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Should Microsoft and Google stand up and oppose the NSA publicly? Will doing nothing work?

The big Media Story today is about a Whistle-Blower who is hiding and
may soon to be captured and returned to the US for Arrest and Trial.

The exposure of NSA spying tactics of forcing Microsoft and Google,
as well as a number of other Internet Providers, both here and abroad, to provide User Records has put this nation's Internet Users on guard.

The NSA's current program PRISM has now been shown to have been
used to invade and capture information from friendly foreign nations.

We are Americans. We claim to be Free. However, in the
last 20 years things have been changing. Can we afford to stay
out of the mess?
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What I wrote, although it sounds like an hyperbole, is anything but.

I refer to CNN's presentation on July 17th's video of the US Congress
having a hearing with the Deputy Director's of the Department's of Justice, DOJ, the DIA, the National Security Agency, NSA. and one other.

In the 3 .8 hour Congressional Committee's hearing, members asked pointed
questions and received evasive answers, with promises made that a secret
session would be more appropriate to answer their queries.

The queries by the Congressmen and Congresswomen were to the point
of why the NSA and other such agencies were conducting surveillances'
of US citizens, with partner corporations, collecting said US citizen's information from the telephone (cell phone) calls, email messages, and otherwise, that had been placed and received, and specifically without the knowledge and/or permission of said US citizens, in violation of two of the amendments to the US Constitution, plainly illegal acts.

Hyperbole, not hardly.

I found on my operating system, evidence of the NSA's Prism program.
===
Regardless of your opinion, please take a few minutes and
respond. ..Your input is necessary. ..Stand up, be fearless.

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  • Jul 17 2013: Kareem Garriga thank you.
    Please Click on "View the full conversation." I just posted another point or two above.

    The issue is not Security. The issue is Intrusion. The issue is that a Partnership was
    entered into between the Computer Industry and the Federal Government without
    telling the Governed People of America that they were being monitored.

    And being monitored by a US Military Intelligence Agency. That is just a bit Tacky !!!

    Our President claims to be a constitutional lawyer. He of all persons should know that
    using the US Military against peaceful American Citizens is a constitutional No No.
    • Comment deleted

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        Jul 17 2013: Oh Kate! Big Brother is EVERYONE's friend! George Orwell taught us that!

        Speaking of 'Big Brother,' - my big brother is a computer professional. He's been a consultant. He's worked w/Microsoft, & Google, & Dell, & Mozilla & other good stuff like that. I spoke w/him on the phone a day or so ago & I asked him, "How secure is computer security?" His response? "Not very!" He went on to explain that if YOUR computer is targeted for a "hack" by someone who knows what they are doing . . . there isn't much that you or anyone can do about it. He said, there are "tools" out there available that make the risk of a 'computer hack' about the same as your risk of a licensed driver having an auto accident. If some criminal is intent on committing auto insurance fraud, & they aim to crash your car w/their car - you don't have much of a chance! Same story for your computer.

        I'd love to have some TEDster w/computer skills explain to me why he was wrong (Maybe my brother was just yanking-my chain? A joke w/in family?).

        So I asked my brother point blank: "Could YOU do that to my computer?" His response is instructive: "How do you know that I haven't done that already!" He went on, "By the way, is your computer working better now?" (It was! It is!)

        I had to think about that for a moment. I could not decide if I was going to be angry or grateful. But this was my big brother! So I was angry! But after a moment's reflection I asked: "Are you supposed to do that?" His answer was enigmatic. "Only when it's important, (and lawful)!" He does that 'enigmatic' thing some times. He has since we were kids. My parents always bought it too. That's how I learned to stay out of his way when I was a kid.

        Truth is, he'd fixed a problem I'd asked him to help me with several times before. He just didn't announce his presence when he did it.
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        Jul 17 2013: continued . . .

