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Sad commentary on the commitment to Freedom among the American people.
Posted: 01 July 2013 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Occam. - 01 July 2013 05:30 PM

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

Yeah,very interesting. At least one sci-fi genre has explored potential outcome of this concept in some detail. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Borg.

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Posted: 01 July 2013 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Lois - 01 July 2013 01:44 PM

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

Thanks Lois. I could kick myself for forgetting that quote. It is sometimes amazing how brilliant some of our founders were and how timeless their words still are.

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Posted: 01 July 2013 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Well, yes, the Borg are one possibility, but don’t forget Deanna Troi’s race who could also connect mentally with each other (OK, I’d hate to have Roxanna as my mother-in-law LOL ).
=====
I don’t usually go to the links posted, but thought I should, here.  I checked out Pop-Sci and they were only talking about photographing license plates and occupants of cars.  That’s scary, but only one small part of our loss.  Every time we buy something in a store that has a camera, or use our credit cards or even write a check, the same thing happens.

BTW, I saw a reference on that site to some movie star wearing a tiny bikini.  I thought I’d check it out.  Geez, you can see far smaller “garments” on the Santa Monica beach. smile  It also brought to mind something that happened about 40 years ago when bikinis had become very popular.  Some company made and sold white ones of a synthetic thread, possibly Dacron.  Because the index of refraction of the fabric was different from air, they appeared bright white.  However, the index of refraction was very similar to that of water, so as soon as they got wet they became quite transparent.  Amazing how fast they were taken off the market.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 01 July 2013 07:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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VYAZMA - 01 July 2013 01:32 PM

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.

You are wrong. Our founders feared the power of government and every word of our constitution is written with the intent of preventing any one branch of government usurping power from the people. It was their fear of the misuse of power and the precautions they took when writing the constitution that allows you and I to openly have this discussion today.

Your arguments are the ones that are tired and old. Every democracy that dies, dies with the words and ideas you espouse; that these times are different and we need different tools to fight our new enemies. All done with the promise that everything the government does, it does in the best interest of the people. If history tells us anything its that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Why do you think our government will be any different. I despise the tea party but I deplore what the IRS did to them. How in the face of these recent events can you be so naive as to think our leaders are different? Even if the people at the top are incorruptible the multitudes below them will not be.

To suggest that Snowden has traded his relatively free country for a totalitarian one, is a cynical argument. We shouldn’t be satisfied with simply being the lesser of two evils. We are better than that and its pretty weak kneed to use terrorism as an excuse to abandon that ideal. That is what makes us Americans. Not the soil we stand on or the name we call ourselves. Everything we are is wrapped up in our commitment to the ideals on that yellow piece of paper behind bullet proof glass in DC. If we abandon that we are nothing special.

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Posted: 01 July 2013 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Occam. - 01 July 2013 06:50 PM

Well, yes, the Borg are one possibility, but don’t forget Deanna Troi’s race who could also connect mentally with each other (OK, I’d hate to have Roxanna as my mother-in-law LOL ).
=====
I don’t usually go to the links posted, but thought I should, here.  I checked out Pop-Sci and they were only talking about photographing license plates and occupants of cars.  That’s scary, but only one small part of our loss.  Every time we buy something in a store that has a camera, or use our credit cards or even write a check, the same thing happens.

BTW, I saw a reference on that site to some movie star wearing a tiny bikini.  I thought I’d check it out.  Geez, you can see far smaller “garments” on the Santa Monica beach. smile  It also brought to mind something that happened about 40 years ago when bikinis had become very popular.  Some company made and sold white ones of a synthetic thread, possibly Dacron.  Because the index of refraction of the fabric was different from air, they appeared bright white.  However, the index of refraction was very similar to that of water, so as soon as they got wet they became quite transparent.  Amazing how fast they were taken off the market.  LOL

Occam

The problem with photographing the plates and the drivers is that they are storing every single photo and indexing them so lets say your political enemy who may have access to the data decides he wants to dig up some dirt on you. He can trace your movements back in time through every capture and determine where you have been and who you have been with over the past months. They can identify your associates, your activities and lots of other personal information that is none of their business.

