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Thread: Whistleblower on NSA Surveillance

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    Default Whistleblower on NSA Surveillance

    Wow! So Edward Snowden, a system administrator has basically sacrificed himself by exposing the NSA's intent to monitor the internet and phone calls with growing intensity.

    The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

    The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong," he said.

    Snowden will go down in history as one of America's most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world's most secretive organisations – the NSA.

    In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," but "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."

    Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. "I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."

    He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me."

    Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. "I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in." He added: "My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."

    He has had "a very comfortable life" that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. "I'm willing to sacrifice all of that because I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."
    More here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...r-surveillance



    I admire this man's bravery for sacrificing himself for the greater good and I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this situation and issue.
    Last edited by Raver; 06-11-2013 at 02:27 AM.
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    Good for him, but to bad his life from now untill he dies is ruined.

    How many people has the FBI, CIA and the american governement assasinated both publically and privatley? They will never let him go freely without consequences. Revealling to the world the PRISM program is suicide, imo.

    These people have no mercy.
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    Watched some programmes talking about growing surveillence in America, and how American mindset is to not believe it can happen in America and therefore turn a blind eye to it.

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    "neighbors say he didn’t stop to chat much"

    I don't chat with neighbors much either. Perhaps his neighbors were annoying pro-state tax rapist morons, like mine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Majority finds them acceptable?!

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    - Someone-every-American-should-know
    “I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life. - Osama bin Laden

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    What with all the media assassinations of him, it's hard to say, but it's possible he's a CIA diversion, and whoever's in charge has just planted him as a misdirection.

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    Given the fact the guy fled to Hong Kong, I don't see him as a whistleblower so much as I see him an opportunist. Speaking of "sacrifices" - $200k/yr aint shit in Hawaii and my guess is he's been stepped over a few too many times for promotion.

    The kinds of information this guy has could easily be in the 10's of millions to a foreign government, especially China. The fact he's sitting in Hong Kong seems more to me like a temporary holding area while the final deal + arrangements are being made for his new Chinese citizenship.

    Also, what information did he truly leak? That the NSA can see anything it wants? Everyone paying attention has known this for 10-15 years...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finale View Post
    Given the fact the guy fled to Hong Kong, I don't see him as a whistleblower so much as I see him an opportunist. Speaking of "sacrifices" - $200k/yr aint shit in Hawaii and my guess is he's been stepped over a few too many times for promotion.

    The kinds of information this guy has could easily be in the 10's of millions to a foreign government, especially China. The fact he's sitting in Hong Kong seems more to me like a temporary holding area while the final deal + arrangements are being made for his new Chinese citizenship.

    Also, what information did he truly leak? That the NSA can see anything it wants? Everyone paying attention has known this for 10-15 years...
    I was at a conference in 2011 and half the people there was recruiting for this either in the private sector or defense. Companies are worried about industrial espionage and governments are worried about terrorists. Corps are just doing the same thing with your phone/internet traffic at work and as a user and analyzing in a similar way as the government.

    If you use Gmail, they're actually reading your emails right now, although it's anonomized for your privacy. Big data is here to stay but there is definitely a lot of room for discussion about the limits of what big data can analyze, I think the rules should apply to public and private organizations because the private organizations are literally doing it all, your email, your voicemail, anything you do on their network is game for them to analyze. There is also basically no limits in the corp world due to "consensual" contracts almost all employees have to sign. I sign 4 of them every year. A lot of the EULA's users sign for their facebook/google/etc contain this sort of data mining permission.

    I seriously doubt people will end big data collection and analysis, because in the past it was very different. You had Edgar Hoover's FBI records, and various other means to collect smaller amounts of data, far more invasive individually and mostly unwarranted. Also there has been warrantless detaining of civilians without being charged for terrorism since 9/11 and Guantanamo. This sort of old fashioned investigative technique is very expensive and invasive to a few people and often kinda of useless. Network analysis/social network analysis and various other techniques allows for surveillance without tipping off the suspects and to examine their network of operatives without interrogation or making a FBI file, also a lot of times with burner phones wiretaps are pointless as the phone is disposed quickly. But having that phone number allows for the network analysis.

