This conversation is closed.

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?
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.

  • Jul 18 2013: To answer the question, it's not the job of private companies to object to government policy. They will only do so if they lose money because of it (which I don't think they will).

    In regards to the topic in general… Do I care if the NSA is reading my email? No, not really. But I do care about the government's use of secret courts and secret interpretations of the law. Those things should never exist in a free and civilized country. To paraphrase Oliver Stone, the question isn't whether you have something to hide, the question is whether you control the government or the government controls you. In a democratic society the people are supposed to control the government.

    I think it's sad that many Americans are in favor of the NSA spying because they think it will keep them safe. Not only has it already failed to do that, but it's also turning the government itself into an enemy of the people. Americans don't seem to realize that any government will become despotic if you let it, and they are already sliding down that slippery slope.
    • Jul 18 2013: Lee Miller 10+
      You've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.

      "In regards to the topic in general… Do I care if the NSA is reading my email?
      No, not really."

      Lee, You understand the problem and if not the solution, at least you know the result.
      Please change your "No, not really". attitude, and lend Force to your opine.

      It may never come to the point of needing your help to change things.
      But I think that you know, that you would be there, willingly.
      • Jul 19 2013: Thanks Frank. I don't try to hide my online communications because I shouldn't have to – I'm not doing anything illegal. If we reach the point where they come after me just for my opinions, well then, it will be time for more direct action, won't it?
        • Jul 19 2013: Lee Miller 20+
          Gosh Lee, I suppose I could agree with you.
          But I don't.
          However, it is your call.
          As long as you don't mind being observed...
          Enjoy the conversation.
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    Jul 18 2013: What fun it is to whine! The expectation that government, or any group of human beings, should be perfectly honest, is charming in a child, but we hope to leave that illusion behind as we mature and understand more about human nature. Perfection is not attainable, even in a nominally democratic society. People with power become fond of having power, when offered perks they may respond like athletes offered an "undetectable" drug. Of course there's no perfectly honest government; this is not news. But the difference between a dictatorship and a flawed democracy (they're all flawed) is that in the latter the possibility exists to correct the flaws non-violently, perhaps one at a time. That's a vast difference, which the previous contributor claims to not have grasped.

    We don't have a perfect democracy in the U.S., and we never will have - nor will any other country. Many of us are working on correcting flaws in our system, and some here on TED are making positive suggestions. But a few here seem sunk in an abyssal cynicism that doesn't seem to allow for positive thought, much less for actual realistic proposals for improvements.

    We're discussing an important subject, and I hope that some of the critics will move beyond unnuanced cynicism to making recommendations for how to deal with the "terror" merchants that the NSA program was set up to combat. The alternative is to do nothing, to not interdict the planned airliner and cruise ship blasts. If not monitor communication, what then? Come with answers, not just whining.
    • Jul 18 2013: Here is your solution: Tell the authorities to get a search warrant.

      Your argument is a false dichotomy. The options are not 1) spy on everyone or 2) do nothing to prevent terrorism. The search warrant system worked before and it still works now. The only thing that's changed in recent years is that since the technology to spy on everyone exists, the government wants to use it.

      Furthermore, here is why mass spying doesn't work from a technological perspective. It goes without saying that smart terrorists use code words when they communicate. How does the NSA know what code words to look for? They cannot, unless they already have enough contact with the terrorist organization in question to know what code words it uses. And if they already have that contact, they don't need to spy on everyone, only the other people who are contacting that organization.

      But here's the kicker: the government doesn't even need a warrant to spy on a known terrorist organization. It never has. Eliminating mass spying wouldn't even slow the NSA down.

      A similar situation applies to telephone metadata. A pattern of phone calls can only be suspicious if one of the parties involved is already under suspicion for some reason. And if that's the case, the authorities would *already* have a warrant to monitor their communications. Again, no need to spy on everyone.

      Making educated statements about this subject requires understanding both the laws and the technology involved.
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        Jul 18 2013: Hi, Lee. Thanks for your response.
        One small correction: I did not offer "a false dichotomy." Rather, you misread my meaning, perhaps because I wasn't as clear as I could be. I posted that we either act "to deal with the terror merchants" or we don't, i.e., "to do nothing, to not interdict..." I didn't suggest that the choice was between spying on everyone and doing nothing. In fact, I urged contributors to suggest additional means that the President should have or still could implement to safeguard our assets. There may well be other methods - I hope so.

        You imply (I think) that NSA IT security specialists don't know that the bad guys might use codes, or that they're unable to break their codes. And that they're doing a lot of monitoring that they also don't understand they don't need to do. Since all that represents the core of their "work," that's a lot to not understand. I agree with you, though, that it takes considerable technical expertise to make an educated statement about their work. That's why I didn't try. Since you make the assessment that their effort, both in internet computer and telephone monitoring "doesn't work," we can take it that you possess a level of understanding that the NSA has not been able to hire. Very commendable.
        • Jul 18 2013: Oh, but the NSA understands perfectly well that they don't need to monitor everyone. They're doing it because they want to and they can. The alternative would be to turn down money and power, and who does that? Anyone would act the same in their situation. That's why organizations shouldn't be left to police themselves.
      • Jul 18 2013: I don't think I know enough to have an opinion on the whole NSA spying. But I thought I would just point something out: In your second to last paragraph, "... And if that's the case, the authorities would *already* have a warrant to monitor their communications. Again, no need to spy on everyone.", here's why the NSA Director says they collect the data beforehand: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4459431. Basically, if someone falls under suspicion, they can go "back in time" and find out whom that someone was in contact with.
        • Jul 19 2013: I used to work with a system that processed metadata. Telecommunications companies keep call records for several purposes. The NSA could request historical info from them. That's what they did before.
      • Jul 19 2013: So basically what you're saying is that the NSA doesn't need to record the metadata because they can request it from telecommunication companies, as far back as they need. But the bottom line seems to be, that some institution -- whether that be the government or a telecommunication company -- keeps a record of your metadata. Personally, I don't care if my metadata is used to help catch terrorists or to optimize telephone networks. Both seem to be perfectly valid uses of that data. Who owns that data -- at least from the average U.S. citizen's perspective -- seems somewhat trivial, to me.

        That said, there do appear to be some things that are concerning about this whole thing -- at least from a moral perspective, anyways. Like, for example, the fact the NSA is collecting more than just metadata from citizens of allied nations. The potential for arbitrary use and abuse of such a system. Or the fact that much of the legal decisions made under this program are by courts that are not directly accountable to the American public. Although, they are indirectly accountable. After all, we elect the officials whom make these decisions.

        Unfortunately, cyber security -- or whatever you want to call it -- is vitally important to any nation's overall security. The crux of the problem is that most of us will never know the full extent to which the U.S. cyber security program operates. And with good reason, I think. If every detail of the program was public knowledge, that would severely limit it's ability where it matters most.

        So if I were to have an opinion on this whole mess, I would say that the best thing we can do as U.S. citizens is make sure that the cyber security program is as accountable and transparent as practically possible -- which it may or may not already be. Probably not. And then at some point, we will have no choice but to trust our elected officials to make wise and sober decisions about our national defense, and trust they won't abuse such power.
    • Jul 19 2013: Paul Lillebo
      Go watch CNN July 17, 2013 as the Congress roasts the NSA.

      Paul we and a thousand more of us have made enough noise
      to get our Congress to uphold our 1st and 4th Amendment

      They are slow, they plod. But when both the Republicans and
      Democrats see their constituents' rights being stepped on by
      overzealous administrators, they do get started. Watch CNN.

      If they do nothing as a result. ..We will toast their feet in a fire.
      I don't think this is going to go away. The FISA court must be
      dissolved. Otherwise the Inquisition will have returned.

      Our 1st and 4th Amendment rights must be upheld.
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        Jul 19 2013: Wish I could watch it, but I'm in Europe for the summer. I appreciate the efforts of those who have brought this issue to the fore. It's worth investigating, and it's too bad that Congress seems to have taken a hands-off approach to the spy program, letting it grow without proper supervision. An underlying problem is that gathering world-wide intelligence about dangerous "terror" groups is necessary. A key part of this is access to their communications. Given that, how to proceed? Hopefully, Congress will put reasonable restrictions on intel programs.

        It's curious to me that not many have voiced outrage over the fact that Microsoft and Google (and other providers) have always had access to the same info that the gov't has gained access to under the NSA program. I guess the theory is that we can trust the private firms but not the gov't. Seems like a questionable conclusion. The telephone company, from the time the phone was invented, has known who I called and when, and who called me, and the police has not had much difficulty in getting hold of that info when they wanted it.

        BTW, I'm not sure I see a First Amendment violation here. You may be referring to the prohibition on "abridging the freedom of speech," but it seems iffy whether the NSA data collection has actually abridged any speech. The Fourth Amendment guarantee "against unreasonable searches and seizures" seems a better bet. It could be an interesting court case, since the Supreme Court has not finally settled issues of privacy rights on the internet.
        • Jul 19 2013: Paul Lillebo I would like to change your mind.

          There were 2 or 3 Judges on the Congressional committee.
          One had vast experience, and chided the DOJ deputy director.
          The others joined in too. The consensus was that both the 1st and 4th
          Amendments had been compromised by the FISA Court and the DOD's
          NSA Prism and other program's searches and surveillances.
          ..They spoke of an immediate stop to such programs being used
          against Americans.

          Whether today's Congressional make-up and Leadership
          has the guts to make it happen is unknown for now.
          ..But you can bet we will know soon.

          If Congress remains impotent, then the President and the Military
          will be in charge of this once great nation. Scary.

          Hopefully the Supreme Court's not a rubber stamp these days,
          like the FISA court.

          Free Americans need to speak freely now, and protect their Rights.
          It is time that all take the very few minutes that is needed to email, mail, and
          to telephone their Congressman and Congresswoman, their Senators, and
          the President himself, to express their opinions.

          Perhaps, in your travels abroad, you might find a computer, a mailbox, or a
          telephone and join in. Your 'one more voice' could be the deciding one.

          To do nothing today is like giving a rich life of plenty to the dogs.
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    Jul 18 2013: There is no such thing as honest government. Hate to break it to Americans but there is NO difference between a dictator regime and so called American 'democratic' government. The whole system is corrupt [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc3esnkqM7E ].

    Google/MS SHOULD oppose NSA publicly but let's be honest here: NSA and similar entities don't follow any constitution or rules. I think Google, Microsoft and other companies' perception of NSA is of a bully who comes to 'collect' your pocket money, you give him what he wants and hope to live rest of day in 'peace'.

    These people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_intelligence_community#Organization) can create wars out of nowhere, fabricate false flag operations, heck they can knock down my door and put me in gitmo without any kind of justification or trial (for posting this comment*). I don't think any company would dare opposing their 'requests'.
    • Jul 18 2013: Excellent sites for learning the real truth/facts of how the 1%ers control us!
    • Jul 18 2013: Kareem Fahim 10+ You are right of course.

      Our government is referred to often, as "the best we can get".
      Love it or Leave it is the catchy phrase that media tells us all,
      that we all say to one another when expressing replies to
      critics. Media telling us what we think. Interesting is it not.

      Dang it I've got company.
  • Jul 16 2013: We are Americans. We claim to be Free. -Correction, We are humanity, and we are free.

    Microsoft and Google should simply say NO. We should encourage them to say NO.
    And good for the French president, he is making a stand effectively saying NO.

    Look back to the R.A.F (red arm faction), Basque separatists, Black September, IRA, and if you want to see more current, look here and it' a just sample http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_designated_terrorist_organizations

    As long as we marginalize, ignore or oppress people, it wont matter what technology is in place, as then, like now, people will and do fight for their freedom.

    Drone attacks only create yet another generation of peoples, who see first hand the loss of innocent lives, and such measures to drive them into the arms of people who'll use and convert them to attack. Is that what we really want?

    Ironically, with all this spying on people, from passports, full body scanners, to microsoft, google et al, all that's happened is that we've in our fear, have allowed those that want to manipulate that fear - to oppress us.

    All of those companies are like the French collaborators with the Nazi's in world war two, it would not surprise me if that's why the French President acted accordingly.

    The UK has erased laws dating back from the Magna Carta, so not only is it the Americans who have lost with the Patriot act. All democracies have lost.

    But I don't think terrorists have won - they are still in the same position as before, in fact probably worse, due to the fact that wars being waged that are now over a "decade" long, and still have no end in sight.

    It seems to me that fear and the fear mongers have won this battle, but they have not, and will not win the war...

    GANDHI "When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.
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      Jul 18 2013: "It seems to me that fear and the fear mongers have won this battle, but they have not, and will not win the war..."

      Insha'Allah, truth shall prevail :)
      • Jul 18 2013: God willing, Jesus Willing, Allah willing, 'what ever you believe in' willing.....

        Honestly, I dont mind whom, just as long as... someone ...is willing.

        This is not where we should end up, as a society or as humanity, I know you Kareem and Snowdon agree....

        So that makes 3 ... and if there are 3 now, soon they'll be 1,000,003, and so on...

        Strange thing is as a look at my book called "Ancient civilizations" all of them get more draconian as their time comes to an end.... Something to think about.
  • Jul 16 2013: You're right. We are drifting along as the Germans did in the early thirties. We have already had our "Reichstag Fire" moment, the Twin Towers affair, unclear as to details, but probably the same kind of phoney false flag operation as too many of our "wars" ,that were "caused by".concocted "attacks".
    As Goering famously said at his trial at Nuremberg. for "National Security" the public will go along with practically anything
    It is a dismal realization that we can no longer count on the Congress to do anything much at all.
    • Jul 16 2013: shawn disney 10+ You are so very right.
      History is repeating in front of our eyes.
      It is ludicrous to be able to watch it occur and do nothing to stop it.

      Jul 14, 2013 · Jamie Foxx weighs in on yesterday's verdict:
      ‘We will make sure that he did not die in vain’
      Hooplaw about the death of a young man.
      But nothing is said about the death of a nation.

      shawn, please keep viewing and contributing.
      We need to act in concert and get the public's attention.
      Once alerted, they can stop the NSA in their tracks.

      I added one thing to this conversation and I have another
      piece to add. But first I need the names of the other nations
      working in partnership and snooping their citizen's computers.
      I forgot where I found that information.
      Getting old in my dotter-age.
  • Jul 15 2013: Frank, I agree the last twnety years is where change was happening, but it started when Reagan was president. The time was the beginning of the Christian right wing takeover of washigton. I can just imagine the hate I will be feeling for making this observation, but I truly believe it to be true. The religious right started to band togather and take a political stance that abrogated the hard fought for freedoms that we all used to take for granted. You can see the change in small ways such as if you have nothing to hide the police should be allowed to search your car or home. The giving away of such freedoms as not being pulled over in mass to see if any of you is hiding something or drinking and driveing. The attempt at overturning RoeV Wade, The so-called war on women that in reality is a much worse attempt to put them back in their place as chattel. All of this comes from religious right wingnut leaders, hell bent on resuming head of the household standards for men.Because most people are sheep when it comes to fighting back, these religious zealots have not only done tremendous damage to the "freedoms" of this country, they have the sheeple asking them to take them away. I remember a time in Indiana when the arts were starting to flourish, when we were taught the pledge without the under god insertion, when you didn't see the ten commandments on public land or in the public eye unless it was on church property. Now, it seems that you are at war if you in any way say something derogatory to any that claim Christian status. They act like it is they who are under attack, all the while they, are attacking others of no faith, or the wrong faith. I personnally see no difference between the zealots of Christianity, or Islam. I just wish they would keep their relgion out of the politics of my country.
    • Jul 16 2013: timothy schlotter --
      You have strong view about when it comes to fighting back.

      Would you share "your views" about Mr. Snowden's exposure of
      how the NSA's current program PRISM has been used to invade
      and capture information from Microsoft's and Google's customers
      here in the US and world-wide?
      I hope you will.

      I don't have issues with religious beliefs.
      Our nation's people are proud of being able to practice their faiths
      unhindered. You can too, or not, without restriction.
      ..timothy, I understand your feelings. I really do.
      • Jul 16 2013: I applaud Mr. Snowden's courage for speaking out against a government that has obviously stepped over the line, and is now doing damage control to continue the lies. having been in the military, I know my government is very capable of telling the public what they want to hear, and covering up what they don't want to hear. The fact that there are certain things snowden will not tell makes me believ him more than generals, politicians, [chicken hawks in particular], and the media. It takes courage to take on a country as strong as the U.S. and whether he is in a just cause, or just stoking his own ego, is probably somthing us pee-ons will never find out.

        As to religious beliefs, I too believe everyone should be able to pratice whatever they have beliefs in unhindered, but that is not what is happening. All you have to do is look at the laws, and codes being passed to see which religion is being favoured and to see what is happening
        • Jul 16 2013: timothy schlotter
          I applaud your grasp of the situation.

          The congress and full administration are ignoring the matter.
          Just like they did with the US & EU tech companies dumping
          their boatloads & mountains of obsolete Hardware trash on the
          beaches of Ghana and elsewhere.

          The same companies and many others that specialize in
          Computer Software have partnered with US government
          agencies to install their spy programs on our Computers.

          Where were Bill Gates and Steve Jobs on the day they
          made their decisions to sell their customer base to the
          US government? Did the US Department of Defense
          pay for their Research and Development? What part of
          their profits is attributed to Military's NSA and other like

          Does the constitution allow the nation's military to go to
          war with US citizens?

          Mr. Snowden's exposure may have been illegal from the
          Justice Department's viewpoint, or the viewpoint of the
          US Department of Defense, as the NSA is run by an
          American General who takes his orders from the US
          Secretary of Defense, and he, from the President.

          Mr. Snowden did risk his life to WARN us all.

          The DOD's Military led NSA and other agencies who spy on
          US citizens, and have been allowed to do so by Current and
          Past Administration's have committed Foul Acts.
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    Jul 15 2013: The problem here is also one regarding profit. Tech giants stand to make enormous profits from these intrusions--whether they admit it or not. AT&T has revealed this month that they have been charging the NSA $375 to establish access to a user's data with an additional monthly fee of $10 to continue the tap.

    Also, our complaints on PRISM are very biased. I do not support the actions of the NSA, but I must admit that for certain outlets this was only expected. Take Facebook for example: It is a company solely based on stock and advertisement servicing over 800,000,000 users worldwide in the business of sharing personal information. From the moment a user signs-up, they are agreeing to a contract with the company that allows the company to collect their user's data. It's not too far-fetched to have assumed that this data collected was either being handled or handed to a government institution. PRISM was expected. our "freedom" has and always will be a facade.

    That said, In my opinion, the above mentioned companies SHOULD protest. However, they stand to gain and benefit more by aligning themselves to the government--after all is said and done, they are but corporations seeking for higher revenue.
    • Jul 15 2013: Kareem Garriga Thanks a bunch.
      On February 23, 2012, (last year) Obama announced a new initiative
      The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

      Nothing was said about the US Government’s secret surveillance role.
      Only "Companies" were referred to.

      A Bill of Rights that consumers should expect, and the obligations
      to which companies handling personal data should commit.

      1. Individual Control: Consumers should be able to control what
      personal data companies*** collect from them and how they use it.

      Companies should provide tools for consumers to control their data
      that are usable and accessible, giving consumers simple choices.

      2. Transparency: Companies should present privacy-related
      information in an easily understandable and accessible manner, at times
      and in places that are most useful for consumers. The disclosures should
      include what personal data the company collects, why it needs it, how it
      will use it, when it will delete it, and whether it will share the information
      with third parties.

      3. Respect for Context: Data should be used in ways that are consistent
      with the context in which consumers provided it. If the data is to be used
      for other purposes, consumers should have more robust control.

      4. Security: Companies should maintain reasonable safeguards to
      protect personal data.

      5. Access and Accuracy: Consumers should have the right to access
      and correct personal data.

      6. Focused Collection: Companies should collect and retain only as
      much personal data as they need, and securely dispose of it when it is
      no longer needed.

      7. Accountability: Companies should be “accountable” to law
      enforcement authorities and consumers and should take steps to ensure
      that employees and third parties with whom they share personal data
      adhere to the principles. These steps should include audits, training,
      and control over vendors and other third parties recipients of the data.

      I haven't a clue what happened to it.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 15 2013: Kate. A history lesson, hard to believe.
          This has occurred in real life over the last 20+ years.
          I didn't bother the flesh out the ones who started it.

          Bush 1 was a catalyst of sorts, selling us to the Saudi's
          as their mercenaries, used to whip Saddam into line.
          Clinton punished Bagdad, and Saddam once again,
          then completed the Bank's deregulation, and expanded
          government insured loans with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae,
          adding Ginnie Mae, and allowing AIG and Wall Street to have
          a field day with their small print investment vehicles. Bush Jr.
          an alcoholic schemer, and his minder Cheney, took War and
          carpet-bagging to a new level not seen since the Civil War.
          After Bush failed to move the social security fund to Wall Street,
          (telling us all on national TV, the safety of such a move) he
          emptied the Treasury by having the banks audited nationwide
          as a prelude to Henry Paulsen's act that convinced Congress
          to Bailout the "To big to Fail" Banks and friendly corporations.
          The really smart Wall Street Brokers like JPMorgan, moved their
          money across the pond. Goldman Sachs caused havoc worldwide
          and their CEO got 2 years in the slammer. Bush then handed the
          Treasury's $Trillion dollars of Bailout to Obama, and retired to his
          Central America plantation. Obama? That's a whole different deal.
          He is into total control. His impact thus far is continuation of Bush
          war policies, and throwing bailout money at businesses, while he
          punishes them with fines for doing nothing, and a healthcare plan
          that only benefit's the health insurance corporations with 30 million
          new policy holders and no acquisition costs. Follow the money.
          Janet Napolitano just resigned from Home Land Security and will
          most likely be the Democrat's front runner for our next President.
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      Jul 16 2013: My understanding is that the companies are obliged to relinquish the data, but that, similar to eminent domain, the government must compensate them at fair commercial rates. So AT&T is receiving fair value for what might in real estate be called "takings." What I heard from former NSA is this is passed through shell companies (can't have a large payment from NSA on the books ;).
      • Jul 18 2013: Shava Nerad 10+
        I am remiss in not responding to your earlier efforts. I apologize.
        You wrote 3 items and this one caught my interest completely.
        "1 day ago: My understanding is that the companies are obliged to relinquish the data, but that, similar to eminent domain, the government must compensate them at fair commercial rates. So AT&T is receiving fair value for what might in real estate be called "takings." What I heard from former NSA is this is passed through shell companies (can't have a large payment from NSA on the books ;). "

        I will research to find if the other involved NSA co-conspirators were paid as well as AT&T.
        There are several more US government snoop programs involved here also.
        And, I have read of some other nations in the EU, and maybe elsewhere, running
        companion programs as well.

        Shava, thank you for your intelligence.

        If I am overwhelmed by wading through too much Military Spy information to find the
        truth, the NSA must be staggering under their illegal loads. Now I know how the FBI
        must feel investigating the Mafia.

