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Technology, Not Law, Limits Mass Surveillance 191

Posted by Soulskill
from the are-you-endorsing-robot-hitmen dept.
holy_calamity writes "U.S. citizens have historically been protected from government surveillance by technical limits, not legal ones, writes independent security researcher Ashkan Soltani at MIT Tech Review. He claims that recent leaks show that technical limits are loosening, fast, with data storage and analysis cheap and large Internet services taking care of data collection for free. 'Spying no longer requires following people or planting bugs, but rather filling out forms to demand access to an existing trove of information,' writes Soltani."
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Technology, Not Law, Limits Mass Surveillance

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  • by michael_rendier (2601249) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:00PM (#44170703) Homepage
    We've been told that we've been protected from such things, a la the constitution...yet if you go back into history, it's never really been seen by the gov't as a 'limit' to their power...they just make up a 'reason' why they needed to do it. Reasons why it's legal to do so. We have not been historically protected...we've been historically monitored, invaded and exploited for one reason or another in the name of national security and 'fighting enemies'...oh, and marketing. Just because there's not a dictator behind the Securitate, doesn't mean it's not being done behind the scenes.
    • by meta-monkey (321000) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:14PM (#44170789) Journal

      You're correct, but it's gotten way, way worse in the past decade.

      The truly Orwellian thing about this nightmare isn't even so much the surveillance, but the wholesale redefinition of language. Plain English no longer means what plain English means, and we have traded rule of law for rule of lawyer.

      It's not torture, it's "extraordinary rendition for enhanced interrogation techniques."
      And of course you still have due process, it's "a process that is due, but not necessarily judicial."
      And you're not being jailed without trial. You're being "indefinitely detained."

      I would say we need a Constitutional Amendment that Congress shall make no law infringing upon your right to privacy, but without another amendment that says "no really, plain English means plain English" it wouldn't matter much. And they'd just twist that to mean "plain English in the context of this amendment means English which, plainly, means what we want it to mean."

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        The truly Orwellian thing about this nightmare isn't even so much the surveillance, but the wholesale redefinition of language. Plain English no longer means what plain English means

        That's Patriot talk, consumer. Prepare for extreme reeducation after reclassification as an imminent threat.

        • by meta-monkey (321000) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @07:50PM (#44171483) Journal

          They'd never call it "Patriot talk." Remember, "Patriots" are the brave men and women who spy on everything you do to keep this great nation and its people safe.

          Other awful problem of the state of the language: we've pre-Godwined ourselves. We're so ingrained with the idea that comparing something to nazi germany means that you have lost perspective and your argument has devolved into flinging hyperbolic insults, and you have therefore lost. People do not understand the literal definition of Fascism [wikipedia.org] anymore, and as Orwell said in Politics and the English Language [newrepublic.com] (relinked from a response to my original post by a fine poster), "The word fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable.'"

          In fact, "Italian Fascism promotes a corporatist economic system whereby employer and employee syndicates are linked together in corporative associations to collectively represent the nation's economic producers and work alongside the state to set national economic policy."

          Doesn't that sound like someplace we know? Where through "regulatory capture" (a fancy way of saying "industry writes government regulation to their benefit"), and "campaign contributions" (i.e., "bribes") the government and industry are basically one in the same?

          Yes, that's America. But you can't say it! Because if you do, you lose. "Well that's ridiculous! I don't see any dictator marching Jews into ovens!"

          You can't even criticize the system of our government, because the word that properly describes our system of government is no longer allowed in public debate. Orwell would be...not proud...sadly resigned?

          • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @07:58PM (#44171535)

            "They'd never call it "Patriot talk." Remember, "Patriots" are the brave men and women who spy on everything you do to keep this great nation and its people safe."

            A friend recently linked me to an article about this very thing. For a change this is not Godwin's Law; this is actually relevant.

            The reason it was possible for Hitler and the Nazis to rise to power, was because the populace mistakenly believed "patriotism" was not loyalty to The People or their country, but to their government. Big Mistake.

            Patriotism is loyalty to your family and your neighbors, not to Barack Obama.

            • by mooingyak (720677)

              A friend recently linked me to an article about this very thing. For a change this is not Godwin's Law; this is actually relevant.

