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back to article Forget Snowden: What have we learned about the NSA?

It has now been a month since Edward Snowden outed himself as the NSA whistleblower who has exposed much about the level of government and corporate surveillance in our society. The revelations aren't stopping, and neither should the debate, but it's getting sidelined by distractions of character not content. Snowden is …

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Old News ......

Do intelligence agencies spy on people? Is the same sort of rhetorical question as 'Do bears use the woods'?

If you don't want to be a part of their 'eye spy' I would suggest you don't put stuff online.

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Re: Old News ......

What is it with you COINTELPRO guys and your roman names?

'titus' 'sparacus' etc. over and over again the same misdirections and the same theme to your screen names, and the same old 'it's old news' (item 8. Dismiss the charges as old news)

http://cryptome.org/2012/07/gent-forum-spies.htm

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Unhappy

Re: Old News ......

"What is it with you COINTELPRO guys and your roman names?"

No. Titus has been around since at least the end of the UK National ID Card scheme (scrapping of which was part of why the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats were voted in).

I smell govt con-tractor loosing a fat piece of work and wanting to get back on the "security" gravy train.

You don't need a conspiracy when you've got greed and self interest.

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Re: Old News ......

IIIIIIII'M ASPARAGUS !!

I'M ASPARAGUS AND SO'S MY WIFE!

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Re: Old News ......

Yes that's Titus, or Tit for short

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Happy

Re: Old News ...... @John Smith

I have never (to the best of knowledge) done any work on the National ID schemes.

My comments are written on the basis of my anecdotal experience. To date I have used (probably quite extensively) various communication networks including the Internet. During that time I am lead to believe that numerous intelligence agencies may well have intercepted and analysed the traffic information … and absolutely nothing has ever happened.

I find it humorous that people like the EFF need to protest the interception of the Internet by the NSA. Reasons being:

that's what intelligence agencies do?

the backbone of the Internet was created for the Military anyway what did you expect?

if the NSA don't spy then I have no doubt GCHQ, the DGSE, SVR, MSS etc will feel so ashamed and stop immediately laugh themselves sill before carrying on ......

oh yes and if the EFF get their way they will protest such that NSA stop spying on Americans after that nobody cares......

In the sort of Utopian world you Internet warriors live in this either may or may not be important, but in the real world nothing Ed Snowden has said surprises me in the least

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Re: Old News ...... @Titus

What else would you consider it prudent to stop doing in order to avoid over-reaching security? Don't write anything? Don't read anything? Don't buy fertilizer? Don't drive? .... The trouble with your argument is that, no matter what the "security"* services do, you will say "Well, what do you expect? Just stop doing <whatever it is the snooping bastards have been caught doing>!"

We agree on one thing - the world is as it is, and this is what is happening. We differ in that I don't just shrug my shoulders and say "Well, what do you expect?". I want to change things so that there is strong protection (even to the point that the occasional bad thing happens) of individual privacy, and a respect for the population. I also expect that the rules of diplomacy are followed, and that foreign leaders, especially those who are supposed to be "friends", are not spied upon (unless they are at risk from an existing target).

There *is* such a thing as the moral high-ground - it is time we got back to it.

* I don't actually feel secure by the existence of overreaching spies. It is time we engaged in a national debate about exactly who the security services should be protecting.

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Big Brother

Re: Old News ......

"If you don't want to be a part of their 'eye spy' I would suggest you don't put stuff online."

Its getting to the point that not having a Facebook presence is akin to not having a landline in the last century. Go ahead. Try to apply for a job/loan or even write a check (cheque) without one and you'd get the stink-eye. If your behaviour doesn't comply with the societal norm, you might as well move to a cabin in Montana (Google Ted Kaczynski).

Besides, you might not put your life on line, but your banker, grocer, pharmacist does. And you can't drive in town without your license plates going into a database somewhere. So, good luck with your off the grid life.

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Re: Old News ...... @Paul

Its getting to the point that not having a Facebook presence is .....

Not quite sure how true this is in the UK. I have written checks and got jobs recently with out reference to my Facebook. The thought that you have to validate yourself through Facebook, which has been suggested in the UK, seems utterly insane.

