Kareem Fahim

This conversation is closed.

Are you comfortable with NSA collecting your personal data?

'Top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple'

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

Well, all of us already knew so I don't think it has surprised anyone... but I'd like to know opinions of TED community, are you comfortable with fact that USA Gov. is continuously collecting your personal data?

@People who say 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oAKtBpdZSw

Closing Statement from Kareem Fahim

Majority of people are annoyed by this 'data collection'. Western Govs., defenders of 'freedom' 'democracy' and 'input_word' are mere bunch of hypocrites. Although it is shocking how some people are defending NSA and these faceless entities... (maybe they are 'trolls' or NSA paid users...).

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      Jun 13 2013: GREAT stuff!
      • Jun 14 2013: Actually it's not so great, sorry to disillusion you.

        When using ANY service, even one that says it uses - "End to End Encryption" - First verify when the servers are located, click on the "About Us" and find out where the principle members are located too. These factors will effect the possibility of you being intercepted.

        Also if your so inclined learn a foreign language, or speak with different accents when you make a call, have fun with it - but know it's harder to voice match against that.

        Lastly and most importantly, USE THE SYSTEM, know there are still lots of pay phones around.

        Shit, I really should not have advertised that - now there'll be a queue:)
  • Jun 10 2013: Three cheers for Edward Snowden.
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      Jun 10 2013: That guy has put everything on stake. I hope they let him live a normal life...
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      Jun 11 2013: Edward Snowden for President!
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    Jul 6 2013: Our government is collecting and permanently (as in forever) storing every digital signal they can about all of us. Every email, phone call, text message, everything I type into Google and Facebook - all my locations as recorded by my mobile device - every photo from every camera, every drone, every satellite, every reading from every smart electricity reader - heck every library book you borrow. All permanently stored, "just in case" they need it. Permanent, as in that data will still be here 1, 5, 10, 30 years from now. Because you never know, one of us could turn out to be The Bad Guy.

    With our government's proven track record of lying to us to make excuses to go to war, and their history of locking up hundreds of thousands of innocent American citizens just because they looked like our enemy, our government can not be trusted with this awesome power. Add to that the fact that most politicians are controlled by the money of an amoral corporate elite and wealthy, and it gets even worse. [We need an amendment over turning citizens united so very badly!]

    Then add the possibility that corrupt local law enforcement will get access to this, and you get the possibility that your angry ex spouse, who knows the chief of police in Small Town, USA, and that chief of police uses some ruse to get access to every digital bit ever recorded about you, now in the hands of your ex spouse who is devoted to destroying you.

    I see only one way around this: We as citizens must deploy 100% legal electronic counter measures to prevent the collection of such data about us. At present, this is neither easy nor practical, but with enough money and effort, it can be done.

    One of the main challenges is that most people really don't seem to care. Most people don't agree with me that the potential for the worst police state this world has ever seen, is right around the corner.
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    Jun 15 2013: How much information the Gov-nt really NEED to really stop a terrorist, or at least to Predict some sudden crazy action? Did not the government already have all the info available on those sickly guys who have been shooting and bombing in public, even Before these things have happened ? Did this available info help the Gov-nt Stop these guys?

    NO

    The population is remaining victims of all manipulations coming from everywhere, but the terror will always find its ways, guns, knifes, or cooking pots for stuffing them with some explosive junk.

    Our society is very sick altogether, and that is the very root of the problem. Need to find the remedy to get rid of mass hysteria, emotional stress, and that spooky extreme "truth" one-for-all. Have any ideas, remedies?

    ----

    ONE HELPFUL THING: every living form on this planet is unique, but we, humans, are the only kind that put themselves in man-made categories, like good and bad units, black and witie units, Muslim and Christian units, uneducated and educated units, rich and poor units, famous and no-body units.

    For the sake of nature - our ultimate school in this world - we shall learn that everyone of us is born unique, having different abilities and disabilities, and that everyone has given his or her individual mind and body. We are Not one or two collective minds and we are not one collective body. We have to learn how to be responsible for our own actions towards others, and never act for a group of brainwashed maniacs, whether they are religious, industrial maniacs, or political maniacs. Blessings!
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      Jun 16 2013: Re: "Our society is very sick altogether, and that is the very root of the problem. Need to find the remedy to get rid of mass hysteria, emotional stress, and that spooky extreme "truth" one-for-all. Have any ideas, remedies?"

      I generally agree with your statement, except for the last part. Why think of ourselves as "victims" and the society as "sick"? The remedy to get rid of mass hysteria is simple - stop spreading it. Turn off the media.

      Quite honestly, I have never personally witnessed a single shooting. The people I personally know are, generally, nice and help each other. If I never knew about this PRISM thing, I doubt I would ever see a government agent at my doorstep. Only once in my life somebody tried to use my credit card, but it was caught and resolved within days - no big deal. But the media dwells on these sensations. If we turn on the TV, life suddenly appears full of maniacs, terrorists, snooping government agents, and criminals, and the country on the verge of financial collapse and dictatorship, etc. As if there is not enough concern over who's the next Kardashian's boyfriend.
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    Epi Jay

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    Jun 8 2013: I'm afraid to answer this question because the NSA will be accessing this post and don't know which political action will be taken against me :)
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      Jun 8 2013: You are expressing a profile that indicates a high degree of fear and uncertainty. I think you bear checking into Epl Jay. Quickly now, have you ever or are you currently involved in any unsightly and EViiiAL, imperious activities we should be investigating?
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        Jun 8 2013: I used to be afraid of criticizing the US officially on the web. because I thought that I'd be put on the T.S.A watch list. Therefore I have since long decided that I will only travel to the US if invited by TED or a major organization. Something that would create news if I were to disappear. I really don't trust any part of the US government to be either wise or emphatic, and I don't want to end up tortured for years without any hope for a trial...

        I've read multiple stories on the TSA watch list and people being on it without any reason at all.

        Take a look at this article for example (first one on Google with "TSA watch list child")...
        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/14/nyregion/14watchlist.html?_r=0
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          Jun 8 2013: That's why I never fly Jimmy. :)

          Take a boat then a train then a bus or taxi.

          or, call me and I'll come pick you up and you can stay at my home for free. We have two spare bedrooms for guests. :)
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          Jun 8 2013: On second thought Jimmy, you might better hold up where you are for safeties sake:

          It appears our president has declared cyber-war against some nations we consider to be a threat to our national security:


          " The directive states that cyber attacks can be launched as part of "anticipatory action taken against imminent threats," but should comply with U.S. and international law and receive approval from the president if they are "reasonably likely to result in significant consequences," according to the Guardian, quoting President Obama.


          :..reasonably likely to result in significant consequences...." ?

          I wonder if he said that when he gave the go ahead to kill Obama Bin laden?

          This is going to be interesting.
        • Jun 12 2013: Being a U.S. citizen [born here] I can tell you my country has changed. I remember a time when I could go to the airport and fly anywhere without ID. I remember a time when carrying your ID was optional. Now you hear the cry PAPERS PLEASE and I think of Nazi Germany.It seems we Americans have given up sacred rights for the sense of being protected, which we are not. I do not blame you at all for feeling anxious of the US, it has become scary. It has become a police state.
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        Jun 8 2013: Yeah, I'll just stay here and keep doing my cyber attacks on you country then ;-P

        What's funny is that they can never tell where a cyber attack is coming from since most hactivists (and terrorists) use TOR or something like that to hide themselves... A program funded by the Swedish state nonetheless (I'm so proud!).
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          Jun 8 2013: They use mobile proxy servers. They drive up to your house at night, get on our wireless router and upload the information to their servers and drive away. Before the authorities get the information, the servers are dismantled and taken to another location where they sit, awaiting for the awake code PING! then the process is reenacted all over again. You won't find that information in a cell phone call.
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        Jun 8 2013: Are you sure? Do you have any sources for this?

        I know quite a bit of both how computers and governments work and this seems very unlikely so I'd really like some sources on this if you don't mind.
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          Jun 8 2013: It's pretty standard operations actually. I've been writing code since 1978.

          A dutch national was arrested in Barcelona recently google that and understand.

          My main point is that many of these communications are not carried out by cell phones. It is only when they are actually carrying out a mission like the Benghazi attack in Libya, that the get down to the cell phone use. By then it's over and done with. they toss the phones away. Setting up this stuff is done with couriers and computer accounts. The safest way to send information is with someone Else's account. If I use your wireless router to send my message, it doesn't read my ip address, it reads yours. If I can gain access to your router, I can erase the fact i was ever there. All wireless routers can be broken into unless you use some kind of unorthodox method to secure it. Every last one in the general public or business world.

          WEP is extremely vulnerable to 'sniffing'. A standard WEP key could be hacked in a matter of minutes (depending on the traffic) WPA2 has finally reached the same level of vulnerability.
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        Jun 8 2013: Yeah, WPA2 is very vulnerable, I've hacked into some routers using a simple brute-forcer. I only do it for internet access (and at first to see if I could). But I'm aware of the procedures for sniffing information once you're in. Once you have access to the router you can see all the traffic going on there very easily and play with Facebook accounts or anything that's logged in for example.

        However, when hiding your identity on the web TOR, like I said in my previous post, is the ultimate way to go. It doesn't matter if the information is stored locally if they have no idea where in the world to look for you.

        I checked the case with Sven Olaf Kamphuis... Wasn't really nice of him to DDoS the biggest anti.spam site. and on top of that slow the whole web down...

        But do they really "drive up to your house at night, get on our wireless router and upload the information to their servers and drive away."?. And who are "they" in this case I'm not sure I'm following. But I would very much like some more information and sources on this if you have any...
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          Jun 8 2013: It's in regards to a hypothetical situation Jimmy. While some have tried with me personally, I think their sole intention was to check their email. But, it is so easy to do I'm sure any self-serving terrorist will try or is using this procedure to transfer information all the way across the world.

          Now, identity thieves are a different sort.

          Are you aware of Titan?

          In my short life time I have discovered if it's possible in any regard on the internet, someone will use it, especially if it's simple and easy to implement.

          Of course with your and mine abilities it is an easy task to ascertain if someone is trying to hack our routers. Mine is supervised with software I wrote that sounds an audible alarm, when I'm active with the computer. My real protection lies in the fact I turn my computer off if I'm not using it so it can't be hacked and used in any DOS attacks. That is the simplest solution to a whole worlds problems. Don't leave your computer on when your not using it.
          All we have spoken of is on the internet for anyone to read and understand.
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        Epi Jay

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        Jun 8 2013: My only issue with this is that the Obama regime has shown scant respect for politically opposing views; if PRIZM was set up to detect terrorists, what happened in Boston? No, I think this is in the same league as the IRS targeting. It's not trivial to say that this is beginning to remind me of the Nazi regime and other socialist regimes in the world
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      Jun 8 2013: I created this post... + I'm Muslim...

      I'm doomed... oh wait someone knocking on door.....
  • Jul 4 2013: Just like to make a few points about the situation:
    First, I don't think anyone can listen to everyone's conversations, the NSA may be good, but not that good. I don't think the NSA is interested in endless conversations with high points such as "what are we having for dinner, boy what a hard day at work, do you want to go to the movies tonight, etc, etc. I think the program scans/screens millions of calls and flags calls with "hot button" words or probably patterns of words that indicate some type of encryption or code. Since I'm not, nor is the majority of the U.S. population, involved in the sale of weapons of mass destruction or espionage, I'm not really concerned about phone calls being being benignly screened. If screening calls is going to prevent 911-like situations then I think its ok.
    Second, intelligence gathering goes on all day every day by all countries (and FYI by businesses), NO country can truly sit on their high horse and say they don't; spying in many senses helps keep the global peace, its just an unspoken global "accord"- this is just the world we live in.
    Third, (most importantly) don't blame the NSA, in many senses they're just doing their job. When we live in a time of unconventional warfare (i.e. 911) unconventional defenses must be put in place. Some say the CIA/NSA dropped the ball with 911 but for that one "failure" I'm sure there have been many more "unreported" victories.
    Fourth, Mr Snowden may have used "free speech" to express what he wanted but in the end I think his efforts have caused damage. Behind each covert operation there are usually agents (PEOPLE) who are being protected by the secrecy of the operation, who in this case may have been exposed. Mr Snowden has cast judgment on NSA for spying on "us" without our consent but I think he was also out of place for taking it upon himself for disclosing a covert operation and making a decision for "us" and the safety of our nation without our consent.
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      Jul 5 2013: Curious he V WILLIAMS on this point of yours......" Mr Snowden has cast judgment on NSA for spying on "us" without our consent but I think he was also out of place for taking it upon himself for disclosing a covert operation and making a decision for "us" and the safety of our nation without our consent."

      Are you perchance telling us that a democratically elected Govt (in your case America) has accordingly been given 'open slaver' and full consent be YOU the voter, to carry out whatever actions they like with out your consent or knowledge or accountability??

      Curious.............who's job and right is it to hold govts accountable??
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      Jul 7 2013: They can listen to all our conversations and they do! Although by monitoring this is real time our government may thwart a terrorist threat, the even larger value is that this data is always around. So five years from now when they are trying to track down the terrorist next store who happened to have dinner with you years ago, they may well pull up that phone call you had with your neighbor where he talked about his dislike for apple pie, and now, yes, that could help track down the apple-pie-hating terrorist.
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    Jun 29 2013: It’s not the collection that worries me as much as is its incorrect interpretation and inappropriate use by imperfect humans.
  • Jun 27 2013: No.