              Godwin's law does not preclude relevancy.

          • by Culture20 (968837)

            Remember, "Patriots" are the brave men and women who spy...

            Unh uh. "Patriots" are the teabagger scum who need to list the political leanings of their extended family members and friends for the IRS so that the rest of us can be safe.

      • by steelfood (895457)

        It's Newspeak, the latest and most popular trend in American English.

      • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:50PM (#44171071)

        The truly Orwellian thing about this nightmare isn't even so much the surveillance, but the wholesale redefinition of language.

        Orwell's classic essay on the subject, Politics and the English Language [newrepublic.com].

    • Just because there's not a dictator behind the Securitate, doesn't mean it's not being done behind the scenes.

      But there are dictators already, they are the corporations who are rewriting US laws and circumventing the constitution in their favour. American is now under corporate law just loose enough to make the peaons think they're still free.

      • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:35PM (#44170967)

        But there are dictators already, they are the corporations who are rewriting US laws and circumventing the constitution in their favour.

        Stop apologizing for the politicians.

        Corporations do not write or rewrite law, politicians do. Politicians sell the service of lawmaking to corporations.

        Clearly you dont care.

        • Since Orwell has already ben brought up, I might as well throw this in:

          The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Politicians don't write the laws, they take the laws that the lobbyists give them and then merge them with what the other lobbyists give them and then amend them with amendments that by and large were created by lobbyists and vote on that mess.

          You don't seriously think that these hundred page monstrosities are the result of politicians' staffs writing them, do you?

          • by stenvar (2789879)

            No, but politicians approve those laws. And they approve those laws because voters reelect them even though they do. In different words, if you reelect Obama, don't complain that he goes a-hunting after Snowden, starts wars, causes racial divisiveness, or gives billions to his rich buddies and donors because that's the kind of politician he showed himself to be during the first term.

            • by hedwards (940851)

              Causes racial divisiveness? The President didn't cause racial divisiveness, that was folks like you. He's black, and racism existed well before his parents were born.

            • by anyGould (1295481)

              No, but politicians approve those laws. And they approve those laws because voters reelect them even though they do.

              It's cute that you think that politicians worry about voters more than six months before re-election. It doesn't take a lot of economics to see where a politician's loyalties must, by definition, lie.

              I live in a medium-sized city in Canada. About a million people, nothing big. To make a run for city council here costs $50-60 thousand dollars. (More if you want to be mayor). That's roughly a year's salary at a pretty good job. Since most people can't afford to spend a year's salary at the shot of winning an

              • by stenvar (2789879)

                I live in a medium-sized city in Canada. About a million people, nothing big. To make a run for city council here costs $50-60 thousand dollars. (More if you want to be mayor). That's roughly a year's salary at a pretty good job. Since most people can't afford to spend a year's salary at the shot of winning an election, you get people to donate to you. And the rich people who can afford to throw thousands of dollars at you... expect you to do certain things.

                It's cute that you think politics and campaign don

                • by anyGould (1295481)

                  It's cute that you think politics and campaign donations work that way, but they really don't. For one thing, most donations don't come from "rich people" or even "corporations", they come from non-profits, unions, and other non-corporate lobbies.

                  My local billionaire would disagree with you [nationalpost.com] - he (I'm sorry, him and 16 of his friends and family) contributed several hundred thousand dollars (or, $30,000 *each*) in the last election.

                  It's no great mystery how this works. The first priority of a politician is to make their voters happy, the second priority to make their donors happy, and doing the right thing has the lowest priority. Since most voters actually don't care about most decisions either way, usually the donors come off best in the end.

                  I'll

                  • by stenvar (2789879)

                    You're just reiterating common beliefs and anecdotes. Go look at some data.

                    • by anyGould (1295481)

                      Sure thing - here's the 2012 US election data [opensecrets.org].

                      Even Obama, the "grassroots" candidate, got about 70% of his money from "large individual contributions". (And before the haters start a-hatin', Romney clocked 80% of his cash from big sugar daddies, so he got nothing to talk about.)

