Feeds

back to article Snowden docs: NSA building encryption-cracking quantum computer

The latest document stash from whistle-blower Edward Snowden shows that the NSA has budgeted $79.7m for the development of a quantum computer capable of "owning the net." "The Owning the Net (OTN) Project provides the technological means for NSA/CSS to gain access to and securely return high value target communications," one …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge

I'm not an American but I really am curious as to what Americans think about what the NSA is doing on their behalf.

Do they care that so much of their money is being pissed away in such an undemocratic way?

You guys might want to consider how dissimilar the US, Chinese and Russian governments still are regarding both their size, reach and their interference into individuals' daily lives. At least in Russia and China, they are obvious and overt about what they get up to regarding the Internet and for good and bad, they firmly and publicly believe they are doing right.

The NSA would much rather you didn't know anything at all. Makes you kinda wonder if they are ashamed at what they've turned into. They need to be stopped right now, and very publicly.

14
1
Anonymous Coward

You are comparing two whole governments, Russia and China, against a single US spy agency. Try to compare the equivalent agencies for each country and see what you come up with.

"The NSA would much rather you didn't know anything at all. Makes you kinda wonder if they are ashamed at what they've turned into"

I didn't know that other spy agencies around the world were open and transparent to the public. Of course the NSA doesn't want anyone to know what they are doing, they are a SPY agency.

"Do they care that so much of their money is being pissed away in such an undemocratic way?"

I would prefer that the US didn't give money away to support other nations, or pay politicians such a high salary, or spend so much on the military just to have US soldiers end up as the world police. The whole US budget needs to get redone, not just NSA funding.

7
4
Bronze badge

Seized ... not pissed away.

I'm an American (had no choice, really, an accident of birth) and yes, I and many others do care that our money is being pissed away. I'd rather some of it was used to deal with the 80-year-old bridge that connects our island to the mainland before it fails/falls, money that will never be made available for at least another decade.

But we don't get a choice. Nobody asks our opinion. Those decisions are made behind closed doors in D.C. by people on the political dole. Can we choose those people? Not really. Who to vote for, Frick or Frack?

The NSA don't give a good rat's ass about public opinion. Never did, never will. Lies on top of lies atop layers of secrecy and deception. Nobody can touch the NSA; "national security" trumps all, everywhere, everywhen.

Shame? Only that they haven't got the quantum computer to decrypt the entire internet on the fly; that's the shame of it. If it only requires tons of money, they'll have the means soon enough.

As for my village of fellow Americans; we live within the 100-mile zone south of the Canadian border. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents are authorized to seize my cell phone, laptop, and all other information-bearing digital devices, and all notebooks, diaries, and other printed documents without warrant or reason, whether we approach the border or not. Its the law since 9/11. All they require is motive, not justification. So we should get upset at the latest NSA lust for information? Siphoning it off the 'net is perhaps more convenient, but uniformed agents can get the whole kit in one grab.

22
1
Anonymous Coward

I'm not American either, but get real man .... All countries have military and civil intelligence agencies and they all make an extensive use of signal intelligence (capturing, decrypting and tracing network communications). So everyone - not only the yanks - is looking at quantum computing and ways to break into current encryption systems....

The UK for example has spent a sizeable amount in the area .

Besides this has nothing to do with tech, intelligence services are by definition "undemocratic" insofar as they must operate covertly and away from immediate public scrutiny. So the real problem is - and has always been - whether you trust the (democratically elected) government which controls these organisations to act in the best public interest.

Where would YOU go given the choice between north korea (which doesn't have quantum computers and says clearly where it stands) and the "big bad undemocratic" USofA ... I'm ready to bet you would still chose the latter....

8
5
Silver badge

The NSA has got to be a law unto itself. Something like the old KGB which operated independently of the USSR govt.

6
1
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Seized ... not pissed away.

