I choose to be spied on

I choose to trust Google.

I choose to trust Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple. I choose to give those companies access to all my data—every picture I take, every e-mail I send, and every document I save online. They get my vacation photos and birthday wishes, and all the Skype calls I make with family members and coworkers. I could use the phone, but why bother? My phone calls are recorded, too.

I choose to trust the government. Not just the government of Canada, where I live, but also the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and other western countries that monitor online communications. I know that fighting terrorism is just a pretext; I know there are a million reasons to keep tabs on citizens, because knowledge is power, and power is irresistible. But I choose to trust that that knowledge won’t be used to blackmail me, to detain me indefinitely, or to get me to inform on my friends, family, and coworkers. That kind of thing went down in East Germany, but Canada and the U.S. aren’t East Germany. Our countries are free and democratic and governed by the rule of law, and free nations never become un-free.

Except sometimes.

The NSA’s National Security Operations Center Floor. Source: NSA.

I choose not to hear too much. When I see the latest leak about how my data is harvested, or about how the government coerces businesses into collaborating, I read the headline, sigh, and move on. I know how the rest of it goes. I know things are ugly. But the more I know, the more I hate myself for my own inaction. Each news story is a reminder that I’ve been robbed of my privacy and that I’ve done nothing to take it back. I should close my Facebook account, encrypt all my communications, and disable iCloud on my iPhone… but what’s the point? They can keep my data forever. And one day, they’ll be able to decrypt anything.

Thankfully, there aren’t that many stories. There aren’t that many reminders. In the news, I mostly hear about Edward Snowden. What was his girlfriend like? Will he seek asylum in Venezuela? I hope they don’t catch him. I think he’s a good guy. I’d hate to see him rot in prison for the rest of his life.

I choose to go on with my life. I’m a busy man: I have a job, a girlfriend, and hobbies. I have movies to see and cable shows to watch. These flagrant incursions on my privacy don’t affect the way I live, because for the most part, I’m still free to say what I want and to do what I want. When you have a job and a home and a flat-screen TV, complacency is always the easiest course of action—even when important ideals need safeguarding.

I choose to leave it up to others. The enormity of it all, the way it’s all coming out in the open, makes me hopeful that someone, somewhere will do something. Maybe congressmen and MPs will stand up for my rights. That’s what they’re supposed to do, isn’t it? Or maybe activists will walk down in the street and wave flags, shout slogans, and wash pepper spray out of their eyes until the NSA and its Canadian and British and French counterparts are neutered or dismantled. If enough people started marching, I would probably join them. But I wouldn’t go down there all by myself.

I choose to wait. Subtle changes are always subjectively nonthreatening, whether it’s the oceans rising or the Internet turning from a wild frontier into a mass surveillance tool. There will be plenty of time to solve it tomorrow. Or next Wednesday. Or next year. I haven’t been personally inconvenienced yet, so what’s the rush? Wait, hold on… I think Futurama is on tonight.

Finally, when it’s late at night and I can’t sleep, I choose to feel hopeless. Because I understand technology. I’ve been using technology, thinking about it, and writing about it for most of my life. I know what it can do and what it shouldn’t. I of all people should be getting royally, supremely worked up about all this.

But I’m not.

And if I’m not, then who is?

Comments closed
    • Kougar
    • 6 years ago

    It’s amusing to reread this in light of recent events regarding The Guardian’s reporters. Cyril, I hope you keep off-site backups of your MBP and other drives ya keep on your person should a US or UK agency ever decide they “need to” physically destroy them in the name of national security. 😉

    • MaryGreen06
    • 6 years ago
    • JillHoff9
    • 6 years ago
    • confusedpenguin
    • 6 years ago

    5 years from now, Demolition Man. 10 years from now, Fahrenheit 451. 20 years from now, THX.

    • Tamale
    • 6 years ago

    Amazing post, Cyril. It’s interesting to read someone else write what I’ve been thinking and feeling so closely for so long.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 6 years ago

    Here is my opinion.

    I’m a patriot and a person with nothing to hide. Read my emails, look at my texts, memorize my facebook photo albums! You will likely be disgusted, I can be crude, and don’t always look Jacked…

    But don’t do it in the dark. Don’t be criminal about it. Don’t assume my response. Ask, and you shall receive.

    That is the difference between us and the communists. We are supposed to be transparent. You don’t have to tell me everything just bring to the surface that in the interest of averting credible threats that you are looking out for me.

    Put a timeline on it, don’t make it a norm. Require it to be re-evaluated, and revised and reconsidered on an ongoing basis.

    Weather reading emails right or wrong, unsolicited voyeurism is wrong. Period.

      • FubbHead
      • 6 years ago

      Exactly.

    • flamevtx
    • 6 years ago

    Funny thing is, i was reading a Washing Post article this morning and some time ago it was asked for such kind of ‘pre-emptive peeping’ to show any real usefulness for it to continue to be sustained by taxdollars. The end result was, they couldn’t. That is, not much more than a highly-monetized, highly i-care-what-you-do-but-i-can’t-really-see-sorry-i’m-just-a-stalker-stalking sort of thing.Yeah, maybe so, maybe not. Gotta dig deeper.

    • SylviaHouston7
    • 6 years ago
    • CathyRolphe5
    • 6 years ago
    • Shouefref
    • 6 years ago

    Lot’s of people think that what they’re doing on internet is innocent.
    But the problem is you don’t decide yourself whether it’s innocent. Somebody else decides that. And that somebody else might have completely different ideas about innocent than you have.

    • Pax-UX
    • 6 years ago

    I’ve no problem with Governments knowing what I’m doing, but when the hackers get in and decide to blackmail me with that fact I like **inset sensitive information** then I have an issue.

    • KristinSmith9
    • 6 years ago
    • End0game
    • 6 years ago

    Out of curiosity, how does one “choose” to be spied on? Did you really have a choice in the matter?

    Honestly, it doesn’t. Even if you choose NOT to be spied on, they (the/your government) will spy on you in ways we probably didn’t know was possible.

    “I of all people should be getting royally, supremely worked up about all this.

    But I’m not.

    And if I’m not, then who is?”

    ….

    I can tell you at least one person worked up about this.

    Me.

    I would also say that you’re worked up as well. After all, if you didn’t care even in the slightest, why make this post? You obviously want people to disagree, or agree with your opinion, and that shows you care.

    Bet you didn’t “choose” that.

      • Shouefref
      • 6 years ago

      Yes, you have a choice.
      If you choose, eg, to walk away from FB.
      You might say: only me won’t make the difference.
      But that’s not what counts.
      What counts is what it does for you.
      If you walk out from FB, at least it makes a difference for you.
      And it would signal that you won’t accept to be spied on.
      There are lots of small things you can do, like eg not working with the cloud everytime you can avoid it.
      Because the main problem is lots of people accept it also when they can avoid it.
      If your boss wants you to use the cloud for your work, than that’s the boss’ problem.
      But it shouldn’t mean you can’t avoid it outside such a situation.

        • NovusBogus
        • 6 years ago

        Correctamundo. You and Cyril nailed it, people choose to be spied on when they click yes on all those cloud-service and social media TOSes that let the company and all their friends do whatever with the stuff that you willingly give them. Not to mention all the hackers, leakers, disgruntled employees and other ne’er do wells that will accidentally the servers every few months. That doesn’t mean that stuff like PRISM is good but it does mean that people that got burned by it only have themselves to blame.

        Going cold-turkey probably isn’t the best solution for most people but at least be smart about it and choose not to be spied on. Don’t post things on FB, Twitter etc. that you’re not okay with everyone on the planet knowing about. Turn off your smartphone’s GPS and other personal data tracking stuff. Get a personal email host or borrow a friend’s. Use NAS, not SkyDrive or GDocs. And so on.

    • MaryAlcala15
    • 6 years ago
    • oldDummy
    • 6 years ago

    In no particular order.
    Well done.
    Sad
    True

    You are under double secret probation;
    A secret law created by a secret tribunal has secretly declared.
    Watch the sky’s always watch the sky. drones are everywhere.
    LOOK at what we have become.
    full stop.

    • JaxPrat
    • 6 years ago

    “The only thing evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing.”

    I’m betting you have no children or for that matter, anyone else you care enough about beyond your own existence, to do anything for anybody out of the goodness of your heart.
    I’m betting it takes money in your pocket to get you do anything for anybody else and that alone tells me your ethics and/or your morals are aligned with far right capitalists.

    Perhaps one day you will find a good woman, make babies and then you will see things differently. Considering the gift(s) which have been bestowed on you, I surely hope so.

    O! and for the record, in answer to your last question – I am. And so are many, many others….

      • Cyril
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<] I'm betting you have no children or for that matter, anyone else you care enough about beyond your own existence, to do anything for anybody out of the goodness of your heart. I'm betting it takes money in your pocket to get you do anything for anybody else and that alone tells me your ethics and/or your morals are aligned with far right capitalists. [/quote<] Your ability to pigeonhole people based on a complete misinterpretation of their work is impressive. 😉

      • clone
      • 6 years ago

      the blog highlights how many feel, powerless, it’s ironic, get over it.

      p.s. the personal pokes are both silly and serve only to make your opinion matter less.

    • Umbragen
    • 6 years ago

    Like you have a choice.

    • hasseb64
    • 6 years ago

    A good and diplomatic blog!
    I am now awaken and will defend and take back my integrity from your government, changing all software and “services” in a small scale and probably during many years, alternatives are not that good tbh..

    • entropy13
    • 6 years ago

    It’s quite weird that the same people calling government as an inefficient machine with a plodding internal system (i.e. bureaucracy) are almost always the very people calling government as the ones with a very efficient, highly detailed, and complex surveillance and information gathering system.

