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Edward Snowden Is A Hero, Not A Traitor

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posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 03:51 AM
a reply to: Phage

I was proclaiming my ignorance in the face of your post. No bad intentions.

posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 03:52 AM
a reply to: Kandinsky

No. Not generally and not you particularly.

It's hard to think of any tool which does not have more than one edge. It is ignorance (not stupidity) of that fact which causes some people to have less than 10 fingers.

posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 04:01 AM
a reply to: Phage

Yes. I find myself seeing numerous perspectives and too many to put in a post.

It's so complex and there are major benefits as well as disturbing costs. Those making the decisions on our behalf aren't necessarily the best qualified for the role. Then again, we don't have the facility to vet them and they aren't answerable to us either.

I'm more in favour of ethics panels, but (pulls hair out) who selects the panellists?

posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 04:02 AM
a reply to: Kandinsky

Our elected representatives.


posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 04:05 AM
a reply to: Phage


posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 04:41 AM
a reply to: Kandinsky

Here is the real issue.

It boils down to a very simple concept, at its root.


Do citizens value their security OR their liberty. No one has any business asking for a compromise between the two. If citizens require liberty, they must accept that liberty comes with inherent risks, and be prepared to combat those risks for themselves after a certain point. Yes, a military is required to rebuff invasion, and mitigate for projectile assault up to and including a nuclear assault. But if you accept that liberty is of a higher value than security, then you need an intelligence service which is chained down to a limited role, where it cannot ever violate the liberties of citizens in order to affect success in its various endeavours.


With regard to oversight, the rules regarding what can, and what cannot be considered a matter of national security for the purposes of secrecy, MUST be changed, in several specific regards. For example, the NSA mass surveillance initiative ought to be considered a criminal enterprise, everyone who okayed it over the decades since the ECHELON program was first devised should be arrested, charged, tried and if found guilty, thrown down the deepest hole in the land, for infringing on the liberties of their countrymen. That is presidents, agency directors, all the way down to the operations level. The oversight of national security infrastructure should be performed by people outside the military and administrative chain of command, who will not be under any obligation to keep secrets from the people if they believe the data they are exposed to is in the national interest, that no law can be bought against them to stay their tongues.

Furthermore, there must never again be a time when an elected representative may hide behind plausible deniability. Instead, a President must be:

a) Read in on all programs run by the national security infrastructure at every level, never kept in the dark about any program, operation, failure, misdeed, or mishandling of a situation

b) Considered legally responsible for the same

c) Prone to losing their office if the national security edifice ever steps one single shady foot outside of its remit as described and endorsed by the civilian oversight group, which, once again, will be made up of regular citizens, not military personnel, not administrators in government, but regular citizens. Burger flippers, mechanics, that sort of thing. If the national security infrastructures behaviour violates their principles, then the President must be as prone to loss of position, income, and potentially liberty, as any other member of the intelligence community would be, if investigated and found guilty.

posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 05:20 AM
a reply to: TrueBrit

I generally agree with your thoughts here and certainly hold a small flame of idealism at all times.

Nevertheless 'boiling down' such things is to make them overly simplistic; it's much easier to be affirmative when we've whittled away all the splinters.

All this metadata is like a loaded gun; benign or malign depending on whose hands it's in.

I'm fond of the concept of 'mission creep' in these discussions. Imagine a million individual instances of mission creep occurring across decades? Bad decisions made with pure intentions and good decisions made for political advantage. The rarest reason for change is malevolence or intentional harm to society.

Human nature plays its part.

The reason I like 'mission creep' is its association with a ratchet. It only moves forward and can't move back without breaking the mechanism. So whilst your ideas of bringing power under reins are attractive, the system (term used loosely) isn't designed for such major changes and the human element is most of the problem. I mean, the system has even rigged its own outcomes by criminalising whistleblowers.

posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 05:59 AM
a reply to: Kandinsky

The reason I recommend the boil down here, is that these matters are largely to do with morality, ethics and the value placed upon abstract concepts by citizens, rather than being a matter of pure fact.

If the citizen values their liberty more highly than he or she values their security, then they ought to have the right to force government to place the same value on their liberty, and do absolutely NOTHING to infringe upon it, without absolutely precise probable cause.

The problem with trying to treat mass surveillance and the broader question of national security in anything other than a simplified manner, is that dealing with the entire breadth of the beast is impossible, because its drivers are too many, its owners too numerous and their intentions too varied and morally defunct, so much so that no one would ever be able to come to a reasonable conclusion, no matter how clued in they were.

The only answer therefore, is one which revolves around the importance placed upon the concepts of liberty and security, and which of these is considered more important by citizens.

Also, with regard to metadata, I would argue that the existence of a database of such information can only have malign consequences with regard to the freedoms and liberties enjoyed by a given population. A watched population is not free. A population whose privacy may be invaded without probable cause is not at liberty. Liberty is not a scale, it is a binary situation. One either has it, or one does not. The citizen must have liberty, or else whatever security they may have is worth nothing, because without liberty one does not have life, one has only existence and that is not acceptable.

As for mission creep, simply put, mission creep is not an accident. Where it occurs, it occurs having been deliberately manufactured by the sort of people who make money from expanding programs, whether it be bombing campaigns and military interventions in the Middle East, or the creation of a grand network of digital oppression and privacy invasion. Both scenarios do not come about as a natural progression in response to changing situations, but as engineered consequences of deliberate action on the part of those who have something to gain from them.

