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June 10, 2013 06:06 AM UTC

Monday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

"We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation."

–Francois de La Rochefoucauld


10 thoughts on “Monday Open Thread

  1. There's two big things a lot (not all) people are missing about the NSA wiretapping:

    1. First off, this data is available to people like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden. These are not high level heavily vetted individuals. These are people that never should have had this level of access. The NSA is not keeping their data on us safe.
    2. Many have said it's just metadata, not the actual calls, so no big deal. The metadata is a big deal. We presently gather so much metadata and are getting so good at putting it together, that it tells an inordinate amount about a person.

    I do think our level of privacy has been reduced, and will be reduced even further between social media and big data. Forget the good and bad points of this, it's a change we can't stop.

    But I don't think we want the government knowing us better than we know ourselves.

    1. Basic security principles taught to every certified security professional, but apparently they aren't cutting it at NSA.

      1. Compartmentalization. Ensure data is only available to the people that need it.
      2. Aggregation. Small bits of data when combined can reveal far more than the bits of data on their own can. I'm sure this is the intended consequence of the NSA's collection, but it's probably not obvious to some of the people who authorized the law.

      I disagree with you David on the latter point, though. Sure, we're sharing more and more about ourselves. But I rarely share to the public on Facebook, and I expect that the service will keep my non-public data to the people I choose to share it with. We most certainly CAN and should do something to resist living in a bubble with no expectation of privacy.

  2. I defer to David on the importance of the metadata.  Subsequent administrations might access these "networks" to go after citizens for whatever reason.

    Big question to be asked:  If the gathering from this "metadata" and the other program are so effective, how come they missed the Boston Bombers? 

    1. Exactly. McCain says that incident proves that those opposed are wrong, which makes no sense since it happened in spite of this program. If we can't prevent every incident every time, everywhere, and I'm pretty sure we can't, the question is whether or not we're going to cease to have the rights guaranteed by our constitution, not whether or not things are going to be blown up once in blue moon. The latter is effectively non-negotiable. The former doesn't have to be. Go Udall.

    2. Friends & family.  Calls between friends & family aren't anomalous.  Metadata tracks calls sent/received from a tracked #, whereabouts of that cell, activity from that cell phones, and other info … but not content of the conversation (at least if you believe what we're told).  Why would calls between close brothers show up as strange activity?  If the whole family was being tracked for overall suspicious behavior & actions or if Chechen Sr was dialing for dollars & ammo back to Grozny then there'd be more of a pattern.

      Chech bros used truck stand fireworks, hardware store shrapnel, and Walmart pressure cookers for their IEDs.  Seems little to no outside influence on their actions and they weren't handled by any Al-Qaeda cave-dwellers.  They're about as random and hide-in-plain-sight as abortion clinic bombers  but harder to find since they kept it all in the family.   


      1. Elder brother went back and forth to Chechyn communities in Russia and the Russians warned the US about him. There very well could have been calls.There was a little more there than just brothers talking to brothers.

        Point still is that not every plot can be uncovered no matter how many of our rights we throw away and those rights should not be taken away from American citizens from in secret. The public has the right to make the call. Less police state or more security, knowing there is no such thing as perfect security. My vote is for less police state and we face the consequences like a free people with some balls.

  3. And in other states' news…

    A PPP poll in Michigan finds in a theoretical match-up that Pseudonymous Twitterer @LOLGOP would beat Republican Justin Amash if the Senate election were held today, 23-22.

    @LOLGOP is a Michigan resident, and would presumably run on the Democratic Party ticket.

    @LOLGOP reacts to the news:

    I'm leading @repjustinamash with just a Twitter handle. Wait till people find out I'm on Facebook, too.


    If Amash is in, I'm am too. A guy who thinks Ryan's Medicare plan is too generous could lose to Geocities site in MI.

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