      • Diplomacy42
      • 6 years ago

      they are efficient at spending money and forcing buisnesses to give them hard-line access to their servers. put a check mark in those two boxes and it doesn’t really require a criminal mastermind to create vast databases.

      but you are safe, as long as you don’t piss off any of the 3.3 million employees with security clearance enough to start a witch hunt, because if that happens, you’re screwed

        • entropy13
        • 6 years ago

        [quote<]they are efficient at spending money[/quote<] Wait, wait, wait...aren't people criticizing government almost throughout its existence for not being able to spend its own money efficiently? OK, let's go with your statement then that they are efficient in spending money in that particular endeavor...so this implies that: a) government is not [b<]totally[/b<] inefficient and b) government seeks to preserve itself by being efficient in a method of self-preservation that is actually inefficient relative to the other things it does [quote<]forcing buisnesses (sic) to give them hard-line access to their servers.[/quote<] This part is much more relevant to point B as well. It just means that the government would focus on surveillance and information gathering and do it efficiently, which in turn will cover day-to-day expenses of the government...oh, wait. [quote<] but you are safe, as long as you don't piss off any of the 3.3 million employees with security clearance enough to start a witch hunt, because if that happens, you're screwed[/quote<] The Chinese are a bigger threat here though.

    • EmilyLave9
    • 6 years ago
    • NatashaSpence00
    • 6 years ago
    • albundy
    • 6 years ago

    Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism But we still got terrorists here living In the USA, the big CIA -BEP

    on another note, is that really the nsa center floor? ROFL! they need to seriously upgrade.

    • End User
    • 6 years ago

    So depressing:

    [url=http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/07/counterterroris_1.html<]Counterterrorism Mission Creep[/url<] [url=http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/07/the-cops-are-tracking-my-car-and-yours/<]The cops are tracking my car—and yours[/url<]

    • killadark
    • 6 years ago

    The ‘illuminati’ 😉

    • jennychapell17
    • 6 years ago
    • Suspenders
    • 6 years ago

    You cannot have secret warrants, secret courts, and secret prisons, and call yourself a democracy; what we have now instead is a charade of the powerful, rich and well-connected. Sadly, only to get worse as clearly criminal and unconstitutional practices becomes increasingly codified as the “new normal”, all justified through the kinds of things Orwell warned us all about (like perpetual war). You are no longer a nation of laws.

    “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

    • WaltC
    • 6 years ago

    You are semi-apathetic about what’s being reported because it doesn’t affect you in any way that you can perceive. You aren’t being made to suffer and your life isn’t turned upside down by all of this reported and (let’s face it) largely [i<]imaginary[/i<] government activity. You refuse to become an emotional pawn in some kind of drama which clearly has motives that have not been disclosed to you (or anyone else), and for that you should be commended. To the best of your knowledge--with all of the so-called "spying" you are reading about, you can see absolutely no evidence of it, or evidence of any consequences of it, in your own life. It would therefore be highly irrational for you to get "worked up" about it under those circumstances. For me the supreme irony of this particular story is that even though Snowden claims the government has files on everyone and knows all things about everyone, etc., the "spying apparatus" completely missed anything that Snowden did until long after he did it...;) This leads me to the logical conclusion that most likely the government *doesn't* know everything about everybody--and that for reasons known only to himself, Snowden wants me to believe something that obviously isn't even close to being a fact...;) (A book-movie deal lurking in his thoughts & motives, maybe?) Also, you are probably not "worked up" about the fact that evidently, at least according to Snowden, governments are actually trying to do *something* to *prevent* another 9/11 from happening--and that also is hard to argue with from a rational standpoint. All things considered, your outlook seems both rational and logical. Congrats on staying above the fray....;)

    • liquidsquid
    • 6 years ago

    I always think the simple answer is to consider everything you do on the cell phones and internet is directly equivalent to shouting down a crowded main street NYC, and into the dark alleys. This includes displaying for all the world to see your p0rn collection and all of your personal details.

    If you want privacy, cut the cord. Use face to face, cash transactions, etc. Unrealistic? Perhaps, but if you want privacy, stop shouting it for all the world to hear. Don’t cry foul when someone stops and listens.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 6 years ago

    “A man chooses, a slave obeys.”-Andrew Ryan

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 6 years ago

      OBEY!

    • windwalker
    • 6 years ago

    Personally, I’m still hoping and waiting for all the drama to die down and for the serious conversation about all of this that Snowden said he wants to finally take place.

    At this point, I find all the outrage tiring. It’s like everyone found out there’s no Santa Claus all at once and can’t or won’t get over it.

    I was completely unsurprised that all of the world’s communication is being monitored by the American government. As I type this, I can’t keep a straight face at the thought of millions of adults being genuinely surprised by this.

    I always assume that the soldiers and the spies have access to the absolute best information and equipment technology can provide.
    It’s their job to ask for it and it’s our job to set the limits.
    That’s why the things that actually sound wrong to me are the secret laws and secret courts.
    They are extremely dangerous because they provide just lip service exactly for something that can easily turn ugly if it’s not held on a tight leash.

    So cut the childish outrage and the moping, think about what you really value and tell your elected representatives, tell the world.

    • DPete27
    • 6 years ago

    I read [url=http://www.fudzilla.com/home/item/31979-new-tracking-tool-predicts-where-you-will-be<]this article on Fudzilla[/url<] this morning. Who needs the NSA? They'll soon be subcontracting Microsoft and Google to keep tabs on you. MINORITY REPORT IS HERE PEOPLE. TURN OFF GPS ON YOUR CELL PHONES!!!

    • squeeb
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]When you have a job and a home and a flat-screen TV, complacency is always the easiest course of action—even when important ideals need safeguarding.[/quote<] There is a lot of truth in this statement..

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 6 years ago

    You did write an entire blog about apathy. Amazing.

      • mark625
      • 6 years ago

      You’re missing a comma, or possibly a colon, after the word “right”.

        • curtisb
        • 6 years ago

        That, or it was supposed to be “write”.

    • Arclight
    • 6 years ago

    I get it, you’re being honest. I’m also in the same state of mind; alone i can’t change the system and i’m living my life unchaged even after the issue has been brought up to the public’s attention.

    My life is comfortable enough that i don’t feel the need to take action but the fact that i somewhat understand the issue i do hope somebody will try to fix it for me.

    But like you asked, i’m also asking who will stand up for us. Personally i don’t know either.

    • Mad_Dane
    • 6 years ago

    This is the most disappointing post I have ever read here on TR, really hope you are being sarcastic.
    You are free to do as they tell you, wake up man!

      • windwalker
      • 6 years ago

      Actually, no, your comment is the most disappointing.
      Cyril’s post shows tremendous courage and self awareness.
      It’s a rare man that can look in the mirror, see the truth and ask the hard and honest questions.

        • Mad_Dane
        • 6 years ago

        SO now you want to tell me how to feel about things here? go look in the mirror yourself.

    • revparadigm
    • 6 years ago

    Google confesses to allowing NSA code in the latest versions of Android?

    [url<]http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-03/security-enhanced-android-nsa-edition#r=nav-fs[/url<]

      • Jason181
      • 6 years ago

      They didn’t “confess,” they just knew it wasn’t a big deal. It’s open-source so good luck slipping in backdoors.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 6 years ago

    Some of the best methods of conditioning are rewarding sacrifices of principles with mediocre rewards. The reason this works is because the trivial reward compels the conditioned individual to “fill in the blanks” why he’d sacrifice his principles to get a friends list or free online email. If the reward is huge, then they can say, “I made a great trade that was totally understandable.” But when they’re making a trade for something that’s meaningless and stupid, then suddenly the logic breaks down and they have to find a new way to rationalize it internally.

    So then they decide they don’t care so much. “Clearly, I don’t care,” they say to themselves, “because if I did care, would I do this? Would I? Of course not, thus I must not care.”

    You have been conditioned. Congratulations. This is the same method the Chinese use to break Americans and convert them to Communism. Imo, I think the people with power have waged a lifelong campaign to convince everyone else that they are meaningless, that there is no hope, and that we should all just shrug and move along.

    That free email, likes, free online backups of our tablet, and awesome searches are all worth the loss of privacy because if they weren’t… would we go along with them? And if we raise our hand mildly to protest, we’re forced to look around and ask, “How can we fight such a huge thing?” And if you somehow defy that, then you find that all the systems built to facilitate fighting the power are disparate and fringe and often amusingly easy requiring so little commitment as to be totally toothless. To yet again sap the will to continue on fighting.

    By the end of the maze of willpower-sapping, few come out able and willing to rise up. Certainly, the days of the 60’s and real movements are going to be hard to muster in an age of neighbors who don’t know or want to know one another. The closest we have is the Occupy Movement and the ease with which those movements were expelled by the government without real complaint from the majority who ignored the whole thing as a joke shows you how awesome a job the people in power (not the government, the real people, the ones with money) have done on conditioning us all.

    I don’t know what’s sadder. That the news networks mirror the political parties in the US, each one taking sides so people won’t do it, while selectively (and collectively) ignoring certain stories that threaten to undermine their collective power (ie., Murdoch, the UK papers, phone tapping faded very quickly once the stories started to spread so they’d affect other news organizations not related to Murdoch)? Or that most people don’t even see the obvious ways any attempt to FIGHT said systems are mitigated, dulled, and bled dry of any real energy? Or that the most ardent defenders of the way things seem most likely to be the ones most affected by the most horrible parts of it?

    That’s the beauty of conditioning. Logic is transformed and you accept the unacceptable because you suddenly can’t see any other way for things to be.

      • Spunjji
      • 6 years ago

      That was a worthwhile read. Thanks.

      • StuG
      • 6 years ago

      Why spend all the time writing this up to use the word “sadder”? Otherwise, a good read.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 6 years ago

      What is privacy??? Is it what you do in your own home? Is the internet your home? Do you deserve privacy on the internet?

      I think that there are 2 wrongs here. snowden spoke of not the information being collected but the way it was used in immoral circumstances, no transparency, that is what made him angry not the lack of privacy.

      As for me I think the internet is a public forum not a private place. Not saying their aren’t some walled gardens, (banking and what not) just that realistically you should not expect privacy when operating on it. Just because you have a screen name doesn’t mean you have anonymity. Just because you think you have anonymity doesn’t mean you can act like a jack wad on the internet.

      I’m not angry because I never believed in privacy on the internet. Not saying I haven’t done, said, or participated in only upstanding ways… Just that I own those actions, I did them. Why do people live in constant guarded juvenile shame of everything they do?

      I get that people are scared that the internet never forgets! That is true but the government isn’t responsible for that as much as the existence of the internet is.