                      Are you really, with a straight face, tell me that if Microsoft or Google (Obama donors #2 and 3 respectively) call up for a meeting, Obama's not going to take their call? (And anyone want to guess why all those bankers backed Romney

                    • by stenvar (2789879)

                      Are you really, with a straight face, tell me that if Microsoft or Google (Obama donors #2 and 3 respectively) call up for a meeting, Obama's not going to take their call?

                      Do you even bother to read what you cite? That table does not list any donations from Microsoft or Google as companies, it lists individual donations from people and their families who happen to be working at those companies, plus a small number of PACs affiliated with those companies. The maximum donation for any individual or PAC is $250

          • by Rockoon (1252108)

            Politicians don't write the laws, they take the laws that the lobbyists give them and then merge them with what the other lobbyists give them and then amend them with amendments that by and large were created by lobbyists and vote on that mess.

            Another apologist, I see.

            Clearly you will never hold a politician accountable. You hate corporations that much, eh? Fuck the fact that the politician enables it, benefits from it, and encourages it... no sir, its those evil corporations and their evil lobby groups that the politician gladly sells his services to.. its their fault that someone is selling a service to them, right?

            Wake the fuck up.

        • by bfandreas (603438)
          Well, take for instance the massive GCHQ snooping effort. What they did was perfectly legal based on laws from the mid 90ies. Now 20 years on those laws prove not to be sufficient because technical limitations that had held the storage of data gained by massive trawling in check are simply gone. The only effect the recent revelations had in the UK is that Theresa May may give up on her Snooper's Charter for the time being. Apart from The Guardian everybody else seems to be hunky-dory.

          Meanwhile in the US
        • by pantaril (1624521)

          Corporations do not write or rewrite law, politicians do. Politicians sell the service of lawmaking to corporations.

          Clearly you dont care.

          It seems to me like majority of US voters who continue to vote for republicans or democrats don't care.

          Too bad that majority of people base their voting decision on election campaign paid by the corporations and lobbyists. In this sense, GP is right.

    • by Joiseybill (788712) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @07:21PM (#44171289)
      Agreed (+1 parent) .. and also agree with later post about semantics/ navajo translation.

      We BELIEVED there was privacy, because the Government told us about the protection, and the media supported them. The olde-tyme radio cops got away with what society thought was fair.. today, Law and Order:(n) or CSI:(m) would at least make a 'big deal' about a sketchy search without PC, or when handling a suspect who hasn't been properly Mirandized.
      Until relatively recent credit card legislation, citizens had no expectation of privacy against data collection ( selective surveillance) by non-government agencies. This surveillance has been happening since before most of us were even born. It is not new.. but the media has ignited the flames of FUD, and the methods for collecting, analyzing , and distributing information have grown exponentially as a result of computers and the changes they bring to society.

      In 1897 or so, S&H Green stamps started a " marketing loyalty program". Your grocer ( gas station, Sears & Roebuck) could influence your purchases by adjusting the 'bonus levels' of green stamps you received in return for a purchase. When they chose to, they could also watch meta-trends, or even specific consumer behavior changes, because all the stamps were serial-numbered. S&H, when they received the redeemed booklets, could measure the effectiveness.. which retailers were distributing more, which customers were collecting & returning more, how many just got lost or never filled a book? The company changed over time.. and never really returned to the giant stature they had after the 1970's inflation/stagflation.. but they still exist, and offer web-based purchase premiums.

      Around 1920, Al Neilsen got tired with his day job, and decided to create A.C. Neilsen ; to rate how well radio advertisers were doing. The company is still around today, trying to measure DVR and Netflix data, too. This was probably one of the original "crowdsourced" industries.. I mean, if you get "selected" today, they only pay you a dollar a week - if your data is on-time.

      Criminal records, property records, articles of incorporation, lawsuits.. all were considered public record at one level or another. I was taught how to search all that paper at my local County Courthouse back in the mid- 1980s. At the time, only criminal records actually required that you produce ID and a legitimate reason to ask.
      My sister was in an auto accident last summer. Before the local police were ready with a report " ...10 business days, lady..."; she received a letter from an attorney - with a copy of the accident report, asking if she needed any legal advice or representation. Also, NJ State law about "Red Light Cameras" requires that the footage recorded is destroyed within 60 days - if nothing is illegal, or no charges filed; and within 90 days after the matter is settled ( if you are charged, and just pay the ticket) . Another case of nobody watching.. search YouTube and find at least 5, probably a dozen NJ Red Light Cam videos.. posted as marketing from the camera company! Big brother ( d/b/a private contractor) is watching, recording, and had their fingers crossed when they promised to destroy the footage.

