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Government's got your dick pics

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mastro, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. Mastro

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    A rather interesting story from this episode of Last Week Tonight:



    TL;DW: The Patriot Act is coming up for renewal on the 1st of June this year, and the NSA have the capacity to save and sift through a lot of communications data. A lot of data you may have thought was off limits can actually be given to the NSA. They interview Edward Snowden to establish where the boundaries of their ability are.

    It also seems that a few people (only a small sample were interviewed in the video) do not know who Edward Snowden is, what he actually leaked, or what is contained in the Patriot Act.

    Although the argument is simplified in the video, I'm sure a proper discussion can be had here about the implications.

    Focus: What is your opinion of your Government's / the USA's surveillance?

    Alt-Focus: Got any nude pictures or videos you're worried about?
     
    bobbyknight, Zach, CanisDirus and 4 others like this.
  2. Juice

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    I don't give a shit about the Patriot Act and Snowdens a pussy. Bump.
     
  3. Nettdata

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    The shit the NSA is doing has nothing to do with the Patriot Act, and the shit that the people let their governments get away with is shocking.
     
  4. Kubla Kahn

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    Not from me, I have scotch tape over the built in camera on my Mac. They'll only get a whole lot of blurry jackin from me.
     
  5. toddamus

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    That is until they turn on the video on your phone, then they'll see a shady person in the background going at it like an 11 year old who just discovered porn.

    There's a reason Bin Laden went to a courier system. Anything electronic, anything with an on off switch and has some sort of cell phone connection or internet connection they can and will hack at will, your privacy be damned.

    Government surveillance is obviously bad. A government who is threatened and paranoid of the population can only lead to bad things. Unfortunately, we're much closer to 1984 style intrusion than people know or care, or maybe they just don't give a fuck. People who don't oppose this tend to like to think they have nothing to hide so go ahead, however that is a very dangerous line of thinking. They have nothing to hide until the government critiques their relationships, their business, their daily activities.
     
  6. AbsentMindedProf

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    I don't like what the NSA is doing and I'm generally against mass surveillance. The government seems intent on doing it though, so it's going to be pretty tough to stop. You toss in the fact that people are willingly letting google, microsoft, apple etc data mine their whole life on their phone anyway and it becomes pretty clear that the future is going to be greatly influenced by people using surveillance for profit and power. I think a pretty major event would have to take place to get people motivated enough to change the direction it's going, and if Snowden wasn't a major enough event I don't know what would be. I take solace in the fact that I'm probably not doing anything interesting enough to warrant attention from the government, but I still don't like it.
     
  7. Nettdata

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    That is probably one of the most telling statements that will appear in this thread.
     
  8. zzr

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    Yep, and that's the attitude that will sink us all in the end. "I don't care; I have nothing to hide." So we'll give up our privacy because we don't think there's any harm and then the government will change the rules to make something that was previously innocuous into a crime, and then it's too late. We've already given them the power to spy on us so anything they declare "wrong" will be fair game after that. Remember, "It's for the children!"

    We've all heard the that the love of money is the root of all evil, but it's not true. I realized a few years ago that the root of all evil is the desire for power over other humans.
     
  9. Crown Royal

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    Too many times in the past few years I have heard a variation of the statement "Hey, if you're not breaking the law, what do you have to worry about?"

    Profoundly stupid and impulsive statements such as that need to go bye-bye forever. Our lives are our own, now stay the fuck out.
     
  10. toddamus

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    Lets go ahead and assume your name has some truth to it, you're a professor. Let say the government decides the subject you work with and specifically what you're researching is deemed sensitive, dangerous, or in poor taste. Now you've become a subject for more intensive surveillance. Or lets say something happens like in Russia where they purged the academics. It seems academics are a favorite target of repressive regimes. Now you and all your colleagues are under increased government scrutiny and pressure simply because you chose this career. Its unlikely you or any of your colleagues are doing anything subversive, however, the government can't take the chance that a bunch of academics won't stir up trouble, so all of you are being harassed.

    The problem with saying you have nothing to hide so take a look is it basically tells the government or those in power that you condone their intrusions into your life. And if people continue to allow these seemingly inconsequential intrusions, like anything else, they will keep pushing the line and pushing the line until a point where people finally try to oppose these intrusions, at this point however its likely too late, those in power have so much power any opposition can be managed through repression.

    Government surveillance of local populations is one of those things where the line in the sand has to be drawn early, and we're already late to the game. Appeasing the the NSA and tolerating their actions only leads to further and more egregious abuses.