      Where does blame lie in this situation? Perhaps more in circumstance, the NSA was not the only player at the table. You have hackers, other governments, terrorist organizations etc all utilizing the mine of info that the internet provided.

      Aside from the power of the NSA to use this information to black mail and do other things that conceivably a non government organization could also do. What bothers you about this reality?

      I don’t feel like the government was watching me anymore than when I stand on a street corner and the red light camera gets me in the frame.

      Black mail is bad, if the NSA was black mailing people as insinuated in the interview we need to deal with that and dish out some justice.

      If we are being watched and cataloged on a public forum, that is another matter entirely.

        • curtisb
        • 6 years ago

        [quote<]As for me I think the internet is a public forum not a private place.[/quote<] I disagree with this. Yes, there are public, open forums and blogs such as the one we're posting on right now. But if I send an email from me to you I should expect some reasonable amount of privacy. The only person I [i<]should[/i<] have to worry about sharing the content of the email is you. And this includes not worrying about the person or company providing the email service, and all entities in between. If I posted on a non-public, password-protected forum I should also expect privacy. Again, the same stipulations apply...I should only have to worry about it being shared by other individuals who are members of the same non-public, password-protected forum. I even expect a reasonable amount of privacy when I upload or back something up to "the cloud". For instance, my phone automatically backs up my pictures, videos, text messages, etc. to SkyDrive. That is a service provided to safeguard my data, and should [b<][i<]I[/b<][/i<] choose, share pictures, videos, or documents with others. I say this as someone who does provide these services for students, faculty, and staff at a college. We don't, nor will we ever, actively monitor or share any data unless required for legitimate legal reasons. I'll be honest and say that we do not use or allow external cloud services in our environment because of privacy and data leakage concerns. Ultimately my staff and I are responsible for safeguarding business-related data and I feel we can only reliably do that if we host it ourselves. You better believe FERPA violations are taken seriously. Edited to fix formatting.

          • kamikaziechameleon
          • 6 years ago

          I respect your view. I understand and agree with everything you said. It seems that in America privacy is not well regarded because many people abuse it. I don’t believe in the sort of half in half out way we approach privacy in currently across all mediums, email, phone, and in your own home. I also see that allot of what you are trying to protect is about “Ownership” on the internet and such. That may seem related but its actually a different topic really. I agree with your assertions on it though and they reflect my stance 100 percent.

          I’d rather think of the world as a giant public forum than a collection of “private” niches. Mainly because I don’t believe that anyone is honoring or respecting them(On both sides). I think many people confuse privacy with discretion and bestow upon privacy the virtues of discretion. End of the day I guess I can come up with a greater argument against Privacy than for given that beyond prudence there isn’t much purpose to it ultimately IMHO.

          I appreciate your very well put together reply, thanks.

      • cynan
      • 6 years ago

      I agree that we have been and are becoming increasingly conditioned to be complacent about our gradually diminishing liberties and freedoms. However, it is more likely that this is a product of our own apathy rather than any ongoing active conspiracy by the powers that be. Free web based email and Facebook as a covert incentive to look the other way as part of some grand conspiracy? I doubt it.

      Since the end of WW2 (in the western world), while there were a few hiccups along the way, a large enough critical mass has had it too easy. Comfort begets complacency. Simple as that.

      Sure, there are elements of the government that may recognize this on some level and use some of their influence to maintain this progression (by gradually eroding laws created to provide checks and balances for said officials). After all, the first instinct ingrained among those who achieve power is to maintain and obtain more power. But it’s doubtful that this is the culmination of some grand multi-decade-long plan.

      The incremental sapping of will to protect our own rights of which you speak is, ironically, not primarily due to the intentional machinations of some secret government cabal. It is due to our own laziness. Our own apathy has all but done it for them. It’s a slippery slope. Once we get into the habit of letting small injustices pass (or being content with letting the decisions that result in them be made behind closed doors or in a non democratic fashion), it gets easier the next time. And by extension, harder and harder to dig ourselves out of the pit we’ve gradually sunk ourselves into without even noticing.

      For those in power, once a regime gets comfortable side-stepping once cherished checks and balances, [i<]because it has previously gotten away with it[/i<], the next time will be that much easier and that much more detrimental. The bar of democracy inches ever lower. But orchestrated from the get go as some grand design? Unlikely. it's human nature. We really only have ourselves to blame. The conditioning of which you speak has been, and continues to be, largely self-inflicted.

        • CaptTomato
        • 6 years ago

        No, we have evil/criminal turds to blame.

          • cynan
          • 6 years ago

          As long as people keep failing to take owndership/responsibility for the deterioration of their own rights and freedoms, nothing will change. It will just get worse.

          “Ask not what your country[‘s government should] do [by] you, but what you can do…”

          “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”

          There’s a reason these sentiments bare weight (and not just because JFK appropriated them).

      • squeeb
      • 6 years ago

      Excellent read.

      • Bensam123
      • 6 years ago

      Not to interrupt your speech, but I think you misunderstand how (operant) conditioning works, which is a documented psychological phenomenon.

      [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning[/url<] Especially line of thinking like this: "So then they decide they don't care so much. "Clearly, I don't care," they say to themselves, "because if I did care, would I do this? Would I? Of course not, thus I must not care."" Which is more of a assumption then anything. None of what is mentioned takes into account a proper operant conditioning model. The above post has a mix of popular psychology, manipulative techniques, and of course rabble rousing. I do agree with parts of the post, just not how he goes about doing it.

      • Fighterpilot
      • 6 years ago

      I can’t agree with that…social media has only just begun to realize the power it can wield.
      Now more than ever we can “get the world on our side” if its for a good cause.
      I doubt any company or institution has the power to stand against it.

    • FireGryphon
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]I choose not to hear too much...I hate myself for my own inaction...I choose to leave it up to others...I wouldn't go down there all by myself...There will be plenty of time to solve it tomorrow. Or next Wednesday. Or next year...[/quote<] You get out of life what you put into it. [quote<]I haven't been personally inconvenienced yet, so what's the rush?[/quote<] "Then they came for me, but by that time there was no one left to say anything."

    • RhysAndrews
    • 6 years ago

    I think I’m in the same boat as you, buddy.
    In the end, we’re all only on this planet for ~75 years. It’s not worth growing tired fighting for our freedom when we more or less already have it, and any loss of it has not caused any major dramas so far.

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 6 years ago

    He loves Big Brother.

    • BIF
    • 6 years ago

    Every totalitarian regime has eventually tried to take over its people. Often it starts with the elimination of citizens’ ability to defend themselves. Many times, they give it up willingly!

    Or it starts with the elimination of citizens’ ability to speak freely, or to congregate or assemble or associate with people of their own choosing.

    Funny, I think I read about those two things in civics class…..

    You choose to be spied upon now, Cyril…but what will you do if/when your government uses that information against you, to take away your freedom or your life? Or to take away your land, or your home…or your lovely girlfriend?

    Governments have the power and the force necessary to do these things. And a willingly complicit press will conspire to keep it quiet so that nooooboooodyy will know.

    • Welch
    • 6 years ago

    Cyril, this was one of the best reads I’ve seen on TR and you. I’ve felt the same way as you for a long time because it’s easier to have our data at our finger tips (and at theirs). Call me a fool but for whatever reason I felt like Google was different and would fight for our privacy. Yet this is similar to your saying that we are I a free democratic nation, a free nation and it will never be free. I and others have to remember that Google isn’t a single person or even a small group of people. Even those who are on the board or the CEO don’t stick to their ideals forever. Everything can be changed, anything can become something else and nothing is immovable.

    • hansmuff
    • 6 years ago

    Let’s just say that while all goes well and peachy in your life, you don’t have to care.

    But it’s when things turn out a way you did not anticipate that all of your public data suddenly can strongly work against you. For instance in a divorce, or in a DUI, or in a case that makes false allegations.

    Until something similar happened to me, I thought just like you but still didn’t use FB or social media. And I am glad I didn’t or my circumstances may be very, very different.

      • BIF
      • 6 years ago

      You are so right. When the government decides it doesn’t like you, your data and even your own words can and will be used against you, even if it must be taken out of context to do so.

    • credible
    • 6 years ago

    Your most important comment in that piece Cyril is I am of the firm belief as you seem to be as well that if things get out of hand with our governments the people will be marching in the streets and not just the usual left leaning activists that are causing most of the problems now.

      • Spunjji
      • 6 years ago

      What problems exactly are these terrible lefties causing for you? 😐

        • BIF
        • 6 years ago

        Hmmmm, let’s see: Higher taxes, fewer freedoms, a health care system that is soon to become the death of some of us and the bane of us all with higher cost and worse care. There’s also that little thing about greater difficulty starting or running a business, the inability to hire or fire as necessary, worse schools, unqualified high school (and in some cases college) graduates, and a more violent society where perpetrators of heinous crimes get out of jail in just a couple years (or sooner) and nobody to get angry (or even merely perturbed) about it all.

        Shall I go on?

        By the way, the so-called “Right” have been just as bad or worse, so I’m not letting them off the hook.

    • credible
    • 6 years ago

    Fantastic post Cyril and my sentiments to a tee, am I just a little worried, perhaps but I think that is just a natural human thought at the unknown.

    For those other Canadians bitching about the g-20 and any other manner of non-sense, have you seen how these things go down in other countries, considering how soon it was arranged and the vast numbers of people from other countries who came and caused sh*t it was not all that bad.

    I am of the mind that we in Canada and other western societies have far too many freedoms and that is half the reason are society is in a state of flux so to speak.

    Go and do some research on whats been happening in Sweden, one of, if not the main country that Liberals and democrats like to point to as something to shoot for, they are losing their cultural identity and more.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 6 years ago

    We all need to start donating more to the EFF, and any other group that is fighting this nonsense.

      • Sabresiberian
      • 6 years ago

      Absolutely! The EFF is leading the battle on this one, and I encourage all of you to check them out and add your voice to the fight.

      [url<]https://www.eff.org/[/url<]

      • windwalker
      • 6 years ago

      Outsource your concerns today!