      It was around 1902-1904 that the Northeast's major Life & Medical insurers got together and built what we now call the MIB ( Medical Information Bureau). Any insurer.. and lots of other "qualified participants" ( =$ ?) can add, edit, or search these records about every one of us. Every time an insurance company paid a claim (or messed up a claim) medically, that info was added to the collection. Today, we just call this a database.
      Again.. no protection here. Last time I checked, the MIB was voluntarily adopting a model similar to credit reporting agencies.. they would provide an individual with a personal report ( minus trade-secrets and scoring), and give the individual some righ

  • by Nutria (679911) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:20PM (#44170843)

    why didn't they notice that the Boston Bombers were planning on setting off bombs in public?

    Either:
    (a) they're not a Panopticon, or
    (b) they're massively incompetent, or
    (c) they don't care what happens to the Plebs.

    In any of the cases, we don't actually have anything to worry about.

    • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:38PM (#44170989)
      (d) allowing stuff like the Boston bombings to happen gives them an excuse to tight their grip
      • by Nutria (679911)

        gives them an excuse to tight their grip

        "They" the NSA, or "They" the politicians?

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          Yes.
          • by Nutria (679911)

            Non-NSA methods of Panoptical (Facebook, for example, and toll road "tags", credit cards, cell phone companies, Google, etc, etc) social control are doing a darned fine job, than you very much, of tightening the politicians' grip on the country.

            So, give me another reason for worrying about the NSA.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:41PM (#44171005)

      In any of the cases, we don't actually have anything to worry about.

      Quite the opposite really; it means the ONLY thing this apparatus is effective at is selectively abusing people.

      In other words it won't stop any crimes, but will be used to perpetrate them.

      • by Nutria (679911)

        but will be used to perpetrate them.

        When? The murky always-future?

        • by vux984 (928602)

          When? The murky always-future?

          Anytime someone is improperly on a terrorist watch list, or no-fly list, or was denied a passport, or denied security clearance, or denied entry into the country as a result of this apparatus.

          Definitely it happens in the murky future. Its probably already happened several times over the last several years.

          For example, we don't know how those no-fly lists get made up, or how people get on them. I can't prove this apparatus is responsible, but you can't prove it isn't.

          The people

          • by Nutria (679911)

            Anytime someone is improperly on a terrorist watch list, or no-fly list, or was denied a passport, or denied security clearance, or denied entry into the country as a result of this apparatus.

            Finally, a viable answer.

            Now: do the Snowden releases mention whether the NSA Panopticon is used to populate those lists?

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      (d) it's not about tracking terrorists or criminals, but instead tracking political trends/opponents or getting a list for gas chambers. Yeah, I Godwined. Big whoop, wanna fight about it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:22PM (#44170855)

    Just as lack of technology can prevent mass surveillance, use of technology can as well. As always, there are good and bad uses. Just as our government keeps secrets from us, we can keep secrets from them through proper use of encryption and not implicitly trusting service providers (like Google, Microsoft etc) with all our data.

    There is no reason, aside from legacy compatibility (which can and have been solved!) for your email to not be end to end encrypted. There is no need for social networks. There are other technologies that can meet those needs in a distributed and secure manner (sure, you lose ad targeting info to pay for hosting, but I don't care). Web browsing should be end to end encrypted. If you need anonymity, you can use Tor (for hosting / and or client side). Chat programs are easy to secure.

    Cell phone meta-data is a harder target. If you force some separation between the parties who provide connections to the network (towers/cells) from those which identify customers, and those that manage the routing and ISP services for the cells/towers, protection could be at least drastically improved. At the very least, when latency is not critical, you can still hide what you are accessing through Tor, and you can always hide the content with encryption.