        My big brother went on to explain to me that network administrators & computer 'tech assist' types have a set of computer skills that they use to 'keep things running.' As such, they occasionally (as in every day) have to fix your computer when you manage to 'crash it!' or 'break it." Computers & cars are similar in that how you care for them makes a difference. What you do changes how they run & how long they last. Those same computer skills that the Computer Systems Administrator uses @work, also makes them good at 'hacking.' I mean, "hacking" is roughly what they do to get your data back from your hard drive after you crash it. Same skill set.

        Know any really good auto mechanics? Do THEY have the skill set to open your locked car and steal it if they want? Yes they do. And yes they can. Thankfully, most good auto mechanics are not car thieves. Same thing for computer guys.

        I give a link below that is instructive. The USA is super-paranoid about national security stuff! After Pearl Harbor & WW II (which the 'good guys' easily might have lost!) & now after 9/11/2001 - the people who get paid to do these things are more paranoid than ever. Not specifically the computer guys - but the CIA types who watch out for Al Qada & North Korea. The Brits (to include the Canadians & Australians & a few others like the Japanese & Germans) are aware of that. At least the governments are aware.

        Snowden was a computer-tech type. He was working hand-in-glove w/the CIA types.

        This 'Prism' thing has tossed a spanner-wrench into the diplomatic 'gear-box' so-to-speak. There's more to worry about here than meets the eye.

        "This is not just a little local issue where your gun lobby can shoot it out! Your A..... Govt. has done this world wide to all of us. I am starting to tire of your local concern - how the heck do you think WE feel?" To quote Humphrey Bogart: "Tell me about it, sweetheart!"

        This is big.
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        Jul 17 2013: i'm lucky with this. i lived under communists, and they did not even deny that they spied on us. they left, but change failed to come, and respect to privacy is still near zero. our government pretty much does the same here, IPSs are tapped, phones monitored, and nobody gives a damn. the biggest limit to spying is their own incompetence. with PRISM, now i have two countries spying on me, instead of one. not that big of a difference.
      • Jul 17 2013: Kate Blake 50+
        I am collecting data from several sources and the dates the
        data was made available. I will post it today.

        Apparently your feelings are well founded.

        The Genie is out of the Bottle.
        Pandora's Box has been opened.

        Yesterday, I took a bus into town with the idea of asking
        people around me about these disclosures. I was shocked
        because no one knew much about the NSA or what has
        happened.

        The problem in the US is with the Media.
        They have become a White House Hand-Out Vehicle.

        So much monies are paid to them by the two political parties
        that they bury the bad news quickly. They do report, but
        put it off the front pages before it gains momentum.

        Scary when you consider only the small papers can be
        believed. Remember AP just last month was hit by a US
        Justice Department salvo. UPI is a shadow of it's former
        self. TV is reduced to hard wired cable and well paid by
        the parties. Hollywood makes the US government's movies.
        Even the outlandish movies makers are quiet. Radio has
        little impact, except conspiracy theory nuts, and music for
        travelers.

        Enough of my bitching, I will post what I have found later today.
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        Jul 17 2013: "Has this spying ever impacted on peoples livelihoods?"

        in the communist era, pretty much. if you did not comply, your career stopped, your children were not allowed to universities, you were denied passport, your works could not get published, etc.

        after they left, not so much. the new government only protects its business, otherwise, it does not care. and i mean business business, like like construction companies, luxury nightclubs, security firms and such things. it is the local version of the military–industrial complex. leave it alone, and you are good to go.
      • thumb
        Jul 17 2013: you do have a democracy, you have elections every so often. it just does not work because people are asked to make decisions they are not well equipped to answer. it is not american thing, it is the very nature of democracy.
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          Jul 17 2013: I'm from that place! The U.S.A.!!! I'd be fortunate (lucky) NOT to be 'lumped' w/the "Prism people!" You are right about how candidates are selected here. Stuff happens in 'Smoke filled rooms.' It's all Billionaire Fat-cats smoking cigars around a huge table & sipping flavored ethanol. They are the ones with the money. They are the ones who decides who runs. And NOBODY is required to vote! There have been many elections in my lifetime where way less than half of those eligible to vote, voted. Most did not!

