Join the largest online protest since SOPA to stop NSA spying

You’d prefer submission? Are we being uppity?


Aaand this will solve nothing,

Need to start looking at the old ways of deposing kings, people, because this is what they see themselves as.

Uppity? Absolutely not. It’s 100% correct to be offended by what the NSA is doing. It’s just 100% cooler to do something about it other than yell online.

BEING the victim when you can fight back - defaulted game.

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So wait - basically I say to you “Hey, look! There’s an option!” and right away you tell me that I’m blaming the victim? And that it will solve nothing and that I prefer submission? I just showed you how to fight back. :slight_smile:

No. You said “you fools, use encryption, or stop complaining.” That’s not how it works. That’s why you’re being eyed as if your hair was bright pink and conical.


Well, that’s the way people took it, at least. :slight_smile: I’m well aware of the political climate of Boing Boing, and one might wonder why someone such as myself would read it every day… and the answer would be that no matter how libertarian I may lean, this site is chock full of Good Stuff. I wouldn’t call the good people in this community fools, because they’re clearly not. But I’ll be just as forceful with my opinions as everyone else is here with theirs - and I will assume that the people here are as civilized about discussions as I am. I’m no troll - but I do find it interesting that the moment I said something outside this board’s current zeitgeist, I got shot at. And I do believe in what I said - you can complain, or you can do something - yourself - about it. I personally believe in doing something about it myself quietly instead of gathering in a big group and screaming about it… and maybe that’s how I should have started my entry into this conversation. So what we have here is a matter of taste - I firmly believe that 1000 people taking their privacy into their own hands, no matter what the personal inconvenience or cost, is more effective than 2 million people hearing 1 million people yell about it into the ether. Aether? Æther? Interspace? Cyberspace?

At least the NSA is sure to hear you. :slight_smile:

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Do you consider what might happen to you, and / or your family, should any agency with access to the information, now or in future, take umbrage with guitars and John Denver supporters?

They have your data, they may not be interested now, but it’s categorised and filed. Ready for recall.

Makes me a little sick in the stomach, the thought of that.

I’ve thought for a long time that we need a new Internet… based on a standard of personally-generated high encryption, with non-commercial, participant-based hardware and routing. So even if an eavesdropper became a node, or infiltrated many nodes, they’d always have the encryption to contend with, as a rule. Rather than how it is now; high security is the exception and low security is the rule that all the eavesdroppers count on, and commercial sites rely upon to ply their wares. There IS a different way… we just have to reach out and grab it.

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You’re more-or-less arguing against “boingboing zeitgeist” strawmen and, as has been noted, blaming the victims (that being every human and mutant).

Part of your point is that people are stupid if they don’t realize that things they send over the internet in plain text can and will be intercepted by the government and/or criminals, divorce lawyers, and other unsavory types.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that we can and should use encryption when possible. I know that many of us already do, anyway. This does some small amount of good, I guess; mainly it protects our own interests.

The difference in opinion comes after that part - you seem to be arguing that we should stop there and not bother doing anything else. Complaining on the internet doesn’t accomplish much, perhaps, but if nothing else it’s one way to educate and inform more of those stupid people - people who may then decide to use encryption themselves, and tell their friends to.

But more than that, we like to complain because the country belongs to we the people, and it’s now doing something that the majority doesn’t agree with. We fundamentally should not need to protect ourselves from our own government. It’s un-american (as nebulous a concept as that may be). And then you blame people for not protecting themselves - do you see the problem? You can’t even blame people for allowing the government to do it - not even republicans - because it’s something that happened in secret, without our consent, and with the support of politicians of every stripe.

Yet as you point out, we’re essentially powerless at the moment to do anything. Submitting and subversively avoiding the issue may be an effective thing to do in some regimes, but we’re at a point in the US where we’re still free enough that doing that would be counterproductive. It’d let them take more and more power.

We can change things. The tide is turning. Complaining on the internet isn’t going to do it, but it’s a start and may be the most effective thing some people are able to do. Having a defeatist and blame-seeking attitude like yours certainly won’t help.