    Also, we can attack the problem from the legislative and regulatory side as well. Impose massive fines (and maybe some jail time) for any companies (or individuals) logging and/or distributing such information. Yes: make collection, even if kept locally, illegal in many cases. Theres no reason for my ISP to collect traffic analysis details, so ban logging all but a specific white list of things they really need (not want). Same for cell providers etc. Then compensate individuals who report violations with a portion of the fine.

    I'd love to see a ban on ISPs from being in other businesses to remove the biases and make regulating them easier.

    We can improve this situation. Its not going to be easy, but we can make progress, both technically and legislatively.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      There is no reason, aside from legacy compatibility (which can and have been solved!) for your email to not be end to end encrypted.

      There's a very good reason for that. I work with above-average IQ people, but they can't be bothered to spend the time to figure out how gpg/pgp works. And people of average and below 100 IQ can't be expected to understand it.

  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:28PM (#44170907) Homepage

    http://www.pdfernhout.net/recognizing-irony-is-a-key-to-transcending-militarism.html [pdfernhout.net]
    "Likewise, even United States three-letter agencies like the NSA and the CIA, as well as their foreign counterparts, are becoming ironic institutions in many ways. Despite probably having more computing power per square foot than any other place in the world, they seem not to have thought much about the implications of all that computer power and organized information to transform the world into a place of abundance for all. Cheap computing makes possible just about cheap everything else, as does the ability to make better designs through shared computing. ...
    There is a fundamental mismatch between 21st century reality and 20th century security thinking. Those "security" agencies are using those tools of abundance, cooperation, and sharing mainly from a mindset of scarcity, competition, and secrecy. Given the power of 21st century technology as an amplifier (including as weapons of mass destruction), a scarcity-based approach to using such technology ultimately is just making us all insecure. Such powerful technologies of abundance, designed, organized, and used from a mindset of scarcity could well ironically doom us all whether through military robots, nukes, plagues, propaganda, or whatever else... Or alternatively, as Bucky Fuller and others have suggested, we could use such technologies to build a world that is abundant and secure for all."

    Going forward, there are many other implications of trends from "better, faster, cheaper". We should think about the positive trends and try to help amplify them. Related suggestions by me in areas of collective intelligence for mutual intrinsic security, space settlement, and health sensemaking:
    http://www.phibetaiota.net/2011/09/paul-fernhout-open-letter-to-the-intelligence-advanced-programs-research-agency-iarpa/ [phibetaiota.net]
    http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com/oscomak/SSI_Fernhout2001_web.html [kurtz-fernhout.com]
    https://www.changemakers.com/morehealth/entries/health-sensemaking [changemakers.com]

    Or, read "The Skills of Xanadu" for ideas from the 1950s by Theodore Sturgeon which helped inspire Ted Nelson and hypertext and so the world wide web:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=wpuJQrxHZXAC&pg=PA51&lpg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false [google.com]

    Or look to groups like the Maker community or sustainable technology community inventing new ways of local subsistence.

    Something I wrote thirteen years ago to Doug Engelbart's Unrev-II mailing list, and we are still more-or-less following predicted exponential trends:
    "[unrev-II] Singularity in twenty to forty years?"
    http://www.dougengelbart.org/colloquium/forum/discussion/0126.html [dougengelbart.org]
    "Below are six "explosive" technology trends that all appear to culminate in around twenty years. Even if some of them don't pan out, the others will revolutionize our world (for good or bad). ...
    You may argue the dates -- ten years for some, forty for others. You may point out Y2K didn't melt things down, that AI researchers predicted AIs by now, that fusion power was supposed to be here by now, etc. And you would be right to be skeptical. My point is that these are trends in many different areas -- any one of which would make this world radically different. Together, they spell awesome change -- in economics, politics, lifestyle, relationships, and values.
    It is quite likely we are heading for a singularity in

    • One other meme on this: http://pcast.ideascale.com/a/dtd/The-need-for-FOSS-intelligence-tools-for-sensemaking-etc./76207-8319 [ideascale.com]
      "As with that notion of "mutual security", the US intelligence community needs to look beyond seeing an intelligence tool as just something proprietary that gives a "friendly" analyst some advantage over an "unfriendly" analyst. Instead, the intelligence community could begin to see the potential for a free and open source intelligence tool as a way to promote "friendship" across the

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      Despite probably having more computing power per square foot than any other place in the world, they [the three letter agencies] seem not to have thought much about the implications of all that computer power and organized information to transform the world into a place of abundance for all.