Right now law enforcement is using this to identify suspects in a crime and they are reporting at least one success but eventually they will use nothing but this circumstantial evidence alone to make an arrest and maybe even a conviction so that someone who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person may find themselves behind bars without having done anything wrong. That is theory now but it will almost certainly happen as this technology gets used more and more.

P.S. - Its amazing how quickly a hot body gets you off topic Occam. Focus, Focus.. Oh hell.. do you have the link to those bikini pictures?

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Posted: 01 July 2013 09:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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VYAZMA - 01 July 2013 01:12 PM

Besides Orwellian ideas of cameras in everyone’s home. Or microchips in our heads. Or blacklists.

Why are Orwellian ideas not valid concerns?

The surveillance that exists now could snowball into something Orwellian - that is what I’m worried about.

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Posted: 02 July 2013 01:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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You all remind me of the episode of the Twilight Zone…“The Monsters on Maple St.”
Lois said America is a nation of “doormats”. How true!
Does anyone have any evidence of the US spying on American citizens?  If you do please list it. Including any laws that were broken in the process.
As far as laws being broken..Snowden broke several laws and is running from the law. He is literally being charged with crimes.
I suppose Snowden doesn’t want to return to the US because of Kangaroo Courts? He’s the one being railroaded right?
The contents of sensitive National Security files have obviously been combed completely by the Chinese and the Russians due to his actions.

The United States is a bi-cameral legislative body with elected officials, it has a separate and many layered judicial system, and an Executive branch that can survive for 8 years maximum! We have complete freedom of the press and of speech to name a few.
Please tell me who is running this Big brother Government? What is behind it? And why does it want all of your secret, private information?

Most of you are caught up in a hysteria. It’s laughable!
Everyone keeps talking about vague, shadowy Big Brother entities. No one can actually cite any evidence of any crimes. They would be crimes!
Where are the victims?  Is any one in jail or court right now as a result of all this spying?
Give me examples of how your freedoms are being curtailed!
I want specific examples! 
You are all rooting for an American traitor.
None of you even responded to my posts.  This post: Right here….I hate to quote myself, but did anyone bother to actually read this?
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.


Spying has gone on since forever. We’ve had instances in the past where citizens were the victim of the types of things you folks describe.
Every country has. It’s nothing new. It isn’t getting worse. Our judicial and legislative bodies have grown from these experiences and strengthened our system.
If any wrong doing has been committed it will come out. In the meantime you guys go right on rooting for a Bona Fide traitor.
A misguided, misled, opportunist.
Anyways why don’t ya’ll just keep carrying on with each other about how we are becoming a Big Brother State. Really, I’d love to hear some personal experiences you have all had with this.

[ Edited: 02 July 2013 01:32 AM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 02 July 2013 01:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Here’s another quick point..
There’s literally thousands of these contractors and govt. employees right?
Why only Snowden?  Why is it just Snowden after all of these years? Hmmmnn?
Because he’s another whack job caught up in the very same meme I’ve explained above.
If it’s so bad, why didn’t others come out?

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Posted: 02 July 2013 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I just thought that I’d mention that Big Brother is no longer a derogatory term as it used to be. In fact, you can be a fly on the wall by signing up for a three month subscription at CBS (they even provide a free trial offer.) You can select camera scenes and view 24/7. This reality show is in line with Survivor as two of the best entertainment reality programs ever! If you get a chance, I highly recommend anyone here who hasn’t seen it to check it out for a season. It may help give you the sense of my earlier comments.

Vyazma, you asked for evidence of spying by the government. I think that because of its very nature of secrecy, it would be harder to directly provide sufficient evidence of such behavior unless others involved break the silence. One thing Snowden did mention was that his living salary was quite adequate when he worked in confidence. This alone is incentive for those working with any organization to stay quiet. Also, there are always severe penalties for spilling the beans. Corporations themselves have lobbied strong to reserve the powers to sue individuals for telling insider secrets regardless of how damaging they may be. So governments certainly have at least as much and usually more powers to do so.