    What I do is my business. What about my intellectual property? What about the world citizenry's intellectual property? Who's protecting people's ideas? What about my rights to speak openly? I know I do nothing wrong but is it even up to me to decide that what I am doing is right or wrong in the government's eyes? Maybe the government doesn't like my non-violent politics so much, seeing it as a threat, that they decide to do something to shut me up.
  • Jun 27 2013: ...a resounding NO! It only goes to prove that we are living in a powerful, well-organized plutocracy.
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    Jun 24 2013: Our Personal data and Information should not be taken by anyone else its should be hidden from from unknowns and its our right and what NSA is doing is absolutely wrong
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    Jun 23 2013: No matter what we do, we're now under surveillance.
    In order to have a private conversation we'll have to meet "analog style" in a back alley and exchange hand-written notes. Big Brother is now everywhere.
    So maybe we need to stop using Google, Facebook and Apple to store private information ? But who's to say that they won't start putting pressure on private hosting companies to access private domains ... we have let the NSA run amok and I think that the only way to remedy this is to pass laws that forbid this kind of systematic data collection and enforce it ... however, if they really wanted to get the information they could probably hire hackers to get it for them so either way ... it's a done deal :(
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      Jun 24 2013: I totally agree you Miss Caroline
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      Jun 25 2013: Agreed.

      I would also like to add the following - with the nanotechnology available today back alleys and docks may not allow a private conversation either. Please see the link below. However, I'll allow myself to see the possibilities and focus on the positive outcome. If problems, algorithms etc. are solved, risks properly discussed and assessed, voices heard, dialogue used, information not misinterpreted, manipulated with or misused, humanism applied, the future may still be bright :)

      http://bigthink.com/neurobonkers/is-big-brother-watching-you

      Best wishes.

      Quote (again, sorry, I've posted this in a different but related conversation as well) "We learn of the case of a French man whose home was raided and who still remains on a terrorist watch list eight years later because algorithms in software analysing his movements determined he spent too much time looking at his surroundings..."
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      Jul 4 2013: I can only imagine what kind of information the NSA is collecting on my sorry carcass. Here's a conversation with the big boss I can imagine in one of those monitoring centers in Hawaii, or Langley, or down the street. It's kind of a "B" movie version, but it goes like this.

      "This lunatic eats vegetarian food? That's a red flag right there! We'll have to keep an eye on that commie bastard! He visits national parks, obviously casing the joint for an assault on the nations wild edible plant collection. Maybe he's planning to occupy the forest? This guy is obviously, dangerous a real sick bastard. I think it's time to terminate this puke. Do we have any of Sheriff Joe's police drones in the area? Let's hit him with a mini missile! He'll never know what hit him. Have the street sweeper get rid of the body, and any collateral damage in the area a few squirrels, maybe some trout. Let's see if we can get this cleared up before lunch OK boys.I have a fundraiser at 10:00, then the speaker and I have 12:00 o'clock tee time at the Arlington country club. "Now Chop Chop"
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    Jun 19 2013: It's not like I have anything to hide, but I'm enraged with this. It is a violation of the freedom of expression -well, not that it properly existed until now, but this was the final blow. I'm not even American! Yet, most social media are based in the USA. EVERY CITIZEN OF THE WORLD (american, european, I don't really care) has the right to express themselves freely in any kinds of media. Let's not make fun of ourselves, we have ALWAYS been supervised in a way or another -but now, with the NSA, which is known to exist by many people, most of us have realised it. We have to react. If we don't, we're all going to go crazy.
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      Jun 24 2013: i totally agree with your point of view that we should have our Freedom or right of expression
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    Jun 18 2013: Most of the people don't really care for it unless NSA sells their privacy to third party, In fact I am also not too much worried about these issues because I just know that I don't have any personal data of mine on the Internet and I see this as the right approach, So it doesn't bothers me.
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    Jun 17 2013: Arkady, your entire argument is based on a false premise, and is resulting in all of your argument being incorrect.

    Your accepting the lie that NSA is collecting data to stop terrorist and that it is not everyone’s personal data.
    Let’s review the facts:
    *Democrats (who are known compulsive liars) clam it has foiled attacks, but will not give examples.
    * The program did not foil, ID, or help captor the Boston marathon bomber.
    * They are collecting personal data from China, Hong Kong, Europe and many others who countries that have no connection to terrorist.

    You should agree information is power, and if you look past the lies you will see that this is just a massive power grab. And unless you belief the government should have all controlling power, you should also be against this.
  • Jun 15 2013: Judging from the vicious attacks by msn, yahoo, and the other usual suspects, all owned by the same masters, it seems obvious that Snowden really made them angry. This alone would point out that Snowden did in fact release the genie from the bottle and left all the filthy cockroaches scrambling to do damage control. In one slam piece, the usual suspects say that all Americans knew about this spy program back in 1999. How ludicrous is that. Most Americans today still don't even know about the Prism scandal, that is a tragic fact. And most never knew about Prism in any year, let alone the last 14 years. I see what they are doing. Tell the undereducated they are soooo smart and already knew about the spy program and sneak in the conclusion they should arrive at, that Snowden is oh so bad. Snowden is a hero no matter how many slanderous attack pieces they write on him to try and convince everyone to turn a blind eye while they kill him for spilling the truth. Not going to happen. We will remember this along with all the other low down manoeuvres this shady spying government has pulled in the past.
  • Jun 14 2013: No. There is always some purported benefit to get the public to accept overreaching. And then it is eventually abused, because humans are less than perfect and justify/rationalize their own corruption. And then the corruption becomes common.
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    Jun 14 2013: Transparency: Full and Absolute. Any and all communications should be open and available for scrutiny. This would and does create such deluge as to be incomprehensible to anything but super-computers, ones like the NSA and their co-conspirators like Google, Yahoo! and Facebook can deploy. The problem is not in these companies allowing the NSA access but rather in their lack of sharing these data sets with the public including any corporate competition. If the intelligentsia are the only ones with access to the combined data sets then there exists a serious threat to democracy.

    That's why I signed this petition: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/pardon-edward-snowden/Dp03vGYD
    • Jun 14 2013: Thank you, will do, will forward.
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    Jun 13 2013: I am more concerned with the secrecy of it. Any intrusion into our freedom should not be secret and just because the president and congress knows about does not make it right.
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      • Jun 14 2013: He's not a loser, he's a patriot, who did this for the public good. And if you think they're going to release any information on the system being abused, well you're just nuts. Military and federal career success 101, NEVER admit to any wrongdoing, NEVER admit to any flaw. Massage what Colbert refers to a "truthiness".
        • Jun 14 2013: AA your right, but the phrase, just for your edification is "Deny, Deny, Deny"
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    Jun 13 2013: In practical terms _ I dont mind. But if I start up a terrorist group I'd probably have to be extra careful and consider using some some sort of code and possibly more non virtual social interaction.
    In theory - We could go anywhere, but so far what are the actual consequences - basically it means more tools for 'the police' (or big brother, the cia, the men in black etc) - basically I think we're debating whether we want the police to have more or less power/technology. Sorry I Just cant get riled up about the purely philosophical problem of free speech ( I know! WTF) We're all in this society together; the us vs them attitude is simply the continuation of conflict, which just leads to more conflict.
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    Jun 13 2013: No. And neither should anyone else be. Not in the name of anything. Or anyone. And certainly not in the name of the latest boogie monster called "terrorism". But go ahead. Keep listening to the scare tactics. When you realize you lost your freedom, let me know. Oops, gone!
  • Jun 12 2013: What they are doing is criminal, unconstitutional, and worse. I watched as Mr Boehner called the [snitch] a traitor. What a load of horse manure. If anything Mr. Snowden is a patriot and a hero for telling on the NSA. I am ashamed of my country for this intelligence gathering from it's citizens. The really bad part is that they expect us to believe they are not actually listening. What a crock! Whats worse, most of the sheeple will believe them.
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    Jun 11 2013: Sure, I have nothing to hide, the problems is what are they going to do with the information they collect, can we truct the government to keep it private? or will they try and sell that information to others? will employers have access to the information collected?, so as you can see is not what information they can collect from me as I said I have nothing to hide but if someone can find out that I have a disease that could be debilitating will I be able to still apply for a job? or life insurance?or I am gay or belong to a religious group or I might be an aceist...will that allow others to discriminate against me?
  • Jun 10 2013: I wonder how they would react to people haking into their information. A democratic leadership is supposed to work for the people, not spy on them.
    The government can spy on its citizens, but when the citizens spy on the government, it is considered a crime. Wikileaks levels the playing field.
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    Jun 8 2013: i imagine it's like looking for a needle in a haystack except now there are robots that dedicate their existence to looking for needles.

    the worst thing about this is talking to all the people in grey - you know the good consumers that can't think until an advert has told them what to think - that respond with "well, I've got nothing to hide".

    This argument is arse-backwards.

    you have a right to privacy and because you have nothing to hide is the reason that this should not be happening. but we gotta get them terrorists, right?
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      Jun 8 2013: No, we don't have to get them we can let them get us.

      I don't necessarily associate people living an honest open life as being a subspecies of some mentally elite social structure. There are many forms of Privacy. We give up our privacy when it presents opportunities to us. Like mutual protection. We give up our privacy to our doctors, employers, etc. It's not some innate liberty that is fixed in stone all the time. It is mutually associative and based on a sense of mutual trust.

      The President has, almost, every conversation they speak recorded. The president gives up a large portion of the civil privacy in order to properly perform their job. You don't have the right to anything unless it is mutually agreed. Your very life is in the hands of others, more so, than it is in your own hands.
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        Jun 12 2013: we give doctors and the like our confidence, not our privacy, and it's usually for a good reason (eg. medical history).

        when people who don't know me (or associate with anyone I know) monitor me in the name of one thing which may or may not be just some spin doctoring, then I get a bit wary.

        the only people we should be monitoring are the people spending our tax dollars - in other words, the bureaucrats and officials elected and working for the tax payers. the president should have to do everything relating to the public on camera at all times. it might even separate the wheat from the chaff.

        i'm sure the camera will eventually reveal that nobody is perfect. this is the reason why we should never trust in systems
  • Jun 8 2013: No, I am not comfortable.

    I am even less comfortable with all the data that private corporations collect about me. Since that data is their property, they would probably give a copy of it to the government just for the asking, without even notifying the consumers.

    My attitude toward this is that fighting it is futile. A better response would be to insist that all of that government data should be made public. If not completely public, at least available through a Freedom of Information request. That way we would at least know what the government knows.
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      Jun 8 2013: We would also know what each other is up to if it were made public. :)

      I'm sure google and facebook along with the other data mining businesses would love for it to be public domain.

      And yes, I'm not real comfortable with the idea. We won't really know the real ramifications until some future date if we are effected by the government having our data or not. If they do get carried away, we can always vote them out of office and vote in some people who will get rid of or rewrite the law.

      At least they haven't taken that away from us..... yet.
  • Jul 7 2013: What amazes me about this, is how now it's become so pervasive, no-one seems to give it a second thought, or hardly care.

    Some justify it, as a way to stop terrorists, if this is the price, freedom, we'd better wake up and ask is it worth it, because when all the laws are changed and all the freedoms gone, you can bet that last dollar, they wont come back.

    As for they are not interested in you, your life is boring. It's true, I and you may well be a no-body, they does not mean we have no-rights.

    Yet we never seem to realize that just because a corp is a corp, or the NSA is the NSA, that because they do it, it somehow makes it all ok.

    It's clearly they (the NSA) have broken the constitution, yet no-one either wants to, or does take them to task over it. Which says very little for the morality and sense of justice (real and implied), or importance placed in the constitution by corp's, government or for that matter - the president.

    And so the intrusion carries on, to now retail stores war-driving your smartphone. Which if YOU were to do, it would be illegal and you'd end up in jail. No-one seemingly asks when they can a store do it, and not face the same punishment as you?

    Seems to me that the individual rights are being swept away, and corps and government are immune, or rather the law's that we have to abide by don't apply to them...

    If it carries on this way, and as no-one seems to be ending it nor opposing it with extreme prejudice, the yellow brick road we're blindly following means we'll all end up slaves of the state.
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  • Jun 28 2013: Paul Lillebo stated "Rather than starting from the view of outraged individuals (most of the writers here), what if we look at the problem from the other end? Obama is inaugurated, international terror is an actual, serious threat, and the new President is charged with protecting the people of the U.S. against terror groups, some of which have announced that the U.S. is one of their main targets. The people want to be able to fly safely, so how does he go about gaining information on these groups before they commit their acts of destruction? They obviously do their planning by communicating with each other, so how does he get information about their communication?"

    Everything we do in life has some risk. For those with high risk we usually through training, changing the way we do something, or some other means, reduce the risk to an acceptable level. Thinking in terms of risk and risk reduction, this is how a President and our leaders address the issue. The questions to them as with all of us are what is the actual risk and what are we willing to do/give up to reduce it?

    Do you believe that someone or group whether small or large can do something similar to 9/11 unnoticed using methods that do not include scooping up every bit of meta data for every signal sent in space or on line? Using greatly less intrusive collection methods, I believe no one or a group can create the same level of destruction as happened on 9/11. Would I as President take such a risk? The answer is yes. If our leaders were concerned about death, they would have figured out better ways to reduce highway deaths. Each month for decades more people day on the highway then on 9/11. So it isn't the deaths they are concerned about.