As an American, I agree that there is little choice between the Dems and Republicans on this issue. The House Intelligence Committee is controlled by the Republicans and Mike "Your privacy is not being invaded if you don't know you're being watched" Rogers. The senate intelligence committee is controlled by Democrats and Dianne "We know what the NSA is doing. What?, we've been tapping Angela Merkel's phone for the last 10 years!?" Feinstein is chair.

In one of history's more blatant examples of regulatory capture, both Rogers and Feinstein have rather obviously morphed into protectors and enablers of the intelligence community instead of providing supervision.

And the President is just as bad. Sure, he inherited a lot of these programs from Bush, but he's done nothing to stop them in the last 5 years. Plus he ran as someone who would dial back the snooping in his first term. Campaign promise abandoned!

15
0
Silver badge

> I'm not American either, but get real man

Hell yeah, I wasn't trying to single out the NSA. GCHQ is almost as bad.

The government have legitimate need to protect their country's interests against bad guys home and abroad, I get the general impression that the NSA has seriously both lost the plot and any kind of handle on what excess means. There doesn't appear to be any restraint.

One of the things that these people seriously don't understand is that with living in a free society comes with real risks. Yes, someone could decide to blow up a bus or poison some mail and we all must be vigilant against them. However, even if it is difficult to draw, there is a line that we should not cross. The NSA doesn't even realise that the line is there.

20
0
Silver badge

>You are comparing two whole governments, Russia and China, against a single US spy agency. Try to compare the equivalent agencies for each country and see what you come up with.

Point taken. However, taken together, as an outsider that occasionally has to travel to the US, the Department of Homeland Security, Border Services, the NSA, the gun culture... you live in one seriously scary place.

> I didn't know that other spy agencies around the world were open and transparent to the public. Of course the NSA doesn't want anyone to know what they are doing, they are a SPY agency.

Point taken again. However, my point is about scale and lack of restraint. Russia and China have no pretensions (well realistic ones anyway) about democracy. The US does.

> I would prefer that the US didn't give money away to support other nations, or pay politicians such a high salary, or spend so much on the military just to have US soldiers end up as the world police. The whole US budget needs to get redone, not just NSA funding.

I totally agree. That the US administration is so far in the shit with the national debt (which is still growing by billions each month, despite the fed's taper), they always seem to be able to find the money for these kinds of things.

5
0
Bronze badge

"whether you trust the (democratically elected) government which controls these organisations to act in the best public interest."

Best laugh I've had all day ! No government controls these organisations - when you operate above the law - you do as you please, and we all know what happens when you have absolute power.

8
1

You are wrong in both cases.

NSA did not violate any US laws.

KGB never operated independently of government, and more correctly, Party control.

1
6
Silver badge

> Where would YOU go given the choice between north korea (which doesn't have quantum computers and says clearly where it stands) and the "big bad undemocratic" USofA ... I'm ready to bet you would still chose the latter....

Having to choose between the rock and the hard place is, thankfully, not something that I have to do at the moment. So I respectfully decline to make the choice.

3
2
Bronze badge

And, don't forget how much of that US debt China owns

It is almost ludicrous, hilarious that, while regarding the Chinese government as mortal enemy number one, the USA also regards it as Benefactor Number One, allowing its so-called enemy nearly TOTAL access to the entire country, the etire economy, the debt base, and basically the soundness (and the soundlessness) in the "sanctity" of the US dollar.

Just look at the politicos who'll sell their mother, spouse, or child for a buck. Or two.

They are hypocrites, partially, and scary as hell, partially.

But, what to do? What to do? Don't become loud enough to get put into their crosshairs?

4
1
Silver badge

Never Piss away Advantage for it Presents Supply Chains with Hot Product.

Shame? Only that they haven't got the quantum computer to decrypt the entire internet on the fly; that's the shame of it. If it only requires tons of money, they'll have the means soon enough. … Gray Posted Friday 3rd January 2014 22:10 GMT

And what whenever there is Free Live Virtual Choice in Quantum Communication Control Systems where Everything is Realised and Presented to Posterity for ReCycling with Advanced IntelAIgents with Deep Subtle Enactive Pre Pro Quid pro Quo Engagement …. Steganographically Intense Dialogue for Global Operating Devices Initiation and Float to Markets ….. in that tired Ye Olde Capitaliste Systems Mode/Mirror/Clone/Drone :-) which has ITs Pioneering Spirit hosted here for accesses there where accesses are denied.

