Writers against mass surveillance


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I agree with the aims of this petition, though I am more concerned with government secrecy than government surveillance. If there is transparency, freedom of information and due process, then we can curb the worst abuses at the ballot box.

We also have to take privacy into our own hands. If we choose service providers with encryption by default enabled, end-to-end internal encryption and client-side key storage then we can keep both government AND criminal actors at bay.

One nitpick: we should distinguish democracy from human rights. There are plenty of historical democratic governments that had no enshrined right to privacy. It is when the government acts on that information to persecute political opponents that democracy itself is harmed.

Gprimosch, how do you think surveillance is done, planned and discussed? Transparently, in the bright light of day?

Surveillance and secrecy are sister and brother. If I were you, I think I’d be concerned about both of them, or not concerned at all.

Technically speaking surveillance that is not in accord with a trial / subpoena is unconstitutional (per the 4th constitutional amendment - Bill of Rights, December 15, 1791). In layman terms, the Bill of Rights prohibits unreasonable searches and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. There will always be fear and terrorism, that is not justification.

I do not really understand why there is a discussion concerning this. It is wrong; period.


Transparently, in the bright light of day?

That is my point. Attack secrecy, and inappropriate surveillance withers. Force them to get non-rubber-stamped warrants and require all decisions to be open to FOIA requests in 10 years and they will be much more circumspect about what they go after. I am not unconcerned about surveillance dragnets, I just believe that the focus should be on transparency. We shouldn’t need a Snowden to know what the government is up to.


The design of the Bill of Rights is specific for a reason; No 4th amendment. No rights for an American Citizen. No America.

If you think that one American Citizen will be able to control him or her selves from involving their ego, let alone a group influenced by economics, you are dearly mistaken. Unfortunately just like most of Americans.

Some Americans think that the 2nd amendment is for hunting, when in fact its’ designed for self defense from foreign as well as domestic threats. In my opinion, there shouldn’t be some paper with signatures, there should be 1 million of us marching in D.C. who want our freedom. Though unrestful as that thought may be, everyone reading this knows I am right.


And within minutes, news of abuse by one American citizen thinking he alone can be above another american citizen. The 4th Amendment is there for a reason. Use it to defend yourselves. We are all kings, sovereign, and citizens of the United States of America; Not people to be herded, for the production of a corporation.

Wake up Boingers.

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If they want my name and location? If they want to know what I’m up to? Fine, then let it be here, on this petition!

True story! Just, don’t confuse the government with us or the country, k? The .gov bites. I know everybody here trashes on each other’s preferred politics, ad nauseam (yours truly included).
But still - Muricans. We all still jump in together if it gets down to it…that’s kinda what allowed this present mess to flourish in the first place. Jake’s right - they’re freaking traitors who sold us all out. The fact that they give away our rights and use your government for cover offshore is no excuse. The fact that we aren’t at war with you guys is also no excuse. They acted against us, in cahoots with another nation. That’s treasonous.

Probably not unlike Ozzies, in that regard. You guys’re still Commonwealth and can’t claim clean hands either, really. You got sold out, too. Would be nice to see you guys raise some hell about this mess with your government, too.

The dragnet approach (this is actually an outdated allegory that appears to be an euphemism) is mutually exclusive with transparency.

If just about everything is stored for later processing, there can’t be any transparency, no matter in how much lipstick we marinade the pig in.

O RLY? When did that last happen?

Don’t hold your breath. We’re pretty heavily brainwashed over here too.

Bummer. Not seeing much reaction at all, or people defending this nonsense, or what?
(Not looking for news articles - just your own opinion of what you’re seeing.)

Well, just like anywhere else (I imagine), the mass media becomes more vacuous and inane with each passing year, and the general trend everywhere seems to be that the more important a subject, the fewer people are talking about it…

I’m not actually sure to what extent this is being ignored, between completely, and almost completely - I can’t bear to witness the filth served up as ‘news’ anymore. Just a few weeks ago we had the Melbourne Cup on, AKA The Horse Race That Stops a Nation (sheesh - we even have a public holiday for it in Victoria), in which a horse broke a leg and had to be discreetly shot behind some screens on the racetrack…

…And just for shits and giggles, I figured I’d endure the news on the day, the entirety of which was given over to fawning over inconsequentialities such as colourful racing personalities and the hats and frocks of their trophies and so forth… and of course, in the entire half hour (or was it an hour? Felt like it) the unfortunate horse naturally did not rate a mention.

So if you think something’s a little off there, I’d say yes, there is indeed - and it’s the tip of the iceberg.

Do you get the feeling that it comes a kind of quid pro quo wth the government and reporters, then? That’s pretty much the feeling I get here, anyway, Displease the powers-that-be, and you get cut out of the loop…

Last time I ever saw my dad, he was on his way to the Melbourne Cup. I guess for fans of the ponies, that’s one big deal and worthy of a trans-Pacific flight. There are big races here of course, but they don’t really get that kind of coverage. Here, it’s more like…if anything important is happening in the world, you’d best hope a royal baby doesn’t hiccup in the UK that same day, or everything you actually wanted to see will be interrupted all day long over it. A wedding? Forget it for the entire week. (I don’t watch commercial tv or follow network news for that, among other, reasons.)

[quote=“AliceWeir, post:18, topic:16109, full:true”]
Do you get the feeling that it comes a kind of quid pro quo wth the government and reporters, then?[/quote]

More like quid pro quo between government and the fat cats, IMO… and the standard of pretence that this isn’t priority one is certainly dropping. It’s the brick wall at the back of the theatre.

And as for journalism, it’s on its deathbed. Who knew eviscerating media ownership regulation would lead to this, eh? Aside from everyone who isn’t a brain-dead fuckwit, that is…

Everything is just fine. There is no cause for alarm. Please continue to go about your business.

And whatever you do, don’t look up. That can result in… um, fatal neck injuries. Yeah, fatal neck injuries, that’s it.

Y’know, while I agree with the sentiment, the headline has certain flavor of “dancing about architecture” to it. Writers are certainly entitled to an opinion and are likely to express it better than others, but outside of that…

In that same sense…Rupert Murdoch IS a fat cat, as are others of his ilk, so the quid pro quo should still apply, right? Seems to work in practice, considering recent offenses against quite a few journalists (all of whom have failed to toe the line).

Well yeah, sure - just saying how it’s cronyism with the swinging dicks in general, not just the media moguls… but of course, newspaper proprietors and such generally have the most leverage to turn the screws on the pollies.

What, never heard the term ‘Orwellian’?

It’s far more apt than dancing about architecture, even if the architecture in question is a dance hall.

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WRITING against mass surveillance makes sense to me. WRITERS, for some reason, doesn’t. Shrug.