    • End User
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]but Canada and the U.S. aren't East Germany. Our countries are free[/quote<] Free? Really? Did you miss all the oppressive crap that went down by the authorities during the G20 summit in Toronto back in 2010? Have you not heard about Bill C-309? If you are peacefully protesting and want to protect your identity by covering your face (sunglasses/hat/Groucho glasses/) you could be slapped with up to a 5-10 year prison term for an act of unlawful assembly: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (concealment of identity) [Assented to 19th June, 2013] Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows: ALTERNATIVE TITLE 1. This Act may be cited as the Preventing Persons from Concealing Their Identity during Riots and Unlawful Assemblies Act. CRIMINAL CODE 2. Section 65 of the Criminal Code is re-numbered as subsection 65(1) and amended by adding the following: (2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) while wearing a mask or other disguise to conceal their identity without lawful excuse is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years. 3. Section 66 of the Act is renumbered as subsection 66(1) and amended by adding the following: (2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) while wearing a mask or other disguise to conceal their identity without lawful excuse is guilty of (a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction. [url<]http://parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=6246507&File=24[/url<]

      • Xenolith
      • 6 years ago

      He’s being snarky.

        • BIF
        • 6 years ago

        Who’s being snarky?

    • OneShotOneKill
    • 6 years ago

    My trust is not a right, it is a privilage.

    • Game_boy
    • 6 years ago

    The worst argument that this is OK is “if you’ve done have nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear”.

    And that’s because, even if you completely trust the people in power, you’ve done something during your whole life that you wouldn’t want everyone to know about. Like you looked up song lyrics via an unofficial website. Or you lied to your mother in law that you couldn’t visit. Or you accidentally claimed welfare for a day longer than you should have. Or you made a racist joke on Skype one time.

    Even with the best of intentions, full data on you allows a complete character assassination by picking the moments that make you look bad.

    • Kretschmer
    • 6 years ago

    If Facebook doesn’t like what I write, they will close my account. If Google abhors my correspondence, they will bar me from Picasa.

    The US Government has the power to arrest me or imprison me for myriad reasons – factual or fabricated. There are thousands upon thousands of laws on the books. Many are unconstitutional and unenforced, but I’m almost certainly breaking some antiquated law or other every single day. With the right DA in your pocket you could drag any man through court. Even more sinister, today’s “antiterror” powers also include secret punishments without any court of appeal. If I’m put on the No Fly List, my career is more or less over. When a program that doesn’t officially exist passes secret information to lists that do not require a judge, how do I clear my name?

    We also forget that agencies are made of people. Once you give a government powers that can be abused without due process, men and women will find ways to bend them to their will. If a romantic rival or vengeful neighbor happens to be an employee or contractor in one of our intelligence agencies, they would be in a position to end my life as I know it. A few fabricated sentences could land me on the No Fly List or ruin my security clearance. There aren’t enough controls to prevent a Snowden or Manning from walking away with gobs of secrets; who is ensuring the integrity of the data? Even the powerful can be ruined; does anyone forget that Petraus was outed as an adulterer by a jealous FBI agent going through his personal messages?

    Corporate capture and use of personal information is not a concern to be dismissed lightly, but the pain that an abusive government can cause is orders of magnitude more severe. Don’t dismiss the boulder hanging over our heads because we opt in to a few specks of sand.

    • jjj
    • 6 years ago

    That’s not enough, choose for that data to allow their propaganda to manipulate the public opinion, choose to lose free will, choose for people to become farm animals

    Seen revolutions first hand, people don’t revolt unless hungry, a full stomach makes us lazy.

    BTW the Trainspotting bit has a much better soundtrack than your article :p
    [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naf_WiEb9Qs[/url<]

    • mattthemuppet
    • 6 years ago

    why this obsession with privacy in public? No form of communication has ever been truly private, from notched sticks being sent between generals to telegraphs to letters to email, it’s only the ease with which they can be monitored that has changed. Would you be offended if someone in a pub can overhear your conversation? Why is that different on Facebook?

    Anything that leaves the privacy of your own home, by whatever form, is not private. Accept that and behave accordingly? I’m not infested with the paranoia that this country’s security apparatus cares about me and I don’t live somewhere (thankfully) where my publicly expressed opinions could harm me. So who cares?

      • travbrad
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]Would you be offended if someone in a pub can overhear your conversation? Why is that different on Facebook?[/quote<] A conversation at a pub isn't permanently documented into perpetuity, and I've never been to a pub that had hundreds of millions of people in it.

        • Shouefref
        • 6 years ago

        We once moved to another town for our informal meetings, partly because people we’re overhearing what we were saying, and only understood half of it.
        Yeah yeah, I know some people use that as an argument for full disclosure.
        Those people are nuts.
        Or they think they will make money out of it.
        Probably the latter.

      • Liron
      • 6 years ago

      Anything that leaves the privacy of your own home is not private?! Then you can’t have private meetings to discuss business-critical information in a closed room in your office? If you overnight the schematics of next year’s engine to the Berlin office, it’s OK if the envelope arrives open?

      Lots of people have to communicate business secrets daily. Those secrets are useless and valueless if they are not communicated to the right people who can execute.

      So the thing is that you have to know which rooms in your office are private and which ones have a closed circuit TV stream to the town plaza. That’s what this is about. If the Executive Power cannot prove to an independent judge that there is a strong enough probable cause to remove your individual right to privacy, then you should be able to know which communications channels are monitored and which ones are private.

      Microsoft is denying with all their heart that they have ever allowed a single outlook.com byte to be monitored and then internal NSA communications praising the access Microsoft gave to Outlook.com appear. The law should allow us to know for sure, “which is it?” If a company offers a public communications channel with no claims of privacy, it’s OK to expect no privacy. If a company publishes a privacy policy and directly tells you that they offer a private communications channel, then you should expect it to be private unless someone can build a strong probably-cause case against you.

      If the leading communication channel providers can lie about privacy with the excuse that the law forces them to, industrial development (and the economy with it) will slow down to a crawl.

      It’s easy to dismiss this when thinking of Facebook because of its stigma. However, this goes much further. If your company rents a high-security, high-encryption dedicated server from your ISP, does your ISP have the right to give some institution an unencrypted backdoor access to and all their dedicated servers without telling you? An institution that, for all they know, might be your customer? Yet, how would this be at all legally different from what is being done?

        • Jason181
        • 6 years ago

        When you send something over public property unencrypted then no, it’s not private.

          • Liron
          • 6 years ago

          Outlook.com, Gmail, Skype, Yahoo, and Facebook are all encrypted (from the user’s perspective). None of those services are public property; they’re all private. The Internet pipelines in the US are also private.

          The reason why this is an issue at all is that people entered into a contract with private companies who published a privacy policy as part of that contract and offered assurances of privacy and encryption.

          On the other hand, the postal service is public and yet *shock!* there is ample precedent saying that postal mail cannot be read without probable cause.

            • Shouefref
            • 6 years ago

            The truth is between brackets: (from the user’s perspective).
            What about the others?

            • Shouefref
            • 6 years ago

            -> On the other hand, the postal service is public and yet *shock!* there is ample precedent saying that postal mail cannot be read without probable cause.

            It’s a different matter.
            Trying to read and trace everything send by snail mail is an expensive and slow process.
            E-mail, however, is scanned by computers in a nick of time.
            Therefore: snail mail is only “opened” in serious cases, in case someone really has to hide something.
            E-mail can be “opened” by any nutcase, rubberneck, or just somebody who wants to make fun of people.
            Moreover there is something like “confidentiality of the mail”, but for some or other reason people think it’s normal that should not apply to e-mail.
            The things going on now with e-mail would have been used in the 70’s to point out that the Sovjet-Union was a dictatorship without respect for human rights.

      • atryus28
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]I'm not infested with the paranoia that this country's security apparatus cares about me and I don't live somewhere (thankfully) where my publicly expressed opinions could harm me. So who cares?[/quote<] This is the most heinously repeated statement by ignorant people. You obviously don't know your history too well or you just can't grasp it. What is "safe and legal" today may become illegal tomorrow and with the strike of a pen you are now a criminal. The least attacked example to point out would be prohibition. One strike of the pen, and now all those who try to make, sell or buy alcohol are criminals. Also to be noted, that strike of the pen then went and instituted an income tax that had never existed before because alcohol sales made up over 60% of the federal budget. The unfavorable and more drastic example: this is EXACTLY how Germany turned into genocidal Nazi Germany. Slow changes touted to be for the good of the people and no one spoke up until they too were in trouble. For some reason humans are too stupid to see that history repeats itself because as long as we feel comfy enough, we deal with it. It honestly makes me cry and I am getting weary of the fight when I see all the Cyrils in the world. Fully competent of the situation but too damn apathetic to do anything about it. I am actually closely involved with political things, as in making and passing of laws and there are MANY ignorant people writing unconstitutional laws (both federal and state constitutions). When I read articles like this I have no sympathy for the writer. You are a part of the problem and sometimes I wonder what the heck I am fighting for. The people are lazy and stupid and as long as they have their entertainment they will deal with all manner of heinous laws and the like. I think all the time, if I don't stand up who will, and then I wonder why should I bother, they don't even care.......

      • mattthemuppet
      • 6 years ago

      blimey, looks like I pee’ed some people off 🙂 Take some time to read the comment – I’m not talking about business transactions, I’m not talking about free speech in totalitarian states and I think only the nuttiest amongst us would view the US or the UK or other Western countries as being such.

      The point is that governments and businesses have monitored what we do and don’t do, write and otherwise communicate since there have been governments and rulers, so getting in a big flap about it now seems a little naive. Complaining about lack of privacy in easily accessible electronic communications even more so.

      As for not knowing my history, all the wonks crying “look at what happened in Nazi Germany” “it’s a slippery slope into a police state” “get yer guns and protect against tyranny!” yada yada should read a little history of their own. Adolf Hitler was clearly a nut job who was democratically elected in a country with feeble institutions in the midst of terrible depression after being completely ravaged by a war where they lost a million or so people and had punitive sanctions laid on them. That parallels the current US system of checks and balances how exactly? No, honestly, I’m really curious. Even McCarthy and the hunt for commies was knocked back, largely because of free speech and the US system of checks and balances.

        • Waco
        • 6 years ago

        If you think checks and balances are working you’ve got some serious wool pulled over your eyes.

