Snowden on Allo: It's “Google Surveillance,” so “Don't use” messaging and personal assistant app

Is it indeed true that they’re tracking every child playing Pokemon Go, as depicted in clips from the movie? And is it also true that they’re storing and monitoring every photo taken with Snapchat and Instagram along with the facial recognition tools, also as depicted?

The movie is being a bit sensationalist, but the short answer is yes. They do capture and store all of that data, and then can use it for “reconstruction” whenever they like, a year from now or ten years from now.
Why, got a guilty conscience, or are you just thinking of running for office? :slight_smile:

I think I’d like some documentation on that. There’s a big difference between Snowden’s revelations about wiretapping and email interception and the government literally capturing the data on every Pokeball thrown and Angry Bird tossed – for what reason? Forgive me if I call BS on that brand of extreme paranoia.

Quite frankly, if someone is doing something worthy of being arrested, and you’re saying that the government’s monitoring could find them and stop them if they don’t use Tor to encrypt communications, you’re making a pretty good case for government surveillance.


OH shit… really? Then… there… there is nothing stopping them now, is there?


If they are I say let them as that is pretty fucking big haystack they are making to find needles in. Not sure why they want to work it that way but you know just easier than real intel work.

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But it suggests emojis! Surely that’s worth anything that could be asked of us.

There is indeed a big difference, and I don’t think the movie or my answer implied that to be the case.

And that’s come up as a strong argument for why not, they’re gathering data at a much higher rate than they can sift through it, and they’re finally starting to realize that the false positive correlation rate is orders of magnitude too high to be useful.

Only Eric Schmidt knows the answer to that. :slight_smile:

True, but I believe in Encrypting like everyone is looking. You can’t have perfect security. The complexity of our tools is too high. But if we Encrypt everything from grocery lists to the notes for the revolution, it will be harder for them to target endpoints to compromise.

Right now even though the connections to Google, Facebook and other XMPP style servers is encrypted, the NSA doesn’t care, they compromise Google and have access to all the users. But if every connection is end-to-end encrypted then the number of machines to compromise goes up dramatically. For privacy, we need everyone Encrypting everything they can.

And yes it’s a paranoid arms race with patches and 0days and checksums. But it’s the best tool the people have to protect themselves. And yes metadata and other unencryptable data can still cause problems. But just because it isn’t perfect doesn’t mean we should give up.

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Quite! (And thanks for typing that all up so eloquently!)

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Indeed, how else do you think we’d get to see those occasional dumps of embarassing personal texts from congress critters?

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So does anybody find it amusing that the only source for Signal is, wait for it… the Google apps store? Lol

Where do you get your Android apps?


I’m a little more paranoid than most, I root my devices and rip everything out but the base Android system before even putting a SIM card in. Then I connect it to Wifi without Internet access and watch with a sniffer to see if anything I might have missed tries to phone home. I then copy over known-good copies of AFWall and AppOps via BlueTooth and use them to help nail things down the rest of the way. (If I’m feeling particularly paranoid I’ll also edit the MAC address, EIN etc.) Any data that needs to come over from my old phone is brought via SD card and I use a throwaway phone to download apps I want. (Install app, watch the traffic for awhile, then use APK extractor to BlueTooth it to the clean phone and grant it only the permissions and network access that it actually needs.)

Ironically, I have no need for any of this. Not to mention a state actor could still get in regardless as many radio chipsets are horribly insecure and share memory space with the OS, but some of the work I do requires me to stay on top of what’s possible, plus it’s kind of interesting to see what all the crapware tries to do.

The primary benefit to me is that short of a hardware problem my devices never crash or hang, my data usage is microscopic compared to most, and I measure battery life in days!

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Wow, that’s serious amounts of work. :slight_smile:
I just have multiple phones.


The giant haystack is useless for preventative intelligence, but it works just fine for blackmail. Of anyone and everyone.


But I don’t think it’s paranoia to make the private-public connections, because that is really how our state often operates. There is plenty of historical precedence for this, such as non-profit organizations in the Cold War receiving funding from the CIA, often through shill companies.

The Military-academic-corporate-industrial complex is pretty complicated and often works through various forms of subcontracting. Corporations that are collecting various kinds of data from us as consumers often do cooperate with the state, which is something that Snowden has been instrumental in revealing, I think. He himself was a private contractor, right?

I do think there is also a problem with data we generate being collected by private companies and employed as a way to advertise to us, which is another set of problems, but somewhat related. The way that the government structures infrastructure that the internet (and other forms of mass media) run on isn’t always in the public interest, but in the interest of the economic stakeholders who run on things that should be understood as being public infrastructure. Or you can also look at things like constant expansion of copyright terms, which benefit corporations more than individuals.

But of course Snowden is an Oliver Stone film and he can be a bit paranoid, so if the film itself is overly so, it’s likely down to Stone’s influence.

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Sure, and I think it’s a bit scary how innurred people are getting to the constant, moment-by-moment data collection going on. You check out a website for shoes, and for the next two weeks, your Twitter, Facebook, and website browsing is full of shoe ads. I’ve had weird moments where I’ve said “gee, I like hummus” or something in an email to a friend, and suddenly there’s hummus ads on every website. It’s skating on the edge of constant monitoring.


Agreed. Welcome to the future, I guess! :wink: