can be seen as irrational.

  219. 219
    Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    When did I ever say anything to or about you that could be remotely interpreted that way?

    I interpreted this post as a sarcastic calling-out. (Ironically enough, I was at 35,000 feet coming home from a work trip for much of that particular day so I couldn’t comment on the thread).

    I apologize, but I think you’re mistaken.

    Apology accepted.

    Please accept mine for jumping to conclusions.

  220. 220
    Mandalay says:

    @Cassidy: Well you’d think that in a thread dedicated to the lack of oversight and accountability of government surveillance, those in favor of doing something about it would say so rather than talk about the weather.

  221. 221
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    you’re miring yourself in black-and-white thinking.

    your refusal to disavow nun-beating hasn’t gone unnoticed, tho.

  222. 222
    handsmile says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    As mrs.handsmile was a victim of identity theft, I am reasonably well-informed about its adverse consequences. The annoying advertisements I mentioned were but one example, not all possible examples, of “corporate overreach” and one chosen because that practice was referred to by other thread commenters.

    I also have some knowledge about employers abusing (to my mind) the credit histories of job applicants. But could you please identify in my comments an affirming opinion that would lead you to write:.”..if they can’t [or can] send you to jail, it’s perfectly all right for private companies to make you homeless and jobless because someone stole your identity.”

    I make no claim as to what should be your “main concern.” NSA abuses are not mine. But I do not consider trivial or customary what has been revealed in recent months about the scope of its activities and the shoddiness/opacity of Congressional and legal oversight of the agency.

  223. 223
    Cassidy says:

    @Mandalay:

    Well you’d think that in the eleventy billionth firebagger emoprog thread dedicated to the lack of oversight and accountability of government surveillance, those in favor of doing something about it would say so rather than talk about the weather.

    FTFY. I would think you’d pay more attention. Personally, I’m not going to go through the litany of purity every time we have one of these threads. If you all think the NSA is so damn evil, it’s on you to show why. Pants pssing fear of the gov’t of what they may do in the future is not good enough. Cthulu may rise from the ocean in the future and destroy all life. That’s not a good enough reason to start robbing banks.

  224. 224
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    this thread is also about private companies and what they do with people’s information. i’ve noticed you haven’t said much about tighter controls in how they handle private data. i guess i should assume that you think they should be able to do whatever they want with it?

  225. 225
    Socoolsofresh says:

    @different-church-lady: So, if it’s easy, I guess it’s all good then! Monitor away FBI, since schools can do it too!

  226. 226
    Betty Cracker says:

    @chopper: Sometimes it goes more like this:

    Person A: Nun beating might be a problem.

    Person B: Only liberturdian, Facebook-obsessed dudebros who are indifferent to the fate of people of color would worry about such a dumb nothingburger like beating up stupid old suburban white nuns, which has been happening for decades.

    Person A: But you guys who don’t think nun beating is a problem…

    Person B: WTF?!?!?!? How dare you imply I’m against the restriction of nun beating? Do I have to say it every goddamn time before I imply you’re only bringing it up due to white privilege? No fair!

  227. 227
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper:

    your refusal to disavow nun-beating hasn’t gone unnoticed, tho.

    I am torn on the issue so I avoid it.

  228. 228
    chopper says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    yeah, that’s exactly what it’s like.

  229. 229
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: If it makes you feel better, I’m against nun-beating. Otoh, your FB fauxtrage is still amusing. I know! on your next really witty post, you can use a pic of some sort of meme and a witty quote about the NSA.

  230. 230
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: If it makes you feel better, I’m against nun-beating. Otoh, your FB fauxtrage is still amusing. I know! on your next really witty post, you can use a pic of some sort of meme and a witty quote about the NSA.

  231. 231
    Mandalay says:

    @Cassidy:

    If you all think the NSA is so damn evil, it’s on you to show why.

    It’s not that I think they are evil. It’s that I think that they should be held fully accountable for all surveillance that they do. Just like FEMA, and the Arkansas Board of Nursing, and the LAPD, and the FCC are held accountable for what they do. There is no public organization in this country that should be exempt from scrutiny and accountability, and that includes the NSA.

    It’s on you to show why that is a bad idea.

  232. 232
    Cassidy says:

    @Mandalay: Never said it was a bad idea.

  233. 233
    different-church-lady says:

    @Socoolsofresh: YOU NEVER SAID YOU WERE AGAINST SCHOOL BOARD SPYING SO I THOUGHT YOU WERE IN FAVOR OF IT!

  234. 234
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper:

    this thread is also about private companies and what they do with people’s information.

    But it isn’t. Read the OP and the linked web site.

    i’ve noticed you haven’t said much about tighter controls in how they handle private data. i guess i should assume that you think they should be able to do whatever they want with it?