    Also, there are numerous means to store this data for their use without it being in the Government hands. So again, I suspect there are other reasons for the collection of this massive amount of data and it isn't just to protect us from the bad guys.
    • Jun 28 2013: Very interesting and thoughtful comment. One risk of the President and other powerfully placed individuals is the sustainability of power. Although the primary objective of the collection of personal information and intrusion of privacy are risks to the people of the United States, I think there is an issue of other, more personal, risks being addressed through these actions. Data and information is a tool of power.
  • Jun 27 2013: the people who would really have an issue about the whole NSA are the people who have something to hide or probably the one who thinks that the government of united states have a thing against them!
    spying on potential trouble makers can't be just overruled but spying each and every one over the internet in the name of the light of all this is totally a different thing
    Imagine a situation where an influential person who might have some big reforms for the world in the deck is getting compromised for personal interests since they have got some dirt over the internet.
    In short this time the American government has overdone their own track record!
    spying everyone can't be justified on any grounds
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    Jun 27 2013: I think just a glance at the career of J. Edgar Hoover should show you what's wrong with government collecting your data. They will abuse that power. It is almost irresistible. Remember the General Petraeus scandal? Someone in the government searched his emails without a warrant and they couldn't have got one because he wasn't even accused of any crime. They just did it. Period. And yes, if someone "has it out for you" (as Hoover did for MLK) they can ruin or damage you out of pure spite. And they will if they can. THAT is why the government can't be collecting our data. I have nothing to hide. But I know that someone running for public office might have said something really nasty or disgusting in an email 30 years ago when they were a teenager and all you need to ruin them is find it and "leak" it. I'm not worried about Big Brother. I'm worried about plain old human maliciousness.
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    Jun 27 2013: I feel so encouraged when I see so many wonderful participants on these TED conversations. We all know that the NSA is spying on us all. But why should anyone worry about that? After all, they are only keeping us SAFE, right?

    I think if we all just join hands and sing a nice song together then we will all be positive and stop being negative and mean and stuff like that. But then again, how do you all sing songs on TED?

    I don't know, I just like watching the videos. I can download them faster than I can play them!
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    Jun 25 2013: Curious here folks...............since I've been on TED it has become obvious to me that TED is nothing but a big 'talk fest' and bitching/venting session with everybody wanting 'SOMEBODY ELSE' making the world a better place for them, the bitchers and venters!

    How many of you bitchers/venters/ Iphone generation are actually willing to put your head on the line?

    Just asking!

    Cheers.........................
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      Jun 25 2013: Hi, BR.

      Here's a thought - everybody here, whatever the background, opinion, thoughts, hopes, everybody on the internet, whatever the background, opinion, thoughts, hopes, everybody not hiding in the woods, everybody, iOS, Android or analog, is somewhere "on the line". You included.

      Cheers and best wishes.
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        Jun 25 2013: Don't know about you and the others Anna ..................but I'm here (on TED) just because I'm curious........

        I haven't ....................... come here for forgiveness
        or come to raise the dead
        or come here to play Jesus
        to the lepers in anybodies head!
        Cheers................
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      Jun 25 2013: I will when death holds no sway over me or when i long for it like so many elderly i know but as my people always say "Death comes" I suppose the Q should be "What would you die for?"
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        Jun 25 2013: Ponder..........Maybe the question you should have asked and not stop asking is..........'What have I lived for, and what do I live for?"

        Dead is a long, long time!

        Cheers.................
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          Jun 26 2013: Excellent post, it made me think.
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        Jun 26 2013: Hi Ken,

        Does it always have to go to that extreme for everyone? I believe the small things can make a difference too.

        Take a look at this video. Such simple acts of kindness, but by the end of it your heart may feel as if it will burst from love overload. :)

        http://vimeo.com/36789712
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          Jun 26 2013: No Maddy it doesn't have to go to the extreme and yes the small things do matter but blade was talking about what that young analyst did and more and then slapping the teddies for not acknowledging it or deliberately agitating for personal gratification or to invigorate and insert a patriotic feel for everyone or just got tired of the usual conversai and wants to troll for a while.

          What would you give your life for?

          I'll check out that vid now while i have a spare moment.
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        Jun 26 2013: I would die for my children.

        I am giving my life to helping educate and empower others through 3D animation and "serious" video games/game elements. I truly believe my work (in small ways) helps make the world a better place. :)
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          Jun 26 2013: So, when are you going to audition for your next local Tedx? What you have just posted to me could be a great Talk Maddy?
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        Jun 26 2013: I'm definitely planning on trying to. :) I also made a Ted prize wish this year.
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      Jun 25 2013: Maybe the people you're referring to are still looking for their ways and/or trying to find their voices. Building courage to take big leaps into the unknown doesn't come easy for everyone. This community is a wonderful place to start that process.
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        Jun 25 2013: Could be Madeline..................as we all have different buttons and some folks need a crutch more than others and some conquer on their own.

        cheers..............
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      Jun 25 2013: I am!
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      Jun 25 2013: But what do you get out of whining about whiners?

      And are you doing something yourself?
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        Jun 26 2013: Are you still on your local council Jim? Is it a mosh pit or are your fellow councillor's like you?
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          Jun 26 2013: No, I quit to pursue an E2D solution... I'm quite unique when it comes to politics locally... ;-)
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        Jun 26 2013: Geeez Jimmy, didn't think I was whining ..........thought I had made an accurate observation and posted/registered that observation!

        I'm always doing something............................mostly for myself/family, as I know and don't expect anybody else to do it/make my life easier/better.

        Oh ....you mean for the world, ......................hey Jimmy, the world operates on the chaos principle, always did.............always will.

        I let the world do what it does best...............evolve!
    • Jun 27 2013: Within you is the Kingdom of God (atheists substitute Truth here):

      As humans we speak and do things.

      Before we speak, there is a seed in our mind, we can choose to tell the truth or to lie.

      Before we do things to other people, there is a seed in our mind, we can choose to do those things either with or without their agreement.

      Ask anyone two questions (ask your children especially, since there heart is pure!):

      1. Do you prefer that I tell you the truth or that I tell you lies?
      2. Do you prefer that I do things to you either with or without your agreement?

      The overwhelming majority, maybe 95-100 out of 100 will say Truth and Agreement. We all want Truth and Agreement for ourselves but through our selfishness and greed and power trip we don't always do Truth and Agreement towards others. The "world" corrupts those who are corruptible.

      The red pill in the "Matrix" movie is the way of Truth and Agreement.

      Jesus was crucified and died for these sins of the ones who crucified him. They said that he healed people because he was possessed by the devil. Jesus said that the devil can't do good things. In other words they lied about him. As they arrested him and started to hit him, the first thing he said right after the first strike was, if I have done well (which he had!) then why are you hitting me?". In other words he DID NOT give Agreement to be crucified. If he had given Agreement to be crucified it would not of been a crime what they did to him.

      And yes, regardless of one's religion, no religion, race, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation, their Kingdom of God (Truth) is just as valid and powerful as anyone elses. Jesus said "judge not according to the appearance (your selfishness and false division) but rather judge righteous judgement (respect other peoples agreements). The Spirit of Truth is in everyone who speaks and does the Truth. Truth does not belong to anyone but God (Truth). Jesus said there is no one good but God (Truth). Jesus was cool.
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      Jun 27 2013: I think there's a lot of talk on these TED boards because it's really tough to do anything else on a discussion board. What would you suggest?
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    Jun 23 2013: The worlds largest data collection system was inevitable a blessing, and a curse. Stopping war,or, senseless violence is good. Having people with ulterior motives accessing this "meta data" for nefarious purposes bad, and inevitable. "Unless!" How do we tell the difference, and how do we create the guard dogs that keep tyrants out of the cookie jar? The answer is total transparency. That is achieved through a paradigm shift in the way we interact as human beings,as nation states, and as a species. After all that's what we're talking about here, the viability and survival of our species. Some think erroneously that life in the jungle, is all about predation, the big fish eating the little fish. That is true, but only part of the story. When one looks more closely at nature however, We see much more. We see countless examples of symbiosis, two or more species living in an interconnected web of dependence and mutual self interest. Until we learn to convey, and recognize the commonalities of need and the benefits available to all humans we will be in grave danger of self destruction, like a virus that consumes it's host. The age old pathology of tyrants: hubris, greed, lust, fear, and egocentric view of the world leads to dominance, and (DE FFACTO CORPORATE, NATION STATE )oppression that will make Orwells 1984 seem quaint. Fasten your seat belts my friends it's going to be a bumpy ride.
  • Jun 23 2013: It's a very weak argument when some Americans say the government is going to do whatever they want, including spying. That's not true. The people dictate how far they will let the government go. If weak people just give up and let the government do what they will, then we see what happens, with Joseph Stalin, Mao, Bush, Obama, etc... But just because some Americans are too lazy and just interested in watching Dancing with the Sluts, instead of fighting for justice, does not mean the government can do whatever they like. Proof of this is the Revolution of 1776. A great majority of Americans were too scared to do anything, however 3% fought back against the brits and beat them back to where they came from and succeeded in bringing Independence to America. Same needs to be done today. Fight back against the corruption rampant in Washington on both sides, including the traitors like pelosi, mccain, boehner and so many other crimiinals.
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    Jun 20 2013: The U.S. surveillance program was instituted to detect and prevent planned terrorist violence, whether directed at the U.S. or at other countries. According to Obama, it has done that in a number of instances. The publication of the program allowed various politicians around the world (China, for example) to exercise a bit of self-righteousness, at the same time as China operates a similar program. So does Russia, and Britain, and France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, India, the EU, Interpol, and whoever else can afford it. I'm quite sure most of these actors share relevant information with each other. Electronic communications monitoring programs are as common as daisies in the spring. There should be very little surprise at this.

    Rather than starting from the view of outraged individuals (most of the writers here), what if we look at the problem from the other end? Obama is inaugurated, international terror is an actual, serious threat, and the new President is charged with protecting the people of the U.S. against terror groups, some of which have announced that the U.S. is one of their main targets. The people want to be able to fly safely, so how does he go about gaining information on these groups before they commit their acts of destruction? They obviously do their planning by communicating with each other, so how does he get information about their communication?

    And that's the question I'd like to ask the commenters here. In these sixty-odd comments so far, no one seems to have suggested what they would have done as president. It's so easy to say what he should not have done, but what should he have done instead? How would you have acted to effectively discover and prevent acts of terror?

    I'll start: "I don't know." That's why I'm slow to condemn the President (though I'm no fan - he hasn't delivered on his promises, as I see it). But I assume that those who are ready to condemn have better solutions ready. Please share them with us all.
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      Jun 21 2013: Man, everyone here knows that the 'official version' is a pile of stinkin' BS.

      http://youtu.be/yuC_4mGTs98

      Wake up!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbXR-rxaVbc&list=UU7TvL4GlQyMBLlUsTrN_C4Q
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      Jun 22 2013: I agree that surveillance is a must to keep the people safe. I want to fly safely, be able to walk the streets, shop on and offline without the threat of being attacked, mugged, robbed. I believe everyone has a similar wish and the right to do the above.

      However, the prerequisite for such surveillance must be the following - competence and good will/faith. Here's some examples of lack of competence of the uniformed forces - I've recently heard that the Norwegian police uses google translate after interrogating foreigners who do not speak Norwegian and who the police "thinks" may have criminal intent (sic!) And they brag about it! You don't have to be an expert in sociolinguistics and/or culture to be able to know that the text produced (and sent to legal authorities of other countries - sic!) is completely nonsensical, inadequate, the meaning is distorted or simply not there! One more - I remember being given a full stripsearch at Oslo Gardermoen after returning from a weekend trip to Amsterdam (where marijuana is legal), Norwegians taking the same flight weren't asked for the same. The only thing I could do was to frown and raise my eyebrows at this (while stripping calmly) and hope for a "we're sorry" in the end. I got no apology but I felt like apologising myself just to prove a point (I'm sorry for being completely innocent and having no criminal record or intent and that you wasted your precious time on me instead on a coffee break and weather-talk, good luck with being prejudiced and limited in the future.)

      Those two examples are nothing compared to what else is happening around the world. The protests and uprisings in South-America and the Middle East to name a few were not inspired by the fact that oversight institutions were nice, transparent, competent, incorruptible and cared for their people.

      Back to the subject matter- I'm ok with agencies having access to my data, I'm not ok with it being subject to misinterpretation due to incompetence or misused.
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        Jun 22 2013: I don't know if we'll ever find a satisfactory way to control those who have power. When we try to build a control structure around those with power that just adds more power centers, more unmanageable bureaucracy, and more opportunities for bribery and corruption. I'm afraid that power will always be misused by someone. The best defense may be the free press and the occasional public uproar, such as we're experiencing in our current issue.

        But politicians know that as long as the people are economically well off, the public uproar usually abates quickly. The "middle class" is rarely motivated to rock the boat. Norway is a perfect example of that: the newspapers routinely report astounding official incompetence and misuse of public funds, the relevant minister quickly promises changes, and the matter disappears from the newspaper within two days and as quickly from public attention. In fact little or nothing is corrected, but the people are satisfied; there is a remarkable lack of public uproar over anything. (I'm writing from Oslo, where I live half the year.)

        I wish I could say I was surprised to read your tales of the Norw. police. Sadly I was not.
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          Jun 22 2013: Yes, a lot is worrying, I agree.