Would too great a choice just create Havoc in Mayhem and Madness with CHAOS Drivering Systems. And then the good use to put Such SMARTR Systems to denigrate and eliminate misuse and abuse of CHAOS Drivering Systems Delivering the Paramount Future Deja-Vu with Globalised Capital Assets ReOrganised and ReAssigned and ReAligned.

The future is now to be remembered and/or rendered. But what doth Media and IT Behold and Present? Dumb Down Channels or Red Hot SMARTR Apps? So where is the cool live action at, Yo?

Where might a slim dude hang to capture the mighty breezes? What Heavenly Base or Hellfire Station ?:-) The Perfect Cathouse or the Deadly Dogfight?….. where Dirty Deeds Done are Not Dirt Cheap and Demand for 3D Product is Growing Exponentially.

Which be a sector of Particular and Peculiar Interest to Dark Web Enterprise in Black Watch Ventures.

2
2
Silver badge
Thumb Down

@Slawek

"NSA did not violate any US laws."

Next: "SS doctors did not violate any german laws"

Yeah, one can twist and turn, spin and obfuscate, lie and dissemble and plaster the Big Lie on every board so that anything can be justified "to the letter of the law". But so what? It's just another way of raw power abuse if done by those in charge and of whistling past the graveyard by the others.

tl;dr: Retarded

6
2
Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: @Slawek

In furtherance of which:

The Supreme Court Logic That Could Destroy Privacy in America: It's dangerous for courts to continue adhering to Smith v. Maryland, a decision that was made before the advent of big data.

1
0
Silver badge

As an American I feel I have to point out that what ,in particular, the NSA and, in general, the Government does, while largely in our name, is certainly not on our behalf. If we really knew everything that was being pissed away the voting booths would be literally filled with vomit as folks would would no longer be able to hold their nose and chew it back as they do now.

What it comes down to is goat herding which is a form of job security and it is the reason most things like this have to be done covertly. The basic paradigm is that when secrets get out someone gets thrown under the bus but it's ok because the bus and the ground below it is made of foam rubber. Politicians can't afford to have it known they signed off on all the stupid and illegal things the agencies do lest they get fired next election cycle so when it gets found out they go through the motions of wrist slapping and job shuffling. This gives the impression that the politicians have "done something" to fix the problem without real harm to the scapegoat and this keeps the goat in check with lips firmly sealed to the truth while taking the full weight of the consequences in a patriotic "did it for my country" dookie* dance knowing full well that the density of the bus is akin to aerogel. Usually the fourth estate will do the required bell clanging about how disgraced the goat is in their new job with a lobbyist, which often pays more than the one they lost, and that usually does the required damage control for the people who hand out things like press passes and invitations to special events like press conferences where we hoi polloi aren't allowed because we would ask the wrong questions.

*That's the American English version of dookie and has nothing to do with Oz, Baptists or poker.

2
0
Bronze badge

Strong claims require strong evidence. Nothing that Snowden/Greenwald/Poitras et. al. have released remotely approaches evidence for this claim. Come back when the NSA operates a few dozen forced labor camps in central Alaska.

The truth, depending on one's viewpoint, may be more scary or less. The NSA is an agency within the executive branch of the federal government under laws passed by the US Congress and signed by several Presidents. Its operations are reviewed by agency managers and Defense Department staff. Their legality is reviewed and subject ot approval by the Department of Justice. These operations are among the responsibilities of the Secretary of Defense and Attorney general, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate; and, of course, they ultimately are the President's responsibility. In addition, various aspects of the agency's operations are overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court operating independently of the executive and legislative branches.