      "They" don't get paid for thinking about that. They do what a bunch of old politicians with a mindset steeped in hula-hoops and cold war espionage want them to do.. And those old politicians get reelected because, despit

      • I can't disagree with your insightful point. However, so what? A lot of these trends are just happening via current social dynamics, so they are not directly something one person does. As I wrote here:
        http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2773253&cid=39629001 [slashdot.org]
        "To start with the bottom line: the very computers that make the new NSA facilities possible mean that the NSA's formal purpose is essentially soon to be at an end. Nothing you or I say here will reverse that trend. The only issue is how soon the

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          I find odd how so many people seem to be able to conceive of progress as something that can only be achieved by big public spending. In reality, the CIA and NSA are mainly just a drain on the budget, and innovation needs to come from the private sector and universities.

  • by davecb (6526) <davec-b@rogers.com> on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:30PM (#44170925) Homepage Journal

    Just like a swimming pool, keeping records that someone else might want is an attractive nuisance: people you don't want will go snooping around in them. And just like a swimming pool, it you that's liable when someone uses them without your permission.

    At the moment, it's ISPs that find themselves having to cough up DHCP records to courts: give the criminals a week or two and they'll be writing exploits to get at Facebook, Google+ and your local video store, just like they've been doing for people who have lists of credit-card numbers.

    --dave

  • by jdogalt (961241) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @06:38PM (#44170993) Journal

    I've used the fact that GoogleFiber was my first ISP choice involving IPv6 to press a new novel interpretation of NetworkNeutrality. It seems to be going somewhere. ComIntercept(FCC->Google):

    "The enclosed informal complaint, dated September 1, 2012, has been filed with the Commission by Douglas McClendon against Google pursuant to section 1.41 of Comissions's Rules, 47 C.F.R. // 1.41. Also attached is Mr. McClendon's October 24, 2012 complaint forwarded to the FCC by the Kansas Office of the Attorney General. Mr. McClendon asserts that Google's policy prohibiting use of its fixed broadband internet service (Google Fiber connection) to host any type of server violates the Open Internet Order, FCC 10-201, and the Commission's rules at 47 C.F.R. // 8.1-11.

    We are forwarding a copy of the informal complaint so that you may satisfy or answer the informal complaint based on a thorough review of all relevant records and other information. You should respond in writing specifically and comprehensively to all material allegations raised in the informal complaint, being sure not to include the specifics of any confidential settlement discussions. ...

    Your written response to the informal complaint must be filed with the Commission contact listed below by U.S. mail and e-mail by July 29, 2013. On that same day, you must mail and e-mail your response to Douglas McClendon.

    The parties shall retain all records that may be relevant to the informal complaint until final Commission disposition of the informal complaint or of any formal complaint that may arise from this matter. See 47 C.F.R. //1.812-17. (seriously, can't I and Google just depend on the NSA's backups of our records? :)

    Failure of any person to answer any lawful Commission inquiry is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine... ... ...

    http://cloudsession.com/dawg/downloads/misc/mcclendon_notice_of_informal_complaint.pdf [cloudsession.com]
    http://cloudsession.com/dawg/downloads/misc/mcclendon_oct24_2012_complaint.pdf [cloudsession.com]

    This represents Google getting 'served' this week, my form 2000F 'informal' 53 page complaint that suggests that NetNeutrality provides protections against ISP blocking to my home servers as well as to Skype's. Google has been compelled by the government to respond to me on July 29th. GoogleFiber's 'evil' terms of service prohibit hosting any kind of server without prior written permission against your residential connection. And zero transparency for any alternate server-allowed plan rates, or what kinds of reasons they might use to disallow a requested written permission (which is laughable as the FCC 10-201 NetNeutrality document goes out of it's way to laud Tim Berner Lee's invention of the web atop tcp/ip, specifically, without having to have gotten any permission from any government or network provider)

    I forwarded the documents to schneier@schneier.com and requested any insight he might have into the matter. I got an email response (theoretically perhaps spoofed) that read "Thanks.\n\nGood Luck."