        Wait 'til I bust the damned Appliance that Microsoft left on my computer.
        Bill Gates better have some answers.
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    Jul 13 2013: Microsoft's willingness to conduct surveillence for governments was no secret to anyone following the issue years ago. A Wikileaks cable revealed a deal struck between Microsoft and Ben Ali in Tunisia, where Microsoft provided technical training for law enforcement. The Tunisian regime was known for imprisoning journalists, bloggers and political opponents. http://www.zdnet.com/wikileaks-microsoft-aided-former-tunisian-regime-3040093837/

    Also, when Microsoft purchased Skype they re-engineered the network's p2p supernodes, and at the time it was criticized as being merely for interception purposes - http://www.extremetech.com/computing/132935-microsoft-tweaking-skype-to-facilitate-wiretapping. Microsoft assured that it wasn't for interception, but to improve the user's experience. Then they filed a patent for Skype interception technology - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/29/microsoft_skype/. Skype's cooperation with the PRISM program roughly coincides with Microsoft's purchase of Skype.

    In addition to the facts you've presented below, Microsoft also purposely leaves security holes open for the NSA for some time period before patching them - http://techrights.org/2013/06/15/nsa-and-microsoft/. This shows Microsoft's commitment to working with intelligence agencies, and their true lack of care for our security.

    I certainly have more respect for Google as a company, but Larry Page's commitment to privacy is obscure, and their business model is dependent on tracking our activities and interests.

    While Google seems to genuinely desire the freedom to reveal more information to the public about their cooperation with the NSA, it seems to me that Microsoft only seconded that request as a desperate attempt to redeem some of their reputation.
    • Jul 13 2013: Thank you Fred.
      I'm looking forward to chasing the links you've provided.
      I will get back with a further opine or two.
    • Jul 13 2013: Fred, thank you.
      I read the first link ZD Net. I think we all don't know what is happening.
      1. US Government has taken too many steps beyond what is right.
      2. US Congress has been lax in it's oversight responsibilities of the
      various agencies dedicated to security, intelligence, and law enforcement.
      3. These Agencies are running their separate Internet(s).
      4. Leadership may not be what we think of when we think of President.
      5. Two down, and the Supreme Court is also out of the picture.
      6. The question arises then; Who is in Charge?
      7. I pose that the builders and maintainers of SIPROS and those other
      separate Internets (Internal Nets) used by these various agencies have
      a hand in the lives of all of us.

      Gets a bit scary when it comes out in the open. WikiLeaks was right.
      The problem is that these agencies can change their Internets faster
      than the pokey slow Congress can learn about them.

      Fred, your first link was amazing. Please review where it takes you.
      I am off to watch the other linkis. And I will be coming back to the first one.
      Thank you thank you
      • thumb
        Jul 14 2013: Mass data collection and storage is an unpleasant fact of the present. I certainly believe domestic surveillance by intelligence agencies in the US is unconstitutional and should by no means be legally legitimized. But we'd be hard pressed to make a legal case for not surveilling foreigners, and even if we reign in our country, that leaves every other government and company to do as they please. The spy industry has been born and it will never go away.

        Thus we may be able to solve the legal issue, but the technical issue remains a threat that only a technical solution can resolve. The truth is, the surveillance of communications content could be ended today, if only everyone started encrypting their content. PGP and similar two-key algorithms are the solution to this. With PGP, you get two keys, one for encrypting and one for decrypting. Messages and files could be made into complete gibberish using either key. If you encrypt a message with one, it can only be decrypted with the other. So you label one your public key, and the other your private key. You give your public key to the world, and if they wish to send you an encrypted message they would encrypt it with this key. Once it's encrypted, it can only be decrypted by your private key, which you don't share with a single soul.

        There's a couple problems with this. One, you'll be lucky to find one or two people willing to have an encrypted conversation with you. Two, this won't hide who you are, where you are, who you're talking to or where they are. There are other tools for this (Tor), but in the end, the tough truth is that if you wish to secure your communications, you have to do it yourself, and it's going to be technical.

        What the world needs is an internet that's naturally encrypted, by design absolutely secure, and a tech industry that wishes to keep it that way. Luckily there's a few parties working to do this (the Guardian Project, Open Whisper Systems). But ultimately security rests on the populace.
        • Jul 14 2013: Fred, it's after midnight here, so I must be off to bed.
          But you sound like you've a handle on things.

          I noted when reading the WikiLeaks Tunisian messages
          that there was mention of multiple Intelligence Internets.
          Our government seems not to want to let us know about
          these things. Excuses can be made for them to exist,
          but, I think there really isn't any valid excuse.

          Hidden government leads to foul government. Perhaps
          we need to try transparent government. The best thing
          would be that it would work. The worst, we have.

          Through your tears, count the bodies of those killed and
          maimed, innocent men, women, and wee children. Those
          our government is responsible for when it makes pre-emptive
          wars upon other nation's shores.

          Foreign revengers, labeled Terrorists. attacked by Drones.
          Today's Collateral Damages, tomorrows lies.
  • Jul 21 2013: Of course they should.
    Just as all religious leaders, spokespeople, and followers and believers should be daily, loudly, consistently and certainly courageously, condemning all the evil that has been done
    through or behind the shield of religion, and demanding not only that it all stop
    but to do so until those who continue the perpetuation of these evils stop.

    So too should all scientists do exactly the same to those scientists who have supported, used
    and been employed by those who have used discoveries and inventions from the
    world of science for murder, torture, brainwashing, programming,
    experiments against the will of others or without their knowledge, infecting humans with disease,
    genocide, war and all other atrocities that science has helped and enabled, until they stop, cease,
    and refuse to be a part of such evil corporations, institutions and agencies.

    Until then, neither science nor religion can provide a moral context for people to live by and
    though science per se isn't in the morality business, they are people and are thus bound
    by dignity for life to be an example, or else it is true. Science leads to evil
    • Jul 21 2013: Random Chance 30+ Of course you're right.
      This below is the same as you so aptly describe.
      I took the liberty of identifying them as today's conditions require.

      Just as all REPUBLICAN and DEMOCRAT POLITICIANS leaders, spokespeople,
      and followers and believers should be daily, loudly, consistently and certainly
      courageously, condemning all the evil that has been done through or behind
      the shield of REPUBLICAN and DEMOCRAT POLITICIANS, and demanding
      not only that it all stop but to do so until those who continue the perpetuation
      of these evils stop.

      So too should all TOP SECRET INQUISITOR'S FISA courts do exactly the same
      to those TOP SECRET INQUISITORS who have supported, used and been
      employed by those who have used discoveries and inventions from the world
      of science for murder, torture, brainwashing, programming, experiments against
      the will of others or without their knowledge, infecting humans with disease, genocide,
      war and all other atrocities that science has helped and enabled, until they stop,
      cease, and refuse to be a part of such evil corporations, institutions and agencies.

      POLITICIANS can provide a moral context for people to live by and though neither
      per se aren't in the morality business, they are people and are thus bound by dignity
      for life to be an example, or else it is true. TOP SECRET INQUISITORS leads to evil.
      History shows that the INQUISITOR'S of olden times who tortured non-believers have
      been waiting in the wings of POLITICS to strike again. Evil men. Blood on their hands.

      They stifled human creativity for several thousand years. Now, today, they appear
      amongst us as the vassals of REPUBLICAN and DEMOCRAT POLITICIANS.
      What evil lurks in the hearts of man? ... Lamont Cranston, the Shadow knows.
      • Jul 23 2013: Frank.
        Thanks very much for that.
        Well done, well put and thanks for letting a little bit of me
        be a part of it.
        I remember when I was much younger, books that were published
        trying to tackle some of the repercussions of WWII.
        WWII directly affected at least 3/4's of the world's population on up to
        the seventies. One book in particular was about how can we humans
        spot and stop allowing or putting into power those kinds of monsters
        that the Nazi leaders turned out to be?
        Well, surprise, surprise. American's have done exactly that in my opinion.
        Their leaders are sociopaths and psychopaths of the same variety who have
        studied what Hitler and et all did and are now doing today.

        The same is true in other countries but the U.S. is the main demon.
        • Jul 23 2013: Random Chance 30+ You are right.

          The peoples of our world just don't understand how WAR actually works.

          They think that the State Department's Diplomats have reached a point
          that negotiations break-down and there is not other course of action left
          but to stomp the heck out of the other nation. ..By prior agreement the
          other nation's leaders are given safe passage if they capitulate before
          the slaughter begins.. Internal coups usually result in the nation's
          leaders being slaughtered first, or later after a court rules.

          In any case that is what people believe. WRONG.

          WAR actually works as a tool to produce SPOILS..
          Spoils of WAR are what pays the Banker's Golden Parachutes'
          of riches beyond belief. -- The same Banker will support both
          sides of any conflict at the same time, if the price is right.

          War's provide Spoils taken during and afterwards..
          ..Increased production of Weapons and their sales.
          ..Taxes from increases of Gross National Products.
          ..Confiscated Lands that can be traded for riches.
          ..Lost populations of men, women, and wee children.
          ..Conqueror's Armies, and Private Mercenaries left to rule.

          WARs do not change.
          ..Conqueror's Secret Politics.
          ..Conqueror's Corruption, or Graft, nor Greed.
          ..Conqueror's Rebuilding Contracts paid as crony prizes.
          ..Conqueror's Spy agencies, who hunt down the revengeful.
          ..Conqueror's History books, to be read by wee children.
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    Jul 20 2013: I do not think it possible for Google and Microsoft to stand up to the NSA essentially because the executive branch of the federal government has become too powerful, and I also think the NSA is so out of control that it can not be reigned back in. I think the responsibility is on us as citizens, individually, to use legal electronic counter measures that make such spying by the NSA impossible. Just to be explicit, the technical means do exist today to secure your communications against spying by the NSA, even with their massive computing resources.

    The biggest problem in achieving this is that the majority of Americans do not seem to care about this issue sufficiently, as they would prefer to give up their private information in exchange for the "free" services they get in return. Many other Americans feel they have nothing to hide and so don't see a problem. I find that rather sobering.

    Quick Poll: How many of you would give up using Facebook and Google/Bing if that was part of regaining our privacy? Looking for viable secure replacements? We have a few examples struggling for acceptance (for example, see startpage.com) but they are not well known and are nowhere near as full featured as their better known counterparts. Full solutions would take some time to emerge, and in the mean time, how would we stay in touch with people or find stuff on the web? That is the biggest problem.

    The next biggest problem is that securing our transmissions against the NSA is not practical today for the majority of people. Although the technical means to secure our communications exists, this is way beyond the reach of most people to do themselves. Part of the problem is that the other end of your communications (the person on the other side of the phone or email) also needs to practice secure transmission techniques.
    • Comment deleted

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        Jul 20 2013: Thanks for the reply John.

        The countermeasures I am proposing would make it impossible for organizations to collection private information, such as you stated. While this would make it impossible for private organizations to target these countermeasures, the NSA would certainly take notice. Without the technical means to spy, they would likely try to outlaw such measures, making it a crime to use them. We saw our federal government launch a criminal investigation in 1993 against Phil Zimmermann for deploying similar measures.

        I think the reason for the Microsoft stock dropping was not related to this NSA privacy issue, but rather their inability to sell what has traditionally been their cash cow: The Windows operating system. They are trying to diversify into other form factors and the cloud, and Windows Mobile has been a huge mess for quite a few years now.
      • Jul 20 2013: John S. 10+ I think you are right.

        John you've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.
        Thank you.
        We all need to get busy today, tomorrow, and all next week.

        Everyone Please.
        Sit down and write out the most Dangerous Acts the NSA and DHS
        and other Domestic Spy Agencies are capable of doing to us all.

        It won't hurt any of us to take that First Step.
        Remember the KISS principal. ..Keep It Simple Stupid.

        Let's together with TED conversations provide a roadmap to safety.
        And Please - Please - Post it on this TED conversation.
    • Jul 20 2013: Danger Lampost 10+
      I rise in support of your statement

      "I do not think it possible for Google and Microsoft to stand up to the NSA
      essentially because the executive branch of the federal government
      has become too powerful, and I also think the NSA is so out of control
      that it can not be reigned back in."

      Individual State Governors are starting to hear from their voters on this very thing.
      My State of California has a Governor who may be in the running for President
      next election. Like Janet Napolitano, he has been mum on the topic.

      Janet Napolitano took flight from the Department of Homeland Security, the other day.
      Some one might say the first rat to leave the sinking ship. But I think maybe she
      just wants to crank up her campaign for the Presidency. She has a problem that has
      not gotten much press. A Big Problem, Napolitano's DHS has created it's own Domestic
      NSA of sorts, with a nationwide scope. The Atlanta GA based DHS Fusion Centers are
      in Partnership with the Major Military War Materials suppliers like Boeing, etc. Boeing
      and others provide their Employees to work and learn at the DHS Fusion Centers.
      So, when the NSA has been squelched, and we all breathe a sigh of relief, we will
      have to do it all over again. Plus if she runs for President, and wins, use your

      I don't mind being whelmed, but Over-whelmed, Arrrrrugh !!!
    • Comment deleted

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        Jul 25 2013: That is such a scary reply you have that I really am stunned. If you're saying that by protecting our own privacy, we are helping terrorists, we are truly lost.
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    Jul 20 2013: Good News for the privacy inclined . . . The Supreme Court of New Jersey has ruled that the police in that state now need a warrant to get at your cell phone data! Here is a link:

    http://mashable.com/2013/07/19/new-jersey-court-warrant-cellphone-data/ To quote from the decision: "This opinion announces a new rule of law by imposing a warrant requirement." State v. Thomas W. Earls (A-53-11) (068765) there is a .pdf link on the page given here.

    They dropped this late Friday w/absolutely no deference for the critical import of this decision to the world at large or to this TEDthread in particular! How rude of the NJ Supreme Court (I say w/great sarcasm & w/apology to the judiciary for my feeble attempt at humor!)

    The nose of the camel is now inside the tent flap! How long will it be before the entire camel comes in from the desert rain! ('er wind - it is raining noisily outside here. I gotta keep my metaphors straight!)

    This is good news for the people who demand privacy. Enough people now have cell phones such that the law has no choice but to respect the common expectation of privacy of all Americans, not just those in New Jersey!
    • Jul 20 2013: Juan Valdez 10+ thank you...

      Citizens of New Jersey should be one their knees giving thanks for some brief respite.
      The last time the NJ Attorney General did this type of thing, It took only a day or so to reverse.
      That's why they dropped it on Friday. It might get more press for a longer period of time.
      Picture this scenario, in your mind, if you will.

      Two Droner's with the GPS Target locator button, ready to push.
      One says to the other, "Wait, not yet. That's the coffee shop our target is in.
      My wife is there also. See, her GPS says she's right there.
      Wait 'til she leaves, then splash him all over the place."

      Now doesn't that sound like a waste of good coffee?
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    Jul 18 2013: Generally if you check on your Congressional delegation's web sites, they have times that they spend in their home districts that you can sign up for "office hours" just rather like professors have. Also there are town meetings. If you don't like to use their web site (in which case, why are you here?) try calling their offices and ask for the "Constituent Services" staff, and they will fix you up. You might have to wait a while.

    You might not get very much time, so I would recommend preparing for the meeting. If you have interest in a specific issue, you might find it better to meet with a staffer who advises the senator or representative on that area -- for example, if you are concerned with the NSA, find out if they have a legal, military, or national security staff advisor, and set up a meeting to talk to that person. You'll likely get a longer slot sooner.

    These meetings usually are educational both ways. The rep/senator or staffer will listen to your concerns and any new information you bring to the table, and may have information from "inside the beltway" that may make you feel better, worse, or both about the entire thing.

    Also, you get to have a real say in how your people in DC are treating the situation, as a person who takes the time to schedule a meeting is weighted far more heaviliy than a letter, fax, email, or (God knows) an internet petition. It's considered that you are not only someone who cares, but cares enough that you probably influence others (including other likely voters! :). So yes, it means your opinion counts for more. You are a citizen lobbyist, even without a checkbook in hand.

    This is, in fact, what the term lobbyist originally comes from -- from people who just buttonholed their delegation in the *lobby* of Congress to ask them to represent their opinions on the floor. This is your constitutional right to petition Congress for redress of grievances in the Bill of Rights. Use it!

    Is that propaganda? ;)
    • Jul 19 2013: Shava Nerad 10+
      I see what you are trying to explain.
      But I am an old man with 3/4 of a century under my belt.
      Been there, Done that.

      Your education is not in question. We all know you are smart.

      So pick your side and fight.
      You can take the government's position and make their excuses.
      Or, take the people's position and do all those things you tell me about.
      Lastly, you can do nothing.

      Your choice. We will still defend your right to your choice.
      And argue our positions with great vigor.
      There is a problem.
      We are trying to discover a quick solution by having this conversation.
      Maybe we will be successful, maybe not.
      But we can all have fun trying.
      By the way. Your next conversation just shows --
      "View the full conversation"
      If you thought you had written anything else, it was lost.

  • Jul 18 2013: Ok there is a way to stop it, that is if AT&T, Google, Microsoft et al

    It's where they DONT get paid for the data or for the time it takes them to collate it.

    Then and only then will they really stop, and use the guise they they want citizen freedom and no more nsa spying.

    So mail your senator, say you dont care about spying, you just dont want these corps paid for it. See the sparks fly.
    • Jul 19 2013: Tify Ndanoboi 30+
      Watch the July 17th, 2013, 3.8 hours of CNN's coverage of the
      House committee's roasting of the Spy Masters.

      Congressmen and Congresswomen did a bang up job.
      Check out more about it in my earlier responses to others below,
      or above this. Watch it if you can.

      Our 1st and 4th Amendments have been trod upon.
      FISA courts are loose cannons putting holes in our constitution.
      They have to go. They must go. They are wrong.
      Judges are only human and can sell their integrity like anyone...

      The NSA and the rest of the Spy agencies need be re-Mastered.
      The Military portion needs to be replaced, and quickly.
      We all remain at risk until those are civilian agencies and know
      right from wrong.

      We Americans have been asleep while Washington DC has been
      busy little bees, making their own brands of honey. Wake up folks.
      The next time you vote. ..Think first...
      • Jul 19 2013: Frank I would love to watch it, unfortunately I'm not in the USA.

        I think though CNN have a responsibility to put this on YouTube, after all it's a Global issue.

        I'll be mailing them today. I hope everyone else does too, if we all act together, we can win...
        • Jul 19 2013: Tify Ndanoboi 30+ thumbs up.

          I am going to go off topic about something that is far removed from
          the subject, but shows that our Congress may be impotent at best.

          The city of Detroit declared Bankruptcy.
          The Mayor has had a Government Minder in his place for a while now.

          During the Bail-out of those too big to fail Corporations, the Congress
          and President gave great billions to the Auto Industry, as they begged
          for help. A smallest accountant sat at the other end of the table and
          with a chart showed plainly why the Auto industry should be refused
          and allowed to go bankrupt. The Congress listened and sided with
          those who begged. They soon spent the monies, repaid the loans,
          and then of course went, as predicted, bankrupt. Their grand city is
          today following their lead. Auto Industry Janitors still make $125 an
          hour. But where has the money gone? Autos cost $60 thousand
          dollars and still break down just as often.
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    Jul 18 2013: For the woman who wondered if her computer was easy to crack into? Easy as pie. The only way to keep your computer from being cracked into is to never hook it to the internet at all, or install any particular software on it that you aren't 1000% sure is free of malware.

    Most computers are mildly infected. Many computers are seriously infected and part of criminal botnets, or rootkitted for other mechanisms, and the owners never know that their computers are being used -- rented out! -- for criminal activities.


    anti-virus/anti-malware software really is a good idea. ;) I just shake my head when I run into people who tell me that they don't run the stuff because it slows down their system and they never see anything unusual running on their machine (of course, they wouldn't since the processes hide themselves...). Backup is a good "security" software measure too. You never know when some malware is going to trash your disk. It's rare but you might be sad.

    These things don't have to be the NSA to be a tragedy. It's wild out there.

    But if you want to engage the issue of the NSA? Become politically active, more than on some Tuesday in November. Get to actually KNOW your congresscritters and your local politicians. Turn out the vote. Revive the democratic system in this republic. Congress is sitting in DC at something between 11-17% approval ratings and they give not a SINGLE DAMN.

    And you know why?

    Because you guys are sitting in your ergonomic chairs on ted.com talking to each other instead of talking to your lawmakers. As a nation we have forgotten how to engage the system, and no one is happier about that than the folks in DC, because it makes their jobs so much easier, they are foxes in charge of the hen house.

    Most of them aren't even bad folks. But they are lazy. You are their bosses, and you aren't doing your job.
    • Jul 18 2013: Shava Nerad 10+

      Until you've tried to talk to your congressman or
      administrative regulator, you have no idea of the
      difficulty involved. As for the President, forget it.

      You're bleeding more Propaganda.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 18 2013: Kate:
          Maybe the topic is to volatile for TED audiences. Or not! lol
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          Jul 18 2013: I still have the almighty green thumb and possess the power to bestow thumbs-up at my leisure. Until TED reads this.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 19 2013: Kate, I just spent 3.8 hours
          watching July 17th, CNN's coverage of the NSA hearings,
          by the House of Representatives. Some pretty pissed-off
          Congressmen and Congresswomen there, and not a dummy
          among them. They had two or three ex-judges who knew the
          constitution, and they lit a fire under the spy witnesses.

          They must have been monitoring our conversations. lol

          They brought up most of the issues.

          I didn't take notes and so the titles of those they roasted are not correct.
          They stuck it to the Dept of Justice deputy, the Natlional Security Director,
          the NSA deputy, and a gal from one of the agencies who got blown away
          in the first 10 minutes of questioning. She actually left the room for a bit.

          The results are that the FISA court is a Rubber Stamp.
          There's only one Judge who they change every week,
          and only the NSA Lawyers. There's no one to represent the people.
          So our 1st and 4th Amendments to the Constitution are crapped on.
          Vulgar but true.

          I couldn't believe my ears. James Cole the DOJ deputy provided
          in one answer the old ODDI defense. The "Other Dude Did It".
          I will bet you the Media misses his answer. ..But it was hilarious..

          Hey, I just remembered the 'birth control' conversation. We were
          mean to you. I apologize. You have my permission to beat me up
          on this one. Nothing below the belt like the last one.

          I've had a ton of coffee and it's 8pm. Wow, I am gonna hate tonight.

          CNN stopped short and I didn't get to see it all.

          Then Microsoft had to start messing with me.
          I don't bother looking at my Event Log anymore.
          It probably has 10 pings a minute from Windows.
          Like a bad toilet stopper, -- they never stop...

          As soon as the NSA gets taken care of, I'm going back to XP.
          I was warned about Windows 7. ..But I just couldn't say no to my
          daughter's gift. Now I find out that Win 7 is dumping Windows Live.
          It wasn't any good anyhow.