On the point of not putting stuff on-line Facebook would be top of my list. Personally I do have a vanilla Facebook account with the obligatory, cat pictures, and so on. I would be very wary of much more on this one, never mind NSA, the security on Facebook makes it possible for damn near anybody to see details.

Besides the whole of Facebook is basically created to allow advertisers to spy.

Besides, you might not put your life on line, but your banker, grocer, pharmacist

And in the mass collected by NSA why are they going to be looking at my information?

So, good luck with your off the grid life.

OK

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Re: Old News ...... @Titus

What else would you consider it prudent to stop doing in order to avoid over-reaching security? Don't write anything? Don't read anything? Don't buy fertilizer? Don't drive? ....

Fahrenheit 451 anybody? I didn't say don't do things just have a view on what you are saying and where.

We agree on one thing - the world is as it is. We differ in that I don't just shrug my shoulders and say "Well, what do you expect?". I want to change things so that there is strong protection (even to the point that the occasional bad thing happens) of individual privacy, and a respect for the population......

No I think it would is worth picking your battles with care and where you may be able to make a difference. Worrying about other stuff is just a waste of time. On your other point personally I would trade a degree of privacy to stop at least some of the bad things.

Impassioned rants on Internet forums may have no effect whatsoever. John Smith 19's on 'Civil Servants Remits' being a prime example. In my world most Civil Servants want to go to work (and keep their job) then go home (as early as possible) and I can't quite see how the manic spy on and arrest everybody fits.

I also expect that the rules of diplomacy are followed, and that foreign leaders, especially those who are supposed to be "friends", are not spied upon (unless they are at risk from an existing target).

I tend to think that "nations don't have friends or enemies...nations only have interests?".......

There *is* such a thing as the moral high-ground - it is time we got back to it.

But in an imperfect world countries have to do as best they can.

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Re: Old News ...... @Titus

"On your other point personally I would trade a degree of privacy to stop at least some of the bad things."

Why should they ask to take part of what they already have all of? Do you not get why most people find that somewhat annoying?

"Impassioned rants on Internet forums may have no effect whatsoever."

That's "will have no effect whatsoever."

On a personal basis only directly contacting the relevant representative will begin to make a difference. Judging their response and deciding will you support them at the next election. Letters to national or regional newspapers when they write the (rare) articles covering this subject. Practically switching ISPs and service providers to non US suppliers and moving to end to end encryption and not even considering going to "T'Cloud."

"Civil Servants want to go to work (and keep their job) then go home (as early as possible) and I can't quite see how the manic spy on and arrest everybody fits."

Funny how you tend to miss the part about senior civil servants out, isn't it?

I always mean the Oxbridge, fast track PPE graduates (except in the case of the former head of GCHQ who did particle physics) who did or do head up MI5/MI6/GCHQ and whatever SOCA is called now. Not the field agents or desk analysts, the types who decide "policy" and who always somehow get promoted (even when the last project was rubbish). People with no technical background, but a desire to preside over an ever larger fiefdom, ever higher salary and ever larger pension.

"I tend to think that "nations don't have friends or enemies...nations only have interests?"......."

True. But really this debate has nothing to do with spying on other governments it's about spying on populations (their own and others) who present no threat to anyone.

They are being spied on because during some moments of fear (12 and 8 years ago respectively now) weak minded politicians gave into their BS about "Let us do this and we will catch them before another outrage occurs." Despite the fact that problem is effectively impossible to solve.

But really, it's because they can. The tech exists and they wanted to use it.

I'll just repeat the rough numbers in the UK. 2000 "Jihadist" suspects (out of a population of c66m) . 57 dead in 7/7/05 (I cannot find a cost figure for the collateral damage, which would be interesting) and £500m/yr to the ISPs to run the visible part of the spying system.

That's £8.77m a life saved or £250k a suspect to watch. 50-70 is also about the number of deaths from a)Botched DIY in the UK (ROSPA) or farmyard accidents (ROSPA).

