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Sad commentary on the commitment to Freedom among the American people.
Posted: 01 July 2013 04:09 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I haven’t read through the entire thread on Snowden that’s been going on here so I don’t know if this issue has come up but having read a lot of the public commentary on him I have to say I find it very disheartening. Today I came across this story in Pop-Sci and it makes me think we truly have entered a new phase in human history where freedom and privacy are nothing more than an illusion and the American people are fine with that.

We used to be a country where people laid down their lives by the thousands and even millions to build a society where freedom was our creed. Now we trade away our freedom wholesale to buy ourselves even tiny increments in perceived safety. It makes you wonder where we go from here. Do we allow cameras in our homes like in 1984? Sounds far fetched but we all have webcams on our computers. How long will it be before Americans decide its reasonable to allow their government to secretly tap those cameras if it will save a life? I think we should be ashamed that our generation is so cowardly it is trading away everything our forefathers fought for because it makes us feel safe.

George Orwell has to be rolling in his grave.

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Posted: 01 July 2013 04:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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When you really delve into it Mac it’s already too late to reverse the trend. We’re so damned adaptable that we pay no mind to the fact that every time we open a laptop or turn on our iPad a camera is staring us in the face. Most retail stores have cameras pointed at us, banks, hospitals, urban streets, hell, even taxis have them now. It’s getting much more difficult for a recluse to go entirely off the grid. The Unibomber wouldn’t stand a chance today. And there are many more ways to track us via SS card numbers, what we buy on the Internet, all of our money transactions are now on line, web sites from doctor’s offices and hospitals that have an entire history of your medications, surgical procedures, etc. our lives are an open book now to anyone with the tech savvy to track us. And these sites aren’t as secure as we have been led to believe. If hackers can break them you know a government agency has that capability. I wonder how many more Snowden’s are out there?


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 01 July 2013 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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macgyver - 01 July 2013 04:09 AM

I haven’t read through the entire thread on Snowden that’s been going on here so I don’t know if this issue has come up but having read a lot of the public commentary on him I have to say I find it very disheartening. Today I came across this story in Pop-Sci and it makes me think we truly have entered a new phase in human history where freedom and privacy are nothing more than an illusion and the American people are fine with that.

We used to be a country where people laid down their lives by the thousands and even millions to build a society where freedom was our creed. Now we trade away our freedom wholesale to buy ourselves even tiny increments in perceived safety. It makes you wonder where we go from here. Do we allow cameras in our homes like in 1984? Sounds far fetched but we all have webcams on our computers. How long will it be before Americans decide its reasonable to allow their government to secretly tap those cameras if it will save a life? I think we should be ashamed that our generation is so cowardly it is trading away everything our forefathers fought for because it makes us feel safe.

George Orwell has to be rolling in his grave.

I also am ashamed at this mindset. It seems that, as long as most people are materially comfortable, they won’t care about possible loss of freedom. Ignorance really is bliss for many, it appears.

Maybe it takes a major loss of life, or quality of life, for us to notice what is on our front step, so to speak.

Actually, even that is not totally reliable, if history is any guide.


(I just realized that “materially comfortable” sounds like dualism.)

[ Edited: 01 July 2013 05:42 AM by mid atlantic ]
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Posted: 01 July 2013 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Wait a minute; I just detected a ray of hope! Our “big brother” government with the CIA, FBI, drone cameras, spy satellites, NSA, Interpol connections and elaborate tracking via money and paper trails PLUS every snooping media cable news network in America can’t find one guy!!! Where’s Snowden?? Ha! Take that so called “big brother”.

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 01 July 2013 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Remember The Truman Show, starring Jim Carey? It was anticipating how the future might be like with the acceptance of reality television. But it turned out not to be that way after all. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that our future progeny will find privacy issues relatively mundane and insignificant to be worried about. It might take a while before the legal system catches up to it, but I think even that may reflect a trivializing of privacy invasions by not accepting them in as evidence against anyone. It might be recognized by the general mindset of such a future population that we all have skeletons in our closets; it might be recognized that we all have the capacity to also be as equally normal and abnormal at varying times of our lives and capable of acceptable change. That is, I think privacy issues and reality exposure will enhance our understanding of ourselves and enable us to adapt better.

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Posted: 01 July 2013 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Not to mention that reducing privacy also makes it harder to act like a psychopath.