So, far from being a law unto itself, the NSA is carrying out a rather large national government program with a great many outside actors fully complicit. That's pretty bad if you think the entire national government is busily constructing a totalitarian regime. It is, on the other hand, quite reassuring if you think that the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary are composed of men and women who, on average, are not greatly different from the population mean in most ways.

2
2
Silver badge
Thumb Down

"It is, on the other hand, quite reassuring if you think that the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary are composed of men and women who, on average, are not greatly different from the population mean in most ways."

Sorry, but I am hardly reassured to think that my privacy and security are being handled by people like that numbskull at the other end of my street.

1
1
Silver badge

So the real problem is - and has always been - whether you trust the (democratically elected) government which controls these organisations to act in the best public interest.

No, the real problem is whether any government, democratically elected or no, can control these organisations. Spy organisations operate in secret, out of necessity. They don't explain everything they do to the government. They operate on a need to know basis with everything. How can you control something when you do not know what they are doing?

Where would YOU go given the choice between north korea (which doesn't have quantum computers and says clearly where it stands) and the "big bad undemocratic" USofA ... I'm ready to bet you would still chose the latter....

Where would you rather live: A slum in India or in captivity in Guantanamo? I'm pretty sure you'd choose the former. It may be a slightly better choice, but that does not mean you would want to live there.

1
1
Silver badge
WTF?

Oh yeah?

"You can't build a business around decrypting."

Woah these grapes must be sour!

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh yeah?

Why ? He's right. There is no sustainable business model in decrypting private comms. It's illegal. You can do it for the govt. but you can only offer your services to one (they don't like to share) so how do you grow your business ? Answer. You can't.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh yeah?

You wouldn't so much be decrypting private comms as recovering encrypted hard drives where the owner simply forgot the password (or didn't realize that using Windows EFS on a removable drive is a BAD THING). People would pay a LOT of money in some cases to recover data.

2
0
Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Oh yeah?

WILL FACTORIZE LARGE NUMBERS FOR A MODERATE SUM. Quick results or money back. Discreteness guaranteed. Please call [NUMBER] to obtain one-time-pad for further communication.

0
0
Bronze badge
Trollface

Re: Oh yeah?

Nonsense! Sure you can. "Are you a CryptoLocker victim too? Have no fear, we can help you! For just half of what THEY were asking...!"

0
0
Bronze badge

Not all darkness

A very nasty threat and one not to be taken lightly.

It does seem as if the NSA, GCHQ and all the other "security" organisations really do see the rest of humanity as a threat and enemy.

As a user of FLOSS software I am concerned but am not in despair. If we have learned anything from the rise of Gnu/Linux and all the other free software projects, it is that no organisation, no matter how large and well funded can compete with the free software world.

The threat is however that governments use all their undoubted powers to stifle the efforts of those seeking to prevent the security apparatus from spying on everyone and everything.

We will develop means to keep these characters at arms length, and it may be that ironically the NSA, GCHQ and others have back-handedly done us all a favour by spurring us to improve the security and robustness of our IT systems.

5
1

Re: Not all darkness

I sincerely hope you're right in your "develop a means to keep these characters at arms length", but I fear that they are already infiltrating every FOSS user group and are contributors to many projects that are central to open source platforms (think git, svn, make variants).

It is extremely difficult to review every patch/change to an application/library. It is probably impossible if the spooox have also changed the underlying source code control systems to allow them to make modifications without detection.

Paranoia is merited - trust me!

3
0

Re: Not all darkness

Ken Thompson proved that you can insert exploits into software without having it appear in the source code. It would be especially easy for open source software.

1
2
Silver badge

Re: Not all darkness

But didn't someone else design a cross-check system to help defend against Thompson's scenario? All you'd need is one known-safe compiler (still possible by using old or unusual hardware) and you could then vet the rest of them.

0
0
Silver badge

No darkness at all in Future Perfect Great Games?

Quite so, Don Mitchell. And IT presents Portals for Entry into Live Operational Virtual Environments with Command and Control of Future Derivative Play.