          Too much coffee... bye for now.
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      Jul 18 2013: Thank you for the evocative image of infected computers. I already know mine's infected because suddenly a skull and crossbones covers the screen and tells me to get away from the computer for awhile. What I'd like to know is how you knew I was sitting in an ergonomic chair. You're not using some virus to stare at me through my own webcam are you? That would be impressive, because I don't even own a webcam. In fact, I didn't even know this was an ergonomic chair.
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        Jul 18 2013: The NSA would be very surprised if I were spying for them Daniel...:) *giggle*
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          Jul 18 2013: That is precisely what a deeply embedded and very convincing spy would say, only the know others know they would say it, so they really wouldn't say it and yet you did, which is why you, who I'm now convinced are a deeply embedded and very convincing spy, DID say it.
      • thumb
        Jul 18 2013: Yup I am a double triple quadruple agent with night baseball a window and a swoop. Too bad it doesn't come with a government pension. I obviously need to write better propaganda for these guys...;)
      • Comment deleted

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          Jul 18 2013: It's not bingo if you don't win a prize. An example of a real bingo would be the thumbs-up I just gave you.
      • Comment deleted

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          Jul 18 2013: I was making a joke.

          I read your earlier posts, which is why earlier wrote: 3 hours ago: I still have the almighty green thumb and possess the power to bestow thumbs-up at my leisure. Until TED reads this.

          I got the earlier ones, too, and noticed them and let me say, thank you.
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    Jul 17 2013: "The NSA's spying activities in concert with suspected other co-conspirator EU nations, has upset France's President."

    Oh? On July 4 this year, "Le Monde" - France's most respected newspaper - carried the news that the French DGSE security agency has been routinely monitoring computer and telephone communications in France, both of French and foreign nationals. Perhaps M. Hollande didn't know. But as we do know, all the nations that have the ability to monitor communications do so. Like France, China, and Germany, it has suited their political purposes to play innocent and let the U.S. take the hit.

    Has it occurred to you that before the NSA got your phone and computer records, Microsoft and Google had them? NSA actually doesn't care about your personal records, they're machine checking millions of records for certain number combinations that indicate communication among suspected terrorist groups. There's about a chance in a trillion that any of your info will be used by the government. Microsoft and Google, on the other hand, care very much about your records. They use them to try to sell you stuff and they (may) sell information about you to whomever. Commercial spying on the net is what we really should worry about, it's many times more damaging than the government security net. Info on what you buy on the net (and in stores with credit cards) is sold to data management companies from whom it can be bought cheaply. A health insurance company can know how many packs of cigarettes or quarts of liquor you bought last year. There's no end to the mischief that can and probably will be done through the commercial recording of all our internet actions. That's where we ought to spend most of our righteous outrage.

    That said, it's obviously also important that our government be restricted in what it can obtain from citizens without our knowledge. We need to know more about the judicial process they have to comply with before obtaining communications records.
    • Jul 18 2013: Paul Lillebo thank you.
      All you write is correct. All of it.

      The problem is that "our government has decided" what it can obtain from citizens
      "without our knowledge". A weak argument can be made about TOS, EULA's and
      Privacy Statements being agreed to, etc., blah, blah.

      Further, "our government has decided to use the Military's NSA without our knowledge"
      to accomplish their tasks.

      The citizen's of this once great nation are not at war with their government, but
      it seems our government is at war with us, it's citizens.

      Obviously the Corporations are at great risk in not complying with
      our government's demands.

      .....Or perhaps I have it all backwards.

      If the Corporations are running the nation, then they have
      the Military's NSA doing their bidding.

      We may well be enslaved and not even yet be aware.
      Wake me when the nightmare is over.
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        Jul 18 2013: The thing I'm particularly interested in hearing from those who are most vigorously opposing the government's electronic monitoring program is what they would recommend as an alternative means of intercepting the communications of "terrorist" evildoers. Plans to blow up airliners, public buildings, etc are serious stuff, and the current program that Mr.Snowden has revealed has apparently prevented several such, as other governments have confirmed. Snowden's revelation has also certainly caused these groups to change their means of communication, thus making interdiction more difficult. That's obviously why details of the surveillance were secret.

        So, let's say we close down this surveillance program and take us back to square one. The bad guys are now free to communicate with no fear. What do you suggest as an effective interdiction program, if we rule out blanket surveillance? I have no problem with people pointing out the dangers and drawbacks of government programs; I think that's a good thing and I've done a lot of it myself. But when I do I try to couple my critique with recommendations for how to proceed. And that's what's been lacking in all the critique of the government on this issue. I've not seen a single serious proposal for an alternative plan. A good way to put the question is, "What would I (anyone) have done as President to interdict the terror threat?"
        • Jul 18 2013: Paul Lillebo thank you

          Square one.
          I believe we have overreached. Too many Wars.
          Too many innocents killed and maimed from collateral damages.
          Too many created "Revenger's" for those killed and maimed.
          On both sides.

          I believe we rely on labels. Terror Threat and Terrorists.
          I believe we kill and maim because it is easier than to seek
          understanding and peaceful means.

          I believe our Military is a never ending killer, feeding itself
          with Taxed-Payer Dollars. A spigot of money that we cannot
          turn off and survive.

          I believe 100,000 enforcement agents and employees of the
          Intelligence agencies can be wrong, wrong, wrong.

          Mother said, "If you look for trouble; Trouble is what you find."
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    Jul 17 2013: Frank, That big brother is watching is nothing new. When you get a "store card", lets say grocery card, it matches what you buy to your name, how often you buy, etc.... almost every company "sells" you name, age, address, etc ... mailing lists are big business.

    NSA could not, without great expense, collect all of the information you put on the web daily. Had a fight with your other ... post it ... had a finder bender ... post it ... got drunk .. post it ... hate your job / boss / whatever ... post it.

    We are willing victims. Why does the State Department have over 500 "media" departments. They spent 600K just to update their image. They want to tell you what to think ... and it works ... because you let them.

    Some say this is intrusion ... how .... no one told you to put your life and everything that happens out there. Talk loud in a small area and then accuse people of eaves dropping .. silly.

    Of course you are being monitored and used ... but you allowed it and made it all possible.

    It doesn't make it all okay on the part of government or corporations ... but you need to take charge of your own life also. You don't want junk mail ... don't provide the info that makes it possible. Ask the right questions.

    Be pro active ... don't blame google, Microsoft, etc ... you put it out there. Stop.

    I wish you well. Bob.
    • Jul 17 2013: Robert, thank you.

      You've got the wrong guy.
      I don't have store-purchase memberships. I use Mickey Mouse.
      He is never challenged. No one reads those application forms.

      I love my Privacy. TED conversations might be a threat, but if I can
      find the code when I take apart the Appliance's and code that NSA uses,
      I will sue them 'til hell freezes over. Those bastards will have it coming.
      And Obama better stop this nonsense right now.

      There's been a law suit filed yesterday against these nuts.
      The filers are not your regular types, but they have taken the first step.
      Kudos for them.

      No one should blame the people for the foul deeds inflicted upon them by
      their government and by those same politicians they themselves elected.

      We should blame our President (in hiding) and his Administration, along with
      a Congress (in hiding) for creating a such a mess, and for a total lack of over-
      sight, and finally for embarrassing we Americans throughout the world.

      In years gone by:
      South Americans spit on Nixon and yelled "Yankee go home !!"
      They won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award,
      Today, they get my vote.
      John Kerry has a real job to do.
      He may thank Hillary, but I doubt it.

      I have been advocating cleaning up Washington DC for years.
      Time to clean house. Does the word RECALL mean anything to you?

      We should and can blame those Computer and Phone manufacturers for
      misleading us all, in an atmosphere dedicated to security updates and soft
      sales pitches, soothingly saying we can protect you and your data from
      outside attack, when knowingly telling us, their customers, "Complete Lies".
  • thumb
    Jul 16 2013: The link here is from Stratfor - a U.S. private intelligence firm with links to CIA-type resources worldwide (allegedly). I'm on their free mailing list because I like how they do the news. No fluff. No crap. Just the facts w/enough background and depth to make sense of just what the heck is going on in the world. This is a very good article on the Prism/NSA situation; and by extension, the Edward Snowden scandal. You should read it. If you like what you read, sign up for the free newsletter. THAT newsletter is definitely welcome in my email inbox.

    • Jul 16 2013: Juan Valdez 10+ Hi.
      I hope you will do the "View the full conversation".
      Your responses are always a welcomed sight.

      Regardless of the Prism/NSA/Snowden scandal, my opinion is
      that we all need to determine the value of allowing non-government
      corporation's to sell us infected software with "appliances inside" and
      then install automatic updates that are hard-wired so that we cannot
      delete them. This "appliances inside" is not widely recognized except
      for the catchy ads of "Intel Inside". These are a couple of thoughts
      you may want to chew on.

      Ok, Thanks Juan, for the links, here I go.
      • thumb
        Jul 17 2013: We ALL really need an education as to exactly WHAT constitutes computer security. Public Key Encryption (check it on Wikipedia) is very secure from point to point, but once things get onto your computer - your computer can be hacked. And almost anyone with an ounce of ambition, a computer science degree (or the self taught equivialent), and the patient determination to do it - can hack your computer. And they can do it anywhere you are at any time.

        Also, ANYTHING put on the internet can be obtained & evaluated. And by 'evaluated' I mean sifted for information. Now days, many people do NOT get security clearances; and that because of what they posted on facebook or similar social media. How many? How many don't get security clearances because of facebook? I don' know. But nothing is secure just because you think it should be private.

        And nobody respects your privacy except YOU! So think about that. I am so paranoid that I don't keep any personal information on my computer at all! I just keep computer programs & what I need to surf the net. The rest I keep on external storage and I access that only when I am off line and my connection to the internet is unplugged (both at my computer AND at the wall electrical outlet).

        I still assume that the NSA can and will get everything they want. I also assume that the NSA has its own 'hacker' techniques that are undetectable. But the NSA has zero motivation to hack my bank account or anything similar.

        Not so much for the "Microsoft Computer Maintenance Department" that just called me (from the call center in India) and wanted to assist me w/my software issues. They knew my name & the last several digits of my U.S. Government Social Security Card number. I thanked them, told them that the problem was solved & that I sent them an email yesterday w/a settlement. Then I quickly hung up.
        • Jul 17 2013: Juan Valdez 10+ Thank you,
          I will read and digest this later tonight.
          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.
    • Jul 16 2013: Juan Valdez 10+ Well that was quick.
      Sorry Juan, George Friedman's story is a good sounding one,
      but his "mild" conclusions on the points he made are wrong.

      The history Mr. Friedman based his story on, was a bit
      different. If I had the time to wriggle through it all, I could
      tell you rights and wrongs. But the only thing I would be
      doing, would be giving you the option of believing one over
      the other. No sense to that. You might side with him. My
      credentials are not on display, as his are.

      Juan, thanks, but no thanks.
      But keep 'em coming.
      • thumb
        Jul 17 2013: If you find any other good 'alternative' sources for solid analysis of the news, please share the links w/me. I'd appreciate that. I really would. I appreciate your 'certainty' on this issue. I've found (occasionally) that this kind of certain-knowledge comes from someone who really KNOWS what they are talking about. The opportunity to speak with someone upon a subject which they have MASTERED is always a privilege. THAT is what I LIKE about TED. There are smart people here.

        No, just thanks! & Thanks especially to you. I've met George Friedman & his partner, but I don't have any special relationship with either man. All that was little more than a passing nod. I am sure they did NOT find me either notable or interesting. And yes, they do understate things; but that's just my personal preference. I do like having access to their take on the news.

        It beats the heck out of what I get from the public news media for mass consumption. To be honest about it, I am amazed that a company like Stratfor can exist at all. Clearly major corporations don't get all they need from the major news outlets. Stratfor has a very solid corporate reputation. I guess that means something, from a business perspective; money & all. Could you or I do better?

        No, I am willing to listen to almost anyone. But I draw the line at rude. But that's just me. Also, I HAVE learned something on TED. Never underestimate the credentials of ANYONE you meet on TED. My credentials are are like 'weak tea' (or worse) when compared even to the most humble TEDspeaker. And your credentials, Professor Frank Barry? Well, why not give one the benefit of the doubt? Might I ALREADY have heard you speak on TED under your true identity? Have I? Maybe so or maybe not. Only TED may know for sure!

        All that I can affirm here is that ME - I am NOT a TEDspeaker. And as things can go in this world, I count my blessings just to be able to post a few careful thoughts, just as I have here.
        • Jul 17 2013: Juan Valdez 10+ Your doing a bang up job.
          Keep it up.

          I am burning a torch on this subject because it has scared me
          that Americans can be manipulated within the borders of their
          own nation.

          The Rich and Wealthy seem to have gained control and want
          more control for some strange reason.

          If they once thought about how many years they have left to
          actually remain on the top of society, eating and drinking the best
          of foods and liquors, traveling and living the high life, before they
          fall victim to normal ailments of old age, they might stop this kind
          of tom-foolery.

          They all want to be Kings of some sort. Instead they become clowns.
  • Jul 16 2013: I don't believe boycotting works anymore, i.e. the bank bail-outs. If businesses are deemed "too big to fail", our society and democracy fails.
    • Jul 16 2013: M-L Reifschneider

      Another winner of the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.

      The Treasury paid businesses deemed "too big to fail",
      our society and democracy fails. It has.
  • thumb
    Jul 16 2013: Let me preface this with saying this is my professional field. I am a privacy rights advocate, and was the founding executive director of the Tor Project, which is a nonprofit involved in online privacy rights. I am not a lawyer, but I know enough to sound like one, which makes me dangerous. ;)

    The large companies operate under US law as communications carriers. The internet isn't that much different, ultimately, from the phone system -- telecommunications systems are all regulated and licensed by the government. By itself, that would make it very hard for any large internet company to stand up to the government. There are thousands of ways, directly in terms of violating a request, and indirectly, that the federal government could make operations very difficult for these companies.

    Polls show that US citizens generally will support the government whenever the term "terrorism" is fielded. These companies have no reason to assume that they will have popular support in the case where the government declares them uncooperative and one morning, say, you can't get your Gmail because Google wouldn't help the feds fight terrorism.

    Imagine the stock price impact on GOOG. It would be evil.

    So, in the interest of being law abiding, Google cooperates.

    Might I suggest instead, that *we* stand up to the NSA? Have you contacted your congressional delegation? Considered supporting EFF, the ACLU, and other groups that fight for your online privacy rights? Have you thought about becoming personally politically active? The only way to stop this abuse ultimately is to abolish or reform the USA PATRIOT Act. That will take -- not Google and not nonprofits -- but an engaged and educated electorate.

    I suggest we get busy. (Check out my Google Plus for more suggestions, tag #bluerosemovement)
    • Jul 19 2013: Shava Nerad 10+ Ok, I will back down.
      You sound sincere. I apologize.

      I spent 3.8 hours today watching the CNN July 17, 2013
      House committee hearing on the NSA.

      This is something you might want to watch...

      In a week of emailing and telephoning politicians, writing
      TED conversations and the NY Times, the Guardian, BBC,
      Al Jazeera, and a few I'd rather not name, I have found
      the word is out.

      Congress has awakened to the fact that the FISA court is
      a rubber stamp for the NSA's activities with Prism and several
      other little sneaky spy programs on their separate internets.

      I will move on now to your next conversation.
  • thumb
    Jul 15 2013: Why on earth would Microsoft and Google chastise the government for participating in behavior they created and have no intention of stopping?
  • thumb
    Jul 15 2013: so we have a bully in the classroom, the US government, and the solution would be to demand the bullied, corporations, to stand up against it?

    what about the voter? the average US citizen? they are the bully we are talking about. they have elected politicians that regularly enact such abominations of laws. they are the ones watching oprah or football on TV, and just not giving a damn about their liberties taken away. why would microsoft protect something that people don't want and don't value? it is up to you, the american people, to put an end to the bullying your own elected government commits in your name.

    and you know what? you americans can stop lamenting, because being spied upon is a piece of cake compared to the treatment people of pakistan and other countries get.
    • Jul 15 2013: Krisztián Pintér 200+
      I know you are intelligent. It sparks when you write.
      So I will pose this. Please respond with your opine.

      Republican and Democrat leaders solicit and collect money
      from their faithful with professional money raisers 24/7/365.

      The monies are spent with the media.

      The media designs and produces entertainment and news
      that benefits those pay them.

      The media is therefore controlled as to content by the
      Republican and Democrat Leaders.

      The voters use the media to stay informed and make their
      decisions about voting based upon media input.

      Republican and Democrat Leaders select and groom their

      Republican and Democrat Leaders do not care which
      politician is elected.

      Republican and Democrat Leaders split the US government.

      Can you name them?
      After you do, are you sure?
      • thumb
        Jul 15 2013: i assume you don't think that the media controls your vote. it also does not control my vote (not in the US, so that won't help you out). so either you are that much smarter than the average, to the level that the average should not be allowed to vote, or what?

        i mean, bear with me for a second. if a person is so ignorant and dumb that his vote depends on what a pundit says on cable, what would this person's vote be without the tv? would it be a wise choice? can you imagine such a person suddenly becoming a responsible voter, just because the tv stopped talking? i can't possibly imagine that. if people are that dumb, democracy is a failure beyond repair.

        (btw it is exactly what i'm suggesting. democracy must go, because it is not a workable social model.)
        • Jul 15 2013: Krisztián Pintér 200+

          WoW !!!
          You are so right.
          Is there a phrase to describe "more than right"?

          This Federation was not started by poor people.
          The Wealthy ones did the deed.

          I've heard that a Confederation would be better, but I haven't
          bothered to read the differences.

          Geographical Government(s) are all about control.
          They control the land apportionment , they define commerce,
          they create the rules of business structures, they create the
          worth of the monies, and they control the military.

          They do these things with a carrot and a stick.
          Limited Liability Laws for the players.
          Law Enforcement for everyone else.

          Internet has discovered a One Language.
          that is being used to present alternatives to their
          Geographical Government(s).

          In it's infancy now, One Language will need to grow
          up fast. The NSA and a hundred more programs will
          be used to stifle such an unanticipated threat to their
          Geographical Government(s).
        • Jul 15 2013: I disagree that democracy doesn't work. The problem we are facing is we no longer have a secular state. Where the real pressure is coming from is the pulpit. People here tend to vote in religious blocks, with religious morals and religious contempt. This country didn't start out that way, and influenced many countries away from religion as a power base. Unfortunately, Europe is now more secular than we are, they are progessing away from religious fervour, and heading towards humanism. If you look at the countries with the most problems, religion is right there up to it's armpits in zealots.
        • Jul 16 2013: Krisztián Pintér, I agree with your comment,

          but is a vote worth anything anymore, with so man financial corps in positions of power?
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Jul 16 2013: i have. you can ask yourself: could microsoft or google one day decide: okay, we don't want to cooperate with the government anymore. we're done. sorry NSA, we changed our minds. could they do that?
  • thumb
    Jul 13 2013: If anything... Google and Microsoft should let their data out to the scientific communities, colleges and any registered researcher for free. The amount of information that is known by large internet companies, is phenomenal to explain...

    They know what SELLS and this is a big part of our normal psychology.

    The problem is... We were given the freedom to be informed, and we gave it away, we surrendered it slowly over the years by wanting the quick, fast and easy solution... - If not that way, through a mutant American dream; Miami Beach house, sports car, lots of parties and fun - those who knew-better-enough to take away our information by means of generating an over abundance of irrelevant information; politicians of the tyrannical-kind. Today, know-better to give what the people want, and these companies/corporations you have noted are easily able to market us what they want us to buy, just as easily as politicians want us to think we are deciding...

    If the knowledge of how to sell a child a red truck on a Tuesday at 6 P.M for an inflated price - exist. Then with the same knowledge, in data, can allow us the understanding to teach a child physics at 6 years old.


    I'm ignoring your question entirely, because these injustices are long over due. We have been blind for so long now, when an exact target (NSA) comes under way for people to point fingers at... they have NO-TO-LITTLE idea of the entire system that is involved in such a degree of programing for these special agents to figure out whatever it is they are looking for.. The idea is literally crazy..

    With the knowledge of how people think collectively, as a culture or society... And the ability to supplement that with data about our behaviors online... A crazy amount of philosophy of the mind, resolved.

    We need total transparency for everyone period
    • Jul 14 2013: Nicholas Lukowiak 50+

      You like to entice with a tidbit.
      Edward Bernays, hmmm. Good start.

      Jagdish N Bhagwati
      Frank Lechner;
      John Boli;
      K B Ghimire
      Luis A Fernandez
      Gwyn Williams
      and another 1443 others authors.
      All trying to show how the NSA types can exist
      through manipulation.

      Maybe we can rise above democracy with the
      certain demise of Geographic Governments.
      Transparency is the way. I agree.
      • thumb
        Jul 14 2013: It's not just government bodies though, it is also big corporations that just have access to huge amounts of data about people, with paradigms that are designed for propaganda, marketing and profit.
        • thumb
          Jul 14 2013: It is worthy of note that these "big corporations" are held in check by the free market that has aided the consumer in greater and greater benefit to the consumer.
        • Jul 14 2013: Nicholas Lukowiak 50+ Thank you
          I must agree first with pat gilbert 100+ .

          The free market would help our US Geographical Government provided
          the current Commerce policies can be changed by an enlightened Congress, Administration, and then endorsed by the Supreme Court, as constitutional.

          Limited Liability Laws need restructured or eliminated altogether, and the
          present make-up of Corporate Structures needs be redesigned.
          Both to accommodate a more honest business model.

          But first the Security Issue has to be settled.
          The US and other Governments depend too much on False Diplomacy.
          Using Threats of Military might to add weight to any argument.
          This behavior must stop.
          ..The price paid in human lives is too high.
        • Jul 16 2013: Government has no power anymore. They have been bought, lock, stock and barrel by the handful of CEO's and Corporations who form our plutocracy. The Internet is simply one more corporation to have joined this greedy bandwagon of rulers! Want proof? Just look at how many citizens are disgusted with our government and have given up voting/petitioning knowing no one listens!
      • thumb
        Jul 14 2013: Big business makes the market... Wal-Mart and similar stores, have destroyed small-town America.. Nothing is checking them, that is the problem - 6 corporations handle the major food productions in America. 5 for entertainment (movies, television, magazines, newspapers, etc). Nothing is keeping any type of big corporation in check, that is a lie, false, not true - imaginary.

        The consumer is programed to consume certain products and goods there is only an illusion of choice. If you were to boycott these major corporations in America, in every way possible, it would be a full time job and effort to live a normal life.

        There is truth to those who just call Americans mindless sheep - the problem is, we know we are sheep as a nation, but see no other way of behaving.

        Global Economics is not nearly as simple as an university-level curriculum that says "if you have two cows, you sell one to buy three chickens to make eggs and milk" but in reality - "if you have two cows, we will tax you for having them, and the milk they produce, AND tax you in order to have their milk sold at market - while having to compete in the market with multibillion dollar companies that lobby within legal rights, to make small business owning impossible, by getting laws pass in their (the corporation's) favor which cheat the little guy out of a job."
        • Jul 14 2013: Nicholas Lukowiak 50+
          Please summarize at the end. It might help me make sense of
          what you wrote.