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Posted: 01 July 2013 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I wish some people would list some specific corners of privacy they seem are being invaded.
And first let me say that I understand.  If you feel your rights to privacy are being abused, then you automatically have a case.
But please list me some examples of how anyone’s privacy rights are being invaded.
I’ll say another thing, I hope nobody considers Snowden to be a hero. It’s very possible while your cheering about possible privacy issues being rescued
that he actually made you more unsafe.  That is a possibility.  He’s the one who broke your trust!
Snowden was working for you! Yes. In a position that was designed to protect you. Ostensibly at least. But I’m sure it was more than that.
My question is what has the country become when it’s citizens are rooting for the traitors?

[ Edited: 01 July 2013 11:38 AM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 01 July 2013 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Whether or not he should be considered a “traitor” is still up for debate. Sure, he’s a traitor to his employers, but whether or not he should be considered a traitor to his entire country is not such a black and white issue.

How is this not an encroachment on 4th amendment rights, or a slippery slope precedent for other similar violations down the road? Secondly, at what point do you say, “Okay, that’s enough”? Vyazma, what, for you personally, would be considered an example of govt. overstepping it’s bounds in your own life?

[ Edited: 01 July 2013 12:47 PM by Cloak ]
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Posted: 01 July 2013 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Cloak - 01 July 2013 12:41 PM

Whether or not he should be considered a “traitor” is still up for debate.

Apparently the Russians don’t think he is a traitor. They think he is a hero for peace. That’s why they forcibly kept him there, and are now giving him “Asylum”.
Maybe Snowden’s whole “Ecuador” thing was a ruse? Maybe Snowden is “back home” now. In Russia.
Who knows.  Putin apparently says that he has to agree to no longer publish secrets though. That’s reassuring.

How is this not an encroachment on 4th amendment rights, or a slippery slope precedent for other similar violations down the road? Secondly, at what point do you say, “Okay, that’s enough”? Vyazma, what, for you personally, would be considered an example of govt. overstepping it’s bounds in your own life?

I agree that it could be a slippery slope…but again I’d like to see concrete examples of what the govt. could seize or search.
Besides Orwellian ideas of cameras in everyone’s home. Or microchips in our heads. Or blacklists.
Blacklists have happened before in this country. They are politically motivated. As long as there is politics you are going to have this threat.
This is all backlash that is happening now from the information age. The digital era. The cloud..or whatever. Everyone wants to be plugged in. Everyone is plugged in.
Everyone did it willingly. So far our court system is holding steady. For the most part.  They decided Corporations are people..that’s political.
Corporations want to invade our privacy….and are doing it successfully everyday. Yahoo and Google and Verizon and ATT have all been cited for releasing your private info to corporations.
Again you want to be plugged in….what does everyone think they are plugging into? Some communal cloud of freedom and egalitarianism?
And all of these issues go back way before there were computers or cellphones. It’s just hypercharged now.
I think Scott makes a good point about our perceptions of freedom in the future.  And I think everyone is doing it either unwittingly or consciously by
getting in the cloud so to speak.  Look at Facebook….look at the young people around you. They don’t care. Everyone is putting their whole lives up on the cloud.
Perhaps, as Scott says, if our “privacy”, whatever that even means anymore, is just put forth for all to see, then the relevancy of “privacy ” becomes inert.
I can list some definite ways in which I would consider the “govt” is going to far.  But first you list some examples of what privacy concerns you have.
I asked first.

[ Edited: 01 July 2013 01:15 PM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 01 July 2013 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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You and I have gone nose to nose often Vyazma so I know it won’t break your heart to know I do in fact consider Snowden a hero. I disagree with the government surveillance program because I consider an all-knowing government more dangerous than the terrorist threat. There is absolutely no evidence that Snowden has turned over his files to the enemy and he has sacrificed his job, his personal life, and perhaps his future to make sure the American people are aware of what their government is doing. The first duty of an American is to his fellow citizens, not the government. If he felt the government betrayed its citizens then it was his duty to make that fact public. Very few people would have been willing to take the risks he did to do what they thought was right. You don’t see him as a hero because you have no problem with what the government did but that’s not for you to decide. Its for the American people to decide and they can’t do that if they dont know about it.

In regards to loss of personal liberty, I don’t buy the argument that what happens in public is public and therefor we don’t have a right to privacy. We have always lived a large portion of our lives in the public space and at the same time expected and had a right to a certain level of privacy. This Pop-sci article about license plate readers doesn’t bother people but its no different than having a spy keep tabs on every single person when they are out in public, even those who are suspected of nothing, just in case one of them commits a crime. What do you think the founders would have thought of a private police force following each and every citizen everywhere they went.  Aside from the creep factor, that sort of information is ripe for abuse in the wrong hands. It could be used to intimidate or blackmail political opponents.