Do you think GCHQ are into Sterling Intelligence Servering, rather than just the Monitoring and Mentoring of it.

Is that work outsourced offshore/off base piste and provided on a simple need to know basis, by others facilitating actions via thought transference on everyone's behalf.

And here be Global Operating Devices, and AI@ITsWork with C42 Quantum Communication Control Systems BetaTesting AERO Space Systems for Future Fabulous Fabless JOINT AdVentures Immaculately Tailored for Everywhere.

0
2
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Not all darkness

Ken Thompson proved that you can insert exploits into software without having it appear in the source code. It would be especially easy for open source software.

No. It is time to put that stuff to rest.

Countering "Trusting Trust"

It's more likely to have a Bug Of Consequence hidden in plain sight. Plausibly denibale if some takes the time to comb through the code.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Not all darkness

Some of us hope that our governments, in my case the UK gov, do actually have such facilities. But I would not bet on that: I have seen too many accountants and too few techies all over the computer industry.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Not all darkness

I've been pondering this for years.

Lately, it has come back to mind that between infiltration in the past and insinuation of the recent Snowden fallout, I suspect that this quantum encryption cracking is a red herring of sorts. It may be that the NSA and GCHQ and others want real-time access to applications downloads. If not already in play, I really think they will be doing MITM attacks on people's and organizations' downloads of binaries, patches, and templates, to make sure that even if the data is encrypted, there will be unblockable access to machines that are "always on" on the Intranet and Internet.

Since it seems the routers, switches, and hard drives have been LONG compromised, it's a logica next step to ensure that apps are always targeted. I REALLY started thinking about this when first using AOL and other ISPs "installation disks". It really hit home that I began suspecting AT&T and Comcast of wanting keystroke access to (or, at the behest of the NSA and others, enabled access to) hard drives. This hit my mind way back in 1992/1993. And, to think those Lotus cc:Mail division software gurus told me I was crazy when I, as a lowly temp doing data entry, said NOBODY could ever crack a computer via a modem.

When Comcast in 1999-2002 had me as a "customer", they must have been pissed that I refused to connect to their services via their setup disk. I made their tech set me up with HIS laptop, not mine, on one occasion, citing I used Linux and would NEVER voluntarily surf via windoze any more. On another occasion, I had to use one of my computers, but I bluntly told them that after configuring the router via their keystroking disc, I would reformat my computer.

Nowadays, that trick obviously won't work -- WD, Hitachi, Samsung, and the slew of disk makers probably have signed or acquiesced globally to an unmitigable "expose to play" doctrine.

And, to think that now Linux is compromised to a painful extent. And, to ponder all the USA-driven rheotoric about China invading privacy rights of people when in the background, the NSA has been doing it to the WORLD.

Oh, don't let Android off the hook. Ponder how many of those free apps that might be agency sponsored or not, but which quietly compress and return to home every little tidbit of your mind jab into your pocketable devices.

DMZ Earth: Galactic Comedy Central for ALL Spacefaering Primitive-Species-Monitoring Anthropologists.

1
5
Silver badge

Quantum gravy

Since quantum computing is in its infancy (or, more correctly, in its zygotic state) actually building a practical quantum computer is quite likely still a long way off.

However there will be many companies willing to burn up billions of tax dollars having a go.

5
0
Silver badge
Holmes

Re: Quantum gravy

I am nor so sure that it is "far off". The hard problem (i.e. quantum error correction) is in the box. IMHO, there is a good chance of seeing a few hundred entangled qbits happily doing their qbit stuff by the end of the decade, if not a few years earlier.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Quantum gravy

Besides, what if THIS was a cover story to throw people off the idea the NSA ALREADY have the tech (as a black project) and are hiding it say in Utah and are ALREADY churning away? Remember, black projects can be that way because they are so far ahead of known tech that they can be game-changers (like a working stealth fighter).