And BTW suspects in the 7/7/05 and Lee Rigby events were already known to the SS before they committed their offenses, which are all criminal and arrestable.

On a personal note Titus I'm curious why do you bother posting? As a true cynic you seem to feel all of this is "Just what spy agencies do." So no real point in making a fuss. And as a true cynic you don't think anything can or will changes, so just keep your head down because, afters all, you have nothing to hide.

Or am I missing some part of your motivation?

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Re: Old News ...... @Titus

Thanks for the reasoned reply, Titus. I wish the Reg comments allowed a bit more real exchange of ideas.

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Re: Old News ...... @Potsherd

Yes .... I think we agree on some things, and could argue the toss on the other stuff. I know what you are saying about moral high-ground but think that human nature makes it achieving it impossible.

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Pint

Re: Old News ...... @Potsherd

"... I know what you are saying about moral high-ground but think that human nature makes it achieving it impossible. ..."

Gandhi

Mandela

Jesus

Bloody criminals, each and every one of them.*

(* Deeply sarcastic. Also relates to one of the many 'The Worst Argument In The World'.)

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Re: Old News ...... @JeffyPoooh

Nice to see someone else confirming exactly my point all of the below acted largely to achieve the moral high-ground, but -

Gandhi Independence India ... but left a (civil) war between Pakistan (East and West) and India

Mandela Independence South Africa - left (is leaving) a society with inordinate problem with crime

Jesus Founded a religion - how many wars have been fought in the name of God and more specifically a Christian god?

On balance I would think all of the above achieved strides towards the moral high-ground i.e. on balance left things better than they were, but all those achievements were compromised by human nature working against them, and this is still happening.

My point being before you 'bust up' the existing order of things have a think about all of the consequences of your actions.

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Re: Titus Technophobe Re: Old News ...... @JeffyPoooh

".....Gandhi Independence India ... but left a (civil) war between Pakistan (East and West) and India...." Bit unfair on Ghandi when the real culprit for the India-Pakistan split was his buddie Nehru.

".....Mandela Independence South Africa - left (is leaving) a society with inordinate problem with crime...." You might also point out Mandela's involvement along with the ANC with opression in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

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Re: "before you 'bust up' the existing order"

OK, I've thought about it, and I think it would marginally improve matters - when can we start? And, before you ask, no I don't have a cure for cancer either but I support those looking for one using real, targeted, and results based science.

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gent forum spies

"What is it with you COINTELPRO guys and your roman names?"

"'titus' 'sparacus' etc. over and over again the same misdirections and the same theme to your screen names, and the same old 'it's old news' (item 8. Dismiss the charges as old news)"

Oh, my dear Hieronymus. That is a dangerous path you are walking.

Spies can rarely be caught with such a bullet list - it gives too much false positives to be useful. If anything, it provides a good noise cover for the actual spies.

Actually, that was a huge understatement. Pretty much every forum-dweller violates a few points on that list. So we are all agents of...COINTELPRO. Grr. What was wrong with the old-fashioned three-letter acronyms?

Anyway. We're all agents.

Yes, yes. Me and you, and world + dog.

WE ARE ALL ASPARAGUS !!

And on the serious note - obsessively hunting for enemies is never a good thing. Don't. Just don't.

Societies, which become too obsessed with witchhunts, will collapse eventually.

Individuals, who are hellbent on fighting with monsters, either lose their souls and become monsters themselves, or in a better case, become ridiculous like don Quixote.

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Anonymous Coward

Follow the money indeed

"So forget about Snowden as a character and "Follow the money," as Deep Throat put it. Anything else is a distraction."

Lovely idea.

Now try making it happen.

The money still controls the media, by and large, and the media largely controls the discussion.

At least Snowden's revelations have brought this news out into the open, but the analysis that should be following it up isn't likely to happen.

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'The money still controls the media'.. and for those who need proof...

Reg staff, please fix your filters, THIS IS BLOOMBERG.... Why are you auto-blocking it?????