  • Now that's something we might be able to talk about

  • are pathetic wankers.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @08:01PM (#44171559)
    A New constitutional amendment is needed in nearly every western country. It needs to strictly limit the information that a government can conceal from the public and limit what corporations and governments may collect.

    Right now people blah blah about big data but the reality is that most data collected is not well analyzed and is poorly collected. A simple example is that I was doing some billing system work for a telephone company and based on the records they kept many phone calls never started, and many phone calls never ended. Just glitches in the recorded data. This is just one problem among many in really analyzing data. But people are only going to get better at this and with image recognition I can see both the police and retailers going mad once they can get it working. Through the pile of cameras you should be able to make a fairly good map of where everyone is all the time. Retailers on the otherhand would love to know your tastes and spending habits. That way they can pounce on their likely customers and say, "These green pants will go well with your new red sweater that you bought across town a week ago."

    If corporations can start combining their data they can quickly build an incredible profile of every person. Get records from your power company about power usage, scan what car you are driving, what you are wearing, who you are with. I can see them identifying that you might have a new girlfriend and try to guilt you into buying her something "Special". This might all sound like innocent marketing but it becomes nastier when your employer can now buy a retail record that you met with some union organizers. (Which I did yesterday even though I run my own company because they happen to be friends).

    Once the information that is gathered has some real value you will see companies energetically collecting it (paying everyone with a security camera to feed their machine) and then finding the gaps and putting up bill boards that watch cars go by and check their occupants.

    But the elephant in the room is that governments really really should not know that much about people. If a government (democratically elected included) can watch its opponents then it will. Many people elected to government get very righteous about their mission and think that their opposition (taking cheap shots) only exists to steal their jobs and stop them from doing the right thing. So using government gathered data to stop them is actually the righteous thing to do. Or they are just dirtbags who don't want to let go.

    Another one was a telephone tech division that used company's call records to see if they were talking to the competition. They also had the sales division's phones set up for two neat tricks. One was that if a phone call was forwarded they would see what number the call had been forwarded to. And they would see private numbers. These guys saw nothing wrong with this.

    In my neck of the woods a government lost an election and one of the nails in their coffin was when it was revealed that they were using private tax records to target their fundraising.

    So as this big data becomes easier and easier I can see where anyone with access to this data will misuse it. Not everyone just that there are some people who will abuse any data they can get.

    So quite simply there need to be constitutional amendments (that lobbyists can't keep working against) that limit what data anyone can store and what data can be hidden. A simple example of this is that I don't want my power records accessible to anyone without a warrant. I want the mall security video to only be used in relation to a crime not sold to a marketing a company.
  • If it was not the law protecting people, then why have they tried so hard to hide it? Why are they attacking a person that released information on a perfectly legal activity, with perfectly legal data?

    Some people simply disgust me, and no I'm not going to get her point when the title of the essay intends to diminish the fact that the Government broke it's own laws. Whether or not there were meritorious points in the article the INTENT is wrong!

    I find it really really interesting that while all of this sta

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Some people simply disgust me, and no I'm not going to get her point when the title of the essay intends to diminish the fact that the Government broke it's own laws

      A correction is in order ...

      It is The Constitution of the United States of America that the government of the United States of America has broken

      The Constitution does NOT belong to the government

      Rather, it ***IS*** the government which has to abide to The Constitution of the United States of America

      Just need to clear things up

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @09:05PM (#44171997) Homepage Journal
    Like moral or human rights. Anyway, take everyone as an enemy and everyone will be.
  • In my experience, remarkably little real work gets done by federal employees, because they can keep their jobs without meeting an objective bottom line. Private contractors work harder, as they compete for the money the federal workers are showering with, but there is a lot of waste in the way their work is assigned and coordinated. The system can still hurt us a lot potentially, but its not half as bad as it would be if it was more efficient.

  • you might recall NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice's Revelations from 2006. He was probably the biggest leaker of information about the NSAs warrantless wire tapping and spying programs to date. He also specialized in technological systems used for spying, especially space and air space ones, for remote monitoring.

    I believe that the NSAs limit to spying right now is limited only to what they can imagine and get access to. Technology allows them to monitor everything that is processed normally by systems which

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