Snowden broke a nondisclosure EULA in order to uphold his Constitutional oath

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I worked a while at the IRS; we had the very same oath. If you’re the kind to take those things seriously, it’s kind of cool.

I have argued that we need a new declension for oath.

We are being deceived by the English language.

The plural of oath should not be oaths.

1 oath produces devotion.
2 oaths create division.
3 oaths foster delusion.

A dutiful person faced with conflicting oaths can only see damnation.

A creative person presented with conflicting oaths can find unlimited opportunities for justification.

Good analysts are almost infinitely creative. When Snowden was presented with a conflict between his oath to defend the Constitution and his oath to protect government secrets, he found a new path of duty and loyalty.

So, our path forward should include a new declension for oath:

I took a single oath.
She uttered two divisions.
He swore multiple delusions :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

So classified documents come shrink wrapped with a license agreement that most readers choose to ignore? Cool.


Surely, surely Cory Doctorow is well versed enough in legal terms to know the difference between an NDA and an EULA, right? Surely he understands that Snowden didn’t purchase a piece of software and wasn’t then asked to abide by a license agreement, right? Surely Doctorow is smart enough to understand this, right?

Surely you know of this concept called “rhetoric” and the commonly use term, “rhetorical point.” By calling it a “EULA,” @doctorow is surely doing so for rhetorical value (surely!).


Great, Foggen. So tell me, how does the critical distinction between “signed an NDA regarding state secrets,” and “took an oath to uphold the US constitution” play out when these two different kinds of commitments conflict? Does Doctorow provide an analysis of that distinction and conflict? Or is your reception hamstrung by his drawing a glib comparison between an NDA and a EULA?


The constitution should be the base and limit for all state secrets. It’s a matter of conscience and shouldn’t be done without thinking hard about it - but if one is sure the own work is not within the bounderies of the constitution the NDA is null and void.

This has consequences (see Snowden) but can still be a legitimate way.

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When the entire point of your post is to draw a fine distinction between an “oath” and a “nondisclosure agreement”, glibly throwing around the term “EULA” to belittle the latter is lazy and counterproductive, and it makes you look like an asshole.

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Yes he is. And don’t call me Shirley.


Would you say that you’re disappointed in Boing Boing (or Cory)?


So: no, then.

not needed anymore, @doctorow wrote about this 4 minutes later…


The distinction was made by Snowden when he spoke to Tyson, and it was clear then. Doctorow basically reiterated the same distinction, pasted in a transcript of Snowden’s commentary, and added the term EULA in his reiteration and in the clickbait headline. All he had to do was present the point clearly, and instead he decided to muddy the waters because it reminded him of one of his favorite axes to grind.


Hey, @othermike, one for the list.


It’s a trap! Don’t fall for it!


You know, I’d say this was an important part of functional literacy. Exposure to it generally happens in English classes. Sometimes it’s even used in sarcasm.

But I’ve since learned that not everyone pays attention to (and thus fail to appreciate) all the cool shit you can do with language.

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Don’t look at me. I have an MA in Humanities with a Philosophy concentration. I’ve had to read my Classics and dead white dudes. I knowz Rhetorics.