          Being economically well off but unaware may be a part of the problem. Having too much trust and not being able to identify trends and phenomena because of the illusion of everything being fine doesn't promote uproar which is often needed and wellfounded. However, it may also be part of the solution - the means are there, it's the awareness and knowledge of the so-called real issues that needs to be inserted (må på plass). And the real issues are not how you feel about the issue and what you're personally unsure of or what you think does not concern you locally, but the issue itself.

          When it comes to media and matters disappearing from newspapers - the role of the media cannot only be to inform of and highlight problems, some balance is needed not to stern the citizens off. I must say it was quite entertaining to see a story of a courageous sheep that chased a wolf away on first page of one of a major newspapers about two weeks ago, especially in contrast to the first page of a regional newspaper with a sad Trondelag farmer losing a calf to predators... But not everybody raises sheep and everybody lives, almost everybody works, has an internet connection and may be in need of help at some point in life. The balance here was broken, at least in my eyes. Free press is important but it should have competent free-thinkers involved, not just interest groups (sorry to TEDsters for the somewhat non-global perspective and using space here, hope it was interesting.)

          All in all - the sheep was nice, but come on. Wake up and get interested in more than just that, the weather doesn't have to be the only topic for discussion.

          A nice song in English with some social commentary (if you forget the Niger mistake that the protagonist was involved in)

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn-oemgzlEU

          Best wishes.
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    Jun 19 2013: There are ways to get around the average track they have on us. The old phones are great but that would a step back for most people considering the PC power level phones that is out there now.
  • Jun 19 2013: The income tax was started as a temporary measure to help pay for WWI. It was only supposed to be a tax on the wealthy. It has been said that there is nothing more permanent than a temporary government program. The income tax has now grown into a tax that anyone who works pays and it has its own multi-billion dollar agency that enforces it. That agency has taken it upon itself to target and harrass people that the current government doesn't like. How do we know that the NSA isn't already doing the same thing with the data it is gathering? How can we be sure that it won't take the same path as the IRS?
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    Jun 19 2013: I thought this was interesting regarding privacy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qptZOMEwFXM#!
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      Jun 19 2013: This video sums-up whole situation.
      Hypocrites!
  • Jun 18 2013: Not in this lifetime.
  • Jun 18 2013: I have a problem with it, only because I know that the useful technology that we have and are creating is not being used for good. I read on a number of sites, children and adults are being arrested for their anti government views that they post on the internet, as I recall it is our right to say what we want, and it is our right to protest.
    Surveillance doesnt prevent bad things from happening, it's supposed to intimidate us and instill fear so that we wont want to do things. Most of the behaviors they are trying to prevent are behaviors that we have every right to have.
    I LOVE how the government leaks information years after the fact though, I'm sure you all are aware of irobot as well as eagle eye. Shia LeBouf was even on a talk show stating he saw how it all works. This has been in motion for years, they already have so much of your information.
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    Jun 17 2013: it doesn't matter how I "feel" about it; they've always done it and will continue - before I post anything or speak on the telephone, I always keep in mind that everything I write or say is public info ;-)
  • Jun 15 2013: I will take the unpopular side of this argument.

    The world, as we know it today, is governed by the wealthiest.
    They decide who can have what, with powers over life and death.
    They ignore arguments about rights and wrongs.
    They are our masters. They dictate. We do their bidding.

    We do not admit to these truths.
    But, they are self-evident.

    Squabble about collection of personal data.
    It makes no difference.
    If it could be changed, it would be.
    It hasn't been, and won't be.

    That's life.
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      Jun 16 2013: I might add that, ultimately, it does not matter who watches whom. Dictatorships and empires rise nevertheless. Soviet Union and Nazi Germany had far larger surveillance programs. Where are those powers now?
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        Jun 16 2013: So, you prefer status quo as it is??
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          Jun 16 2013: No. I don't want Soviet- or Nazi-style government, of course. I don't approve this monitoring. I believe, it's ineffective. What happened was bound to happen. When you try to monitor everyone, you need a lot of man power. WSJ wrote on June 11 that 1.2 million Americans hold top-secret clearance. When so many people share the "secret", it becomes a certainty that the secrecy will be disclosed. Metaphorically speaking, the operation grew so large that it blew its own cover.

          What we see now - public outcry and congressional hearings mean that we still have a healthy system in the U.S. In a totalitarian country, there would be no congressional hearings. We wouldn't even hear the news. So, my worry that the U.S. is heading towards a Nazi-style totalitarianism is low.

          "Status-quo" means "the existing state of affairs". If you mean, "Am I happy with government monitoring everyone's email?" - no, I'm not. If you mean "Am I happy with how U.S. political system works overall?" - yes, I am.
      • Jun 17 2013: Arkady,
        Those Powers you refer to, are alive and well.
        After the Clean Up, and Rebuilding.
        Everything went back to normal.

        Governments are two-faced.
        Their peoples are also.
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    Jun 15 2013: Everyone of us who is dealing with banks and other "Secured" systems is already exposed...big time!

    What is new? What bothers me the most is that unless we are labeled with IDs, SS numbers, and given by parents names we are nobody for our systems.... After all WHO ARE YOU? WHO AM I?

    Even if our "personal information" is getting exposed out there, we, as individual living beings remain invisible in this mad society. Animals do not need SS numbers and names to identify each other in no time.

    I'm really uncomfortable to be judged and interpreted by some mindless made-up numbers, categories, artificially given names, and titles. My rights are violated because my real Self is helpless in this game. The systems people build these days are designed not to serve us, but to treat us as potential criminals. Ironically the majority mindlessly serve these systems.

    However, one's mind is a very hidden place that no government, or any "machine" can enter, watch or control. It is protected by her Majesty Nature.
  • Jun 15 2013: I do not agree with the mass collection of my online information or of others. I do realize that it happens constantly though, and am reminded of it every time I allow an app to use my location or visit websites that leave cookies.
    I think that, with the advancement of technology, the government will continue to find increasingly invasive techniques of accessing our private information. Through leaks of their own information, they have been caught red handed though, and now we the people have to voice our approval or disapproval with this arbitrary information storing.

    Sure they will justify their actions by claiming that the information they are using will protect us from terrorists who are out to harm us. This is a scare tactic and if you fall for it, you end up sacrificing freedom for security. The US has been using this scare tactic continuously to invade the privacy of US citizens, bomb civilians, and enact various other other unethical or otherwise arbitrary drawbacks on our personal freedoms. With today's technology the possibilities are quite frightening. Our pinpoint location, movements, and communications can all be exploited.

    It may seem okay to capitulate with this vast information storing and tracking, but it's a slippery slope indeed. None of our information will be secure unless we draw the line somewhere. Sure, they will continue to find ways to steal our information, but does that mean we have to approve of it and hand it out on a silver platter? The repercussions of letting this opportunity to draw up some guide lines as to how our information is taken and how it is used may not affect you personally now, but in the long run it could play a major role in future events. Imagine, and this isn't an unrealistic possibility, that all future protesters of any government sanctioned policy were tracked and prosecuted for being at certain place at a certain time or for talking to a certain person. What happens when the protester is you?
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    Jun 14 2013: Perhaps, I post here too much. But this topic just boggles my mind. Where is the beginning and the end of this hypocrisy? Wasn't it written 2000 years ago: "For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open."?

    And yet, we are outraged! Someone might actually find out what we are up to! How scary... We are all entitled to our little dirty secrets, our preciouss privacy. We all want to slip a ring on our finger and go invisible. But the moment we do that, we become aware of this evil eye of Sauron watching our every step. What's funny in this situation is that the Sauron (NSA) is, perhaps, equally embarrassed and outraged when his own dirty little secret is discovered. The whole situation is like two guys bumping into each other in a porn shop. Each of them goes: "Hey, what the hell are you doing here?"

    We are outraged that the government does not listen to the people... Yet, when we find out that they, actually, do listen, we are outraged even more! How dare they pay attention to our opinions?

    People often say that openness and transparency is the key to protect freedom... Is that right? This seems to apply to the government (God forbid if the government does anything in secret!) This seems to apply to other people... But does it apply to us? Oh, no, no, no... We want our preciouss privacy! We are afraid to become victims. The government will oppress us. Other people will steal our dirty little secrets - our true identities, and will become like us!

    Some say "I choose when I'm seen and how I'm seen when I go in public." Does this mean that we put on a mask when we go in public? This seems to imply that we are afraid that people may find out what we really are and what we are up to. Why? Why are we afraid of ourselves?

    If our private data is so scary that we are afraid that someone will see it, may be, it's time to pause and reflect...
    • Jun 15 2013: Arkady -- Thank you.
      "Wasn't it written 2000 years ago: "For there is nothing hidden that
      will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known
      or brought out into the open."?'

      My first thought was that you were a student of history. I hope so.
      You have won my 'HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD" award.

      It was only 2013 years ago when Banks were exposed for being,
      historically at the time, an unending corruption.

      If in the intervening 2012 years nothing has changed.
      How can we think that change will occur now?
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    Jun 14 2013: I can understand why some Americans have a problem with the PRISM program. However, many other Americans have voiced a different opinion. Some of us could care less, so long as it keeps us safe.

    So I guess that is the real question on the table. Is this necessary to ensure we aren't hit by terrorist attacks? Is this information being funneled to law enforcement agencies for use against Americans? Either way I do not see a real problem with the PRISM program so long as it is regulated properly.

    However, our government has issues regulating small agencies in this country. It does trouble me to think that they are now tasked with protecting highly sensitive information from every American that uses the internet or makes a phone call.

    As technology advances so should the strategies we use to combat crime and terrorism. I think we all need to have an open mind here. Should we throw out the PRISM program before we fully understand the disadvantages and advantages of using such a strategy?

    I think research is key here. I also think a few key questions need to be answered.

    1. Who regulates the use of data being collected?
    2. Who has access to this information?
    3. How long is it stored?
    4. Is this program intended to last forever, as a permanent strategy of national security agencies?

    The program should have never been hidden. It is these "secret" acts that impact the nation's views of our government and national security agencies as a whole.

    At this point I think we all have more questions than answers. However, it is important that we approach these matters objectively.
  • Jun 14 2013: I am not comfortable about all the data being collected, but there is not much I can do about it. And the issue has so many different aspects. How can society protect itself - preferentially, without paying much for it? Eavesdropping is cheap, and reliable - to some extent. A key point is the integrity of the collectors. But who shall guard the guards? And the guard cannot always be nice, and often will have to make difficult choices. Society seems to accept a certain amount of crime, or unethical behavior. But where to draw the line? So anyone who calls a criminal can be recorded - which may be a good thing - but also anyone who calls or views porn sites, sexual 'deviants', prostitutes, drug dealers, bookies, psychiatrists, medical doctors. Employers with the right connections - such as especially in small towns - may easily get access to such data. It is already a problem that the Internet does not forget (a recorded prank by a teenager is seen by an employer just before a job interview). NSA data could similarly end up in the wrong hands: other governments (note that both Saddam Hussein and Ben Laden where once allied to the US), cliques in the government, your colleague who is competing for the same position in your organization. They may all use it for blackmail. Knowing about the NSA scheme, one can also fake connections: use someone's else's phone or internet acces to call the wrong people. With these collected data, people can become 'convicted' without being able to explain themselves. It seems that we moved from the 60s society where one could say 'Anything goes' to a society where Baltasar Gracian's remark 297 applies; "Always act just as if there are witnesses. . . . A careful person knows that the walls have ears . . . Who assumes the whole world is watching, does not fear that his neighbours are watching him inside his home." Have we created a God that knows all our sins? Can we go to confession? In the meantime, world population keeps growing . . .
  • Jun 14 2013: They can collect all they want, who knows how useful this data could be not just to the Feds, but to any sort of other studies as well. last time i check i wasn't a Colombian drug lord so i am happy to help.
  • Jun 14 2013: How is Snowden a threat again, if the NSA said they are not spying on us? Joking of course, since the NSA has since retracted their lie. The media owned by the same scum that run the NSA and every other 3 letter word in Amerika, including the FED, the IRS, CIA, FBI, etc...will continue their nefarious ways and nothing will change. Amerika is quickly becoming a police state like Britain. You would have to be crazy to want to live in Britain, with all those sick psychopaths wanting to snoop on every little thing. Snowden you are a hero and for that we know you will be persecuted since these are very dark days for Amerika. The bad guys have taken control and rule the day right now. I don't see fat, lazy people shutting off their idiot box anytime soon to fight back either. If they do it will be over some stupid issue like abortion or guns or other meaningless trivia, but certainly not to protect the Constitution, which made Amerika strong until the filth undermined it.
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    Jun 14 2013: No, I'm not comfortable with the fact that I was and am still being monitored by the US Government and information about my online activity is being collected as 'metadata' and stored on NSA's Servers. It's absolutely an inconsiderate and heinous move by the US Government and the NSA and there are no words to describe how robbed the people now feel, of their online privacy. The current Obama Administration is exactly similar to the past two Bush Administrations, looking at how it's policies and actions are being greeted with heavy criticism and uproar.

    Promising that USPERs are not their targets and that only 'foreign traffic' in and out of US Servers are being scanned for suspected behaviours, the Government is making a fool out of itself. How about the news that the Government is using some provision is the Patriot Act to tap Verizon's phone network? Now that NSA is snooping on 9 major tech companies' servers and though these companies have vehemently denied giving access to their data, what little bit of privacy is left for the individual to use?