          You lost me at -- "Big business makes the market... "

    • Comment deleted

      • Jul 14 2013: TED FRIEND

        Yup, your right.

        But, it's kind of like when the Cop was breaking into a home. His partner Cop said,
        "We can't use anything we find inside, to arrest and convict, if we break in..."
        The first Cop replied, "We aren't going to court. We're just breaking and entering."

        Like the NSA putting bloodhound-dogs on the scent. Regardless of TOS or EULA.
        ...Your scent. snif snif snif
      • Jul 16 2013: Ted: I think you are missing the point that both large corporations ,, and the government can successfully get around the "Contractual Obligations" , whether you're talking about a commercial contract, or the Constitution itself. All it takes to hire the best of lawyers, judges, and Legislators is lots of money. And corporations, for some reason, never die.
  • Gar K

    • +1
    Jul 24 2013: At many other places in the world there are struggling innocents who are being abused by their families and communities, who have nobody to intervene on their behalf. Talk and negotiation are not likely to help in these situations, any more than having a conversation is likely to help someone trapped in a burning building.

    If these children were trapped in a mine shaft instead, few of us would have any qualms about undertaking a risky mission to rescue them, even if there was a risk of the shaft collapsing in the attempt--with potential loss of life of the rescuers or the children--or even if people were shooting at the rescuers.

    I realize it is potentially naive to frame many of today's military excursions as humanitarian rescue missions, given various other nefarious motives in the picture, but I do believe strong collective effort is needed to rescue innocent people from brutal treatment in their communities, or by their governments.

    p.s. I really respect the fact that you have given a thumbs up to these comments despite disagreeing! It is a very honourable discourse which I respect very much.
    • Jul 24 2013: Gar K - Thank you
      I believe in America. 3/4 of a century I have watched with dismay some of
      the decisions made by our government. But, I've always had hope that times
      would change for the better.

      Right now, we are mired in a time when the soft life of privilege has caused
      us to forget to tend the fires. ..As they wink out and grow cold, the wolves of
      greed rise and come closer. There are no guards to protect us. ...The military
      belongs to the wolves. ..A disheartening situation. ...Our peoples no longer
      can remember when we had to be watchful. ..Those who suffered most in the
      past century are today dead. I cry wolf. Not enough for the people to hear.
      They will dance around the maypole, for a while yet.
    • Jul 25 2013: Gar K - You've been an inspiration.
      Congress voted 217-214 to keep the NSA as it is.

      We cannot it seems change the world into a better thing.
      But we can sure as heck try.
      Thank you.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 24 2013: John Moonstroller 30+ Thank you for your opinion.
      I challenge your input.
      You, I disagree with completely.

      Our nation is having a problem with it's administration.
      To do nothing will more than likely cost us all dearly.

      That you do not believe me, is your right as an American.
      I respect your constitutional right to fight for your beliefs.
      If TED decides in your favor, you win.

      This is a debate. TED may well be the judge and jury.

      I can only hope they look at all of your conversations.
      Especially the ones I consider uncalled for discourses to a lady.
      I question only your manners, john.
  • Gar K

    • +1
    Jul 24 2013: Once again, I think there have been terrible injustices committed by most of the groups involved.

    I do encourage a thought experiment, though: suppose your own nation, or neighborhood, or state, etc. was being ruled by a fanatical tyrant: neighbours were being taken away, tortured, executed, etc.; the wealth of the region was being channeled into diamond-studded mansions by the dictator. No freedom of speech, for fear of death. Attempts to challenge the regime locally would be suicidal, due to the massive power imbalance.

    Would you, as a citizen in that neighborhood, be okay with the idea of a foreign power (let's say China) who might be seen to have economic interests in the region, intervening militarily to overthrow the dictator?
    I probably would welcome that myself. I could understand many would not. I would have my doubts and fears that the so-called "liberating" army would actually be trying to take advantage of the place in some way, or would disrespect the culture of the neighborhood, etc. I would also be afraid the "liberators" wouldn't actually leave. But still, I would rather something substantial be done, rather than the rest of the world just sitting sympathetically and talking about it and doing little else of help!

    For a discussion of military/violent death rates through history, I refer you to Steven Pinker's TED talk called "the surprising decline in violence." His thesis is that there has been a phenomenal reduction in death rates from violence and war of all sorts, through history, starting with a base rate of 15% (15 000 per 100 000) in early human history, down to 0.3 per 100 000 per year (on average) in the 20th century. This fact does not lessen the terrible horrors of war or violence that we have seen this century, but it does offer hope that we are actually moving forward over time, rather than regressing, in terms of peacefulness, and maybe actually doing some things right.
    • Jul 24 2013: Gar K The library is closed.

      Unfortunately at today's time and place. Innocents are being struck down
      by ill-advised Drones and Hell Fire Missiles.

      Shall I shut my mouth and be quiet when such is occurring?
      Do I read the percentage tables and feel assured that I can sleep well
      when I know the peoples who cry cannot be silent. Their maiming's are
      to horrible. They can only wait to die. 3,000 wee children. How much
      does that rattle the pages of statistics?

      A discussion of death rates, and Steven Pinker's TED talk, cannot mend
      wee children. Cannot bring back innocence - innocent Collateral Damaged
      Dead and Maimed destroyed bodies. Those peoples cannot agree that we
      are maybe actually doing some things right.

      Gar K -- This didn't happen last year. This happened today, last night, all
      the days of last week, and last month, all the days before..

      Throw down your statistics, pick up your compassion.
      Write, Email, Phone, and tell the US President to Stop the murders.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 25 2013: John Moonstroller 30+

      Well John, you are victorious in Congress today,
      as they defeated by 12 votes my wished for result.

      I would have liked to have had a conversation with you.
      Too bad you're such a malevolent sort.

      If you can bend, please apologize to Kate.
      That was uncalled for.

      Have a great life.
  • Gar K

    • +1
    Jul 23 2013: Deaths from war and violence have been declining steadily over time, on a global scale, particularly if you consider this on a per-capita basis. This fact does not improve the lot of those stuck in war-ravaged countries right now, but I think we must take a long view of the matter, and be careful not to be so reflexively vitriolic towards American policy and militarism that we lose sight of the fact that American influence in the 20th century has been a major stabilizing factor for the whole world.

    I might add that the U.S. is the only nation in history which at one point had the unequaled and unequivocal power to take over the whole earth with ease -- that is when the U.S. was briefly the sole possessor of nuclear warfare technology -- but instead of taking over the earth, it devoted its energy into helping rebuild Europe, etc. , and shared its military power with allies. No other nation which was the sole possessor of an ultimate weapon has actually restrained itself from using it.

    This does not excuse the many mistakes and abuses of U.S. policies over the decades (on the parts of government, military escapades, and big businesses), but the U.S. has been a great stabilizer overall, and not simply some kind of demonic force.

    Please refer to data such as from Hans Rosling's talks, to show that improvements in poverty have been a major driving force in improving many of the world's problems. Once again, U.S. influence has been a factor in this change as well, although I certainly agree that it could be, and could have been, much more favourable yet had the foreign policy been different.
    • Jul 24 2013: Gar K --
      I love Hans Rosling's talks as well. He is a unique individual.

      You are wrong !!!
      The numbers of lives lost to Wars in the 20th century.
      Is an appalling figure. It leads such Historic accomplishments

      American militarism in the 20th century has been a major stabilizing
      factor for the whole world. ..56+ armed conflicts since WW2, using
      a policy of making pre-emptive wars upon other nation's shores.

      The killing's and maiming's of innocent men, women, and wee children.
      The most recent Collateral Damages has risen to 5,000 by Drones and
      Hell Fire Missiles. 60% or 3,000 killed and maimed are wee children.
      I ask you. When is enough revenge? Can you answer Gar K?
      You defend -- simply some kind of demonic force. How sad.
      Pre-emptive wars are paid with taxed-payer dollars to Bankers
      who have financed America's wars and armed conflicts
      lo these 237 years,
      Rebuilding Europe and Iraq utilizing American & foreign Contractors,
      (example Halliburton), and others. With Non-bid contracts far overpaid by
      willing Banker's loans, being rolled every 90 days in a never ending process,
      as the American peoples are taxed-to-pay. The reasons for said loans soon
      forgotten and become merely a tic upon the page.

      But, I write this not to chide you, just to bring it forth.
  • Jul 23 2013: I wrote this below in response to another conversationalist.
    I feel it is descriptive of the problem, and I want to share it with all.
    It is the Weapons manufacturers that are the problem.

    That the solution is not easy, is not the problem. The problem is War.
    The United States has a Department of State. But it's Embassies are
    home to Spies. How can Spies with evil intent make peace?
    You ask:
    "How do you feel about terrorists who maim and kill human beings?"
    ...Terrible of course. ..But I understand those "Revengeful People"...

    Our Department of State should negotiate a peaceful settlement.
    --The problem is we have a Geographical Government within borders, and
    they do not know how to negotiate peace with Ungoverned Nomadic Peoples
    who seek rightful revenge.
    --As a result, our inept President orders his Military toys to find and kill them
    from a list compiled by US Government Secret Surveillance Agencies, who
    collect data with electronic means, but, without asking our permission.
    A violation of both the 1st and 4th Amendments. Our Constitutional Protections.
    Presidential WAR is a never ending board game played in the White House.
    A game of War Excesses that costs Trillions of Dollars that the US Government
    must borrow from Foreign Nation's and Domestic FED Bankers.

    Bankers have been financing Monarch Wars for 2,000 years.
    The peoples must pay, and that is how enslavement is borne. (a pun)

    Mums the word about those loans being "rolled over, and over, and over, and over.
    The interest rates rising ever upwards. ..The Bankers rich beyond human belief.
    Making their monies from their eager facilitation of the Killing and Maiming since
    9/11/2001, of 5,000 innocent men women and wee children, as Collateral Damages
    done by Drones and Hell-Fire Missiles. 60% of the Collateral Damages are Children.

    60% equals 3,000 wee children.

    Peace is never achieved. ..Only Wars, one after another, never ending.
    • Comment deleted

  • thumb

    Lejan .

    • +1
    Jul 21 2013: 'Will doing nothing work?'

    Yes, but not for US!
    • Jul 21 2013: Lejan . 30+ thanks for these items.
      I am going to skip those last three you sent me
      until I can do the links. Then one at a time.

      We need to simplify all of this to concrete and provable discovery.

      We may have enough Proofs, to substantiate our fears, right now.
      But we have to alert people in a common-sense fashion.
      Otherwise they will dismiss to their eventual "enslavement", which
      by the way is too strong a word to use at this juncture. It just
      will not be believed. ..And, as those secret agencies become
      stronger, it will become too late to cause change.
      The folks who daily go about their business have little interest in
      snooping into their government's business. ..They have since being
      wee children heard that Democracy is the only way to fly. ..It is the
      only government that works for the benefit of us all. ..I was taught
      the same things. ..And on paper it works. ..But the evidence today
      is showing an evolving threat.

      Today's threat had it's start many years ago. Other nuts in our society
      were yelling and screaming and pulling their hair about a secret
      takeover of our nation's government by dastardly sorts.

      We all paid no attention. They were nuts. ..Right ??? ..Right !!!

      Maybe there might have been a tiny bit of truth in their warnings.
      Ya think?
      • thumb

        Lejan .

        • +1
        Jul 21 2013: 'The folks who daily go about their business have little interest in snooping into their government's business...'

        That's what I called 'games & bread' before and this is part of the problem.

        When talking to my friends I either find them to exhausted, to stressed out by their jobs for them to have any energy left to react, or they are just bored and disillusioned about the constant same 'bla, bla' on main stream media, and choose to ignore it. Or they simple don't care anymore by the feeling of powerlessness against all whats going on around them.

        As I see it, to many people in Germany are still not endangered enough in their 'comfort zone'. Well, it hurts here and there a little, but still not enough to be really painful.

        In Greece and Spain for instance, the situation looks different for many people, and the resulting rage is capable to put them on general strike, to force their governments to take notice of their right to disagree!

        You won't make people understand the situation they are in by appealing on their 'common sense'.

        Especially if you are trying to use the 'KISS' principle, as the subject is far more to complex to be squeezed into it. Sure you can simplify things, but then it is easy to wipe your arguments away by just naming you a 'conspiracy theorist'.

        Personally I find it very difficult to find good sources of information to gain a clear view on things, as all information is biased, and many times you can't isolate the true origins of it. And all those searches take time, in times, where the speed of chances has accelerated beyond our capacity.

        So if your neighbor Bob has not yet reacted vigorously on the facts, what alone the Patriot Act took away off his individual freedom, what more do you think he needs to finally get it?

        How do you explain hunger to a well-nourished, distracted being? How do you spark interest on 'difficult' topics, if 'Sex in the City' is so much more fun to watch?
        • Jul 21 2013: Lejan . 30+ thumbs up..
          You've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.
          America's just a sleeping village, with no idea of ambush.
          You've got to be kidding !!!
          No one said it would be easy when 2 reporters went after Nixon.
          But, they persisted and Nixon went bye bye.
          Today, this is a different time. And the cast of characters are different.

          Cranking up the Congress to investigate Obama might be an impossible
          task, considering we have only a "secret" smoking gun as our evidence.

          And, .. "Follow the Money" may be impossible to do, unless the IRS
          has any teeth left to search the Corporation's returns.

          Remember, recently,
          the IRS got shaken up a bit. A scandal.
          At the time a plausible circumstance. ..Easily believable by most who
          do not love the IRS much.
          ..Would that have slowed them down in this arena?
          ..Could the scheduled congressional roasting of the NSA, yet to be
          held, have been a factor? ..Remember we are talking about some very
          smart people who think far in advance, and act accordingly.

          The FBI has a brand new Director.
          The DHS also has a brand new Director.
          the IRS would need some help with enforcement.
          And they have a brand new Director of sorts.
          Are you starting to get the idea?

          I wish it were Obama that is toast.
          ..But I think we are the toast, burnt toast.
          Something else a bit far-fetched perhaps...
          The IRS's big tax collection center is in the State of Utah.
          The NSA's big data collection center is under construction
          in the State of Utah. I love conspiracy theories.

          Go back to sleep America, you don't want to miss your nightmare.
      • thumb
        Jul 21 2013: I think we are in a state of a collective realization and courage paralysis, which root deep in our well established 'fun society'.

        How else is it explainable that there was no collective outcry when it came out, that the icon of our information society, the iPhone, was spying on its user? Nothing! We became that blind, that we even choose freely to bug our-selfs.

        In old days, they had at least to come into your home to tap you telephone lines. Today they only color them, put some apps on it, some MP3's, and people even buy them freely... What are we doing here? I have no clue about it...

        If the freedom of our privacy would have been of any value to us, one would assume, companies like Apple would have faced a major drop in sales and rise in legal proceedings ... but, it didn't happen, on the contrary ...

        Facing this depth and level of magnitude of our very ignorance, what else than high-velocity-impact of negative 'reality projectiles' into our personal experience was able to penetrate that?

        For now it seems to have to become that way for the majority of the people ...

        The loudest to my ears so far, was the Occupy Movement, but even they seem to have lost their momentum at the moment ...
        • Jul 21 2013: Lejan . 30+
          I heard from one source or another that Microsoft had it's stock price
          drop fourteen percent 14%. That may have been the catalyst for those
          recent changes at the topmost levels

          Our job, keep telling it like it is.

          A practice that will get old for us very quickly.
          I cannot imagine 3 more weeks of this conversation.
          I am becoming immune to the right things our government does.
          Being Stalwart sound great, but in practice it's hard.

          I can understand Ambition. I have experienced a life of such.
          I can understand Greed. I have been greedy to excess in my life.
          So, when I see before my eyes, both traits blatantly exposed.
          I want to show them to my countrymen and women for what they are.
  • Jul 20 2013: Daniel Early Before I look at the link. thank you

    Yes, I think we have lit the fire here on TED.
    TED is the most respected site by far, world wide.
    You are a part of it Daniel. Thank you.

    I believe that when Bill Gates gave his speech the other day
    to Microsoft's employees, he lit a fire himself. I hope that I am right.

    America's peoples want a peaceful existence. We do not need to be
    afraid of foreign nor domestic threats that are created by our Federal
    Governments' thoughtless Collateral Damages that kill and maim
    innocent men, women, and wee children, and create Revengeful
    peoples, with hatred and blood in their eyes.

    Today, the number of dead and maimed wee children total more than
    all the 9/11 WTC Twin Tower deaths.
    How much more blood must we spill? When is enough, enough?
    This "Overkill" has to stop.
    • Comment deleted

      • Jul 21 2013: John Moonstroller 30+

        Well John, your way hasn't worked has it?
        As far as history is concerned, you've not gone back far enough.

        If your idea of government should ever get to thinking like you do.
        Pretty soon they will give you a job. ..You can tattle on your neighbor
        and watch the results. Or have you forgotten 1934 forward.

        You wrote --
        There is only one way to defend ourselves against this type of logistical strategy
        ...... screen the communications of everyone to see who is the bad guys.

        Ok John, If I give you that point, answer me this.

        Why didn't and why doesn't the Paid Corporate Partners that provide this type
        of - "logistical strategy, - the screening of the communications of everyone
        to see who are the Bad Guys" - to the NSA, ask our permission to do so?

        Isn't Not doing that, a clear violation
        of both 1st and 4th Amendments to the United States Constitution?
        .. Amendments put there to prohibit the government from overstepping
        their mandate.
        John, the NSA and other US Spy agencies have been doing this since the
        1970's, or a bit before. ...They don't bother to tell us.
        The Congress gives them Taxed-dollars that we provide, A Black Budget with
        Zero Congressional over-sight on how they spend the money. That is Crazy.
        We don't have any say in the matter. If we get a judge involved, they oppose,
        all the way.

        John your wrong. Simply put, what you write is Propaganda.
      • Jul 21 2013: John Moonstroller 30+

        You forgot to copy the important part of what I wrote...
        I've done it here for you John.

        "Today, the number of dead and maimed wee children total more than
        all the 9/11 WTC Twin Tower deaths.
        How much more blood must we spill? When is enough, enough?
        This "Overkill" has to stop."

        The US is a killing machine. Sad but True.
      • Jul 21 2013: John Moonstroller 30+ You are a hawk.

        I cannot continue to read your conversation.
        Please find another eye. .
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 20 2013: carolyn mcauley 20+ thumbs up.

      You had a tough time at 14. But, I do not believe that you hate your Dad.
      You just hate the circumstances and his excessive spying, questioning,
      and labeling responses. It did give you a strong background to use when
      making correct assessments of similar circumstances.

      I think you are right when you put the onus upon the sanity of who judges
      this material. Who are they?

      ..Are they not the ones who hide in the shadows? Doing their dirty work
      unseen, and themselves, feeling no guilt when the hand of some unknown
      justice finds targets they've created from a field of data based upon statistics
      and without proven quality assurance. At best a guess. At worst a close one.
      A confused mess indeed.
      Genius will never use statistics.
      Compassion will not either.
      Only the Authority, a fool. Alone.
  • thumb

    Lejan .

    • +1
    Jul 19 2013: Just recently I stumbled across this speak of three US whistle-blowers held in Germany at a conference of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), a hacker community in Germany, so no 'mainstream media', which may be of your interest:

    Enemies of the State [29C3]

    Since 9/11 it is a worldwide call of all freedom loving people, not just US Americans, to regain our democratic rights!
    • Jul 20 2013: Lejan . 30+ Thanks for the link.

      It was a long one to watch after the 3.8 hours yesterday with CNN's
      July 17th's Congressional barbeque of the NSA, and Spy Agency and
      DOJ Deputies.

      Almost everyone knows that 100,000 Federal Civil and Military Employees
      along with the State Department's 30,000 Private Contractors (nerds and
      mercenaries) have run up quite a Bill over 35 years for their foreign and
      internal National Security services.

      Today vast black buildings house them and provide Secret Internet(s)
      for them to use in their secret surveillances of foreign nations peoples,
      and now we find out, ourselves also.

      Since the 1970's most Spy Agencies who provide for the national good, are:
      (only a partial list) The CIA, DOD, DHS, ATF, DEA, ICE, FBI, NSA, and SS,
      with nationwide scope, Atlanta GA based DHS Fusion Centers, and the US
      Military's Atlanta GA special Internet IT Corps. Elsewhere Delta Strike Forces
      The President's own dedicated troops that at a moments notice can protect
      and defend the National Security of the United States from foreigners or ourselves.
      My 1st question -
      What happened to all that money the Congress's appropriated every year
      for Black Budgets.
      I can understand that they don't want to talk about it. ..Really I can.
      My 2nd and 3rd questions are --
      (4 commercial Jets high-jacked by Florida trained pilots)
      Why did the Spy Agencies not know about 9/11 ???
      Why did the Spy Agencies not know about the Boston Bombers ???
      My 4th question -
      Why are Whistle-Blowers targeted as Traitors by the Military,
      and Spy Agencies whom they tried to inform on.

      My 5th question -
      Will Janet Napolitano end up as the second President with a
      background of being a Director of a secret intelligence/surveillance
      agency. George HW Bush's CIA, and Janet Napolitano's DHS.

      My final question -
      After w lose Democracy, what type of government will we have?
      • thumb

        Lejan .

        • +1
        Jul 20 2013: Besides the DOD for which I once worked for, unknowingly at that time, I haven't had no contact to any other agency you name of which I know of ... but thats the tricky part in that business, isn't it? :o)

        And as I am no US citizen, my following attempt to answer your question should be considered under those conditions...

        1) As much as I know, intelligence agencies have no legal obligations to clarify the use of their budgets openly towards the public, and any legal authorities which are allowed to have this information are usually obliged to discretion. Because of this you may never get a clear answer on that one.

        2) What makes you think that secret agencies didn't know about 9/11 before hand?

        3) What makes you think that secret agencies didn't know about the the Boston Bombers before hand either?

        Have you ever heard of 'false flag operations'? Could you imagine your country do have done, to do, or to plan those operations? If your answer is yes, rethink 2) & 3). Step back to see 'the big picture'. Who profit of what? Follow the money ...

        Also there is a difference between to 'have known' and to 'could have known'. But to ask those questions retrospectively is irrelevant, because of the sheer quantity of data those agencies process, they may have gotten all the evidence, but may not have concluded correctly on them or just didn't have the capacity to conclude at all...

        4) Why has any government to borrow anything from private banks? Why is the currency of a nation in private monopolies to begin with? Why isn't there besides the well established columns of the 'Legislative', the 'Judiciary' and the 'Exekutive' a non private, non profit 'Monetative', which in my view would do better for and not against 'the people'.

        5) Because corruption grows best in shady places where the lights are dim, and better off.
      • thumb

        Lejan .

        • +1
        Jul 20 2013: Did you just scrambled and changed your questions or am I just getting old? :o)

        6) referring to your 5th) I have no idea, but faces on the political stage, the one you get to see, aren't the true force in any case.

