Does Snowden really meet 'boffin' status qualifying criteria?
Yahoo! has launched a fresh bid to reveal the top secret workings of the US surveillance state and prove it did not voluntarily hand over its customer's data to NSA spooks. The Purple Palace wants to lift a seal on a 2008 court case in which the firm "strenuously objected" to the National Security Agency's requests for its …
It doesn't have to be someone in Yahoo. I mean, everyone knows that companies can be hacked. What happens if someone now hacks into Yahoo, steals the document and shows it to the public? I mean it wouldn't be Yahoo's fault; even the NSA, DoD, CIA, FBI, etc. have seen people steal their docs, and secrecy is their business.
Just for Charles Calthrop, I've gathered all the plings here:
Public courts are one of the mainstays of democracy. Each of the 3 pillars (Judiciary, Legislative, Executive) need to be accountable to the people, therefore as much as possible of their workings should be public.
Judiciary = public hearings, open access courthouses, availability of court documents
Legislative = public access to parliament, publicly available draft laws / white papers, public knowledge of who is contributing more than a certain amount to political parties or politicians campaigns
Executive = proper Freedom of Information and Whistleblower protection
Lady Marissa, Yahoo's blonde bombshell of a CEO, chained herself naked to the doors of the server room of Yahoo! to bar the NSA from entering. She courageously confronted the thousands of male NSA agents who began to swarm onto the scene shortly afterwards, a clear case of use of excessive force by the US government*, saying: "Yoo! shall! not! pass!". Several male IT workers who happened to be looking on had to be taken to hospital after becoming overwhelmed by the braveness of their leader**.
* Some conspiracy theorists then claimed that their presence had an ulterior motive
** No, really
In the name of "Security" and the fight against "Terrorism" y'all have given away that freedom. Right now someone at the NSA is filing away the fact that you spoke to your mistress this afternoon to arrange a secret rendezvous. When they need to they will whip out that information and use it to force you to do their evil for them. Big Brother is IN DA HOUSE!
Facebook, Microsoft and Google all want to reassure customers around the world that they didn't simply allows spooks to have unfettered access to their servers, but only responded to specific requests.
If Snowden's latest revelations regarding Hotmail are true, then Microsoft not only allowed spooks to have unfettered access to their servers, but they actually wrote the code to facilitate that.
I'm quite sure that the other companies will have done the same.
This is not a dig at Microsoft, or Google or Facebook, btw, if the government of their country leans on them, there's very little that they can do but comply.
However, it just shows that the government's protestations about oversight and due process are complete bollocks.
It may be that this access to monitor us non-US people is a legal requirement and that Yahoo, Microsoft, etc had no choice. However, fortunately for us, using Yahoo, Microsoft, etc is not a legal requirement. We can take our business to companies which are not US-based and do not have to follow US law.
There may not be many of them so far, but this will encourage a lot of non-US competitors to spring up.
Every CIO I know already understood the risks of storing data in the cloud, outside their control and even outside their legal remit, but was under pressure from their CEO and CFO to do it for cost reasons. This whole scandal will give them ammunition to fight, or at least to use a local competitor (who may be more expensive but at least is in the same legal jurisdiction).
The impact to the campaign contributions from major US companies seeing loss of international business may well be an interesting factor.
Sorry, but the only way to prevent your data from being slurped is to keep it in-house and pray that you don't come to the attention of *any* government's penetration teams. Data is being slurped in transit, not just at rest in some server somewhere in the cloud. End-to-end encryption *may* prevent the actual data, rather than just the so-called meta-data, if you can set it up and you can trust not only the sanctity of your keys as well as the system on the other end of the connection. Of course, that also requires insuring that all the other ways of getting at your information aren't occurring (MITM, CA and we know the government has access to some really good CA's, etc.).
Would *I* trust the cloud? Measurably less than my own IT. However, having spent some time around NSA's people and equipment (as I was their last hope to fix their equipment) I won't swear about my systems and I'm absolutely a paranoid/control-freak. My systems are constantly asking permissions.
I've reached the point where I'm entertaining a counter-offer. I give the NSA/FBI/CIA 24/7/365.2495 permission to everything here if they'll keep my backups ready. Be even more awesome if they let me spin up a temporary virtual instance in the event of disaster. Come to think of it, $4 billion for the two data-centers, if they give us this, would be dirt cheap DR for the World!
After that train of thought, I definitely need a few pints.
It is based on precedent, which means previous decisions are automatically taken as correct unless they are directly challenged. It is very rare for a case under the Justinian system to be allowed to question the laws which govern the case which is in question, oddly enough. Oh, and yes, our justice system is in fact named after a roman emperor.
Thirty years from now Americans may have a lot more to fear from big brother than from Al-Quida. Snowden may well be remembered as one of the first Americans to sacrifice his freedom and safety (and possibly even his life) to warn the rest of us about what the future will be like if we do nothing to prevent it.
It is very likely we will enjoy no more personal freedom in America's future than in many countries we consider oppressive today.
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