    This has been happening since 2007 and without Snowden, this wouldn't have reached the people of the world and the US Government would have continued to merrily access each and every individual's moves on the Internet. Though the collection and tracking procedure involving such huge amounts of data should be exhaustive and humongous, nothing will deter NSA from doing that.

    What lies ahead for the future of PRISM and individual privacy, no one can take a guess as of now.
  • Jun 13 2013: Funny I just saw quite a few comments have been deleted from the Shell Oil question on here, I suppose we know know WHO the NSA etc work for.

    So much for democracy, seems more and more like a dictatorship as the days roll on by.
  • Jun 13 2013: It means what quality of society now we are living in.It is okay if anyone wanst to peep anything I write...But it sounds like gossip issue to disgust.If you don't know how to respect others as well as neither to yourself.From spiritual issue:in front of god,we are equal,no matter poor or rich,have authority or not.I think it is good to see someone to stand out to fight unjustice in this world.telling the truth always deserves to advocate for our humanbeing...
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    Jun 13 2013: So, how to protect ourselves? 1) Don't put anything about what you do and think on stupid network sites like Facebook and Twitter; 2) talk to people in person (don't use skype or mobile to solve your business issues); 3) turn off the TV and don't believe what they have to say; 4) don't let doctors, lawyers, etc send info over the internet, do it by mail (old-fashioned way, use Post Office. By the way, nice people working there). Yes, it isnt free like using Internet but remember "free cheese is only in a mousetrap"...any other ways how to protect ourselves from interference to our personal life and our heads?
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      Jun 13 2013: Re: "And believe me, out of this "Snowden-the-whistleblower/criminal" mess, Congress is going to hold tons of public hearings and the ACLU is going to file multiple lawsuits."

      I agree. I believe, this brouhaha will be a complete waste of public time and money.

      Re Google, I don't think, anyone from Google reads anything. All these ads are sent by a machine that figures out the context or your emails. The tin foil hat incident appears to me rather comic than disturbing. But I understand how it can be annoying.

      Have you tried Collusion add-on on your browser? I learned about it from TED (http://www.ted.com/talks/gary_kovacs_tracking_the_trackers.html) It shows a diagram of sites collecting information about your web browsing habits. Google-analytics.com is the second-largest bubble on the plot. The largest is doubleclick.com. Perhaps, few people even heard of it. By the way, this is what Collusion says about TED.com:

      When you visit ted.com, it informs the following websites about you.

      recaptcha.net
      tedcdn.com
      addthis.com
      chartbeat.net
      newrelic.com
      chartbeat.com
      imrworldwide.com
      scorecardresearch.com
      google-analytics.com

      The site ted.com is potentially aware of your visits to the following websites.

      google.com
      nydailynews.com
      thenational.ae
      democracynow.org
      englishforums.com
      speedtest.net
      enotes.com
      mortgagenewsdaily.com

      You don't lose your privacy. You voluntarily give it up the moment you turn on your computer or cell phone.
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    Jun 12 2013: What practical difference does it make whether I'm comfortable with whatever or whether who watches what?

    Too often, we get so concerned about "what could happen" that we completely miss what is actually happening.
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      Jun 12 2013: Hmm? Like thousands of government employees have access to the greatest insider stock trading tool!

      Plus can we trust that they are not blackmailing company CEOs, foreign heads of states, or anyone against them.
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        Jun 12 2013: That's the thing. We try to protect ourselves from dangers and abuses regardless whether they are real or not. We got to watch for the Foxy Loxy, not for the sky falling. Often, we fall victims to Foxy Loxy BECAUSE of our concern for the sky falling.

        This, by the way, applies to the public as well as to the government. They will be too busy poring through billions of innocuous emails and miss a criminal in their own midst. And, you are right, abuses of the system intended to prevent abuses can be worse than the abuses the system is intended to prevent. It's the same "good guy" vs. "bad guy" argument. I don't care who is stopping whom. I'm not getting a gun for myself and I make a conscious effort to stop worrying about the other guy. Just a personal philosophy.

        Let's mind our own business and stop seeing criminals, tyrants, and maniacs in each other. Because that turns us into criminals, tyrants, and maniacs.
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      Jun 12 2013: Well, this is actually happening! People are reading your mail and listening to your phone calls without your knowledge or consent.
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        Jun 13 2013: Jimmy,

        Are you concerned that thousands of people see you every day in various places? Do you consent to be recorded on hundreds of traffic and security cameras? Are you concerned about all of that? I'm not. If I were concerned about these things, my life would be very difficult.

        Are you concerned about reality or about your imagination? I doubt that someone reading your email is the real concern. The real concern is not what is actually happening, but what "might" or "can" happen: the government targeting large numbers of people, torturing them, sending them off to camps and killing. But I don't see that happening. Don Anderson above is concerned about someone using the system for financial crimes. I don't see that happening as well. I can imagine a large number of things that can go wrong. Should I worry about all these things?

        I don't like all this monitoring myself. It's not going to work. It opens doors for abuse, it's a waste of time and is bound to instigate needless worry and undue anxiety (which, by the way, is also actually happening). So, I choose to stop this needless worry and undue anxiety right where it starts - inside myself.

        I have plenty of Foxies Loxies to worry about in my life.
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          Jun 13 2013: Arkady,

          Can I have access to you email account please, I'd like to read through it. Could I also install spyware on your phone to monitor your calls? I think not. Is it then better that John Doe, paid by you, has done this in secrecy?

          I choose when I'm seen and how I'm seen when I go outside. I have not given my connect to any cameras, sadly the law on monitoring citizens publicly was changed many years ago here, it's now okay to do so if you have a permit.

          You say that you don't like all the monitoring yourself because of the anxiety and fear. And you say that you don't care, that it's an imaginary threat.
          Yes, fear is a great hindrance in our society, but that does not mean that there aren't things that we should be concerned about. Things that by arguments and examples have been proven to be dangerous in the past should be watched out for in the future.

          Every dictatorship/police state has been predominant in collecting data on their citizens, and that hasn't been used for good.
          What's happening is that you're becoming a police state more and more, where they do as they please under the protection of secrecy.

          They're simply not respecting our human rights (it is a human right to have privacy) and that is going on right now.

          I would be okay with the whole monitoring thing if EVERYONE had equal access, then I could watch big brother working to ensure that he wasn't abusing his power, while he watched me watching him seeing that no crimes are committed.

          And as a politician I have great privacy concerns, much information is confidential. But now some random computer engineer can see, copy and share it as he wishes.

          It's like the case with our own Swedish security police. They don't know it but they have convicted criminals working on maintaining those servers, that are located in Dublin. The work is outsourced and outsourced again (I've worked there, this is from personal experience) and no one is watching the watcher.
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        Jun 13 2013: Re: "It's like the case with our own Swedish security police. They don't know it but they have convicted criminals working on maintaining those servers, that are located in Dublin."

        Exactly. Security is a human problem. Technology has little to do with it.

        Random computer engineer being able to violate your privacy and criminals working on outsourced servers is a different problem than "government watching". Your emotions and anxiety seem to cloud your vision of the problem. Arguably, if the "good guys" had more power to check backgrounds of the "bad guys", this could have been prevented - no? Chicken-and-egg problem again.

        I'd rather watch myself.
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          Jun 13 2013: Security IS a human problem, a problem of the state pushing so much "security" on us that nobody feels secure anymore.

          That was a side note, we have vast differences in who we perceive as the "good guys"... I find that people in power using that power against their population without the knowledge and/or consent of that population can no longer be considered "good guys".

          Would you be okay with every snail-mail being opened and read before reaching it's destination?

          Or do you simply not care about any privacy issues?
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        Jun 13 2013: Re: " Or do you simply not care about any privacy issues?"

        Yes. I guess, that's it - I simply do not care about privacy issues as much any more. Privacy is virtual these days. Especially, online privacy - don't be naive to think you have any privacy when you turn on your computer.
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          Jun 13 2013: I'm not naive in that way, when I want to cover my tracks on the web I do so. Right now I'm public, using my real name and IP address. Other times I am not.

          I don't have that option on the phone...

          It is your choice to give up your privacy, and it should be mine to keep if I wish.
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        Jun 13 2013: Well, my position is not quite "go for it". I don't like this monitoring business. But who cares what I like or don't like? Dogs bark, cats meyow, and the government reads my emails. Oh, bother... Should I get upset and outraged? Probably, not.

        Security is a human problem. Technology will never solve it. I've heard a story on the radio that one guy had ALL his online accounts compromised within 20 minutes by teenagers who simply called Apple customer service and asked them to reset the password by guessing the names of folders in his email account. Then, within 20 minutes they broke into his Gmail, Paypal, bank accounts etc. Spies and terrorists are not going to use gmail and tweet their plans. In many cases, they use secure communication facilities of CIA itself. Good luck sifting through all the emails.

        Am I worried about identity theft? I'm not. But not because I think it's not going to happen to me. It did happen once. It was caught and quickly resolved by humans: I received a call from Walmart asking if I made an online purchase of $900. I did not. They blocked the transaction. I called the credit card, cancelled the card and got a new one in a couple of days. That's it. It could be worse. I could have $900 charge on my card. I would call the credit card, dispute the charge and get the money back within a few days.

        My son took a martial arts class. They had a game called "jump and duck". The kids stood in a circle. The teacher was swinging a pole around himself, by the kids' feet, occasionally raising it up. The rules were simple "if it comes by your feet, jump; if it comes by your head, duck". The idea is to watch the pole and react to what is happening, not to what we think will happen. When kids acted not according to reality, but according to their expectations, they lost.
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    Jun 12 2013: Regardless of our attitude, we are being watched by other people almost every second of our life. What difference does it make whether it's your neighbor, a traffic or security camera in a mall, or the government? I'm getting over the paranoia. When people have good intentions, it does not matter. When people have bad intentions, they will find the way to harm other people regardless of what we do. So, it does not matter as well.

    This applies to the effectiveness of these surveillance programs (FBI knew about Tsarnaevs long ago. How did it help?), to the effectiveness of gun control measures, and to the concerns about the government doing what it does.

    My concern is that in my zeal to protect myself I don't hurt other people (see the Zimmerman case, drone attacks, etc.)

    If we watch ourselves, it does not matter if other people are watching us.
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      Jun 13 2013: good intentions? You r grown up and still believe in fairy-tales...
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        Jun 13 2013: Can you believe it? Not everyone around is "out there to get you". Isn't this the mentality that causes "them" to suspect everyone?
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          Jun 13 2013: it's called to be cautious. It's easier to think that everybody is so good and wish only the best for u, cause to suspect means to think and be concerned what's going on around you.
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          Jun 13 2013: Just please, dont suspect me. I'm innocent as a baby tear + suspect without getting into my privacy
        • Jun 13 2013: Can you believe it? Not everyone around is "out there to get you". Isn't this the mentality that causes "them" to suspect everyone?

          ...... you forgot to add.... unless you live in Yemen, Pakistan, etc.
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        Jun 13 2013: Re: "It's easier to think that everybody is so good and wish only the best for u"

        Exactly. It's a lot easier.

        Re: " to suspect means to think and be concerned what's going on around you."

        Being suspicious is not the same as being aware. Being suspicious implies having negative expectations which often distort perception of reality. Being aware does not imply expectations. It implies accurate perception of reality.

        Re: "I'm innocent as a baby tear + suspect without getting into my privacy"

        Yeah, that's what all crooks usually say :-).
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          Jun 13 2013: Crooks? I defifnitely hope u don't try to get kind of personal?
          I'd be very cautious and suspesious about the person who tries to put everybody under one roof (Yeah, that's what ALL crooks usually are)...
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        Jun 13 2013: Sorry, I thought a smiley :-) would give away that I was joking. I have no idea what "all crooks" usually say or what they look like (without accessing all their emails) :-).
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          Jun 13 2013: Probably, my sense of humour is dead! Just let them access your e-mail, that's it? How about let them put camera in ur apartment including restroom (may be u r planning something horrible, while u r pooping), work, everywhere; then put a chip into ur body and suspect u in terrorism, pedophilia and being a maniac while constantly talking about it on TV and radio...very nice way of living... :)
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          Jun 13 2013: Yeah, just how far are we supposed to accept this according to you Arkady? Could we put a webcam in your living room just to make sure that you're not doing anything wrong?
        • Jun 13 2013: I have no idea what "all crooks" usually say or what they look like (without accessing all their emails)......... there you go you just justified it all :)
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        Jun 13 2013: OK. Let me clarify my position... again.

        1. I'm against government monitoring - I support the 4th Amendment
        - it's not going to help catch any terrorists
        - there are easy ways to avoid being tracked (set up your own mail server at home)
        2. The government will have hearings, investigations, committees, etc., and will find a "safe" way to do it, with "constitutional checks and balances", etc. So, they will do it anyway
        3. This is not the most horrible problem in my life. I'm not going to lose my sleep over it.

        I'm just getting weary of these "outrageous sensations" caused by the media that we all "need to pay attention to". This is exactly how crowds are manipulated and distracted from bigger issues.
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    Jun 12 2013: they aren't only listening, they are watching you too. So, you better hash your mouth and keep quite! Easier to control you this way. Let men do there job, job which is really cool, job which they really love to do to look for ur weak spots, to make u live in a constant fear; and feel themselves like Kings of the world who know everything and everybody...and YOU...you r just a toy in their hands!
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    Jun 12 2013: How is it they can spend billions on data mining every record electronic conversation they can get they hands on, and yet they are unable or unwilling to find tax and Medicare cheats?