You have to recognize the true nature of humans to be self-serving first and foremost. This is only a natural phenomena of all animals and living things. In other words, we are just as often evil as we are good, especially if we believe that we can get away with it. Under this presumption, I cannot imagine that some arbitrary group could not but help to take advantage of any opportunity that is presentable. And even if no one shakes hands, silent understood agreements are made in these groups by acting in common ways to capitalize on the same tactics if no one is resisting.

Take the club membership offers that most corporations are either giving away as some type of incentive or even selling them to unwary consumers. The other day a lady at the Cole’s bookstore here asked me if I’d like a membership card for reduced prices and offers. I already know that the only function of those cards are for data mining consumers personal purchases to determine demands to price things and other functional statistics. I decided to agree to one assuming that it was free as most other businesses have been doing. Not until I got home did I realize that my bill was charged for it. And now I’m only presuming that they’ve added the purchase as a means to get deals if-and-only-if you purchase on a regular basis. To me, this is deceptive practice.
  My local Extra Foods store (Superstore subsidiary) encourages people to use their cards as well. I didn’t get one but I am seeing a whole new way that they do business. Prices, for example, are altered within only an hour now. They are able to use their data to determine when certain people come in to do their purchasing. They also know what products you will likely buy during those times and target these products for manipulative pricing. For example, one day I went in to buy coffee and discovered that the No-name product that I and most others prefer had jumped up from $8 to $15.99 while certain chosen brands were priced unusually low ($10 av.)
  If manipulating how others to obtain private information is easily dressed as a gain, and it becomes prevalent in all the other industries similarly related, people are losing certain privileges by deception unilaterally because those businesses that don’t use those tactics cannot possibly compete with them. Information is powerful.

The ubiquity of EULAs that are all serving to protect the corporate interests are similar. For instance, even though I have the right to refuse service by organizations that use such self-serving waivers, you are virtually out of luck to find any competent service, product or software that both enables you to keep your freedoms and get good value from it. Facebook is just such an example. You can try to go to some other competitor like My Space but they too are doing the same thing. And where else can you then turn to for the same value? Perhaps it might be fine to resort to something like Nero’s online chat and messaging service provided with their disc ware. But then you’re restricted to the five other people who use it.

And if corporations are using every tactic in the book AND succeeding without serious resistance, how can you presume that any government who creates laws that can easily create better protections from such business allowance, are NOT even going to think about doing the same thing? And they don’t even have to be accountable directly for the most part because it is those private corporations that are collecting who are considered responsible. The governments just act as any other private corporation by purchasing the data as a business deal. And since we’ve had no other choice to sign their EULAs, the companies can pass the blame on the consumer. Everybody wins.

What I think you should ask yourself, Vyazma, or anyone else for that matter, is whether it is impossible for governments to be opportunistic and Capitalize (Could capitalizing even be possible in a Capitalistic society?) on anything? Then what are the consequences if they don’t even try?

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Posted: 02 July 2013 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Here’s an interesting short report, that has a few links embedded, it to further information, so you may want to look at the original at http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130621/10070623554/nsa-now-revealing-lot-more-about-what-it-does-than-snowden-leaks-did-so-is-that-harming-america.shtml

NSA Now Revealing A Lot More About What It Does Than Snowden Leaks Did; So Is That Harming America?
from the just-wondering dept

One of the key refrains that has come out from those who are unhappy about the revelation of details around the NSA’s surveillance efforts is that Edward Snowden’s leaks are somehow harmful to America. During hearings about all of this, NSA boss Keith Alexander claimed that “Americans will die” because of these sorts of leaks. But… between those same hearings and other revelations from the administration and Congress, we’re actually learning much more about the various programs directly from the government, as information is now being “declassified.” And, apparently, President Obama is asking the NSA and the Justice Department to look into declassifying even more. So while the initial shove to declassify information may have come via Snowden, the stuff that we’re really learning about is coming through revelations following Snowden’s leaks—revelations that never would have happened without his leaks.