        The government is obviously violating the constitution and your response, essentially, is “meh, I’ve got nothing to hide”.

        There is no worse track for a country than one filled with people who are totally complacent.

        • atryus28
        • 6 years ago

        Funny how I mentioned prohibition first and some things that went along with it. No where did I mention anything about guns. I am talking about the people of the time. There is a cause for things, the simplest one to see is with the people. Notice I said as long as the people have their entertainment, not movies or tv’s etc. For us it is the interent and TV, for the Germans it was the movies, for the Romans it was the gladiators. When the Romans gave the common man free bread and cheap entertainment they were cool with the horrible way things had become and that people were just slaves, you can’t fight it, oh well.

        I notice that MMA, is pretty popular now, fighting with almost no rules and beaten to a pulp many times, in brutal ways. To the death would not shock me, just make me very sad (I hope I never see it in my time). We shun families and make children out to be some terrible burden on society while claiming every new law is “for the children”.

        If you are that shallow in your reading of my post, that’s a shame. I like to believe that people on tech sites at a minimum can at least sort out the facts for themselves (agree or not, yet many times just ignore). Of course most times I need to remind myself not to “confuse the facts for the issue”. it seems to get me all the time.

    • wierdo
    • 6 years ago

    I don’t think there’s choice involved, but its comforting to imagine one’s in control.

      • travbrad
      • 6 years ago

      When it comes to Google/Facebook/etc you do have a choice. For most people the value and convenience of those services outweighs the privacy concerns but you do have a choice. I find what Facebook does really distasteful and that’s why I don’t have a Facebook account and never will. I do have a Google account though because in my opinion their privacy policies/practices are less intrusive and they are much more open about it.

      When it comes to the NSA you really don’t have a choice though. The only way to avoid their reach is to never use any type of communications technology created in the last 150 years (ie, you have to write letters)

    • USAFTW
    • 6 years ago

    One of the best pieces I’ve read. Emotional sympathy. This guy really knows how to write.
    Spying is nothing new, It’s been around forever, EVERYWHERE, name a country.
    The difference is some will be frank about spying you and expect you to thank them for it. Some are less so, They won’t interfere as much, but I’d take the first kind in a heartbeat.
    If one were to screw the other, it’s better if he goes: “Look, I want to screw you” Rather than “Get in, get comfortable, tell me about yourself, what’s your favorite show?… Blah Blah”, and all of a sudden the other gets it.

    • someuid
    • 6 years ago

    There’s a larger issue here being missed, and one that needs to be pointed out (at least I think so.)

    This data is not being collected by the government. It is being collected by businesses. They are at fault for starting this mess. Their products, their services, their way of doing business is all centered around collecting as much data as possible about as many people as possible. The data they can’t collect themselves, they get from other companies in a swap. There are several companies who’s entire job is to cross-reference separate company’s databases and fill in the missing bits for those companies.

    Don’t fall into the mindset that the NSA came along and told them “start collecting this data under this secret order.” Those companies, who will waste no more that 2.3 seconds to blast proposed tax hikes or the closing of loopholes or anything that would increase their costs, would have wailed a million times over, secret order or not, to build such surverllience into their products. They built these wonderful surveillance systems because they can profit from them. All the government did was come along and tell those companies “you’ve collected it, now share it with us.”

    Am I suggesting you let the government off the hook? No. But I am suggesting that before we start poo-pooing about the NSA and whether their workers are honest or not, you keep in mind that those companies you do business with are spying on you. They do it for the most heinous of reasons as well – to transfer as much cash from your wallet to theirs. Those companies would leave you broke and in a ditch just as cruely as any law enforcement agency would leave you to rot in a cell. Don’t believe me? Call your credit card company and tell them you can’t pay your bill because you lost your job and need to pay your rent instead. They won’t care.

    I hear the head of the NSA say “sorry for lying to Congress” and I think to myself – meh, you’re a spook, you’re not supposed to spill the beans just because some huge ego’ed representative asked you about it.

    But when I see CEOs wailing about how they were forced to, or taking the stand that they don’t know anything about this, or how much they want to share this data snafu with the world out of the goodness of their hearts, or that they are innocent little capitalists just trying to pay their workers a living wage, its enough to make me vomit. They started this mess and they rolled over and left us out to dry.

      • USAFTW
      • 6 years ago

      With this in mind, they are actually worse than the government, Selling your private data to them.
      I pay for an iDevice, and in return not only I get silly Siri and iCloud, I get spied on! Bargain.
      At least Facebook and Google to it free.

      It seems these are tough times for these businesses. Not only do they have to satisfy their nice shareholders, they also have to worry about the government. But who cares? Moar MONEY will fix everything.

      • travbrad
      • 6 years ago

      The NSA doesn’t even need the cooperation of these companies for the most part though. All they have to do is tap into fiber optic cables leading out of the companies data centers and they can just hoover up all of that data.

      Sure it’s easier if the companies just hand it over, but even if they don’t it won’t stop the NSA from getting most of it.

        • DarkUltra
        • 6 years ago

        I would still prefer a service that encrypted my data before it is synced to the cloud. LastPass supposedly does this and with proper mindshare, an email, contacts, calendar service would pop up.

        Facebook is very nice for the average person to post birthday messages and vacation photos, but there is no reason gmail and skydrive shouldn’t be encrypted before uploading.

    • omegajvn1
    • 6 years ago

    I’d have to agree with Cyril on this. Although I don’t try to hide my information online, I simply don’t put it online in the first place. I have a Facebook account to keep in contact with people but thats about it. I hardly put pictures on it, and if I do, I put ones that can affect me negatively. Whenever I set up accounts online, I do the bare minimum, and if they require more info than I’m willing, I give faulty crap like my birth date. I don’t worry because I don’t put it out there in the first place.

    • rika13
    • 6 years ago

    While I prefer to not be on a plane that is being used a missile, I realize that living in a totalitarian state is far worse. Liberty and security are not mutually exclusive, in fact, quite the opposite. I want the liberty to make MY OWN security. If everyone had a gun on them at all times, nobody is going to dumb enough to start anything. Hijack a plane, bullets fly first class into your stupid self, shoot up a movie theater and the only filming done that day will be of your dumbass in chaulk.

      • Johnny5
      • 6 years ago

      “If everyone had a gun on them at all times, nobody is going to dumb enough to start anything.”

      You’d think so, eh?

      Anyways, while everyone having guns could have a favorable result in the case that one maniac with a gun is going on a rampage, it would make things much worse in heated individual conflicts, mobs of people, times where there may be a mistake on who it is used on due to confusion/fear, suicidal people, public figures at risk of assassination, cops, etc. You encourage all the stupid, irrational, emotional, short-sighted, greedy, immoral people of the world to carry guns around at the ready, and things are gonna get real bad real fast.

        • revparadigm
        • 6 years ago

        Conceal & carry laws already work wonders in situations of attempted crimes. Because those who are concealing & carrying in compliance with the law are upstanding law abiding citizens, not shoot first happy gunslingers. I agree not everyone these days should have the right, too many mentally unstable people out there in this modern society. But for the level headed person who respects human life and knows the consequences of drawing a gun on someone in a very bad situation is a A+ for all of us.

          • CaptTomato
          • 6 years ago

          Gov can enforce strict licencing requirements, as such, only those with a clean record and an ok from the mental health quacks are allowed the right to carry.

          Watch road rage go to zero if everyone carried, not to mention most petty crime.
          Doesn’t the good ole USofA have 90 000 rapes per yr……interesting to check that figure a few months in after a fully loaded society.

            • way2strong
            • 6 years ago

            I don’t think everyone should be armed at all times, but enforcing strict licensing requirements would likely be an infringement on the right to bear arms. As would requiring someone to submit to a mental health evaluation. Bearing arms is not a privilege.

            • CaptTomato
            • 6 years ago

            Are there no licencing requirements at the moment…?
            {I’m Australian}

            • peartart
            • 6 years ago

            In the US, the same people who support concealed carry laws are strongly opposed to effective background checks and gun licenses.

            edit: which is a good sign that those people don’t believe their own arguments. If concealed carry could magically reduce crime to zero, something comparable to vehicle licensing and registration would be a great trade off.

            • Jason181
            • 6 years ago

            Those people fully believe their arguments. They also believe that restricting rights that are guaranteed not be be infringed by the constitution is a terrible idea.

            • peartart
            • 6 years ago

            Hilariously, the US Supreme Court didn’t decide that the second amendment recognized an individual right to bear arms until 2008. How’s that for Constitutional Originalism?

            • way2strong
            • 6 years ago

            I didn’t realize the Heller decision overturned previous Supreme Court precedent.

            [quote<]This case represents this Court’s first in-depth examination of the Second Amendment[/quote<] Oh. Imagine what this country would be like if not for the anti-federalists demanding a bill of rights.

            • peartart
            • 6 years ago

            No, they did however overturn lower court decisions that had decided the right to bear arms was connected to militias. Somehow this wasn’t considered an issue even though gun control has been happening since essentially the beginning of the US.

            • way2strong
            • 6 years ago

            It differs from state to state. In my state you don’t need a license to purchase or openly carry most firearms; permits are only required for concealed carry and purchasing/owning machine guns.

        • kamikaziechameleon
        • 6 years ago

        Do you know generally how gun laws work? If we followed “the law” no one with a mental illness or record would have weapons. MEANING that only moral, logical, law abiding citizens would carry, imagine if every good person had a weapon and very few bad people did, that might change some things.

          • peartart
          • 6 years ago

          If we followed the law, there would be no “bad guys”.

            • kamikaziechameleon
            • 6 years ago

            I didn’t say it, but that was sort of the point I was going for. Laws don’t effect criminals because by definition they break laws. Trying to create laws that will effect crime is a logical fallacy. Compromising on freedom to protect it… sorta the same thing.

        • indeego
        • 6 years ago

        “If everyone had a gun on them at all times, nobody is going to dumb enough to start anything.”

        We already have this very situation: We generally call this [i<]war[/i<], and having guns does not, in fact, prevent killing.