1
1
Bronze badge

Re: Quantum gravy

there is a good chance of seeing a few hundred entangled qbits happily doing their qbit stuff by the end of the decade

That'd be irrelevant to practical cryptanalysis. When they have several thousand qbits working reliably, then we'll have to start worrying about RSA key lengths.

0
0
Big Brother

Who'll be using it

It will be all right unless all this computing power falls in to the hands of people we can't trust.

Oh, hang on a minute .........

5
1
Bronze badge

Re: Who'll be using it

But do you think you could do better if you were elected and then came under the pressure that all politicians face?

Or do you just cop out and say that's not your job, it is for somebody else? That would be a poor attitude in a democracy where politics should be open to a wide range of people.

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

I'd rather have quantum computing solving for encryption keys...

Than all these vulnerabilities that are being inserted into IT by the NSA and its peers. At least with quantum computing we get some other benefits.

Still, scary stuff ahead

1
0
Silver badge

I see all this publicity about NSA spying & Snowden's releases a good thing, it will help promote European Clouds, and private clouds.

It will help funding for better encryption research, maybe even get quantum encryption solved! Although I can't see how they can do end to end quantum encryption...

it may even push the public into realising that the web is not private... unlikely but possible...

And maybe Theresa May might realise that a snoopers charter is NOT acceptable, although I doubt she has the intelligence to realise that...

5
1
Silver badge
WTF?

Yawn.

Oh, so that was today's Snowdope scare story? Sorry, I nearly fell asleep whilst the sheeple desperately tried to inject some paranoia into yet another very obvious story.

And who benefits from all this decryption research? Well, just about all of us, actually. Where do you think the computing industry would have been without the money thrown at it by the military and governments? What do you think the Bombe was built for, calculating weather patterns? Like countless other inventions that got massively accelerated by military research money (radar, radio, aeronautics, satellite tech, even weather science and medicine - all advanced by military research), the benefits of the US (and other governments) ploughing money into such research is that it will fund civilian development too. In twenty years time, when quantum computers will probably be in data centres of many companies and universities, it will be because of the cutting edge being funded by such military research grants.

2
22
Silver badge

Re: Yawn.

> What do you think the Bombe was built for, calculating weather patterns?

Erm, well saving us from the Nazis in a time of world war. Are you trying to draw some parallel here?

Exactly what war is the US waging (BTW, intangible "terrorists" don't count any more than "commies" used to)?

Besides, if NASA was doing this, I think we would all be a lot less worried. You can bet your bottom dollar that any research of this kind sponsored by the NSA will not make it out officially to the business community.

A lot of our key technology was developed by necessity in desperate times. The only desperation the US should be addressing at the moment is their economic strife and (what is it now) 17 trillion in debt.

12
1

An Ellsberg or a Rosenberg?

It is obvious that the NSA would investigate quantum computing, since code breaking is a major part of their charter and history. I'm sure the British and Russians are doing the same.

This latest leak is not a case of "whistleblowing". Snowden has revealed activities that bring up important 4th amendment issues, but he also indiscriminately leaked secret information about legal and sensitive activities of the NSA. Thus many of my American friends have questions about his character.

I consider Daniel Ellsberg to be a hero, while I consider Julius Rosenberg to be a traitor. Snowden is probably at neither end of that range, but time will tell where he falls on it.

1
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: Yawn.

Yeah Matt, thank you for statist tax-and-spend, war-is-a-force-that-gives-us-tech message.

Sorry, I nearly fell asleep whilst the sheeple desperately tried to inject some paranoia into yet another very obvious story.

Not enough to post random drivel, apparently. Don't you have the latest HP failure to defend?

4
1
Bronze badge

Re: Yawn.

EXACTLY!

The US multi-multi-trillion dollar debt (owned by China) is the USA's real number one enemy.

House of cards?

0
1
Bronze badge

@ skelband

Speaking personally, and for no one BUT myself, I have to admit to a certain amount of ambivalence re: the NSA.

Do I think that what they are doing is always right? No.

Do I think that what they are doing is always wrong? No.