So that raises a fairly basic question: if Snowden is somehow a traitor and putting lives at risk… why isn’t the other information we’re actually learning about the programs equally as problematic? The real answer seems to be that the information Snowden leaked does not harm us at all, but has simply revealed that the government has kept classified information from the American public that never should have been classified at all. The fact that only now are they looking to declassify it (and then doing so) shows pretty clearly that the information was improperly classified in the first place.

So if Snowden helped convince officials to start sharing this information… why does that make him a bad guy?

And what did he release that’s specifically damaging to anything but “secrets” that most other interested governments were already aware of anyways?

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Posted: 02 July 2013 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Oh and what about the other nearly 5 million people who have security clearance, some of whom may well be quietly doing all sorts of personal illegal stuff with information at their finger tips. Heck, Snowden deserves a big thanks just for revealing how sloppy our “nation’s secrets” are being administered.

Private Contractors’ Key Role At Issue In NSA Leak
by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS -  June 11, 201312:18 AM
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=190544095

NEW YORK (AP) — People like Edward Snowden — nearly 500,000 employees of private firms with access to the government’s most sensitive secrets — play a crucial role: They help monitor threats to national security…
{...}
Of the 4.9 million people with clearance to access “confidential and secret” government information, 1.1 million, or 21 percent, work for outside contractors, according to a report from Clapper’s office. Of the 1.4 million who have the higher “top secret” access, 483,000, or 34 percent, work for contractors…

Oh yea, here’s a related item from NPR’s All Things Considered.
Data Leak Could Undermine Trust In Government Contractor
by JIM ZARROLI -  June 11, 2013 5:23 AM
http://www.npr.org/2013/06/11/190570939/nsa-leak-could-undermine-trust-of-government-contractor

[ Edited: 02 July 2013 09:22 AM by citizenschallenge.pm ]
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Posted: 02 July 2013 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Quoting Macgyver:

At least one sci-fi genre has explored potential outcome of this concept {universal telepathy} in some detail. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Borg.

  I woke up at 3:00 a.m. with three thoughts: 1) Need for bladder voiding, 2) Deanna’s race was Betazoid, 3) It was Loxanna, not Roxanna.  smile

Occam

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Posted: 02 July 2013 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Occam. - 02 July 2013 11:31 AM

Quoting Macgyver:

At least one sci-fi genre has explored potential outcome of this concept {universal telepathy} in some detail. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Borg.

  I woke up at 3:00 a.m. with three thoughts: 1) Need for bladder voiding, 2) Deanna’s race was Betazoid, 3) It was Loxanna, not Roxanna.  smile

Occam

Either way she was a bitch

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Posted: 03 July 2013 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Here’s a relevant article on the subject from the NYT.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/02/you-say-you-want-a-revolution/?hp

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Posted: 04 July 2013 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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I am flabbergasted by VYAZMA’s viewpoint.

No state has the right to spy on his citizens, or of other country’s citizens in absolute secrecy.

A ‘secret agency’ might be necessary to find out where possible threats for the safety of people can arise. But the people have to know in the first place that such an agency exists, and what its tasks and methods are. And in the second place, how these tasks and methods are done must be under democratic control. At least a parliamentarian committee must have insight in what the agency really is doing, and check that it is inside the borders drawn by law.

It is the obligation of every person who finds out that such an agency operates outside the law to make this publicly. AFAIK the NSA crossed several borders, and the Americans officially did not know it existed for several years (’No Such Agency’). And now it seems nobody was informed about the methods and extent of the NSA’s activities. So Snowden did the right thing, and it is a shame for the western world that the only place where he is not arrested is in countries that the traditional competitors for world domination and its allies.

Switzerland once had its own affair, the outcry was very loud!

PS During I was posting this, the connection became very bad. Is the NSA scanning my post?  tongue rolleye

[ Edited: 04 July 2013 04:22 AM by GdB ]
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