Nor do a buy the excuse that we have no right to expect privacy on the internet. Just because I consent to let an individual merchant track my purchasing behavior how does that by default mean I give the government the right to track every phone call, web site viewed, and item purchased and interpolate my relationships, hobbies, and behaviors good or bad. This is nothing but a bunch of BS from people who believe we should do everything to stop the next terrorist attack and anyone who stands in the way is anti-American.

I completely reject the notion that those of us who have nothing to hide should have nothing to worry about. What a cynical bunch of crap. We all hide things. Do you poop with the bathroom door open? We may all know what you are doing in there but that doesn’t mean you want us to see it. Did you collect sales tax at your last garage sale? If not, you broke the law. Now the government can prosecute you for even the least infraction because they will have all the data they need on everything you do.  Maybe one of you contacted an old girlfriend on face book. Nothing happened but your wife wouldn’t be pleased if she knew. Maybe Vyaz likes to dance around the house naked with his wife’s panties on his head. Then again maybe we are all boy scouts and girls scouts who are perfectly happy to have every moment of our lives open to the government. The point is that absolutely everyone has stuff that isn’t any of the governments business but it soon will be if we don’t stop it. And what happens when the thing you are hiding is the fact that you oppose a particular party and that party is the one in power with access to the data?

It may seem like its too late and if stories like Snowden’s and the Pop-sci article elicit nothing more than a ho-hum from the public it will give the government the tacit approval they need to move forward with ever more intrusive invasions of privacy. You may want to tape over that webcam and microphone.

We’ve truly turned into a nation of cowards willing to trade away our hard won freedoms for the illusion of a little more security. We are an embarrassment to the generations that came before us.

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Posted: 01 July 2013 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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macgyver - 01 July 2013 01:17 PM

You and I have gone nose to nose often Vyazma so I know it won’t break your heart to know I do in fact consider Snowden a hero.

You are misguided. I know all of your arguments. There’s no need to quote them.  I get the whole spiel, I even sympathize with it!
But you are misguided.
Point of fact…Snowden is the exact opposite of a hero. That’s an objective fact.
You don’t get it.  You are another victim of this early 21st century meme that the Tea-Party and the Occupy movement are exploiting for example.
It’s a meme.  When everything rinses out you are a citizen of the United States.
And I know you don’t get it…but everything you have invested in this idea of citizenship(which is a deep word, with lot’s of attachments you are taking for granted.)
is being compromised by the likes of Snowden.
The fact that Snowden is now in the clutches of a REAL totalitarian regime that is corrupt and run by a former corrupt KGB official criminal is a matter of fact.
Before you reply you should seriously look around you, and see what your investments both in body and soul, money and time, family and friends, are invested in.  In this place, the US that you call home.
You are on a meme that is a passing fad in the annals of time. This whole Big Government thing. You don’t even know what govt. means.

[ Edited: 01 July 2013 01:34 PM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 01 July 2013 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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macgyver - 01 July 2013 04:09 AM

I haven’t read through the entire thread on Snowden that’s been going on here so I don’t know if this issue has come up but having read a lot of the public commentary on him I have to say I find it very disheartening. Today I came across this story in Pop-Sci and it makes me think we truly have entered a new phase in human history where freedom and privacy are nothing more than an illusion and the American people are fine with that.

We used to be a country where people laid down their lives by the thousands and even millions to build a society where freedom was our creed. Now we trade away our freedom wholesale to buy ourselves even tiny increments in perceived safety. It makes you wonder where we go from here. Do we allow cameras in our homes like in 1984? Sounds far fetched but we all have webcams on our computers. How long will it be before Americans decide its reasonable to allow their government to secretly tap those cameras if it will save a life? I think we should be ashamed that our generation is so cowardly it is trading away everything our forefathers fought for because it makes us feel safe.

George Orwell has to be rolling in his grave.

You’re absolutely right, and it is disturbing beyond words.  Americans have become doormats.

As Benjamin Franklin said, ““Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”


Truer words were never spoken.

Lois

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Posted: 01 July 2013 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 01 July 2013 11:16 AM

Not to mention that reducing privacy also makes it harder to act like a psychopath.

No, it doesn’t. You are just as vulnerable to a psychopathic attack whether you have privacy or have it taken away.  And in the US any psycho can get a high powered gun anytime he wants one. Your ideas of safety are completely skewed and unrealistic.

Lois

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Posted: 01 July 2013 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Cloak - 01 July 2013 12:41 PM

Whether or not he should be considered a “traitor” is still up for debate. Sure, he’s a traitor to his employers, but whether or not he should be considered a traitor to his entire country is not such a black and white issue.

