Merkel compares NSA to Stasi


What is weirdest, and perhaps most telling, is that she complains both that the NSA is like the secret police in an authoritarian state, and that it isn’t very good at it.

The German chancellor also told the US president that America’s National Security Agency cannot be trusted because of the volume of material it had allowed to leak to the whistleblower Edward Snowden, according to the New York Times.

None of them are very good at it in the long run. They have to rely on people telling on eachother, and ultimately, when everyone figures out that when you tell, you get found out, and someone tells on you, till 20% of the population disappears, and the rest clam up and follow the rules, while 2% set up a revolution of some sort of another.

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Actually, this is part of what’s bothering me. I’ve been told in the past that the Stasi, and other secret police that engaged in mass surveillance, ended up gathering enormous amounts of information – so much that they couldn’t analyze it in any meaningful way.

I’m worried that many activists are wasting enormous amounts of time and energy worrying about possible surveillance, and trying to counter it with hard-to-use anonymity and encryption software, and that this ends up isolating activists and inhibiting political movements.

In fact, I wonder if that’s the real point of what the NSA is doing. Do you remember Total Information Awareness, and the IAO’s cartoonishly threatening logo? At the time, I couldn’t help but wonder if they were just trolling us. Maybe that is what’s going on.

Information Awareness Office logo

Well, the thing I’m concerned with is the Orwellian potential - whether they can routinely analyse the data or not, they can access it as a special project and isolate types - i.e. all Chinese people in the US. That kind of thing isn’t too tough (he says witlessly), and would allow rapid subjugation of a given portion of society.

So the live stuff, I’m not too worried about personally (what do I do online? Not much), but it’s the potential for ongoing abuse.

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