        • Shouefref
        • 6 years ago

        “If everyone had a gun on them at all times, you d^ made sure you’re the first to shoot”

      • bfar
      • 6 years ago

      “If everyone had a gun on them at all times, nobody is going to dumb enough to start anything”

      A. That isn’t true at all
      B. What if I don’t want to carry a gun?
      C. If someone licks off at me, it doesn’t mean I’ll want to shoot them, or that I’m justified in using lethal force.

        • CaptTomato
        • 6 years ago

        What’s that got to do with others desire to hold a licenced firearm?

          • kc77
          • 6 years ago

          The statement being made has absolutely nothing to do with your desire to own a gun. Bfar was just pointing out at the ridiculous notion that more guns = more security. There are tons of countries with fewer guns yet have lower rates of murder, rape, etc. Likewise there are countries that have higher rates of gun ownership than we do but also have lower rates of murder, rape, etc.

            • CaptTomato
            • 6 years ago

            What’s your quickest solution to stopping 90 000 rapes/petty crime, B&Enter etc….

            • Spunjji
            • 6 years ago

            There is no quickest solution. There are only gradual steps towards a better, more just society.

            A society where people perceived to be committing a crime get shot at is not a better or more just society.

            • CaptTomato
            • 6 years ago

            IOW, a few 1000 less rapes and acts of violence/murder per year till we figure it out…..too bad if you’re on the receiving end whilst we wait for your utopia though.

            • peartart
            • 6 years ago

            Except, you know, there is no evidence that guns reduce crime. (and they definitely do kill people by accident. hand-waving that away is far worse than waiting for utopia.)

            • BIF
            • 6 years ago

            Actually, there is lots of evidence that crime goes down when the criminals know that their prey “might” be able to fight back. You don’t have to advertise that you have a gun in your house, either. Big television news stories about a couple of 90 year old grandmas firing at intruders is all you need; better if it happens in your neighborhood.

            I think governments have been trying to disarm the citizenry for years. If they can’t make guns illegal, then they go after the ammunition. This is happening now in the US.

            • peartart
            • 6 years ago

            That’s not evidence, that’s your wishful thinking.

      • Spunjji
      • 6 years ago

      1) You stick with your plane with bullets going everywhere. I’ll stick with mine with the pressurised cabin.

      2) You think you can draw a gun in a movie theatre faster than a bullet can fly through the air and hit you? Good luck with that. At best some lives will be saved, assuming there’s no casualties from crossfire/penetration of the shooter.

      The world you described does not work. It’s like saying nobody would steal if they knew they would get hanged for it; funnily enough their were still plenty of thieves in the middle ages. Fear of death is not an adequate safeguard against criminal behaviour because no matter how likely it is, /people convince themselves that they will get away with it/.

      Meanwhile half the bar fights out there end with bullets flying. Split-second regrettable choices gain life-altering consequences.

      You can have liberty without having bullet-spitting instruments of death.

        • Jason181
        • 6 years ago

        The object isn’t to draw the gun faster; it’s to guarantee that drawing a gun and firing into a crowd is a death sentence, and not the kind that wends its way through the court system over the course of decades.

        I’ll take being able to draw at all and I’ll take my chances with crossfire as opposed to taking my chances with someone who is *aiming* to kill me.

        The chances of a bullet passing through a perpetrator and killing someone else is pretty low given this is in a theater where I doubt people are carrying rifles.

          • peartart
          • 6 years ago

          Mutually assured destruction barely worked when it was just two nation-states and the entire world at stake.

          Also, how many people have ever aimed at you to kill you?

            • BIF
            • 6 years ago

            You say “barely worked”. It worked or it didn’t. Which is it?

            And why does Russia now want the US to get rid of the missile shield system? After all, it’s just a defensive system, what’s wrong with that?

            • peartart
            • 6 years ago

            Barely worked means we survived but it’s not clear that was even the highest probability outcome. There are lots of stories where things almost went wrong.

          • RenatoPassos
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]The object isn't to draw the gun faster; it's to guarantee that drawing a gun and firing into a crowd is a death sentence.[/quote<] I usually don't like to nitpick but, in this case, the "death sentence" is irrelevant: most of these kind of perpetrator commit suicide anyway, so the idea of dying with guns blazing could be, in the worst case scenario, even more incentive to this kind of madness.

      • peartart
      • 6 years ago

      Also, I’ve heard similar arguments in the romanticization of NYC in the ’70s, with the argument being “armed drug dealers on the corner isn’t so bad, since they don’t appreciate their customers getting mugged.” In reality of course, you get muggings, drug dealing and violence all at once.

      • windwalker
      • 6 years ago

      That’s called jungle.
      We invented society several thousand of years ago to get out of it.

    • deepspacemillar
    • 6 years ago

    Cyril,

    the crux of your article is fairly well summarised in the title – “I choose to be spied on”, but therein lies the issue. This assertion is predicated on the idea that you made a choice.

    You didn’t.

    This unwanted intrusion into your life and data happened without your knowledge, without your consent and without any means for you to prevent it.

    Your asserted equivalence to services such as Google, Facebook etc is not an accurate comparison since you choose to use those services and you can always leave them should you wish to. That you choose to give these companies ‘everything you do online’ is also incorrect – no one company has all this data together at once, which may sound trivial, but it is important. These companies are also subject to varying levels of oversight, whereas the NSA is by definition, hidden from public view.

    That the situation clearly annoys you is obvious and the apathetic response is common. I see relatively few people actually motivated by these events. I could talk all day about the impacts it has to you personally, but it isn’t simply about you or me.
    What about the people shipped to Guantanamo Bay from countries afar without ever being subject to trial or fair treatment. People shipped on rendition flights that your country and mine facilitated. People apprehended for terrorism charges because a keyword got flagged in an innocuous conversation. One day it could be you.
    If you say nothing, then you implicitly support this. If you implicitly support these scenarios, you’re directly contributing to this getting worse. Your ‘inaction’ is as much an action as someone going out into the street and protesting. By doing nothing, by never letting yourself be heard, you implicitly tell those in charge you’re perfectly content.

    So stop using apathy as an escape. Do something about it. Otherwise all this is is hypocritical bluster.

      • cynan
      • 6 years ago

      The verbose version of the title is “I choose to continue to permit myself to be spied on” but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

      It’s not hypocritical bluster. It’s a tried and tested literary device. His admission of apathy functions to get his readers to identify similar complacencies regarding their own usage of modern communication technology. Our preexisting connection to the protagonist (Cyril) provides a measure of ethos that is leveraged in concert with pathos: poignant (and I thought eloquently written) descriptions of his relevant experiences, and reactions to said experiences, to which we can relate in our own lives. This dredges up to the emotional surface potential truths and accompanying sentiments we are usually all too comfortable ignoring, but which deep down are at least a modest source of disquiet.

      Hypocritical bluster would be something like a piece pointing fingers at everyone else who goes idly by ignoring these issues, but then fails to recognize the same issues in his own interactions with technology.

      • Jason181
      • 6 years ago

      No, he could choose not to be spied upon by not using these services. Anyone who posts unencrypted information over a public infrastructure has no reasonable right to expect privacy.

      Nobody said a single company has all of the data, although you’re asserting that which you do not know to say they don’t. He used the plural of company, as in collectively they have all of his data.

      It’s not hypocritical to admit inconsistencies in your behavior; it’s quite the opposite. Criticizing others for the same inconsistencies would be hypocrisy. Nobody escapes with apathy. On the contrary he’s admitting that apathy is *not* an escape, but adds to the problem.

    • Sabresiberian
    • 6 years ago

    +2 Cyril (because I have two thumbs to show my appreciation).

    You’ve spoken for the core of the majority of the people in the civilized world. You’ve put down in words the real reason for the depression epidemic, the loss of sense of pride and hope for the future, the abnormal weight gain of such a large percentage of the population, and the reason 30-year old people are acting like 9-year-olds.

    • DPete27
    • 6 years ago

    I’m sick of all this Snowden talk. Everything he leaked has been known for years (post 9/11). The only reason it stays in the news is because everyone is interested in the Snowden manhunt. The only people that need to worry about the NSA spying tactics are people that are compromising national security. If you’re not one of those people, it would be a waste of the NSA’s time to “spy” on you.

    People don’t like the idea of the government having the ability to follow their every move, but the people that want to restrict the NSA’s abilities would be the first to complain if there were another major terrorist attack that couldn’t be prevented because of it.

      • Sabresiberian
      • 6 years ago

      If everyone in the NSA and the rest of the government was perfectly honest, and no one would ever take advantage or do anything to harm anyone unfairly, then you would have a good point, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Our American founding fathers knew this, and that’s why they created “checks and balances” in our governmental system. The very fact that our founding, core system of government has been subverted suggests that there may be more devious and harmful intent at the top than we want to acknowledge.

      If they (the NSA and the rest of the people in power) don’t have anything to hide, why are they hiding so much? By your own words, only criminals have something to hide, right?

      We watch NCIS and we see Gibbs give a silent order to McGee to break the law and hack into files he has no warrant for. It’s all good, right? We KNOW Gibbs is honest and won’t do the wrong thing, after all. We see Harry Callahan (“Dirty Harry”) blow people away on the street and we cheer – because we KNOW he’s honest and KNOW the criminal is a criminal and shooting him was the right thing to do. But, the real world isn’t like that; most cops are good guys, but some take advantage of their position, some do the wrong thing, and people get sent to jail and even killed wrongly on occasion.

      No one is fighting the good guys trying to protect us; we are fighting the bad guys that have the same access to the same power the good guys do. Our one and only protection is for someone to be able to oversee what these agencies do; we need people to “police the police”, and when that system is subverted, we become vulnerable. We have extremely powerful agencies that no longer answer to the judicial system in any meaningful way.

      My question remains: if they have nothing to hide, why are they hiding? Why have they subverted our system of checks and balances? Why don’t they want strong judges who will question their every move to do their job?

      • kuraegomon
      • 6 years ago

      Wow. I suggest you read some history. Focus particularly on the formation of police states. You might learn something.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 6 years ago

      Half the reason why terrorists claim to such unjust acts are because of governments doing unjust acts to them in the first place. The Afghan people have a whole helluva lot of reasons to hate the rest of the world, the last ~200years of history haven’t exactly been kind to them.

      • OneShotOneKill
      • 6 years ago

      You have much to learn from history son. Pick up a book.