    I doubt the techniques and methods are going away, and if you've kept a eye on this sector or the methods being created the momentum is virtually unstoppable, but this also means the need for limits need to be discussed and implemented. I seriously doubt congress or any sort of governmental organization will put a stop to this program, but setting up some limits, they might consider that.

    Going to Hong Kong means that this guy either seriously misunderstood how much the Chinese care about what this guy knows or he's a fool. He'll get caught and tossed to the wolves. I think this guy seriously miscalculated his value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquagraph View Post
    Majority finds them acceptable?!

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    - Someone-every-American-should-know
    This is a country that allowed J Edgar Hoover to spy on just about anyone he wanted and Japanese internment camps(American citizens). This is also a country that did Iran Contra, and helped overturned the government in Brazil, Iran and Chile. This is sort of a no brainer that most people would support this sort of thing, people tend to support stuff that make them feel safer, although the shift in thinking just shows how much safer people think when their preferred administration is in charge.

    I doubt popular support will ever turn against this sort of program, most people very willingly let corporations and employers take this kind of data from their online and work activities. I figure most of the population don't think about it and a lot of the outrage is media driven. I think ultimately this sort of surveillance can turn really bad but given the elected officials, the people actually not caring very much about it, it's unlikely this is going to be repealed.

    If a Republican take over again, the acceptable number on the Republican side is going to go up again and the Democrats will go down. Politics! Yo!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finale View Post
    Also, what information did he truly leak? That the NSA can see anything it wants? Everyone paying attention has known this for 10-15 years...
    Good point. But there is a difference of the janitor being able to peak in the women's locker room and the janitor actually doing so.. ..million times a day. I have a firm belief that every form of power over other people will be abused in time, but many obedient (yet unpatriotic) citizens don't share my view. Yet.
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    Treason is treason. There's got to be a tree in Hong Kong, amirite??????

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquagraph View Post
    Good point. But there is a difference of the janitor being able to peak in the women's locker room and the janitor actually doing so.. ..million times a day. I have a firm belief that every form of power over other people will be abused in time, but many obedient (yet unpatriotic) citizens don't share my view. Yet.
    No individual or set of individuals will be looking at a million locker rooms(unless it's a million janitors, which is entirely possible). This sort of network analysis, social network analysis being done will likely be over a highly normalized data set of relatively impersonal info. It will produce a list. The NSA can certainly abuse this by selectively pulling more complete records for some individuals out of political or personal motive, but that would still be the janitor peeking into the women's locker room and not happening millions of times a day. There isn't a janitor who can physically look into millions of locker rooms, the janitor gets a list of people who have entered that locker room at weird times/patterns and they go from that list. Ultimately the lists created by the mechanism have to be human actionable and it has to be small enough to be physically actionable on. Physical action is always expensive.

    The thing about big data is that the data is generally so voluminous that it's impossible for any single individual to parse it. We're talking billions if not trillions of records, but this is very useful for creating a digital signature for terrorists and really anything you want to be looking for. What the big data people at the NSA is doing is creating infometrics or fingerprints for national security threats and trying to pare down the list of individuals they conduct actual surveillance on. They create these infometrics with info and pattern analysis of terrorists they have captured and have pre-existing info on.

    Chances are, no human being will ever see your call record, but unfortunately there will be individuals conducting normal every day things that will fall into a group with terrorists, and can be targeted out of racial, political and various other traits for actual invasion of privacy such as physical surveillance and other more intrusive measures.

    The question is whether or not the lists these systems generate are being used in a appropriate manner and how and what data is allowed for analysis.

    I see big data as a tool and ultimately one that is evolving and unregulated in how it's used, I think the debates on how big data is used is just beginning but the fundamental question of whether or not to use it is kinda of complete. The cat is out of the bag and not much is going to put it back in.

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    For moment there I thought crazedrat started this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hkkmr View Post
    Going to Hong Kong means that this guy either seriously misunderstood how much the Chinese care about what this guy knows or he's a fool. He'll get caught and tossed to the wolves. I think this guy seriously miscalculated his value.
    I wouldn't bet on that.

    It's not his value from his technique but instead the specifics he knows that are applicable NOW. Both China and Russia would find value in knowing all the espionage players, their names, locations and places inside their countries so they can round them up.

    So you don't think China would like that list of people, as well as a list of the systems that are currently NSA/CIA compromised within their realm? How about Russia?