          There was an election in Oregon (Northwest U.S. Pacific coast) where a local Billionaire dumped 1.5 million dollars or so onto a guy who lived in a trailer park collecting public (government) assistance. The guy had posted some stuff on the web & had blogged some essays (like me here on TED). I guess the billionaire wanted his own personal U.S. Congressman to do his bidding. He hated the guy currently in office so he set up someone to run against him. He even hired the election staff to write speeches for him and hide the truth about who he was & where & how he had lived. (Oh that I should get so lucky!). In this case, the hired-candidate lost. In Florida, there was a guy who actually got his party's nomination who was similarly situated & supported. That got enough bad publicity that all these influential ex-U.S. Senators & ex-U.S. Governors had to pull strings to get that mess undone. I still don't know how that ended. But it all went away in the news media.

          If we had "compulsory voting" here in the U.S. - the fat cats would soil themselves! I wouldn't want to be in the room when that happened. The clouds of cigar smoke would be bad enough! Any way you look at it, politics here has started to STINK!

          "Land of the Free & Home of the Brave?" Brave-yes. I've known veterans who fit that description. "Land of the Free?" Not-so-much anymore these days! We are losing our Nation to wealth inequality & the almighty influence of the Dollar.
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        Jul 17 2013: ah sorry, i actually knew that, but got confused for a second.

        do you think people vote more carefully in australia? they definitely don't in hungary.
      • Jul 17 2013: Kate,
        American's have every right to complain about their government
        regardless of whether or not they vote.

        Those of us Americans who understand that the two political parties
        are controlling our government, by controlling the Media, find voting
        in a rigged election distasteful.

        The two party's Leaders, split the control of our government down the middle.
        They use monies solicited from Unions and Corporations, who understand that
        they can preserve the status quo, or get the Congress to make small changes
        in current law "each session", that benefits them, but not necessarily the people.

        An example:
        Banks were in 1974 well regulated. Over a period of 30 years they were deregulated.
        A little bit at a time.

        So what?
        In 1974 the Employee Retirement Income Security Act was passed.
        Banks nationwide took full page Ads in the newspapers.
        The people stuffed the Bank's and various Retirement Funds.
        Banks at the time were prohibited from making risky investments with
        our Retirement Funds.

        So what happened?
        30 years later. Wall Street absorbed the Bank's investments and our
        Retirement Funds. Banks having lost were then buying Wall Street's
        40 to 1 highest risk investments just trying to get even.

        Nationwide, Auditors were rushed to audit Banks to find the problem.
        Henry Paulsen informed the nation. Bail-out or spend 10 years without jobs.

        It has been about 5 years so far.
        ===
        The only rascals to go to jail, Bernie Madoff, a Ponzi schemer got 250 years,
        and his son got 10 years. The CEO of Goldman Sachs got 2 years with an
        apology from his friend the judge. JPMorgan slid through the mess by sending
        their monies across the pond. You know about the failed brokerages.
        A bunch of fines were levied, maybe some were paid. The SEC has new rules
        to regulate. The Occupy Wall Street youths were all chased out of the park
        by the cops who work for the Billionaire Mayor. Nothing's changed on Wall Street.

        It's a sick world.
      • Jul 17 2013: Kate, I know how you feel.
        Our President's, the last 4 for sure, have tarnished the office.
        Likewise, the Congress has been absent Honor and Integrity.
        The Republicans and Democrats will rise to deny, but it is true.

        I've looked for responses from the President or Congressmen.
        I've looked for responses from the Military General who is
        responsible for secretly snooping into our lives.
        Nothing to report of note.
        Janet Napolitano has fled the embarrassment. The first to go.

        Kate, try contacting your local government and see if they will
        protest the NSA's actions. Right now all the US politicians are
        hunkering down and hoping it will go away.

        Getting on Oprah sounds interesting. What do you think?
        Limbaugh is owned by the Republicans, so he is out.
        I seldom pay much attention to the nut cases.
        Maybe someone of note, will stumble onto this conversation.
        We can hope.

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