How is this not an encroachment on 4th amendment rights, or a slippery slope precedent for other similar violations down the road? Secondly, at what point do you say, “Okay, that’s enough”? Vyazma, what, for you personally, would be considered an example of govt. overstepping it’s bounds in your own life?

What has he done but told the American people that their own government is spying on them, which should have been against the law all along.  Americans have been duped by their own government.  I think Snowden is a hero for telling the truth. From the way some so-called Americans are talking, if they’d been in Nazi Germany, they would have gone right along with Hitler’s anti-Semitic campaigns because, after all, Hitler was in charge of the government and was working to keep Germany safe for “real” Germans and most Germans backed him. Anyone who doesn’t see the parallel is blind.


Lois

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Posted: 01 July 2013 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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VYAZMA - 01 July 2013 01:12 PM
Cloak - 01 July 2013 12:41 PM

Whether or not he should be considered a “traitor” is still up for debate.

Apparently the Russians don’t think he is a traitor. They think he is a hero for peace. That’s why they forcibly kept him there, and are now giving him “Asylum”.
Maybe Snowden’s whole “Ecuador” thing was a ruse? Maybe Snowden is “back home” now. In Russia.
Who knows.  Putin apparently says that he has to agree to no longer publish secrets though. That’s reassuring.

How is this not an encroachment on 4th amendment rights, or a slippery slope precedent for other similar violations down the road? Secondly, at what point do you say, “Okay, that’s enough”? Vyazma, what, for you personally, would be considered an example of govt. overstepping it’s bounds in your own life?

I agree that it could be a slippery slope…but again I’d like to see concrete examples of what the govt. could seize or search.
Besides Orwellian ideas of cameras in everyone’s home. Or microchips in our heads. Or blacklists.
Blacklists have happened before in this country. They are politically motivated. As long as there is politics you are going to have this threat.
This is all backlash that is happening now from the information age. The digital era. The cloud..or whatever. Everyone wants to be plugged in. Everyone is plugged in.
Everyone did it willingly. So far our court system is holding steady. For the most part.  They decided Corporations are people..that’s political.
Corporations want to invade our privacy….and are doing it successfully everyday. Yahoo and Google and Verizon and ATT have all been cited for releasing your private info to corporations.
Again you want to be plugged in….what does everyone think they are plugging into? Some communal cloud of freedom and egalitarianism?
And all of these issues go back way before there were computers or cellphones. It’s just hypercharged now.
I think Scott makes a good point about our perceptions of freedom in the future.  And I think everyone is doing it either unwittingly or consciously by
getting in the cloud so to speak.  Look at Facebook….look at the young people around you. They don’t care. Everyone is putting their whole lives up on the cloud.
Perhaps, as Scott says, if our “privacy”, whatever that even means anymore, is just put forth for all to see, then the relevancy of “privacy ” becomes inert.
I can list some definite ways in which I would consider the “govt” is going to far.  But first you list some examples of what privacy concerns you have.
I asked first.

Vyazma,

I think macgyver gave some examples of my concerns, so I don’t see the need to go into that anymore. But I will re-emphasize that I willingly allow Google and Facebook to save my private information. If I wanted to stop allowing it, I’d stop using their services. It’s basic business, if you don’t like something that a company is doing, then don’t submit to their services. I’m not, however, happy with my government owning this information against the consent of the public. The bottom line is consent. Again, it’s difficult to not see this as a slippery slope violation of 4th Amendment rights that could easily lead to other things, and that’s a legitimate concern whether it bothers you personally or not.

When you have a secret court that can unilaterally decide whether or not a violation of your 4th Amendment rights is justified, without the involvement of those whom it affects directly, then you don’t have a democracy, whether direct or representative.

And what do you mean with this stuff about Snowden and Russia? Do you think he’s a Russian spy? Because, if so, is that not emblematic of the same “paranoia” that you level at those who are concerned about this issue?

And again, what’s too far for you?

[ Edited: 01 July 2013 02:49 PM by Cloak ]
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Posted: 01 July 2013 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I smiled at an NPR interview with a French governmental wheel this afternoon where he was in high dudgeon about how the U.S. could do such things as spying on a friend.  Spies and double agents have been around since the beginning of civilization; it’s just that technology has made it far, far more efficient and effective. 

While we hate to admit it, we, as individuals, have lost most of our privacy.  Governments work harder at protecting theirs, but even that is disappearing.

Being an old fud from a prior generation, I dislike it, but younger people are getting used to it.  I believe it won’t be too long before we connect our cell phones directly to our brains, and that will be the end of all privacy.  This will mean an entirely different behavioral system for our society.  I can’t imagine how that will change everything, but the concept of an entirely truthful society is interesting to consider.

Occam

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