      • way2strong
      • 6 years ago

      Even if you give the government agencies the benefit of the doubt that they’ll only spy on people who compromise national security (big stretch btw), that can still be rather disgusting.

      Was the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century a threat to national security? The people involved in COINTELPRO sure thought so.

      • kvndoom
      • 6 years ago

      Riiight… and when the next big attack happens, even [b<][i<]in spite of[/i<][/b<] every phone call, email, forum post and godknowswhatelse being monitored, then what? When the day comes where we voluntarily give up 100% of our privacy to "stop the terrorists" and "save the children" and the same crimes keep happening, then what? The problem is, any freedom or privacy that you voluntarily give away is never, ever coming back... even when the perceived "threat" is long gone.

    • Price0331
    • 6 years ago

    It’s really not that difficult to keep your privacy intact. Here’s what I do:

    1. Use your own email server. I pay for a website just to run email through it, keep a gmail for spam and make sure that my personal email address stays pure. Use encryption, and if something is even mildly sensitive you should use this as your main communication. All of your cell phone texts are recorded.

    2. Don’t use facebook. Just don’t, there’s no reason too. People have been put in jail (for a long time) for saying things on facebook, some of them simply un-tasteful jokes (the kid who jokingly threatened a school has been incarcerated for 5 months now, could face 10 years).

    3. No cloud storage for even the smallest piece of sensitive material.

    Your right to privacy is in your hands. Just stop trusting those who can’t and shouldn’t be trusted. Be self-sufficient, host your own content. You’ll feel better, I do.

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<] 2. Don't use facebook. Just don't, there's no reason too. People have been put in jail (for a long time) for saying things on facebook, some of them simply un-tasteful jokes (the kid who jokingly threatened a school has been incarcerated for 5 months now, could face 10 years).[/quote<] How about just don't be a jack*** with what you post and post knowing that anything you say may be held against you. Even something verbal has the same consequences as something posted.

      • Sargent Duck
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]All of your cell phone texts are recorded. [/quote<] As are your voice (both cell phone and land line). Same with faxes. Pretty much every form of communication (outside of letter writing) is traced.

        • Deanjo
        • 6 years ago

        Even a letter can be traced most days

          • neon
          • 6 years ago

          They are storing photos of the outside of sent letters, so they have sender and recipient names/addresses for the databases. Of course, it is still illegal to open a letter and read its contents.

            • Deanjo
            • 6 years ago

            Do you really think in this day and age that they have to actually open the envelope?

      • egon
      • 6 years ago

      That leaves a lot of open territory, and if I’d written the surveillance algorithms that decide what to single out among the massive flow of data, certain practices such as use of PGP in e-mails or of services that promote privacy (e.g. DuckDuckGo search engine) would serve as red flags that would trigger more detailed surveillance and longer retention.

      • indeego
      • 6 years ago

      Just self-encrypt if you use Cloud storage.

      A supoena is all that is needed to make locally hosted data just as accessible as cloud-based storage.

      Also recommend Linux or similar open-sourced vetted OS, since apparently Microsoft shares 0-days with world governments.

    • Kougar
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<] But I choose to trust that that knowledge won't be used to blackmail me, [b<]to detain me indefinitely[/b<]...[/quote<] Tell that bolded part to the people in Guantanamo Bay, that have no avenue or expectation of an eventual trial or any legal recourse. Many of which are only there due to loose or "suspected" associations with insurgent movements. When Obama initially attempted to close the facility in 2009, his team discovered the majority of inmates didn't even have any sort of comprehensive file on what reasons they had been detained in the first place. Then consider this, in order to block President Obama's executive order to close the facility, the US Senate was able to pass legislation ensuring these individuals would be forced to stay in this facility indefinitely. If the Senate can write off the lives of 100 people without a problem and justification, what does that say about our government? On one hand, I don't care too much if Google or the NSA knows sordid details about my life, beliefs, and what I do every day. I also understand and agree with the need for the Government to have to snoop around in order to prevent domestic violence and homegrown terrorists, as evidenced by the multiple incidents every year stopped via detection or interception. On the other hand, there are still cases of governmental overreach, abuses of power, and people falling people the cracks without any means of recourse. Such as [url<]http://goo.gl/9eNtY[/url<] where an individual had his online business seized and shut down for most of a year due entirely to actions of 3rd parities without cause or compensation given for the damages. There's also cases like Aaron Swartz, an activist that did a some questionable things for good reasons, and even after JSTOR declined to pursue charges against him the Feds went ahead and attempted to seek the maximum 50 years in prison and $1 million in fines to make an example of him. President Nixon is probably the easiest example of all, whom used the powers of the Government against political rivals. He bugged opponents offices for personal gain, had aides commit various crimes under protection of Federal officials for personal and political party agendas, and then went overboard in the attempted coverup. It's one thing to allow the government to have personal data on individuals within and outside the US to ensure their protection, but it's quite another when that data or Federal power is abusively used against US and international citizens.

      • way2strong
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]I also understand and agree with the need for the Government to have to snoop around in order to prevent domestic violence and homegrown terrorists, as evidenced by the multiple incidents every year stopped via detection or interception.[/quote<] Please point some of these out, but leave out the ones where the suspect was recruited, provided with a target, funded, and given all materials by the FBI.

        • Kougar
        • 6 years ago

        There’s an incomplete list at [url<]http://goo.gl/eyv4F[/url<] which doesn't mention every local terrerist wannabe, nor does it mention foiled attempts such as the printer cartridge bombs [url<]http://goo.gl/isRTd[/url<] that were not only very real, but one of the bombs was only diffused 17 minutes before its timer was set to go when it otherwise would've been on a plane over the US. And if you recall, there were two of them [url<]http://goo.gl/XD84z[/url<] In particular most of the homegrown incidents weren't "recruited" by the FBI, they were intercepted while attempting to actively contact Al Qaeda or other organizations in order to gain the funds, training, or materials needed. There's a big distinction there, and simply providing them the materials and allowing them to attempt to carry out the plot is done simply to ensure said person was being genuinely serious in their plans for a terroristic incident. It also provides needed conclusive, irrefutable evidence to be used in court after their arrest.

      • tanker27
      • 6 years ago

      Have you ever stopped to think that the reason Gitmo isnt closed is because a) There is a docket on every prisoner and its comprehensive and it shows that they are truly bad people and b) Foreign governments provided intel for such people and they ultimately don’t want to be responsible for holding them so they let the U.S. do it and support us in doing it.

      How many times have we heard that a former inmate returned to doing bad things after they were released fro Gitmo? The answer is more than enough.

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 6 years ago

        Just because a person is guilty does not mean we hold the person forever in jail. We have to prove it publicly or we have to let them go.

        We should not become our enemy, lest we deserve what our enemy then does to us and compel others to believe this, too.

          • tanker27
          • 6 years ago

          Im not arguing that. I am arguing WHY Gitmo isnt closed and WHY Obama hasn’t followed through/ failed with his promise to do so.

          When he campaigned on this point he WAS NOT privy to information. It probably wasn’t until his very first National Security Brief that he started pinning over this and then they said, “Well Mr. President let me show you something.”

          The same holds true for all us armchair quarterbacks.

          But what do I know. Let them go. Release them. Maybe they’ll go back home and be peaceful opium farmers. Maybe they’ll go and murder tens of thousands.

        • Kougar
        • 6 years ago

        As I said in my post, it has been documented (and stated by the administration) that when individually going case-by-case, many of the prisoners had NO such docket, no official files, or any compiled evidence on them. What information that was used to incarcerate them was locked away in random military and non-military intelligence agency files and half the time out of reach for any lawyer said prisoner might have been lucky enough to hire.

        Of course some of them are legitimate threats to public safety, but they should still face our justice system and not a military detention facility without even officially being convicted of any crime. To do anything less shows that we aren’t sincere about our principles as a nation, it undermines our credibility and our moral stance “that we’re right”, which we typically fall back on as Americans in our us-vs-world mentality.

        Edit: Just to counter-point… if you were incarcerated from your home country in a foreign country’s prison for the prime years of your life when ya were in your 20’s, and say somehow finally were released 20 years later without any compensation, recourse, or life to even return to… what do you think some of these people would do? Many would likely stir up Anti-American sentiment, or maybe even change their moderate religious beliefs to extreme ones and seek revenge. Especially if 20 or 30 years down the road, because they won’t have a life to return to anyway what would they have to lose?

    • Meadows
    • 6 years ago

    I thought this piece to be ironic as I got to the middle of it, but by the end, I realised it *isn’t*.

    Cyril, I liked you. In all sincerity.
    But this blog makes you into the worst kind of hypocrite: the kind who is [b<][i<]aware[/i<][/b<] they are a hypocrite.

      • Cyril
      • 6 years ago

      If I was a hypocrite, I wouldn’t have written this blog post, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. 😉

        • Chrispy_
        • 6 years ago

        I’m with Cyril. We should all be getting worked up about the gradual slide in the wrong direction, but realistically, what can one person do?

        Selfishly I like my life the way it is and the effort required to actually make a difference is so monumentally vast that I just shrug it off and carry on enjoying my perfectly comfortable and interesting life. There will always be bad decisions, corruption, mismanagement and political agendas that are [i<]not[/i<] for the greater good, but as long as my quality of life doesn't really change, I'm not about to take on the massive job of fighting it, which [i<]is far more likely[/i<] to make my life hell than doing absolutely nothing. Shame on the people who make the bad decisions, my inaction is why they get away with it but what we need are governments that actually have our interests at heart. They are all too easily pursuaded by favours/money/self-serving agendas to do the right thing.

        • BIF
        • 6 years ago

        Okay Cyril, but really…how much of this is just self-justification to see how many others admit their apathy…a form of erm, apathetic solidarity?

          • Cyril
          • 6 years ago

          None, really. I noticed a lot of people around me (including myself) reacting the same way to the NSA scandal: with impotent outrage followed by uncomfortable apathy. I thought it was a really strange reaction to such a major issue. The point of this blog post was to characterize that reaction and to point out how strange it is. I’m surprised some of you guys think I’m actually justifying apathy or somehow condoning what’s going on.

      • lycium
      • 6 years ago

      Who cares who someone nobody likes doesn’t like? “Meadows doesn’t like him” is a kind of compliment, if anything.