"These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America"

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

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Re: Follow the money indeed

A lot of that money is probably drug money and the "war on drugs" most likely only exists to cut the cost and boost the profits of drug lords, government middlemen, and all their groupies in the financial sector, not the lie that it is to protect people; the HSBC fine for laundering drug money was mere pocket change to them given the profits it made them. This has apparently been happening since WW2, and should be all over US big media, because residents saw the product leakage near to major US drug distribution routes, when they ramped it up more recently. Where do you think a lot of the US Black Projects funding comes from?

See Solari.com and the article on why the US budget is such a can of worms to reduce; see just how corrupt and meshed with dodgy corporations the US Government is; this is way worse than mere incompetence; I think a lot of people will WTF! when they see the extent and implications of this!

I bet that the UK state is also up to other more tangible no good than leeching all our data; it's agents may even be helping with the drugs trade too.

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Anonymous Coward

Did William Hague know about PRISM spying?

Did William Hague know about the PRISM program? Did he know about Skype backdoors?

Did he know Microsoft's Outlook's encryption had been backdoored?

How much knowledge did he have, how involved in these crimes was he?

See what I did there? I called it a crime, it's time we started talking about the 99% of RIPA that makes it a crime to spy on Brits, because that's the part that applies here.

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Re: Anonymous Cowpatbrain Re: Did William Hague know about PRISM spying?

".....it's time we started talking about the 99% of RIPA that makes it a crime to spy on Brits, because that's the part that applies here." <Sigh> Why can't the sheeple even do the basic groundwork before bleating? As has been pointed out in these forums before, GCHQ and parties working with GCHQ are specifically excluded from RIPA in Section 8 of the Act. Try more reading, less bleating, thanks.

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Gimp

Re: Anonymous Cowpatbrain Did William Hague know about PRISM spying?

Your rock. Back under it. Nothing for you to fawn over here, Doormatt.

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Re: hspasm Re: Anonymous Cowpatbrain Did William Hague know about PRISM spying?

I see research was also beyond you. Once again, another post from the sheeple with zero argument or anything other than their very obvious inability to think for themselves.

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Gimp

Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit and will always try to widen their remit.

Endgame. Spy on everyone all the time forever.

Whatever way you look at it it's wrong.

Treats everyone as a criminal. IE No presumption of innocence.

Hugely expensive. AFAIK this has never been subjected to any kind of cost/benefit analysis. The UK govt wants to spend >£500m/yr to maybe prevent another 7/7 event which killed fewer people than are killed on British farmyard accidents. Does "Terrorism" sound more like an excuse than a reason?

In the US you are looking at secret warrants issued by a secret court whose and if (as a company) you argue with them you are not even allowed to say that you are arguing with them.

There's a reason people call that Kafkesque.

All countries have telecomms monitoring methods that can monitor specific calls/websites/computers and laws that allow them to be used provided there is some evidence. Any society that does not want to be a police state had better use them.

Once you have data collection without warrant for everyone why not have have detention without trial for everyone.

Let's strip the "terrorist," and the other classic "paedophile" and "organised crime" BS from this.

The civil servants behind this want to do it because they ca and it will give them considerable power. and they can trade their stuff with their opposite numbers. You spy on my nationals, I spy on yours. We're only spying on foreigners.

It is grossly disproportionate to the crime it allegedly counters. It is a fetish without reason. A compulsion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit

John, you've got Seething SubEditor Syndrome. Perfectly valid content spoiled by a misleading headline.

In this particular case, if you'd said "First Division Association civil servants can't be trusted" your title would have been closer. But almost nobody would have understood it, and with 20,000 members in the FDA the coverage would still have been far too broad.

There are lots of perfectly decent people out there. Some of them are civil serpents. Please don't tar them all with the same brush.

Thanking you,

Charles K Pendleton

c/o Downing Street

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Re: Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit and will always try to widen their remit.

"It is grossly disproportionate to the crime it allegedly counters"

Approximately the same number of people are killed in the UK after falling out of trees.

On average 5x as many people die every year in UK police custody (~30) as die from acts of terrorism (6).

Meanwhile, 100,000 people die from the effects of smoking every year. Around 2,000 die in road traffic accidents. And 800 from murder. To offer a few popular preventable terminal scenarios.