    I say the entire government budget should crowd source to us all, so we can find and remove all the waste.
  • Jun 11 2013: Today they mine data on everyone, tomorrow they misuse the data, how hard is that to figure out. I agree with Ben Franklin, anyone who trades freedoms for security deserve neither. The first thing weak minded people say is,....oh I have nothing to hide, BUT will they use it against me if I am gay, will I be hired if I have a disability, will my insurance rates go up, will I be labelled for religious beliefs, etc.... you can't have both, you either disagree with the spying, or you bend over and let them run over you. I say fight the filthy crooks who are spying. They have not made this country any safer and have wasted billions of dollars on spying and building their spy headquarters. Just totally 1984 on steroids.
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    Jun 11 2013: Yes! Considering most people think census forms get to personal and don’t answer all questions, I think I’m in the majority.

    And like census records I predict in 50-100 years the records will be released under the freedom of information act, and some group like ancestry.com will get them.

    And much sooner they will be used to ID a serial killer, and then over time all crimes will be covered. (Including hate speech, against any group, person or the government.)
  • Jun 11 2013: No, I am not comfortable with this information being gathered. Sadly, though, I see this as becoming the price of admission for using free services that we have grown attached to, such as search engines, social network and email providers. I am not sure what to do about this, but I think it helps for people to communicate their anger and discomfort. Ultimately, people need to be willing to stop using services from companies who engage in this behavior even though it will make their lives much less convenient.
  • Jun 10 2013: no because it's free of context. last year i read quite a few news reports about australian children (14-16 years old) who'd gotten themselves criminal records - for pedophilia no less - for sending and receiving sexts. the ease with which people can use data to ruin the lives of others is astounding. say one of those boys involved sends the picture to one of his friends, who thinks that kind of thing isn't on and deletes it. 30 years later he's running for political office, the opposing party looks for anything to discredit him, and find that 30 years previously he received child pornography. not only is his political career over but he's incarcerated.
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    Jun 9 2013: The issue is now, no more important than it was 7 years ago, than it was 50 years ago, than it was 222 years ago, when the IV amendment was ratified: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    You can pick your catch-phrase to support your position. The notion that benevolent net-casting for the "good of the security" of the citizens of the U.S. of A., would fill the founding fathers with grave trepidation...me too.
  • Jun 8 2013: No. But I'm more wary of other players than the NSA. I am sure I have nothing to worry about from them--at least in this administration. But there's the rub. It changes. And all this went great guns under an arguably criminal mis-adminstration. What I don't like is that there is way more than the NSA going on here. No one knows. Right now I don't have a business enterprise but I wouldn't want sneaky side players to do industrial espionage on my company if I had one where I could be undermined by competition with money to pay for what would have required "burglary" before all this.. There will be abuses and when it's all so secret, there will be incentives to favor the abuser to keep it all hush hush. That's wrong. But it is not something I think I could do anything about. The time to do something about this was during the first Bush administration where instead of taking the end of the Cold War and running with the chance for new direction, the US went aggressive in Panama and Iraq. That shaped everything after. I knew it then and gave myself over to protesting with all my heart that the first Gulf War should not proceed--and it would lead to grave consequence and it has done just all of that. And Dick was at the core of it always.
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    R H

    • +1
    Jun 8 2013: My 'privacy' is kind of like my right to own a gun. The gov't let's me think I have a right to demand my privacy because their quantitative algorithms already know how much I need, like its ok that I own a rifle because they have laser-guided missals on fighter jets. No contest.
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      Jun 8 2013: hahah! well said!

      I think the same way, its we are 'lab rats' and they let us think we are 'free' :))
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    Jun 7 2013: hahah, come on people comment!

    They already know more about us than we might know about ourselves!!
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      Jun 8 2013: I love that you made this 6 hours into the Conversation! It usually takes some time for TEDsters to notice and start commenting on new Conversations. If they're not on the matter of science vs religion, then you get swarmed instantly...
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    Jul 6 2013: Please note my comment quoted here: "Jun 27 2013: I feel so encouraged when I see so many wonderful participants on these TED conversations. We all know that the NSA is spying on us all. But why should anyone worry about that? After all, they are only keeping us SAFE, right?"

    Now go check some of my most recent comments on TED. Am I being inconsistent? If so, where, when, & how do I need to get things sorted out.

    Or not. If TED is happy, I guess I am happy too!
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      Jul 6 2013: I would like to introduce you to an investment partner in Nigeria who has $10M USD to invest from a bank account I helped recover...
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    Jul 5 2013: Quite simply, multinational conglomerates, and intimately connected, privileged cartels who's only objective is "profit " control nearly all functional aspects of our government today. They don't recognize any philosophy, national allegiance, or loyalty to anything, but (the bottom line). Though they operate, by the actions of flesh, and blood human beings, their only objective is (ever increasing profits), achieved by what ever means necessary. Corporations are by their very nature (not human) they are a (legalistic abstract). Owners, controllers, functionaries of those private corporations, serve (their own interests) any service (we the people) derive from them is purely (coincidental) The level of (oversight) and control by the true representatives of our nations intrest, the (elected officials), military and civilian employees of the federal government has become a sad joke. Our rules, guidelines, and our laws are no longer written by the people we send to congress. They are literally,written, word for word, carefully designed by (corporate lobbyists) to (specifically guarantee) monopolistic self enriching control for the corporations, and (privileged few) that get these government contracts. Most importantly the wording of these laws guarantee no accountability no punishment for bad behavior. (Citizens United) is a deadly virus of corruption that is destroying us. In this world of all consuming corporate power, the concept of ("moral hazard") is no longer relavent, there is no accountability, no punishment, no remorse. Human beings of flesh and bood by their nature will act to preserve the society that supports their existence. Read some of David K Johnston's books, or watch movies like Zeitgeist, and you may begin to understand. They are screwing us left, and right. Latest estimates of money spent by corporations, and superpacks on the last election is $10,000,000,000. Even the most sincere dedicated member of congress can't compete against that
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      Jul 5 2013: Ok Peter............been reading your input and noticed there is a continued underlying 'contempt' for the Corporate world and probably Govt in general as well and you appear to have a 'sombre' vision for where its ALL heading.

      This has me curious ......................... do you perchance have a 'end-play' vision of the 'game' that you would like to share with us?

      Cheers.....................
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        Jul 6 2013: That assessment is totally off base my friend, and I will explain as briefly as possible. What I am attempting to do, is define, and pinpoint a ("source") of (civil discontent) that is widely recognized in our society, and increasingly on a global scale. From Spain, to Greece, Italy,Portugal, Brazil, and many others. It is the (highly concentrated) wealth, and control of resources by a (relatively small) number of extremely wealthy individuals, who are the power brokers behind the corporate power. " I am not anti corporation ! " "I AM " however " (ANTI NON-ACCOUNTABILITY) " Think about that for a second. What the megastructure of (multinational corporate media propaganda machine ) wants you to believe, is that huge conglomerates, "nameless for sake of civl discussion", are the same as
        (Mom & Pops ) hardware store, or Uncle Billy's sandwich shop down on main street. Anyone who thinks those two things are equal must believe in the tooth fairy. So, what we have, is a carefully crafted system of self perpetuation of the established financial aristocracy, by bribery, threats, extortion ,intimidation, patronage, fraud, grand larceny, coercion, even torture, sometimes mass murder under the gize of (to big to fail). As I have said many times in my comments the (academic economic concept) of (moral hazard ) for these multinational conglomerates de'facto nation states has become completely irrelevant. Their vast financial resources have successfully brainwashed a sufficient number of people that they are the (Great Grandfatherly Corporate God ) who mysteriously will always provide for us, and look out for our interests. Good luck with that. I love real competition based on (competency), serving the best (general welfare ) interest of the largest number of people. (UNACCOUNTABILITY) is the problem not free enterprise that most everyone wants. We're stuck on this marble together my friend. Careful planning and accountability will let our species survive longer.
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    Jul 5 2013: HUMINT (Human Intelligence) collection is a double edged sword. It is a powerful tool when used effectively. It resulted in Ben Ladin's elimination.

    In todays world, it is difficult to tell friend from foe. This does not justify shotgun approaches to collecting HUMINT on anyone, let alone US citizens.

    The present oversight, rules and policies are obviously broken, overlooked, or ignored. This is criminal, but just try to prosecute the President of the United States, or his surrogates for breaking the law.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good intentions are no excuse for the present situation. Collection of data on US citizens is totally out of control. We, and that includes all of us, have let the genie out of the bottle.

    A head in the sand approach will not solve the problem. The US government is able to execute this illegal program we have become wrapped up in our own little worlds and have not paid the slightest attention to what those that serve us (LOL) are doing.

    What to do? Heck if I know. Most of those in my tribe have expressed total frustration because we think we do not have power. It is the feeling that we do not have power that is more damaging then the actual loss of power. Feeling that way leaves no hope. There is always hope, particularly when a majority of the people feel frustration.

    I am politically independent and will not entertain any negative comments about my political position.

    Following the insidious, but smart Republican approach at building a political force from the ground up seems like a logical approach to pointing the country into a particular goal.

    Unfortunately, we are talking about Republicans who are controlled by a vicious minority of well to do individuals who attitude is my way or the highway.

    Democrats are in disarray despite Obama's charisma. With the dolts that are this parties Congressional leaders, I am not sure if they can get much accomplished without giving away the farm.

    Thanks.
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    Jul 5 2013: NSA computers process "Zettabites" of binary code, unimaginably fast. That's capability to harness any information they choose to exploit encrypted, or not. If you're in total control of the flow of binary information, absorbing all communications in a centralized system, you can decode that information. Given enough processing speed,and the right algorithms you can bust, any encryption fairly quickly. The "potential" danger of this system, is the very reason we have a 1st, and 4th amendment to the constitution. I'm not worried so much about the vast majority of individuals in our intelligence services. I know for a fact that 99.99999% of the people who cover our asses every day are decent honest people. They do the right thing, not because they are watched, but because they are decent honest people. The danger comes from the kind of vile criminal conspiracy that we all saw play out in broad daylight in the abomination of the Bush administration, Iraq war, near complete collapse of our economy, and grand theft of our treasury by Wall Street Banksters who are still not in jail. The danger is the insidious creeping control of all our government services by (private contractors) How many Americans understand the incestuous relationship between Bill Clinton for instance, and Booze Allen Hamilton? They apparently are part of the (Carlyle Group Cartel) Does that name ring a bell for anyone? It should They have had their filthy little hands on many of the abominations in recent years. What in the name of the great Jehova is a company owned by Michael Chertoff former Bush administration head of "homeland security" doing with the exclusive contract to provide the airport screening devices with a guaranteed contract worth billions of dollars?????? The corruption, bribery, patronage, malfeasance, fraud, and corporate debauchery is out of control. That is a very dangerous situation my fiends. I don't trust them AT ALL! Neither should you. "OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED!
    • Jul 5 2013: What does Citizens United have to do with the NSA story?
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      Jul 7 2013: Hi Peter, I wanted to respond to what seems like an incorrect statement of fact you made, when you said:

      "Given enough processing speed,and the right algorithms you can bust, any encryption fairly quickly."

      I think this is a critically important point to correct, because the reality here also contains the seeds of a way to ameliorate the situation. The reality is that you can build truly secure, encrypted systems that the NSA could never hack into (not until we build the next stage of quantum computers, that is). However you have to know what you're doing, and you must take care with whom you share your data.

      If enough people cared about this and deployed appropriate counter measures, the NSA would take notice. They could outlaw strong encryption again, just like they did up through the 1990s, but once the "cat is out of the bag" in terms of encryption techniques, it's very hard to bottle back up again (to mix metaphors!).

      If I am wrong about this, I humbly ask you to point to evidence that backs up that quote.
  • Jul 4 2013: as a Canadian, it seems that my personal data has no protections at all in the US. Why would a Canadian or any other non-American want to use American Internet company services?
  • Comment deleted

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      Jul 4 2013: Well Peter let me suggest your............ ''It's not about who's right or who's wrong just about the consequences.' .....................equates to ..............'My country right or wrong.' and accordingly you then stand for the point that whatever YOUR country does is OK by you no matter what it does...............right or wrong!

      Perchance your understanding/belief of that is what the American Dream is all about??

      Cheers..................
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        Jul 5 2013: I'm afraid I may have given the impression that I don't support whistle blowers. Nothing could be further from the truth. My comment was directed at those who may find themselves in Mr. Snowden's predicament. I simply want to bring my young friends to a "deadly realization". That is, #1 It matters not how you feel about the practices of the NSA, and believe me, I have "BIG" problems with what they're doing. As a low level analyst with access to secrets, you have no idea what's going on behind the scenes, "period" ! You have no idea what operations may be in progress "good, or bad". Therefore you have no idea who may be killed, captured, tortured, etc because of your decision. #2 If you decide to leak information, "you had better make god dam sure you know what your doing." You have just made a decision that has a high likelihood of causing death, or injury to someone, agent, soldier,or innocent civilians. I'm "not "telling you what to do! Just be aware of the CONSEQUENCES. It's obvious to me that Mr. Snowden did not plan very well ,or understand "fully" the gravity of his decision. If you do these things They are going to HANG YOU! I am so angry at "most" of the vile, filthy, lying, corporate, parasitic scum that run our government these days, I would like to see most of them put in irons in a dungeon somewhere to rot for eternity. By all means when you see someone doing something imoral, ilegal, unethical, blow the whistle on the bastards, but know what is coming next. Want to be a soldier in the war on corruption and lies??? Then be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice that's all! This is not a reality TV show. Snowden should have released his information here and then turned himself in. That's how you throw it in their face, and demonstrate courage, loyalty, and credibility. You don't go running around like a lost sheep trying to hide from responsibility. In my day it was called charging up the hill to victory ,or death. That's reality. Peace be with you.
  • Jun 28 2013: No. Not data that we are set out to believe is private. But with that said, what is private when operating in the context of say Facebook, Gmail or the like?
  • Jun 27 2013: I wonder if the whole issue is blown out of proportion.