        7) which is your final question: In my view and since 9/11 the US has changed into a police state, as it fits the valid definition for it. But don't worry, as usual, Europe is right behind you ...
        • Jul 21 2013: Lejan . 30+
          This evening I looked on my AmazonKindle to read a novel.
          Thought about an old Alistair MacLean one. But the one I
          decided to read was "1984" by George Orwell. lol.
          It kind of fits the bill.

          A transit thought - I need to list all of the Partner-Corporations
          working with the Secret Surveillances Agencies. We may be
          buying their products while they sell our information to who knows,
          and for whatever purpose.

          ..I would not be surprised to find that US and Foreign Corporations
          are milking the cows, not only the paranoid government's of the
          US & EU, but perhaps even other Friendly nations, and maybe
          some really-really Unfriendly nations as well...
          ...It's been less than a year since one Ex-Ambassador wrote a most
          damming letter to Swift Corporation (the "only" Banking Transit Corp).
          Swift is chartered in the EU and US, putting them in a odd position.
          That of breaking the laws of the EU, US by continuing to Transit
          Funds for Banks in Iran, and perhaps other nations as well...

          ...A copy of the letter was sent World-wide to the entire Banking Industry,
          Nation's Treasuries, their Leaders, and all Politicians involved...
          It was a bomb shell. ..In the US alone, every involved Banker,
          Congressman, and Treasury Official got a copy.

          I saw who got a letter. Names, Titles, Addresses, etc.
          All in plain sight on the internet.

          The ex-Ambassador gave Swift a deadline to comply with the laws.
          Swift wrote back to him 3 days late. ..They claimed to have complied.
          One man with a pen, and the guts to write, can put a period on the
          nose of the bad guys.
  • Jul 18 2013: Why on earth would Microsoft and Google chastise the government for participating in behavior they created and have no intention of stopping?
  • Jul 18 2013: Check out 'corbettreport.com' for interesting, documented information on what happens to whistle-blowers. Apparently, Snowden had no choice as "regular channels" for whistle-blower's appeals are all government controlled, redacted and censored!
    • Jul 19 2013: M-L, Thank you.
      Every whistle-blower gets it in the neck.
      Even the public, they warn, abandons them.
      Hopefully this guy, Snowden, will be welcomed home as a hero.

      Obama might get a third term by acclamation if he did so.... lol

      Keep in mind, the only thing that is important is that the NSA and
      all other such Spy Agencies, Spy Programs, and FISA type courts,
      must adhere to the 1st and 4th Amendments of the Constitution.

      It's early to celebrate, but the Congress may be slowly awakening to
      the threat.

      Print the T-Shirts ..."NSA - FISA.. NO, --- FREEDOM.. YES".
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 19 2013: Kate. Thank you dear.
          This is probably just the first round in a long fight.
          I attempted to start a new conversation this morning.
          TED informed me that I was subject to a CRSP attack.
          I check my Event Log and sure enough, Microsoft has
          given me until 8/4/2013. At that time all protections
          against virus attacks will be removed. lol

          What a life. Windows 7 is now not Genuine. hahaha
          Oh well, I guess I am forced back to my trusty XP.
          This is fun. Beat them up and they fight back.
          Do ya think I need to duck from the Drones. lol
          Or a knock on the door? Then a holding cell?
        • Jul 19 2013: Kate,
          Manning is being Court Marshaled under the
          Military's separate Code of Military Justice.
          Historically, Armies have taken, those who
          oppose orders, out and shot them dead.

          Manning was found out by an ex-hacker named
          Lamo, who turned him in. A foul deed indeed,
          when one considers that the Hacker was not long
          removed from doing the same type of thing.

          Kate. In the real world there is no real Justice.

          This circumstance was Mr. Ford shooting Jesse
          James in the back, all over again. History repeats.
          Kate, you asked, "who is this enemy?"

          For 20+ years and more, I have been concerned that
          our US Government was this enemy. But it isn't.
          Only those dastardly components hidden behind the
          shell of the Military's secrets are to blame.

          ..Our US Government is but been duped.
          Like so many other Governments lost to history.

          Goodbye America, a grand idea wasted to greed.
  • thumb
    Jul 18 2013: No, they don't need to stand up and publicly oppose the NSA. I'm hoping you'll take this with a grain of critical objectivity even though it might make me sound (or evidence I am) apathetic, but I don't really care what the NSA is doing. I don't. They can play with their PRISM all they want.

    And I think in this way, because the part of me that might rigorously object to the undermining of certain freedoms gets balanced out with the other part of me that thinks we don't know how effective PRISM might be (which is the only thing if anything that could justify it) and maybe I should be grateful. That's an oversimplification of what is going on even in a mind as relatively small as mine, but it creates this cognitive draw or mental numbness, and to these whole big debate of what the NSA is doing and what Google and Microsoft should do, I just shrug.

    I've got food to put on the table and self-involved comments to place on TED. I can't afford to spend my time deeply pondering the irony of the company who downloaded all that personal information with its Street Cam cars or the one that wanted to monopolize my software options potentially standing up to a government agency that is monitoring my scintillating text messages to my mother about something the cat just did. Please. Thomas Jefferson said, 'Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty." But how am I to know if he meant vigilance NSA-style or if he was referring to the citizens who are on guard and outraged? I wonder what he would think of this.
    • Jul 18 2013: It has ALWAYS been the responsibility of the citizenry to hold the "rulers" accountable (in the US.) It's only that the media feeds us only what propaganda they want us to know so knowledge of the truth escapes the average citizen. Suggest we get or news and information via alter news sites on the net to learn the truth.
      • thumb
        Jul 18 2013: In a localized society, I could understand that. I should be informed about what's going on around me and hold the 'rulers' accountable. But in a globalized society, where so much is going on, PRISM-gate just being one of them, is it even possible for a person to stay on top of everything and hold governing bodies of a nation that is as enormous as the United States, geographically and population-wise? I prefer localized methods like voting with my dollar for non-GMO's and organic foods when I visit the farmer's market. I do not prefer to spend the next week learning the answers to all the questions I've asked myself about the NSA's actions in regards to Google and Microsoft, a week of learning that for me at least be the minimum amount of time necessary to make an informed decision (and that could be because I'm slow to catch on or over-think things, but that's just me).

        I share your disdain for mass media. I haven't owned a television or subscribed to a newspaper in years (though I have a soft spot for the Friday and weekend editions of the WSJ). I know my BBC News iPhone App and Google News aren't much better. Where could I go to get my news and information via alter news sites on the net? Got some good suggestions?
        • Jul 18 2013: corbettreport.com has a few suggestions though he hesitates to recommend in order to remain impartial. The main point being that t.v. and print media propagandizes our mainstream sources of facts. Snopes, Politifact and factcheck are good sites for verifying information.
    • Jul 18 2013: Daniel Early

      Please sir, roll over and go back to sleep.
      The sheep will watch over themselves.
      Nothing wrong with Apathy.
      If there weren't people like you we couldn't
      tell ourselves apart from the bad guys.
      You live in that in-between land of nod.
      • thumb
        Jul 18 2013: Thank you, I think.
        • Jul 19 2013: Daniel,
          A small chuckle...
          Watch yesterday's CNN July 17th coverage of
          the Congress roasting the NSA. I've explained it in
          a couple of other postings in the last few minutes.

          It is 3.8 hours long. But if the Congress is serious
          then it could become a classic. Fun to see people

          If I were CNN, I would sell it to the High Schools as
          a history lesson showing our nation's government,
          in action, protecting our 1st and 4th Amendment Rights.
  • thumb
    Jul 18 2013: Seems like we, here at Ted, are not only ones who are critical of US 'democracy':

    ‘America has no functioning democracy’ – Jimmy Carter


    World saviours and freedom defenders should free their 'home of the brave' first! :))
    • Jul 18 2013: Kareem Fahim 10+ Thank you for contributing the link --
      President Jimmy Carter is our most elder ex-president, and spoke the truth
      when he said; "The NSA leaks signified that “the invasion of human rights
      and American privacy has gone too far..."

      He then added "...Although Snowden violated US law, he may have
      ultimately done good for the country".

      So there it is.
      President Obama and his Administration's co-conspirator's, together with the
      impotent Congress have overreached their constitutional mandate to govern
      these United States of America.

      The UN, and the Hague, and most of the rest of the world cry STOP.
      A softly spoken message is being passed "War Criminals".

      Keep this one thing in mind as you consider the right or wrong of all this.
      60% of the 5,000+ human beings that have been Killed and Maimed by
      US CIA Military Drones and Hell Fire Missiles were Wee Children.
      Hit by United States High Explosives as Collateral Damage

      Sixty Percent Collateral Damaged wee children.
      That totals 3,000 dead and gory bloody maimed wee children.

      Has the United States of America not gotten enough REVENGE?
      What number is enough?
  • thumb
    Jul 18 2013: There's something I want to say here because I see a lot of people going off about the government. I think there is a lot of government malfeasance here. I really do.

    But intelligence services and the State Department are there for very important reasons. If you go all the way back to Sun Tze's Art of War he talks about how once you put your troops in the field of battle, you have nearly lost every purpose you had in going to war. Before you think of going to war you should exhaust every avenue of negotiation, diplomacy, marriage (hey we're talking ancient China), spying, even assassination to prevent putting your people in the field. Because then, so many will die, you have certainly lost so much.

    So, the State Department with its budget for making us look better around the world, and its diplomats? They are trying to keep us out of wars.

    And even the NSA, with their spying and their huge database of communications? Ultimately they are there to try to keep us out of wars. The way they are doing it? Very poorly put together. But they also do work that does that job, too. They gather intelligence that goes to the State Department and allows the diplomatic corps to peacefully go to countries and negotiate us into dispersing bad situations before they get worse. This is why they are a power bloc in DC. They actually do important work. Otherwise, Congress would smack them on the nose, say "Bad puppy," and send them to the kennel, do you see?

    The wars we get into are because the idiots in Congress and their prodding cronies on the beltway decide it's a good idea to spend money to go adventuring and kill our children over questionable casus belli overseas. The military hates wars. The only "good" war we've been in IMNSHO lately is in Bosnia, where (no one seems to remember) we saved Muslim lives from ethnic cleansing a couple decades ago with our NATO allies. How soon we forget...
    • Jul 18 2013: Shava Nerad 10+ Great propaganda.

      You cannot end War with a gun.
      Diplomats do not carry weapons.
      There never has been a good War.
      Spying is wrong. So is lying about it.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Jul 18 2013: I am not sure you read my post carefully. What I said was that diplomacy and intelligence keep countries (yours too, not just the US - all countries have diplomats and spies) out of wars by heading off tensions.

          You not liking the fact that countries are warlike is rather like not liking that there is disease in the world. If I said, this many children will die of flu this year, would you tell me I hated children because I reported the statistic?

          If my government were to send my family overseas at risk of death or harm - and my brother and son are in the military - then I should rather it be in Bosnia saving lives from human right atrocities than some imaginary WMD in Iraq.

          My family is liberal. We are not hawks. But if only hawks send their children to military service, what voices are at the tables when policy is discussed? My father was a minister who marched with Dr King and the SCLC. Formal nonviolence teaches us that you must study war, not shrink from its study, in order to understand and be able to negotiate with those who would embroil us in wars. That is my profession - I work to fend off wars, but I must work closely with those who execute them. It is not black and white territory, i'm afraid. Wishing won't make it so. If these were simple problems, we'd have solved them millenia ago, don't you think?

          Yet, I give you good information, and rather than asking a follow-up question, you are willing to write me off as a liar or a propagandist ot not credible - just like that. Is it any wonder there are so many wars when humans are so fast to rush to judgment to exclude someone from their trust?
        • Jul 18 2013: Kate, Kudo's

          Propaganda is used by our media to blunt and distort.
          Most times it is obvious. Sometimes it takes a while
          for the reader to recognize. Sometimes the reader is
          fooled. Then media wins.

          We live in a really strange world. It was like this from
          the time I was a wee child.

          My Father read me and my siblings the Sunday Funnies.
          Terry and the Pirates was my favorite. During WW2 the
          Funnies were changed to Terry and the Flying Tigers, with
          episodes in both theatres of the War. When the Korean
          Conflict began, the planes were changed from the old P57's
          to F80's and then F86's fighting Russian/Red Chinese MiGs.

          If you cannot fool a small child with these blatant acts, how
          does the government think it can fool all Americans, and the
          world's peoples? Why do we even put up with such nonsense?

          I suppose to answer my own question, no one wants to rock the

          Like a sea of Army Ants we...
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 22 2013: John Moonstroller 30+

          And during the years without WAR. What happened?
          Did all those peoples trying to kill us go to sleep?

          John, the US President uses Wars to get the Spoils.
          His supporters share. The people don't.
          Things are a bit out of whack, don't ya thnk?
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Jul 19 2013: What I said Kate, is that you took what I said and said I instantly lost all credibility. And now you are turning that around and saying I made a rash judgement that you were talking through your hat.

        You don't read what I am saying. You are determined to judge my words with your anger. It doesn't really matter what I say, you will find that I am your enemy. So I shouldn't probably respond, because you'll just respond with more anger.

        If you actually researched my background you'd find I've even done PTSD therapeutics research. This really is my life's work.

        Ultimately, you can't know what wars we don't end up in. We aren't in Sudan, Somalia, Syria (at least not yet), and that's just the likely S's in the last few years. We aren't in Iran.

        But it's a more general charter, too.

        I rather feel like this is saying, "Well, look, you are the firefighter. Why are there still fires?" That's not the way it works. You educate people, you work on regulations for fire safety, you arrest arsonists if you can catch them. But the best way to prevent fires is to get rid of the sparks before they become fires, so to speak. Make sure everything is damp. :)

        There are aspects to any of this process of education, activism, lobbying government, educating the public -- and getting them to actually vote and become engaged and not waving flags and blowing bugles every time someone saying Johnnie should march to war again... People say they don't want war until there is one.

        Here in Boston we looked like Kandahar on the day after Patriot's Day, all for one skinny boy hiding in a boat -- and nearly no one found it excessive or a violation of posse comitatus.

        I have honestly done more overseas for freedoms than I've been able to do here, but I'm putting together a newer project hoping to turn out more citizen participation and teach people more transparently about what their own government is about.

        I'm on the same side. What are you at? Do you strike out at everyone?
  • Jul 16 2013: Linda Taylor 50+ Thank you, your right.

    Unless we customers show our objection to their snooping software
    they won't change a thing. ..Let us join together in a loose federation
    of customers and let all of the participants know that we will not allow
    this behavior to continue.

    We are the purse-strings. There are other operating service providers
    that will come forward as soon as they see a crack in the armor.
    Microsoft and Google know this. They know that their Internet Products
    can cease to be purchased over-night. ..This is a fickle customer base.
    Burn our toes, and we will slap you down. (tough talk. LOL)

    Mr. Snowden is hiding for his life. ..Guilty or not, he cried Wolf and
    exposed the problem.

    Linda, please lend your weight, if you think it worthwhile, be fearless.
  • Jul 14 2013: There never was any such thing as privacy regarding electronic communications.

    If you are interested in starting to build privacy into the internet, I would propose a new internet protocol that encrypts every communication originating from an individual. Web browsers would be limited to passively displaying stuff, and would require the permission of the individual user to do anything more (video, sound, etc anything that required the execution of a process).

    The protocol would also require a method for the individual user to remain anonymous. The protocol could generate a different address each time you start a session, and perhaps every x minutes. The individual user would still be responsible for keeping his private information private. If you want to put your real name on facebook, along with a bunch of other personal information, you will have zero privacy.

    Complete privacy would also require keyboards that do not generate radio waves.

    If you want privacy on the internet, keep in mind that terrorists want it even more than you do.
    • Jul 14 2013: Barry, most of us know about the lack of privacy regarding
      electronic communications.
      But thank you for bringing it to the forefront.

      I am not after building privacy into the internet.
      I want the US government's secret intrusion limited.

      ..American's did not plan to elect a snooping government.
      ..They elected a government who could protect them from attack.
      ..The government they got is using that mandate to support
      secret-Internet-monitoring. That is intrusive.

      The internet has expanded so quickly in 15 years that technology
      lets us all speak one language. Geographical Government's are being
      left behind as shared internet information has become world-wide
      the controlling factor of opinion.

      China and Iran have tried to put a stopper in the bottle.
      Separate internet for it's people, and a strong pitch for national pride.
      With harsh responses to Whistle-Blowers.

      The US Government has partnered up with the Major Internet
      Operating Systems and Servers to monitor world-wide for trouble makers.
      With harsh responses to Whistle-Blowers.

      The Major Internet Operating Systems and Servers have expanded
      world-wide and have found a nitch-market in Diplomacy for their
      US Government Partners to use in secrecy to monitor foreign threats.

      The Major Internet Operating Systems and Servers sell foreign nation's
      and their peoples, a package including a secret monitoring system for the
      collection of data.

      Here in the US, (the NSA) the National Security Agency stepped on it's toes.
      They've been exposed by Mr. Snowden. The last of the Whistle-Blowers.
      Exposed from inside. ..A real-live Trojan Horse.

      WikiLeaks has left secret monitoring Diplomacy info on the Internet.
      It was never the threat it was touted to be. The total amount of
      old information just to much for the average person to consume.

      Today's Terrorists may be revengeful family survivors of our US Government's
      collateral damages from their Drone Warfare. Ya think?
    • thumb
      Jul 15 2013: "If you are interested in starting to build privacy into the internet, I would propose a new internet protocol that encrypts every communication originating from an individual."

      "The protocol would also require a method for the individual user to remain anonymous. The protocol could generate a different address each time you start a session, and perhaps every x minutes."

      You're welcome.
    • thumb
      Jul 16 2013: Also Tempest, for radio wave hardening.

      That reference to Tor above is the project I was founding execdir of (although it was ongoing as an open source project when we incorporated).

      None of these solutions work perfectly particularly against a state level adversary. If you can spool off any encrypted communications between citizens just based on that as suspicion (as Forbes reported Snowden's leaked NSA docs allow for) then any crypto is lining you up for intercept.

      We are back to a basic rule: say nothing online you wouldn't say over congressional bean soup in a crowded cafeteria, and nod to the nice young man with the ear wire.
      • thumb
        Jul 17 2013: "We are back to a basic rule: say nothing online you wouldn't say over congressional bean soup in a crowded cafeteria, and nod to the nice young man with the ear wire."

        A thought like that could make me fall in love again!

        I like the TOR project, but when I was using vidalia/TOR as a proxy server, I got a lot of extra stuff on my computer. I assume I was acting as a secure email server for the TOR network. But the files themselves I was unable to access. I had to wait 2 days & try 3 more times to get that all cleaned off. But that's just how TOR works I suppose. And if you live in China, that's good! I can participate in private email for the Chinese. And my internet habits are insufficiently secure/poor such that I risk compromising the network.

        Maybe I'll figure out how to fix all that someday.
    • Jul 16 2013: "If you want privacy on the internet, keep in mind that terrorists want it even more than you do."

      STOP. This is again spreading fear.

      Know there have been "terrorists" for as long as there have been Kings or Queens, who have oppressed people, who wanted freedom. And Americans should really know about that...

      And it (freedom) was invented LONG before the internet. And it will be there LONG after the internet.
      • Jul 16 2013: Terrorists you can take for granted.

        Freedom was not invented. It was forcibly earned with blood sweat and tears.

        Freedom will persevere for only as long as we are willing to make the required sacrifices.

        And, I am not spreading fear. I am reminding you that privacy has a cost. If you have privacy, so does everyone else, including those who would use it to deprive you of your freedoms.
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    Jul 13 2013: Look guys, I think the government is more well-intentioned than we perceive them to be.

    Have you guys ever seen a politician's schedule? They literally work from 8AM-8PM or something ridiculous like talking to various people participating in debates or meetings, etc. I just did a project at my work from 9-10:30 PM and I can tell you, this shit is tiring. I was literally going home, go straight to bed, get up, go to work with nothing in between.

    And you know what else, these guys have to listen. HARD.
    In my other post, I also mentioned that Listening requires focus. A lot of focus. Imagine maintaining that kind of focus for 12 hours. Every single day. To be able to do this is superhuman.

    Man, being a politician sure sounds like a dream job doesn't it?

    Also know this. A lot of these politicians are from Harvard and Yale due to alumni connections. These guys have been raised in rich, predominately white communities. There's no way they could relate to the kinds of things a kid from the urban street life has to go through. At the same time, there's no way that some guy growing up from the street could relate to what a born-rich white politician had to go through as a child. I bet the family put high expectations on them to continue the legacy and I bet the sibling rivalries are intense.

    You know what else politicians might have to go through? Deciphering ambiguity.

    Let me show you what ambiguity is.
    I used a product called BGH. It's fast, flexible, scalable, and it can do anything you want!

    Now you tell me what BGH is and what it does. Yeah, you can't know what it is. In a project at work, we were tasked to understand what the product was and sell its idea. Figuring out ambiguity is HARD. The politicians MUST decipher the ambiguity that all the other politicians say in order to keep up with the rest.

    So if you ask my hunch, these politicians are receptive and intelligent, but they just need a little change in perspective.
    • Jul 13 2013: James, you sound like myself some 50 years ago.
      It is fun when your learning and stuffing your head
      with knowledge. You just have to let it out. Fun stuff.

      You might be a bit too forgiving. But otherwise
      Great Job.
      • thumb
        Jul 13 2013: Letting it out is the easiest way to be myself, but the hardest way when no one accepts it.

        I think I'm pretty reasonable, but wholeheartedly appreciate your words of caution and concern and take it to heart :)

        ...especially when I do something stupid haha
        • Jul 15 2013: I don't think you have experienced enough critical thinking to know when you are being hoodwinked. It is a well-known fact that most politicians never read the bills they vote on nor do they have any motivations to do so. Their lives are so filled with travel junkets, fund-raising parties, perks of all kinds, they have little time left to do the work they're paid to do. I think we live in a quasi police state where even the politicians have no more power than any of us do...they're "bought" by the ruling plutocracy on their way into office! The media simply spew the propaganda they are being fed by the 1%ers and they distract us from important issues by tossing out conflicts and meaningless "news". 98% of us are merely ignorant ants serving their purposes.
      • thumb
        Jul 15 2013: "I don't think you have experienced enough critical thinking to know when you are being hoodwinked."

        No probably not. I don't know much about politics and I don't know the details of NSA.

        However, I do know people. And I know how to solve and identify problems.

        That's my perspective anyways. But thanks for sharing your info :)
    • Jul 16 2013: James: Your post reminded me of a story about the Queen of England. At a parade, one of the soldiers, standing at attention for a long time, fainted in place and lay there unconscious. (Happens often). A small child asked : Why is no one helping him? And was told, his Corporal could not help him, without breaking ranks , and upsetting the whole parade. The Sergeant couldn't do anything for the same reason, and upward through the ranks, to the presiding General. He said the Queen would be upset. The Queen said she couldn't do anything because it would upset everyone else. That's about our situation. Of course, I guess it really does depend on having evil "Enemies", in our case.
      • thumb
        Jul 16 2013: Common sense is the ultimate efficiency.
  • thumb
    Jul 13 2013: To answer the question,

    From our perspective, of course they should stand up, it's pretty heroic and epic. I know some friends at Microsoft and Google too, and no doubt they definitely think this is pretty unjust.

