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back to article Obama weighs in on NSA surveillance imbroglio

President Obama has offered a defense of Verizon's handing over mobile phone metadata to the US National Security Agency and the allegations that the same agency's PRISM program is tapping into the servers of several major internet service providers. "You can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and …

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Obvious solution

Make all records for everything public. No more "freedom of Information" laws that actually obscure information. Make it such that all telco/ISP/govt records are public.

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goose and gander

I wonder if the First Family and white house staffers use Verizon? Would they be exempt? It sounds like an all-encompassing data dump, so I'm sure that people for and against this type of thing are included. It all depends on what triggers a "closer look".

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Alert

Re: goose and gander

Their phone network's a moot point. One would suspect they're under the closest surveillance of anyone in the US..

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Happy

Re: goose and gander

Moot actually means debatable; generally a difficult or complex topic that needs to be considered from all sides. It is commonly misused.

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142

Re: goose and gander

What!? Ok, noted.

Obviously I meant to drop the t. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIkJ4BUChxI

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Headmaster

@Don Jefe

2: deprived of practical significance : made abstract or purely academic

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/moot

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Thumb Down

You cant guarantee 100% security its a pipe dream so stop using it as an example

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WTF?

Constitution FAIL

"You can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We're going to have to make some choices as a society," Obama said

There's a difference between tapping someone on the arm verses shoving your hand up their ass and calling it an "inconvenience".

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In the UK we kill just short of a thousand each year, in the USA it is ten times that. So let us try to get this down to zero and let us get terrorism down to zero as well, but accept that the fact of a free society is that cars and bleach bomb can and will kill.

Of course I will grieve if my loved one is taken by a car, or a terrorist strike, but this does not invalidate the argument.

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Anonymous Coward

You beat me to it.

You bet me to it - have an upvote. But yes, we cannot have 100% security, and as Franklin said, "Those who would trade essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither".

I'd rather risk some degree of TERRRRRORRRRRRISSSSSMMMMM<FNORD!> than lose my liberties.

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Unhappy

Exactly, nobody asked for 100% security or 100% privacy. Most people realise both are unattainable.

I really doubt that this has increased security at all but it's certainly rolled back privacy. What the US should be demanding of its administration now is to say which group of people were put in prison for an terrorist plot and what evidence was used to put them in prison. They seem unable to do this. Wheeling out Obama to say something nice while he's off to see the Chinese president (ha) isn't enough.

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Black Helicopters

@Dan 55 : Exactly, nobody asked for 100% security or 100% privacy.

"Exactly, nobody asked for 100% security or 100% privacy. Most people realise both are unattainable."

Actually I don't remember the public being "asked" about anything. The gov just did it. That's the real issue that these idiots in power are trying to dodge, and the issue that the American voter should be most worried and screaming about.

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Flame

"If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

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"If you have nothing to hide you have nothing at all."

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Pirate

Then...

once you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to lose.

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Re: Then...

"A man with nothing left to lose is a man without fear"

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Re: Then...

"When you have learned to snatch the error code from the trap frame, it will be time for you to leave."

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404
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Re: Then...

"Life sucks, then you die."

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Trollface

RE: nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear

Glad to see at least 6 of you took the flamebait!

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Trollface

"If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

Try saying that to big bubba in prison for me, oh yeah Prison, the safest place to be, and you still get raped. go jump off the nearest dock please, you won't be missed with that mentally retarded phrase.

"If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

That also reminds me, you won't have a problem with handing over your birth certificate, driving license, and social security details, bank details, medical details, DVLA details, Tax details, Computer hard drives and USB drives.

What's that? you actually value your privacy? you must be a FUCKING Terrorist! Get outta here!

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WTF?

USA <-> CHINA

wasn't it supposed for the USA to put pressure on China to respect human rights and all that? It now looks like that it's USA using China's methods instead!

Sad times...

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Re: USA <-> CHINA

Welcome to the United Stasi of America

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Re: USA <-> CHINA

Only useful idiots are surprised by this. He and his administration have held out Mao as a leader to be emulated.

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Anonymous Coward

AND

It did not stop the Boston Bomber, either, Mr Obama!

Idiotic comment.

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Re: AND

The real sad thing is that the Patriot Act was enacted into law under the Bush administration. Many years ago, I read an article that every email sent in the US went through 20 government data centers looking for words like "bomb", "ghad", etc. I also read that phone calls were being scanned for people using the same words. The real laugh is that Obama can't change this law. It must be changed by Congress and approved by him So far, President obama can't get his appointments passed by Congress and I doubt that he can change/scrap this law. My real question to you extremist-conservatives is where were you when the Patriot Act was passed and why didn't you scream bloody murder then????????????

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Re: AND

I *did* scream bloody murder then. Didn't do a damned bit of good, obviously.

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Re: AND

1) I opposed it then

2) I still oppose it now

3) what in the hell is a ghad?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AND

1) I'm sure they never got a ghad" hit.

2) Bomb you say? How about these?

bombard

bombarded

bombardier

bombardiers

bombarding

bombardment

bombardments

bombardon

bombardons

bombards

bombast

bombastic

bombastically

bombasts

bombax

bombazine

bombazines

bombe

bombed

bomber

bombers

bombes

bombesin

bombesins

bombinate

bombinated

bombinates

bombinating

bombination

bombinations

bombing

bombings

bombload

bombloads

bombproof

bombs

bombshell

bombshells

bombsight

bombsights

bombycid

bombycids

bombyx

bombyxes

cabomba

cabombas

divebomb

divebombed

divebombing

divebombs

firebomb

firebombed

firebombing

firebombs

letterbomb

letterbombs

mailbomb

mailbombed

mailbombing

mailbombs

superbomb

superbomber

superbombers

superbombs

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Holmes

Re: AND

I was perplexed as well, at first. I believe 'ghad' to either be a deliberate misspelling of jihad in an attempt to obfuscate his messages from keyword driven surveillance software or it could mean property once belonging to or very similar to previous property of a 'gangsta': ex. Ghad a car like that once except it had 20" spinners on.