    • willg
    • 6 years ago

    Snowden coming out as the whistleblower was a big mistake. Not because of his personal safety or curtailment of his freedoms, though it may have been for those reasons too, but because he became the story. The issue was was privacy and freedoms – it’s pretty hard to smear those things, they are metaphysical concepts that defy ‘marginalisation’ or ‘FUD’ but by revealing himself as the source of the leaks, he gave the government and supporting media a fallible human to discredit, to challenge, to provide a target for politicians war of words: ‘traitor’, ‘spy’, ‘disloyal’.

    I totally agree the story has moved on from the message to the messenger.

      • nanoflower
      • 6 years ago

      But if he didn’t become a whistle blower there wouldn’t be any story about the NSA (or the countries that are doing similar things.) The issue came to national attention because of Snowden. Yes, it’s true that nothing is likely to come of it but that was true back when found out about AT&T and their secret closet to allow the NSA to listen in. That was talked about quite a bit but nothing came of it which is likely the same thing that will happen with Snowden’s revalations. It just isn’t something that impacts our daily lives so it just gets dropped even by the technologically aware.

        • Farting Bob
        • 6 years ago

        Willg was talking about Snowden admitting publically he was the whistleblower was a mistake. Not that leaking the documents was a mistake. He said the news focused on him once his name was known rather than what he leaked.

        He made his name known because he feared (rightly so) for his safety. If nobody knows you are important, you can be arrested, extradited and locked up without too much fuss. The US can’t do that as easily now and he has help from all sorts of governments, charities, media and organisations to stay free.

          • BIF
          • 6 years ago

          “He made his name known because he feared (rightly so) for his safety. If nobody knows you are important, you can be arrested, extradited and locked up without too much fuss. The US can’t do that as easily now and he has help from all sorts of governments, charities, media and organisations to stay free.”

          Yes, this is pure genius. But even that can be overcome, and won’t stand up in the face of sound bites from a President, Vice President, a few members of both houses, and a couple of decorated servicemen/women, followed by head-wagging and “tsk-tsking” from Hillary Clinton on Oprah or Jay Leno. He could still stand in front of a firing line yet.

            • lilbuddhaman
            • 6 years ago

            Rather be executed publicly (and become a martyr) than become another “Edward Snowden was found with a self inflicted gunshot wound to the temple, there was absolutely no reason for his suicide” story.

            p.s. Britain isn’t innocent either [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Gareth_Williams[/url<]

      • Kaleid
      • 6 years ago

      He didn’t become a story on his own, he was made the story in order to change the focus from the leaks to the person. Same thing happened with Assange…destroy the messenger and the message won’t be heard. It just happens to work.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 6 years ago

        Problem with Assange is that he is a really really weird dude from virtually all accounts.

          • Kaleid
          • 6 years ago

          How do you know? We know through leaks that the military painted up the role of Zarqawi in Iraq and supposedly there were WMDs in Iraq. We know where they are as Rumsfeld said.
          ___
          As The New York Times put it last week: “To the list of the enemies threatenin­g the security of the United States, the Pentagon has added WikiLeaks.­org, a tiny online source of informatio­n and documents that government­s and corporatio­ns around the world would prefer to keep secret.”
          “successful identification, prosecutiom, termination of employment, and exposure of persons leaking the information by the governments and businesses affected by information posted to wikileaks.org would damage and potentially destroy this center of gravity and deter others from taking action”
          [url<]http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/03/27/wikileaks[/url<] CIA: "Public Apathy Enables Leaders to Ignore Voters" The leaked campaign to attack WikiLeaks and its supporters [url<]http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/02/11/campaigns[/url<]

      • windwalker
      • 6 years ago

      That’s BS.
      The story has not moved. The story was moved.
      As journalism has degenerated into mass distribution of gossip, the media is following the money and using current events to construct the entertainment people are willing to pay for.

      I agree that Snowden’s coming out did enable that behaviour, but you are confusing who the victim and wrongdoers actually are.
      It’s very likely that Snowden would have been dead already had he tried to remain anonymous while releasing documents and giving statements and proof that initial government denials were lies.

    • hubick
    • 6 years ago

    Yesterday I started looking for groups protesting these actions in Canada.

    Our apathy is exactly why they’ve been able to get away with all this.

    So, if you want to be apathetic over your rights, then I guess that’s also your right, but, using your platform to broadcast a message of apathy out to others, just to fill your need for affirmation, well, that makes you pathetic, and part of the problem.

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      Well Canada just protesting won’t have much of a difference in if the US does or doesn’t spy on you. You would have to get an aggressive UN campaign going but even then the US has shown it’s not afraid to give the finger to the UN.

        • atryus28
        • 6 years ago

        No one is afraid to give the UN the finger. It’s a useless waste of time and money.

          • Deanjo
          • 6 years ago

          A UN sanctioned trade embargo would rattle things up.

        • credible
        • 6 years ago

        Neither is Canada either, that organization needs to disappear, now.

      • Liron
      • 6 years ago

      By “broadcast[ing] a message of apathy out to others,” he stuck his neck out, stopped being apathetic and did something about it. He clearly was condemning his apathy and sending a clear message that the readers of this site should be the first line of defense.

    • MustangSally
    • 6 years ago

    Do you mean “I’m happy to be spied on!” or did you really mean “I don’t like being spied on, but I’m afraid to stick my neck out by saying or doing anything about it”

    Because the latter means you’re living in a totalitarian state.

    No, Neely, that’s not fringe, that’s reality. Sad reality.

      • NeelyCam
      • 6 years ago

      The question is, does it matter if the government is monitoring its citizens? I argue that [b<]it doesn't really matter[/b<]. I don't think governments are out there intentionally trying to screw their citizens. A lot of Americans seem to have a completely opposite view of things, though - the absolute mistrust of The Government is shockingly widespread.

        • atryus28
        • 6 years ago

        You really suck at history huh?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 6 years ago

        I wonder – not about you in particular, but about people who espouse “trust” in the government today – if they trusted the government so much in 2007. I didn’t really trust it then and a change in the party of the president didn’t do any favors.

        • indeego
        • 6 years ago

        ” I don’t think governments are out there intentionally trying to screw their citizens.”

        The government has an absolute self-interest at preservation. Totalitarianism keeps them having a job.

        The government I trust? The one that is willing to say “You don’t need us as much” and they self-kill all or parts of their self.

        This is tied to the military-industrial (and now security/IT) complex. Massive amounts of money is shuffled for the rarest of threats.

          • entropy13
          • 6 years ago

          LOL @ double-standards.

        • BooTs
        • 6 years ago

        Do some research on how many people are incarcerated for petty crimes, like possession of minor amounts of pot.
        Look up some sentencing on crack cocaine vs cocaine. Cocaine draws a insanely lighter sentence, and why is that?
        There are some people the government is intentionally screwing. Millions. You just are not one of them yet.

          • Rageypoo
          • 6 years ago

          As a veteran, I can say with 100% certainty that the gov. is intentionally screwing millions.

        • Suspenders
        • 6 years ago

        I think you’ve misunderstood the bigger question as to why this is important; the question is whether or not those who presume to rule us respect the law. Is the rule of law something we even still have? I think not, and that is a thought with frightening repercussions.

        • clone
        • 6 years ago

        NeelyCam anything given away for free gets exploited, allowing it to be stolen without complaint, incredible.

        throwing away your right to privacy can only lead to problems.

        • OneShotOneKill
        • 6 years ago

        Read “GULAG ARCHIPELAGO” you owe it to yourself. Same scenario different players.

    • RDFSteve
    • 6 years ago

    That photo looks more like a Vegas casino than an intelligence center. Any agency that uses 8 screens just to show its own logo on the wall has more money than they know what to do with.

      • Meadows
      • 6 years ago

      The NSA is the source of the photo. This probably means those screens *aren’t* normally used for displaying a logo, but have been set up to do so for producing a prettier photo.

        • jihadjoe
        • 6 years ago

        Better than showing John Doe’s pr0n folder.

      • chuckula
      • 6 years ago

      That opcenter looks like something they threw together to impress tourists and gullible politicians. I’m pretty confident that it isn’t rated as a SCIF and I doubt any operation with real substance has ever taken place there. It looks good for a movie set or for a cheesy TV show though…

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 6 years ago

        I’ve been in a “real” op center (not NSA, but equally as important), actually looked similar, though not as roomy and not as flashy. Keep in mind you’re looking at a fishbowl lens, taken by a professional, with what looks to be some high color saturation (i’m not expert though).

        • Master Kenobi
        • 6 years ago

        [url<]http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/cryptologic_spectrum/nsoc.pdf[/url<] It's a SCIF. It's nothing more than an information hub. No actual operations are conducted there. I heard a rumor some time ago that Disney was actually brought in to design and build the NSOC area which explains why it looks more like a tourist attraction than a place of business.

    • danny e.
    • 6 years ago

    The whole “trust the government not to misuse the data” argument that even I used to use sometimes was blown out of the water by the recent IRS debacle. It proved that there are no good checks and balances to ensure a group or maybe an individual isn’t targeted.

    Also, the fact that Holder broke the law on more than one occasion and is still running the DOJ says a lot about the corruptness of the government.

    Basically, what we’ve learned over the past few years and past few months even more so is that the government is run by a bunch of power hungry douchebags … some with evil intentions.. some who socialize with terrorists. The government should not be trusted.

    But, yes, the point of the article is what am “I” doing about it.
    Nothing that we can speak of.

    • tbone8ty
    • 6 years ago

    I choose to mistake your identity and make your life a living hell.

    • NeelyCam
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]I choose to trust the government. Not just the government of Canada, where I live, but also the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and other western countries that monitor online communications.[/quote<] American fringe elements freaking out about this in 3... 2... 1...

    • dpaus
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<]I choose....[/quote<] and [quote<]the more I know, the more I hate myself for my own inaction[/quote<] = [quote<]I choose....to hate myself[/quote<] I understand. I despair.

      • Sabresiberian
      • 6 years ago

      Oops hit the wrong vote button (should have been +1). You said what I did more succinctly.

      • MustangSally
      • 6 years ago

      You can be a poet when you want to.

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