    HOWEVER, we have no way of knowing the TRUTH. Who knows what kind of things the government threatened them with in order to get these large corporations who are EXTREMELY powerful entities to comply. Or maybe the government didn't do any threats at all but explained the situation and it was that severe. Maybe Edward Snowden leaks are really just that dangerous that could potentially cause government collapse as a system, and that the politicians knows it's a HORRIBLE idea to reveal these kinds of things.

    But I think the key problem is Distrust. Everywhere.

    But trust this. Obama is an EXTREMELY good communicator and good communication requires good understanding of others, and he's way more intelligent than the average human like me and you guys. How else could he have become president?
    • Jul 13 2013: James, thank you.
      There are several Internets out there. And since we Americans have not been told that their
      government led by Obama has access to it's own set of internets, we the people are being
      deceived. Your reliance upon a good communicator may be misplaced.
      I won't try to change your mind with contrary evidence as you seem a faithful follower.

      We rely upon a slow and sluggish Congress to provide the Oversight necessary to prevent
      misuse of the public trust. The system is known as Checks and Balances. For about the
      last 20+ years there has been a slow change occurring within our government. Nothing
      has come out of the Congress to restrict this change.

      Always a pessimistic sort, I give the US until 2020.

      Oddly enough AT&T has it's target date 2020 for the completion of removals of all copper
      hard-wired phones, including mine. Kismet?
      • thumb
        Jul 13 2013: Let me clarify.

        I trust Obama's skills in communication and his intelligence. I have no idea what his character is like. Don't assume that just because I said some good things about Obama, that it means I voted for him. There's no connection.

        If you want to know who I voted though, I voted for no one. That's because I knew didly squat about each candidate and I prefer to know (I mean REALLY know) who I vote for.

        But understand this. I see the strengths and weaknesses in people. And there's NOTHING political about these qualities I find. They're my intuitive opinions, that I sometimes refer to all the time as facts.

        You're right that the government is slow. They've probably been at stalemates forever or something. I feel like they've been playing one huge chess game this entire time, always trying anticipate the opponent's next moves or trying to analyze the consequences of their own moves. The only way for them to really move forward is time and real-world events, the unanticipables (I don't think this is a real word).

        Pessimism is good. It means you're cautious. :)
        • Jul 13 2013: James,
          I added another piece to this puzzle.
          Please see above.

          I look not to strength nor weakness,
          Honesty above all.

          Today, we have a secretive government.
          Not the government we thought we elected,
          but another morphed in it's place.

          We thought we elected Transparency, but
          when we got home and opened the package,
          all we found were Secrets kept from us all.

          Our Privacy of speaking and writing to each
          other has been violated.
          ..The reasons given are not reasonable.
        • Jul 16 2013: Obama has merely been a likeable pawn in the hands of the ruling, greedy elite! He has done their bidding at every turn.
      • thumb
        Jul 13 2013: That.

        was poetry.

        A picture is worth a thousand words,
        Maybe this Ted comment is worth a thousand thumbs.

        Hehe, I'm pretty good too, eh? But no, THAT was just amazing though, it communicated EXACTLY the sentiments of everyone. That's art, and expression. And it had a lot of heart. Imagine that poem in a marketing campaign on a commercial everyone saw? There's something about a good poem that just captures the sincerity of one's thoughts and feelings. I think it has enough power to convince at least a few thousand politicians.

        I'm afraid I'll be done for today, so I won't be on here for much longer. I literally spent a whole entire day on Ted, and now I gotta get back to work.

        Thanks for sharing your perspective and your story :)
        • Jul 13 2013: A last word James.

          Doesn’t seem odd to anyone that there is no Transparency in Government?
      • thumb
        Jul 13 2013: It's not entirely hard to understand.

        Change is hard. How long has the same US government been around for? Yeah...

        The only thing that happened recently was that huge tidal called Internet and Social Media. It allowed for people to have a voice, be heard, and it is a HUGE step towards open-ness and transparency. Do you trust Facebook?

        Meanwhile, government's still doing the same old things and now they're kinda overwhelmed by that tidal wave.

        But change will happen, I can see it easily. Kids at the age of 5 are using iPads and smartphones and Facebook. These are the same kids that will grow up to become politicians or whatever it is they'll become. These are the same kids that will grow up with Ted integrated into their school courses.
        • Jul 13 2013: James, you are aware, are you not, that the NSA and
          others have their own Internet(s). DOD inspired.

          NO James I don't trust Facebook.

          Last month, In June 2013, the NSA claimed "direct access"
          through the Prism program to the systems of many major
          internet companies, Microsoft, Skype, Apple, Google,
          Facebook and Yahoo, to name a few..

          I could "cry wolf" to you a thousand times. You cannot hear it.
          You are deaf. Our nation suffers the same malady.

          The voters have one or two more chances to start to rectify things
          but by 2020 their options will run out.
          You folks are toast.
        • Jul 16 2013: Read history and you will see that ALL civilizations rise and fall with regularity. The built-in weakness in Democracies is that they're initially created on a moral foundation, that foundation eventually becomes replaced by a foundation based upon greed and capitalism. Moral corruption ensues (in gov't, the environment, judicial system, economics), society decays and eventually dies only to be replaced by another. We here in America are now suffering the exact same moral decay as the Romans, Greeks and Eqyptians on their demise as world leaders. It is all a part of Nature's way of rejuvenation...if we don't ruin or blow this planet to smithereens beforehand!
      • thumb
        Jul 13 2013: Oh and on another note, the US government was actually really good. The fact that it lasted for over 200 years and hasn't changed means that it worked well enough to last that long. Lots of monarchies had kings overthrown within a few years (single digit years).

        But yeah, times are changing, and we will have a better government because more people recognize the flaws but now have a voice about it.

        Stories are powerful, remember that.
      • thumb
        Jul 13 2013: Are you saying that the government is more powerful than big corporations?

        How can they be more powerful when Google and Microsoft has the best computing talents? Do you see us go to the government's sites? No we go to google when we search everything. And only GOOGLE has that kind of confidential information. Not some government running crap enterprise software. And I know they run crap enterprise software, because that's from MY company and we're gonna fix that shit in 2 years.

        And understand this. More software developers aspire to go to Google and Microsoft. I've NEVER heard a person say "It's my dream to work for the government as a software developer. I'm gonna make a difference!"

        BULLSHIT! I'm from Georgia Tech btw. I know CS people and I can vouch that NO ONE expresses interest in going to the government. Hell, they even made a movie about Google called The Internship and made Google appear like the dream job for everyone. Where's the Government's movie about people wanting to work for the government as the top innovative safe haven for computer geniuses?

        The government NEEDS Google's and Microsoft's level of data, not the other way around.

        If they did have Google's or Microsoft's level of information, then OF COURSE they wouldn't need to go investigating Google and Microsoft.

        And another thing is, whoever has the most money is the most powerful entity. The government is NOT as rich as Google. Even if they were, how the hell could they be improving IT, when they go spend all our tax money on the military? Or so I've heard at least..
        • Jul 14 2013: James, so you're hiding in the weeds, a trout fisherman.
          Those opportunistic trout will bite on anything. lol

          Microsoft wanted world-wide business.
          For example - A few years ago -
          They sold Tunisia and other nations, great Internet security
          packages to monitor citizen's activities, and in exchange gave
          the US secret spy agencies similar rights of passage, whether
          they knew it or not. Check out WikiLeaks.

          The NSA isn't investigating Google or Microsoft.
          They are in partnership with them.
          How else could they (FISA approved) secretly monitor citizens?

          Department of Defense Directive 5100.20, dated December 23, 1971,
          the Director of the NSA must always be a commissioned officer of
          the military services. Because the assignment is currently part of a
          tri-hatted position, the Director of the NSA is appointed to the grade
          of a four-star general or admiral during the period of his incumbency.
          The Deputy Director is always a technically experienced civilian.

          I would say that the amounts of money large corporations make is
          not enough to make them more powerful than the US Government.
          Our US Government has the Military at the President's beck and call.
      • thumb
        Jul 14 2013: The core of any company is defined by the people working in it. That's the only thing I can believe.

        "The NSA isn't investigating Google or Microsoft.
        They are in partnership with them.
        How else could they (FISA approved) secretly monitor citizens? "

        Ok, I see, I haven't been following this story that intently to know the details.

        "I would say that the amounts of money large corporations make is
        not enough to make them more powerful than the US Government.
        Our US Government has the Military at the President's beck and call."

        Fair enough, this is a great debate that may never end, but at least I'll tell you why I think Large Corporations is stronger than government.

        People love Apple's products and what it does for them.
        People hate the government and the military.

        The Apple products are closer to the people, while the government is distanced.

        Large corporations drive change to society. Militaries inspire fear in other societies.

        That's why I think large corporations are more powerful. But I really like your opinion too.
        • Jul 14 2013: Thank you James,
          Have you bothered to read this conversation from the beginning?
          Please click "View the full conversation" below.

          Your opinions are off topic, and since I started this conversation,
          I would rather you respond to me "on topic" with your opinions.

          This is not to say that you are not a great one to spar with. You are.
          I just feel committed to exposing the US government's lack of
          Transparency. Please join our conversation. We need debaters.
      • thumb
        Jul 14 2013: "Thank you James,
        Have you bothered to read this conversation from the beginning?
        Please click "View the full conversation" below. "

        Unfortunately no, and you got me there lol. I've been skimming because there's too much to read. Too bad I don't have all the time in the world to read through everything carefully.

        "This is not to say that you are not a great one to spar with. You are.
        I just feel committed to exposing the US government's lack of
        Transparency. Please join our conversation. We need debaters."

        Thanks! Your poems were pretty powerful. I would definitely want to debate and discuss with you guys, but I've got duties elsewhere I'm afraid. However, I encourage you guys to use less words and make conversations as digestable as possible, but don't lose flow. Stories are great!

        People think debating is useless, and it only is when no one's listening to each other. But debating is not about working against each other. It's about collaborating with each other. Debating helps uncover and identify the problems. You can't find solutions without finding the problem. :)
    • Jul 15 2013: Due to the "dumbing down" of our members of society.
  • Jul 12 2013: Today, Friday, July 12, 2013, - Headlines from major Media include --
    Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption.
    Files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret "Prism" program.

    The documents show that:
    • Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

    • The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

    • Microsoft worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

    • Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to "understand" potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

    • In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

    • Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a "team sport".
    The latest NSA revelations further expose the tensions between Silicon Valley and the Obama administration.
    ..All the major tech firms are lobbying the government to allow them to disclose more fully the extent and nature of their co-operation - with the NSA, to meet their customers' privacy concerns.
    There is much more than this I could write. But one thing at a time is probably best.
    I am so sad to have to write these damming statements.
    • Comment deleted

      • Jul 13 2013: Yes, Miss Kate, Ah did what you demanded.
        Now I have to find those dammed names of the EU countries that
        are a part of this grand conspiracy. I know the main ones are those
        who joined with the US attempts to fight internet piracy and target
        the Pirate Bay. My memory senses, tell me that was when Google
        was first made a player with the NSA. But, since I read so fast and
        so much, I need to go back and dig out that damming date.

        I don't rightly know Miss Kate, what we can do to salvage Snowden.
        He is truly in the fight of his life. ...Perhaps the fight for his life also.

        Whistle Blowers usually lose badly.
  • Comment deleted

    • Comment deleted

      • Jul 12 2013: There are 6 or 7 major nations trying to control the internet as I write.
        some of those nations already have strong controls in place.

        Apparently they realized the end of "babble" and the birth of worldwide
        communication was a prelude to the end of geographical governments.

        To end that threat, these governments co-opted Microsoft, Google, Adobe,
        and Yahoo, and many more not yet revealed.

        Today their medium is the NSA's Data Mining Prism Program. They have
        other programs in place.

        The hints of something not being kosher, has started to appear. The Hearld news
        about San Francisco Presidio DOD employees being restricted from searching
        certain sites on the internet is but one example.

        Invasion by internet of EU computers has caused France's President to show his
        disgust, by stopping trade with the EU and the US for a 2 week period.

        When the current administration was unable to get new laws passed by congress
        that would provide controls over the internet, they merely sic'd the NSA on us and
        the EU nations that have been friendly to us.

        You folks can make your own decisions. You have a Whistle-Blower who has just
        risked his life and future to cry wolf, for you all. For God's sake listen.
    • Jul 13 2013: I recently read the recent differences between
      the old Adobe Reader EULA
      and the newer Adobe's and Acrobat;s EULA's.
      ..Sparked my interest immediately.
      ..These providers are closing the port-holes.

      ..Be aware people that our free internet is being changed.
      ...We've had a heyday, now something else has been added.
      ... put your reading glasses on and read.
      ...Set the old EULA's besides the new ones and compare.
      ...You will never want to click on "I agree" again.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 14 2013: TED FRIEND
          Sounds good, but in actual fact it doesn't work that way.
          You and I both know it.

          Times are changing.
          I am looking at the IBM OS, just to move away from MS.
          I may go with p2p if after I check things out and it looks ok.
          MS pings my event about 5 times a minute 24/7/365.
          I have been eliminating programs until thing get back to
          normal. I can wipe the HD and reload, but why?
          I had a perfectly good XP for 10 years, and then my
          daughter gave me Win7 as a gift. Arrrrrugh !!!

          I have a Seagate backup but when I install a new OS
          I will still have to inspect each file for who knows what.
          Thank you NSA.
    • Jul 16 2013: This is "pie-in-the-sky", typical American efforts to stop spying and "quick-fix" dream solutions so easily and ignorantly espoused by the uninformed.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 17 2013: TED FRIEND you were not replying to me but --
          You've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award for
          briefly explaining the solution.

          Problem is we have to wake a nation.
          Going to be hard.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 17 2013: TED FRIEND

          Dang it Ted, you've beat me to the idea.
          Here I am riding a bus to ask people about the NSA,
          and getting quizzical looks. You, on the other hand
          know what to do.

          Now we need to find the guys or gals who can reach
          Oprah and the rest of those social giants and talk them
          into carrying the ball a few yards. Am I on the right track?
  • Jul 25 2013: To TED.
    Thank you for allowing me to post this conversation.

    I learned a few things.
    1. Not many Americans want to voice opinions on tough subjects.
    2. Cyber-Surveillance is unwise.
    3. There are some real nuts in the world, and they can write.

    Thank you TED
  • Jul 25 2013: You've moved on John,
    I never met Kate, but seemed a nice person.
    Her other responses were appropriate.
    If you can complain after you're tactics with Kate
    and get her removed, seems an apology at this
    point would be the mannerly manly thing for you to do.

    I don't actually feel you will do so. So surprise me.
  • Jul 25 2013: Ladies and Gents.
    The Congress voted today to make no changes to the NSA programs.

    I have lost my appeal to what I consider integrity.
    But, as a poor historian, I must accept the defeat.

    Thank you -
    Those who tried with me, and those who did not.

    Know this, - You will be spied upon, watched, and
    carefully selected for whatever the future may require.

    That big building being built in the Utah hinterlands
    may store 10 years to 100 years of your life's privacy.

    There are some other buildings the Spy agencies have
    around the nation. Some of the links will get you those
    addresses, if you care to seek.

    I wlll be gone soon, but those of you left, and your children
    may want to know about the watchers. Seek them out now
    while they are weak. Later will be too late.

    I think the vote was 217 to 205, something like that.
    You may want to keep in mind who voted and how.
    Look now, Later will be too late.
  • Jul 24 2013: Today's Guardian Headline --
    White House urges Congress to reject moves to curb NSA surveillance

    Obama administration alarmed by vote on 'Amash amendment' aimed at blocking
    blanket surveillance of phone records.

    Please folks, this administration has spent a $$$ Trillion dollars
    to set this NSA secret surveillance program of all of you US citizens into motion.

    George Bush and Barack Obama did not bother to ask our permission to do so.
    Barack Obama claims to be a Constitution scholar.
    His actions to date show that not to be true.

    Before jumping to the President's defense, consider that the NSA is not the
    only secret surveillances agency collection information on each of you. Nor
    is this the only NSA secret surveillance program being used on you.

    We have a serious problem. In the 2005 Congress, Senator Leahy pounded
    his desk and yelled "This must stop."
    Nothing occurred then to stop them.

    Something better happen now.
    It really must.

    Write, email, telephone, you Congressmen and Congresswomen today.
    Today/ Burn the wires. Call, spend the time for your own freedom.

    Surely your Freedom is worth it. Right???
  • Jul 24 2013: John Moonstroller 30+

    John, you have done a bad thing.
    Kate did not deserve your threatening posture.
    I read your scary bit, and was appalled.
    Manners above all, john

    You deserve no capitulation to your name.
  • Jul 24 2013: For whatever good or bad it will do -
    I am posting this information, I just received.

    I thank Brewster Kahle for compiling and sending it to me.

    News from the Internet Archive

    No. 11, 23 July 2013

    (You’ll find information about subscribing and unsubscribing at the end of this edition.)

    Cost to Store All U.S. Phone Calls Made in a Year in Cloud Storage

    Because of recent news reports, I wanted to cross check the cost feasibility of the National Security Agency’s recording all of the US phone calls and processing them.

    These estimates show only $27M in capital cost, $2M in electricity, and take less than 5,000 square feet of space to store and process all U.S. phone calls made in a year. The National Security Agency seems to be spending $1.7 billion on a 100k square foot datacenter that could easily handle this, and much, much more. Therefore, money and technology would not hold back such a project—it would be held back if someone did not have the opportunity or will.


    Another study concluded about 4x my data estimates others have suggested the data could be compressed 10:1, and the power bill would be lower in Utah. A Google Doc version of the spreadsheet is online.


    Read more:


    —Brewster Kahle
    Founder and Digital Librarian
  • Jul 24 2013: Kate, thank you for the warning. It's been deleted but I caught
    the first part beforehand.

    Yes the guy is angry. This is not a topic without peril.
    But he is a propagandist. That we should understand.
    His motive is not personal. He gets paid for his actions.

    Finding Prism on my computer was a bit of a shock
    but understandable. I hope people will wake up soon, but the
    2 party system is well entrenched and the media too well paid by

    This is like being underwater and watching the bubbles go by.
    I won't blame you if you need to toss the towel in at this point.
    You deserve the best. Thanks.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 24 2013: John Moonstroller 30+
      Dang it John, you are harder than a rash to get rid of...
      Maybe if I try A&D ointment you will go away.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 24 2013: John Moonstroller 30+

      As far as I have found, John, you never commanded at all.
      Your propaganda has been sent to my Z file.
      You Sir are toast.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 23 2013: John, Can we first agree that all lawyers are bad?
      All bad lawyers agree on, "There are two sides to every argument."

      They are right.

      Self defense is not Nuclear Bombs.
      Self Defense is not being the #1 nation selling Weapons of Wars.
      Self Defense is not Arming Civil War participants.
      Self Defense is not constructing 3 Drone bases in central Africa.
      Self Defense is not 10 to 20 years of revenge killings.
      Self Defense is not prosecuting 56+ armed conflicts since WW2.
      Self Defense is not creating Spy Agencies to spy on Citizens.
      Self Defense is not making pre-emptive wars upon other nation's shores.
      Self Defense is none of these things.
      Terror is.
      To other nations, the United States are the Terrorists.
      And you John? What are you? Patriot or Propagandist?

      John, we need to change.
      ..Citizens of these United States need to demand we cease and desist.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 23 2013: John Moonstroller 30+ Now you've done it.
          You've made me mad again.

          John, your ideas were born in a government's grab-bag.

          I did my time in Korea. You should be so lucky.
          I will trade medals with you and beat you by at least four.
          ..I might be able to dig up your history John.
          ..I would only need the NSA to help me do so.
          ..Shall I ask them John ??? ..Your call John.

          Or, do you suppose they would be stepping upon your
          1st and 4th Amendment rights of the Constitution?
          ..I guess you have little use for the protections offered
          by the Constitution.

          Better put some lamp black on that gun sight John.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 22 2013: John Moonstroller 30+

      Wow!!! You just won't get off the "Killer Kick", will you John.
      You might try out for the next Killer Ant Army that swarms by.

      You cannot see that the answer lies not in a Global Government
      but in a Non-Government..

      The internet contains that Non-Government right now.
      Geographical Government's days are numbered.
      No matter the Weapons they build, nor the Killing they do.
      No matter how hard they try to turn off Global communications.
      Geographical Government's days are numbered.

      Nomads using their Religion to cross borders will lead the way.
      Other Religions who watch it happen, will join hesitantly.
      Non-Religious who watch it happen will attempt to lead or follow.

      Democracy has had it's day in court.

      Intelligence cannot be beaten by damned fools.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 22 2013: John Moonstroller 30+
      You've gotten it backwards, John.
      It is the Weapons manufacturers that are the problem.

      That the solution is not easy, is not the problem. The problem is War.
      The United States has a Department of State. But it's Embassies are
      home to Spies. How can Spies with evil intent make peace?
      You ask:
      "How do you feel about terrorists who maim and kill human beings?"
      ...Terrible of course. ..But I understand those "Revengeful People"...

      Our Department of State should negotiate a peaceful settlement.
      --The problem is we have a Geographical Government within borders, and
      they do not know how to negotiate peace with Ungoverned Nomadic Peoples
      who seek rightful revenge.
      --As a result, our inept President orders his Military toys to find and kill them
      from a list compiled by US Government Secret Surveillance Agencies, who
      collect data with electronic means, but, without asking our permission.
      A violation of both the 1st and 4th Amendments. Our Constitutional Protections.
      Presidential WAR is a never ending board game played in the White House.
      A game of War Excesses that costs Trillions of Dollars that the US Government
      must borrow from Foreign Nation's and Domestic FED Bankers.

      Bankers have been financing Monarch Wars for 2,000 years.
      The peoples must pay, and that is how enslavement is borne. (a pun)

      Mums the word about those loans being "rolled over, and over, and over, and over.
      The interest rates rising ever upwards. ..The Bankers rich beyond human belief.
      Making their monies from their eager facilitation of the Killing and Maiming since
      9/11/2001, of 5,000 innocent men women and wee children, as Collateral Damages
      done by Drones and Hell-Fire Missiles. 60% of the Collateral Damages are Children.

      Peace is never achieved. ..Only Wars, one after another, never ending.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 24 2013: Kate Blake 50+ Thank you.

          If I can find "Yes Minister", I will surely watch it.
          I am reading an old 1960's Alistair MacLean novel wherein
          he describes a corruption of government then in 1940-41.