Alternatively, since he obfuscated his meaning from those he was attempting to communicate with, the author may simply be an idiot.

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Black Helicopters

Re: AND

"My real question to you extremist-conservatives is where were you when the Patriot Act was passed and why didn't you scream bloody murder then????????????"

Simple.

It was introduced a very short time after 9/11/01 and is very big.

The Legislature is not immune to mob hysteria "Something must be done. America must be protected etc."

It's suspiciously large and complex nature (and the speed with which it sprang fully formed) is part of the reason background to the "9/11 was an inside job" conspiracy theory. You definitely got the idea someone had been working on an "undermine all constitutional checks and balances (and scrap probable cause) act" for some time and 9/11 was just a convenient excuse to introduce it.

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Unhappy

Re: AND

(long list of words)...

you missed Tom Bombadil

Does that mean that every Tolkien fan is now on a watchlist?

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Re: AND

I agree, it is far too complex to have been drafted while the entire country was still in chaos. I've read the entire act and referenced acts and amendments several times and the level of completion is extraordinarily high: Too high for something written in house (ha see what I did there).

Very few 'lawmakers' write the laws anymore. They sponsor legislation written by trade groups and think tanks. In 2011 something like 93% of all legislation that was passed into law was composed wholly or partly by 3rd parties with no elected authority. What they get is far beyond their average level of comprehension and they are simply too busy fund raising to read such lengthy and boring things.

I don't think there was any 9/11 conspiracy, but as you say those events created a perfect opportunity to crank up the pork barrel machinery.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: AND

and the obligatory

Obomba

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Re: AND

oooh you are SO going on the naughty chair for that many bombs....

Dammit, so am I....

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Silver badge

Re: The real laugh is that Obama can't change this law.

Actually if you'd been paying attention instead of engaging in another bout of BDS you know he did. He loosened the limited restrictions Bush had in place under the Patriot Act.

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I don't call this "making choices as a society"

How could the society have made the choice, when the society in question wasn't even aware of the program until someone leaked a request document?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't call this "making choices as a society"

...Roll on the Military–industrial spending complex which appears unstoppable, no matter who you vote for! We are but Pawns!

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Mushroom

Re: I don't call this "making choices as a society"

Of course society made this choice, by reelecting this idiot.

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Re: I don't call this "making choices as a society"

The other idiot would ha ve also done the same, the difference would be that he wouldn't even try to justify his actions!

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Meh

Re: I don't call this "making choices as a society"

"The other idiot would ha ve also done the same, the difference would be that he wouldn't even try to justify his actions!"

No, he too voted for the Act that is permitting such actions so aggressively. All them are guilty, and any of them acting shocked is equivalent to admitting they don't know what they sign into law.

Here's McCain...

Voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act's roving wiretaps. (Feb 2011)

Voted YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. (Mar 2006)

Voted YES on extending the PATRIOT Act's wiretap provision. (Dec 2005)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I don't call this "making choices as a society"

He also sneaked into Syria to meet with the rebels (aka al Qaeda) saying the US should give them heavy weapons.

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Re: I don't call this "making choices as a society"

If those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear - why is Bradley Manning being prosecuted?

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Anonymous Coward

Cha-cha-cha-changes

"[Obama] admitted that when he first took office, he was wary of such surveillance. His changed his mind, however."

Once he found out how cool it was to be able to use it against his opponents, and to extend his own power.

"I hope you won't notice nothing's changed and how transparent my lies have been."

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Stop

London

As has been pointed out the capital has more cameras per square mile than all other city yet crime still goes on as usual.........I think there's a lesson to be learned from that dont you?

And yes I have plenty to hide and its all MY personal data.

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FAIL

He's right. We need to make a choice.

We choose less surveillance.

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Thumb Up

Re: He's right. We need to make a choice.

You know what? I'm fine with 80% security.

And we will never have 100% security (at least, not in Boston), so I'm good with 80%

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Re: He's right. We need to make a choice.

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty".

- Thomas Jefferson (who would definitely be in Guantanamo - or in the ground - if he lived in our times)

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Maybe this explains the uptick in IT employment.

Lots of false positives (e.g., people who have relatives in the terrorist nest du jour calling to wish someone happy birthday or check on health issues or whatever people call family to do) will keep people running around chasing shadows and eventually someone's going to ask for "deliverables" to justify the expense -- what could possibly go wrong? Buttle, Tuttle, it's all the same.

Re: "You can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We're going to have to make some choices as a society," Obama said -- it sounds like the choice has already been made for us, sir, but the belated fig leaf of concern is still quite touching.

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Facepalm

"capacity to anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity"?

Go on, name *one* example where that's worked out for you.

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Unhappy

Job Description

The job of U.S. President has two primary components in its official job description: To uphold the Constitution and protect the citizens from harm from other nations. You can't fulfill just one requirement and be considered to be succeeding, you must fulfill all the requirements simultaneously. If you are unable to meet the basic requirements you are unfit for the role (that goes for any job).

I hate to be so harsh, I voted for the guy and I even contributed money for both of his elections but feel like I got fucked and didn't even get cab fare for the trip home. Besides, these policies didn't stop the bombings in Boston so they obviously aren't working. The answer is to back down and design another approach or risk ending up like MS & Win8. (Last sentence for the IT tie in).

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