    A good example of government surveillance and abuse is Iran. I'm not saying that our security agencies will resort to that sort of repressive action but its something to be guarded against. Recently a man was interviewed by the Anthony Bourdain CNN show, he did a simple interview about the life in that country. Seemingly he said nothing detrimental or negative about that country. However a month later he was quietly arrested and has been in prison ever since and I think was recently convicted of some crime and sentenced. That man had nothing to hide and did an innocent interview but the powers that be saw some subversion in that interview and acted.

    We have nothing to hide until we can't hide anything and everything is fair game.
     
    #10 toddamus, Apr 14, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  11. Nettdata

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    My parents dismissed the issue with a wave of their hand like I was an idiot, using that same stupid statement that they picked up from some news show and didn't give any thought to.

    I then put it into terms they could understand.

    "Do you have anything to hide?"
    "No... of course not."
    "Cool... so you don't mind if we put a web cam in the bathroom so people can see you shower and use the john."
    "What?! That's crazy!"
    "Oh, don't worry, it'll only be officially sanctioned people watching it, not pervs on the internet or anything..."
    "Don't care who it might be, that's just wrong."
    "Right. And that's why privacy is important, even if you have nothing to hide."

    It made them think a bit.
     
  12. Superfantastic

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    This is one of my favourite topics to daydream about and occasionally research because I'm very much undecided on where I stand.

    I get the general 'government is scary' point, but I've never heard an argument from that side that doesn't go straight to extreme examples from explicitly non-democratic regimes, and even so far in this thread the examples are Russia and Iran. Is there an example of a reasonably functional democracy getting oodles of info and taking it that far? Obviously the "we're searchin' fer terr'ists" reasoning has infringed on (mostly brown Muslim) people's rights in the West, but has the government stopped us from hearing about those infractions? Are there lawyers fighting for those people? Can we, at least theoretically, vote out the people who pass those bills and laws? Did someone start this thread with a widely-available video explaining the issue?

    My point is that I think there's a difference between ACTUAL autocratic regimes squashing any hint of dissent and functioning democracies having 'too much' information. And always citing regimes that literally cannot be voted out, then assuming that's definitely for sure the path we'll go down is a slightly hyperbolic perspective.

    Another thing I wonder is how much more the government really knows about me now versus the pre-internet days. Name, SIN number, place of work and residence, health records, phone calls, taxes (oh snap I gotta get on that!) -- these things would've easily been available for the government when I was a teen, would they not? The fact is our lives have never been "our own", not solely, at least not for those who wish to be a part of society. We're dealing with new issues, and they need to be dealt with, but I think the newness freaks a lot of people out and makes them think the worst case scenarios to be more likely than they are. Our democratic governments are far from perfect, and we/the press could do a better job checking and balancing them, but they have legitimate access points for citizens -- that's what makes them different, and better, than Russia, Iran, North Korea etc.

    "The government and private companies have multi-football stadium-sized warehouses stored full of our personal info" sounds super scary to me. But the worst I've heard they're doing with it is selling it to other companies who want to sell things more specific to my online habits, and they all want to make money. The horror.

    Fun thought experiment: take it to the absolute extreme. Say we're all implanted with a chip, and there's an app where you can find out exactly where everyone you know, or even those you don't know, including every member of government, are at any time. Putting aside the amount of crime it would solve, I think most of us would get bored with it and only use it out of necessity, and there would absolutely be a part of the population who would happily put cameras everywhere in their house so all could see.

    Nettdata, do you know of a straight line example where a non-autocratic government went from tracking phone call lengths and destinations to watching people shower and dump?
     
  13. Nettdata

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    There's no "extreme example" required.

    If you watch the Snowden interview by Oliver, he tells you flat out what they are doing... and it's a hell of a lot more than just "recording phone call lengths" (which is only one particular program). Other programs that say that are always very, very careful with their terminology; "we only use the phone call length, destination", whereas Snowden points out that even if they only use parts of it, they actually record it all.

    Oliver distills it down to the "dick pic" scenario, and in the vast majority of the programs listed, they DO have pics of your dick.

    There is a certain expectation of privacy, whether it be you taking a shower or you sending a pic of your tits or dick in a text message or email. It's not an absolute, it's a personal judgment, and that is what I wanted my parents to understand. The flippant "you have nothing to worry about if you have nothing to hide" assumes there is a discrete "yes/no" scenario, when that's not the case.

    That statement is an extreme statement designed to lull those who haven't thought about or understand the various scenarios to make a simplistic evaluation of the subject.