    I don’t really have strong views on what Facebook et al get up to as long as it’s legal, and they are completely open, transparent and up front about it. To be clear, that is not the same as saying that “they should be able to do whatever they want with it”. And also to be clear, they have definitely not always been “open, transparent and up front” in the past.

    But unlike the NSA, I can mostly control the nature and extent of my interactions with those private organizations on the linked web site. I don’t knowingly have any dealings with any of them except Microsoft and Google.

  235. 235
    Yatsuno says:

    @Betty Cracker: I kan haz TBogg Unit?

  236. 236
    Mnemosyne says:

    @handsmile:

    But could you please identify in my comments an affirming opinion that would lead you to write:.”..if they can’t [or can] send you to jail, it’s perfectly all right for private companies to make you homeless and jobless because someone stole your identity.”

    I felt you were downplaying the very real consequences of corporations screwing around with people’s lives when you wrote this:

    As for personal fear, any entity with prosecutorial and police authority merits my skepticism, scrutiny, and caution. I am far more concerned with my privacy as a right, rather than as a commodity. A corporation through its advertisements can (and daily does) annoy me: however, I can turn off/switch off/scroll past/delete. A government, through its law and security forces, can do far more and far worse if it chooses. For just one example, both of us are familiar with what COINTELPRO did, even to white people, even to white people obeying the law with supposedly nothing to fear.

    You seem to feel that an entity that doesn’t have its own official police authority is not as dangerous since a corporation can “only” annoy you. I pointed out that corporations can do all kinds of stuff to ruin your life without having official police powers. In fact, one of the problems here is that corporations are allowed to gather huge amounts of information about individuals with very few barriers on what they’re allowed to do with that information, including selling it to the government. By concentrating solely on what the government is gathering, you’re leaving yourself wide open to Google selling you out, but no one seems too concerned about that.

  237. 237
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    But it isn’t. Read the OP and the linked web site.

    and read at least half of this thread. the thread is more than the OP.

    I don’t really have strong views on what Facebook et al get up to as long as it’s legal, and they are completely open, transparent and up front about it.

    so, ‘let the free market decide’, is that about it?

  238. 238
    Cassidy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    By concentrating solely on what the government is gathering, you’re leaving yourself wide open to Google selling you out, but no one seems too concerned about that.

    Yeah, but then they can’t bolster their cool kid cred if they don’t somehow talk about the man holding them down and that pesky POTUS who just won’t recognize their superior progressive purity. If only they knew that the man who is holding them down is the one who sells them cheap shit with free shipping over $50.

  239. 239
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cassidy: Rest assured that your thinking on any conceivable topic plays no role whatsoever in my emotional landscape. But I’m sure nuns everywhere are heaving a sigh of relief.

  240. 240
    Cassidy says:

    @Betty Cracker: FB FAUXTRAGERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!

  241. 241
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    so, ‘let the free market decide’, is that about it?

    And, frankly, that’s what always ends up pushing my buttons on these NSA threads, that quasi-libertarian notion that the government is the only large, powerful entity that needs to be reined in or kept under control.

    Again, the NSA wouldn’t be able to access all of this information if private companies weren’t gathering it in the first place. If you want to choke off what the NSA has access to, don’t let private companies store this information.

  242. 242
    Cassidy says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh no. They are as good and pure as new fallen snow. It’s only the government that is bad.

  243. 243
    Cervantes says:

    @Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau:

    Since you seem to want an explicit response to the following:

    Just for the record, Betty… IMO the political process is working exactly as designed here. The “A” in NSA stands for “Agency”. It’s just a bureaucracy that will perform as directed by the Executive, and as funded by the Congress.

    It’s naïve to think that this or that agency never exceeds its mandate. But that’s probably not what you meant to suggest here, is it?

    If folks want the NSA’s behavior to change, then they need to pressure the President and Congress to make it so, using the usual methods.

    Well, yes, of course — but first it’s useful to know as much as possible about the behavior (thanks, Snowden and others); and about any proposals meant to address the issue generally (thanks, dpm, for the above post).

    Anything else is just cult-of-personality/sensationalistic BS fishing for page-clicks (ie not very useful).

    Maybe, but see above.

    There — now I’ve addressed your point. (Not much in it to undermine, frankly.)

  244. 244
    Yatsuno says:

    Almost halfway there. Yay!

  245. 245
    Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau says:

    @Cervantes:

    It’s naïve to think that this or that agency never exceeds its mandate. But that’s probably not what you meant to suggest here, is it?

    These are career bureaucrats. IMO, they most certainly would respect any changes to their mandate, especially if reasonable oversight were put in place. People get fired and lose their perks and pensions over such things.