What you said about whistleblowers is absolutely vital to understanding the true nature of the national security argument. Put simply, if the national security infrastructure was morally adequate (not perfect or pure, just adequate) it would DEMAND whistleblowers be protected, no matter what methods they use to get information to the people, no matter what information they share, or why. The understanding on the part of those making the rules, would have to be that in fact, all information is in the national interest, and that it is upon the management of programs and agencies to be certain that the MEANS justify the ends, and not the other way around.

In truth, ends never justify means. If ones ends are noble, the means by which they are achieved must verily GLISTEN with nobility as well, else the chances are that the ends are as corrupt and evil as the means used to achieve them.

posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 07:13 AM
a reply to: TrueBrit

The older I get, the more complicated it seems. Take, for example, the case of a guy called McNutt (Eye in the Sky - Radiolab). To protect Allies from roadside bombs in Iraq, he flew an airplane that had telephoto lenses attached to its undercarriage. His team could analyse the stills and identify where the IEDs were and where the bombers came from. Neat, eh?

He then ran a trial over Mexico which captured a lot of murders, murderers and the HQ of a cartel. After that, he took it to Dayton, Ohio where his system helped to identify a number of crimes and catch criminals.

It's flying above Baltimore as we speak. The people weren't asked and it was put in place without being made public. State public defender's office calls for immediate suspension of Baltimore police surveillance program

None of us want aircraft in our skies filming everything; it seems like a sledgehammer to crack a nut. On the other hand, ethically, would it be right not to use such a system if it has been proven to catch criminals and save lives? There are questions of morality in there. Might people behave better if they knew their daylight travels were all on camera?

I'm referring to this example because McNutt is a good guy who had a good idea; the airplane can be a metaphor for the surveillance state. The same idea can be misused and amounts to surveillance without warrants and, presumably, blurs jurisdictions as well as civil liberties. The local government went rogue and contracted the surveillance in secret. McNutt is now complicit in sketchiness and will have a financial incentive to go along with it. Some members of the public would knee-jerk yay/nay based on their politics or beliefs without really considering the devilish details. This is how 'mission creep' can develop without a speck of ill-intent and then become something else altogether.

Personally, I prefer the concept of a surveillance-free culture because the risk of misuse is too high. Sadly enough, we're all softened up and accepting. Google, Amazon, GCHQ, NSA, Microsoft, Russians, Chinese and God knows who/what else and we're all used to it.

posted on Apr, 5 2017 @ 07:41 AM
a reply to: Kandinsky

The thing I would point out here, is that there are many systems that you would use in a warzone, that you would NEVER consider deploying against citizens of ones own nation.

No legitimate law enforcement organisation has a use for a GAU 8 cannon, would ever use such a weapon to suppress protests or disturbance of the peace, for example. For the same reason, the surveillance tactics that one is prepared to use in an active warzone, must be considered inappropriate for use in ones back yard, absent a state of total war in the area.

So, for example, although the minimal threat terrorists pose to citizens of the United States is still a certain level of threat, the nations soil itself is not, by any reasonable definition a warzone, and so active surveillance of the sort we are seeing at the moment, being deployed over that country, is not just an overkill, but represents a greater threat to the freedom and liberty of its citizens, than does any other threat the people of the US currently face.

For what its worth, it should not have been flown over Mexico either, although that country resembles a warzone much more closely than does any part of the United States.

Liberty comes with risks. One either embraces the risks that come with it, or proves oneself unworthy to possess it. Unless the concepts of liberty and freedom are to be eradicated from every document of foundation, every document of law, the requirement for these things to be upheld removed from every statute, the monitoring undergone by US citizens cannot, regardless of approach, be legitimate, no matter how many lives it saves, no matter what threats are removed as a result of it, because liberty, not life, is the first and most important concept that must be defended. Again, without liberty, a mere mortal existence has no value. It is simply the process of eating and excreting, sleeping and waking, absent any meaning or motivation. Liberty then, being the more delicate concept, must be defended far more heavily than life, and even at the cost of it.

posted on Apr, 8 2017 @ 05:44 AM

originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: Kandinsky

The other irony is now we know Google et al pipe all our metadata to NSA et al, it's become accepted.

And now, et al includes the very entity which you pay to provide you access to those other et als.

Of course, you can opt out of the internet.

Or can you?

You wrap everything up in layers of encryption I guess. Right now it might send up flags someplace still, but as web culture evolves in that direction it will become less so. Which is to say, when a larger minority of users are encrypting more, it will probably come to be considered a less suspicious activity. I'm not sure that the rank and file user will ever go that direction. I think it's already becoming a more common practice, but I'm not sure. I think that's really about the best you can do. Almost any network can be tapped or infiltrated, as far as I can tell. I'm certainly no cyber security expert.

posted on Apr, 8 2017 @ 06:11 AM
a reply to: TheBadCabbie

It looks like Trump's business-oriented credentials will see an end to all those wishy-washy 'feelings' about privacy. There's such a weight of influence against net neutrality and privacy already and Trump is sympathetic to their arguments.

Encryption might have a future yet, but we'll have to see what the administration does next. VPNs will be an option and it's hard to see them remaining 'anonymous' under the current pressure to redefine 'privacy.' Was it last year or the year before when some FBI guy rebranded it 'a privilege?' That's the way the wind's blowing under many Western governments.

In the meantime, I use Privacy Badger, AdBlock and my internet security is set to block data collection. Adblock is becoming unworkable with so many sites I like 'refusing entry' unless it's disabled.

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