    Obviously it is very concerning if there is the capacity to intrude on privacy etc. But this issue is present for all forms of monitoring, not just electronic--and many of these other types of monitoring are considered acceptable by most people.

    For example, another type of monitoring of private behaviour is a policeman parked at the side of the road watching for speeders or reckless drivers. Is this not also an intrusion into our right to privately and freely go wherever we want? Indeed, there are instances of police misusing their scrutiny, even in a highway patrol setting. But few us would say that therefore the police should stop watching the highways!

    Suppose that the monitoring of online exchange was not some kind of encroaching tyranny, but rather just something like a highway patrol car parked on the side of the internet superhighway, so to speak. Provided such scrutiny was itself scrutinized by a free public, as we scrutinize our police forces, and hold them strongly accountable for abuses of power, perhaps it could be seen that it could serve the greater good.

    In this particular instance, the NSA may not have a free forum to debate the issue, because of privacy concerns! If they were allowed to speak freely, they might well be able to show clearly that they foiled various criminal plots, perhaps saving many innocent people, without having any effect on suppressing or exposing people's private or intimate internet habits!
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    Jun 27 2013: Inventor of World Wide Web accuses West of hypocrisy: http://rt.com/news/inventor-web-government-hypocrisy-305/
    "It can be easy for people in the West to say 'Oh, those nasty governments should not be allowed access to spy.' But it's clear that developed nations are seriously spying on the internet"

    He said what everybody on internet is saying. In the end there is no such thing as freedom of speech, be east or west.
  • Jun 24 2013: As an individual, being under surveillance surely doesn't feel comfortable.
    Strangely, so many people are easily getting used to gov’s this kind of way to ‘treat’ people —I'd like to call it that way.

    Considering various circumstances(though it sounds a little vague), for a government, collecting its citizens' personal data might be the safest way to protect the country.

    And we're unfortunately, bound to let them take a glance at how we live or who we are…


    It just comes across my mind that it’s not that someone collects one’s personal data, but it’s that it’s government that exerts its power on an individual’s private life.

    Hackers all around the world have been collecting so many individuals’ personal—including confidential—data.




    Hackers and the government.

    Former one makes us feel terrifying, latter one makes us feel a little rebellious.
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    Jun 24 2013: Twitter is not letting #Snowden trend...

    http://pastebin.ca/2406653
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      Jun 24 2013: I just tried to Google “how to give (aid, help, support, etc. ) to Edward Snowden, and got nothing but anti-Snowden results. So freedom in the US is a thing of the past.
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      Jun 25 2013: What's up with that?
  • Jun 23 2013: I've cried "Wolf" long enough. No one listens.

    Our government does whatever it wants to do.
    It ignores or modifies the laws to fit it's needs.
    It salts the Supreme Court.
    It ignores Congress as if Congress didn't exist.
    ===
    The US and 5 other European nations are moving
    into the internet, to control us like China does their
    citizens.
    ===
    All the Secrets in the world are small potatoes compared to those
    hidden by the United States Government.

    Our Government has become the No.1 Spy agency in the world.
    We Taxed-Payers support thousands of Spies and hundreds of
    thousands of their support employees.

    It was bad before George Herbert Walker Bush came from the
    CIA to become Vice President, and then was elected President,
    and kick-started the Decay of these United States. From the
    lowly "Wimp" tag, he became the unseen, unheard, orchestrator
    of the death of Freedom.

    A subsequent moral-decay of the Presidency evolved with the
    Clinton Clan, and was followed by the drunken-decay of Jr.,
    George W. Bush, with his greedy and weak-hearted minder.

    A sickness plagues us.
    The loss of Transparency of our Government has yet to be felt.
    It's hidden from us by the current standard of living.
    ===
    Alas, those whom survived WW2 are gone now.
    Hitler a remote and faded memory from school.

    The newest Modern History book from 1760 until Now,
    has been published, and might soon become a part of your
    children's, grandchildren's, and great grandchildren’s schooling.
    The author, a fine young man, an employee of the CIA.
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    Jun 21 2013: CONT...commentary,
    Also, I would like to add that as a L.G.I. (Lesser Government Individual) whom believes and promotes lesser government and preservation of the God given liberties we all share from birth along with our sovereign Constitutional rights, that I DO NOT HIDE behind a screen name or mask, and will never be ashamed of what I believe in and speak publicly. As a matter of fact I want the NSA, CIA, FBI to be on notice that I am here and watching, and they already know me well and know what I do as a concerned citizen of the west.
    The mission and goal is simple and that is a bit different than the Intelligence agencies. To bring truth and transparency to the uninformed among us, and expose corruption in secrecy to bring accountability and justice to the guilty in government. When the government itself becomes our own domestic enemy as they infringe upon our rights as citizens, then people need to speak out as do I. My letters of concern both e-mail and hard mail has been sent to all these entities and they know exactly who I am, what i do, where I reside, and all my information, and I want it that way!
    The main point within my answer to the main question is: "Absolute power corrupts absolutely", and we must stand against tyranny and radical progressive tyrants in government that do not care about personal freedoms and liberties, as it stands in their way.
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        Jun 22 2013: Thank you for being candid, even though i expected not any comments in reply. I sometimes feel alone out here in cyberspace and the truth and transparency life. My fingerprint in cyberspace is well watched and sometimes I forget how vulnerable it can place individuals in with my spitting steel as I do. But, I enjoy what I do, and to me that is all that matters. I'm glad you know what is important and are willing to share your thoughts in such drastic measures and time we live in as all eyes are upon us each and every day. Actually, it's nothing new about the NSA, it's just that the uninformed is just now finding out about it. I'm one of the rare one's that have not much fear and cannot be intimidated by their tactics and schemes. I know them well, and that is their problem and they know to not mess with me as I have too much information on these so called INTELLIGENCE agencies. hahaha, I have more intelligence in a strand of hair. It's the one's that hide behind a screen name and hack into servers and websites is the one's that they are after mainly. It's kinda funny you said," I cannot download my thoughts", I went a step further and put mine on CD. My contact list for truth and transparency has no borders and I have contacted many local as foreign dignitaries and heads of state including most intelligence agencies and I tell them like it is, and I believe they respect that in me and others like me as being a non government individual, meaning I am a civilian and not a government employee with legal access to confidential classified information. Most everything I share is from material researched and gathered by myself that is already public on the web, and in my own inherit perspective and thoughts. There is nothing to fear except fear itself, and to be vigilant and proactive with pride in a mission of truth which has not an agenda, makes NO ONE a tyrant, criminal, or terrorist, and I am here to prove that. If they call it classified it usually means wrongdoing.
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    Jun 21 2013: In my opinion the NSA and Intelligence agencies worldwide have been monitoring all cyber and direct message data for years, and have storage banks with computer chip technology with past and present data in storage banks in various locations. Tel aviv, Brussels have been both areas where world data has been gathered in its communications servers and has had a vital role in security and analysis worldwide. The new NSA physical building in UTAH, USA (Camp Williams) collects all world data and no one is exempt from it. The major benefactor of all this data is the soon to come new world order and singular government and economy which is currently on the rise and will systematically dismantle all sovereign nations and their freedoms within their perspective Constitutions and Bill of Rights contained.

    The global movement and initiatives are using this data to help remove their obstacles and persons in their way of complete control, power and oppression over all of humanity. It is their goal and mission and it is not too far off it seems, as the uninformed are gaining ever increasing knowledge and catching on to to how technology and it's persistent impositions and spying abilities is depriving them of their expectation to privacy and securities.

    The Bilderberg group has over 200 members and are a major player in the global agenda to enslave and control the all of humanity both socially and economically within it's markets and worldwide leading corporations, and they too are a major benefactor to all this data, and the members come from from every nation and all major companies that serve us all worldwide. The member list can be found if you enter it into search, I have the list right here on my coffee table that I just printed out last week as they prepared for their next so called SECRET meeting.

    Hopefully, the spying that is done will deter and catch the terrorists and their plots before they can inflict harm to us and hope that we can rid our planet of the evil.
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    Jun 21 2013: 'GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications'

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/21/gchq-cables-secret-world-communications-nsa

    it goes deeper and deeper!
  • Comment deleted

    • Jun 19 2013: I would disagree with your assessment that this would be constitutional. If all collected data is there, and it has been collected without due process, then it is in admissable. They are using the same banter they always use [ if you have nothing to hide] this procedure is wrong. It cannot have safeguards if they can retro-actively search you, witch is what you are talking about.
  • Jun 18 2013: given the amount of data walmart, the credit card companies, amazon, at&t, verizon, google, etc.have on us - we lost privacy ages ago.
  • Jun 17 2013: Arkady, I am shocked !!!
    I agreed with most of what you wrote, until your last remark.

    The US political system is shared between the 2 major parties.
    With unlimited advertising budgets, both parties control what the voter reads.

    Politicians and their thousands of employees and volunteers, solicit 24/7/365.
    Generally, the Politician with the biggest campaign treasure chest wins election.
    Almost never does an independent win, unless aligned with one of the parties.

    What will happen after the horrors of WW1 and WW2 fade
    with the deaths of the survivors.
    It couldn't happen here...
    Of course, it did happen in Rome.
    But that was such a long - long time ago.
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    Jun 16 2013: Ponder the 4th cartoon in the undermentioned collection.................

    http://www.theage.com.au/photogallery/national/cartoons-for-saturday-15-june-20130614-2o9u5.html
  • Jun 16 2013: Well, I don't know if I'm comfortable with it or not! But if I were a NSA agent, I'd be able to find out all the personal details about all the single and lonely women in my neighborhood. I'd know more about them than their own families. I'd also know which women is having an affair and which one is not on good terms with her husband. I'd know if she takes contraceptives. If her husband's cheating on her. If she checks out other guys on dating sites regularly. I'll be able to know more about her most stressful days. And eventually, I'll get into her pants one day. I'd be able to fck a new woman every day if I was a NSA agent. I'd be the next Gengis Khan!!!
  • Jun 16 2013: I believe before answering this question as a society we must define personal and private. The capabilities of technology has progressed by leaps and bounds while the typical inferred definitions of personal and private data have not. What does remain true is that if you are against this, you should take a stand now - it is easier to defend liberties in the onset of a perceived breach than it is to re-establish liberty after it has been taken away. As technology and society progress we must continuously collectively decide what should be and should not be public; adding to the complexity of this is the fact that no one answer will fit all, in fact such decisions will only grow more complex as the treadmill of time continues.

    I view many of my communications as private and would prefer that only those I share them with know what is contained in my communication - this though is a very unrealistic expectation as nation states use both advertised and clandestine means. Security of communications is not now nor has it ever been guaranteed. Similarly this is nothing new, it is simply one of the most advertised events in communication interception. The NSA said that it had established relationships with virtually all of the major communication companies out there, if anyone has been paying attention to the subtle signs this is very true. For at least the past 5 years the number of job advertisements for AT&T where they require technicians with a secret clearance has been increasing in virtually every major city. I began noticing this after a widely publicized event around 2005/6 claiming AT&T was installing NSA equipment allowing them to "tap" internet traffic.

    In short, this is not the first program of its type nor will it be the last. My advice remains though, no matter where you are from, if you are opposed to this stand resolute now else you might not be able to stand against it in the future.
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    Jun 16 2013: No, never and will like to protest in all possible ways. Be it for any reasons, if we don't have privacy , what's the use of such "Freedom". We are now just talking about collecting data, further analysis may be used for national security and many more, who's going to check this ?
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    Jun 16 2013: Like your comment - media is some of those who spread the illness. It's not enough though - to turn off the tv
  • Jun 16 2013: Arkady, Evil finds new homes to hide in...
    Presently the US government is providing Evil's hidey-hole.

    Deny it if you will. Problem remains.
    It has nothing to do with religion, just the Wealthy, only them.
    Can Evil be that simple? Yes.
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    Jun 16 2013: I don't know it the question has been asked but has the NSA made any data requests of TED concerning us?
    If we ask them, would they tell us?
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      Jun 17 2013: Suggest we are all, already cataloged..............signed, sealed and delivered! :)

      Big Brother has been doing his job long before 1984!
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        Jun 17 2013: After much consideration I am wondering what the impact will be on the social media, the one in the western civilization. The Terrorists could care less what the NSA does. But those here in our world, will they start to diminish their presence? Will the Islamic Propaganda machine take over with no one to contest their evil intentions?

        Will the NSA step in and do the job for us? How large they view themselves and how small we appear in their eyes.
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    Jun 14 2013: http://www.ted.com/talks/hasan_elahi.html

    Just put the hose into their mouth.