    What I “suggest” is that certain agencies have been acting under vague (and fairly unrestrained) mandates since at least 2002. Give a bureaucracy full of technocrats a vague directive to “FIND TERRA! WHEREVER YOU CAN FIND IT!”, a huge pot of money to do so, and no real direction (or restraint) on how to respect due process… and you shouldn’t be surprised at the results we’ve seen.

    We’re basically trying to figure out how to plug a hole that was opened up by the Bush administration. There was never any real need for the conversation to get so hysterical and polarized among those of us who identify as being Left or Center-Left.

    ETA: For the record, I DO still support much of what they’ve been doing, in principle. I’d just like to see their mandate become much more specific/focused as to what can and cannot be collected (esp. with regards to US citizens), and to see some explicit restraints and limits be defined.

  246. 246
    Mandalay says:

    @Cassidy:

    They are as good and pure as new fallen snow. It’s only the government that is bad.

    Your faux outrage reminds me of the FoxNews poutrage about the alleged secular leftist liberal war on Christmas: just fabricate an absurd strawman, then run with it.

  247. 247
    Mandalay says:

    @Yatsuno:

    Almost halfway there. Yay!

    We’re working on it, but like choppin’ brush at the ranch, it’s hard work.

  248. 248
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper:

    so, ‘let the free market decide’, is that about it?

    I just reread what I wrote. It is crystal clear, and it didn’t say remotely ‘let the free market decide’.

    I see a gullible minnow took your bait though. :)

  249. 249
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    you think if they operate within the law and are open about it, rock on. people will vote with their wallets, or their keyboards.

    aka ‘let the market decide’.

    some of us think the current legal framework re: internet privacy isn’t so hot when it comes to either the NSA or the private sector.

  250. 250
    chopper says:

    TBogg/2

  251. 251
    different-church-lady says:

    @chopper: Or, 5 dTB

  252. 252
    Cervantes says:

    @chopper:

    I don’t really have strong views on what Facebook et al get up to as long as it’s legal, and they are completely open, transparent and up front about it.

    so, ‘let the free market decide’, is that about it?

    See that word “legal” there? Defining it is the crux of the matter.

    Your paraphrase is, well, let’s just say it leaves something to be desired.

  253. 253
    Yatsuno says:

    @Mandalay: This is where I miss recent comments. When people saw they were getting reactions, responses flowed like water from a spring. I wish the engine behind them wasn’t so damn destructive to FYWP.

  254. 254
    Cassidy says:

    @Mandalay: Self awareness you does not have. Interesting analogy that you try to make considering your ideological bedfellows in the FOX crowd and glibertarians. Keep wishing though.

  255. 255
    kc says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And, frankly, that’s what always ends up pushing my buttons on these NSA threads, that quasi-libertarian notion that the government is the only large, powerful entity that needs to be reined in or kept under control.

    Fortunately, no one on this thread has expressed such a notion, so your buttons should remain unpushed.

  256. 256
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper:

    some of us think the current legal framework re: internet privacy isn’t so hot when it comes to either the NSA or the private sector.

    What deficiencies/holes in the existing law do you see as needing to be addressed for the private sector? And are you alleging that private organizations are breaking existing laws?

    To be clear:
    – I believe that the NSA is breaking existing laws, and that new laws need to be created to address their current and future behavior.
    – I am not aware that the private sector has broken existing existing laws (except possibly when colluding with the NSA), and I am not aware of the need for any new laws to address the private sector (except when colluding with the government).

    So what’s your beef?

  257. 257
    Mandalay says:

    @kc:

    Fortunately, no one on this thread has expressed such a notion, so your buttons should remain unpushed.

    Exactly. But some folks here are completely lost without a strawman to cuddle.

  258. 258
    Cervantes says:

    @Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau:

    These are career bureaucrats. IMO, they most certainly would respect any changes to their mandate, especially if reasonable oversight were put in place. People get fired and lose their perks and pensions over such things.

    Many of them are contractors, not career bureaucrats.

    As for the latter, I don’t see them as infallible or invulnerable to pressure — and I know you don’t, either — hence the need to re-think goals and mandates, and to insist upon better oversight.

    What I “suggest” is that certain agencies have been acting under vague (and fairly unrestrained) mandates since at least 2002. Give a bureaucracy full of technocrats a vague directive to “FIND TERRA! WHEREVER YOU CAN FIND IT!”, a huge pot of money to do so, and no real direction (or restraint) on how to respect due process… and you shouldn’t be surprised at the results we’ve seen. We’re basically trying to figure out how to plug a hole that was opened up by the Bush administration.

    The Bush (43) Administration made things a lot worse — but the repeated violation of these agencies’ mandates is an old problem, going back to their inception. We occasionally try to reform things to hold them back, but they work around the reforms very quickly (especially when people like Dick Cheney are in charge).