          The Department of Defense in recent years has been merely
          a figurehead (a puppet if you will) with the Department of State's
          CIA really the motivating force, and the Pentagon running the
          Military and the NSA. A vast Military Budget provides unrestricted
          research and development, with unending small armed conflicts
          to test their products. The Congress appropriates Black-Budgets
          for all the secret spy and surveillance agencies, including those
          Fusion centers of the Department of Homeland Security.

          Both the NSA and the DHS have purchased from Major Corporations
          their surveillance services (AT&T $345 and $100 monthly) and employees
          as private contractors to work alongside their government partners.
          Boeing actually pays their own employees to work within the DHS's Fusion

          Kate, I recall you do not want to have "hearsay". So I will admit that I cannot
          guarantee that what I've written above is not "hearsay". Like those EU nations
          I have yet to supply the names to you. See Kate, I haven't forgotten. Sorry for
          the delay. Much to do, too little time. I suppose Paul Revere wondered if he
          was doing the right thing himself. Not that I think I am he. After all. No horse.

          At least you and I tend to agree that something is very wrong, and getting worse.

          There appears to be a vast new building under construction by the NSA in the state of Utah. One of these conservationists listed a link to a video of it. ..Having lived 6 years
          in Utah, I was convinced, but now remain a skeptic.
          The very last part of the video was a scene showing two white autos
          moving down the roadway to what was supposed to be the construction site.
          ..I forget very little.
          ..I recognized that last part from some other video. Where? When?
          Don't know.
    • Comment deleted

      • Jul 23 2013: Kate, thank you.
        This was a great response. Right on target.
        The hawks of War are blind to the devastations they enjoy.

        Kate, We've got about 3 weeks left. Thanks to your reminding.
        Time to find a second stage, if you will.
        I might suggest a new topic,
        Should a suit be brought against Partner-Corporations?
        Or some other such. Do you have an opinion on this?
        Appearing on my desktop, unsolicited I might add.
        C:Users"name"DesktopOpt out of PRISM,
        the NSA’s global data surveillance program - PRISM Break_files
        and another one: 0409.dll
        Dated 7/12/2013

        I noticed them some time ago. Perplexed, but did nothing.
        Then last night I sent them to the Recycle Bin.
        A few minutes ago I looked into them. Surprise.
        You might want to check your computer for like files.

        In the Opt out of Prism file --
        I found an alphabetical list of small 1 and 2 kb PNG files.
        showing tiny pictures of ad icons.
        Scrolling down I found several larger files. 122 kb etc.
        which were all coded files.

        I opened, "Prism-break. min" in notepad. And a large code file appeared.
        /*! prism-break 2013-07-09 */
        !function(a,b){function c(a){var b=a.length,c=kb.type(a);return kb.isWindow(a)?!

        It goes on and on --- Someone worked very hard on it.
      • Comment deleted

  • Jul 21 2013: Boss Tweed and his control of New York City's
    corrupt Tammany Hall is a fascinating look at
    political corruption in the 19th and 20th centuries.
    Obama Administration's and his control of America's -
    corrupt secret surveillance spying agencies digging into
    American's private communications -
    and the 153 whistle-blowers he has stomped on -really -really hard.
    is a fascinating look at political corruption in the 21st century.
    Folks are waking up today. Slowly now but soon this country
    will be on fire.

    Obama your toast !!!
  • Jul 21 2013: Folks,
    Take a moment from your lives and click on this link.
    There is a 59 minute audio tape there. I haven't listened to it, yet.

    The point I want to make is that the information shown in this link
    should convince anyone that we have a serious problem. Today. Right Now.

  • Jul 21 2013: Our Rights guaranteed by the 1st and 4th Amendments to
    The United States Constitution were sworn to be protected
    and Defended, by President Obama, and Vice President Biden.

    Not just once, but many times... If they lied, they committed
    a Heinous Act against us all. ...Kind of looks like a Heinous Act
    to me.

    Where are these two, when we citizens need to be defended ???

    The FISA Court approved the FBI's illegal request for snooping into
    Verison's goody box. Your secrets, who called you, who you called.
    Without your permission, and with the permission of a Secret FISA
    Court Order, and without anyone to defend your rights in that court.

    The FISA court revealed for the first time in History today, a copy
    of an order, extending an existing order to Verison, at the request
    of the FBI. ,,,Last I counted 780 requests, 779 rubber stamped.
    One withdrawn. We get to see the last one. WoW !!! Lucky us.

    It was only days ago that the member of the Congressional
    Committee stated that this has to stop immediately, Did he
    mean "some day, over the rainbow", or right now?

    I recall in 2005 when Senator Leahy slammed his fist and
    said this (same exact thing) has to stop now.

    Kind of makes one think that Politician's in Washington DC
    just do not give a crap about any of us.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 21 2013: John Moonstroller 30+ Some of what you say is true.

      The fact that terrorism will not simply go away. It will have to be destroyed and the ideas that support it.

      I think that the NSA and the CIA are not the answer. Nor is the DHS. Not the Military, for sure.
      I believe we simply need to 'Stop Secret Surveillances of Citizens"
      I believe we simply need to 'Stop Assassinating our Enemies."
      I believe we simply need to 'Stop Using Commerce to spy on Customers"
      I believe we simply need to 'Stop Making Wars"

      To President Obama,
      1984 is dead. So is George Orwell. Leave it alone, it is over. Go home.
      • Comment deleted

  • Jul 20 2013: We all need to get busy today, tomorrow, and all next week.

    Everyone Please.
    Sit down and write out the most Dangerous Acts the NSA and DHS
    and other Domestic Spy Agencies are capable of doing to us all.

    It won't hurt any of us to take that First Step.
    Remember the KISS principal. ..Keep It Simple Stupid.

    Let's together with TED conversations provide a roadmap to safety.
    And Please - Please - Post it on this TED conversation.
  • thumb
    Jul 20 2013: Chaos Computer Club (CCC) conference [29c3]

    Jacob Applebaum

    Not my department [29c3]
    • Jul 20 2013: Lejan . 30+ I am only 5 minutes into this video.
      I am NOW at this moment convinced we ALL have a problem.

      Of course I love conspiracy theories. But in real life? WoW !!!
      Wake me when the movie starts.

      The other day, I watched General Alexander answer questions, before
      the Congress. He is the Department of Defense's weapon of choice to
      lead the NSA.

      I could not help but notice the General's immense projection of presence
      and intellect. His uniform and all those medals fit perfectly. He was the
      picture of perfection. A photo op delight.

      My thoughts flashed back immediately to Mr. Rumford in the ole' days
      of Bush & Cheney in the run up to, and prosecution of the War on Iraq.
      To the bobbing heads of those Generals standing behind Mr. Rumford
      as he spoke to America with his intellect on display. In charge always.

      Anther thing -
      TED did not accept my starting a new conversation yesterday.
      It was a benign conversation that had nothing to do with politics.
      A little red message stated that there was a CRSP attack in progress.
      I have no idea what TED meant. But I did only limited research on
      my Event Log and as I was interrupted, I will continue today.

      Thank you Lejan. I needed this.
      I will have to copy all those addresses and crank up Google Earth,
      I used to live in Utah. Not as a Mormon. I moved when snow became
      too much to take. I rather like my beach now.

      Well, enough with the nonsense. Back to the video.
      • thumb

        Lejan .

        • +2
        Jul 20 2013: I am glad if the link is of your interest.

        You may have noticed, that the use of the term, 'conspiracy theorists' has changing since 9/11 too. It seems to become the new branding term such as 'communist' was during cold war times.

        Those terms are used to discredit any criticism, and deviating thoughts from 'official views' and to discredit the people who have and name them.
        • Jul 20 2013: Lejan . 30+ thanks for the insight.
          In the last 2 days, the "Log In" page for TED has been changed completely.
          I delete every day, as a personal preference, all cookies from my computer.
          That practice means I must sign it each time I use TED or any Website.
          Onerous to be sure. But I spot more mischief that way.

          Back in 2005 when Bush opened the floodgates with "secret executive orders"
          not many bothered to object. It was an old practice much used by Nixon. None
          of the watchdogs barked when they found out. Obama has brought the same
          practice to the highest level yet.

          So, Lejan,
          Where do you feel we all stand today? What is the score?
          Where is the US government at in it's quest for complete control?
          Can you break it down since about the Nixon administration to present day?
          And put the Worst Possible Scenarios into a 10 point single sentence outline?

          The ole' KISS principal. "Keep It Simple Stupid".

          I will do one myself.
          Will you also, Please?
          Then let us compare by tomorrow.
          Are you game to try?
          That first step is the tough one to take.

          I will ask the same of everyone else I have a conversation with today.
          The idea being, to define the problem, and show how this mess started.
          Then when everyone can agree, we can start working to solve things.

          Big Problem Defined, Agreement Reached, Solve Undertaken,
          Begin today, One step at a time. KISS
      • thumb

        Lejan .

        • +1
        • Jul 21 2013: Lejan . 30+
          I didn't mean to make you feel pressured, sorry.
          Thank you for the links Lejan, I will watch them both.
        • Jul 21 2013: Lejan . 30+ I just spotted something on the first link.

          Crawling atop the page was a line of type showing current news.
          But what stuck my interest was that short partial statement that
          the CIA was supporting some item the government was considering.

          I pose this scenario -- Could our seated Congress members be getting
          a kick-back from the Black-Budgeted Secret Agencies? How would we
          ever know? ..Without any audit there is no way. ..The perfect Crime.

          Could these Black-Budgeted Secret Agencies be using their monies
          in other Criminal Ways? Perhaps..Supporting false political positions?

          It is a loop that I never considered. ..A control of government I never
          would have thought could exist. ..Right in front. ..It makes sense, when
          I am so perplexed as to why our government can yell and scream about
          the bad guy's behaviors Year after Year, and yet, let it fade away...

          The problems of Secret Surveillances and Spying has been before the
          Congress many - many times. ..All we get is noise. ..No action.
          In the end they all say the same words. "National Security".
        • Jul 24 2013: Lejan . 30+
          I came across some NBC news from 20 hours ago. titled.
          Obama nominee faces investigation involving company run
          by brother of Hillary Clinton, very interesting.

          Obama nominee has been under investigation by the Inspector
          General of the Department of Homeland Security since last
          September 2012.

          But the DHS Inspector General's not there. His or her place is taken
          by an US Army General, who has not answered reporter's queries.

          The bricks to Obama's secrets are starting to fall down one at a

          I need to flesh this out some more. But the trail is getting warmer.
          Time to worry Lejan, for Americans. ..They have not awakened.
          Scary times ahead.
      • thumb
        Jul 21 2013: All is fine, I just gained back my time, so I will go again through what you said to see what my answers may be ...
      • thumb
        Jul 21 2013: Ok, here it goes:

        National Security is a scam, a 'buzz-word', a diversionary tactic to undermine the constitutional rights of US and EU citizens and to legitimate the so called 'need' for military 'preventive' actions.

        Individual freedom always comes with a certain vulnerability of security and there is no escape from this, as it is inherent in its self. But only when we understand and accept this basic principle, we are able to form democratic societies, which are supposed to balance those elements to benefit of the MAJORITY of their people. Unfortunately, the majority rule got corrupted in many democracies by several reasons and from several sources, which made them become even more vulnerable against the suppression by minority interests from outside but mostly from inside a society.

        Open information, knowledge and participation is key for a democracy to keep its balance, and therefore it is not surprising, that those 'targets' are the first who get attacked. Here the old Roman wisdom still works: Give 'them' (the majority) 'bread & games', and you (a minority) can rule almost as wished. And as longer this principle lasts, as 'dumber' the majority gets, to the point that they may get the feeling that something has turned wrong for them, but they lost the 'tools', the courage to turn things back into balance again.

        Just recently I heard a young US American person say: 'Oh, I thought Europe was a country' ... And we have the same sort of people here, but then you may know what I am pointing at ...

        My view on the current situation is, that 'big money' has infiltrated, corrupted and disabled our democratic elected government structures and representatives, as well as the legal system, to gain control over the majority of the people and to use them in their own interest.

        Plots of that scale take time to get established but it seems to me, that the last couples of years things has accelerated.
      • thumb
        Jul 21 2013: War on terrorism and for resources, the globalization of free markets, the continuation and range spreading collapses and meltdowns of the dominating economical system, all of this and much, much more is anything but the formation of a moderate and balanced environment for the majority of people to live in freedom and for the creation and continuation of peace.

        Secret agencies in itself are contradictory to the principles of democracy. Our given economic system is contradictory to those principles as well. Think about it! So why do we keep allowing them?

        Even here on TED you don't get to see all 'ideas worth spreading', especially some who question the given, 'political' status quo ...



        Personally, I keep collecting the peaces of my puzzle, and what I found so far, is not making me think very optimistic into our future... unless, we manage to reclaim what we allowed to be removed from us, and to put in action our right to disagree ...


        Its only on US!
      • thumb
        Jul 24 2013: Scary times ahead, scary times at present. Wake up, America, wake up in your own interest!
        • Jul 25 2013: Lejan . 30+ Thank you,
          Wake Up America - is about all that is left to say.

          I'm reading today the 'run up' to WW2'. I also have Winston Churchill's
          volumes. Interesting that Army conscripts were hard to come by for France
          because of the 1,645,000 French deaths of WW1.

          Every man-year was unproductive for the national economy and marriage,
          parenthood, and the production of future conscripts. ..The French "interwar"
          military doctrine was built upon citizen-soldiers. ..France's strength on land
          became illusory.

          Hitler was able to structure his Army, secretly, without conscripts, by building a commissioned and non-commissioned officer corps. ..When he was ready, the
          conscripts had already been located, pre-selected and willingly filled the ranks.
          When WW2 started, Americans volunteered for the popular idea. ..Later, when
          conscripts were needed and a Draft initiated, the FBI was sent door to door.
          Present day. ..The NSA's Prism program and the DHS Fusion centers, daily
          compiling every American's AT&T, and Verizon phone records, and most
          operating systems of every American's computer and email records.

          The FBI chasing door to door may not be necessary next War.
          What bothers me -- America's Telephony Giant's, Military Weapons
          Industry's and Computer Software Corporation's, selling their customer's
          information to the Government's secret surveillance spying agencies.
          Some get paid $345 a pop, and $100 per month. Not a dime shared.

          These Corporations have grand Attorneys who know the terms of the
          Constitution of these United States of America. They have trod on the
          rights of us all. They need be disbarred. Tarred and Feathered.

          The Congress cannot be blind. They had this information in 2005, when
          Senator Leahy pounded his desk, and said that this was wrong.

          Our 1st and 4th Amendments have been trod upon by our own government.
          Stop, ..Stop.
  • thumb
    Jul 19 2013: You can see stuff I've written lately on my g+ at:

    It's very new, I'm negotiating to get a friend to extend fiscal sponsorship for the organization until I can incorporate.

    Especially see:

    Makes me really wish my dad were still around -- we lost him a bit over a decade ago. I sort of feel like I have him looking over my shoulder on this stuff. ;) He'd be 90 this year, but he had emphysema, started smoking at 13. Everything was healthy but his lungs. I could sure use his wit around this project! (And yes, *long* generations in my family -- one grandfather born in 1882, dad was 1923, me 1959, my son in 1993... No wonder I have a sense of history! :)

    If you want to read a contrast (and I mean *contrast* to that history -- go read Howard Zinn. It might brighten you up, just out of adrenaline. But it's a sharp contrast to be read equally critically! :) Zinn was an honored historian also. Or go on youtube and listen to some of Noam Chomsky's commentaries. The public schools will not teach our children controversial issues. That is why we need non-governmental alternative media with broad support, from a diverse, engaged electorate.

    Which is why each of us has a duty not to lose hope and remain engaged. So be of good morale and understand there are a great many of us out there. Until we turn out in numbers, no one will figure there's a market in our opinions, do you see? That's how capitalism works. We must make it fashionable to be uppity.

    And that is part of what I am trying to do with my project. There has been a great deal of market force put into compliant docile voters, consumers, what have you. It's bad for democracy and it's not what our Constitution was designed for. If we need to use social media and the net to rouse up peaceful dissent as a serious game and a trend and a fashion -- that's goddam healthy.
    • Jul 20 2013: Shava Nerad 10+ thumbs up.
      I'll take a look at your links later this evening, when I return.
      I never was into fiscal sponsorship, a new term in my life.
      I may be past that idea.
      • thumb
        Jul 20 2013: D...I...T...T....O, D....I....T....T...O, D....I....T...T...O, and Ditto he said also!
  • thumb
    Jul 19 2013: I just read in the BBC news that Google, Apple, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and other tech giants have written a letter to General Alexander of the NSA, as well as to President Obama and Congress, and "have urged US authorities to let them divulge more details about security requests. The companies want to be able to report regular statistics about the nature and scope of what data is being asked for."


    So is the question now more something like: Are they making enough of a public opposition?
    • thumb
      Jul 20 2013: Part of the backstory of this petition is a rumor that they are receiving something out of the USA PATRIOT Act called a National Security Letter:


      This comes with a gag order that means they aren't even allowed to say they got it, and is more off the record than the FISA court requests -- it's off the record entirely!

      So by petitioning very generically to be able to disclose "national security requests," they may be petitioning also to relax restrictions on NSL requests in the backroom with the government lawyers, as it were. I have actually set the WaPo investigative team to try to see if they can find anything out about this one, although legally I'm not sure if they can.

      This is the thing -- I really believe there are a great many people in all parts of this issue (military, bureaucracy, corporate) fed up with this process. But so long as the USA PATRIOT Act stands they are at a huge disadvantage. And that will not go down so long as the American public is passive, outside the political system. It has to be a savvy political engagement accountability movement from the grassroots up to get Congress to take that monstrosity down.

      It's so hard to dismantle those sorts of mechanisms once we've allowed them to get their teeth in our freedoms.
      • thumb
        Jul 20 2013: You continue to disillusion me. I can't even have an Early latte in the morning (that's a couple spoonfuls of instant coffee with hot tap water in whatever clean bowl I have) and decipher the BBC news through the cracked screen on my iPhone 3 without now thinking: 'How would Shava Nerad filter this into pure information?'
      • thumb
        Jul 20 2013: Can you tell me if I took the red pill or the blue pill? I can't remember, and I badly want to know if I'm in the Matrix or not.
        • thumb
          Jul 20 2013: Look at it this way, Daniel. It really SUCKS to be me sometimes. If you think this stuff is discouraging, imagine the days I have that it seems hopeless because I see into the heart of darkness of the stuff you don't get to see.. I live and breathe this stuff every day, and you're only seeing a little window into my world...:)

          Yet, most of the time, I remain positive, because I also see so many people working to make things better. It's a dynamic system -- an ecology. I also get to see the smartest, bravest, most amazing people you wouldn't believe -- people who you will never know about because they are lawyers for EFF or activists for some nonprofit you never heard of, or an intern for some congresscritter working on consumer privacy who is that office's person who's assigned to deal with the NSA data issues (!) and is only a sophomore in law school undergraduate and feeling overwhelmed but working 80 hours -- half of it in the Library of Congress trying to figure out the background of what she's fighting for (and who she's fighting against! :). Or, a young woman who's friends with a bunch of folks interested in Harry Potter fandom who wants to explain to her friends in simpler terms what's going on, and keeps asking smart questions for hours until she knows she can teach it to others. Young hackers arguing politics in Internet Relay Chat, working on an open source project, the Americans apologizing that their government is spying on their co-workers abroad, embarrassed, together trying to figure out what they should be doing about these issues, as friends across borders.

          We have to take this all as reason to keep going, and understand we're stronger together as a community and as a republic and democracy, than the people who assume power over their fiefdoms by pure assumption and expect us to put our tails between our legs and slink under the porch. I see it daily both ways.

          Good noodles. ;)
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    Jul 19 2013: Thanks. I am not perfect and we all get testy under pressure these days, and really I try to espouse nonviolence partly because I honestly know in my feral heart it would be more satisfying to smack someone when you see this kind of abuse going on. It's easier to go for easy answers, or be less controversial. But I am trying to speak what I have learned. Just asking people to ponder. :)
    • Jul 19 2013: Shava Nerad 10+

      I happened to fall into a Harvard Law Website when focused on the NSA.
      I was paying no attention, and DHS's Janet Napolitano's name popped up.
      Seems the DHS has Fusion Centers.

      ..What do you know about their activities lately?
      Are we ignoring them? Are they a domestic NSA type threat to our 1st and
      4th Amendment Rights? Have they've been around for several years, and
      do they really have partnerships with major military industry employees?
      Do they collect similar information like the NSA does?

      Is Barack Obama really Lex Luther with Kryptonite, stealing our freedoms?
      Where is Superman when you need him?

      I haven't fleshed things out. I feel I've stubbed my toe on this one.
      Dang it. If America is today just a cesspool of big brother,
      I'm going to bed. It is after midnight. lol
      • thumb
        Jul 19 2013: Basic fact: 9/11/2001 we had a national crisis. Three weeks later, 132 pages of exquisitely crafted pre-prepared legal text appeared, labeled the USA PATRIOT Act, or "Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001."

        This cynically named beast was shoved up our butts such that no congresscritter could have gotten away with voting against it without looking like they were voting for the terrorists, while Ground Zero was still smoking.

        ALL this stuff -- the DHS, the fusion centers, the extended authority of the NSA, comes out of the abridgement of civil liberties from that law and a few more enable by it since.

        The only way to get rid of the USA PATRIOT Act is through citizen engagement. Congressisn't going to get rid of it themselves without peasant mobs at the city gates (ideally well ordered and nonviolent). This is why I am starting Blue Rose as a nonviolent movement -- because if someone doesn't bring this in as a nonviolent solution, herding cats, likely it will foment in violence, and DC will react by consolidatin more authority through force and guile to control violence (violence including capacity or property).

        This is another sort of war to work to avert.
        • Jul 19 2013: Shava Nerad 10+
          Thumbs Up - Wow!! you've become a Tiger overnight.
          Do your Blue Rose thingy. I hope it works.
          Give me a link, or perhaps I can find it.

          I will be away after 8/4/2013 when Microsoft cuts off
          my protections against viruses. Gotta go back and
          wipe Windows 7 and reload my trusty XP. Microsoft is
          going to stop supporting XP next year. But I feel they
          will start-stopping sooner, a piece at a time.

          I wonder why Bill Gates (today a hero) didn't stop this
          kind of activity. He was brilliant, made Billions, and sold out.
          History might paint him tarnished unless he changes things.
          I could be wrong about the History thing.

          The CIA has
          given us an ex-employee, an author, who has written the
          modern history book from 1760 to present day. I suspect
          it will find a home in our School systems. History is always
          written by the conquerors, never by those conquered.

          I feel so conquered today...
  • Jul 19 2013: Bark collar --
    Didn't you already ask this question?

    Bill Gates the other day, visited Microsoft and gave a speech.
    Microsoft got rid of all it's various Presidents, and demoted them
    to more appropriate levels. The Head guy was replaced.
    Does Bill wield special powers these days? My pipe dream.