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Re: Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit and will always try to widen their remit.

The people killed on 7/7 were, presumably, the tip of the iceberg of those who WOULD HAVE BEEN killed if we HADN'T spent 500m on intelligence. The security services can't win - either they spend too much to save a few people and trample on our privacy in doing so, or they are incompetent fools who should have prevented 4 airliners being used as guided missiles, when the most cost-effective and arguably most productive way of finding such monsters before they hatch is to use information collected by commercial organisations that the bad guys use for their evil.

If this was done without legal and governmental oversight then we would have a big problem. If it's controlled by the appropriate authorities, then that's how government and intelligence is supposed to work.

And spying on foreigners? Every government with the money and means to do it, does it. It's what their peoples expect, and for all the holier-than-thou protesters, the people wouldn't like it much if their government didn't do it, and they lost out economically or militarily to those who do, which is everyone else.

It makes good stories and ranting headlines, but we all need to grow up a bit and understand the world we live in..

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Re: Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit and will always try to widen their remit.

I *do* understand the world we live in. There aren't enough "terrorists" to make any difference to the majority of us.

You cite the London incident - there is absolutely no evidence that random data-gathering made any difference whatsoever. There are so few potential bombers that, without specific intelligence, the wholesale hoovering of data will make no difference (or only if extremely lucky) at all.

Placing the whole population under scrutiny is a crime against the people. The state is acting in a way that says "we do not trust you", and, despite what you say, it is not lawful to spy without due cause. The alternative is to accept that everyone is a suspect merely for being alive. That is wrong, and someone needs to be held to account for it.

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Re: Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit and will always try to widen their remit.

Does the data slurp (alone) yield actionable intelligence that can be used to abort terrorist attacks? There have been claims to that effect, but those I have seen do not even approach plausibility.

Does the data slurp appear on its face to violate the fourth amendment of the US Constitution? Almost certainly: The requirements for probable cause and a clear description of what is to be seized appear to have been ignored as a matter of routine.

Have the data slurp results been misused to oppress? I have not seen reports that they have, but that is irrelevant. Whether or not they have been, they certainly could be at a future time.

All three indicate that the questioned activities need serious modification or perhaps terminated.

Was this activity generally known or assumed to be underway

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FAIL

Re: Tom Dial Re: Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit......

So, basically a whole post based on your biased assumptions.

"Does the data slurp (alone) yield actionable intelligence that can be used to abort terrorist attacks?...." Apart from the fact they are highly unlikely to release details on either ongoing operations, where have you been looking? I seriously doubt if it's anywhere other than those either happy to blindly bleat on about how terrible the NSA are, or those like Greenwald with a monetary reason to keep pushing it.

".....Does the data slurp appear on its face to violate the fourth amendment of the US Constitution? Almost certainly....." If it did then useful idiots like the ACLU would already be pushing the lawfare boat out. The truth is the rolling warrants make it legal.

".....Have the data slurp results been misused to oppress? I have not seen reports that they have, but that is irrelevant. Whether or not they have been, they certainly could be at a future time......" Which is just a really stupid leap of the type used by the gun-control lobby - "you have a gun, you MIGHT use it to murder someone, therefore we must ban all guns". It is really amusing to hear this "well they could oppress us" angle as it is coming from exactly the same people that bleat on about how criminals should be treated as innocent until proven guilty. Somehow that only applies to their "heroes" like Assange or Snowden, never to the authorities. It's as stupid as me saying that Tom MIGHT murder someone, therefore it is perfectly right to lock him up for life. Or like saying a policeman MIGHT take a bribe so best we get rid of ALL policemen - I'm sure the criminals would like that idea, but the majority of the population might think twice. Maybe even Tom.

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Pint

Re: Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit and will always try to widen their remit.

You should review some material on the problem of false positives when using overly broad searches for very rare items. It's an inherent problem, and they're obviously way past this point.

You'd think that the NSA etc. would have stumbled across the applicable 'More or Less' podcast / radio show on Radio 4, what with them monitoring "everything". I guess that Monitoring .NE. Comprehending.