    My example was equally shallow and extreme, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, and it got them thinking about it and questioning it. Which is a start.


    Any program like this that is designed to "protect the masses" will always fail, because they are run by people.

    The TSA is a prime example. Billions of dollars spent, no improvement as a result, and lots of abuses and failures. But a shit-load of people in charge made a fuckton of cash doing it.
     
  14. downndirty

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    My question is how many other governments are doing this? And what are THEY doing with this information?

    I've thought for a while that since traditional warfare is going obsolete, the next set would be electronic/information wars. I could get behind an organization like Boeing having their electronic communications monitored, but my dick pics seem to be a waste of fucking time and resources. The other thing is what is this designed to prevent? Terrorism? Then, judging by any number of events, it's failed.

    Another question is how are we uncomfortable with the government having this information, but not comfortable with private companies having it in far more detail with somehow even less oversight than the government. The NSA having my dick pics is not a good thing, but then Google having them isn't better.

    Final question: is the solution to this a "totally encrypted internet"? Is that feasible, both logistically and in terms of addressing the issue of privacy?

    I get that nothing on the internet is completely private (nor does it ever really go away), but surely having Big Brother look at everything is a bit too far.
     
  15. toddamus

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    Despite what I said, I don't think we're on the path to a restrictive police state. I don't think the US is headed toward a repressive autocratic government. What I think needs to happen is people need to be more concerned about the potential slippery slope the current surveillance policies allow.

    I think Americans need to be as concerned for their privacy as they are for Freedom of Speech. People defend Freedom of Speech at every step because they understand what any compromises may lead too. I think Americans need to understand what can happen if their privacy is invaded to a greater degree than it is now. I think people need to understand that while they tolerate what occurs now, what that tolerance may lead to is frightening. Again, thats not to say we'll become Iran or East Germany, but it needs to be commonly accepted that any compromises can't be tolerated.

    Imagine if your dick picks were publicly circulated as retaliation from the government, thats the future I fear
     
  16. Nettdata

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    You do realize that there is nowhere near as much oversight to the government programs as you think there are, right? The heads of those programs have blatantly lied to the Congressional oversight committees that they were reporting to, with no ill effect. You can Google countless news articles about the head of the NSA doing just that, and not giving a shit.

    And no, technology will not save you. Whether it's DRM or your email, nothing is perfectly safe from a technical standpoint. If someone with enough resources (money, people, equipment) wants your information, they'll get it.

    That being said, you can make yourself be a less desirable target that sucks up more resources by encrypting everything, but in some cases that just makes you more of a target. "Oh... downndirty is encrypting everything now... I wonder what he's hiding"


    The problem is that the shift in surveilance and e-warfare has gone from protecting the citizen to spying on the citizen, and that is wrong.
     
  17. Nettdata

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    The scary thing right now is the number of reports of this monstrous surveillance machine being used for personal uses. Thousands of times a year, access is made for personal uses. "Oh, that chick dissed me... I wonder if she has texted any nudes" type shit. And that's only the stuff that has been reported, by the peons... not the powerful that could really use that information to blackmail other powerful people into doing shit that they wanted them to do, and in such a way in that it wasn't reported, or covered up in "national security" censorship.

    Information is power, and knowing everybody's dirty laundry is a huge advantage.

    Again, it comes back to the fact that it's not Captain America running this program, it's the fucker that took millions of dollars in campaign finance from the oil and arms industry. Or the tech industry that's selling this shit to them in the first place.
     
  18. Nettdata

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    For instance, how do you all feel knowing that I can sit here and read all of your private messages? I can see all the little bitch fests about individuals talking shit about others on the site, all the private pics sent via PM... all that?

    But at least none of you have anything to hide, right?
     
  19. ghettoastronaut

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  20. Nettdata

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    I just PM'd this to someone else, but thought I'd share it here as well:


    I read a really interesting post on Reddit last year on something like this, and it was from an Iranian who watched their country go from something beautiful (like Berkley in the 70's), to the desolate shithole it is now.. .and it wasn't anything tangible that caused it, they postulated it was the sense that people were watching.

    Just that overriding sense, as the government increased their internal surveillance, was enough to change the headspace of people to the point that it began a deterioration of morale, community, openness... and everyone started becoming more distrusting, introverted, suspicious...

    I read that, and then looked at the same thing happening in the states (cop distrust, parents being arrested for letting their kids walk to a playground a block away, NSA surveillance, etc), and it was quite fucking scary.

    I really wish I could find that thread... it was so very insightful.


    Might not be true, but it sure made me stop and think for a bit.