    July 17, 2013, yesterday CNN had video coverage of the House of
    Representatives "committee barbeque of the NSA and friends",
    We might see the demise of the FISA court, and substantial change
    to the operations of the NSA and perhaps even the Justice Dept.
    The latter might just be my pipe dream. Except when Holder finds
    out his deputy used the "Other Dude Did It" defense, "ODDI", he
    might throw in the towel. Oh, well, I know a pipe dream when I see it.
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    Jul 18 2013: Allow NSA to do whatever it deems it must to ensure your safety or allow you some privacy where you endure whatever comes.

    It’s not the collection of info that worries me as much as is its incorrect interpretation and inappropriate use by imperfect humans.

    It is very unlikely any real change will come to the NSA but will only get worse as technology allows it to do even more.

    An example, If your records are ever viewed you must be informed of that within five years with the associate search warrant paper.

    So doing nothing is not what we humans are about. So a tougher question is can we do anything about this and if so what should that action be?

    I say WE ensure that there are true checks and balances that are always seen.
    • Jul 19 2013: Tim Thornton -- thank you

      things are moving quickly now.
      July 17, 2013, CNN shows the Congress jumping all over the NSA.
      It is 3.8 hours of the Justice Department using the ODDI defense.
      The "Other Dude Did It"...

      Some really smart Congressmen and Congresswomen bringing
      their big guns to bear.

      If these bi-partisan members cannot keep us protected under
      the 1st and 4th Amendments, then we all need to get the right
      tools out of the cabinet, and do the job ourselves.

      I have faith that the Congress has been awakened. I look
      forward the end of FISA courts. I also think the spy agencies
      are much to expensive to maintain in their present Military
      format. Their Leadership had forgotten to ask our permission,
  • Jul 18 2013: Kate Blake 50+
    TED didn't put up a "Reply" thingy.

    I don't know anyway to get a hold of Oprah to get her support.
    But I will give it my best.

    My problem is that I got rid my TV 4 or 5 years back when the
    commercials outweighed the programs.
    Never missed it. Not even during the NFL season.
    I like Aussie Football better anyway.
    Computers are great for spectator sports, as commercials have
    yet to make their ugly impact.

    It would be so nice to have Congress re-work our system of commerce.
    Ours is old, out of date, slow, and ripe with corruption.
    Limited Liability Laws, the carrot and the stick for Corporations.
    What garbage.

    I think I may have been sent back in time.
    This has to be a nightmare.

    I wonder what the NSA likes.
    Can you imagine reading all that stuff.
    • Comment deleted

      • Jul 18 2013: Kate Blake 50+ Yes Miss Kate...
        Thank you for the information. I had no idea.
        Oprah's had a great show for years, and I think
        I may have watched it twice, for a few minutes.

        I am solitary as an old Moose, standing on the top
        of a singular hillock, under a lone tree, with his head
        twisted upside down to eat the choicest of leafs.

        We old Moosey's seldom watch TV. But I will ask
        my daughter to help. ..She runs the Internet Service
        Provider Digital Putty. ..But her politics differ from mine.
        Drat !!! ..The good part is I get free service. lol
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    Jul 17 2013: It's very interesting.
  • Jul 17 2013: Thank God!
  • 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

      • thumb
        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

        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

        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.
        • thumb
          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.
      • thumb
        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.
  • Jul 17 2013: Has our own US government used Deception to Infect America's Computers,
    and those of other nations?

    A Lawsuit has been filed. But our US Government may be immune to it.

    Who is available to quickly research and take an in-depth look into the vulnerabilities
    of America's private citizen’s personal computers and phones?

    Have our private communications been stolen by NSA Prius spyware?

    Perhaps a Blue Ribbon Committee selected by President Obama himself,
    with a quick response required to show the facts and air the laundry.
    With first an Executive Order to the Intelligence Agencies to shut off the Paper Shredders
    and to answer all Congress's subpoenas post haste.

    How can we make AT&T, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo, Adobe, and the rest of the
    Computer Hardware and Software Giants convince Americans that they have sold us
    honest products? What evidence can they produce? What evidence will they produce?

    Can these Major Super-Wealthy Corporations that have taken our willing dollars for so
    many years come up with Iron Clad Proofs that they are not the Bad Guys?
    Will they Do it without a murmur. Will they do it Now? Quickly?

    Will they convince our President Obama to do so also?

    Come on Bill Gates you take the lead.
    We are a forgiving peoples. But we will not be "Stone-Walled"
    Today July 16, 2013 is getting late.
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    Jul 16 2013: I cannot figure out how to properly reply to messages in that it seems that I am blocking the script for that. Either way, this is a reply meant for those proposing a fully privatized network where the lines are encrypted for communication purposes--essentially hiding the user completely (full anonymity):

    1. Have you looked into quantum internet? this may sound like fiction, but it is an actual area of security research. The idea is to send data in a matter resembling quantum particles--much like quantum computers propose to send data via photons--so that rather than information being read as either 1 or 0 (on/off), the data will be sent in terms of on, off, and on/off (quantum physics retains the nature of particles being in simultaneous states until they are seen). This concept allows for a virtually "unhackable" medium of transmitting data--the hacker/cracker will be unable to read the feed as activated since quantum physics retains the concept of the data being active/inactive; therefore, unreadable. The problem; however, is that data usually flows user to node to user and there is no easy technique as of yet (to my knowledge) of forcing these onto a desired state. This means that the receiver may never view the message at all. this explanation has been generalized for simplicity of course; the actual research emcompasses a scope greater than I detailed, but these are the basics

    2. The Onion Router (also known as Tor anonymity network) is not completely anonymous. It is recommended to have accessed this via virtual machine AND the use of a VPN. Nothing in the internet is secure, and you can always leave a trace. Often times, the FBI will track user through Tor. Not to mention that the infamous hacktivist group anonymous was able to track and shutdown a Tor-operating website in the business of Child Pornography (Lolita's World). The tor uses an encryption layer that bounces your trafic around other networks reducing but not stopping your chances of being found.
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      Jul 18 2013: Hi, Kareem -- I'm former executive director of Tor. Most people who are traced through the Tor network are traced because they do not use Tor correctly. I'm not familiar with this particular case, but the most common circumstance in child porn users is that you can't use Flash while using Tor -- it passes your IP number along with the Flash commands with the video. So a person who is into porn is likely to want to watch videos, and often does not read the manuals, and violates their own anonymity. It is not a flaw in the Tor software. It is a common user error, in a *ahem* impulse prone population.

      Also, no connection is completely anonymous or safe, and no security consultant will tell you so -- if they do, they are lying, and run away. ;) However, you will find that if you look carefully, you will not find people tracked through Tor who use end-to-end encryption and actually RTFM. I don't know of any, including any of the rather infamous papers out there. They all involve people violating their own anonymity, or people actually seizing exit routers and poisoning non-encrypted streams.
  • Jul 16 2013: Tify Ndanoboi 30+

    Your thoughts of that light at the end of the tunnel are spot on.
    Tyrants and murderers in the end always fall.

    However, let us not overlook the greedy provider's for the Tyrants
    and murderers. They always slip away with their booty. Always.

    In this case, the scoundrel's left their markers behind on Software
    they sold all of us. Updates that we cannot delete, are visible
    evidence of the NSA's footprint.

    Gotcha !!!
    "but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always."
  • Jul 16 2013: A bit of additional data snooping information Update:
    The New York Times has more on this topic, detailing talks between government officials and many of the tech companies.

    The Washington Post cited confidential documents showing that the NSA and FBI “are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets.”

    The documents described the process as, “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”

    One possibility is that the people issuing the statements at these companies have been kept in the dark by key executives involved in the program, to give them plausible deniability. But the public statements by Page and Zuckerberg work against that theory. Certainly the CEOs would know about a program such as this … wouldn’t they?

    ABC News has more on the topic, quoting experts who say the companies’ statements may be carefully worded to, for example, deny “back door” access but not other forms of data sharing. But that would be a highly risky move for the companies, and the latest statements from Google and Facebook come off as categorical denials.

    In any event, there’s no question that it’s unsettling.

    “I think all of us are experiencing this huge holy crap moment,” said Christopher Budd of security firm Trend Micro, a GeekWire contributor who worked for a decade on Microsoft’s Security Response team. “It’s like there was nothing there, nothing there, and then overnight this giant intelligence gathering apparatus appeared in our front yard.

    Once the shock passes, he said, the public view of the situation will probably depend on two things: 1) The level of protections in place, and the degree of transparency from here on out; and 2) whether or not this previously secret program has actually been effective
    • thumb
      Jul 16 2013: To say there is "nothing there, nothing there, and then overnight..." is insane. A number of us have been writing about this in potential for nearly a decade, and in specific (but without the codename PRISM) since 2007 when Bill Binney and three other whistle blowers, all NSA officers, went to the press with many of the same revelations as Snowden -- to a profound yawn from the American public.

      Look it up.

      As military officers, Binney & Co. were not willing to make a media circus out of their revelations. They wanted to preserve the dignity of their leaving on constitutional grounds, for the good of the country. It didn't make ratings, or sell ads on cable, I am sorely afraid.

      Otherwise, you might have noticed this when it was in the news six years ago.
      • Jul 16 2013: Shava Nerad 10+ I will read yours tomorrow
        after I give blood. sorry, it's late.

        I was on the MS very old stuff and researching.
        Then I caught the Geek saying where Bill Gates was
        giving a speech at MS. Then read that they replaced
        the Pres and demoted the rest down to dog catchers.
        Getting in bed with the government usually works ok
        as long as you don't screw your customer base.

        If you want a really good laugh --
        View the pdf file --The visual whitepaper,
        "Fostering Digital Citizenship," on this link

        off to bed, g'nite
    • thumb
      Jul 16 2013: "Certainly the CEOs would know about a program such as this "

      yep, but afaik the patriot act makes such practices legal as long as a secret (!) court orders it, and the same law forbids you to disclose even the fact of such a secret data acquiry. you face charges if you tell even your relatives about it.
      • Jul 16 2013: You are NOT obliged to follow an immoral law. And we see the consequences of such who bow to fear.
      • Jul 16 2013: Krisztián Pintér 200+

        Well what you say is true.
        But Americans are born with Brass Balls.
        You had better come Locked and Loaded.
        We get sick and tired of baloney.
        I know a hundred more clichés... lol
        When Hitler was coming into power, he lied.
        History buffs read the lies and the results.

        About this -- Washington DC Psychologists
        made a game plan based on lies.

        But, they kind of forgot that this nasty deal
        was a Military operation, not a civilian one.
        We Americans do not allow our Military
        such latitude.
      • Jul 18 2013: certainly not, but with a gun at your head, you tend to...

        if you think like that... they have already won.
  • Jul 16 2013: I need to take a "time out" to praise the actions of
    the UK's Home Secretary May for banning khat.
    It is an addictive social drug that needs to be eliminated.
    There is so much more to life than sitting and chewing leaves.
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    Jul 15 2013: Wait a minute, please. I thought there was just not enough space anywhere for both Microsoft and Google to stand up. I thought one standing up would mean the other rolling on the ground. May be I was mistaken?
    • Jul 16 2013: Pabitra Mukhopadhyay 50+
      I wrote a response to you, my fingers hit the esc button, all gone.
      Must not have been a very good response. Sorry.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 14 2013: Kate, I've reached my weekly max for thumbs-ups.
      Apparently you still have a barb-up left this week. lol
      I did ask for more time.
      Thank you for reminding me to get on with your demands.
      Great questions you pose.

      Can you supply any answers yourself? Will you try?

      Is writing to express our disgust, enough?
      Can you start such a petition to sign? Will you try?

      Will you click on: View the full conversation?
      I have put a second part there.

      Is WikiLeaks hearsay in your mind?

      Snowden is probably going to be captured, tried and convicted in some
      US Justice court, unless someone (a lot of someone's) can write to those
      other sympathetic nation's leaders and beg them to bring the topic out of
      the US's veil of secrecy and into the light.

      I feel, Mr. Snowden is aware that he is likely not going to survive to freedom.
      Most Whistle-Blowers don't win, and end up vilified in the end.

      His patriotism is worth our time and energy to email every sitting Congressman
      and every Republican and Democratic party leader, to state our position, and to
      poll theirs.

      Your question time has expired Kate. Crank out those e-mails.
      Let me know how your doing and if I can help.
      You seem to write well. Now's the time to show it.
      • Jul 15 2013: I personally do not believe petitions to our elected leaders (part of our plutocracy) ever see anything more than the trash can! I think whistle blowers have finally realized this and sacrifice their own lives in order to demonstrate as much. God bless them all for they're fighting a mighty force! Spread the word is all we can do.
        • Jul 15 2013: M-L Reifschneider

          I must agree with you.
          The Whistle-Blowers take the fall for all of us.

          It shouldn't be long before I get a knock on my door.
          Ya think ??? lol
    • Jul 14 2013: Kate, I was just reading the July 14, NY Times article
      titled: Nations Buying as Hackers Sell Flaws in Computer Code

      This statement was centrally placed for the reader to have a
      named and experienced author and obfuscate the problem
      with extraneous information. No problem with hearsay, huh?

      “Governments are starting to say, ‘In order to best protect my country,
      I need to find vulnerabilities in other countries,’ ” said Howard Schmidt,
      a former White House cybersecurity coordinator. “The problem is that
      we all fundamentally become less secure.”

      A nice enough sales pitch. ..Don't ya think?
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 14 2013: Kate, I read Fred Lanisake's response
          and followed the 2nd link. Very revealing.

          Moxie is a smart guy, and a IT Hacker.
          Read his blog. don't let the 'thoughtcrime' name throw you.
          The top blog was pretty good. Better towards the end.

          What I came away with was that these secret surveillances are
          not new. They were being used back in 2000 under different names.
          They are today providing Police enforcement with unlimited powers.
          Things could be getting scary, as I put the pieces together.

          Freedom of speech from a soap-box in the park just won't work.
          It looks like that is a possible future. Geographical Governments
          will protect their turf. When we all figure it out, It will be too late.
          It probably is right now. We may be toast. And not toasted by
          global warming.

          AT&T plans to eliminate all hard-wired phones that use copper wire
          by 2020. ..Things are beginning to fit.

          Voters believe their advertisement paid Media, and vote accordingly.
          RNC and DNC merely split the Government. They don't care who wins.

          If I were younger, I'd look for a government job.

          I haven't tried his Moxie at Moxie dot org link.

        • Jul 15 2013: According to Thomas Drake, former National Security Agency
          senior executive who blew the whistle on the agency’s reckless
          spending and spying in 2006, -- a previously unknown NSA
          surveillance program known as FAIRVIEW aims to “own the Internet.”

          Last month, NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked a series of
          PowerPoint slides to the Washington Post and the Guardian revealing
          that the agency was engaged in large-scale Internet surveillance with
          PRTISM a program that collects Americans’ chats, emails, photos,
          and videos.

          One slide was released by the two papers. It made reference
          to a group of additional “upstream” collection programs, including two
          named FAIRVIEW and BLARNEY, but gave no further details.

          Drake, who was prosecuted under the Espionage Act for his whistle-
          blowing, explained the upstream programs to the Daily Dot.

          “Upstream means you get inside the system before it’s in the Internet.
          In its pure form,” he said.

          About the slide, Drake said, “you’ve got programs and umbrella
          programs. ” FAIRVIEW is one such umbrella. Drake referred to it as
          a “highly classified program” for tapping into the world’s intercontinental
          fiber optic cables.

          “It’s just a name,” Drake said, “that at the highest level means to
          own the Internet.”

          An article published this week in the Washington Post reveals
          one such instance of FAIRVIEW. The story describes a contract
          signed between the Asian telecom giant Global Crossing and the
          U.S. government. “The agreements,” the Post reported, “do not
          authorize surveillance. But they ensure that when U.S. government
          agencies seek access to the massive amounts of data flowing through
          their networks, the companies have systems in place to provide it

          Efforts to tap into the Internet were leaked by a former AT&T Computer
          Network Associate Mark Klein, who witnessed the agency attaching
          splitters to the San Francisco office. “What I know of the splitters,” Klein said,
          “is that they get everything".
      • Comment deleted

        • Jul 15 2013: Kate Blake 50+
          I've been running like a dog all over trying to identify
          all those damned partner nations, without going to
          WikiLeaks first.

          You are right of course, it isn't just a few nations.
          It is all of the ones we trade with, and the ones
          we control by force-of-arms.

          I believe I've already told you about how the Internet
          Service Providers have changed their Terms of Service,
          EULAs, and Privacy Statements, which we must agree to,
          as they provide us with their new editions and updates
          we can no longer delete.

          I had full control with my old XP and Adobe6 Reader.
          But this damned Win7 is crap. Windows pings my events
          listings 5 times a minute 24/7. I may just wipe and start
          anew with some other Operating System. The jury is out.

          WikiLeaks here I come. What men won't do to keep the
          ladies happy...
      • thumb
        Jul 15 2013: The sale of flaws in security code is a booming industry. Security holes that haven't been publicly discovered are known as 0days among the hacker community (0day because the exploit as been publicly known for 0 days). Illicit transactions are done online with BitCoin, an anonymous crypto-currency, facilitating the purchase of drugs, weapons, stolen credit cards and fake documents, all as easy as eBay.

        Viruses are created that give the hacker control over a victim's computer, then dispersed online hidden inconspicuously in free downloads, as maliciously modified games and apps. This gives the hacker an army of computers under his control, sometimes tens of thousands, that he can use to make money off pay-per-click ads, or sell on the black market. Such an army is known as a botnet. Reddit, a popular forum site, has a sub-forum called IAmA ("I am a _____, ask me anything") where usually well known people (like Stephen Spielburg) answer the community's questions. A botnet operator started a thread there a year ago, answering questions about his botnet of 10,000 computers - http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/sq7cy/iama_a_malware_coder_and_botnet_operator_ama/

        The online criminal community has been covering their tracks with technology for years. We just need to find a way to integrate this technology for the masses.
        • Jul 15 2013: Fred you are amazing.
          You keep me jumping.
          Thank you.
      • Jul 15 2013: In reply to your last comment, I was just thinking the same thing! How long before I get on somebodies' terrorism list and disappear into the sunset of obscurity? Ha! Let them come; I'm too old and factual to go along with all the gov't propaganda and "dumbing down" of our citizens. It seems the world knows America better than our own citizens do; perhaps they can see with more objectivity/clarity.
        • Jul 15 2013: M-L, You are right as rain.

          I get really upset with the misuse by those greedy

          40 years ago, when life was peaceful and calm.
          You could actually talk to a policeman. I mean
          you could have a conversation. Really.

          We marched in the streets to oppose construction
          by PG&E of the Diablo Nuclear Plant.
          No one was arrested.

          Those PG&E idiots are all long dead now.
          Today the Diablo plant is awaiting another extension
          to be approved, as it sits with it's vessels of spent fuel,
          atop the 2 earthquake faults on a low bluff overlooking
          the Pacific Ocean.

          California's beautiful central coast. Never to be a
          playground for children nor enjoyed by anyone forever.

          The only changes I can see is that Diablo Security has
          each vehicle searched top to bottom, coming in and out,
          and everyone gets a body search. Guards are numerous
          and armed with machine guns.
          We live in a false world today. Created by Political idiots
          who want control as monarchs over all they see.

          Political idiots who just cannot count to 20, or 30.
          Maybe those years of eating well and swilling liquor
          is worth their trouble to get there.

          I've watched elderly senators and congressmen
          dotter and totter to do their dirty work. What a Joke.
          In Nixon's time, on his State visits, the South American's
          spit and threw garbage as his car passed by.
          They yelled: .."Yankee, Go Home !!!"

          Today the whole wide world is doing and saying
          the very same thing.

          Obama's new car is built like a real Tank.
          For good reason.
    • thumb
      Jul 15 2013: They're looking for help at Open Whisper Systems.

      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Jul 15 2013: Really I think they just need people to try and share their products. They have an app that encrypts calls (RedPhone), one that encrypts texts (TextSecure). There's an app made by another team called Gibberbot, which enables you to encrypt your Facebook chat.

          Even if trying them out is a bit much, just spreading word of their existence helps a bunch.

          "What can we the general citizen do to stop this atrocity by the usa?"

          Spread the word! :)
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Jul 15 2013: I'm jealous! I wish I never joined Facebook.

          I really do believe awareness is key, now that the public seems genuinely interested. Just sharing links and tips has an incredible power to change things. Touching a mind changes a world!
      • Jul 15 2013: Fred, last night you offered this to Kate.
        Dang it, I'm miffed. lol
        I will follow your lead.
  • thumb
    Jul 14 2013: Anyone interested in these issues should check out the writings of Moxie Marlinspike - http://thoughtcrime.org/blog.

    Recently he wrote a piece on PRISM and surveillance, and the implications of living in a world where law enforcement was 100% effective. http://thoughtcrime.org/blog/we-should-all-have-something-to-hide/

    He did something notable in May when he exposed the interception plans of Saudi Arabia's biggest telecom. Being a famous security researcher, the telecom approached him looking for help. He humored them for a couple weeks, then published their emails on his blog. http://thoughtcrime.org/blog/saudi-surveillance/

    He also wrote a very thought provoking piece on SSL (the standard for secure connections online, like https) and how the entire system is fundamentally flawed, as it's based on trusting Certificate Authorities like Verisign, which are also known to produce and sell spyware. http://thoughtcrime.org/blog/ssl-and-the-future-of-authenticity/
  • Jul 13 2013: The NSA's Special Source Operations (SSO) is the "crown jewel" of the agency.
    It is responsible for all programs aimed at US communications systems through
    Corporate Partnerships such as Prism, an Internet snooping program.

    Microsoft said that it provides customer data in response to government demands.

    Last month, In June 2013, the NSA claimed "direct access" through the Prism program
    to the systems of many major internet companies, Microsoft, Skype, Apple, Google,
    Facebook and Yahoo, to name a few..

    Blanket orders from the FISA secret surveillance court allow these communications
    to be collected without an individual warrant if the NSA operative has a 51% belief
    that the target is not a US citizen and is not on US soil at the time.

    Targeting US citizens does require an individual warrant, but the NSA is able to collect
    Americans' communications without a warrant if target is a foreign national located overseas.

    Collateral Damages for overstepping into US citizen’s private lives just isn’t an issue.
    Interesting court that FISA. Secret surveillance? ..Who authored that one?
    It is time to find out how it was created, and just who did the creation, and changes.
    Would anyone hazard a guess?

    Since Prism's existence became public, Microsoft and the other companies listed on
    the NSA documents as providers have denied all knowledge of the program and insisted
    that the intelligence agencies do not have back doors into their systems.

    Microsoft's latest marketing campaign, launched in April, emphasizes its commitment
    to privacy with the slogan: "Your privacy is our priority."

    Similarly, Skype's privacy policy states: "Skype is committed to respecting your privacy
    and the confidentiality of your personal data, traffic data and communications content."

    But media sources suggest the co-operation between the intelligence community
    and the companies is deep and ongoing.

    Enough now, one bite at a time,,,
    Please respond. Thank you.