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Unhappy

Re: Civil servants can't be trusted to stay in their remit

"In this particular case, if you'd said "First Division Association civil servants can't be trusted" your title would have been closer. But almost nobody would have understood it, "

True.

In hindsight I should have included the word senior in heading. And of course I've no idea if Intelligence and Security Service senior managers are members of the First Division Association.

"There are lots of perfectly decent people out there. Some of them are civil serpents."

No doubt. And if I few more in this situation were of that type we would not be having this discussion

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Holmes

AC@13:37

"he people killed on 7/7 were, presumably, the tip of the iceberg of those who WOULD HAVE BEEN killed if we HADN'T spent 500m on intelligence."

First off Mr AC, the draft "Data Communications Bill" has not been implemented yet, so in theory no one has spent that (notional) £500m/yr

And why should anyone presume anything?

"Plotters plan atrocity "Bigger than 7/7" Scream headlines .

No s**t Sherlock. Whoever heard of some bunch of idiots terrorist suspects sitting round talking and saying "We should try to do something maybe 1/2 as big as 7/7" and his mate replying "That's a bit ambitious, but I reckon 20% is possible."

b***ocks. So far no one has What I want to see is the list of arrests and convictions brought about solely by uncontrolled monitoring by the SS.

Because my instinct is that most if not all of those arrests were already in the process due to suspicious purchases, viewing of monitored websites or people in their community reporting them to the Police.

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Unhappy

@Matt Bryant

<assorted stuff too long to quote>

Let me see if I've got you straight.

There is good "Big Government" which keeps you safe from "terrorists" by spying on you, everyone you know and in fact anybody they can 24/7/365. The last organized terrorist incident in the US was 13 years ago. That killed <3000 people. How many bombs has the US failed to prevent killing civilians in Iraq? Rather more I suspect. But they don't count, do they Matt?

And there is bad "Big Government" that (for example) tries to require background checks for anyone buying guns or reduce the capacity of magazines for ammunition. The last mass shooting happened a few moths ago. In a speech President Obama stated there had been 33 mass shootings in the US 1983-2013

Unlike organized terrorist attacks they show no signs of going away.

Do you never see the contradictions in your PoV? Or to paraphrase Upton Sinclair your paycheck depends on you not seeing the contradiction?

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Re: John Smith 19 Re: @Matt Bryant

".....How many bombs has the US failed to prevent killing civilians in Iraq?...." Oh Johnnie, you're so determined to hate you just can't think straight! So your best argument against eavesdropping in Europe and the US is that it doesn't prevent bombings in Iraq? That's beyond lame, it even recognizes the fact that something must be stopping a large number of bombings in the US and Europe and eavesdropping is probably part of that something. And even a cretin like you would know that the security infrastructure in Iraq has been handed back to the Iraqis. Please note the difference - Allied control, including plenty of signint= less bombings; Iraqi control without Allied singint = more. Maybe that's because the Allies stopped sharing as much intel with the Iraqis since they got so cosy with Iran, or maybe it's because the local bombers just got more aware of hiding coms after being so soundly thrashed by the Allies over the years. Either way, your insistence that NSA and GCHQ "failed" because of violence in Iraq outside Allied control is laughable, it just shows how desperate you have become to avoid admitting the facts. Truly an epic and comic fail!

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Re: John Smith 19 @Matt Bryant

<long dense paragraph>

I wondered if you'd pick up on that. My actual point was that that's a real shooting war where real people are dying but why bother spying on them?

" And even a cretin like you would know that the security infrastructure in Iraq has been handed back to the Iraqis. "

Careful boy if you keep up that frothing I'll think you've got rabies. You're already approaching Swivel Eyed Loon status.

That fact you whine on about this item suggests you can't handle the contradiction in your world view very well.

What this surveillance allegedly stops isn't really happening and real causes of US deaths are simply ignored. But one fits you're view of a dangerous world outside your basement and the other does not.

I suspect that better driver training for Americans visiting foreign countries, background checks before all legal gun sales and limiting magazine sizes on all firearms will save more lives than this multi $Bn programme has or ever will.

