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PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 16:44 
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I want to bring up this thread for a general discussion on politics.
Right now, the most striking news have been the recent leeks by Edward Snowden, published by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill in Guardian.
I used to say that Glenn Greenwald never disappoints with his first-class level of journalism, but these leaks are a whole new level. Of course, the main credit goes to Edward Snowden who was brave enough to bring this information out to the public.


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PostPosted: 10 Jun 2013, 20:10 
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what is interesting is the considerable degree of paranoia, some warranted, and general misinformation about what a system like that would entail in technical terms. a recent slashdot article outlines the technical capabilities of such a system from an IT engineer's vantage point, which does a good deal to dispel a lot of the tinfoil hattery presently going on.

there are also some great discussions stemming from this incident regarding the meaning of privacy in today's society and the frequently-cited 'you should have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide' argument that comes up frequently these days..

edit: and here's another great article on just what can be done with metadata.

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PostPosted: 11 Jun 2013, 05:30 
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I just wonder - since my impression of my co-members here are that they/you are mostly quite intelligent people - was this actually that much of a shock to you all (this is an honest question, not sarcasm)? Or am I the only one being a conspiracy theorist by heart(?). Personally I think most of the stuff private human beings with a computer do are completely irrelevant to the CIA anyway and I mean, if they would like the money on my bank account, it'd be gone by now and if they'd want to facerape me I guess it would have been done too.


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PostPosted: 11 Jun 2013, 06:20 
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i think a lot of people's perception of exactly what is going on is in the tinfoil range: all conversations recorded and stored in some kind of a total awareness database that runs complex simulations on next-generation supercomputers and divines the strands of fate like something out of a philip k dick novel. the reality, from what i am able to tell, is somewhat more modest and, i think, a lot of people have been aware of it for some time. all that said, the sense of inevitability that goes along with what it is kind of unsettling. the right to be in control of your own information, to reveal or refrain from doing so at personal discretion is now seen as a luxury that, in our current wave of responsible austerity and belt-tightening, we are expected to do without. the argument is constructed first as 'surely no-one expects whatever it is they do on the internet to be private?' and further with the usual 'the only ones who have any reason to cry about this are criminals, spies and perverts. wouldn't happen to have something to hide, now would you, citizen?'

as stated in one of the articles i linked, the general issue with this attitude is that it holds everyone suspect until proven innocent. that is a fairly massive shift in legal thought in western europe, america and pretty much anywhere else that isn't a nakedly-repressive, dictatorial regime.

the current line in the UK is that these are merely tools to ensure security from terrorists, though the same was said of numerous laws passed in the wake of the world trade center bombing. laws that were later used to do all sorts of silly shit like freezing icelandic assets in british banks in the wake of the ISK going through its collapse some years ago.

anyway, yeah.. tl;dr: to have the court grant access to your private communications or tapping thereof you had to be a suspect. now, everyone is a suspect, an associate of a suspect or a person of interest. at the very least, their metadata will be mined and cross-referenced for potential links to terrorist groups, radical islamism, dissident movements, political affiliations, sexual preference, medical history and shopping habits. and who is to say it will not find its way back into the private sector. heaven only knows how it could improve advertisement. [sip]

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PostPosted: 11 Jun 2013, 08:33 
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when it was first confirmed that Google was keeping track of emails and searches, I was pretty unconcerned because I couldn't imagine anyone having the time to look through that garbage; or, I wasn't worried that googling "how to make a bong out of a water bottle" or "why didn't my pot seeds sprout yet" was going to be kicked up to the DEA and get my door kicked down. Now, I was under the impression that The Government could already subpoena data on your phone and internet usage if it was pursuant to a criminal investigation; I'm not exactly sure what changed here.

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PostPosted: 11 Jun 2013, 16:52 
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Anteros wrote:
Now, I was under the impression that The Government could already subpoena data on your phone and internet usage if it was pursuant to a criminal investigation; I'm not exactly sure what changed here.


that they received access to your data without a specific investigation or subpoena necessary. all of your (meta)data. all the time. this is pretty new, though not entirely unexpected.