    And before you answer that, realize this is a very paltry individual.. basically he IS janitor level in the greater scheme of things.

    Whether he is turned to the wolves or not, I believe this was his ploy. I don't see "hero" in this guy at all, just opportunist IMO. Dumb opportunist? Maybe, but it looks like he got swept out from his hotel shortly after this interviews. We'll see if he gets extradited or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finale View Post
    I wouldn't bet on that.

    It's not his value from his technique but instead the specifics he knows that are applicable NOW. Both China and Russia would find value in knowing all the espionage players, their names, locations and places inside their countries so they can round them up.

    So you don't think China would like that list of people, as well as a list of the systems that are currently NSA/CIA compromised within their realm? How about Russia?

    And before you answer that, realize this is a very paltry individual.. basically he IS janitor level in the greater scheme of things.

    Whether he is turned to the wolves or not, I believe this was his ploy. I don't see "hero" in this guy at all, just opportunist IMO. Dumb opportunist? Maybe, but it looks like he got swept out from his hotel shortly after this interviews. We'll see if he gets extradited or not.
    Yea, of course this guy is a paltry individual, most like as you said passed for promotion he thought he should be getting but wasn't competent enough or politically astute enough to get.

    I don't really see this guy as worth the trade/economic arrangement between China and US or any sort of diplomatic row that can result. The Chinese and Russians have active spy programs which likely is courting agents all over the US security apparatus and the Americans are doing the same overseas, however this guy is compromised and can't be a future source of actionable intelligence.

    I'm not sure how much of a opportunist or idealist this guy is, but unless he has actionable intelligence that is worth a diplomatic row between China and the US, I wouldn't bet he's going to get Chinese protection. Now the Russians say they will take him, but he's going to have to make it to a embassy.

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    This is a very interesting subject. I agree with secretive screenings and surveillance because there are crazy humans out there that will go to such a ridiculous extent to hurt people and they don't care about the individual(s) they are hurting but are supporting a cause or an idea. I don't like that I have to have my underwear sniffed but you know what I don't like the idea of people getting hurt more; go ahead sniff away!!! Ever since the Patriot Act was passed and implemented we've stopped a lot of activity and this is just another way to extend that "War on Terror." What do you do when you're facing a world where some people are nuts, who will pour acid on the faces of other human beings. How can you protect them if you don't make challenging steps towards that cause. Yes, people want to have freedoms, but you're forgetting people who can hurt you and who will protect you when under your freedom someone comes and hurts you? I'm for preventative measures. Sniff away!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    What's he supposed to do, hang around stateside and fall on his sword? For what? Is there supposed to be some kind of honor in that?



    Per capita income for HI = $28,882 (US as a whole = $27,334); I'm pretty sure a $200k/yr salary would be reasonably substantial by HI standards.
    I understand what you're saying Ashton, but it's scary reading about the availability of nuclear material in the black market and how people can obtain these materials. Can you imagine what would happen if some crazy person dropped a bomb on a city?

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    I think the government should spy on its citizens because it's the only thing it'll ever do right.

    /cheesy political humour
    Last edited by xerx; 06-12-2013 at 05:34 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    People have more to fear from the paranoiacs that imagineer such decidedly improbable scenarios, whom are basically adult-sized children demanding that something be done about the boogeyman.
    Are you serious? I just read an article about uranium being sold on the black market.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Oh boy, an article. I feel so alarmed, clearly we are in grave danger!!1@

    It is fissible weapons-grade uranium (U-235 of sufficient purity, etc.)? How about proper detonation mechanisms, were they selling those too? And what of delivery systems?
    Ah, I get where this is headed; it's better not to argue about our values.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    What's wrong with arguing about values?
    They are intrinsic(?) to one's character I would say. Personal. I've seen you talk about honour numerous times just like I did see others' on this site. It's something one sees as worthwhile - ideas that influence one's behaviour.

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    Type? I'll venture LII

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    Dog the Bounty Hunter is protecting Americans from the traitor, Edward Snowden, and trying to bring him to "God's side".
    “I tell you, freedom and human rights in America are doomed. The U.S. government will lead the American people in — and the West in general — into an unbearable hell and a choking life. - Osama bin Laden

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