Remember Mattie once you've got wholesale data collection why not have wholesale detention? As Richleau is alleged to have observed "Give me 6 lines from an honest man and I'll find something to hang him." Due process is such an inconvenient business, eh Mattie?

Does that sound like "freedom" in the "land of the free?"

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How are they using the data?

Like many, I wasn't that surprised by the revelations that US spooks had access to Gmail, Facebook, Amazon, etc. What I'd really like to know is how they are using that data. Is it just the anti-terrorist branch that has access, or is it the IRS, the child support agency (if they have one), and every local police officer? Are the NSA passing on industrial secrets to big companies?

Also, is information gleaned in this way admissible in court? Can the NSA point to your PDF e-book of "How to Make Bombs and Injure People" and use that as evidence that you're a terrorist?

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Re: How are they using the data?

"What I'd really like to know is how they are using that data"

Any way they like. That's the beauty of not officially having it - there's no rules. They can simply search for selfies or they can pass interesting info on to companies that they are planning to ask for non-exec posts with, or they can use it to blackmail people they know personally. There's no rules, so the only limit is their personal sense of honour and decency, both of which are filtered out by the recruitment process.

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Re: How are they using the data?

Do they pass it on to companies vital to the US national interest ?

Do they assist other federal departments ?

Is there scope creep so that the Arkansas office of fishing licenses eventually get access ?

Do large ursine mammals defecate in a the siviculture ?

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It doesn't really matter what you do or don't do online. The US Gov is scanning your snail mail meta-data too. And if you have a house phone, you can count on your telco cooperating with the Gov as well. So if you really thought that "If I'm not doing anything wrong, who cares", you're naive and missing the point. The Gov is using terrorism prevention as an excuse to snoop on everyone's privacy and that's just plain wrong, PERIOD.

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Secret laws

I feel very uncomfortable about talk of secret laws. It goes against all sense of what we have been told our country is all about.

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Meh

Re: Secret laws

hey, it worked well for Venice. its Star Chamber was so effective. Not. Worked well for Tudors. Right up to when everyone got sick of informers and subsequent panics. Nothing new though. A Roman emperor called informers the curse of Rome. About 1st century or early 2nd. As for secret laws, good enough for IP law negotiations, good enough for the peasants then.

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Headmaster

Re: Secret laws

So which country is it that you're claiming is "ours", Tonto?

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Headmaster

Re: Secret laws

it worked well for Venice. its Star Chamber was so effective. Not.

Maybe Venice's Star Chamber would have been more effective if it was in Venice, rather than Westminster.

The court was so called because it met in a room in the old royal Palace of Westminster that had stars painted on the ceiling*. Far from being ineffective, the objection to the Court of Star Chamber was that it was arbitrary, secret and ruthlessly effective. It was abolished in 1640, after a run of about 200 years.

*The palace is long gone, but the ceiling, oddly, survives in a house in Cheshire.

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Re: Secret laws

> It goes against all sense of what we have been told our country is all about.

You country was founded by a bunch of religous nutjobs who wanted to persecute others and execute dangerous radical Quakers.

It then turned terrorist to overthrow the legitimate government

It then started a program of genocide against the indigenous population

It then built it's wealth on slavery

Exactly what were you told your country was all about ?

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FAIL

Re: alain williams Re: Secret laws

"I feel very uncomfortable about talk of secret laws......" Yes, 'cos RIPA was a complete secret, hidden from the public and never debated in Parliament, right? And GCHQ, you have to have signed the OSA in blood to have heard of them!

READ MORE, BLEAT LESS!

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Trollface

Re: alain williams Secret laws

BLEAT LESS!

Good advice. Why don't you just do that?

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Unhappy

Re: alain williams Secret laws

""I feel very uncomfortable about talk of secret laws......" Yes, 'cos RIPA was a complete secret, hidden from the public and never debated in Parliament, right? "

I think the previous poster was talking about the US situation with FISA and their so-called "court."

OTOH You pointed out that RIPA has no jurisdiction over the actions of the SS or GCHQ.

So they are quite literally beyond British law, althouth the fact that most of this information has been collected without any evidence suggests in any other context it would be illegal.

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