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PostPosted: 11 Jun 2013, 20:21 
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good points, merz (and thanks for sharing the links to the articles, i'll check them out). an additional issue - to go back to Ole Thomas' question - is the difference between suspecting that something like this is ongoing, and having evidence for it. This brings a legal dimension into the discussion, and that's why it is so important.
As for the argument merz mentioned above "if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear", the problem is indeed that everyone is a suspect unless proven innocent, and moreover, there have been cases from the past where people were tapped just because of being politically "inadequate" (Martin Luther King would be one example).
I've read somewhere a nice point that democracy and civil liberties can't be measured by the way they apply to an "average citizen", but rather by the way how they apply to those with different views.


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PostPosted: 12 Jun 2013, 00:49 
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there's also a big difference between governments that spy on their citizens and officially deny doing so, and governments that spy on their citizens and claim to be within the pale. the gradual shift we're seeing, directly tied to data access, is toward the latter.

they should just make everything open-source. that'd even the playing field.

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PostPosted: 12 Jun 2013, 01:40 
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i'm more curious to see how society will adapt to the idea of background surveillance/monitored metadata. in terms of resisting or sidestepping the reality of it in their everyday lives, in terms of encryption becoming a common matter for everyday computer user as opposed to the paranoid and the enterprise. in terms of aesthetics, clothing and whatnot you are already starting to see some echos of this being addressed, with sruli's recent work being shown through the camera of a surveillance drone and the men wearing it seemingly on the run from something, with clothing to throw off facial recognition software, silhouettes viewed from above and heat-dissipating fabrics that render their wearer invisible to thermal scope. these are overt examples, but i've to wonder what sort of camouflage (both physical and digital) will enter everyday usage in the nearest future thanks to revelations of the sort..

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PostPosted: 12 Jun 2013, 04:23 
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^Did you see CV Dazzle?
A few months ago I waxed on my Facebook wall (this is where all salient political discourse occurs) about upswings in surveillance technology corresponding with brisk sales of hats and hoods. I meant it.

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PostPosted: 12 Jun 2013, 20:02 
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rilu wrote:
I've read somewhere a nice point that democracy and civil liberties can't be measured by the way they apply to an "average citizen", but rather by the way how they apply to those with different views.


On a tangent to this, the average in "average citizen" got me thinking, it does rather depend on what is done with the meta data.

If it is used to predict the future, we are fucked. The very thing being sought in the data is an aberration, a complete outlier. It doesn't work.

If it is about after the event forensics, that works. It might actually alter human behavior for the better.

I guess the real concern is that protection of rights usually lags behind technological developments.

:ugeek: :ugeek: :ugeek:


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PostPosted: 12 Jun 2013, 20:20 
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the real problem is what can be done with the raw complete metadata of someone's comings and goings over extended period of time and the range of people it affects. today we are tied to each other by less than six degrees of separation. you're being directly affected by this, even this very minute by vector of me having such clearance, and also holding to some personal opinions on this matter that likely makes me a high-risk person to those who have issued it to me. its likely that my connections to other people online are monitored, quite possible that people such as myself are being extremely closely monitored at this time due to the recent leak that exposed this whole situation..

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PostPosted: 12 Jun 2013, 21:52 
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hi obama!!

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PostPosted: 22 Jun 2013, 14:19 
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Anteros wrote:
^Did you see CV Dazzle?
A few months ago I waxed on my Facebook wall (this is where all salient political discourse occurs) about upswings in surveillance technology corresponding with brisk sales of hats and hoods. I meant it.


You seen adam harvey's "stealth wear" stuff?


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PostPosted: 22 Jun 2013, 15:40 
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yeah, i think merz referenced it too


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PostPosted: 22 Jun 2013, 18:05 
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sruli uses a lot of these materials without playing it up like something out of maker faire/burning man..

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PostPosted: 23 Jun 2013, 16:02 
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Speaking of these recent events, this pretty much sums up the situation ;)

phpBB [video]


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PostPosted: 23 Jun 2013, 18:28 
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it was pretty meh until the snowden part doing 'informer' .. lord have mercy.

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PostPosted: 23 Jun 2013, 20:18 
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i think the whole video is excellent, though i especially like the "power of Greenwald" :D


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PostPosted: 24 Jun 2013, 05:59 
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That was brilliant :D

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