    There was never any real need for the conversation to get so hysterical and polarized among those of us who identify as being Left or Center-Left.

    That’s passing hilarious coming from someone who “rants” (your word) stupidly about “shame-based, fact-free baboon-arsed bullshit [you] expect to see on RedState or Freepertown” in response to a jocular question about his or her chosen name!

    I guess I must have caught you on a bad day.

    Also I never choose to use the word “hysterical,” ever.

    Other than that, though, we’re fine.

  259. 259
    Yatsuno says:

    @Mandalay: STRAWMANZ IZ CUDDLY!!!

  260. 260
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    i never said private concerns were violating the law. that’s why i think there need to be tighter controls. i thought i was pretty clear there.

  261. 261
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    no offense, but what with your horseshit about others being ‘hostile toward the idea of the NSA being monitored’, you have no place to talk.

  262. 262
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Yatsuno: And not cold like a snowman. I have my doubts about reaching a TBogg on this thread.

    The government can imprison you; a private corporation can leave you living under an overpass roasting sparrows on a curtain rod, but at least you have FREEDOM.

  263. 263
    Mnemosyne says:

    @kc:

    Fortunately, no one on this thread has expressed such a notion, so your buttons should remain unpushed.

    No? Mandalay is saying that s/he thinks that our current laws are just fine when it comes to private companies gathering information and don’t need to be changed at all. Do you agree that corporations are not violating anyone’s privacy and have no need to change?

  264. 264
  265. 265
    Cervantes says:

    @Jockey Full of Beaujolais Noveau:

    @Betty Cracker:

    When did I ever say anything to or about you that could be remotely interpreted that way?

    I interpreted this post as a sarcastic calling-out.

    Wait.

    The post in which she judiciously says “While we technologically inept folks await a verdict on whether this latest ‘bombshell’ is a nothingburger or somethingsalad,” and then hopefully forwards “some questions that could lead to a rational discussion,” and then begged (again) for “[y]our insights” regarding “proposed legislation that was once entertained in the US Congress”?

    That is the post you took to be sarcastic and offensively so?

    That’s just … remarkable.

  266. 266
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cervantes: That was one of the only threads about the NSA on this blog that didn’t degenerate almost immediately into name calling and poo flinging.

  267. 267
    different-church-lady says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    I have my doubts about reaching a TBogg on this thread.

    In general, 6 dTBu = 1 BJu

  268. 268
    Cassidy says:

    Wow. So I just got done watching midget, gangbang bukakke porn with a little catch rasslin’ thrown in. My NSA analyst called to say he was tapping out for the night.

  269. 269
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper:

    i never said private concerns were violating the law. that’s why i think there need to be tighter controls. i thought i was pretty clear there.

    And I never said you did. Again, since you think “there need to be tighter controls” for the private sector, what would those “controls” be, and why are they necessary?

    What exactly do you want to change?

  270. 270
    Cervantes says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s my recollection also.

  271. 271
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    personally i think private companies should be barred from sharing any personal or personally identifying information with any third party without explicit consent. and i don’t mean the small print on page 45 of a click-through EULA. i mean ‘with our free app you get free prints of any of the pictures on your phone! in exchange, you will let us sell any of the pictures on your phone so that great picture of your baby will be probably be used in an ad for the RNC’.

    also i believe there should be strong requirements for data security and stiff fines for violations. no more of this ‘somebody done stoled our database full of credit card numbers! hoocoodanode!’

    that’s a start. i’ll come up with more, if you want, when i actually have some time.

  272. 272
    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    And I never said you did.

    you asked me if i was alleging that private companies were breaking the law. i said no, i’ve never said that. i’m not accusing you of anything, i was answering your goddamn question.

  273. 273
    Mandalay says:

    @chopper: But there’s already a solution if that stuff bothers you so much: don’t do business with these outfits.

    I’m with you all the way on the principle that you should have to willfully opt in to on-line agreements, rather than implicitly agreeing, or inadvertently agreeing when you clicked some button without reading the text closely. And it would be nice to see more jail time rather than fines for on-line fraud and recklessness. But unfortunately I don’t see Congress putting the changes you outlined into law anytime soon. The last thing our government wants to do right now is further antagonize Google & co.

    And Microsoft and Google are both pretty explicit about what they do and do not do with your data, which is why I can’t get too upset with them (as opposed to the NSA). I can’t speak for any of their peers – Yahoo, FB, etc. I avoid all of them like the plague.

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    chopper says:

    @Mandalay:

    But there’s already a solution if that stuff bothers you so much: don’t do business with these outfits.

    yes yes, ‘let the market decide’. i personally think that i should be able to make a purchase online without having to worry that much about my identity being stolen or all my info sold to some shmuck.

    but i guess that’s the price of being able to use the internet.

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