A petition to demand accountability from the NSA

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/24/a-good-american.html


Step one: put your name on a list of people who oppose the NSA
Step two: give that list to the NSA
Step three:


Step 3: Profit!


Yea, this sure seems like a great place to leave harmless comments that don’t imply any discontent with the Way Things Are.

I, for one, am very pleased with the way things are going.


I was gonna say Step 3: Collect Underpants

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Well, petition deepens the precedent that the NSA is the one truly making the decision whether or not to be accountable. While demand asserts that the NSA has a definite obligation to comply. A yet stronger position would be an ultimatum, to demand accountability with an outline of specific consequences they are subject to if they fail or refuse to recognize that they are accountable.

A “petition to demand” is not really a thing. It is an embarrassing and unstrategic admission of political impotence.



note, you can skip step 2.


This seems like an appropriate spot to repost this:

















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Even stronger would be to make our employees in Congress and the White House do their jobs. The NSA is an organization of technicians who theoretically answer to legislators. Until such time as they defy instructions from those legislators, it doesn’t make sense to petition them to do anything. Now, if our elected leaders tell them to cut back on surveillance, and they don’t, that’s the point they stepped over the line and it is time to more actively reign them in. Carter did this with the CIA and started to do with the NSA before Reagan came in and reversed everything:


Yep, petitions don’t demand shit. They ask politely, while getting pissed in the face.

The time for asking politely is long gone, if there ever was one.


Not even proper 'Chaners but /pol/ Chaners!

At least /b/tards have a sense of humour (as warped as it maybe). /pol/ is where those that couldn’t take /b/ go, so any criticism from them is mostly pure projection.

I don’t see the point in investigating a routine yet bad decision from 16 years ago. Investigating the deporable witchhunt of the whistleblowers afterward might have some merit in protecting whistleblowers, but even that trail is cold.

If the goal is more accounability in NSA decision-making, then demanding more accountability without carefully definiing accountability will backfire. The federal bureaucracy has a different definition of accountability. Real accountability means demonstrating how the decisions will serve the purpose of the agency and avoid waste and abuse. Bureaucratic accountability means setting up goals, having the goals reviewed, following the procedure created for achieving those goals, and following regulations about personnel and procurement.

Big regulated projects, such as TRAILBLAZER, are better at bureaucratic accountability than small flexible projects designed to grow, such as THINTHREAD. After a goal-based big project makes its set of promises, it can follow procedures and keep spending money until the project succeeds or fails. An experience-based project starts small and proves its capabilities at each growth step. It finishes one promise before making the next one. Unfortunately, bureaucratic accountability wants all the promises in advance so that it can create the prodecures to follow in advance.

Honestly, I’m not the least bit surprised that Refuse Fascism has poor security practices. They are just the latest front group to feed new recruits to RCP. There hasn’t been a movement on the left for the past few decades that they didn’t try to co-opt.

The federal bureaucracy has a different definition of accountability. Real accountability means demonstrating how the decisions will serve the purpose of the agency and avoid waste and abuse.

Too bad we are not giving them the autonomy to decide their own purpose. Accountability means direct public oversight, because without that, they can no longer claim any legitimacy.

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