Would I rather that I be able to do what I want, when and where I want, without having someone looking over my shoulder to make sure that it is "approved"? Hell, yes.

Do I believe that other international actors are working on the same projects and towards the same capabilities that the NSA is? Yes, certainly.

Do I think that SOMEONE is going to accomplish those goals eventually? Yes, certainly.

Do I believe that, e.g., the Russian and Chinese security agencies' visible actions against openness online are all that they are ACTUALLY doing? No, certainly not.

Do the Snowden leaks indicate that the U.S. is the only international actor trying to suborn the 'net for its own purposes? Almost certainly not. They may only indicate an inherent weakness in using contract workers, or that the U.S. is less efficient at keeping its electronic warfare "troops" under its thumb. It may simply mean that government employees in THIS country believe that they can get away with revealing secrets embarrassing to their employer without getting an intimate introduction to an umbrella-load of Polonium.

Would I rather that, if SOMEONE is going to attain the same goals that the NSA is seeking, it be someone who is (at least nominally) looking out for my interests and (nominally) under the control of people that I (nominally) have some voice in choosing, rather than someone who is somewhere that I have zero chance of getting to and who has ABSOLUTELY no accountability to me? In all honesty, I have to say yes.

Do I believe that whomever gets the technology first will hold a permanent monopoly on it? Not really -- Whatever international player gets it first will have a very temporary advantage, but for that short window, I would rather that the advantage lay with a more-or-less democratic state than with a more-or-less autocratic one since I firmly believe that, in the long run, the inherent stresses in a more-or-less democratic state keep it from doing as much damage as quickly as a more-or-less autocratic one.

I don't know if that clears anything up for you, but there it is.

5
2
Silver badge

Re: @ skelband

Interesting response, but:

> Would I rather that, if SOMEONE is going to attain the same goals that the NSA is seeking, it be someone who is (at least nominally) looking out for my interests and (nominally) under the control of people that I (nominally) have some voice in choosing, rather than someone who is somewhere that I have zero chance of getting to and who has ABSOLUTELY no accountability to me? In all honesty, I have to say yes.

I rather suspect that, at least in the case of the NSA, you don't. That the majority of your elected representatives don't know what the NSA is up to makes me even less likely to think that the US public have any more influence over the NSA than they do.

In any case, Internet encryption is a race that nobody can ultimately win. Million bit encryption is only limited by the CPU power required to implement it, and we will see it in the near future.

DARPA and NASA are great agencies out of which a metric shitload of publicly funded technology has originated. That the NSA is looking for this stuff and funding it themselves, I seriously doubt that anyone else will legitimately get a look in any time soon, so in what way will these advances help the American people and their economy long term?

1
1
Gold badge
Meh

Re: @ Mike Moyle

So TL:DR version of what you're saying.

I'd rather have all my privacy taken away from me by my government that someone else's.

Or for the really condensed version.

America Uber Alles.

Let me suggest another view.

No one Uber Alles.

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: @ Mike Moyle

"Or for the really condensed version.

America Uber Alles."

So noice to hear from you again, Mr. Godwin how have you been lately?

"Let me suggest another view.

No one Uber Alles."

Good plan.

Now make it happen.

Oh, you can't...?

Well then, as a GOAL, I strongly approve of it, but as an immediate strategy -- until you manage to convince a lot of autocratic international actors who believe that EVERYONE should live by their political/ideological/religious system to live and let live -- it sucks donkey balls. As the man said; the lion may lie down with the lamb, but the smart money says that only the lion is likely to get up again.

Come back when everyone starts acting like lambs and we'll discuss your proposal again.

1
1
Gold badge
Gimp

Anyone remember "Freedom is the right to be uncomfortable."

And in the worst case dead.

Who are they really "protecting" by this lust for total survaillance?

Freedom? As long as you don't question anything or deviate from the party line.

Democracy? Doesn't seem like it.

Privacy? F**k no.

Surveillance without cause --> Imprisonment without trial.

9
1

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.