    Total surveillance is meaningless. Knowing everything is not much different than knowing nothing. White noise has 0 information in it.
  • Jun 14 2013: We don't know the full extent of what he walked off the job with. But right now, it looks like he released nothing that wasn't already in the public space. If that's the full extent of his disclosures, it'd be pretty hard to justify charges let alone trial. In the mean time, I hope this petition pushes that discussion also out in the open also.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jun 14 2013: The meaning is they dont want him to fly to the uk and will fine any airline that takes him there, basically they dont want those cost of him being there and fighting extradition charges to the uk, which the government of the uk would have to pay for. (eg like assange has cost the government)

      Since the cost for doing it, to the airline is 2000 pounds, whereas the cost of defending his rights might run the uk government 2million, it does not seem much of a deterrent.

      But since they've put the word out early, they can pretty much be sure that airlines wont take him there, faring they may lose slots or some other sanction.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jun 14 2013: Juan, actually he could claim political asylum if he landed in the UK, that's what they don't want, and why they are doing this.

          And if he claimed that, they wouldn't be legally allowed to just 'put him on a plane to the us', if very similar to the Assange appeal case (who is also not a UK citizen), and his extradition.

          All the UK is doing right now, is putting the airlines on notice, dont bring him here. Personally I don't think they want anything to do with him, or the trouble it may cause. Nor have the Americans on their back, screaming extradite, extradite, but where the UK public dont see it that way. I think one case is enough for them. And they seem to have learned that lesson. -- (in fact two cases - The UK citizen the US want extradited for bypassing Nasa servers secuity or lack of. The US don't want for a UK trial for UK citizen, because the UK wont crucify him like the US will.

          Also I dont think (this is a joke) there is enough room in the Ecuadorian embassy for him :)

          I can see these possible outcomes, one the US get someone to do their dirty work and kill him, which was smart he named himself, as anonymity was not in his best interests. Or it ends up in a long protracted case. Or the Chinese just say - leave. Or it ends up an a stale mate - and in a few months later - when everyone has moved on and forgotten this - he accidentally falls down the 100 or so flights of stairs at the his hotel and is found with a broken neck. Which will get one line of coverage in the local hong kong paper, and that'll be that.

          If I was him, I'd be phoning/emailing around to see whom I could trust and what countries would be friendly, otherwise circumstances have a habit of overtaking you.


          Thanks for your comments about Nelson, the world could surely do with more leaders like him.
  • Jun 14 2013: what is really amazing me is that people have only focused on the privacy aspect.

    Not the fact that the NSA just went ahead with it, irrespectively and knowingly, violating the constitution, and your rights.

    But as the previous president Bush once said about the constitution, "that's just a piece of paper" !!
    • Jun 14 2013: Not so. The power grab has a lot of people rereading 1984. Only the ignorant Congress believes this is legal, as in their "right" to legislate anything they want.
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    Jun 13 2013: Here is another view on the situation.

    Being open can, actually, serve as protection. E.g. when the government can verify my location minute-by-minute via a cell phone company, I can use this data as an alibi, if needed, and protect myself from false incrimination.
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        Jun 14 2013: I know all that. Of course, government hiring private contractors to pore over private correspondence of citizens is quite outrageous. The main damage of 9/11 was not the loss of life and property. The main damage was destruction of liberty. People allow themselves to be searched in airports and give away many other rights for the false sense of "security".

        The 4th Amendment is not the only one that went out of the window. The 6th as well. Under FISA, the government can arrest people as enemy combatants without due process and hold them indefinitely. The sad part of this is that, if you read comments to Yahoo News articles on Boston bombing, a lot of people approve of these measures. They believe that giving Tsarnaev the right to due process is waste of public money, "protecting a terrorist", etc. Americans not only give away their rights, they don't even know them.

        Anti-terrorism is no different from terrorism itself. Between 2004 and 2013, U.S. drones have killed between 2000 and 3000 civilians in Pakistan alone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_attacks_in_Pakistan). How is that different from flying an airplane into a building in NY? This program, perhaps, created more jihad fighters than it destroyed. This has been going on for quite some time. U.S. support of international terrorism in 1970s is well documented. In the 1970s, South American dictatorships were running an "anti-terrorist" Operation Condor under full knowledge of the U.S. That "anti-terrorist" operation resulted in torture and killing of some 40,000 people all over the world. (http://www.amazon.com/The-Condor-Years-Terrorism-Continents/dp/1565849779)

        So, all of this is not new.
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        Jun 14 2013: Freedom and security are mutually exclusive. Maximum security can be found only in prison. And even prison "maximum security" is not secure enough (http://www.npr.org/2013/04/27/179415166/baltimore-detention-center-became-a-criminal-enterprise). When we give freedom to large number of people, we have to accept that some people will use this freedom to commit crimes and acts of terror. Some balance must exist between how much crime and terror we tolerate and how much freedom we give away.

        Government attacking innocent civilians is like an auto-immune disease. There is a long list of them (https://www.aarda.org/research_display.php?ID=47) and most of them are incurable. Immune deficiency (AIDS) is not better.

        We are trying to resolve the cognitive dissonance between the fear of crime, shootings, and terrorism on one side and fear of loss of freedom on the other side. Note the common denominator for this anxiety - FEAR. I think, that's the enemy that we need to overcome - both fear of terrorists and fear of the government.
        • Jun 14 2013: Freedom and security are mutually exclusive.

          I dont believe that, and the problem is it the same old line thats trotted out to defend what's not defendable.
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        Jun 14 2013: Tify,

        Sorry for using the word "freedom" without context. The word "freedom" without specifying freedom from what has no meaning (http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/cranston11.htm)

        Security is defined as "The state of being free from danger or threat." on Google.

        As we try to be free from one thing, we necessarily give up freedom from other things. That's the nature of freedom. The article I quoted explains this concept quite well.

        You are right, it's useless to defend the undefendable. Most of these arguments are circular in nature.
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        Jun 14 2013: One of my favorite sayings is "Having opened your mouth - think. And having thought - close your mouth." I'm not following that recommendation very often :-)
    • Jun 14 2013: The data collected is for their purpose, not yours. I find that rather funny that you believe there is any mechanism for you to retrieve that from them. Do you believe Google will give you your search history for the past 3 months? Similarly, the entire system was not designed to handle public requests.
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    Jun 13 2013: it's called to be cautious. It's easier to think that everybody is so good and wish only the best for u, cause to suspect means to think and be concerned what's going on around you.
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    Jun 13 2013: I don't quite get this. Facebook and Twitter are widely praised for helping to bring down dictatorships throughout the Middle East. U.S. recently lifted the embargo on export of laptops and iPhones to Iran with the hope to help with opening the upcoming elections and to prevent government abuse.

    And yet, the very same Facebook and Twitter are considered "the axis of evil" for supporting the oppressive government.

    Please, help me understand. Are Facebook and Twitter tools of free speech or are they the part of the "big scheme"?

    And, by the way, is anyone concerned about posting all of this on TED? Why do you think, TED is safe?

    It seems to me, all this "trust" and "distrust" business is just an irrational emotion which has little to do with real dangers. Perhaps, we trust TED because it's not trying to sell us anything. But it does not mean that government cannot comb TED for personal data or does not have any agreements with TED management regarding disclosure of information.

    There are many good reasons to be careful about what we say. "Government listening" is the least of my concerns in this respect.
    • Jun 13 2013: The beauty of those and other sites is they work both ways.

      And not only that, and to me the real brilliance about them, is they let you do the data entry for free.

      As for is Ted safe, objectivity is in the eye of the beholder. So beware.
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        Jun 13 2013: Yeah, I checked the "black market of the internet" for the first time yesterday. Found some interesting software there that isn't even on most hacker sites.
  • Jun 12 2013: It is very much terrifying what that whistle blower did and I think it is very much problematic for celebrities like top people and a gift for hackers who can easily access to these and i don't think PRISM will look after the present crisis [cyber war] because as the recent statement provided by the whistle bowler is how much data that you protect is of NO use and we can deploy your data by just inserting a BUG into your Machine.Hope that this problem with be rectified soon enough before the damage is done!!!!!!Good[protection of data] always win against Evil[Hackers].
  • Jun 12 2013: I think this leak, is not really a leak, it's something that we all inherently know, but chose to ignore. And if anything it just shows what scale it is.

    As said "Well, all of us already knew so I don't think it has surprised anyone... ", if that's true, and i believe it is, ask yourself why the leak? Whats the point of it?


    A possibility:

    That it was a deliberate leak, rather than wait for another Bradley Manning - they created one.

    Then see who else follows his lead... at which point you'll be ready and waiting for that mole to raise it's head.

    And what better way to clean house and not to get 'surprised' and you'll see exactly where staff's true allegiance lays.
  • Jun 10 2013: The country is far enough away from 9-11 to be outraged at last. Directly after 9-11 they were clamouring for their rights to be taken away, all in the name of protection. we deserve what we get. I will say I am dissapointed in pres. OBama for continuing this outrage against our rights.
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    Jun 9 2013: Why has this issue become so important now? Data collection on our every keystroke has been going on since the first ISP set up shop in the 90's ... anonymity is a thing of the past, unless you're completely off the grid! Every transaction is a matter of record, and corporations use this to market to us, in real time! Why perpetuate a double standard? Personally, I find being targeted by corporations much more insidious than being caught up as part of government pattern-seeking algorithm used to detect criminal activity.
    • Jun 10 2013: so a corporation using a link to fertilizer on a website you visited as evidence that you might be interested in buying gardening products is prefer to that link being used to arrest you on grounds that you could be thinking of making a fertilizer bomb?

      hey now i've replied to your comment using the word 'bomb' you're probably under extra surveillance! congratulations!
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        Jun 10 2013: Nice!
        • Jun 10 2013: this is my main objection to the idea really. if somewhere a program was cataloging that we talked about bombs, it leaves no context. if someone someday does a check on u and finds that you talked about possible terrorist activities, it's not going to be mentioned that it was under the context of a hyperbolic example.
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    Jun 8 2013: Yesss!
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    Jun 8 2013: Found this short v-log on youtube...

    "PRISM...Total Surveillance, Total Tyranny"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45Cvg9gn3R8
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    Jun 8 2013: To get a good handle on what this is all leading up to, everyone might want to read this:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/07/obama-cyber-memo_n_3404916.html
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      Jun 8 2013: Thanks for link John.

      Cyber-war is already going on between China and USA. A while ago USA/Israel did huge damage to Iran's 'nuclear' infrastructure.

      So maybe they are mentally preparing us...

      "We got your phone tapped, what you gon' do
      Cause sooner or later, we'll have your whole crew" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATr3z2afD2Q
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        Jun 8 2013: I have no knowledge of this:

        "A while ago USA/Israel did huge damage to Iran's 'nuclear' infrastructure: When did you hear it?

        Old News.
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    Jun 7 2013: Malta Spitz maps out his personal cell phone data. It's amazing.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/malte_spitz_your_phone_company_is_watching.html

    Gary Kovacs reveals how Businesses track us on the internet. Someone is always tracking us on the internet.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/gary_kovacs_tracking_the_trackers.html

    This technology has been around for a long time, perhaps ten years or so. Personally, as an honest, law abiding citizen :) that gets somewhat risky once in a while with other programers on the internet, I'm not worried at all. The Internet is our laboratory but, we do not interfere with it's operation like some worrisome groups we see in the News. I'm quite sure the NSA can distinguished them from us.

    Those of us who are in the Ham Radio industry are familiar with this kind of surveillance. In fact, we participate with government agencies to help out.

    If you could create a force field that would protect you and your family from terrorists, wouldn't you use it? In some way, this type of “real time” surveillance, is like a force field. While we have had incidence in the US, the Boston Marathon was the only one that appears to have passed through the nets, considering the level of the two individuals cell phone and internet use. So, it is not flawless.

    What the big cell phone servers don't want you to know is.... how much of your data ends up in the hands of advertisement agencies and other business interests. CD's get stolen. So do Laptops. We’ve all heard those stories in the news.

    This type of surveillance saves many thousands, perhaps million of dollars that would have been spent to attain, less, than the current amount of information that is being garnished.

    In the wrong hands this technology could be very harmful to citizens, countries like Turkey, Syria, Iran.

    Terrorists should worry. The system works very well and is getting better all the time,as more data is collected. There is no technical means to circumvent it.
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      Jun 8 2013: Concept of Rulers spying on Peoples has been there since ancient times.

      What BOTHERS is how we have to hear CONTINUOUS boasting about 'freedom of speech' 'democracy' and 'transparent government' systems... now boiling it all to zero I don't see any difference between a dictatorship in China/Siria/Turkey or Iran and this so called Democracy we are 'proud' to have in West.

      If here there is a sophisticated and neatly cloaked system, this does NOT mean here we are better than a 'dictatorship'
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        Jun 8 2013: Yes I agree. But, the fun doesn't really start till the robots start walking the streets and drones are a constant overhead sight. It is then that we will realize that what we think about ourselves is inconsistent what we know to be true.

        Kareem Fahim, all I can truly pass on to you is that it is better to have lived the life of Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu and die with peace and dignity, being blessed from the lips of strangers than to live the life of a Martyr and leave your mother in the hands of strangers. What can a poor mother do with no son to care for her? How will she find her way when she is old and can't see? The duty of a son is to his mother not to strangers. If the cause be just, let the strangers do it themselves, for a good son has much work to do.

        In the end a son will not be judge by what he did for Allah. Allah will judge him for what he did not do for his mother.