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Your post misses a number of key points. Personally, I’m actually not terribly offended by the type and scope of the data being collected. In this regard, my viewpoint is probably different than many other commenters/readers/the general public. I’ve long given up on maintaining any online privacy, and am willing to trade privacy for the combination of price and convenience offered by the services I use. While more comprehensive in scope, I don’t view the NSA-collected data as terribly different than what’s collected by private companies in content. The process and content is besides the point to me, and I’ll outline why:

  1. In my opinion, the PRISM program is a gross violation of the 4th amendment. I can’t imagine any interpretation of the constitution where the NSA’s data collection practices isn’t considered illegal.
  2. The actual legal arguments justifying the NSA’s practices are secret. There is no accountability for policy decisions effecting all American citizens. Even for those that believe that our political system is not broken, any democracy is built on a foundation of accountability of its leaders to an electorate capable of making informed decisions. Secretly drafted and/or interpreted policy is, in my opinion, the antithesis of this foundational principle.
  3. The Director of the NSA either purposefully lied to members of Congress and the American people, or is so grossly incompetent that he was unable to give the correct answer to this simple question:

Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds
of millions of Americans?
I think we can safely assume that a 4-star general with 4 Masters degrees wasn’t confused by such a simple question and committed perjury. I will be shocked if he faces any legal or professional consequence for committing a felony.

  1. It’s impossible to design a system from the data that is failsafe against false positives. Innocent people have been kidnapped, incarcerated, tortured and killed- without due process- as a result of false positives.

While I agree that anyone concerned about their privacy should probably encrypt their data (though if there’s any organization designed to break encryption, it’s the NSA), your viewpoint chooses to do nothing about the gross miscarriage of law, justice, and democratic principles in favor of (possibly) just protecting your own privacy.


Well, that’s just like, your opinion, man

You really don’t get it, do you?

For one thing, it’s impractical. NSA-grade security (I mean against the NSA, of course) is very hard to do and you’d have to help all your friends and family to bringt them up. And only one of them need to be compromised - by a state sponsored Trojan on his computer, for example and the jig is up. PGP will also not protect you Americans from the gathering of metadata.

False analogy. While normal e-mail, telephone and the like don’t have the best security, it’s still not public. It takes quite a bit or work and equipment to intercept those. But that’s also besides the point. Many, if not most, of those who are enraged,are indeed of the “nothing to hide” group of people. If you take the group of all people who are being checked, it’s overwhelmingly large. Because terrorists - even if we count all dangerous criminals - are still only a tiny, tiny fraction of the population.

However, a state which monitors all his people whereabouts - that’s a sign of a police state. A major one, even. Yes, it may be a benevolent police state where the elected politicians have the best intentions, but once it’s there, it’s hard to get rid of and they tend to degenerate.

Because that would be pointless. Communication and web service and cloud providers are in cohort with the surveillance system. Partly voluntarily, partly involuntarily, forced and protected by secrets pacts processed by secret courts.

See above. Also, quantity has a quality of its own.

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Since when? Gossip has been around since man developed language and most gossips are people we know and trust.

You are arguing:

  1. The US Constitution applies to US citizens
  2. US citizens are part of the world

∴ The US Constitution applies to the world (false)

Do you see the problem with your logic?

The NSA, CIA, and FBI have been reigned in after post war domestic spying before. We’ve passed, used, and then repealed horribly abusive sedition and espionage laws in the wake of previous wars. We’ve violated habeas corpus and attacked the free press and then fixed it. Hell, we shipped thousands upon thousands of Japanese Americans off to prison camps for a decade during WWII.

Contrary to all the “unprecedented X” comments, we’ve fucked all of this stuff up before. And contrary all the defeatist talk of them “never giving up power”, we’ve always fixed this sort of stuff. We have a long record of screwing up and overreacting to war and social upheaval, but we also have a long record of eventually fixing it.

The “War on Terror” needs to end, ie. the AUMF needs to be repealed. The Patriot Act needs to be repealed. The FISA expansions we’ve passed since 9/11 needs to be rolled back. And the NSA needs to be reminded once again that they spy on other countries, not our’s.

These are all really concrete steps. Congress is responsible for them. We vote for members of congress. We elect people who will do these things.

Given time, and hard work, and political pressure on the people responsible for giving us these laws, they will get fixed, just like every other time we’ve gotten all panicky after a war.


The insertion of the term ‘gossip’ into this conversation is a weak red herring and a conversation ender. Goodbye.

The post I replied to said that referring to spying on the world as being unconstitutional didn’t make sense because the US Constitution only applies to US citizens. Before Edward Snowden, people pretty much assumed US agencies spied on other countries. The NSA however is not supposed to spy on Americans. But the information revealed by Snowden about PRISM is that they do spy on Americans. My point being that:

  1. Americans are part of the world
  2. The NSA spying on Americans is against the US Constitution

Therefore, spying on the world’s internet users is unconstitutional.

Thank you. My thoughts exactly.

I only pray that you don’t take an IQ test that has the “every jork” and “some neebles” type question.

I think there is a reasonable probability that there is a NATO wide intelligence collaboration given that NATO was invoked in the initial response to 9/11 and heavily involved in Afghanistan. If everyone is in on it, it would partially explain why Snowden is having a hard time finding someone to take him in.

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